Saturday, December 29, 2012

Taco seasoning

Well, I seem to have a working computer again, so I figured I may as well take advantage and blog.  Yesterday for dinner I ran out of my taco seasoning mix.  I LOVE my taco seasoning mix.  I found it in a book by a lady from  While the book has some great ideas, it is so unorganized that I hate trying to find things in it.  For example, this recipe is called chili mix even though I always think of it as taco seasoning.  It also calls for a veggie mix that you then have to try to find in the book.  I really hate using the book, but I love the recipe.  It pretty much has everything you need including a few veggies.  I also like the flavor and so do all of my kids except 1 who doesn't seem to like ground beef in general.   Be warned, these probably aren't items you will have in your pantry unless you are into food storage.  You will probably have to buy them at some sort of specialty place on online.  My particular favorite is  I like them mostly because they are the most economical because their shipping is always 4.49.  I can't say that I got any of the items I used yesterday from Honeyville though.  I just find them easiest to use.  If you care to know, my celery and peppers were Thrive products, my tomato powder was Auguston farms - although purchased through and not my favorite quality wise - I do not recommend it.  Could have been old from the person who sold it to me though.  My onions were from the lds home storage center, and the other items from costco.  
On to the mix -here it is with everything all together.  Yea!

  • 1 cup tomato powder
  • 1/2 cup dried onions
  • 1/2 cup dried celery (mine were freeze dried)
  • 1/2 cup dried bell peppers (I have a red and green mix)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic minces or garlic powder (I used powder yesterday.)
  • 1/2 cup chili powder (this makes a pretty mild mix - you may want to add more if you like it spicier)
  • 3 Tablespoons cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

To use:
Tacos - 1/2 cup seasoning with some water to 1 lb meat (or 1 cup lentils or beans to make vegetarian)
Chili beans - 1/2 cup seasoning to 1 cup (dry measure) beans
rice - 1/4 cup mix to cooked rice with 1/2 cup water
refried beans -1/4 cup mix to 3 cups mashed pinto beans

You get the picture - honestly I usually only make this as taco seasoning, but I have used it with beans, ground beef, and chicken.  Personally for refried beans I prefer mashing salsa up with black or pinto beans.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fish and chips

Don't be fooled by the title.  This isn't the fish and chips you are thinking of.  This is chips like potatoes chopped and baked that crisp up almost like a potato chip, with fish, just plain, no breading, on top.  Super simple meal and super yummy!
This idea came from Mark Bittman's book the minimalist cooks at home.  So far I'm liking this book.  It is set up so be simple.  Not a ton of ingredients, just simple meals with lots of flavor.  For every recipe he gives a story behind it, the recipe, keys to succes, and with minimal effort ideas (extras to add for more/different flavor, or to add veggies....)  Definitely a book I will continue to investigate while I have it checked out of the library.
This really was super simple.  Aside from peeling and slicing the potatoes, there wasn't an overabundance of work.    I did add one of his with minimal effort suggestions to add garlic (although I was already thinking about doing that when I read it.)    This was a perfect recipe for me.  I had fish in the freezer that I wanted to use, and potatoes in the pantry that I needed to use.
As far as amounts on this recipe - I can't really say too well.  I actually made 2 pans - an 8 X 8 and a 9 X 13 baking side by side.  I had no problem doing this.  I used more potatoes and fish in the 9 X 13 pan and a little less in the 8 X 8 pan.  I'll list the original amounts which say they make 4 servings.


  • 4-5 medium potatoes, 2 lbs or more.  (I used 7 or 8?  kind of lost count.)
  • 6 Tablespoons butter (I used 8 1/2 or 9) -melted -or use olive oil if you are anti-butter.  
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs white fish about 1 inch thick, skinned - in 2 or more pieces.  (original called for cod.  I used mahi mahi.  4 fillets on one pan (about 2-2.25 lbs) and 2 fillets in the other (about 1 lb)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  (I put the butter in the pan and put my pans in the oven to melt the butter I used 4 Tablespoons in the 9X13 and 2 1/2 in the 8X8 -see next note) Peel the potatoes and cut into slices about 1/8 inch thick.  (I cut mine on a mandoline and think they were a bit thinner than 1/8 inch.  
  2. Toss the potatoes with 4 Tablespoons of the butter (or just toss in the pan if you already melted the butter in the pan. I'm not sure I'd melt the butter in the pan again.   I loved how the butter browned, but it would be easier to toss the melted butter with the potatoes with my hands which I may opt to do next time.)  Season potatoes liberally with salt and pepper and spread them evenly.  Place pan in the oven.
  3. Cook for 40 minutes checking occasionally, until potatoes are tender and have begun to brown. Remove from oven. (This didn't take 40 minutes for me - maybe because my potatoes were thin.  I set my first timer for 15 minutes (they were already in the 3-5 minutes so max 20 min.) when I checked them, they were already tender and starting to brown.  I stirred them because some were stuck together and not as browned and cooked them for a few more minutes (while I got my fish together and melted some butter - maybe 5-10 minutes.)  
  4. Turn the oven to broil and make sure to have a top rack 4-6 inches from the heat.  Top the potatoes with fish, drizzle with the remaining butter (I used the last of the first stick I had, and a bit more.)  Season with more salt and pepper.  Broil until fish is done, 6-10 minutes - depending on thickness.  Mine took 10 to have all pieces done.  Keep an eye on it while it broils.  I saw a potato starting to burn because it was kind of sticking up, so I knocked it over to flat with a spatula and it solved that problem.


no bake oatmeal peanut butter bites

I found these little beauties on pinterest.  They come from a website that is new to me
I changed them around a bit - grinding my flax and chia to better hide it from the kiddos.  They can sometimes get persnickety about seeds being in their food.  I also didn't bother rolling mine in crushed nuts like she did.  It was just one more step that didn't seem necessary - and of course the first time I made them I was trying to get them done quickly before it was time to pick up my first grader from school.  They worked fine without the nuts on the outside and were such a hit that we made a second batch the next day.  Yea!  A healthy snack everyone likes that is easy to make.  What more can a mom want?


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons flaxseed
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seed
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped - or if you are hurrying like me, crushed in you hand to make smaller pieces.
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (6 Tablespoons) creamy peanut butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon (5 Tablespoons) honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
  1. Melt peanut butter and allow to cool slightly.  (I store my peanut butter in the fridge because it is natural peanut butter, so I microwaved it for 30 seconds and stirred.  Then I think I did 30 seconds more - I didn't get it totally soupy, just melted enough to be pourable.)
  2. Grind the flaxseed and chia seed in a coffee grinder (or spice grinder/food processor/blender.)
  3. Combine oats, almonds, flax and chia seed, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir.
  4. Stir the honey and vanilla into the peanut butter, then pour that mixture into the oats mixture.  Stir to combine, adding the chocolate chips.  
  5. Roll into desired size balls and place on a silpat on a baking sheet.  I stored mine in the fridge although they had a good enough consistency to be left on the counter.  I just wanted them cooler after coming in from biking back from school.  To tell the truth, I would have stuck them in the freezer like other cookie dough balls I've made, but my 3 year old didn't want them frozen, so take your pick.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mexican pizzas

Here was another idea from the Cheap. Fast. Good cookbook.  I mixed their idea with the taco pizza that I like to make and kind of made taco pizza with a tortilla shell.  They did have a couple of new ideas for toppings in the book.  I combined their ideas with ours and this is what we ended up with.  I loved that they were quick and easy.  One son didn't want to toast his in the oven, so he just used the beans as burrito topping which is also perfectly acceptable and makes this meal quite adaptable.  I love that even though it was beans, my 3 year old bean hater ate it and asked for more because the beans were "squished."  3/4 boys loved this and had seconds.  Even had to make another can of bean topping.
Warning, now gushing about my favorite tortillas.  I LOVE these tortillas.  If I can ever figure out how to make some like this I would be sooo excited.  They are corn tortillas with all the flavor of corn, but in the ingredients there is some vital wheat gluten which makes them pliable like a regular tortilla.  They also come in a taco size - not the tiny regular corn tortilla size.  However, they are like $3 for a package of only 6.  I splurge for them occasionally because they are so tasty.  They are made by La Tortilla factory and called hand made style Corn Tortillas.  I have to buy them at Randalls.  It is the only place I know that carries them.  Try them if you love corn tortillas.    OK, done gushing.  Back to the recipe.
 We did these really low key.  I let the kids pick a type of tortilla, I put the bean base on it, then cheese, and they picked at least 2 of the 4 veggie toppings available.


  • 1 15 oz can black beans (pinto would also work fine)
  • 1 cup salsa (today I used our favorite costco salsa Jack's.  Love it's hint of lime)
  • tortillas -used desired type.  I used flour and corn
  • shredded cheese - I used sharp cheddar, but Monterrey Jack, or Mexican blend, or Colby jack would all be good.
  • toppings - I used corn, canned chopped green chiles, chopped sweet peppers (red and yellow), and olives today.  You could also include onions, jalapenos, tomato, avocado, and even meat if desired.  
  • Salsa or sour cream for serving (optional if desired -one son added sour cream -no one added salsa today.)
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Mash black beans with a potato masher or fork.  Mix with salsa.
  3. Place as many tortillas as will fit on a large baking sheet.  Top with bean mixture, cheese and whatever toppings you desire.
  4. Bake for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and beans are heated. (Honestly we didn't time them at all.  I just went about making a second batch asking the next group what they wanted on them and checked periodically to see if the first batch was done.)
  Like I mentioned, I did end up opening a second can of beans and making a second batch of beans.  Another option is to just use refried beans if you want to be quicker, but I prefer making my own bean spread because it is super easy, and tasty.

cherry pecan brownies

I've been eyeballing these in the Rodale whole foods cookbook I have checked out of the library for more than a couple of weeks now.  I finally made them this evening making substitutions as needed /desired.  They like to claim the the book that these are made healthier by using flax seed instead of 2 eggs, but they still use 2 more eggs.  The book also used plain old white sugar and brown sugar.  I swapped the plain old white with some healthier alternatives.  I also fiddled with the chocolate - mostly because I didn't have any bittersweet chocolate, but I did have some dark chocolate chips.  The brownies turned out wonderful.  I definitely don't want to change anything and ruin them.  Super moist and chewy but not doughy.  To me the perfect  brownie texture.  Add to that lots of nice crunch from the pecans and chewy bits of cherries.  WOW.  I had to give some to the neighbors to keep myself from eating them for lunch today.  :)  I must get back off sugar.  :)


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 10 oz. dark chocolate chips.  (Mine were a 63% cacao all natural variety)
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons flaxseed (I used light)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar - I used a combination of sucanat (about 2/3 cup) and coconut palm sugar (the remaining 1/3 cup or so.
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I just gave up and used brown sugar for this.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9 X 13 pan with 2 sheets of foil crisscross.  Oil the foil.
  2. In a small ovenproof bowl (I used a very large mug) combine the butter, oil and chocolate.  Place in the oven while it preheats and let the butter and chocolate melt.  (I loved this idea - no using the microwave, just the oven that is already on anyway.  Takes about 10 minutes.  I took it out and whisked/stirred it to get the last bit of butter to melt.)
  3. Grind the flaxseeds in a coffee grinder (or food processor or blender.  I just prefer the coffee grinder.)  Mix with water and let set. (now would be a good time to chop nuts and cherries -letting the flax gel, and the chocolate melt.)
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugars, vanilla, salt, and flaxseed.   Stir in the chocolate mixture.  Stir in the flour.  Fold in the nuts and cherries.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 45 minutes or until the toothpick poked into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.  (45 minutes was perfect for me.  The toothpick didn't have any crumbs, and the top didn't look super crackly or anything but it didn't look under done.  Top felt done with my finger, and I figured no crumbs was a good sign but worried that they were overdone.  They weren't - they were perfect.)
  6. Cool in pan before cutting into squares. (book says 32.  I made 24 (4 X 6) and they seemed small enough.  Lets just say Mr. 15 year old cut his own on the second half and didn't follow my scoring at the edge and took a brownie twice as big for lunch today.  :)  I'm sure he thinks he took a small piece.  :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chicken and veggies

This made a decent chicken (which for me is saying something because since I started eating a lot more vegetarian, I don't really care for chicken much at all.)  I did have a couple of problems time wise with this recipe.  It said I could make it in a crock pot for 7-8 hours on low or 1.5 in the oven.  I translated that to 3-4 on high in the crock pot, but didn't have enough time for that so I did 2 in the crock pot on high and ended up with 1.5 in the oven and it still wasn't cooked all over.  We just ate the legs, thighs, and parts of the breast that got cooked through.  Just a warning to plan ahead with you time.
This is from the cheap fast good book, so it is super simple.  I just made it a bit more healthy since it used seasoning salt.  I'm not a big fan of the list of ingredients on that stuff so I used an organic no salt spice blend and sea salt.  Worked out well and had a great flavor.


  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 very large onion (seems all of ours are very large if going by the standard that 1 large = 1 cup diced.) cut into 8 pieces (or 2 smaller onions quartered)
  • 5 baking potatoes (medium to small size) peeled and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons organic no salt seasoning (I use one I got at costco)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 chicken, I used an organic chicken
  1. preheat oven to 350.  In a small container, mix no salt seasoning with sea salt.
  2. Prep veggies and toss in the bottom of a  large oven safe  pot with a lid (or crock pot).  Sprinkle about 1/2 of the seasoning mix on the veggies.
  3. Prepare the chicken by removing neck and any giblets that may be in the cavity of the bird.  Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water removing any excess fat.  I also removed the skin from everything but the legs.  Place the chicken, breast side up, in the pot on top of the veggies rearranging if necessary so the lid closes tightly.  Sprinkle with remaining seasoning mix.  
  4. Pour 1/2 cup water into the pot on the side of the chicken.
  5. Bake until meat thermometer reads 180 about 1.5 hours.  (I'd be happy with 160/165 and hope for some carryover.  
  6. cut chicken and serve with veggies.
alternative cooking - make in a crockpot and cook for 7-8 hours on low.

Bean and Tortilla Soup

This week my cookbook of choice has been another I have checked out of the library called Cheap. Fast. Good!  It is a great book full of time saving ideas ... however, I really had to pick and choose to find ideas that fit with a healthy lifestyle - lots of canned items -of course.  Seems like most of the quick cook books are.  I have to say that I have enjoyed making some quicker meals this week.
I loved this soup - think chicken tortilla soup but with beans instead of chicken.  I loved the addition of lime.  Added a great extra flavor.  I made the recipe as posted here (similar to the book in quantity and it said it served 4)  but if making again, I would more than likely add a third can of beans, more corn, and another cup of broth and adjust spices accordingly (1.5 times chili powder, cumin, sugar and lime) to make it serve my family.  Luckily DH did not eat at home and there was only about 1/2 bowl of left overs.  Aaron wasn't happy about this, but I smashed his beans and he ate at least 10 bites of soup with me spooning it too him.


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn, rinsed to defrost
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • tortilla chips (a few crushed in the bottom of each bowl.
  • shredded cheese (cheddar, monterrey Jack, or Mexican blend) if desired - pretty sure we skipped this.
  1. In a 4 1/2 quart soup pan,  saute onion in butter until fragrant.  
  2. Add beans, tomatoes, garlic, corn, chili powder, and cumin to the pot.  Stir to blend.  Add broth, sugar and lime juice.  
  3. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes to blend the flavors.  
  4. To serve, crush the chips slightly and place in the bottom of the bowl.  Ladle the soup over the chips.  Top with cheese.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pasta with bread crumbs

Yes, this sounds simple and plain, but really I liked it.  I may have over crisped my bread crumbs a bit.  I didn't mind, (they definitely weren't burned) but 2/4 boys said they were either too crispy/tasted burnt.  Benjamin LOVED this.  He was so excited to have had 2 dinners this week that he really liked.  Even had seconds.  It truly is super simple.  I think if I had not toasted the bread crumbs as long I would have had 4/4 liking this dish.
Other tips for next time - don't add the olive oil to the butter - just add it all to the pasta, and unless using the good Parmesan, I think I could probably have doubled the amount of Parmesan.  (at least 1 1/2 times.)
I doubled this from the original - feel free to cut in 1/2.  I did have a decent amount of left overs, but DH did not eat dinner with us and I didn't know that when preparing.
As is, serves 12 as a side dish, 8 as a main


  • 1 16 oz. package short pasta (I used ditalini just because it was the only thing I had a complete package of other than spaghetti - time to go shopping.)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups coarse soft bread crumbs (4 slices of bread for me - I just tore them up and pulsed them in the food processor until crumbly.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (I'd use at least 1 cup next time, maybe 1 1/3) grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet.  Add 2 teaspoons of oil (may omit this next time) and the garlic.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and salt and stir to coat the crumbs with the butter.  
  3. Cook and stir until crumbs are browned and crisp (6-10 minutes.)  Remove from heat and set aside.
  4.  When the pasta is done, drain, return to the pot and toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil (I'd use a bit more next time.) and the Parmesan cheese.  Stir to mix.  Just before serving, stir in the breadcrumbs.  

More notes --
I actually really worried that the crumbs wouldn't be crisp enough - part of the getting them too crispy problem.  I also added them right before I planned to serve this only to have a child knock a glass butter dish on the floor and I had to stop and clean the mess.  Luckily the pasta wasn't any worse for the wear.  The crumbs held their crispiness.  As left overs, the breadcrumbs are no longer crisp, but are not mushy either.  Totally still edible, and seem to have an even more intense buttery garlic flavor.  

Blueberry pancakes

Here is a new healthy pancake recipe I made this morning.  I like the addition of wheat germ and the tiny bit of sweetness added by the honey.  I also enjoyed the texture the wheat germ added - reminded me of a cornmeal pancake - in texture only.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cup blueberries (I actually only had a cup and threw in about 1/4 cup dried blueberries.  I'm officially out of blueberries.  :)
  1. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.  (flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. (eggs, milk, oil, and honey.)
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined.  Fold in blueberries.
  4. Bake on a hot griddle until cooked.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cheddar & Bacon biscuits with Rosemary

Brandon had been in the mood for biscuits for a while and we found this recipe in the Rodale whole foods cookbook so we tried them.  He actually made them, but I'm pretty sure I know the modifications he used.  
Warning:  These use A LOT of butter.  They also make very Large biscuits.  Original had you cut them in only 12, we went with 16 for ease of cutting, but they were still very large biscuits.

Like the scones from this book these had a nice and flaky texture.  Amazing what using some nice butter will do.  :)  

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), cold and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz. bacon bits (real bacon not imitation - if you want to be fancy, use prosciutto finely choped - 3/4 cup)
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk plus more for brushing
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, rosemary, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal but with some large pieces of butter remaining.
  4. Add cheese and bacon.  Stir in buttermilk just until the mixture forms a dough;
  5. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured or greased surface.  Knead quickly to incorporated any loose crumbs.  Pat into a 12 inch square.  Cut into 16  3 inch squares.  
  6. Place on 2 ungreased baking sheets.  Brush the tops with buttermilk.  Bake for 30-40 minutes rotating the baking sheets in the middle.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

chocolate chip scones

Here's the recipe for the scones we tried this morning.  I really liked the combination of orange and chocolate.  YUM!  This recipe also started in The ROdale Whole foods cookbook, but I changed it around according to what I had in my kitchen and to add a bit more whole grain.  This is my version.


  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sucanat (I think I actually used 2 T sucanat and 1 T coconut palm sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter
  • zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons half and half
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in orange zest and chocolate chips.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg with 1/4 cup of the half and half.  Add to the flour mixture and mix just to combine.  
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (or just onto the silpat I was going to cook on if you are me.)  Pat it into a circle about 1 inch thick.  Cut into 8 wedges and separate so there is 1/2 inch between.  Brush with remaining 2 teaspoons half and half.  
  5. Bake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes or until golden.

herbed scones

Today was a day of scones at our house.  I made some for breakfast, then when looking for a biscuit or roll recipe for dinner I found this recipe on the same page as the breakfast ones.  These were more savory and the perfect compliment to our soup.  Tavio loved them.  The other boys didn't seem to be as big of fans of the scones.  I would have to guess it was the texture, but I thought the texture was great.  Nice and crisp on the outside, kind of flaky on the inside.  Very nice just like the breakfast ones (which will probably be my next post.)  Both came from yet another book I have checked out of the library called The Rodale whole foods cookbook.  Considering this was a "whole foods cookbook"  I was surprised that the original recipe didn't use any whole wheat flour, just unbleached.  I changed that in my version.  :)  I did still go with 1/2 and 1/2 - mostly to appease my teenagers.  I also just noticed that the recipe called for a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda that I missed.  Feel free to use it if you like.  Oh, and I guess I'd better go and change the name of these from herbed buttermilk scones to just plain herbed scones since I was out of buttermilk.  You can change the yogurt, and milk for buttermilk it you'd like.
1 final note, these are not low calorie with 1 stick of butter.  :)  Enjoy!

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. In a food processor, combine the flours, baking powder, thyme, mustard seeds, salt and pepper and pulse to mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse just until the mixture forms course crumbs.  Add yogurt and milk and pulse just until combined.
  4. Transfer to a floured surface or silpat (I put mine straight on the silpat I was going to cook it on - less mess/dishes)  Knead until well combined if necessary.  Pat into an 8 inch circle (about 1/2 inch thick)  Cut into 8 wedges and separate/ place on baking sheet 1/2 inch apart.  
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes (12 was perfect for me) until lightly browned and crisp.  

loaded baked potato soup

I just did a lot of baking and am actually going to get it blogged right away.  This was the soup we had for dinner that everyone liked.  I was actually surprised because I expected some of my non baked potato lovers to dislike the soup, but everyone liked it.  I had to spoon feed Aaron because he hasn't decided he likes soup yet, but he ate at least 5 bites, maybe more all of which contained bits of potato.
The idea is from a book I have from the library called Cheap. Fast. Good!  This is only supposed to serve 4 according to the book.  I served it with scones and a salad and stretched it to all 6 of us.


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion (about 1 cup diced- I used a heaping cup.)
  • 6 pre-baked potatoes, scooped from the skins and diced (about 3 cups diced - my third cup was heaping) or 2 packages refrigerated hash-brown potatoes
  • 1 32 oz box chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (I just added a few grinds of fresh)
Optional for serving (but tasty albeit not vegetarian :)
  • real bacon bits (not imitation)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  1. melt butter in a 4 1/2 -5 quart dutch oven or soup pot.  Chop onion and add to butter.  Saute until beginning to brown.  
  2. Add the stock bring to a boil.  Add the diced potatoes, sour cream, milk, salt and pepper.  Cook until heated through - 3-5 minutes.  Top with bacon bits and cheese.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Black bean salad

Loved this recipe.  Like the previous recipe this recipe came from a book I have checked out from the library right now called Clean Food by Terry Walters.  I have liked the things I've tried so far.
This recipe reminded me more of a salsa than a salad and we actually used it more like a salsa.  The  book gave the idea of wrapping it in a burrito with avocados and salsa, but we just put it on top of quesadillas or just a tortilla and ate it like that and it was delicious.
I loved that it used diced tomatillos.  That was new for me.  We love the tomatillo ranch that goes with cafe rio pork, but I had never tried it diced in a salad.  It was good.
I'd rate this one a 4.5 or 5 star.  I loved it's fresh flavors.  Of course my kids that don't like beans or salsa (not the same kids) were not thrilled with it.  I however enjoyed the left overs for lunch twice.  YUM!
I did do a tiny bit of modifying of this recipe making a bit less.  This way it serves about 6. (original was 8)


  • 3 cups cooked black beans (2 15 oz. cans rinsed and drained)
  • 3 tomatillos, husked and diced
  • 2-3 mini sweet pepper diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to blend.

black bean patties with pineapple guacamole

Must. Start. Blogging. Again.
I've gotten so out of the habit of blogging since I've not had the greatest luck with computers this year that I can't seem to get myself to actually sit down and do it.  I have sat down twice in the last 2 days to blog and ended up getting up and heading off somewhere with the kiddos - trying to squeeze out the last bit of summer before school starts on Monday.  However, the downside of not blogging --- I'd LOVE to make those pecan balls I made before vacation, but I didn't blog them and have absolutely no idea where I got the recipe.  Boo!
I'm starting with tonight's dinner.  Although 3/4 boys didn't like it, I really did -- and so did 1 boy who had seconds.  I will warn that this is quite a time consuming dish, but I expected that with a homemade guacamole.
Typing the recipe followed by my commentary this time around so you can skip it if you like.  However, it really helps me know what to do for next time.    I'd rate this 4-5 stars.  My younger 3 boys would rate it 0 I'm sure.  Oldest would give it a 5 and DH was out of town.



  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple (I actually used frozen that I let thaw)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced jicama
  • 2 baby sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced (feel free to use a whole mine was just kind of big so I only used 1/2 here and 1/2 in the burger.)
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced (save pits)
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  (I felt like having my avocado a bit more smashed so I took a potato masher to the side were I put the avocado in.  I still had some chunks of avocado, but it looked more like guacamole that way than salsa with avocado.)  Place pits on top of guacamole to keep avocados from browning.  Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to develop.
Black bean patties

  • 1 Tablespoon ground golden flax seeds (see commentary)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded (again I used a half, but feel free to use a whole)
  • 1/4 onion, peeled (I used a sweet onion)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (1/2 Tablespoon)
  • 4 cups cooked black beans (if using canned you'll need 3 cans minus about 1/2 cup.)
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil for frying (although see my commentary)
  1. Soak flax in a bowl with 3 Tablespoons water for 20 minutes.  (I did this while preparing the rest of the burgers and was fine.)
  2. In a food processor, finely chop garlic, jalapeno and onion, stopping to scrape the sides down if necessary.  Add the cilantro and cumin and pulse to combine.  
  3. Add 2 cups black beans and cornmeal and process just until combined.  Pour into a large bowl.  Fold in soaked flax seed and remaining 2 cups black beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.  (see commentary below)
  4. Heat skillet over medium high head.  Add 2 Tablespoons oil.  Form bean mixture into 8 patties.  Fry 3-4 minutes on each side adding more oil as needed.  
  5. Serve topped with guacamole.
  • flax seeds - I ground my 1 Tablespoon of seeds in a coffee grinder.  That made 2 Tablespoons of flax seed meal.  I used only 1 Tablespoon of that but think I could have/should have used it all.  The gel it made was a bit watery on top and I didn't really want to add that to the beans because it would make them a more mushy texture.  I added them anyway today, but next time would just go ahead and toss in all of the ground flaxseed.
  • black beans - I have a small food processor so only 2 cups of black beans fit in it.  I chopped that with 1/3 cup cornmeal, dumped it into a bowl, then did the other 2 cups black beans with the other 1/3 cup cornmeal.  I know the recipe says fold them in, but I know my youngest won't try beans if they look at all like beans and he will spit them out if he feels something in his mouth that feels like a bean.  Knowing that, I wanted to chop all of my black beans.  That worked out just fine. After I chopped the second batch of beans, I put them in the bowl and mixed the 2 batches together.
  • Oil for frying - I actually preferred the way these cooked on the second side - the side that didn't have much oil.  (because it had absorbed into the first side as it cooked.)   They seemed to hold together better and crisp up a bit better without the oil.  I almost wish I would have tried my second batch without oil.  I cooked these in a ridged pan that makes them look like they have grill marks - mostly I like that is is square and fit 4 patties nicely.  But the oil seemed to do something to the cornmeal that made it crumbly or something - just on the outside layer -I just didn't have this problem on the second side when the pan didn't have much oil left in it.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mexican coleslaw

Yet again I'm super far behind in blogging.  Darn computer issues.   We just need a new one that the teenagers are not allowed to touch (aka dowload viruses to.)  I seriously need to find a recipe I made before vacation.  They were some raw pecan balls.  I totally thought I blogged them, but went to make them again and didn't.  Aargh!
This coleslaw recipe was super tasty - that's saying something because I'm not always the biggest fan of coleslaw.  I tried another one a couple of days later with the other 1/2 of the cabbage and it wasn't nearly as good.  This one however is a definite winner.  (and I didn't even put in the avocado or the pepitas.)  I found the recipe cooking club magazine.  So without further ado, here is the delicious dish.


  • 6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 8 oz jicama, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped sweet bell pepper (I used a combination of colored mini sweets)
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1/3- 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted pepitas (although I forgot these)
  • 1 avocado, chopped (I forgot to add this as well.
Dressing ingredients
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel (I used about 1/2 an orange for both of these)
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime peel (I used 1 lime for both of these)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Place all coleslaw ingredients except pepitas and avocado in a large bowl.  Toss to combine.
  2. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until blended.  Stir into coleslaw.  Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
  3. As a bonus, just befor serving, don't forget to sprinkle the pepitas and avocado - I got side tracked looking for the pepitas, finally gave up and totally forgot the avocado.  Go figure.  :)  It was still wonderful without them.

Monday, July 16, 2012

apple avocado salsa

Last post for tonight.  This is a salsa I had when we were eating at a friend's house.  I loved it so I got the recipe.  It was so good - spicy from the jalapeno, but sweet from the apples.  Wonderful combination of flavors.  I think I could eat it as a lunch "salad."  Ha ha!


  • 2 unpeeled apples, cored and diced (she had used some type of green apple)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime/lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, (about 1 clove)
  • dash pepper
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained.
  1. Mix all of the ingredient together.
  2. Serve with chips.

Family Tuscan Pizza bowl

This is another recipe I saw at my moms  in her Demarle catalog and had to try.  I loved it.  The kids all griped about it.  I think Benjamin ended up actually liking it once he ate it because he ate his whole piece.  Tavio said he wasn't hungry, but ended up finishing his piece - but I know he didn't like it much.  Brandon, myself and my mom all liked it.
Again I had to make some changes and rearranges with this recipe - starting with the fact that we didn't have the size pan they wanted.  We also didn't have their dough mix or spices.  So here is what we did and I LOVED it.  Very fresh tasting because the veggies only got to crisp tender because they were only heated until the cheese melted.

Lets start with the pizza dough recipe.  I looked up my quick wheat recipe and clicked the link back to Mel's kitchen cafe and used her recipe with some extra spices.  Turned out great, and we really did make it quick and easy - mom didn't knead it long at all.  Super simple


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each thyme, oregano and basil
  1. Heat oven to 425.  Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined.  Let the mixer knead it for a minute or 2.  
  2. Roll out into a very large circle.  WE put this over a 14 X 2 inch pan.  I know I don't have one of these at home, but that is what my mom had, so the circle was probably 16 inches.  
  3. Either brush the dough with oil or spray your pan with cooking spray.  Gently lay the dough over the reverse side of your pan (ours was 14 X 2 - original recipe's was 11 1/2 x 2. You may also get away with 2 smaller cake pans.) 
  4. Bake 12-15 minutes until center is light golden brown and edges are cooked.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Take it off the cake pan and place it on a pizza peel or cookie sheet (if it fits - ours went on the peel because it didn't fit anywhere else.  
While the crust is baking and cooling, prepare the veggies for the rest of the pizza

  • crust above
  • 12 stalks asparagus, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 golden bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (That was 8 for me.  I didn't use all of the whites, but I did use most of them and all of the greens.)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (I stuffed the cup somewhat - not tight, but not super loose for both the Spinach and the basil.)
  • 1 vine tomato, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (Mom had kosher so that is what we used.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning.
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (optional - we didn't measure this and we used the powder stuff because that is what we had but we just sprinkled)
  • cheddar cheese - we just added a tiny sprinkle of cheddar for color and flavor-maybe 1/4 cup
  1. Prepare veggies while the crust is cooking - chop and put in a bowl.  Add the salt and garlic mix.  Toss to combine/coat everything.  
  2. Pour veggies into the pizza crust bowl made above.
  3. Top with Mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and cheddar.
  4. Return to oven and cook until the cheese melts.  (We placed this directly on a pizza stone to cook the second time around.

Lemon Meringue Tartlets

Although I'm on vacation, I still have been able to cook a bit and try some new recipes.  I really need to get them posted before I forget what we did.  This first one is a tartlet that I made for Brandon's birthday.  He and I both have an unhealthy addiction to the lemon tarts at La Madeline.  I was trying to find something similar to make him for his birthday.  This came close.  The meringue was different but so pretty I had to try it.  I really liked it.  The lemon on the bottom was a bit more tart than those at La Madeline, but I liked it that way with the sweet meringue top.  I thought the custard center was a bit too dry/ not creamy enough/ overdone.  I think if I were making these again I may try to either get the custard off the oven a little sooner, or let it thicken the same amount, but pre-cook the shells partially to all of the way, depending on how creamy the custard was.  I think the oven time just made the texture different - It was still good, and probably more like a lemon meringue pie - I was just going for the custard type tart from La Madeline and this didn't hit the texture factor.
This recipe comes from a book my mom got from Demarle called Classic French Pastries.  The recipe was horribly written in the book - good thing we know how to cook or we never would have made it through the recipe.  The book is full of recipes that look super yummy, but none look like they are written particularly well.  OK- I best get on with the recipe if I want to do a second recipe tonight.  :)  Here is what we ended up doing -with much better directions.  :)
I'll get pictures posted of these cuties when I get back from vacation.

Shortbread Ingredients

  • 7 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 oz sugar (this was just shy of 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 2-3 Tablespoons ice water if necessary
Lemon custard ingredients
  • 3 lemons (zest and juice)  -original called for 2, but 3 oz of juice.  3 gave me 3.3 oz juice so that is what I used.  I zested all 3.    Be the judge of the size of your lemons.
  • 6 1/2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
Meringue ingredients
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 egg whites
  1. To make the shortbread; Beat butter and sugar in a mixer.  Blend in flour and salt.  If looking crumbly, add ice water a teaspoon at a time until a dough forms.  (original called for no water, we just found it necessary.)
  2. Roll out dough on a silicon mat and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Using a 3 7/8 inch round, scalloped dough cutter, make 12 circles of dough. Line a tartlet mold with the dough circles.  (As a reference, we used a Demarle tartlet tray.  It made 12 tarts that were 3 1/4 " x 3/4" and 2 oz.  I loved the idea of cutting the tart crust out with the scalloped circle. It made the tarts so cute with no extra effort.  You could adjust the size of the tart as necessary, but may need to adjust cooking time as well.)  
  4. Heat oven to 340.  
  5. For the lemon custard;  Heat lemon juice and zest with butter until melted.  Add powdered sugar.  Slowly whisk some of the hot liquid into the beaten eggs to temper the eggs.  When they have warmed a bit, pour them slowly into the remaining lemon mixture whisking continuously.  
  6. Heat over low heat until thickened.  
  7. Fill the tartlet shells with the cream.  Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. To make the Meringue.
  9. Heat sugar and water.  When the temperature reaches 200, whip up the egg whites until firm.  
  10. When the sugar syrup reaches 225, remove from heat and slowly pour into the egg whites while still beating them.  Beat until mixture has cooled down.
  11. Place the meringue in a pastry bag with a small fluted tip.  Pipe onto the tartlets in a circle pattern (or as desired.)
  12. Place tarts on a baking sheet and broil for a few seconds - until browned on top.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chocolate chip peanut butter granola bars

Yea, on vacation and getting to blog a recipe.  I found this granola bar recipe on marathon mom as well, but I thought it had a bit too much flax, and they were too thin so I redid them and loved them this way.

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 Tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Grease and 8 X 8 pan and set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine oats, wheat germ, flax seed and peanuts. 
  3. Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil together in a small sauce pan stirring constantly.  It should not take very long.  Pour over over oats mixture and stir until combined
  4. Press coated oat mix into prepared 8X8 pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and press down again.  Cool and cut into bars.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chocolate Granola bars

This started as a recipe on Marathon Mom, but totally changed as I was working on it.  It is actually the recipe my sister pinned that led me to the website in the first place.  However, the only thing making these chocolate were the chocolate chips and I didn't feel like using chocolate chips so I began to improvise.  Yesterday I didn't like these as well as the crispy chocolate chip ones, but today I  like them a lot.  Maybe they just needed to set a day.
This is the recipe I really need to post before I forget what exactly I did.  I liked the chewy texture of these a lot.  May or may not want to add less cocoa powder next time.  Jury is still out on that.  :)  As I made them, they are a bit darker, but not too dark.  The kids eat them so they can't be too bad.
Also, I thought I had totally ruined these because I had over cooked them because I was burning my tongue trying to decide how many tablespoons cocoa powder to add.  Luckily the blob of chocolate still managed to coat my oats.  Whew!  In other words, these are very forgiving - however I highly suggest taking the syrup off the heat as soon as it melts.  :)


  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons flax seed - ground in a coffee grinder or 1/4 flax seed meal / ground flax seed
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 2-4 Tablespoons finely shred unsweetened coconut (optional and this is a guess on amount.  I basically just sprinkled some on top until I liked how it looked.)
  1. Grease an 8 X 8 inch pan.  Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Stir in peanut butter, honey and cocoa powder and heat just until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Stir in flax seed, wheat germ, and oats until coated.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and press firmly.  Sprinkle with coconut and press firmly again.  
  5. Cool and store in fridge or on counter.  I like them in the fridge.  They seem to hold together better.

Crispy Chocolate chip granola bars

Haven't managed to post in a few days mostly due to the fact that for some reason I don't want to finish the post I have already started.  I come to the computer to type, see it sitting there, would rather do something else and it doesn't get posted.  I've also been testing some recipes for a new book coming out by Sandi Richard.  That has been fun.  Doesn't lead to anything blogable though.  However, I've also been making all sorts of snacks to see what we might like to take with us as healthier alternatives to what our typical road food has been.  They are much more fun to blog than the other recipe I have sitting, so it is just going to stay in draft form and I'm going to try to play a little bit of catch up before we head out on vacation - where I probably won't blog - but who knows, maybe I'll do some cooking and experimenting.  :)
This recipe comes from a site called Marathon Mom.  I was happy my sister pinned a recipe from her site because it led me there and she had tons of granola bar recipes which is exactly what I was looking for.  Even better, they used all natural ingredients like honey for sweeteners, and coconut oil or butter for fats.  I tried this one following the recipe then totally reinvented her chocolate ones to make them without using chocolate chips.  (my next post.)  Both were tasty.  To be honest, I think these were a bit sweet for me and the honey flavor seemed strong, but my honey is nice and dark and probably just has a nice strong flavor.  I loved the crisp of these and don't tell anyone, but I had these for lunch with some carrots and Tavio had some for lunch with a banana.  So tasty.  Don't start snacking it is hard to stop.  :)  Pretty sure I'll be making these for our road trip.
Oh, last comment on this recipe.  Mine didn't stick together supremely well when room temperature, but when refrigerated, they are perfect.


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or any appropriate substitute - for example sucanat - I think I may try coconut sugar next time.)
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (I had never heard of this, but it was nice.  Pricey, because it was organic and kind of specialty, but loved the crisp it added to the bars.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, stir together oats and cereal.  Set aside.  Grease an 8 X 8 inch glass pan and set aside.
  2. Melt oil, honey, and sugar until bubbly stirring constantly.  (Original recipe said no more than 2 minutes, but it took longer than that to get it to boil, and the oils and sugar didn't combine well until it boiled.  I just brought it to a boil and took it right off the heat.)  Let cool slightly, stir in the vanilla.  
  3. Pour the liquid over the oats and cereal and stir until well coated.  Press firmly into prepared pan. (I buttered my hands a bit to get them not to stick as much but it didn't seem super helpful.)    
  4. Sprinkle chocolate chips over granola mixture while still warm and press in firmly again.
  5. Cool on counter, in the fridge or in the freezer depending on how quickly you want to eat them.  :)  When set, turn out of the pan onto a cutting board and cut into desired shapes (I'm thinking cutting in the pan would work equally well.)
  6. I prefer storing these at room temperature for the best texture, but it is summer in Houston.  You may be just fine storing them at room temperature.  :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pistachio lemon pilaf

Here is another pilaf I tried out.  Again, I thought it was great, but I had planned it thinking that my younger 2 would like it because they like rice and neither of them were enthused by it.  For some reason the youngest has decided he only  likes white rice.  (Sorry, but I rarely make white rice.)  This rice was brown rice, but looked yellow again - different seasonings than last week but same effect.
While I didn't like this as much as the rice from last week, I did still like it a lot.  It was a great pilaf.  I thought it should have had a bit more lemon flavor and actually sqeezed the juice of the lemon into the rice when it finished.  Still didn't taste like a rice that had lemon in the title.  I would definitely use a second lemon if making this again.  (That is if you want the rice to taste like pistachio lemon rice.)
My inspiration for this recipe came from my book 366 delicious ways to cook rice, beans, and grains.
She seems to use mostly white rice in that book though, so I always change it to brown rice and again she called for shallots - not going to happen when I already have 8 sweet onions on my counter.  :)


  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced (3/4 -1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice) -I'd use 2 next time
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachio nuts, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Rinse rice.  Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlica and saute until softened.  (3 minutes) Add rice and saute until rice appears a bit toasted and has absorbed some oil. (4-5 minutes)  
  2. Stir in chicken brown, lemon zest and turmeric.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender (about 45 minutes)
  3. Stir in pistachios, cilantro, pepper, and lemon juice.  Dry pot lid.  Place a kitchen towel over saucepan and replace lid.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. (I liked this step.  It seemed to help the rice absorb the last bit of liquid.)

raw strawberry oatmeal

This is the other raw breakfast recipe I tried.  It is from a book I bought called Raw Energy.  The original called for cayenne pepper which I couldn't bring myself to attempt.
This had a great texture - very chewy for an oatmeal, but it was just soaked oat groats so I expected that.  I also found it to be just about the right sweetness for me.  Maybe even a little sweeter than I usually eat my oatmeal.  Honestly, the weirdest thing about this oatmeal was the fact that it was cold.  I can't say that I would crave or want hot oatmeal in the summer and I plan to try some other overnight oats recipes from Oh She glows, but it really was strange to me to eat cold oats.  (And I used frozen strawberries, so my oats were very cold.  Then the left overs were refrigerated, so again, very cold.  I guess I'll have to get used to that if I want to eat more raw oats.)
Here is how I made it.   Again, pardon the iphone picture.  Not the greatest, but enough for me to get the idea.

Soaking required - start the night before.


  • 3/4 cup oat groats
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt (if desired - I can't remember if I threw this in or not.)
  1. Soak the oats and almonds for 10-12 hours in enough water to cover by 1 inch.  Drain and rinse.
  2. If using fresh berries, toss everything into the blender or food processor and blend until the oats and almonds are cracked and everything is moist and oatmeal - like.  Do not overprocess or it will turn into a paste.  (I used frozen berries so I tossed those in my blender first and blended them up into a nice puree.  Then I added everything else and blended it.)

Orange chia seed breakfast pudding

I couldn't resist trying this recipe out even though I knew the texture would probably get to me after a while.  It did, but I'm proud to day I ate all but the last 2 bites of it.  Of course there were 2 servings and the other is still sitting in the fridge.  Hopefully someone else will be able to enjoy it before I have to toss it.  If you have not texture issues, this is quite a tasty and healthy breakfast and raw to boot.  Can't beat that.  You do have to start it the night before because you have to make the almond milk, but that is plenty simple.  Just plan ahead.


  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 3 oranges
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  1. Place almonds and water in high powered blender and blend until well blended.  Strain with a nut bag or very fine strainer.  
  2. Place almond milk back in blender with dates and blend until smooth.  Zest 1 orange and add the zest to the blender.  Peel and section the zested orange and set aside for later.  Juice the remaining 2 oranges and add the juice to the blender.  pulse to combine.  
  3. Add chia seeds and stir.  Let set for 20 minutes.  Stir in orange sections.  Makes 2 servings

2 More popcorn snacks/cereal combinations

Last month I made a chocolate peanut butter popcorn cereal/snack.  I posted then that I wanted to try some variations.  I just made up my second one today and figured I ought to go ahead and post both of them.

Cinnamon Popcorn - This one was Super tasty. (5 star)  I think everyone loved this flavor.   Even Tavio who didn't like the chocolate peanut butter version.


  • 1 cup pop corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  1. Pop the popcorn kernels in an air popcorn popper. (It is 2 batches in mine)  Remove unpopped kernels.
  2. Heat the honey, coconut oil and cinnamon in a small saucepan just until melted and smooth.
  3. Pour the liquid over the kernels and stir until well coated.  (I actually dump mine in a very large stock pot I have.  It is really the only thing in the kitchen that fits the entire batch.)
  4. Prepare 2 cookie sheets by covering with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.  When the popcorn is coated, divide it among the 2 cookie sheets.  
  5. Bake at 300 for 5 minutes.   After 5 minutes turn the oven off and leave the popcorn in there for a couple of hours.  Remove from oven and store in an airtight container.

Maple pecan popcorn (4 star) - this one is tasty, but I liked cinnamon better.  The pecans also don't stay put, and for some reason I must have stirred this one more vigorously or something because I have a lot of crushed popcorn.  Go figure.  The flavor is good though.  I did find it was harder to mix.  I ended up mixing with my hands just to feel if it had coated well because you couldn't really tell just by looking at it.  I'm also not sure I'd add the nuts again.  I like them in there, but they sink to the bottom.  It did however give me the idea to try and make a granola type popcorn bar that could be a breakfast bar --- writing it down here or I'll forget.  :)

  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used a bit over 1/2 a cup -it was just what I had left.  The amount was OK.  I could have put more, but again, they kind of fall to the bottom anyway.)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • sea salt ---I did not add salt, but when eating this, I felt like it would have been tasty with some added salt.  Kind of like a kettle corn -so I'm adding this for next time.  I'd just toss it in with the maple syrup so it gets coated well.
  1. Pop the popcorn kernels in an air popcorn popper.  Remove unpopped kernels.  
  2. Heat the butter and pecans in a small saucepan until pecans are a bit toasted.  (Really it took about that long for my butter to melt because I tossed the whole chunk in there straight from the fridge.  Worked out perfectly.)  Add the maple syrup(and salt if using)  and stir to combine.  
  3. Continue with 3-5 from above.  Mix, bake, let cool in oven, store.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

raw cookie dough bites

I've been a busy baker, but not a very busy blogger.  Mostly because I have had no camera.  However, I did realize that I wasn't entirely cameraless.  I do have a phone, so I just opted to take some pictures from my phone for the last couple of days.  Now to just get them uploaded right?

These are totally tasty.  I found them fiddling around on pinterest the other day and new I had to try them.  I found them on but I'm thinking they must be elsewhere because I saw the exact same recipe shared by someone from church just the other day.

There is nothing not to LOVE about these cookie dough bites.  They are totally simple to make, raw - as in no cooked or processed ingredients (except probably my chocolate chips, but I'm sure they make raw chocolate chips.  I just haven't invested in any.)  I did change up the directions a bit just because I didn't want to deal with a gummy mess in my blender.  Worked great and easy.  You can make these entirely in the blender or food processor if you so desire.

So if they are so great -on to sharing the recipe.


  • 2/3 cup raw almonds
  • 2/3 cup raw walnuts
  • 2/3 cup raw oat flakes (I used groats which I rolled so I know they were raw.  If you are rolling I found that the 1/2 cup groats I rolled yielded 1 cup of rolled, so you should be fine to just roll 1/3 cup - or just toss 1/3 cup groats in without rolling if your blender can grind them up.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs (I used mini semi sweets because it is what I had)
  1. In a food processor or high powered blender, process the almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon and salt to a fine meal.
  2. Move powder to a bowl and stir in agave and chips (or process them in if you want.)
  3. Roll into balls (I made about 25 and the dough was super sticky, I didn't really roll them.  I jsut kind of put them on the mat.  )  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat or other silicon mat.  Freeze until firm.  Store in a tightly covered container in the freezer.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Green waffles

So my older boys and husband are gone to scout camp.  It makes it hard for me to be motivated to make a big dinner for myself and the little boys.  Yesterday was supposed to be egg rolls, but when I asked what the kids wanted for dinner, they said waffles.  How could I object?  I didn't have buttermilk to make my regular waffles so I started looking in my new readers' favorite health recipes book for a waffle recipe and found this one for pancakes.  I added a bit extra spinach because I didn't feel like making a green smoothie, and just a handful and a half in because that is what I had left in the box.  These made some very green  waffles.  They would be awesome for St. Patrick's day. I can't wait to get a picture of them but alas my camera is at scout camp.  :(
 They did turn out soft and would probably be better suited to pancakes as the original recipe stated.  They were a bit hard to get out of the waffle iron because of their softness.  They were tasty though.
In the future, I don't think they need the honey, especially if you plan to put syrup on them.  If eating them plain, by all means, add the honey.  It is a nice sweetness, but we had ours with maple syrup and peanut butter, and I felt they were a bit too sweet for that.
Here is how I made them. (Which was totally not following the directions - I lazily just made the entire batter in the blender.)


  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3-4 grinds of pink himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)
  • 3 Tablespoons honey (I will probably omit this next time -or lessen it to 1-2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  1. Place milk, spinach and banana in blender and pulse a few times to blend.  Add the egg, coconut oil and spinach and pulse a couple more times to blend.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt.  At this point I just pushed batters on my blendtec.  If you don't have a batters button, just pulse or blend until combined.  
  3. Bake in a waffle iron until desired done-ness.  (Or make as pancakes - probably preferred with this dough, but my little boys LOVE waffles.)

Yellow rice and black bean salad

I found this recipe in my 366 delicious ways to cook rice, beans, and grains book.  I loved how colorful it was as I was preparing it.  (will post pictures soon.  I just realized DH took my camera to scout camp so not only was I unable to take pictures of the green waffles I made this evening, but I can't post pictures now.  Boo.  This was a nice colorful meal with the yellow/orange rice, black beans, red pepper, tomatoes, scallions and cilantro.  It just looked  nice.  I loved the flavor the annatto oil gave the rice.  I actually liked the rice so much that I didn't want to put the dressing on it.  So I let people choose -lime dressing or no lime dressing.    Here is how I made it.  I'm writing directions how I made it, but at the same time making it easier to shop for - for example, I used grape tomatoes and chopped them because that is what I had in the house and I wasn't buying a regular tomato just for this recipe.  However, if making this again, I'd rather look at the recipe and think -ok, I need 1 tomato.   The original was white rice.  That would definitely take less time to make, but I was going for more nutritious.  Just plan a little extra time to use brown rice.

Annatto oil is needed to make this recipe.  I made it as follows

  • 2 Tablespoons annatto seeds (small red seeds.  I find them in the bulk spice area of my grocery store.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Heat seeds in oil over low heat stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.  (The oil should be nice and orange/red.  You can double this and store it in the fridge for future applications.  This makes a little more than you actually need for the recipe as well.  

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati brown rice (LOVE this stuff - use whatever type of rice you like - the original called for regular white.)
  • 2 Tablespoons annatto oil (see above)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 cups water (you may be able to get away with 2 3/4 but I didn't want to chance it using brown rice.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained (I was lazy today - can sub 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans.)
  • 1 red pepper (or other color sweet pepper) diced. I actually used the tiny sweets and used about 6.
  • 1 tomato, diced (I actually used grape tomatoes because that is what I had at home)
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons (more or less) chopped fresh cilantro
If making the dressing, whisk together
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar (original was red and I'd like to try that next time.)
  • optional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse the rice and drain.  In a large skillet, heat annatto oil over medium heat.  Add the rice, sweet onion and garlic and saute until everything gets nice and yellow/orange and rice starts to look toasted and more dry.  (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (50-60 minutes)  Remove from heat.  Set aside to cool
  3. While the rice is cooling, chop all of your veggies.  Toss rice and remaining ingredients together in a bowl.  Stir to combine.  
  4. If you want to make the dressing, whisk it all together and combine it with the rice.  The dish is yummy either way.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

mini whole wheat blueberry muffins

I have finally succumbed to looking at pinterest.  I resisted for a while, trying to convince myself that I could keep everything in evernote and not have one more online time taker.  But in an effort to stop having tons of windows open on my computer at any given time, and in an effort to find more recipes, I finally gave in.  It was a great way to spend a super early morning after the migraine woke me up at 2 and the pain followed by the caffeine from the Excedrin kept me up.  I had tons of luck finding fun breakfast ideas and healthy snacks.  Sadly, what I'm most looking for - healthy, vegetarian dinners are still eluding me.  I'm sure I'll find some though.  There's a ton of stuff out there.
This recipe comes from a new blog I found called Oh She Glows.  I will be adding that to my blogroll soon.  She posts lots of vegan recipes.  I didn't make these vegan, and I changed up her streusel a bit, but I love her site.  So many things I want to try from her blog.
These were the perfect recipe to try this Sunday  because we went blueberry picking on Saturday morning, so we had some nice fresh blueberries to use.  I really liked these.  They were sweet enought without being too sweet, and I loved that the sweeteners used were natural sweeteners.


  • 1 cup milk (use non-dairy to be vegan)
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (I find that 2 Tablespoons whole =1/4 cup ground)
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Topping ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon flour
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  I made mini muffins and made 33.  (So 1 tin of 24 + 9 more)  
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (milk, vinegar, oil, syrup, extracts.)  In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flax, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt).  Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir just until combined. (I poured the dry into the wet and then reused the bowl from the dry ingredients for the topping.)
  3. Gently fold in the blueberries.  Pour into prepared muffin tins.  I used my cookie scoop.  It was the perfect size to fill my mini muffin tin to the top.  
  4. In a small bowl (I used my dry ingredients bowl) mix topping ingredients until combined.  Sprinkle over the muffins.
  5. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until golden and top of muffin springs back when pressed.   Let cool a bit before serving.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chickpea wraps

OK, as I was making this recipe I decided I definitely was NEVER making it again because it was way too much work.  Here is the mess....  (believe me, it continues out of the picture.)
This isn't even all of the mess, there are more dishes to the left of the picture.  SAD

They also burned even when turning the heat all the way down to medium - check them out - NOT pretty.

Then I fed them to the children.  Here are their plates...

And to that their commentary - and these comments are from my 2 toughest critics - "Mommy these are delicious!"  3.5 year old who rarely eats all of dinner finished every spec.  And "These taste like McDonald's snack wraps."  13 year old who didn't even eat dinner last night and tried to get out of the house with no breakfast because we were out of milk = no cold cereal for him = no food apparently.  He was offered waffles made from waffle mix or eggs.   Neither was good enough for him.   He did manage to drink 2/3 of his green smoothie, but only because my logic won.  Our conversation went something like this...Him  "I'm still full from dinner."  Me "You ate 1/3 of a pancake and a small bit of lettuce."  Him ... starts drinking green smoothie.  So like I said, commentary like that earns this a post and I guess I'll have to give it a 5 star.  I hesitate wanting to deduct for the difficulty, but then I look at the plates and have to go 5.  :)  I guess I'll be making them again in the future.

I do have to add - giving myself hope for future endeavors, that although it doesn't seem like these make very many, the go a long ways.  We probably only ate 1/2 of them and everyone liked them.  I've had them twice for lunch as left overs, and while they were lacking the nice crispy quality they had fresh, they were not lacking in flavor.  Still tasty enough that I've had them twice.

Problems I had with this recipe and their resolution for next time (hopefully)

  • wouldn't grind in my food processor or blender.  Too thick of a paste.  I should have known better and just gone straight to the immersion blender.  I know it is better for super thick batters.  Somehow I just thought this would be thin enough. 
  • The burgers wouldn't hold together well when cooking.  I actually just realized that I used waffle mix instead of flour.  Maybe wheat flour would have worked a bit better.  Seems like waffle mix should have given it some sticking power, but it wasn't nearly enough.  
  • Burgers hard to flip (because they didn't stick together super well.)  Try frying in more than 2-3 Tablespoons of oil (like submerging them?)  Not sure I want to try this option, but I'm contemplating it.
I figure you deserve a picture that is at least somewhat appetizing after the other pictures right?
Here are our wraps on the plate with their ranch dressing and lettuce.  

OK, here is the recipe
chickpea patty ingredients
  • 1 1/2-2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cup onions, minced (1 semi large)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup carrot, finely chopped (between 1 and 2 carrots depending on size.)  
  • 1 3/4 cup cooked and drained chickpeas  (3/4 cup dry, or about 1 can)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons peanut butter (or tahini but I don't have tahini)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley (original called for more but I'm not huge on parsley -add more if you like it and/or use fresh.)
  • 1/3 cup flour (I ended up adding another 1/3 cup, but then again I was accidentally using waffle mix.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • coconut oil - for frying.  (I used extra virgin and it gave it a wonderful light coconut flavor.  I think it was really key in these being so wonderful.  The slight hint of coconut was perfect in this recipe.    I ordered my extra virgin coconut oil online.  They don't carry it at my local grocery store, just the regular coconut oil.  My local health food store does carry it though.  (I just didn't know they even existed until after I ordered mine online.)  I definitely recommend trying to find it for this recipe if you don't have it.)
wrap ingredients
  • tortillas - I used a wheat wrap, but let the kids use flour tortillas
  • ranch dressing - I used this new recipe.
  • chopped lettuce (I used romaine.)

  1. Chop onions - in a food processor if desired.  Start sauteeing in the butter.  Meanwhile chop carrots and garlic in the food processor and add to the onion.  Add carrots, garlic and cumin and saute for another minute or 2.
  2. Mash the chickpeas into a paste (again, I used the food processor, then tried the blender, but next time will use the immersion blender.  Add the sauteed veggies and process until well mixed.  Stir or process in the peanut butter and parsley.  In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in chickpea mixture.  
  3. Heat 2-3 Tablespoons of oil in a skillet.  Make small patties.  I scooped about 1.5 Tablespoons into the oil and flattened it with the back of my rubber spatula.  

Ranch dressing

I'm looking for the perfect Ranch dressing.  I found a ton of new ideas to try today.  This was one of the simplest, but of course I had to do my own thing too.  I made only a half batch (mostly to make sure I liked it and not waste ingredients.)  It was pretty good and went well on our wraps.


  • 6 Tablespoons mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teapsoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • pinch dill (maybe 1/8 teaspoon
  • about 2 Tablespoons buttermilk (I'd use more to thin it out/add flavor if using this as salad dressing.)
  1. Stir all ingredients together until well combined.

7 layer dip

So, as I posted in my previous 2 posts, we actually had this for dinner.  It was super tasty and were it not so much work, I think I'd eat it a lot more often.  :)
I do have to admit that my younger sons didn't particularly care for it.  The 3 year old really wouldn't give it a chance.  He was in a bad mood, knew it had beans, and wanted nothing to do with beans that day - even smooshed.  Go figure.  The 6 year old ate his serving only half heartedly and was very excited to get just plain salsa to dip in when he had finished his 6 bites.
Not sure if I've shared this on the blog before, but our current food eating/trying rule is that you have to eat as many bites as you are old.  This works wonderfully well for the younger ones.  The littlest only has to try 3 bites.  The 6 year old 6.  I have to admit that sometimes the 13 year old gets away with only 1-2 bites just to avoid a fight, but only on foods he already "knows he HATES"  like the hummus on the Mediterranean pizza the other night.
OK, back to the 7 layer dip.  I made a couple changes - mostly because it worked for me.  The original recipe called for equal parts sour cream and mayo.  I had 1/2 cup of mayo left and 1 cup of sour cream so those are the proportions I used.  Honestly, I preferred to use more sour cream and less mayo if the flavor was fine, and it was.  Here's the recipe with links to the recipes I used for refried beans, guacamole, and taco seasoning.

  • About 2 cups refried beans 
  • guacamole
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese - we used Monterrey Jack this day.  Cheddar would be good too.  about 2 cups or so
  • sliced black olives
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced green onions (we actually didn't have any, so in reality we had a 6 layer dip.  However, our of tradition, I'm posting it with the onions as 7 layer dip.  Feel free to make 6 layer dip if you too forget to buy green onions.  :)
  1. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread the refried beans to cover the bottom of the pan.  (mine were still a bit warm so I spread them out at the beginning to cool.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the mayo, sour cream and taco seasoning.
  3. Continue to layer remaining ingredients on top of the refried beans in the order listed.  Spread the guacamole over the beans, the sour cream/mayo mix over the guacamole, then sprinkle with cheese, olives, tomatoes and green onions.  
  4. Serve with chips or veggies.

guacamole and pico de gallo

I know I said that 7 layer dip would be the next post, but to post on 7 layer dip, I felt I had to post the guacamole recipe we use.  Honestly I have to admit that we totally cheated this time around because we just used salsa, but we do normally make guacamole following this recipe.  I'm including our pico de gallo recipe becasuse it seems like everyone would know what it is so it doesn't merit it's own post.  However, in case you don't, or I ever forget the proportions, I've included it here.

Again, no picture - other than as part of 7 layer dip.


  • 3 avocados (Hass medium), 
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo (see below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced (3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno, stemmed seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Pit avocados.  Score without going through the skin.  Scoop dices our into a mixing bowl.  Add the lime juice and stir to coat.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and stir and mash until desired consistency is reached. 
****Tip - We learned this awesome tip a while back - if you toss an avocado pit in with the guacamole it will keep it from going brown.  

~~Like I said, today we totally cheated.  I love the Jack's Special fresh salsa that they sell at our costco.  It has a nice limey flavor.  We just subbed that for the jalapeno, pico, and lime juice.  I'm pretty sure Brandon still added a bit of garlic, the olive oil, and salt to taste.  But like I said, I share the recipe because it is our go to guacamole recipe.

Pico de gallo
  • 2 cups (1 pound) tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup white onions, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice (fresh is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  

Limey refried beans

So when I saw this recipe it sounded delicious.  I must say I wasn't disappointed.  It oricinally came from an e-book I have from kitchen stewardship. Of made it my own way.  Mostly just leaving out the cheese plus changing a few proportions.  It was so tasty.  Definitely no need to buy refried beans at the store.  These were much better and really I've decided it is no big deal to cook beans at home.  I always avoided it in the past thinking it to be too time consuming.  Honestly, it isn't because they don't have to be babysat or anything.  It just requires a little pre-planning.  Put them on to soak the night before and start them cooking a couple of hours before you want to eat.
We used this to make 7 layer dip.  (Recipe to follow.)   I actually served that for dinner, not an appetizer.  I figured why not?  Beans are good for you, avocados and tomatoes are good for you...  Why can't it be dinner?  But I digress, this isn't a post about 7 layer dip - that is my next post right.  On to the beans. (which apparently I didn't take a picture of by themselves, but refried beans are refried beans right?)

  • 4 cups cooked pinto beans (I cooked up 2 cups of beans, but didn't use them all.  I'm pretty sure I could have though.)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • sea salt (or Himalayan pink salt) -to taste (I used 20 grinds in the beans on their second hour of cooking (even though they were doing very well at 1 hour - I cooked them longer since I knew I was mashing them - and I was busy cleaning.:) - then I used another 5 grinds in the actual refried bean part.
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice (3 limes - juiced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest - zest of 1 lime - I didn't measure
  1. After cooking the beans, reserve the cooking liquid to thin the refried beans.
  2. In a large pot (to save dishes, use the one that cooked the beans) heat the butter.  Add onions and begin sauteeing.  Add cumin and continue sauteeing.  Add garlic and oregano and cook until onions are lightly browned.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of bean cooking liquid and 4 cups of beans (you can play with this if you want -adding only 1/2 of the beans, pureeing, then adding more and pureeing a bit less if you want it a bit more chunky.  I know I wanted mine smooth, so I added all of the beans at once.)  Mash with a potato masher, or if you have one (my preferred method) an immersion blender.  Blend until desired consistency.  
  4. Heat until desired consistency (for example, if it is too watery, heat to thicken.)  Add lime juice, zest and salt to taste.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

taco seasoning

This is the recipe I've been using for a while for taco seasoning.  I love it because it has a lot of veggies in it in addition to the spices.  I never feel bad adding more for spice because I'm only adding more veggies.  I like the mix.  It does call for items that are not run of the mill grocery items like dried celery, dried bell peppers, and tomato powder.  My favorite place to purchase those items is currently mostly because of their 1 low price shipping charge.  They also have regular sale codes for 10 or 15 % off. Truth be told though, I think my tomato powder is from one place (possibly honeyville) and my celery and bell peppers are from shelf reliance, so use what you like.


  • 1 cup tomato powder
  • 1/2 cup dried onions
  • 1/2 cup dried celery
  • 1/2 cup dried bell peppers (I have a red/green mix)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic minces or garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt.
  1. Combine all ingredients in an airtight container.  I store mine in a large canning jar.  I always shake this up before using it.  


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