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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Finding my Groove

I realized not too long ago that I actually miss blogging.  I miss trying new things, taking pictures, and sharing it with others.  Between getting a job, being struck down by my GI disease and having part of my colon removed due to it, getting married, kids, my husband being back in school, and actively losing weight to reverse other things I’ve been diagnosed with in the last 24 months (PCOS and Hashimoto’s)  … I have been worn out.   I’m trying to get back into making as many things homemade as I can.

We (by we I mostly mean I) decided to homeschool this coming school year, and that slice of irreverent chronicling will take place over at Coffee Until Wine.  Please be aware that my use of colorful metaphors there is substantially higher.  There are a lot of homeschooling blogs that are very faith based and I am kind of the antithesis of all that.  In an effort to keep Gingham Apron a little more friendly, with fewer colorful metaphors, I have created the separate blog for homeschooling.  🙂

Since things will be changing a lot for us with me ceasing to work in order to homeschool I have to hop back on the frugal make-all-the-things-at-home train.  I’ve already begun making my own laundry detergent again, and I’m trying a new dishwasher detergent recipe as well.  Food wise I have been filling my pails with gamma seal lids full of dried goods, and making more things from scratch – sourdough crackers, sourdough english muffins, sourdough pancakes, bread, yogurt, kombucha, “refried” beans, ricotta .. and pretty much anything else I can do on my own to cut costs.

Between now and summer I want to post once per week.  Once traditional school it out I hope to post more often.  I just need to find my groove in all this craziness.

 

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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.

RoastedChickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

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

Seasonings – All to taste
Salt
Pepper
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).

Enjoy!

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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! 😀

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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…

AlmondButter-1

I had almond butter!!

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Ricotta

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.)

Ricotta

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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. 😛