Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Homemade Taco Seasoning

This recipe for taco seasoning from Joy the Baker is so great because as long as you've got a spoon and spices, you can make your own taco seasoning in minutes.  I love that you can play around with the recipe (or spoonfuls) to make a taco seasoning that is just right for you.  I also love knowing exactly what went into my taco seasoning.  I can actually pronounce the names of everything and I like that.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

2 spoonfuls chili powder
1 spoonful ground cumin
1/2 spoonful sweet paprika
1/2 spoonful smoked paprika
1 spoonful dried oregano
1 spoonful garlic powder
1 spoonful onion powder
Half a spoonful coriander
Half a spoonful salt
Quarter to a half spoonful crushed red pepper flakes

Toss spices together.  Store in a jar.

*In the original recipe it calls for 1 spoonful of paprika instead of a 1/2 a spoonful of sweet and smoked paprika.

Recipe slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Charred Mexican Zucchini

This summer is my first with a little garden of my own.  It was planted a little late in the season, but I was determined to get it in.  The whole gardening thing is quite a miracle to me.   To watch something that starts as a very small plant or seed, grow and produce something that I can feed my family is pretty amazing.  I love going out every morning to see my growing vegetable plants.  I kind of love picking weeds (remember my garden is small).  I love the way my hands smell after I've touched a tomato or pepper plant.  I love knowing that I am able to walk out and grab a zucchini for dinner or a jalapeno to make salsa.  There is something very satisfying about growing your own food.  I'm already thinking about next year and what I will add to my little garden and it makes me feel excited!  One vegetable that seems to grow overnight (no kidding) is zucchini.  My kiddies prefer it in the form of zucchini bread, but for me, I love it in any form.  This charred Mexican zucchini is filled with creamy cheesy goodness, dusted with a smokey chili powder and given a spritz of fresh lime juice.  Seriously soooo good!

Charred Mexican Zucchini

4 green zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup queso, crumbled
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Ancho chili powder, for dusting
1 lime cut into wedges

Heat grill on high.  Place zucchini halves on baking sheet cut side up.  Drizzle zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and crushed red pepper flakes.  Place on the grill cut side down.  Cook until zucchini has dark grill marks and looks charred around the edges.  

Remove from the grill and allow to cool while making the filling.

To a medium sized bowl, add the mayonnaise, queso, and some freshly cracked black pepper. Stir until evenly combined.

Top each zucchini half with a few spoonfuls of the creamy, cheesy filling.  Dust the zucchini with a smokey, chili powder followed by a spritz of fresh lime juice.  Serve immediately.

Recipe from Joy the Baker

*Picture taken with my iphone (summertime food for me and my family through the eyes of me and my iphone).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vanilla Bean Baked Donuts

I love summer mornings.  I love that there isn't the "rush" that I feel during the school year.  After my morning run, I spend a little time in my little growing garden.  I love inspecting each plant and watching with amazement as zucchini, peppers and peas seem to grow overnight.  I love that when I walk into my house, breakfasts are slow and drawn out and are more than just a quick bowl of cereal with bites taken in between making peanut butter sandwiches.  Sometimes (okay a lot of the time), I go to sleep at night thinking about what I will make for breakfast in the morning.  A little while back, I came across this recipe for baked donuts and new they would make the perfect slow morning summer breakfast.  The donuts were tender and not overly sweet, making the vanilla bean glaze a perfect compliment for this simple summer breakfast.  


Vanilla Bean Baked Donuts

1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1 large egg
1/4 vanilla bean

1 1/2 tablespoons half and half
1/4 vanilla bean
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  

In a small bowl, mix together milk and vinegar.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to curdle.  Melt butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Set aside.  To the cooled butter, add the sugar, honey, egg and vanilla bean seeds and whisk until combined.  Add in curdled milk.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Over mixing with create a donut that is dense.  Spray donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Add donut batter to a piping bag (a large Ziploc bag also works) and pipe batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Allow to cool for 1 minute before removing donuts from pan to cool on cooling rack.

While the donuts are cooling, make the glaze.  In a flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the half and half, vanilla bean seeds, nutmeg, and salt until evenly combined.  Slowly whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.  If glaze is too thick, add 1 teaspoon more of half and half at a time.  If glaze is to thin, add 1 tablespoon more of powdered sugar at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Once the donuts have cooled completely, about 15-20 minutes, dunk donut in glaze to evenly coat the top of the donut.  Repeat until each donut is topped with the vanilla bean glaze.  Place on the cooking rack and allow to dry for about 20 minutes.  (I'm pretty sure we only waited about two minutes.)  Makes six donuts.

Recipe changed just a bit from The Faux Martha

*Picture taken with my iphone (summertime food for me and my family through the eyes of me and my iphone). 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer and Strawberry Lemonade

With school coming to end a month and a half ago, I wasn't quite sure I was ready for summer to begin.  To be quite honest, I wasn't sure I was ready to have my kiddies home all day long.  I worried about them being with each other so much that they'd begin to get on each other’s nerves and that eventually we'd all begin to get on each other’s nerves.  And while there are moments I want to stuff cotton balls in my ears (and my kids may want to stuff cotton balls in theirs), I am loving the more relaxed, but still seemingly busy days.  I love that when I come home from running in the morning, it's not a mad rush to make lunches, make sure my kids are fed and have my boys out the door for school.  I love that our days are filled with slow breakfasts, swimming, lunches by the pool, and jumping on the tramp with a sprinkler underneath and very large squirt of dish soap (or two or three) to make the tramp bubbly and very slippery.  I love that my little garden is growing.  I love that every time we look at our zucchini plant, all of us are constantly amazed at just how fast a zucchini can grow.  I love all the delicious summer produce that is available and all the road side stands selling local produce.  Just last night, Todd and I were talking about how school starts in just a little over a month.  I felt my heart sink thinking about sending my kiddies back to school.  I'm not quite ready and so for now, we are going to enjoy the rest of what summer has to offer and drink lots of strawberry lemonade.

(While I thought I'd have all the time in the world to take pictures of all the delicious food that the summer has to offer and then blog about it, it just hasn't happened.  My days seem to be busier and our nights later (I can't seem to get my kids in bed before 9:30 or later).  So for now, you will be seeing the food my family and I eat through the eyes of me and my iPhone.) 

Strawberry Lemonade

1 cup water
3/4 cup pure cane sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 6 lemons)
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup water
2 tablespoons agave nectar
4 cups chilled water
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and sugar.  Heat over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir in the agave nectar.  Let cool.

Meanwhile, puree 1 cup chopped strawberries with 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons agave nectar.  Pour through a fine mesh sieve; set aside.

Once the simple syrup has cooled, add to a pitcher along with fresh squeezed lemon juice, strawberry puree and chilled water.  Stir to combine.  Refrigerate and serve cold with ice (pebbled ice is the best).

-To make strawberry basil lemonade, add a couple of sprigs of basil to the simple syrup while cooling.  I let my simple syrup sit overnight in the refrigerator before making the lemonade so that the basil flavor would be more pronounced.  It was very delicious! 

Recipe slightly adapted from The Faux Martha