Monday, September 27, 2010

A Foodie Weekend

This weekend really flew by.  I guess it seemed to go by so quickly because I was busy every single day.  I got to do something called "functional fitness."  Worked in the yard, walked a lot by shopping several stores, moved a lot while cooking, planted some herbs and weeded the landscaping, cleaned the smoker (yuck!!!).  The backs of my legs are actually sore today from the yard work.  That's a good thing, right?

Let's just say I was a busy girl in the kitchen this weekend.  I also got to go shopping at World Market where I got some cool goodies:
The chocolate dipped ones are great!  The ginger ones are kind of hot.

Devil's Backbone is a ridge in Texas.  Beautiful area.  And yummy beer!

This is nasty!  I had to throw it away and then rinse my mouth.  It's hard to throw away chocolate even when it's nasty.

Cook's Illustrated recommended this as their top pick.  It comes in a tube so you can use what you need and refrigerate the rest.

With a name like that I had to get it.
I also got a camera shy 9x9 pan, a microplane zester (love it!) and a silicone basting brush for the grill that was on sale for $.97!

The zester is great for zesting (obviously), grating ginger and chocolate.  Bed, Bath & Beyond has them for around $14 and they're well worth the money.

It was time to make some more cookies for the cookie jar.  This time: peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip peanut butter cookies from America's Test Kitchen. 
Very moist and yum. I just stirred some semi-sweet chocolate chips in half of the dough for a variation.  That seemed to be the favorite in the house.
Printer-ready recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies here.

Saturday night Chuck and I got in the kitchen.  The menu: tacos, tex-mex rice and refried beans.  Sounds simple enough but we were making everything from scratch including the taco shells. 

I have never had a taco so good in my life.  The kids are still talking about how good they were.  You would think that a taco is a taco is a taco.  Not true.  These far exceeded all other tacos.  They can also be made low calorie/fat by using extra-lean ground meat. America's Test Kitchen did it again.  These are awesome.
The best I've ever had.  Do yourself a favor and make these.  You won't be sorry and they are easy.

I also made my own taco shells.  It's a little extra effort but totally worth it.
Crunchy and full of flavor.

Printer-ready recipe for tacos and shells here.

Better than any Mexican Rice I've had at a restaurant.  This would be wicked good in a burrito.

You want this.
Printer-ready recipe for Tex-Mex Rice here.

It's so easy to open a can of refried beans and heat but the very little effort required to make these is worth it.  They are terrific.  It starts with 3 cans of beans so it's not like you have to cook beans all day.  Thanks America's Test Kitchen! Not high in calories or fat.
Printer-ready recipe for Refried Beans here.

And what's a Tex-Mex dinner without margaritas?  Hey, we'd been working hard in the kitchen. We deserved a little treat.  This recipe comes to you courtesy of Cook's Illustrated.  It uses top shelf tequila, triple sec and fresh lime and lemon juices.

Well, bonjour, margarita! Welcome to my home.
These are very similar to ones I used to make.  Mine are much simpler: mix equal parts good tequila, Rose's Lime Juice, and triple sec (or grand marnier) over ice, shake, strain, serve.  Mine taste almost as good and pack the same punch.  Just a word of caution: these sneak up on you.  Very strong.  You've been warned. :)
Printer-ready recipe for Fresh Margaritas here.

Side note: Saturday morning started bright and early with Chuck and I going to a "qualifier" shooting match.  He had to shoot three different test scenarios at the gun range to see what category he would be classified in his IDPA matches (marksman, sharpshooter, expert, master).  He did fantastic.  This was his first time to qualify and he was ranked as an expert. That's just one step below master.  Yes, I'm very proud of my macho gun-carrying man. :)

Sunday we slept in and then started making breakfast.  Rachel made some chocolate chip pancakes because she had a craving for some.

Chuck and I worked on something that we haven't made in over 10 years: armadillo eggs. What?  You didn't know that armadillos lay eggs? Because they don't. :)

I used to make these years ago every week and sell them at the engineering firm where Chuck worked.  I got $.75 each for them and they always sold out.

If an armadillo laid eggs, this is what it would look like.
Pickled jalapeno stuffed with cheese wrapped in hot sausage wrapped in biscuit dough. Super yum.
Printer-ready recipe for Armadillo Eggs here.

Last night I made some grilled chicken breasts stuffed with fontina and prosciutto.  It was just ok so I didn't post a recipe.  Plus I forgot to take a picture.  Oops.

Fall is in the air, people.  Yesterday we actually had a cool breeze and the evening was so perfect that Chuck and I sat outside sipping on adult beverages while the chicken grilled.  There is something very soothing about sitting around a fire and drinking a rita while a cool breeze blows after a hard day's work.  A great way to end the weekend.

It's a Monday which means lots of school work, 15 minutes of cleaning house together, washing clothes, and cooking dinner.  After dinner we're all going for a nice, long walk in the cool evening.  I'm looking forward to it.

Hope your weekend was terrific.


  1. your food always looks so good! the armadillo eggs look kinda strange though...

  2. WOW!!! You were one busy girl!! :)

    The mexican eats had my mouth drooling!!!

  3. I see I have another recipe to try!

    Oh and I LOVE the tomato paste concentrate in the tube - really is great. They also have garlic and anchovy paste in a tube too ... for those times when you only need a teaspoon/tablespoon and don't want to open a whole can no matter how small the can is.

  4. Your pictures are gorgeous - the cookie one, especially! Love that you are having so much fun cooking!

    Isn't World Market fun? I laughed because when I saw the picture of the chili lime chocolate, I said out loud "yuck" and then read down where you didn't like it! And that tomato paste in a tube? That's what I buy - think I get mine at HEB. Love that I don't have to waste a whole can when I only want a little bit sometimes.

    I keep meaning to email you - how is your running going? Will I see you in Galveston?

  5. OMG, Kelly! I am loving your cooking adventures with ATK! I have 2 of the cookbooks on hold at the library, but haven't gotten there yet! I need to go!!!

    Thanks for sharing the taco recipes. I planned taco night for this Tues, so I may have to try them all!

  6. Those people at Cook's Illustrated really know what they're doing don't they? I love taking a theme like Mexican and doing everything from scratch! It's a lot of work but so worth it.

    I've begun to throw away things I don't like - chocolate included. A little shocking the first time, gets easier.

  7. Love love love the way you do that thing you do!
    By the way, I have an Expert Medal in Army Hand Grenades. (But who doesn't?)

  8. Whoa! Those tacos look glorious! When my hubby and I move to Texas at the beginning of next year, you're inviting us over for dinner, right? haha

  9. Your armadillo eggs look so good! I've had armadillo eggs before but not the way you make them. The way I make them is I get a fresh jalapeno, slice it down the middle, scrap out all the seeds and cut off the stem, add mont. jack cheese, wrap it up on pork sausgae, roll in bread crumbs and bake it til sausage is cooked. I'll have to try it your way, because my family thinks my way is too spicy, Im sure they'll love the biscuit addition!! Thanks!


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