January 5, 2013

Carne Asada Tacos

It's sometimes hard for me to find new recipes that I think my whole family will like. I'm more of a chicken and fish person, but my family really likes beef. Except for my dad, no one else likes fish very much unless it is salmon. I love veggies and will try them in many different ways, but everyone else is more picky about them. Again, except for my dad. We also can't use any nuts or seeds, which isn't quite a problem when I'm thinking about dinner. It's more of a problem with dessert.

That being said, I saw a recipe for carne asada over at Tessa's blog Handle the Heat. Find it here. I didn't think I would like it because I try to stay away from eating a lot of beef. But I like tacos and my family likes tacos and beef, so I gave it a try. I did things a little differently than Tessa did, but that was partly because I couldn't find some ingredients at the store and partly because I had a late class the night I made this so I was feeling a little rushed by my family. It turned out good though! The only big complaint I had was that the meat was too pink and not cooked enough, and that is an easy fix for next time. Next time I might get more meat to use so we can have more on our tacos.

While cutting the meat it was a little hard not to eat it!

Our meat was still pink after we cooked it, but people were so hungry it didn't seem like they cared too much.

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the whole taco. I was so hungry I forgot. Next time though!

 Carne Asada Tacos
Serves 5

1 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder (I used ancho. Feel free to use more if you like spicier foods.)
salt to taste
1 pound beef skirt steak or flank steak (Our grocery store didn't have skirt steak, so I used flank steak.)
4 slices large sweet or yellow onion
2/3 cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mixture of pepperjack and colby)
corn tortillas, warmed up
optional toppings: lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, green onion

  1.  Preheat broiler. Sprinkle chili powder and salt to taste over steak. Rub it in to make sure it covers the steak evenly. Arrange steak and onion slices on a broiler pan. Spoon 1/3 cup salsa over steak and onion slices. Broil steak 4-5 minutes per side or until meat is pink in center and onion slices are tender. (This is just a guide line time, it took me a lot longer to get the meat to the right amount of doneness.)
  2. Transfer steak to carving board and cut crosswise into thin strips. If you are using flank steak, cut into thin strips and then dice it. Chop up onions and add to bowl. Mix well.
  3. Fill warmed tortillas with steak mixture and other toppings.

January 4, 2013

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches has always been one of my favorite meals on cold days. It really reminds me of my childhood. Campbell's brand used to be my favorite, but then I discovered new brands and Campbell's soup is a thing of the past for me.

As a matter of fact, canned tomato soup might just be a thing of the past for me as well. Two Peas and Their Pod is just one of the few blogs I follow, and I recently discovered that they had a recipe for tomato soup. Look at their recipe here. I am always looking for new recipes, and as tomato soup has been a favorite of mine since childhood, I needed to try it. I also really wanted to use my new immersion blender I got for Christmas. Thanks mom!

I was a little wary to try making this. I love tomato soup, but I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes. I thought it might be too chunky for me. The day I went shopping for my tomatoes, there wasn't a good selection of Romas. I'm excited to try this again when I can get fresh tomatoes at the farmer's market! I'm glad I tried this recipe, and it's one I plan on hanging on to. You should definitely try it and tell me what you think.

I ended up loving it! It wasn't too chunky for me, although my younger brothers did complain about the chunkiness. The fresh basil was a lovely addition to the soup. I also learned what not to do with my immersion blender, as well as the best ways to use it. Next time I make this soup or another soup I will be more prepared to use the immersion blender.

Tomato Basil Soup
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste, for seasoning tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 cup freshly chopped basil
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes.

2. In a large stockpot, heat the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and vegetable broth. Stir in the oven roasted tomatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat.

3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the stockpot, or transfer soup to a food processor or blender to blend. The soup should be smooth, with a few tomato chunks. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm.

Note-be careful when transferring the soup to a blender or food processor. You may want to wait until it is at room temperature to blend.

Best served with grilled cheese sandwiches!

Once again, thanks to Two Peas and Their Pod for the amazing recipe!

December 31, 2012

Pumpkin oatmeal.

I love oatmeal. I love pumpkin as well. So why not combine the two? I was kind of weary to try making pumpkin oatmeal again, because the first time I made it, it didn't turn out well at all. Now that I've had good pumpkin oatmeal, I think my problem the first time was my pumpkin had gone bad.

This was quite easy to make. I had about a half a can of pumpkin puree left over from when I made pumpkin cookies, and that's why I decided to make this. I first made one serving of oatmeal, and microwaved it until the majority of liquid was gone. I then added the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. I then microwaved it some more until it reached the desired temperature. Then I added in brown sugar for some sweetness.

Voila! Pumpkin oatmeal. So good. Perfect for cold weather!

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

2012 has been a really hard for me. While I've had my ups and downs, it sometimes feels like the low points this year have been the majority.

I have a lot of faith and hope that 2013 will be a good year. I need for 2013 to be a good year, and I will do as much as I can to make that happen. For those of you who don't know, I'm graduating college (EEK!) in June. Right now I have no idea what comes next after graduation, and honestly that is such a scary thought. Everything depends on if or where I get into grad school. I'm hoping to be back in the Everett/Seattle area once more, or in the Portland area. I have no idea where I'm going to be so I hope that you could pray for things to work out for the best. God has a plan for me whether I like it or not.

I've been thinking about the New Year and resolutions for the past week. The dictionary defines resolutions as "a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something." I really like how the definition uses determination. I am determined to accomplish a whole lot of goals this year. So hear are my resolutions and goals for 2013:
- get my license.
- lose weight.
- be more organized.
- run the color run.
-don't stress too much over the unknown.
- write more.

I can do this. 2013, I am ready for you. It's going to be a good year.


October 8, 2011

Potato Soup and Pumpkin Pie.

This meal screams comfort food. It was very delicious!

Allana's Excellent Potato Soup

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • seasonings of your choice
  • garlic
  • bacon!
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sautee onions and garlic in the butter, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the mustard, then pour in the chicken broth. Add potatoes, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, it's time for your bacon. Cook it long enough so it's really crispy, enough to make it crumble. When it's done cooking, set aside on a plate covered with a paper towel.
  3. Combine the milk and cream of celery soup, and add to the saucepan. Season to taste with your choice of seasonings. Heat through, but do not boil. When you are ready to serve, top with crumbled bacon.

When I wanted to make a potato soup, I was expecting something a little more creamier. But even though it wasn't what I expected, it was still delicious. Instead of using diced ham like the original recipe called for, I used bacon because if I had leftover bacon I wouldn't mind, but I didn't want to have leftover ham. I just got the cheapest bacon I could find. The seasonings I put in were rosemary, parsley, a little bit of salt and a lot of pepper, garlic salt, and a little bit of Mrs. Dash garlic and herb.

This is definitely a recipe I want to try again. Next time I try it I want to leave the bacon and chicken stock out, and replace with veggie stock. I also think that adding peas and/or leeks would taste wonderful, and maybe top it off with cheese.

  •  1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1 (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (9 in) unbaked pie crust
  • heavy whipping cream
  • vanilla 
  • sugar
  1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. 
  3. While the pie is baking, chill a mixing bowl bowl and beaters in the fridge. Right before you are ready to serve, take the bowl out of the fridge. Pour cream into the bowl and beat it until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat until soft peaks from.
  4. Serve pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
The pie turned out quite delicious! When I made the pie though, not all of my pumpkin was mixed in with everything else, so I ended up having a few small chunks of pumpkin. Make sure to mix everything in! 

When making whipped cream, the amount you make is up to you. Instead of measuring things out, I just poured the cream into my bowl until I thought it looked like it was going to be enough. The amount of sugar and vanilla you add is also up to how you want it to taste. Mine came out with a little more vanilla flavor than I had wanted because I accidentally poured in too much, but it was still delicious. I also added a little bit of cinnamon to it.

What is your favorite fall comfort food?

October 7, 2011

Acorn squash soup.

For those of you who know me, you know that I love fall. I love the holidays, the weather, and most definitely the food. So when I came across this, I was super excited to try it out. The only way I've really had acorn squash was how my mom cooked it, and that's baking it, and then putting brown sugar and butter on top. This was a little different, but definitely just as yummy! Plus, it's also just as easy.

The first thing you need to do is cook the squash. Cut it open in half and take the seeds out. Place the squash face down in a cooking dish, and add just enough water so that the bottom of the dish is completely covered. I baked mine in the oven on 350 degrees for about an hour. You know when it's done when you can poke through it easily. Then, let it cool. (The recipe I used said to just let it cool until you can touch it, but I let it cool completely.)

Isn't it pretty?
When the squash is completely cooled down, cut half an onion. Throw it into a saucepan with either butter or olive oil. You can also add some garlic here, but I didn't think about that until after. Cook the onions until they are translucent and tender.

Next, remove the flesh of the squash with a spoon and add the squash plus the cooked onion to a blender or food processor. Pulse until it gets as smooth as you would like. I added some milk to make it a little creamy, plus about 3/4 of a can of chicken stock to make it a little more thin.

 Again, isn't it pretty?

After you have the squash at a consistency you like, bring it to the pot that the onions were cooked in. Add seasonings. I added salt and pepper, plus some Mrs. Dash garlic and herb. I also added some butter.

All in all, I really liked this soup. When eating it right after I made it, I thought it was missing something, but I couldn't tell what that could be. It tasted better the next day, and even better the day after that. This is definitely something I could see myself making more often. Next time I make it I want to add fresh garlic, and possibly some potatoes.


October 1, 2011

Playing with food can be fun.

So I really wanted to try this  recipe but I didn't quite like how that would have turned out so I decided to experiment with the ingredients listed.

The first thing I did was cook up some chicken breasts. Make sure they are completely cooked, and then shred them. My chicken was frozen, so I heated up some olive oil in a frying pan, and then cooked them.

Next, cook your broccoli. I sauteed mine with some butter and garlic. Add some salt and pepper for taste. I like pepper, so I added a ton of pepper and only a little salt. Yum! I think it would also taste good if you add onions, but I didn't think about that so my dish is going to be onion less. When the broccoli is done cooking, add one can of celery soup (or any "cream of" soup). Then add milk. I didn't measure the milk out, instead I just used the can from the soup. Stir to make sure that there are no clumps of soup, and then add the chicken to the pan.

While that is sitting, cook the biscuits. I just used Bisquick and followed the directions, but I did add seasoning so the biscuits weren't plain. Make sure to not make your biscuits too big.

After the biscuits are done, assemble! You can either just pour the broccoli mixture in a bowl and top with a biscuit, or you can add rice or pasta. I had leftover rice so I used that. I also topped mine with cheese, because you can't go wrong with that. Enjoy!

Here is the final product. Sorry for the bad quality. I was using my webcam which isn't all that great.

September 17, 2011

It's called growing up.

I miss a lot of people right now. I believe that God has this wonderful plan for us, for me, but sometimes I wonder why things happen. I've struggled with this for a while now. What was the point of moving to Puyallup? What was the point of moving to Spokane? What is so special about Ellensburg? Was my relationship with him just not meant to be? Was the timing just off? Why do my best friend and I have to be separated for such a long time? Why not Bellingham? What's the point of everything going on in my life now? 

Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm not thankful for some of the things that have happened since Everett, because I am. Because of a movie, I got to know this great guy a little better. Because of Puyallup, I met some amazing people. Because of Ellensburg, I've met some amazing people. Because of Spokane, I was able to see Sara Bareilles live! Because of distance, I've come to learn that I shouldn't take people for granted and that absence does make the heart grow fonder. Because of Facebook and my mom's help, I found some people who I never thought I would see again. Because of a terrible incident and the story of a friend, I figured out what I want to do with the rest of my life.  The two deaths in the family taught me that I shouldn't take my family for granted. I've learned that it's probably better for me to let God write my story, then for me to try to write my own without his guidance.

I've learned that I shouldn't let my past dictate what my future is going to be. It doesn't matter who my dad is, or what he's done, because I am not him. I am not going to make the same mistakes he has. I've learned that it's okay to be hurt, or overwhelmed, or scared. I've learned that it's okay to ask for help. It's okay to need someone else. It's okay to lean on someone's shoulder. It's okay to need a hug. I've learned that things will get better. I've learned that out of something awful, miracles can happen. I've learned that I'm not alone.

I've had my ups and downs, but so has everyone else. I can't wait for my future. I can't wait to see what crazy plans God has for me. I can't wait to see why it was so important that I chose psychology over education. I can't wait to meet my future husband, and my future kids. And even though I can't even imagine being this old, I can't wait to meet my grand-kids.

So here's to my old friends. And here's to new friends. Here's to the people who have made an impact on me. Here's to the future. Here's to all the wonderful things to come.

Edit: I have no idea where this picture came from, but if it's yours, let me know and I'll give you credit!

July 20, 2011

class of '09.

here's to the people who were always there.
to the people who held my hand,
to the people i laughed with,
and to the people i cried with.

here's to my best friends.
the ones i could count on when i wasn't okay,
the one's who stood by my side,
even when i didn't want them to.

here's to my old friends,
my new friends,
and everyone in between.

here's to late, crazy nights,
to band trips,
to canada,
to disneyland.

here's to great inside jokes,
like four, dandelion, and sexy question mark man.

here's to the people i met and will never forget.

class of 2009, congratulations.
we finally did it!
i'm so proud of you.
Class of 2009.
Everyone's moving.
Everyone's changing.
We will be going our own way soon.
Will we remember all the fun times we had?
Will we remember the fights, the trips, the hugs, the friends?
I will if you will.
Congratulations class of '09.
We did it!