Street Tacos and Pico de Gallo

Homemade Street Tacos

Last weekend I attended the very first “Taco Fest” in Reno.  I found some amazing fish tacos that I really liked.  The downside was that it was $3 per taco, and I’m talking traditional street taco size that is eaten in a few bites.  So pretty much I was spending 75c-$1 per bite.  Anyone who knows me will realize that is not my style.  So of course I decided I need to try my hand at making my own street tacos.  Now I will say that the meat will take some time to perfect, and I’ll likely utilize my Instant Pot as I did this time.  That way I can have street tacos in December.  Hah!

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Roasted Chickpeas

We like chickpeas in this house. Curry and hummus are the two standard methods of consumption. I’d had roasted chickpeas come across my Pinterest a time or two and thought nothing of it.  After soaking and cooking up a batch for curry a few nights ago I decided to extras would make a good test batch.

Aside from the fact that I think I let them go in the oven a little too long (15 minutes longer than I say in the directions), they were really good. My advice would be to play around with the seasonings! I bet curry would be lovely.


Roasted Chickpeas

1-2 cups chickpeas, cooked
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Seasonings – All to taste
Smoked Paprika

Heat oven to 425° F.

Combine the olive oil and chickpeas in a Ziploc bag and shake to evenly coat chickpeas with. Add some salt, pepper, and smoked paprika then shake again to coat the chickpeas with seasoning. Dump the contents of the Ziploc bag onto a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil. Make sure the chickpeas are in a single layer to ensure even cooking.

Bake for 15 minutes then shake the pan to move the chickpeas around, bake for 15 more minutes.

Allow to cool as not to burn your tongue (like I did).



Peanut Butter

It’s not really a thrilling topic, but since I need to keep in the habit of posting here it is…

Sophia hates it.

Nola loves it.

David likes crunchy, hates creamy.

I like creamy, and dislike crunchy.

David also likes Skippy brand whereas I like natural kinds. You know, the ones that separate and you have to nearly lose an arm trying to stir the oil back in… David hates having to do that every time he wants peanut butter. I also don’t enjoy having to do so for the girls all the time either.

Amazingly, when I put peanuts from Costco into my Vitamix I get this…

Peanut Butter

This time it came out with some bits still in it, but not as big as chunky PB. There is no need for the fridge, and it won’t separate! The tin of peanuts is $6-$7 and I get about 2 jars worth (I don’t fill up my jar to the top). There’s nothing hydrogenated in it either, which is why David was willing to do without his beloved Skippy. 🙂

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have some more 2014 in 2014 numbers to post. I keep losing track of the number of items when I go on purging binges. I’ve had to make some estimates, but I low-ball it just to be on the safe side. I can already tell a difference in the areas I’ve worked on and organize, and I’m really really liking it! 😀


Homemade Almond Butter

I’ve heard of all sorts of people making homemade butters – peanut, cashew, sunflower, coconut, and almond. I finally decided to give almond butter a try since I’ve been successful twice now at making almond milk from scratch (which I *still* need to photograph and post). How hard could making almond butter be, right?

Well, after pausing the movie that my sick kid was watching – because I have amazing timing and all – it took a solid 20 minutes of thinking I was going to kill the food processor. There were a few stops to scrape down almond chunks. I stopped a few more times because I just *knew* that a second more and it would give up the ghost. But in the end…


I had almond butter!!

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Due to some milk that needed to be used up like right.this.second, and a small container of heavy whipping cream also camped out in my fridge I decided it was time to make ricotta. I may also be making spinach lasagna tomorrow for dinner, and I thought it would be a good idea. Homemade is (almost) always better than store bought after all. So make ricotta I did.

Then I had to go to Trader Joe’s after I got Sophia from school as I needed to get a flower assortment for flower arranging in her class (Montessori is awesome, and I will surely make a post on that sometime in the near future). While I was there I decided to get some whole milk and fresh lemons to try another batch of ricotta. I see a problem forming here. After getting Nola from school we had to go to Target to procure cotton balls for a diorama she needs to do. While there I got buttermilk and more heavy whipping cream. See the problem yet?

We got home and instead of starting dinner… I made another variation of ricotta. (I did eventually get dinner made, no worries.)


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Menu Board

Pinterest strikes again. I saw Stephanie pin a menu board, and the description made me think “meh”, but at one point I finally clicked on it. The shopping list description was not really accurate at all from what I can tell, which was why I was not really interested. I have list making OCD. I don’t need help in that department. At all. I will stalk the stores a few days prior to grocery shopping to ensure I have the right prices, and then I make a spreadsheet.

I do have one problem though. Sticking to a menu plan. I manage to stick to it for a few days, and if I can get a week of actually following my menu plan I’d be shocked. Part of my problem is that I have my menu on my computer in a – prepare to be shocked – spreadsheet. David doesn’t creep around on here to find my menu plan. I’m glad he doesn’t because I don’t need him rolling his eyes at my always open SimCity Social window. 😛

Holy organization batman!

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A quick note…

I’m working on finding recipes that past muster in my house.

It’s not easy.

I’m picky as hell. David doesn’t eat pork, and is currently leaning towards being vegetarian. Sophia is a self imposed vegetarian 90% of the time. Nola, well this is a bless her heart moment, because the little turd has decided that she’s only a carnivore and does not like plants. *head desk* Anyone see how this could be tricky for me? No? Me either. /sarcasm

Despite all that, I’m at the very least going to stick to my few rules of thumb when it comes to food for my family…

~ No MSG.
~ No HFCS.

Pretty simple. I get a little skeeved out by the word hydrogenated as well, but that’s less a concern than the two listed. I’m not in a position to buy all organics anymore, and I’m not going to turn my nose up at a cheap bag of pasta. My problem is that so many of these “easy” or “omg yum” recipes contain cream of something soup, or Lipton onion soup packets. Both contain MSG. While I still have some left, and will use them up as not to waste them, I will not purchase them again. I can make homemade cream of mushroom soup, and I have a homemade “cream of ?” mix I made from a recipe on Pinterst as well. I’ll have to find an MSG free alternative to the Lipton soup mix. If you know of one please let me know!!

Now, back to getting this house back in order so it doesn’t look like I’ve neglected it for an entire week. 😛

Cheddar Crackers

My girls love cheese. They love crackers. They love cheesy crackers, especially the ones shaped like fish. I of course am becoming increasingly greedy with my allotted bi-weekly food funds. I’ve seen many cheddar cracker recipes floating around Pinterest and decided it was time to make some. It’s fairly simple, you’ll make a little bit of a mess, but no worse than any other baking. Which means I ended up with flour on the microwave mounted above the stove. No, I’m not totally sure how.

Mmm cheese.

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Meal Planning: July 29 – August 4

Before I left for Alameda I said I was going to meal plan. I got my Bountiful Baskets stuff on Saturday, and over the remainder of weekend I finished up my shopping. I forgot some stuff from Costco when I went Friday, which worked out to my advantage. Saturday evening Stephanie and I brainstormed meal ideas via Facebook chat.

Sunday 29th – Crockpot Spinach Lasagna
Monday 30th – Crockpot Southwest Chicken
Tuesday 31st – Lentil Soup
Wednesday 1st – Southwest Chicken Burritos (also known as leftovers night)
Thursday 2nd – Beef Stew (I’ll post a recipe for this later in the week since I’m going to use Marmite!)
Friday 3rd – Homemade Pizza
Saturday 4th – Leftovers, or if no leftovers – David can cook, because I’m on strike today! 😉

I actually already have the starts of next weeks meal planning going! I have lots of veggies in mt fridge, a pack of tofu, and a 2-pack of roasts from Costco (one is getting cubed for stew). That right there is already 2 meals out of the way. Now the big thing for me is STICKING TO THE MEAL PLAN. Yes, some days it’s just so much easier to stroll into Papa Murphy’s and call it a day. Sometimes I have no issue with that, especially when I have a coupon, but I can’t cave in on the first week of trying to be good. I’ll reserve that for the first week of school when I feel like I’m in over my head. 😉

August Frugal Food Challenge

August is the start of a few months worth of crazy for me.  In the past all activities in the house have revolved around Nola.  School, soccer, Girl Scouts.  Well, Sophia turns 5 on Thursday (noooo!) and it’s her turn to start school, soccer, and Girl Scouts as well.  I’d mentioned in a prior post that I was doing AYSO coach training.  I’m coaching BOTH my girls teams.  O_O   My time is going to be limited.  With 4 practices each week (2 for each team) until games start on August 18th (then down to 1 practice and 1 game per week), soccer camp the first week of August, school starting on August 20th, and getting doctors appointments done for both girls out of the way I am going to be busier than ever before.  Oh did I mention that we may very well be moving units within the complex in the next few weeks?  Because that might happen too.


What am I getting myself into?!  I know I need to make a solid plan for meals or I’m going to end up at Papa Murphy’s a few times a week, and that just can’t happen.  Two VERY active kids are going to need good meals.  Nola will be having bagged lunches going to school since we cannot afford nearly $4 a day for their organic lunches (Sophia is half day, lunch at home like normal for her).  The school takes a very firm stance on junk food not being brought in, and I’m perfectly okay with that.  It just means I need to plan on more than just PB&J.

Bountiful Baskets will help me with keeping produce costs down bi-weekly.  The only problem there is the basket is a mystery until I see it.  Not so great for planning ahead, but I can do it!  I want to try and avoid processed foods as much as I can.  Though sometimes a box of Zatarain’s red beans and rice paired with some turkey kielbasa is what happens, and I’m okay with it – so long as it’s remains the exception.

Inexpensive, but still healthy.

I’m going to be heading out to Alameda again to see my friend Stephanie and her three kiddos.  Once I get back I’ll plan as much as I can, especially for days where we won’t be home from practice until well after David is home.  I think he’ll have to help more than I want to admit.  😉