March 30, 2009

Penne with bacon wrapped Shrimp w/tomato, garlic white wine sauce

This dish was absolutely amazing. My girlfriend Jessica had recently watched an episode of Rachel Ray where they made this sort of dish and she could not wait to try it out. We did not need much. Just some garlic, onion - white and red, white wine, tomatoes (in Rachel ray they used cherry tomatoes- but the store did not have them) white wine, some bacon and some shrimp. We would have used the larger shrimp but the cocktail shrimp was all that was at this particular super.

We used spices like salt, pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning, Pappy's (obviously)and fresh from my garden we used basil- which is growing great here - and parsley.

This dish only used 2 pots which I love and the kids asked for seconds. The only thing that would make this a 100% guilt free meal is whole wheat pasta but I have not found that yet.

The first part is the only pain in the butt. You trim all or most of the fat from the bacon and wrap each piece of shrimp. . Again, we would have rather used larger shrimp but the pescaderia was not open. So we had to settle for cocktail shrimp but it was still bomb.

Fry the bacon wrapped shrimp until a little crispy in a large saute pan. Once they are brown on all sides transfer to a dish to drain. In the same pan saute onion, red onion, garlic, and tomatoes. We used 1 whole red onion, 1 small white onion, 1 small head of garlic, and 8 or so tomatoes. In the Rachel Ray one they used the little cherry ones and put them in and let them burst open. We seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, italian seasoning & Pappy's. I went the my little herb pots ad grabbed a bunch of basil leaves and parsley leaves and threw them in at the last minute.

This dish was so good. It was the perfect dish to end what has been an amazing day. And this dish cost only 200 pesos and we bought every ingredient. And we have a ton for lunch tomorrow and were able to drink 2 glasses of wine with the rest of the bottle. PERFECT!!!! It was so good.

March 28, 2009

How I am going to do... Each day at a time.

Okay, so here is something scary. Since I have moved to Mexico I am losing my battle against fresh corn tortillas. Even as active as we are I have still gained weight. Well, for my 30th birthday this year I am going to give myself 2 gifts. The first is to actually loose the 15-20 lbs that I really need and want to. The other is the tattoo that I have been wanting for over 5 years now.

In October there is tattoo expo in Merida and Refried Dreamer and her husband will be there. I am also dying to go to Merida for a weekend. I said that I would not get my tattoo until I am at a happier weight. As a part of losing this weight I will be doing 4 major changes, although I really only see 3 of them really happening.

1) to run to town each morning to the fruiteria and polloria and get the needed items for that days food and the next days breakfast (except for eggs, we will get those at the "corner store" in our neighborhood. and then brisk walk home.

2) do stretches each morning and each evening on the roof of the house. Once we get our roof set up it will be nice spot to do this.

3) update everyday on my blog the following information...
Date: _____ # of Calories consumed: ______
# of glasses of water: _____ Did I run: _____
#of cups of coffee: _____ Did I stretch AM: _____
# of sodas: _____ Did I stretch PM: _____

I figure that this is a way to really embarrass myself and really hold me accountable. I hope that it works.

and 4) stop putting sugar and milk in my coffee. This could only be worth it would good coffee and I cannot afford good coffee. I might as well spend that money on Splenda.

I hope that this works. I really want that tattoo for my birthday.

March 27, 2009

Huevos Rancheros & Chorizo & Egg Burritos

I love huevos rancheros. It is one of my favorite meals. I had a friend visiting recently and this was all she wanted to eat while she was here. I love this recipe. It is so easy to make.

In a small sauce pan I sauteed some onion and bell pepper. On my blog you will rarely see actual measurements. I think it is to each his own and add what you like. I have a very iron chef approach to cooking. Anyway... Saute onion and bell pepper (I used red this time) in a little oil. Once soft I added salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper along with2-3 cloves of chopped garlic and 1/2 a chopped jalapeno. I would have use the whole jalapeno as it was not very spicy but we were also feeding the kids. Once that was all blended together I added some chopped tomatoes and a little tomato paste and a touch of water to thin it out.

Meanwhile in another pan I heated through a can of re fried beans. Many times I will make a large pot of beans - pinto or black and keep them in the fridge. Making them from scratch is easy, much cheaper and allows you to add a lot of flavor like cooked bacon,onion, garlic etc.

Then it was time to fry the tortillas. This is fast and easy. Simply heat some oil and throw in the corn tortilla. Once it starts to bubble a little, flip it over. Once it starts to bubble on the other side get ready to take it out. I like my tortillas a little crisp for this so I leave them in for another minute.

Start plating by spreading some beans on each tortilla ( you can double them up if you want but it adds a lot of extra oil and beans and tortilla instead of all of the fresh stuff so we do not. Add some of the cooked salsa to the beans and top with a soft to medium cooked egg.

Add a little more salsa and some avocado. I would have added queso fresco if I had it but I did not. Bummer. This is a filling breakfast and all parts of it can be made in larger batches and saved (well, not the eggs and tortillas) We almost always have a pot of beans and some salsa in the fridge ready to make more or any other meal.

My friends boyfriend love huevos con chorizo so once the eggs were cooked, I threw in some chorizo and fried it up and then added some eggs. I served this on a warm flour tortilla with some beans, the chorizo and eggs mixture and some salsa and avocado.

My husband is of course the person who wants both so needless to say he was very happy. But it ended up being 2 meals in one

March 26, 2009

My garden is Growing!!!

I had lost faith for a little while that nothing was going to happen with my garden. I have never really done a whole lot of gardening before except for house plants- which I had a ton of! But, so long as they are green they are fine. Fruits and veggies are so much more full of expectation.

I started the seeds back in late January. I had everything from onions, tomatoes, peppers (the top most important thing in any Mexican garden!!!) as well as corn, pumpkin, carrots, herbs --- all sorts of stuff.

When we planted them in the garden we got some serious rain down here. This ran a whole bunch of the seeds together. So other then the pumpkin, corn and tomatoes I am not really sure what any of the stuff that is growing is. Not to mention that since we get our dirt from the jungle (via the store!) things pop up out of nowhere.

My tomatoes plants grew a few inches tall and then just sat there for weeks and weeks. I asked Ruben's dad and he said that they were gaining strength and would grown with strong stems.

That is what is happening. The tomato plants grew almost over night and now are doing great. Now all sorts of stuff is popping up. I am very curious to see what it is going to be. hehehe

March 15, 2009

Caramelized Fried Plantains w/ shredded coconut

At the fruiteria we bought some tiny little plantains. The kids and I were in the mood for something sweet so we came up with this recipe. It has all things I like so I was sure that it was going to be good.

I started by putting some flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. After cutting the bananas (we did some length wise and other simple circles) we coat the bananas with the flour mixture.

I threw some butter in a pan and let it melt. I then threw in some brown sugar and then added the coated bananas. I let them cook pretty long so they had a nice brown color. I added shredded coconut and some more brown sugar to the tops of the bananas.

After a little while I flipped the bananas and let them cook on the other side. Once they were good and brown and a little crispy I put them on a plate to cool. The carmel on the bananas cooled and made a sort of hard shell.

It was so good to bite into and then get to the creamy banana on the inside. This would be very good on ice cream or in a crepe. But I liked them as just a bite sized treat. The kids also loved them. But then again, how could not love plantains, brown sugar, butter and coconut!

Chicken and veggies with Thai chili sauce

This is sort of like chicken soup with out the soup. I would usually serve this with rice but we did not have any. That was a good thing because we really are trying to eat less rice and bread and tummy pouch causing foods.

So this dish starts with the same ingredients that I usually buy and the fruiteria. We always buy the same basics and then a few random things. As always, I used my mini-chopper (my favorite kitchen helper) to chop up some onion, red pepper, garlic and jalapeno. I cut up some broccoli, carrots and cauliflower and got all my spices out and ready. I have decided that a major part of my joy of cooking is dependant on preparing all of my foods. It also makes the dishes easier.

This dish was also nice because it was all cooked in 1 pan.

I started by making a little chicken stock. Once that was ready I put it in a bowl to the side and started on the veggies. I sauteed the onion, red pepper, and jalapeno until soft. I then added the chicken and the garlic. I let that cook just for a moment and then added the chicken stock.

After allowing it to cook for a few more minutes I added the carrots. I have really been focusing more on when and how long I let certain veggies cook because I have noticed how much more I enjoy slightly crispy veggies.

In goes in the broccoli and cauliflower. At all sorts of random times I add salt, pepper, Pappy's and and Thai sweet chili sauce. (I love this sauce)

Once everything was cooked it was ready to eat. We pulled all of the food out and left the liquid. After serving up the kids I added some more chili sauce to spice it up.

There was some left overs and it reheated on the stove very easily. We do not have a microwave so we reheat everything on the stove. This reheated very well.

March 14, 2009

"make it work" slip cover

When we left the United States we left just about everything that was not breathing. Along with all of that stuff was our nice furniture. When we got to Mexico we bought our neighbors furniture. The sofa and chair are in terrible shape. I have been using our queen size sheets that I brought from the USA as slip covers. I would be using them as sheets but we only have a double bed.

Well, I have been getting really sick of fixing the slip cover every time someone sits down. So I came up with something that helps a lot.

I took the flat sheet and cut it length wise so each end could cover the seat and back portion of the sofa and chair. I then cut the fitted sheet into 4 sections. The corner sections fit really well on the arms of the sofa. It makes it so much easier to fix the sheet when they get messed up which is not nearly enough.

I am currently using another unused sheet to cover the pillows on the sofa. This is just because I do not like the orange cover that is on the pillow. When I come back from the USA I will bring some new fabric and recover things. I will post new pics.

It is ghetto but it works. And when you have NO money... you make it work.

March 10, 2009

Tortilla Soup

Okay, there is this one place in Playa del Carmen that has wonderful tortilla soup. It is very creamy and warms you up. We had it the other day and I have been craving it ever since. I looked up a few recipes and sort of combined some and made adjustments.
Today at the fruteria we got the stuff we needed and a bunch of fruit I have never had. We are going to branch out and try new things. For breakfast I am planning on making some sort of tropical fruit and plantain crepe situation.

But tonight it was tortilla soup. Since the pain in my hands teeters between awful and absolutely unbearable, I use my mini chopper all the time. For just about everything. So in went my onion, red bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno. I threw that in some oil to soften.

I chopped up 2 tomatoes, -(next time I will use more) and threw those in too. I added some cumin and a little salt and pepper.

After about 3-4 minutes I added some chicken stock. I had made some chicken soup from scratch the other day and had set this aside. I let it boil for a and cook down.

In another saute pan I heated some oil and fried some tortilla strips. While they were draining on a towel I threw on a little salt and pappy's seasoning.

To plate the soup I put a little handful of tortilla strips, spooned some soup, added some chopped avocado, a squeeze of lime and some fresh cilantro (from my garden!!! YEAH!!!)
*** If I would have had queso fresco I would have put that on top- possibly crema as well (Mexican sour cream) But we did not. Chicken would have been really good in this too***

The kids loved this soup as well. I want to eat the last of it but I know that Ruben will want to have some of this when he gets home from work.

Ruben had a good idea... he said that he would blend it with some tortillas and then put a few strips for garnish. This would make it easy to reheat as well.

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