Throughout November we learned everything we would ever need to know about Mexico. As December approached I was excited by the idea that we could do a Mexican style Christmas in the first week to kinda finish up on what we had been working on in our Mexico study. Hayden suggested that we should learn about how other countries celebrate Christmas, so we’re also going to cover Italy, France, and then America (our usual Christmas traditions) on the last week.
We created a board with everything you’d ever want to know about Mexico. We did mostly online research, but we also read the book Jaw-Dropping Geography: Fun Learning Facts About Magnificent Mexico by Jess Roche. We borrowed it on Kindle Unlimited and read most of it, skipping the things we had already researched online. Another helpful resource we used was Pinterest. I wasn’t the first to think of learning about Christmas around the world. There’s so much to be found there, and Teacherspayteachers.com has more printables than I could wade through.
We stuck with the things we could fit into our schedule, so that was traditional Mexican food, reading out loud, looking at pictures, and watching Youtube videos of what it’s like at Christmas time in Mexico. This video here is what we used to learn about the states in November. Not gonna lie, it’s kind of annoying, but effective.
We looked through websites that described what Christmas is like in Mexico. I pinned most of them to my Pinterest board, so follow it here to get more ideas and to see more of what we learned about.
The most fun we had was eating the yummy food. My husband is the first generation in his family to live in the U.S., so Mexican food is something we know, and do well. While we never got around to doing the time-consuming tamales, we did have enchiladas, rice, and beans for dinner one night, and then the following night made Arroz con leche for dessert.
The arroz con leche had to meet high standards because my mother in law makes it during cold weather and the kids all LOVE it, I think I did a good job… if I do say so myself. The only part I used a recipe for when making the enchiladas. I usually cheat and gussy up canned sauce, but for the sake of tradition, I used this method from Budget Bite$
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 cups water
- 3 oz. tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3/4 tsp salt or to taste
Add the vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder to a medium pot. Turn the heat on to medium and whisk the ingredients together. Continue to whisk as the mixture begins to bubble. Whisk and cook the mixture for one minute once it begins bubbling.
After one minute, whisk in the water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer it will begin to thicken slightly.
Starting with a 1/2 teaspoon, add salt to taste. I used about 3/4 teaspoon total. The sauce is now ready to use!
It’s really yummy. The only change I made was substituting chicken broth for water. We also doubled it. I didn’t get any picture of this, sadly, but it was an excellent meal.
For the Arroz Con Leche, I used a recipe from The Grant Life, not going to lie, the reason I picked this one is that I L-O-V-E HEB so much, and every ingredient she used was from HEB. I think this calls for a hashtag: #texas! It also became the most accurately followed recipe I’ve ever used, since all of my ingredients were exactly the same! We added a few raisins to ours as well.
Arroz con Leche
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup white rice
- 4 cups of milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- ground cinnamon for topping
- In a large saucepan, bring the water and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Add the rice, reduce heat and bring to a boil again.
- Stir in 2 cups of the milk until the rice starts to thicken. Add in the other two cups of milk, vanilla extract and the sweetened and condensed milk. Allow to simmer until til thick or your desired consistency.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks, allow to cool, sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy