Enchilada Sauce

Yummy enchilada sauce!

6 Tablespoons of Canola Oil

2 Tablespoons of Flour

1/3 Cup grated Onion (or very finely chopped)

1/2 Cup Chili Powder

2 Cups Chicken Stock

2 Cups Beef Stock

2 15 oz Cans of Tomato Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano

1-2 teaspoons of Cumin

1/2 – 1 Teaspoon of Salt

Heat oil, add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes till smooth. Add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds until smooth. Add stock, tomato sauce, onion and spices. Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes. Serve on enchiladas. (Or eat on corn chips.)(Or eat with a spoon.)(Or simply drink from a coffee cup.)

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Spring is looking Springier.

It is looking more springish around these parts. This morning the birds were singing more happily. Of course that could be due to the fact that the sun is shining today after two days to rain, drizzle and more pouring rain. The birds were just happy to be able to sing and not get choked on water, I think. But this made me happy also.

Walking to school, I saw flashes of yellow and white as the bulb buds are preparing to open.  You could possibly see a daffodil this afternoon in select locations.

Inspired by all the springiness in the air and the fact that I ate the end of the bag of Cheez-Its (about two handfuls) and some homemade peanut butter cookies yesterday. I decided to have a smoothie this morning. This idea came from Angela at OhSheGlows.com.  Angela calls them Green Monsters. I simply call them smoothies. Jay calls them slug puree.

The concept is simple. You add greens to your smoothie. Sounds gross. Looks repulsive. Tastes surprisingly good. The fruit really covers up the taste of the veggies.

This morning’s contained kale, cranberry juice, blackberry yogurt, ground flax seed and a few chucks of frozen peaches. Tastes yummy! You just have to acclimate to the texture. You can chew it slightly. I microwave my greens for about 30 seconds before throwing them in the blender. Just to break them down slightly first.

The greens add a great nutritional punch and really fill you up. Oh She Glows has lots of recipes posted on a site dedicated to Green Monsters (http://greenmonstermovement.com/) but I have been experimenting with my own flavors. I tend to like my smoothies tart and not too sweet.

On with the day.

Carrot Oat Muffins Revisited

I have continued to tweek the muffin recipe and I have to say this batch turned out much better. They are lighter and fluffier than the last batch. Tasty.

I am changing the name of this recipe because they baked up better-they are no longer MINI. And they not really cakeish any more so I am switching to muffin. It is my blog and I am allowed. So there.

These, by the way, are topped with walnuts (versus walnuts inside the muffin) because I realized after I already had the batter in the muffin pan that I forgot to add the walnuts. Being as I love the nuts, the crunch is what I look forward to, I added them on top. Simple solution. Ta-Da.

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup oats ( I used quick oats for obvious reasons noted in previous blog entry)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

dash of salt

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2/3 cup crushed pineapple in juice

1 cup grated carrot

1 flax egg

1/4 cup water(or just enough to wet the batter if necessary)

chopped walnuts to top or mix into batter-your choice

Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly. Then add all wet ingredients except flax egg. Mix well, then add flax egg and mix until combined. Spoon batter into muffin pan. I sprayed with Pam but I don’t know if that is necessary. If you try it without and they stick; then oops, I guess it was necessary. Top with nuts. I used the back of a spoon to slightly push the nuts into the top of each muffin so they would not fall off after baking. Nothing makes me madder than to lose all the nuts off my muffin 😉 . Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Yummy! 

I think that this recipe has graduated out of the testing phase. I will continue to tweek it with variations depending on my mood. I’m thinking the addition of more fruits possibly. Such as diced fresh apple pieces or raisins or dried figs or dried dates or gated zucchini or apricots or the list goes on in my quest to cram in the most fruits and veggies.

New and improved Carrot Oat Muffins get 4 Stars.

 

Talapia with Carribean Salsa

I just wanted to spice up my fish. Because fish can get boring after a while. So being as my frugal self, I usually work with what I already have…

 

That would be the leftover crushed pineapple from making the Mini Carrot Oat Muffins. I thought I’d start there. I used to make a fresh pineapple mango salsa to go on top of grilled fish – no mango today but no worries.

Throw in a little chopped onion, half of a chopped fresh jalapeno. I am removing the seeds this time also, though normally I would leave some in, and I will tell you why momentarily.

I added some chopped green bell pepper and just a few pieces of chopped tomato (this, by the way, I robbed from the leftover salad from dinner the night before).

Little garlic powder and some fresh ground coriander. Fresh ground coriander smells so wonderful. It has this bright lemony cilantro flavor (it is the seeds from the cilantro plant). I grind my spices and flax seed in a coffee grinder that I no longer use for coffee.

Then I added a spoon of this! The reason I removed the seeds from the jalapeno.

This is what we at our house affectionately refer to as Crack Sauce (Jay coined the term). It is called Crack Sauce because for me it is like crack. I only tried it once and I was hooked! In a bad way. It originated from a little taco shop outside of Redding where we stopped for lunch one day. One taste of this stuff and there was no going back for me. I thought about it for days after. I would salivate when I even started to think about it. I was obsessed.

“I must have more.” was all I could say.

On our next trip down to Redding, I made Jay stop so I could try to purchase some Crack Sauce to take home. SCORE! They sold me a 16 once cup for $2.50! So I bought two. But I had to return later in the day to pick it up due to the fact that they did not have enough on hand already made to fill my demand. Upon returning to pick up my SAUCE, I found the evening shift to be two just out of high school (if that) guys who had no qualms about disclosing the recipe to me with a little persuasion. I have yet to make my own batch as I am still eating from the scored supply out of the taco shop. AND…we have discovered that it grows increasingly hotter the longer it sets in the fridge. Let this be a warning to all of you who think that you can handle the Crack Sauce. This is not kid stuff here but it is soooo yummy! As my Big Pa would have said, “I like it too much!” Last time we were at the taco shop, between Jay and I, we downed the better half of a ketchup squeeze bottle full despite the cautionary warning from the two big strapping cowboys who obviously did not know who they were talking to. 

Back to the salsa…

In goes a spoonful of Crack Sauce. Stir and let sit on counter to rest. Occasionally eating it with the spoon as you cook the rest of dinner.

Then viola!

Top the cooked fish.

I am going to give this salsa 4 stars

Stay tuned. Upcoming – experimental oven baked sweet potato chips. Hmmmmm…..

Mini Carrot Oat Cakes

Today I was inspired to try to create a new recipe. Not just any recipe. A new baking recipe. Creating a savory recipe is easy. You know what flavors go together, imagine how the flavors are going to blend together. If you concentrate, you can almost taste the vision.  Baking on the other hand is a horse of a different color. There is more chemistry folded into the equation. I suck at chemistry (Which by the way is why I also do not make candy of any way , shape or form. I can’t have my artistic personality constricted by a thermometer!). In school, I sucked at chemistry. I wonder how I ever became a successful hair colorist? I think simply because hair color is more art (at least my twisted little brain sees it that way). That is probably why there were several occasions when my superiors said,”You can’t do that to someone’s hair. And I said, “Sure I can. Watch. Ta-Da!” The colors are like art. Art is much easy for me. Chemistry=Bad. Art=Good.

Anyway…back to the recipe of the day. The true inspiration for today’s recipe sprang from the fact that this morning I was opening the new container of oatmeal that I bought yesterday (I have oatmeal about 4-5 times a week for breakfast now. Good protein source. Sticks with you so you are not hungry again in an hour. With a little flax oil (no butter) and agave nectar (no sugar). It is scrumptious. Cures my sweet craving in the morning) when I realized that I accidentally bought quick oats instead of the old fashioned kind. YUCK! I hate them. First of all , why do I need quick oats when the real deal takes only five, count them, 5 minutes to cook? So I immediately started thinking to myself, “Self, what the hell are you going to do with this whole big container of crappy quick oats?”  You know me, I can’t just throw them away. The kids won’t eat them. My only option is to feed them to the dog (and she did not look enthused about oatmeal) oooorrrrrrr….I could use them IN something. Something like a applesauce banana oat muffin perhaps.

Well after scavenging the cabinets for ingredients and determining that the bananas were not ripe enough to mash; I settled on something similar to a carrot cake (that is my fave!). Unsweetened applesauce, grated carrot, crushed pineapple, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. The batter tasted delicious. I only added a 1/3 cup of brown sugar, they are not real sweet but the carrot and pineapple and applesauce add their own sweetness. No oil of any kind (except the natural oils in the walnuts-can you say good for you). And no egg. I used a flax egg instead. You mix ground flax seed with water and it gets kinda slimy like an egg white. Plus the flax is good for you-provides omega-3. I have never used a flax egg before. So this is where the whole chemistry thing comes in……

 YEA, so anyway….

They are dense, of course. Without an egg, I expected them to be on the dense side and only rise maybe a little. They did not rise at all. As a matter of fact, I don’t really think that there was any point in putting them in the muffin tin. I should have just plopped them on a cookie sheet and they probably would have been fine. I don’t think they moved in the slightest while in the oven. They are filling. I’ll give them that. And they do taste good. I like them. Jay shared two with me. We shared one and then decided we had better share another. Since he had seconds, they must not be too bad. But I am not posting the recipe at this time. It is a work in progress. Or next time I might decide that the first run was better and regret any changes I make.

*Sigh* Chemistry.

I have a few ideas rolling around, artistically, in my brain for the next run. Cause I have a lot of quick oat to use up. 

Then I compensated my recipe not so success with a very large bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings (U-Oh I don’t think that is really on the food plan).

Lastly, I think maybe I should rate the recipes I post. Five stars being the highest. So I would have given the grilled pear and fontina five stars. And the Green Quinoa Salad (new name by the way) four stars. Would have five but the tomato has to go. And what shall I call these muffins? Mini Carrot Oat Pucks…I mean Cakes get three stars.

Green Quinoa

I am not even sure what to call this dish – besides good. I can’t take 100% credit for the creation of it. I have had a sauce similar over rice or potatoes from a very wonderful vegetarian cook in Arizona. But I took it and played with it some. Switched it up.

Quinoa. Quinoa is the most nutritious grain you can eat. Depending on the variety, it can hold anywhere from 5 – 13 grams of protein per 1/2 cup cooked! It is high in calories but for the vitamin and mineral content it contains – it is worth it. Plus I love the chewy firm texture. It sort of  pops in your mouth when you bite it.

Cooks just like brown rice on the stove top. This is one cup, cooked, makes two cups, and cooled quinoa (the average variety, I know it also comes in red, maybe others I have yet to discover.).

I toasted mustard seeds, camino, and red chili flakes in a cast iron skillet to bring out the oils/flavors. It adds this yummy smokey flavor that is to die for.

While the seeds were toasting, I speared a fresh jalapeno on the meat fork and roasted over gas burner. Chopped cilantro and green onions.

Peeled and seeded jalapeno. (Note to self: Do not lick fingers(cause I did) or touch eyes. I took out most of the seed(left just a few) because I got a little carried away with the chili flakes as it was already.

Threw the jalapeno and cilantro into the food processor and whizzed until green puree. Add plain yogurt and whiz. Then add toasted seeds and whiz some more. Taste and smile (Careful tasting. Do not use a jalapeno finger).

Then I mixed sauce with quinoa and chopped veggies: green bell pepper, seeded cucumber, tomato and green onions.

I LOVE it! Though next time I think I will leave out the tomato just because I thought it was prettier when it was all green. I also had a thought to add a splash of jalapeno juice from the pickled ones in the fridge……hmmmmm.

My New Food Life.

So I recently started a new food life. Though I am sad to not get see some of my long time food friends as often anymore – I am making new food friends. And truth be told it is refreshing to be forced to be creative again. Try new flavors. I haven’t gone completely extreme. Not vegan here or anything like that (please! those of you that know me know that there is nothing that I like better than to devour a big hunk of bloody meat slightly warmed over the fire). As much as I enjoy it, alas my body does not. The new general rule of thumb is; if it does not fly, swim or grow from the ground it is not high on the menu plan. Of course I am allowed to splurge once in a while-bovines beware! And I am still doing eggs and dairy on a limited basis. Whew! It is hard.

But I can most certainly feel the difference. Already.

Today for lunch I had the best sandwich I have had in a long time. Pre or Post new food plan.

Grilled onion, pear, spinach(from the garden), and fontina on sourdough.

Be prepared to see a lot more of my new food friends posted here. I have discovered I enjoy taking pictures of food.