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

makes 12 tortillas, recipe from fearless homemaker, (originally adapted from mexican made easy, as seen on kitchen meets girl)

ingredients

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

directions

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.

Enjoy! :)

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.

I love summer. The sunshine, the flowers and trees, the warmth, the color, etc. I also love summer for its food. Fresh veggies, fresh herbs, berries, lemonade, etc.

One thing this summer is quite different though. It is the first summer that I haven’t lived at home. (apart from one summer that I was in Europe for a month and a half in high school) It has really been different. I’m enjoying being in New Orleans and being able to settle in and get the house put together so that when school starts I’m already settled and ready for the school year. I like that I have the time to see things in New Orleans that I don’t have time for when I’m in school. I’m glad that I still get to see Drew (since he would have been in New Orleans for school/work no matter if I was here or at home) and that we can work on wedding planning together.

But there are a lot of things I miss about home, especially now that it is summertime. I miss my sisters and my family of course, but I also miss our land a lot. I miss the relaxing breeze through the trees with no one else around, I miss our flower gardens and herb gardens and big vegetable garden and having all those fresh foods to cook with. I miss being inside with so many windows around that you feel like you are outside, I miss the chickens walking around the yard and the pool and the hammock.  I just miss the feeling of summer in a small country town. It is so much more laid-back and just completely different than it is to be in the city.

Luckily, I’ll be home to visit in a month or so (and hopefully will catch the county fair as well!). Visiting isn’t the same as being there all the time, but its all I can do since my responsibilities require me to be in New Orleans for at least the next few years of my life. (and I do love New Orleans too)

Anyway, it is nice to see our apartment slowly starting to feel more like home. It still feels pretty unsettled since we do still have boxes of stuff to unpack (with no place to put them–the reason they are still in boxes) and piles of things lying around with no furniture for them to go in or on. We’ve been scouring flea markets and used furniture stores looking for the perfect pieces, so hopefully soon our house will start to fill out with furniture. (I do have a few house updates that we’ve done recently to share with you soon!)

In the meantime, one of my favorite things to do that reminds me of both home and summer is to cook. So cooking I’ve been doing. This week I made a homemade fruit tart (my absolute favorite dessert! Especially for Spring and Summer!).

It was yummy! Although it was really big and since Drew doesn’t really like cream cheese and there is cream cheese in the filling, he wouldn’t eat any. Therefore I was left with an entire tart to myself. Not that I probably couldn’t eat it myself, but it isn’t as fun when you aren’t rushing to try to steal the last piece from your sisters. ;) (I think Blake taught us all well on that one)

I’ve also been enjoying using my windowbox flower/herb garden. Which has grown a ton and continuously been flowering for over a month now.

Yesterday I used some of my fresh herbs in a chicken/lemon/herb/fettuccine alfredo. It was delicious!

So I haven’t had my parent’s fresh garden vegetables to make summer dishes with, but I am doing my best with my little herb collection. It was particularly nice cooking dinner yesterday. It was raining outside and it was so nice to be in the kitchen smelling delicious smells and being able to look outside at the trees and the summer rain and also see my little herb and flower garden fluttering in the rainy breeze. It was a little taste of summer at home. It was one of those moments that made our house seem so much more like home and made me so thankful for everything God has given me in life. It is definitely way different than all the dinners I used to cook in Drew’s old apartment’s cramped little cave-like kitchen. (I remember those dinners fondly too, but a view or some sunlight would have been nice too)

Oh, I also have gotten several requests that I should share recipes on my blog. I’ve been meaning to for a while and I’m working on it, I promise. I’ll let you know soon when I get that up and running. :)

 

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