I never really ate tortillas much as a kid. I never really liked the taste of the store-bought ones. When we had taco nights, I would just mix up all my taco toppings and pick them up with tortilla chips and skip the flour tortilla.
Last summer when I was shopping at our local grocery store in New Orleans, I noticed that our grocery store sold homemade tortillas in the bakery section. I bought some and after trying those, I changed my opinion on flour tortillas. They were really tasty! Then of course, it occurred to me that I could make them at home myself and they would be even better! So I tried that. Now, I am officially addicted to homemade flour tortillas. Seriously. We’ve made them three times in the last few weeks. (and this recipe makes 12 and there are just 2 of us!)
You should definitely try this recipe! These are amazing!
homemade flour tortillas
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or you can use part whole wheat if you want to make them slightly healthier)
3/4 cup shortening (i used vegetable shortening)
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup lukewarm water
In a large bowl, blend the flour and shortening until the mixture resembles fine meal.
In a small bowl, mix the salt and the water until the salt has dissolved. Using the dough hook attachment of a stand mixer, add water/salt mixture to the flour mixture, mixing until the liquid is incorporated. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth. If you don’t have a stand mixer, stir the liquid into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, then knead by hand.
Divide the dough into 12 equally-sized pieces and roll each into a ball. Coat each ball with a thin coat of flour.
Roll each ball into a thin 8 inch round, as thin as you can get ‘em — this keeps them soft and pliable once they’re cooked. After you roll them out, you can take an 8” salad plate, turn it upside down on top of the circles, and cut off any excess around the edges. Voila! Perfect circles. Or if you don’t care if they are perfect or not, just leave them as is.
Cook each round in a heavy non-stick pan over medium-high heat, flipping once, until puffed and golden on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per tortilla. Or if you have a flat electric griddle, that works perfectly and you can cook 2 at a time.
Careful not to cook them too long or they will get crunchy and will break when you try to stuff them. (Although they will still taste delicious)
Here are step-by-step photos of the process as well:
Flour and shortening,
plus salt water equals dough.
Tear dough into 12 mounds,
then roll those into balls.
Coat dough balls and rolling pin in flour,
then roll into circles.
Set up the kitchen, assembly- line style, with plates for raw and cooked dough.
Let dough cook several minutes per side,
then flip to the other side. Dough will bubble up. It seems that in our case, ones made with part whole wheat flour bubbled up more.
Then before you know it, you have a kitchen full of delicious tortillas!
Great for breakfast burritos, normal burritos, quesadillas, covered in honey and cinnamon, or even just to snack on. (all of which I have made with these, by the way. I told you I was addicted!)
Drew and I made homemade chicken and dumplings for the first time tonight. I don’t know why we hadn’t ever before. They always sound so good. I always thought for some reason that dumplings would be hard or time-consuming to make, but they weren’t hard at all! Actually they were really easy and dinner was done pretty quick.
Here is how I made them:
-1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off and shredded (or around 3 cups cooked chicken)
-10 cups chicken/vegetable broth
-3 cups flour (and more for rolling surface)
-2 Tablespoons butter
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-salt to taste (I just shook some in)
-1 cup milk
In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. I didn’t have homemade chicken stock, so I used 4 cups vegetable broth, 4 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water mixed with two teaspoons chicken soup base. The flavor was really good with the combination of chicken and vegetable broth. I also added a little salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a mixer (or bowl) mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter, mix, and then add the milk. Form the dough into a ball.
Heavily flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll the dough out thin, or until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Dip a pizza cutter (or other cutter) into the flour and then cut dough into roughly 2×2 inch squares. Once your broth is boiling, take the dough squares one at a time, dip each side in flour and drop into the broth, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on the dumplings helps to thicken the broth.
Cook for about 20 minutes or until they aren’t doughy tasting when you bite into one. Once the dumplings are cooked, add in the shredded chicken and enjoy!
They were so tasty! The best dumplings I’ve ever had actually. I will definitely be making these again!
Goodness, it has been a long time since I’ve shared cooking and food related things on here! I’ve still been cooking just as much, if not more, but just haven’t gotten around to sharing those tasty things.
One night this week for dinner I made stuffed green bell peppers. There are many ways you can make them. My mom always made them with rice, I’ve had them with oatmeal before, and when I was visiting in France several years ago, my friend Anne-Nelly’s mom made them for dinner one night with Quinoa (she also made stuffed tomatoes, which are equally delicious!). If you’ve never used or heard of Quinoa before, it is a grain-like substance of little seeds, but when cooked is similar in consistency to rice or couscous. It is known for its nutritional value–high protein content, fiber, lysine and essential amino acid content, high in magnesium and iron and is gluten-free. It is great and easy in this recipe and is much healthier than using rice or oatmeal.
1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup dry quinoa and 1 jar (mine was a pint, because that is what I had, but a quart jar would work as well–if I had it I would have preferred the extra tomatoes of the quart size) of home canned tomatoes. You need at least two cups of liquid in with the quinoa, so depending on how much liquid was in your tomatoes, you might have to add extra water. With a pint jar of tomatoes, I ended up adding an extra cup of water. If you don’t have canned tomatoes, you can also use a jar of crushed tomatoes that you buy from the store or you could just cook the quinoa in water and add fresh tomatoes into the rest of the inside mixture (I’ve also used tomato sauce or paste before and my mom uses ketchup). Cook according to directions on quinoa, but most likely you will bring them to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
2. In a large skillet, brown 1 lb. hamburger (could also use ground turkey, sausage or whatever you prefer or leave out for a vegetarian option). Drain meat and add 1 onion, several cloves of garlic, and any chopped vegetables you would like (I added carrots to mine and the bits of green pepper around the tops I cut off) and cook until done. Also add salt, pepper, or other spices to taste.
3. Once quinoa is done, mix it in with meat and vegetable mixture.
4. Cut the tops off of your green peppers (this recipe should make 4-5 peppers, but I only had 3, so as you can see I had filling left over), place in baking or loaf pan and stuff peppers with filling mixture. You can also steam the peppers before baking if you want, but I’ve never done so. If you have extra filling, stuff it around outside of peppers in baking pan.
5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or so, until bell peppers are tender. You can also add cheese to the tops in the last few minutes of baking.
All due credit given to my wonderful older sister, Blair, for her yummy home grown and home canned tomatoes. Oh and also to Drew, who put the peppers in the oven and monitored them while I went to my Pilates class. That is also why they are a little burned on top! ;)
If you live in New Orleans, here is exactly what you should do today:
Get in your car. Head down St. Charles Avenue. Admire the pretty houses, the canopy of live oak trees, and the lovely summer sunshine. (All from your air conditioned vehicle, no less) Turn up your radio and sing along. Preferably to country music, although I won’t discriminate if you chose to alter the radio station in this equation. Mostly though, watch the road. I like safe drivers. Turn onto First Street. Admire more houses here in the Garden District. Park on the street between Chestnut Street and Camp Street. Walk the last block to Magazine Street. Stop when you get to Magazine Street and take in the amazingness that is Magazine Street Po-Boy Shop. Walk in, walk up to the counter and order the regular roast beef po-boy, dressed, with a glass of ice water. Pay the man your $5.25 (+tax) and take a seat. Wait a few moments and then behold the wonderful delicacy that they bring to your table:
Engulf the first half so fast that you can barely breathe. Then remember to get out your phone and take a picture of the second half of the sandwich goodness. The soft bread with its slightly crunchy toasted outside, the roasted beef with delicious gravy, lettuce, tomato, mayo and pickles…mmmm. Finish your sandwich and resist the urge to lick the remaining gravy off your plate. Then drive back home and reward yourself with another cookie.
At least that is what I did today. :)
But seriously, Magazine Street Po-boy’s Roast Beef Po-boys are the best, you have to try them. If you don’t live in New Orleans, well that kind-of stinks for you. If you want to know more about Po-boys, see here.
We made good use of our condo’s kitchen all week long eating-in, but we did go out one night. We stayed in Perdido Key, Florida but we drove over to Gulf Shores, Alabama to visit Lucy Buffett’s restaurant. (that is Jimmy Buffett’s sister for all you Jimmy Buffett fans out there)
It is quite the establishment. It is on a marina and hosts lots of activities. They have little gift shops, sand patches for kids to play on, several bands, tiki drink huts, the main restaurant and several other patio areas to eat at, and they have this huge jungle-gym-rope-climbing thing.
The jungle-gym-rope-climbing thing was covered with little kids, so I just assumed it was for little kids without paying much attention to what it actually was. Evie decided that she wanted to go (we had a long wait for a table) and since she was a couple inches too short, she had to be accompanied, so Blair decided to go with her. Jill and I decided, what-the-heck, we might as well join them too.
Little did I realize that it was a little scarier than I initially thought.
You were hanging from a rope thing, so it wasn’t like you were going to fall to the ground if you fell off the ropes, but I also didn’t want to fall off of them and just be hanging there from my harness waiting to be rescued.
Some of the obstacles were just a little rope you had to walk across while it was swinging back and forth.
They also really hurt your feet. I think it would have been better with tennis shoes instead of being barefoot.
I’m not really sure how all those little kids were jumping across everything so fast. They were fearless, I tell you.
Evie realized pretty quickly just what she had gotten herself into. I think she was a little freaked out.
I think she did enjoy it a little too. She made it across several of the courses and then went back down to hang out with Mimi, Pops, Kelsey and G.
She did go up pretty high though before she came down. She was really brave!
Blair came back up after dropping Evie off to finish the rest of the course.
All the while, G sat with Kelsey and watched from below. I’m not sure what she was eating here.
She is so cute! I bought the dress she is wearing for Evie when she was little.
Then of course we got called to our table while we were all up in the air.
I would say, in my opinion, that the night was definitely fun–spent with family in a fun atmosphere–but I wasn’t overly impressed with the food. I had grilled fish, and it tasted super rubbery and bland. Blair’s fish tacos were good though and so was mom’s Cheeseburger in Paradise. :)
Plus we ended up with the only group picture of us from the whole week. Look at that bunch. :)
It has been super hot in Drew’s apartment the last few evenings, so to get a little break from the heat, Drew suggested we go have some ice cream. We decided to go to the Baskin Robbins that is just a few blocks away. To our surprise when we arrived, we learned that it was 31 cent scoop night! Awesome! I got two scoops in a sugar cone, one Butter Pecan and the other Creole Cream Cheese (my two favorites!) and Drew got two scoops in a cup, one Butter Pecan and one Icing on the Cake! How fitting! (although he said it wasn’t as good as the name suggested) Our total for a sugar cone and 4 scoops of ice cream: $1.36. What a perfect little outing!
Completely disregard the fact that this is in no way a flattering picture of myself. It was like 10:00 at night and I hadn’t felt that great all day. Plus I have no trace of make-up on. But whatever, there are bigger things to worry about and Drew looks cute. (although he really needs a haircut!)
You should definitely look into seeing if your local Baskin Robbins has a 31 cent night! It was pretty tasty and it is to honor America’s firefighters. More info on it here.
Lately, my face has been breaking out a lot. I think its been mostly due to the high amount of stress that I’ve had lately with school and all that. I feel like I’m back in middle school! I’ve used Proactiv the past couple years and I just feel like it is full of chemicals that are too harsh for my skin. I’m not a big fan of chemicals. Not using them in products or eating things full of them, etc. I like things natural. So anyway, I’ve been looking out for natural facial products. One day I got on the internet to look up natural cures for acne, most of which listed a combination of vitamins A and E and aloe vera. We have an aloe plant, so I’ve broken off small pieces of it lately and rubbed that directly on my face.
Today we had errands to run so we stopped by to check out some vitamins. I saw some multivitamins that were for hair, skin and nail health. I thought about those, but ended up with this:
I really wanted vitamins or vitamin cremes or something that I could apply directly to my face, since I thought that would be more effective rather than just vitamin supplements. I found this bottle of grapeseed oil that says that it is 100% pure sensitive skin care–a light silky moisturizer for all skin types. It claims to be useful as an all-natural moisturizer aiding in protection from premature aging and in reducing the effects of acne. It also says that it can be used as a base for lotions or even as a conditioner for all hair types. I love the multi-use quality of natural products! This was only $9.99 for a 16 oz. bottle; a whole lot cheaper than any other moisturizer and so much healthier!
I also got some E-ointment which has both vitamin E and Aloe Vera in it. It is good for dry skin, wrinkles, stretch marks and to soften fine lines and scars. My older sister, Blair, used it a few years ago to rub on her foot after she had surgery. I like to use it as chapstick. It is perfect to rub on your lips for a pure lip moisturizer. If you want to make it easier to tote around, just put some in a little tub for make-up or something. I know I have a few little tubs from Bare Essentials that they gave me when I purchased some eye shadow a few years ago. They use them for sample eye shadows. I’m sure you can buy them somewhere too. It was only $5.99 for that 2 oz jar and that will last me quite a while!
As you can see, I also picked up some vitamin A supplements as well. They were only $2.99 and are “essential for normal vision and healthy skin” as the bottle says. Be careful when you go to the store to look at see what the ingredients are in the vitamins and things that you buy. Some aren’t organic and have other things added into them. The more natural and pure, the better.
After leaving there, we went to Borders Bookstore. Both of the ones in the New Orleans area are closing, so they had a big sale going on. We should have gone sooner, because most of the books and furniture were already gone, but we did get a couple books:
Do It Gorgeously was already on my book list! I was actually going to get it for my older sister for Christmas last Christmas, but they didn’t have it at the bookstore when I was Christmas shopping and I had other books that I wanted to get her and got her instead. It says “How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products.” That is totally my style. It has homemade recipes for beauty products and skin care, sewing tips and how-to’s, food recipes, ways to save energy, lifestyle tips, gardening tips, how to be nifty and thrifty, how to get out certain stains and clean certain things and even exercise tips. It is definitely a neat book!
I haven’t had time to look through it a lot, but I was just flipping through and saw some of the skin care section. It has different skincare regimens based on your skin type. It gives natural recipes for cleanser, toner, moisturizer, balancing oil, exfoliators, sunscreens, eye-makeup remover, eye serums, eye gels, skin masks, acne gels, hand sanitizer, lotions and even deodorant and mouthwash! It even gives recipes for insect repellent, PMS reliever, cough syrup, and other natural health remedies. All made with natural vitamins and ingredients! Plus all those were just from a couple pages of the book. It really makes me want to make everything I use!
Drew’s brother’s girlfriend, Trang, has a friend who only eats raw food. It is a whole special diet. More about it, here. Trang has posted several things on her blog that they have made and they look good and it really intrigues me how healthy the raw diet is. I saw this cookbook all about raw desserts and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to give some raw recipes a try. I really want to make the nut flour in this book to use in stuff. If you are skeptical about the raw diet, here are a few pictures from the book:
Don’t these vanilla macaroons look awesome!
Look at these yummy fruit crepes!
Even raw brownies!
I definitely have a lot of new recipes to try in here! Yummy desserts that are healthier for you? I’m totally in on that one!
The last book we got was another cookbook all about Southern cooking. As much as the raw diet sounds neat, I couldn’t completely give up all those yummy deep south staples. I’ve already read through quite a bit of this one and the woman who wrote it is so interesting! All these recipes are from her own family collection. They all sound delicious! So delicious in fact, that we just had to make one for dinner since our mouths were watering just looking through it!
We ended up making:
We used her family recipe for fried chicken planks and we made mashed potatoes (the first time I’ve made them this whole semester!), corn and fresh green beans to go along with it. They were amazing! We also followed her recipe to make southern “comeback sauce” which tastes pretty much identical to Louisiana’s Raising Cane’s sauce! (Raising Cane’s makes a big deal about their sauce being a secret recipe) We both really like their sauce and it is great now that we can make it at home! (for those that don’t know, Raising Cane’s is a really good somewhat fast food restaurant that is known in Louisiana for their chicken strips and Cane’s sauce. It started in Baton Rouge and is really good!)
With dinner we used our new cloth napkins that we got yesterday. I’ve been meaning to make some for a while, but we saw these at T.J. Maxx yesterday and I liked the pattern and they were only a few dollars for a pack of four. They match the chartreuse green that we have in some of the accents in our kitchen and they will be much more economical than paper napkins! I’ve got some other fabrics that I’m going to make some more in the same size to go along with these.
Here is a closer look at part of the pattern.
We’ve only got three daisies left from my flowers that Drew bought me a few weeks ago! They still look pretty though for being out so long.
Lastly, we also got a new bottle for our olive oil yesterday. Drew broke the topper on our old one and we couldn’t get it off to put more olive oil in it. I love the curvy shape of this one! It is from World Market.
Please excuse the dirty stove! Isn’t the oil pretty in this bottle? It goes well with our chartreuse kitchen accents!
Anyway, I’ve been babbling on long enough! Today was a pretty fun day. I also got the research done that I needed to do for my Medieval England History paper. Now I just have to write it. But I think I’m going to go try out my new grapeseed oil moisturizer first. :)