Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Munchie Night and a Delicious Gift!

The other night we changed things up a bit for dinner. We cuddled together in front of the TV and had munchies instead of a formal meal. I was very excited to try out an idea i learned from Hungry Girl. Wonton Tacos!

These tiny tacos are fun, delicious, and perfect for little ones (though my 5 year-old ate three of them...).

To make these, you'll need a package of won ton wrappers. They are refrigerated, usually near the tofu in your local grocery store.

You'll also need whatever it is you like in a regular taco - ground beef cooked with taco seasoning, salsa, sour cream (we like ranch dressing!), lettuce, tomatoes, olives, peppers, onions, whatever! 

To make your shells, spray the edges, inside and out, of a 9x13 cake pan with cooking spray. Drape your won ton wrappers over the edges on a diagonal (don't overlap them).

Bake them at 350 for 3-5 minutes, or until slightly brown.

voila! (the ones on the left are a little underdone... but they worked okay). While they cool, chop up your ingredients - even the lettuce.

Throw all your ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Something liquid like salsa, sour cream, or ranch dressing REALLY helps hold things together so they don't fall out as easily when you eat.

Be VERY careful stuffing the shells, or you'll end up with this...

Even so, you can just top them with filling and eat it like a chip!
Enjoy your tasty, snackalicious dinner! My boys were crazy about them!
And for dessert, we made these.

Delicious, and oh so addicting!! Man, i love S'mores!

They were just too adorable, and i instantly thought of  the wonderful ladies who run my boys' play group. The group runs through the summer, so there was no end of school celebration, and i kinda missed teacher appreciation week, but i wanted to give them a couple of these as a small token of our appreciation. You can give teachers gifts anytime, right?

So i put two S'mores in a snack size ziploc bag.

Then i got out some pretty paper and cut a bit off the long side so they measured 6 1/2 in x 11 in.

(not the paper i used for the gifts, but just for illustration purposes)
Folded it in half:

then folded the top (the creased edge) down about 1 1/2 in and stapled it over the zipper part of the bag.

then i printed off a couple of labels, saying "Happy Summer!" for one side and instructions for cooking the S'mores for the other.

For the curious - the rectangle was 1 in. x 6 in. and the oval was 3 in. x 6 in. Cut them out, glue them on and we're done!!

Sweet treats for our sweet teachers!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bruschetta Scrambled Eggs

sorry for the poor photo quality - my kitchen is dark

Tried this out for lunch yesterday, and i had to make it again for breakfast today. A delicious protein-packed breakfast (or lunch or dinner) to get you going! And friendly to my diet - pair it with a slice of toast with low-fat margarine and the whole meal runs you roughly 300 calories.

Bruschetta Scrambled Eggs (serves 1)

2 large eggs (or save calories and fat by replacing with 4 egg whites or 1/2 c. Egg Beaters)
1 slice of bacon (or 1 tablespoon real bacon bits - see tip below)
1/2 of a large ripe tomato
1/4 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop your tomato and mince your garlic.

I'm not a big fan of mincing, so some of the pieces might be a bit big. I was too lazy to get out the hand chopper because i didn't want to clean it. 

Next, chop your bacon and fry in frying pan on the stove. ** Tip: We eat a lot of eggs in our house, and we love bacon, so I like to have bacon bits on hand to just throw in the scramble or omelet. What i do is i cook up a pound of bacon nice and crisp, put the pieces on paper towels to cool (and to suck up the grease), then crumble it up and stick it in a jar. Voila, real bacon bits whenever you need 'em!

So if your bacon was cooked beforehand, throw a teaspoon of margarine in a small or medium frying pan and add the bacon to it to warm it up.

Once the bacon is cooked, add the minced garlic and mix in with the bacon, cooking for about a minute.

Beat together the eggs, basil, salt and pepper in separate bowl. Add to frying pan with bacon and garlic

Stir eggs until almost completely cooked. Add tomatoes and cook for another minute or two.

We think it's best piled on a piece of toast! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Long Time No See!! (With Homemade Tortillas)

I think we're just going to have to face the fact that i won't be updating this blog as often as i'd hoped. At least not until summer is over. Things are pretty chaotic here, and i've been focusing a lot on my family and my fitness (back on Spark again, working hard and feeling great!).

Today, i'm sharing a recipe that marked another milestone in my culinary skills: Homemade tortillas.

I don't know why i've always been afraid to make tortillas. Even with my current efforts to make as many of the foods we eat as possible, and the fact that i now make all of our bread and buns instead of buying them, i've always figured we'd just buy our tortillas, because i didn't know how to make them and just assumed they'd be difficult.

How easy they are!! I spent half an hour down in my kitchen this afternoon making up a whole bunch! You know how much they charge here in town for a bag of tortillas?? $3.49!! Know how much it cost to make them myself?? mere cents! (i haven't done the math, but you get my point)

Anyway, the recipe that inspired me is found here at A Bird and a Bean.While those ones sounded super yummy, my calorie counting required something a little lighter. After some research of other recipes, i found that it wasn't a huge deal to cut down the calories, and made some adjustments accordingly. If you're not concerned about calories, feel free to head on over there for the recipe and method (check out their homemade Cheez-Its while you're there  - those are on my list!). If you, like me, need something diet-friendly, stick around here.

Wheat Tortillas
 2 1/2 c. flour (white or wheat- or substitute a non-wheat flour if you prefer)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 c. hot water

Combine the dry ingredients. Add oil and stir until mixture is flaky. Pour in hot or very warm water (start with 1/2 cup and add more as you need it). Stir until very soft dough forms. Let sit for about ten minutes.

Preheat skillet or griddle (i had my griddle up to 425, the highest it would go). Divide the dough into balls - I divided it into 16, which made the tortillas pretty small (about 5 1/5 - 6 1/2 inches wide), but make fewer if you want them bigger.

Carefully roll out on floured surface.

I used a LOT of flour, because my dough was very soft and a bit sticky. It allowed me to make the tortillas almost paper thin, which i think worked out just great (i don't like really thick tortillas) - if they stick to the table, then the tortilla will tear. badly. Make them as thin as you can safely get them.

Place on ungreased skillet or griddle and cook for a minute or two. I didn't time them, since they didn't take very long, i just watched them. When the top starts to get bubbly, it's time to flip it:

I know, i know, that one on the right is looking pretty sad. It takes skill to get them perfectly round.

Don't cook them too long, or they'll crisp up (which, actually, is pretty nice too - like chips!). If you use lots of flour like i did, they won't be very brown until they're way overcooked. BUT if they do come out a bit too crispy, wrap a stack of them in plastic while still warm and let them sit for a while - the moisture will soften them up.

We're using these for tacos tonight. I like that they're small, because they are the perfect size for our kids, and it also means i get to have TWO tacos instead of just one (calorie counting is such a drag on taco night)!

Incidentally, if you're curious, one tortilla (if you make 16) runs you roughly 80 calories, 1g of fat, 15g carbs, and 2g protein.

Happy eating!!