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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Fear of God

Last night Uncle Jordan put this video on for H thinking he would get a kick out of it. I have never seen him so freaked out by ANYTHING in his life! It took nearly an hour to calm him down.


Thank you Angela!

I have titled this entry "Thank you Angela" because my dear friend Angela is responsible for getting both of these awesome recipes to me. First, the spinach enchiladas, which came from, of all places, the back of a tortilla package! (Wow, that was a lot of commas). Anyway, I make them quite often, and they are always a hit!

Second, if you know me, you know I like to make salsa. This tomatillo-avocado green salsa is probably my favorite. This one is an Angela original. You will probably see me post my recipe for roasted vegetable salsa some time in the not so distant future because that happens to be Mark's favorite :)

Here they are!

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Creamy Spinach Enchiladas

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach , thawed and drained well
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 10 (6 inch) corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (I like it saucy so I do 2 cans)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add garlic and onion; cook for a few minutes until the onions soften.

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Stir in spinach, and cook until hot.

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Remove from heat.
Mix in ricotta cheese, sour cream, and 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.

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In a skillet over medium heat, warm tortillas one at a time until flexible, about 15 seconds.
Spoon about 1/4 cup of the spinach mixture onto the center of each tortilla.
Spray or lightly oil a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.
Roll up, and place enchiladas seam side down.
Pour enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cup of Monterey Jack.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is lightly browned at the edges.

Enjoy!


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Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

  • 10-12 tomatillos simmered until soft
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic
  • peppers (Angela uses 1 jalapeno, 1 serrano & 1 habanero which is hot. I use about 20-30 thai ornamental peppers because we like things REALLY hot).
  • 1 bunch cilantro stems removed
  • 1 ripe avacado
  • salt (to taste)
  • cumin
  • 3-4 T lime juice

Puree tomatillos, onion and garlic. Chill. Add other ingredients and puree again.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Buttery Soft Pretzels. OMG...YUM!!!

Buttery Soft Pretzels
The other day I went to the mall with a friend and just I was getting closes to home, H called and asked me to bring him a pretzel. We sure as heck weren't going to turn around so I promised him we'd make our own during the week. Yesterday, I roasted up a few habanero & jalapeno peppers to add to them like they do at the mall. Today I made the pretzels. OH.MY.GOD. were they good!!!

Source: Allrecipes.com

Buttery Soft Pretzels

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt, for topping (I used Penzeys french grey sea salt)
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 6 Roasted jalapeno and/or habanero peppers chopped
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  4. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper and sprayed with the best cooking spray EVAH (thanks Veda) which you can buy at Williams-Sonoma . Sprinkle with coarse salt and top w/ roasted peppers .
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.
  6. Remove from oven and brush w/ melted butter. Add more coarse salt if desired.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cinco de Mayo???... It may as well be!

Salsa de Arbol
I can't believe that I waited this long to attempt at making Mark's favorite Mexican sauce. We have been eating at Jalisco since I can remember. Regardless of what we ordered, it would always come smothered in "salsa de arbol". Holy spicy goodness! One fine day while headed over to the produce department at our local Sendik's, I spotted them. Giant bags of dried arbol peppers. They were all of about $2, so I thought to myself, eh, why not give it a try. What did I have to lose? I found this recipe on Pepperfool.com. Could it really be this easy? After about an hour of coughing, and burning fingers, we had it, salsa de arbol. It looked like the real thing, now for the taste test. One bite and I new it was a hit, Mark's baby blues lit up like the grand finale at the ole Fun Before the Fourth light show. Of course I switched it up like I do pretty much any recipe. Here it is...


Salsa De Arbol


* 50ish dried chiles de arbol
* 1/4 medium onion
* 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
* 1 pinch mexican oregano
* 1/4 cup vinegar
* salt to taste

Chop the onions and garlic. Remove the stems from the chiles. Place them in a saucepan with the onion and garlic. Add a cup or two of water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes. Place everything in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, adding some of the soaking water to thin out the mixture. It should be somewhere between water and tomato sauce in thickness. Serve warm.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bittersweet.

Many of you know of the blog Embracing Elijah by LauraLovesJon. WOW, what an amazing woman! She is a young mother with more strength and courage than I can even imagine. Yesterday Elijah went to heaven. The story of his short life touched so many.

I spent the weekend raising money for this amazing family. I am so grateful to all of those that contributed. Hopefully, we can help to at least relieve a bit of the financial burden they will have to face in the coming weeks and months.

So to Laura - thank you for being such an amazing inspiration.

And to Elijah - rest in peace sweet Angel.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Half man, half gorilla.

So we recently noticed that little N has a very unique way of getting around. Pay attention to his left leg. It's always the left leg... video

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Spring Blooms...

I tried a few conversions w/ the magnolia pictures. Mark wants to cut down this beautiful tree!




Spring Has Sprung






I went outside and took a few shots of what we currently have in bloom. The old crappy macro lens worked surprisingly well! Some of them are a bit soft because it was windy that day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Introducing...my new babies.



Oh how I love them!

Welcome!

I think it is finally time to start a blog. We'll see if I can keep up with it!