Category Archives: Cooking

Fav Things: Cinco de Mayo Style

We have had the best spring weather here in the unpredictable DFW so far. I guess you could say we have actually had a spring, which is nearly unheard of.

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and my Pinterest feed is already featuring ideas and recipes for a get together or party. I will be working on that day (and have way too much on my to do list to add anything else)! However, my husband and I will be making homemade tacos tomorrow. We didn’t really plan it for any special occasion. It was really because avocados and tomatoes were on sale when I went grocery shopping (and I can’t get enough of homemade tortillas. That’s the honest truth).

However, if I were to plan a Cinco de Mayo celebration, here are some ideas I would love to try:

Creamy and Refreshing Horchata

I’ve made Horchata once, but it wasn’t super authentic. These appear more so. They were also super sweet, but tasty. I used the Martha Stewart recipe. The sweetness did add a wonderful touch when we splashed a little rum in for a treat after a hard day’s work.

Tacos and Homemade Tortillas

These are actually what we will be eating tomorrow. I made my own taco seasoning (using this recipe) recently, and you can tell a huge difference between it and the store bought. It’s surprising (also super cheap, easy, and way less salty).  This will also be my third time making my own tortillas! I found the recipe I love, and will be continuing to use, last time and I’m super excited to devour them once they are done.

Sides

Of course there would have to be some serious guacamole and salsa. I have been wanting to make my own salsa for a while now. It seems very straight forward. I’ve just been busy, lazy, distracted, sleeping, doing laundry (choose one?).

Decor

Decorations!? I guess that means I’d have to take down my few Easter pieces. Well not yet! But if I were to decorate, it would have to be these Cactus Pinatas from ohhappyday.com

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image from ohhappyday.com

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Horchata!

I am happy to say that I’ve put a bit of a dent in my endless pins. February was a successful recipe experimenting month. The recipe I ended the month on was Horchata.

The insane Texas weather was wonderful and warm this weekend, so I wanted to try a cool drink. I’ve had a Horchata once in Austin and look back on it as a tasty and refreshing experience. I did some research and chose Martha Stewart’s quick and easy version as my first attempt.

Simmering Milk and Cinnamon

Simmering Milk and Cinnamon

If you love milkshakes and cinnamon, this is perfect for you. I used one cup less milk than the recipe and it was still amazingly thick and overwhelmingly sweet.

Horchata in my Prancing Pony Cup

Horchata in my Prancing Pony Cup

In the future, I want to use less milk and more water and possibly half of the condensed milk the recipe calls for. But mark my words, I will be making this again. Indeed.

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Bean Tortilla Casserole

A recipe I tackled this last week was a Bean Tortilla Casserole. As usual, I made some alterations. I boiled my own black beans instead of using some from a can, ignored the olive oil and salt, and didn’t use sour cream.

We really enjoyed this recipe. It didn’t take long, which is always a plus, and the resulting meal was very tasty. We even added some hot sauce I got Nick for Christmas. It is Tiger Shark Chipotle sauce and added a nice hot and smoky flavor.

black bean casserole

That’s one more Pinterest adventure down and one more successful taste bud experience. I can’t really think of anything I would change next time I make this. It’s a good thing.

bean casserole

Melt-y cheesy goodness

 

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Zucchini Fever

I tried out two more Pinterest recipes, both containing zucchini. I really enjoy zucchini. It has a light taste and a pleasant consistency. So far all of these “going through my pinterest posts” have been food related. Well, I love food. And I have a few projects I’m currently working on that really need to be finished before I start a new once from Pinterest. So there!

Recipe 1: Zucchini Boats

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These were tasty and super easy to make. Next time I think I would try a sharper tasting cheese. Just maybe.

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You can find the recipe here.

Recipe 2: Zucchini Chips

These were awesome. I added som

e extra spices, cause I really cannot follow direction for the life of me. I added some basil and chili powder.

Zucchini

Zucchini slices

zucchini sliced

Next time I would make a ton more, cause they were gone in no time. A

lso, as the original poster to this recipe says, it is impossible to wait for these to finish. Only a few of mine actually became crispy. The rest were still moist. That is either due to the fact that I hand sliced them and didn’t use my mandolin slicer, or how I couldn’t leave them in the oven long enough. This was not an issue though. The flavor was too great.

zucchini chips

zucchini chips

The recipe for the chips requests that you remove the seeds and some of the guts. I thought to myself, why not feed these to my hens? They love eating, and this would go to waste otherwise. Well, happy story, they loved it. Slurped up those zucchini guts in a second. It was fun.

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Wholly Minestrone

Second recipe of the year … MINESTRONE! I love minestrone. Especially Olive Garden’s minestrone. Every time I have declared that I will try and make minestrone, I end up making a type of “dump” soup instead. That’s when I just dump whatever veggies I have on hand into a pot and add broth. Quick, easy, hearty.

Not minestrone.

So I finally got the ingredients and went for it. I still left out certain things like olive oil and cheese. I also changed out the carrots for celery. I hate cutting carrots. They fly everywhere.

I must get better at actually measuring out my ingredients. I made like a lifetime supply of soup. Good thing my husband is usually super hungry when he gets off work.

Next time I make this, I want to make more broth, more of the tomato and chicken broth puree. It’s amazing.

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Adventures Through Pinterest

Long time no post! 2013 got busy and productive, and I might have forgotten my username for a while. 🙂 I traveled to new places, saw new things, tried new things, had a blast, and am now welcoming 2014 with open arms. Last year had it’s ups and downs and now I’m ready to set some high goals and do my best to achieve them.

One of the things I’m trying out is to work my way through my hundreds and hundreds of Pinterest posts.

I love my Pinterest. I might be on it too much, but it’s a great one stop shop to research tons of ideas, learn new things, and become inspired. I figured instead of just collecting tons of fun looking pins, that I should start working my way through them.

First pin I tackled this year was a Black Eyed Pea Dip. It was easy, a little time consuming, fresh tasting, and delicious.

black eyed peas

It was time consuming due to my decision of cooking the black eyed peas myself. Everything else was super quick.

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black eyed pea dip

I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter. I always alter as I go. I left out the onions due to an intense dislike on my part, and the oil to save on calories.

All in all, this was a promising start to something I hope to continue all year.

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Pinterest Post Power!

I love Pinterest. I pin almost daily about foods I want to make, inspirational illustration and graphic design, things I love, future house ideas, and way too many more.

Problem is, I’ll never get to try all these amazing how to’s and ideas if I just keep pinning them. So I’m going to be proactive with my Pinterest. Instead of only drooling over amazing illustrations I come across, I’ve started sketching more. When I’m feeling stuck, I’ll browse through my inspirational pins and find one that is perfect for my mood and use it to jump start the sketch of the day. You can see some of my latest doodles on my instagram or twitter.

I’m also trying to bake, cook, and crockpot my way through the food pins that have been piling up.

Today I started out with a quick Spring Fruit Pudding.

I emptied a cheesecake flavored instant pudding packet into a mixing bowl with a can of pineapple and the juices. I stirred these two together until they were well blended. The mixture started to get thicker, almost like a pudding. Imagine that!

Pineapple and pudding mix

Next, I just added sliced bananas and strawberries and mixed it all up again.

Fruit

As a final touch, I dashed some cinnamon on top and did a final stir. It has a great texture and the pudding just adds a nice flavor to the fruit. Surprisingly, it isn’t the hero to this dessert. The fruits themselves shine, and the pudding plays a nice supporting roll.

Spring Fruit Pudding

Noms

 

Since I was feeling peppy, I decided to knock out two food ideas today. The second one I crossed off my list was home made granola. You can find the original recipe here. Me being me, I changed the recipe a bit.

I combined 1.25 cups old fashioned rolled oats, a big dash of cinnamon, 4 tablespoons of shredded coconut, and a handful of craisins in one bowl. In a second bowl, I mixed 1/4 cup sugar free syrup and a half cup of cinnamon apple sauce. These two bowls got together, mixed things up, and became the start of some sweet granola.

making granola

I spread the mixture out in a pan that had been sprayed with Canola Oil and baked it for 15 minutes at 325. When that was done, I alternated mixing up the granola, breaking up the chunks, and cooking for 5-8 minutes until it was no longer soft and became more like real granola.

Homemade Granola

It’s going to be hard not to just eat the whole things in one sitting. Will probably at least double the recipe next time I make it.

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