Saturday, February 26, 2011

The latest :-)

So if any of you saw my post about Tortas here is what I did with the leftovers! 
For breakfast the next day we made Molletes! (an open faced Mexican pizza.)  (Kind of like a french bread pizza) Like I said before this is a breakfast version so we did the black refried beans, eggs, Chorizo, cheese and salsa. Then I broiled them.  So hearty and so filling! So anyway I just had to share that :-)

So I have been thinking a lot lately about how food prices are going up.  Gas prices etc.  I have been feeling more and more that I don't want to be a slave to stores and be more self sufficient.  OK before you start thinking I am a fanatic I want you to know that I really am just  a regular person like you.  I am just learning more and more as my family has been affected by the bad economy that things I used to think I could only buy at the store I can make easily and it is much more healthy! Like the Chorizo I made the other night.  I would have never guessed I could make my own Chorizo!

And today My daughter and I made our own  Wheat Thins!

I love wheat thins!  and I can't believe how it cost us just pennies to make at home compared to what you pay at the store and they taste so close to the real thing without all of the preservatives!  I found the recipe here

Some other easy to make good snacks to make for your family are granola bars, tortilla chips, graham crackers, I am still discovering others :-)

I don't know if you remember that I have Chickens (only hens).   We got them last spring.  They started laying eggs in August and have layed all winter.  I can't tell you how nice it has been to never be out of eggs!  And they taste so much better! 

Now my latest venture is starting to get ready for my garden this spring.  I have it all planned out and I have been itching to get my hands in the earth.  Winter just go away already! I am already starting some of the cool weather veggies inside. Like lettuce, Leeks, green onions, spinach, etc.  I planted them last Saturday and I already have little starts coming up from my onions and lettuce! You can find supplies at the dollar store to start your seedlings.
                                                                           butter crunch lettuce
                                                      green bunch onions

I have done kiddie pool gardens the last two years because I don't like to deal with weeds, but this year I am going to try Lasagna Gardening.  It is supposed to have minimal weeds by using this gardening technique also.  Check out the link above and There is another good link here.  You may be interested too :-)  This year I want to pretty much grow all the things my family will eat veggie wise. I also want to grow herbs and more Strawberries.  I actually want to grow strawberries on the parking strip in front of my house, but I worry that I may not be ambitious enough to do that, but It is an idea I have been kicking around for a couple of years now.  I have heard lately that due to different natural disasters around the world that there have and will continue to be produce shortages. Prices will go way up or things will not be as available so I have decided as many of the rest of you have that as much as I can grow myself the better all around!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Have you ever had a Torta?

    So I am on the HCG diet.  For anyone who knows what I am talking about I am on my third round and I have about 4 more days left of the strict diet phase and then 3 weeks of the no starches phase and then happily after that the eat normal, but sensible phase!  I am really excited to start eating normally again! For anyone who is not familiar with HCG it is a crazy diet where you take injections of a pregnancy hormone every day and eat a very strict diet of certain foods for 40 0r 21 days depending on how much weight you need to lose, but It was worth it  being a little deprived for a while to  get down another 30 lbs in a month in a half :-)
Any how! My family loves it when I am on the strict phase because they say I cook a lot of really yummy meals.  I just make them what I am craving that day and wish that I could eat.  My latest phase has been Mexican food!
    I watched a cooking show a few weeks ago on how to makeTortas (a Mexican sandwich that street vendors sale in Mexico).  I had never heard of them before, but It looked so so yummy to me!  I have been craving one for weeks!  So the last couple of days I have been researching recipes!
So first I learned that Tortas are made on Mexican rolls called Bolillos. I found a recipe to make my own here and here , but I lucked out and happened to find a big bag of them at WalMart on sale for $1.50, but I still want to try my hand at making them on my own sometime.
I cut these in half  being careful to leave a hinge on one side. You can cut them completely in half and have them be open faced kind of like a Mexican style of french bread pizza.  (They are actually called molletes.) Any way back to the Tortas! other recipes say to dig out the soft bread part, but I did not have the heart to dig out all that good soft bread so I kept it in.  Then you spread refried beans on the bottom half of the roll.( I like to use black refried beans.  I like the flavor better)
Next I wanted to Make mine be a breakfast Torta so I chose eggs for my  next layer.  I cooked up 8 eggs enough for 5 people. ( I got My eggs from my own back yard chickens by the way. So much better then the ones you buy at the store) I seasoned them with salt, pepper and half a small can of green chili's. I also added a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese. ( I did not add milk to these eggs since it was for a sandwich)
My next layer was Chorizo ( Mexican pork sausage).  I have used Chorizo before that I bought from the store and mixed  with scrambled eggs for Mexican breakfast tacos. Those are really yummy to by the way!  Find the recipe here.  But in my research yesterday I found out that Chorizo often has Lymph nodes, saliva glands and other strange parts ground up in it in the store bought kind. Yuck! I have been eating this stuff!  Any way there are a billion different versions and recipes all over online to make your own and it is really easy!  I chose this recipe.  I tweaked it a little bit and and used ground pork and I switched out the Vinegar with lemon juice and added another tablespoon of paprika.  It took me about 10 min to put together and it sat in the fridge for about 24 hours so the flavors could blend well. 
It ends up looking like a thick paste like this.

But after you cook it up It looks like this :-) I cooked mine up with dried minced onions

Then my next layer was cheese.  Then I added a  lettuce and I would add tomato too, but my family does not like fresh tomatoes so I left it out this time (their loss!). And they say a Torta is not a Torta with out avocados or guacamole.  so I made some guacamole.  Make sure your avocados are not too hard.  When you press on them they should have some give to them. , but not be too squishy.
I don't like to add too much to my guacamole.  Less is more I think when it comes to guacamole.  I just season mine with salt, pepper, onion powder, a little garlic powder and a little bit of lime juice (not too much)  Sorry the color came out strange on my camera.  The guacamole looked much better in person :-)

I topped it off with Salsa and spread Sour cream on the top half of the Bolillo roll and shut that big boy up!   Here is how they turned out!
And here was the end result of my 10 year old sons plate who is known for leaving most of his dinner behind on his plate So that tells you they were a  big hit with my family :-)
To bad I could not have one :-( Ho Hum!  Oh well I will get to try one in about 3 weeks :-)
Any way there are a lot of other ways you can make them browse around and google it.  You can use beef , chicken , shrimp, ham  anything you want as your main center.  Anywat I had fun researching this popular Mexican sandwich and I hope you give it a try!  Once you bite into one you will be glad that you did :-)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A framed heart!

My family was able to take a quick break and go down to Southern Utah last weekend. The temps were in the 60 degrees :-)  That was heaven compared to the 20 or below degree weather we have been experiencing up here in Northern Utah for forever it seems!  Any way  On the way there (4 1/2 hour trip) I worked some magic on a small straw decorative heart I found at D.I. 

I wish I had taken pics to document the process, but I basically wrapped the whole heart with Jute (sp?) rope and then I took some medium red ribbon  and med red polka dot ribbon and cut them in 3 inch strips.  I stitched large stitches by hand on one side of each strip of ribbon and then pulled the thread and gathered it until it  formed a donut shape (looked like a little flower)and then I sewed them on one at a time by hand onto the jute string (quite close to eachother) on one side of the heart.  I know this explanation is quite poor so if you have any questions just ask.
I have also been looking for a cute frame to put on my front door to hang seasonal decorations in the center.  I was happy to score this frame at D.I. on the same day I found the straw heart.  It was the perfect size and look that I have been looking for! I still need to antique it some, but I could not wait to show you all  the finished project with the heart and frame combined ;-) 

 Now I just need to add big fat red bow above the heart on the frame to hide the hook it is haning on ;-)