cook, food, kitchen, military life, recruiting duty, SAHM, Uncategorized

Pictures and tacos

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My almost 8 month handsome boys!

Last Friday we had their “6 month” (we did them late due to her schedule, but they are almost 8 months now) done! I’m so excited/anxious to see how they turned out, I hope they turned out ok. It was sunny, which was great, but it got colder towards sunset and then it was a bit windy. I had the cutest outfits for them to wear and was sort of bummed it was chilly/windy out so I didn’t get to put their shoes on because I didn’t want to make them more miserable. They were fine in the beginning but started getting cranky when their noses were red and runny, plus, they were cold. We had to take a couple breaks to keep them warm so everything was a bit rushed, I didn’t want to chance them getting sick since they haven’t been yet. This is the same photographer that we’ve been using and she is great. She is seriously sweet and we are going with her “baby’s first year” package she has so we did a maternity, newborn, 6 months and will do their 1 year later on. I’m so excited to put together a little collage with all the pictures we’ve gotten. If you’re in the northern Virginia area check her out! Her name is Marian Lozano and she does wonderful work, I love that she does simple photos and captures people wonderfully.

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One of the outfits for picture day

Gosh, I can’t believe they’ll be 8 months old already, the time has gone by at an ok pace but it’s really been a blur. I can hardly remember my pregnancy or the first 6 months really and that’s something to say because when I usually say things like that, i’m drunk ;). Overall they’ve been great an now that my BC pills are regulating my hormones now, I can really enjoy them which is fantastic.

So, speaking of feeling better, i’ve realized that I haven’t really cooked lately, which is odd because I love to cook and i’ve been wanting Mexican food. So while we shopped at a new supermarket, Food Lion (new to us since we’re new to the area) I saw some pork and decided that we haven’t had carnitas for a while. I picked up the ingredients: boston butt, cilantro, corn tortillas, jalapenos and we headed home. They’ve been kinda fussy the past couple of days so it was really a 2 day process to make. I cooked the carnitas on Monday night and put everything together today for dinner. I’ll post the recipe below on what I did with the carnitas. I went a little out for this because I didn’t like the flavor of the tortillas, they tasted a bit sweet and it just didn’t taste right to me. Now, i’ve been wanting to make corn tortillas for a while but usually forget or get lazy so this was a perfect opportunity to do it! So all in all, for dinner tonight it’s carnita tacos with homemade salsa roja and corn tortillas, oh, and also some flan since I haven’t had that for a while either. I gotta say too, that fresh corn tortillas make ALL the difference and now, will never go back to store bought corn tortillas! I also think next time, to get a prettier red color, i’ll toast a guajillo chile to add more umph to the redness.

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Carnitas braised in milk

3 1/2-4lb boston butt or pork shoulder

1 ceylon cinnamon stick (not as strong a flavor as regular) or cinnamon stick broken into small pieces

3 garlic whole garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 white onion cut into chunks

1/4 cup orange juice or juice of 1 orange

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

2 tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2-1 tsp mexican oregano (1/2 if using regular oregano)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

  1. Cut the pork into big chunks and place into a bowl. Add all spices to the meat and toss to coat evenly. Brown pork in a pot and place into a large dish into one even layer.
  2. Place garlic, cinnamon and onion into the cracks of the meat.
  3. Pour liquids over meat.
  4. Drizzle a little oil over the tops of the meat that stick above the liquid to avoid drying it out then cover dish with foil.
  5. Place into a 350 degree oven and cook for 3-4 hours until tender then shred meat.
  6. Strain liquid and skim off the fat. Place 1/2 of the juice back into the dish, pour shredded meat into it and toss.
  7. Place into fridge overnight so the flavors can meld.
  8. Turn broiler on and place under until meat is heated through.
  9. When you’re ready to serve meat place a little bit of oil in a pan then fry meat until crispy, enjoy!

 

Salsa roja- Makes only a little, just enough for the tacos

3 roma tomatoes cut into chunks (I used 4 canned whole tomatoes)

3 garlic cloves

1 heaping handful of chile de arbol, remove stems

oil

1 tsp kosher salt

  1. Place about 1 tbsp of oil into a pan and fry garlic and chiles. Make sure to open a window or turn your vent on!!! Fry until golden and add to blender.
  2. Add in chopped tomatoes and fry for about 2 minutes, then add in 1/4 cup water and let boil for about 2 minutes.
  3. Place everything into blender, add water or if you’re using canned then add some of the juice until everything is combined. Add more salt if needed.
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baking, cook, food, kitchen, military life, SAHM

Oatmeal quinoa breakfast muffins

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Life with twins is busy but I do find time to do the things that I love, which is baking. Since Dan and I are both busy, I like to make quick breakfasts so we can both grab a bite in the morning. Things like frozen breakfast sandwiches, overnight oats or muffins. I made these this morning and I thought I would share the recipe.

I’ve been wanting to cook more with quinoa so I used them in this breakfast muffin. If you haven’t tried quinoa or know what it is, it’s a South American grain that is protein packed. Here is some more info on it if you’re interested. My mom has a few recipes for it since in Bolivia, they’ve been cooking with it way before it became the newest diet fad and I need to get together with her so I can pick her brain about more quinoa recipes.

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These muffins are not exactly like fluffy, cake type muffin but more of a dense kind, but it is still delicious. There is no additional sugar besides the chocolate chips so it results in a muffin with just the perfect amount of sweetness so I feel better when I eat more than one!

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1-2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (sweetened for a slightly sweeter muffin)
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 tbsp mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas and the peanut butter. You’re almost going to cream them together.
  3. Once that is combined, whisk in the baking powder, milk, vanilla, eggs, oatmeal and cooked quinoa. Stir in the chips once everything is mixed together.
  4. Spray your muffin tin with oil/Pam and pour batter into pan, about 1/4 per cup. They’ll be filled almost all the way.
  5. Place on middle rack for 20 minutes. Once they’re done, they may feel a little spongey so don’t worry but if you’re unsure, stick a toothpick in the middle and if it’s done, it’ll come out clean.
  6. Let these cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before enjoying.

Makes 15 muffins.

102 calories per muffin with 1 tbsp peanut butter.

comfort food, cook, food, kitchen, SAHM

Chicken gravy with biscuits

Not the best picture, but you get the idea.

This is one of my favorites my grandmother used to make and it was yesterdays dinner, it’s total comfort food to me. My grandmother from my father’s side was from Mexico, grew up in Arizona and eventually settled in California. They raised a family during the depression so these kinds of meals were cheap and had to feed a growing family of 5. This isn’t necessarily “Mexican food” but it’s her food and my comfort food.

My husband doesn’t always eat dinner and the kids aren’t old enough to eat food yet so, anyone is welcome to come over to help me eat this!

Ingredients: 

Chicken gravy

  • 1 large chicken leg (thigh attached), bone in
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into half again
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns (or 1/2 tsp ground pepper)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup of reserved chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 medium sized pot
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, defrosted

To cook the chicken- Place onion, peppercorns, garlic, salt and chicken into a pot; cover with water. Place on low heat and let chicken cook through, about an hour and a half.

Once chicken is cooked, place on a plate to cool. Strain broth and set aside. Shred chicken; this should yield about 2 cups.

To make gravy- Over medium heat, melt butter in the same dirty pot; once butter has melted sprinkle in flour and whisk to avoid lumps. Let the flour cook for about 1 1/2 minutes but make sure to keep an eye on it or else it will darken too much. This is going to make a lighter milk gravy. Once a minute has passed, whisk in broth and milk. Let this come to a boil, stir in salt and pepper. The gravy should be ready when you stick a spoon in, run your finger on the back of the spoon through the gravy. The line you just made should look like a ditch. Add more salt if needed then add in shredded chicken. Turn down heat to medium low, stir in peas and carrots and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Buttermilk biscuits- Williams Sonoma recipe

  •  1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup very cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (I usually just sub 1/4 cup corn starch for the flour)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup well chilled buttermilk ( I’ve used regular 2% milk with no problems)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir to mix. Add the butter and, using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk all at once, and mix just to moisten the ingredients. The dough will stiffen during mixing. It should be slightly shaggy, but not overly sticky or wet. DO NOT over mix or else the dough will become tough.
  3. Sprinkle a board with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the work bowl and turn out the dough; it will be very soft. Sprinkle the top with flour. With floured hands, gently knead the dough just a few times. Press and pat the dough into a loose rectangle about 1 1/2 inches thick. With a large spatula, fold the rectangle like a letter, overlapping the short sides in the middle to make 3 layers. *this is a KEY step for flaky biscuits*
  4. Roll or pat out the dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick, sprinkling a little flour beneath the dough as needed to prevent sticking. Using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out the biscuits by pushing the cutter straight down and lifting up without twisting. Cut as close together as possible. Pack together and reroll the scraps to cut out additional biscuits.
  5. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake until the biscuits are firm to the touch and the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 15-18 minutes.
  6. Let rest for a few minutes.

 

To  make the dish, just take 2 biscuits per plate, cut them in half and serve the gravy over the biscuits!