Tag Archives: homemade

Homemade Granola Bars

Awwwww yeah, summer is in full swing now, y’all. I successfully graduated college, *crowd cheers* and now in my search for a big girl job, I find myself at home with a *lot* of spare time. It has worked out well thus far, however, since the Ryan and I just moved into the new house last weekend. Everything is pretty well finished being painted (the rooms that count, anyway), and I have had the opportunity this week to do a crap ton of unpacking. 🙂 I’ve run errands, met with people for services (like Verizon and plumbing :P), and generally tried to get stuff done around the house. I even hung a picture frame perfectly level. Ohhhhh yeaaaaah.

Anyway, one of the ways I occupied my time this week was walking around the new neighborhood, and on one of those jaunts, I walked up to the grocery store we’ve got here. I was going up there for chicken and other food items, but I decided to grab a couple things to make these quinoa granola bars I saw on Pinterest. I changed the recipe a bit, but overall, they looked awesome, and since the Ryan doesn’t like quinoa, I figured I could actually have something that was, well, just mine. That didn’t work, as it turns out, because though he doesn’t like quinoa OR coconut, he does like everything else in the bars, and has eaten them anyway. So..yeah. Marriage is sharing, y’all.

I changed the original recipe some to fit what I kept in my house, and my granola bars came out much more soft and squishy than the ones in the original recipe appear to have. I don’t know if it was the changes I made, or because she didn’t mention to refrigerate them (which works and keeps them nice and solid but still yummy and squishy), or if I didn’t cook them long enough, or what. Regardless, they’re delicious! So, let’s get started!

You will need:

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  • 1 cup of coconut flakes (the original calls for unsweetened, but I couldn’t find unsweetened so I got what the store had)
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (she calls for cashews in the original recipe, but I didn’t have any – I did have walnuts)
  • 1 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries (original calls for cherries, but again, I didn’t have any – I had cranberries)
  • 2 cups of oats (she didn’t say whether they were instant or rolled oats, I have instant, so that’s what I used)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (I had peanut butter, so I used that)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Sea salt for garnish, if desired

Preheat your oven to 350, and line a 9×13 pan with wax paper.

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Meanwhile, toast your oats and quinoa until cooked warmed and fragrant. Allow to cool.

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After the oats and quinoa are cooled, combine them with your nuts, coconut, flax seed, and fruit.

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In a small pan, add maple syrup, coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey.

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Warm until melted, then mix together with the nuts and oats mixture until evenly coated.

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Bake at 350 for ~25-30 minutes until the edges are toasted and brown. Remove and allow to cool completely.

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I had to keep mine in the fridge to keep them solid, I am not sure what I did wrong, or if this is normal? But they’re delicious anyway. Once your bars are cooled and solid, cut them into strips.

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As suggested in the original recipe, I decided to dip the bottoms of mine into chocolate. Mmmm.

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I stuck them back in the fridge and let them harden. There you have it, delicious granola bars, all homemade and yummy! And healthy! Enjoy!!

 

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Food, Uncategorized, Wellness

Summer Smoothie Spectacular!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s getting HOT here! Like, H.O.T. hot! 😉 Do you know what that means? It means you’re going to want to cool down with some deeeelicious cold beverages. Now, I think the rest of you are with me when I say, “Ohmygod I love Slurpees, Frozen Yogurt, Italian Ice, Ice Cream” and all things just..freaking..amazingly cold and sweet!

But, sadly, as much as we want to deny it, those things aren’t healthy for us. They’re good, in moderation. Though, if you’re anything like me and swear that you’ll only have ONE SERVING and then eat it all anyway, that can be a *bit* of a problem.

This semester, with it being my last, and I have to say with it also being the hardest semester of my time in college, I have managed to just sort of stop caring. About me, about my body, about anything except homework. And it has had some consequences. I worked so hard to lose weight for my wedding, and I’ve gained back all but 7 lbs. Sitting endlessly in lectures, in front of the computer doing hours of programming, staying up late, snacking on whatever is nearby when I get hungry, giving in to my cravings….yeah. It has been a rough semester. Fall wasn’t too bad, but ever since Spring swung around, it has just been downhill.

So here I am, almost a week from graduating, and ready to get back on the horse and whip my butt into shape – literally! (sans the whipping, because…ouch) Plus, now that I won’t have homework anymore, I have time to go running, or take yoga, or do Zumba, or all of it! I can have a life!! I have downloaded an app called “Couch to 5k” by Active.com (the same people that sponsor the Color Run and other shenanigans), and also one called “Just 6 Weeks” that teaches you to do crunches, push ups, etc., in 6 weeks. I have started logging my food on MyFitnessPal again, and have, for the most part, stayed on the straight and narrow for the last week or so. I have lost about 5 lbs, buuut I think it’s mostly just water. I have also had a couple of bad days (can you say someone had a cookout and made bbq chicken, burgers, and grilled corn on the cob? Ohmygod), but I’m not terribly angry at myself over it.

What does this have to do with smoothies? Well, I was browsing Pinterest (because who needs to study statistics when there’s Pinterest?), and I kept seeing recipes for smoothies. Mean green smoothie, flax smoothie, glowing green smoothie, delicious smoothie, smoothie this, smoothie that. I pinned  bunch of the pins, but I wasn’t totally sold on any specific one that I thought I’d just love. So, I decided to kind of make up my own going off of other peoples’ recipes. And here we are. I don’t have anything to call it (like a snazzy name), but it IS good, and GOOD FOR YOU. I sat down and worked out all of the nutrition information (perks of taking a nutrition class, yaaaaay), and it’s loaded with nutrients. I’d recommend making it in the mornings, so you have a great way to start your day! My recipe includes green tea, which has caffeine in it. So there’s that benefit as well!

Are you ready? Let’s make a smoothie!

Yesterday, I went shopping for a bunch of fruits and some spinach (I’m taking baby steps – I know I like baby spinach, so I’m starting with that first), and brought them home and washed them. I usually just kind of scrub off my food before I eat it with water, but since I knew I was going to be slicing, freezing, and then storing my fruit, I figured I should give them a proper scrubdown. So I mixed 6 cups of water with 2 cups of white vinegar (3:1) and EWWWWWW! Check it out:

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That came off MY FOOD THAT I PUT IN MY BODY! When I poured it out there was brown sludge at the bottom of the bowl that looked like mud. Yeah, never just rinsing under water and rubbing with my hands again. Gross.

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Also, look how shiny everything was! 😀 I set my fruit out on the counter to dry and got busy with studying.

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I also made a container of green tea. It was exciting, because the first container I made, I just laid on its side in the fridge, but the hot water (I boiled water, steeped the tea, removed the bags, put on the lid, and stuck it in the fridge – but my fridge is stupid and things as tall as that container don’t fit, so I had to lay it down) caused pressure against the lid and BOOM! My kitchen and fridge were suddenly overflowing with green tea. It was amazing. T___T Not. Though, when I grabbed a nearby towel out of storage to clean up with, I found a $25 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card, so all is not lost. I bought a serving bowl and a picture frame. Booyah. Anyway, I made this NEW container of green tea and left it on the counter all afternoon into the evening to cool down before I put it in the fridge. Lesson learned (for those of you wondering: one kettle full of water, 4 tea bags, steep 3 minutes, remove. Add a little honey if you want and mix).

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After all the veggies and fruit were dried off, I chopped them up and stuck them in the fridge on a cookie sheet and cutting board to get hard enough to put in bags. I also bought and chopped three different kinds of pears and grapes. The nutrition info I will be providing is strictly for the recipe with strawberries and blueberries in it.

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Once everything was frozen, I put them in their own bag for later use. The smoothie is much more smooth if your stuff is frozen. 🙂

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Meanwhile, you will also need some delicious yogurt. I prefer Chobani because it has less sugar and sodium than other brands, more protein, and important probiotics for your digestive system. Plus I think it tastes yummy. You can use whatever you want, though.

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Finally, you’ll need some protein powder. I make The Ryan protein bars for his workouts, and we have this sitting around. We prefer soy to whey, but whatever you wanna do, do your thing. That’s the nice thing about smoothies – there’s really no wrong way to do it.

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(Yes, that’s a Game of Thrones cup. Yes, that’s house Stark. Winter is Coming; Though Tyrion is my favorite. I haven’t read all the books, don’t tell me if he dies, I would lose it!)

When you’re ready, combine:

  • 2 tbls agave
  • One serving protein powder (for us that’s 2 tbls)
  • 1 tbls ground flax seed
  • 2 cups baby spinach, tightly packed
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1 cup green tea

Throw it in the blender and process. NOMNOM. This recipe makes 4 cups, and I define one serving as 2 cups. Don’t worry, the other 2 cups will fit nicely into a mason jar. Add a little lemon juice to the leftovers and give it a whirl in the blender to help slow down oxidation, fill your mason jar all the way to the top to keep air out, and put a tight lid on it. VOILA, now you have one for later too! Stored in your fridge, it should last up to 24 hours. Check it before you drink it, though!

One serving of this smoothie as written contains:

  • 18.5g of protein
  • 31g sugar
  • 154mg sodium
  • 5.5g fiber
  • 57.5% DV of Vitamin A
  • 16% DV of Calcium
  • 108.5% DV of Vitamin C
  • 19.5% DV of Iron
  • 887mg of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • 287.3mg of Omega-6 fatty acids
  • 1% DV of Vitamin E
  • 24% DV of Vitamin K
  • 6% DV Thiamin
  • 1.5% DV Riboflavin
  • 2% DV Niacin
  • 3.5% DV Vitamin B6
  • 6% DV Folate (especially good for you if you’re pregnant!)
  • 3% DV of Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic Acid)
  • 28% DV Magnesium
  • 6.5% DV Phosphorous
  • 12% DV Potassium
  • 4.5% DV Zinc
  • 10.5% DV Copper
  • 44% DV Manganese
  • 2% DV Selenium
  • 12.5 mg Caffeine
  • And amazing antioxidants and probiotics!!

So there you have it, why wouldn’t you start your mornings with this from now on? What are you waiting for? Go get started!

(P.S. I would like to shamelessly plug my Ninja blender, which I got for Christmas. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT!! It makes things nice and smooth mmmm)

 

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No Knead Artisan Bread

NOMNOM CARBOHYDRATES NOMNOM.

Let’s be honest, who *doesn’t* love a good loaf of bread? Who doesn’t love the smell of it as it bakes in the oven? Who doesn’t love the sensuous feeling of warm bread dripping with butter melting on your tongue….

Okay, sorry, I got lost in a fantasy world for a second daydreaming about bread.

In case you can’t tell, that’s the topic of today’s blog! 🙂 Easy bread, to boot! As most of you know, I have possessed a Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven since last winter. Best. Purchase. Ever…in case you were wondering. Anyway, I am always on the lookout for things to make in my dutch oven. It is AMAAAZING for braising ribs, I recently tried an Irish beef stew in it (it was so delicious!), often make soups with it, you name it, I use the dutch oven for it. So as you can imagine, when I came across this little beauty on Pinterest, I pinned it right away with the intention of trying it VERY SOON!

And then school started up again, I got bogged down with homework, the usual stuff. The bread idea was placed on the figurative back burner and all but forgotten. But a few days ago, my best friend finally got her first dutch oven! She was so excited! I was so excited! OMG YAY DUTCH OVENS ARE EXCITING! She wanted suggestions for things to cook in her new toy, and while linking her various recipes I remembered: THE BREAD! “Ohhh yeaaaaah,” I thought “I want to make this too!” So I did.

As many of you know, the eastern seaboard has yet again been graced by Father Winter, who is cranky and stubborn and just doesn’t seem to want to leave this year!! Last Wednesday, it snowed…didn’t stick, just snowed and looked menacing, and it took me more than two hours to get to school for a 50 minute class. I was very, very upset. So last night, I decided that I wasn’t going anywhere today if the flakes started falling, and then school closed, so I didn’t have to worry about it anyway. Given that this particular bread requires 12-18 hours of rise time, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to make it. Start it yesterday, let it sit overnight, finish it up today, watch the snow, smell the bread, be warm from the oven – perfection!

The only trouble was, I needed more whole wheat flour. UH OH! I went to the store and got some, but not before experiencing the mad house that is Maryland people before a winter storm. For some reason, snow = end of days in this state, and everyone panics and buys everything from the grocery store the day before. It’s stupid – GUYS, I PROMISE: THE SNOW WILL MELT AND THERE WILL BE NO SHORTAGE OF FOOD. Thankfully, since everyone was at Giant panicking, I was able to get in and out of Target at a relatively good speed. Remember that next time you can’t park at a grocery store the day before snow, folks – Target has a grocery section. They sell flour. 😛 Nyeh nyeh.

And so the process began:

I don’t have any photos of the ingredients, but know that you will need 6 cups of bread flour, 1/2 tsp of instant or active dry yeast, 2.5 tsp of salt, and 2 & 2/3 cup of cool water. I subbed 3 cups of whole wheat flour for 3 of the cups of bread flour. Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the water.

For not the first time yesterday, I found myself wishing I had a KitchenAid mixer. Doesn’t everyone want one of those at some point? Ugh, I needed that bread paddle yesterday (though a much cheaper alternative that I am going to look into is a danish dough whisk. It’s $10 to the KitchenAid’s $400). Let it be known, though, that the puny dough hooks and wimpy motor on my hand mixer actually worked long enough to incorporate the dough. I didn’t have much faith in it to start, but as long as I nursed it along patiently, it did well. I finished up by wetting my hands (the dough was ever so slightly too dry) and getting the rest of the dough ball mixed up. I had to add one extra tablespoon of water to get the right consistency (I find whole wheat to be a “thirstier” flour).

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Okay, so maybe it’s not the most glamorous thing in the world, but let’s face it, folks…It’s a ball of dough. YIPPEE. I then covered it with plastic wrap and set it on top of my fridge (it’s the warmest spot in my kitchen and also out of the way of fur balls that think it’s okay to walk on the counter tops).

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It is supposed to rise for 12-18 hours….Look at that bad boy go! I was curious, so I peeked while I was making dinner. I couldn’t help myself!

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And then I checked again before bed….JUST TO BE SURE THE YEAST WAS WORKING! (We have had yeast in our freezer for ages. By the way, if you’re going to use yeast that you’ve frozen, let it get to room temperature first, okay? Okay. Also, if you’re unsure as to whether it is still active or not, follow this simple instruction guide to tell if your yeast is still viable.)

IMG_20140303_085815936Good morning, snow day! I like what you’ve done with the place.

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And here is that beauty this morning. Looks gooooooood. You will know your dough is ready when it’s all bubbly and smells super yeasty. To me it smelled like beer, so I knew it was good to go.

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On a well floured surface, and with well floured hands, roll that bad boy out of the bowl and work it into a ball. Flour a piece of parchment paper or a tea towel and put the dough ball seam side down on it. Cover with another towel and let rise for 1-2 hours until it has doubled in size. I have a lot of homework to get done today, so in order to make sure I kept the correct schedule for this bread, I anal retentively set an alarm for an hour and 30 minutes.

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Why an hour and 30 instead of 2 hours, you ask? Because for the last 30 minutes of the rising process, you’re going to want to place a dutch oven (or any heavy oven proof pot that has a lid) in a cold oven and bring it up to 425 degrees. If you’re not sure whether your dutch oven’s handle can…well…handle 425 degrees, wrap it in aluminum foil. I *think* mine is okay, but…just to be sure, I wrapped it anyway. Because I like my dutch oven and I want it to last for a long time.

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Eeyup, I’d say that effectively doubled in size! (After 2 hours)

IMG_20140303_121115090Slide your hand under the parchment paper and flip the dough into the dutch oven. BE CAREFUL, IT’S HOT! DON’T TOUCH THE EDGES!! Now the seam will be up. Put the top back on and stick that bad boy in the oven for 40 minutes. Mmmmmmmm, do you SMELL THAT??? *drool*

IMG_20140303_125204350After the 40 minutes has passed, take the top off and cook for 10 more minutes to make a nice crust. HOT DAMN, LOOK AT THAT! I almost didn’t want to put it back in the oven!

IMG_20140303_130255477 But I did. And man was it worth it….It’s so beautiful! *tear*

IMG_20140303_130440649It is now going to take every collective ounce of self control and restraint available in this house to let this cool down all the way before we cut into it. Once the Ryan wandered out here and spied it, there might just be was mutiny (“What? Why do we have to wait? What’s this nonsense? I don’t know what you’re talking about!” *grumbles and walks away pouting*). But I will emphasize again: DO NOT CUT INTO IT UNTIL IT HAS COOLED! Doing so will ruin the bread’s consistency and make it gummy and dense. Nobody wants that, do they? Didn’t think so.

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After hours of being pestered by the Ryan, the bread was finally read to cut. BEHOLD THE DELICIOUSNESS. I spread a little honey on mine. Mmmmm, good. 😉 The Ryan hasn’t spoken in a few minutes, so I will interpret that to mean he enjoys it.

Well, what are you waiting for? GO BAKE SOME BREAD!!!

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Salsa! Cha cha cha. Perfect for all those tomatoes you can’t seem to pick fast enough!

It’s farmer’s market season…! Hoorah! Sadly, I have to report that there are no farmer’s markets nearby the Ryan and I, so I am stuck buying grocery store produce. 😦 But that doesn’t stop me from making a kickass batch of homemade salsa.

Last week, for about three days, hell itself came to Maryland and we reached ridiculous temperatures of over 100 degrees with the heat index (don’t laugh, midwesterners, I’d take your dry heat over our 105 heat index with 88% humidity any day). As soon as I would walk outside, the air would get heavy and all of my clothes would stick to me. I couldn’t even get my hair dry with a blowdryer. Oh humidity, how you make my life miserable.

As you can imagine, this meant that the last thing I wanted to do was freaking cook hot food. I did, because dinner is pretty essential, but I wasn’t happy about it. I wanted something light, cool and snacky that wasn’t a salad. I also managed to get all of my canning supplies back from my Mom, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make some salsa! A friend of mine moved this past weekend and I wanted to give him a pint as a housewarming gift. I also wanted to punch him because, dude, move in the fall..it’s bloody hot!

Anyway, I found a highly recommended recipe online at Food.com and decided to get to work. To find the original recipe, click here.

So one trip to the store later, here we are:

You will need: 6 pint jars, washed and dried. 10 cups tomatoes (I used vine tomatoes and big boy tomatoes..I think), five cups onion (I used red and yellow), 2.5 cups seeded bell peppers (one of each color for …color!), 2.5 cups of hot peppers (I had 1 pablano, I actually had 5 jalapenos and I ended up grabbing 2 habaneros..still not enough kick, either. 😦 ), 3 cloves minced garlic (you know us, I used like 5), 3 tsp of salt, Cilantro (I used an ungodly amount because I’m a cilantro freak) and I added the juice of 2 limes. I also added some cayenne and cumin while the pot was cooking because, what the heck?

I forgot to add them to my photo, but you will also need a 6 oz can of tomato paste and 1.25 cups of cider vinegar – I backed down to 1 cup because I read that the cider vinegar can make the salsa too sweet.

If you’ve never canned anything before, it’s a super fabulous idea (and kind of the rule) to warm your jars in the oven at 200 degrees in about 3-4 inches of water. This helps the jars not crack when a) hot food is poured into them and b) they are dunked into boiling water in a water bath canner.

The same should be done for the lids – sadly, I had to use my two bread pans with 3 sets of lids each because my small brownie pan was compromised by some fudge I thought I’d try – it wasn’t that good, but don’t let chocolate or peanut butter go to waste, you know?

Be ready – if you’re doing this on your stove, the water bath canner will need a LOT of water, and therefore take a LONG time to heat…it takes a lot of energy to bring that much water to a rolling boil, so get fire under it early. On the other burner, I have a 5 quart pot I brought to a boil and then next to that is a bowl of ice cold water.

Blanch your tomatoes in boiling water for 1-3 minutes each until the skin has cracked.

Once the skin is popped, dunk the tomato into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. The split skin makes the tomatoes easy to peel.

Peel all of your tomatoes and set them aside to cool.

In the mean time, I chop and set aside your bell peppers, jalapenos, pablano, habanero, onions, garlic, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl.

A word to the wise – wear gloves when you work with peppers. The oils will give you the equivalent of chemical burns on your skin if you are not used to working with them.

Finally, chop your tomatoes and add them, all of your veggies, salt and the cider vinegar to a pot and allow to simmer to the desired consistency (I let mine simmer down quite a bit, as I like my salsa thicker).

Once your salsa is the desired consistency, stir in the 6 oz can of tomato paste. Then, add the salsa to the warmed jars and wipe the rims of the jar before putting on the lid and tightening the neck band. Note to self: I need a funnel. That made a hot mess.

Either turn your heat down or pour ice cold water into your water bath canner to allow the water to cool enough to add the jars without shattering them. Add each jar to the water bath and then bring the water back to a boil. Process at a rolling boil for 15 minutes – do NOT start the timer for the 15 minutes until your water has reached a constant, rolling boil.

Remove your jars and allow to sit and cool for 24 hours. Test the seals to make sure they took. Then, go buy some tortillas and tear it up, this salsa is beyond yummy!

**Since you’re working with such a large batch of liquid, if you want a kick in your salsa, feel free to add any kind of peppers you like – I will definitely be adding more habaneros to this next time!**

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Pork Enchiladas. Alllriiiight.

Yep, you heard me. Pork enchiladas.With leftover shredded pork.

I guess I should back us up to one day earlier last week – I was scrambling for finals, and of course, as you know, was on a slow-cooker-esque kick when it came to our food. One night before bed, I spiced a pork roast and plopped it, some onions and chicken broth into our crock pot the next morning before running out of the house. Of course, when I got home, the roast was perfectly moist and falling to shreds. But the Ryan and I cannot eat an entire pork roast by ourselves, so as you can imagine, there were tons of leftovers. So, what to do with them?

I already had guac in the house (yesterday’s post), and I had cheese, corn tortillas and sour cream from earlier in the week, so why not just keep with the theme and go enchiladas? I love enchiladas. Let me repeat that: I loooooooooooooooooooooooove enchiladas! But moving from Colorado back to the eastern seaboard has left me absolutely devastated when it comes to the ability to find legit, authentic Mexican food. I know, I know, the Ryan pokes at me because California Mexican food is “better,” but in comparison to here, both Colorado and California knock the pants off of anything we east coasters (at least in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area) can come up with. That being said, there is one saving grace around here, a little place called Pollo Fiesta, which my friends aptly scream “CHICKEN PARTY!” over every time we decide to go get some. They are a wonderful little hole in the wall place but the food is delish, and the Ryan and I can both agree that it’s a little taste of the west out east.  There is also a decent place in downtown Annapolis called El Toro Bravo that I always forget about, but it’s a bit more of a drive. Not as good as Pollo Fiesta, in my opinion, but still steps above the rest of the places that call themselves “Mexican Restaurants” out here. Because honestly, other than those two, anything else you eat will taste like Campbell’s condensed tomato soup, bagged taco mix and store-bought stale shells. Yuck!!

The hardest part for me was finding a legitimate enchilada sauce that didn’t require some form of tomato soup, condensed XYZ, and a million other disgusting shortcuts that left me wondering, “How can you call this authentic?” I finally stumbled upon one that I chose to go with at Sometime Foodie’s blog. After reading this, and talking with a Mexican buddy of mine that lives in El Paso, Texas, I decided this would be the closest I could get to a good red sauce without too much spice, and without having to switch to verde (I’m sort of a spice wimp. I get wicked heartburn 😦 ). While searching for a video to teach myself what to look for when roasting chiles (seriously, never done it before today), I also found this video by the Frugal Chef and decided to work both recipes into my sauce. 🙂 It seemed like a lot of work, but for good, like-home Mexican food that both the Ryan and I could enjoy, the work and the search (I definitely ran between three grocery stores for the ingredients. I will have to find a Latino market around here) was worth it.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy!!

First, prep your pork. You can clearly see my leftovers in the storage container. I didn’t measure any of it, mostly I just pulled out everything that didn’t have remnants of gravy on it. I also chose to season with garlic powder (1 tbls), Mexican oregano (3 tsp) and pepper (1/4 tsp). I also cubed about 1/3 of a white onion and marinaded it all in corn oil (4 tbls).

First, dump all of your leftover pork into a bowl. The storage container obviously doesn’t have enough room for you to mix and stir. 🙂 Also, I needed to separate the leftover fatty/gravy covered pieces, so I used a separate bowl.

Beware the vultures that you will attract when you break out the smelly-good stuff. These guys always know that there’s something good going on in the kitchen when one of us is in there, but I swear Lestat smelled this stuff in 12 seconds flat. He showed up, then Sam joined, and they stared at me and meowed the entire time.

Cube up your onion (I used 1/3 or so) and toss it in there.

Then add your spices and oil.Why so much oil, you ask? Remember that your already-cooked and leftover pork is probably a lot drier after being in the fridge than it was when you first cooked it. Therefore it will absorb a lot of the oil’s moisture, so you will need a little extra to leave enough to distribute the rest of the spices. At least, that’s my theory.

Stir it all up. Smell that? Omg yummy!

Since I knew ahead of time that I was going to be making these today, I actually prepped the pork yesterday before the Ryan and I left for our Cinco de Mayo party. I figured that would give the meat a good, long time to absorb the new spices and get nice and deeeelicious. I stuck it in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge.

Today, I started working on the sauce. The ingredients: Ancho chiles (dried, 5); Garlic (5 cloves, unpeeled), Onion (Half, chopped), Cumin (1/4 tsp), Tomato Puree (1 cup), Chicken Stock (2 cup). TIP: If you are like me and could only find a gigantic can of tomato puree, to store the leftovers, freeze them in a bag or storage container. Another way I’ve seen it done is a little bit of puree poured into individual ice cube trays so you can use what you need when you need it. We don’t have any spare ice cube trays though. 😦

Before you get started, if you don’t work with chiles often, I would suggest you wear gloves. After an unfortunate episode where I cut three habaneros and three jalapenos without gloves and ended up with chemical burns from the juices of the peppers tormenting my fingers for four days, I will NEVER work with peppers without gloves ever again. So painful!! Pull the stems out of your peppers and shake the seeds into a separate bowl. Tear the peppers in half to make sure the seeds are completely out.

Over medium heat, roast your chiles until they blister (as shown in bottom picture) and puff up on both sides. Don’t be surprised if the fumes from the chiles make you cough.

Once all of your peppers are blistered and puffed, drop them into a bowl and pour hot/boiling water over them. I soaked mine for an hour and a half. I also weighed the chiles down with a plate so they did not float to the top and were able to soak evenly.

Over medium heat, with the peel still on, roast the garlic, turning frequently.

After about 15 minutes, the garlic will be black and soft inside of the peel. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before peeling.

After about an hour and a half your peppers will look like this. Nice and puffy and big. You are now ready to prepare your sauce. 🙂

Saute about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped white onion in a pan until translucent.

Peel the garlic and add it, the chiles, the tomato puree, onions, chicken stock, cumin and a dash (about 1/4 tsp) black pepper to the blender. DO NOT dump out the water the chiles soaked in, as if you find the consistency of your enchilada sauce too thick, you can add that to the blender to thin it to the consistency you like. Not only can you do this in the blender, but you can do it in the pan when you’re cooking the sauce as well.

When you have blended everything, your sauce will look like this. 🙂 Pretty, no?

Pour your sauce into a strainer that is situated over a pot and, using a spatula, work the sauce through until it is all in the pot. The reason you do this is to keep the strings and seeds that may have made it into the sauce while blending from getting into the finished product of the sauce.

It will take you a while, I probably stood there about 15 minutes working everything through the strainer, but look at all of the yucky gunk that didn’t make it into my sauce.

And look at all the beautiful sauce that DID make it through the strainer. Mmmm, so pretty! Turn the heat on under your pot and simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes. At this point, taste it and add salt, pepper, Mexican oregano, more garlic, or cumin as you desire. I decided to add about 2 tsp of Mexican oregano and probably one more tbls of garlic powder. I also added about 1/2 tsp of salt. (Again, I have to keep it moderately tame or else heartburn. :()

While your sauce is simmering, remember that pork we prepared yesterday? Get it out and toss it in a skillet. Cook until heated through and the onions are translucent.

When your pork is heated and your sauce is ready, pour some of the sauce into a shallow dish and put the pork onto a plate by itself. Allow both mixtures to cool (you don’t wanna burn yourself while you assemble your enchiladas) for about 15 minutes. While your stuff cools, preheat your oven to 350. Mix about 1/2 cup of cheese (I had Mexican 4 cheese, you can use use whatever you want) into the pork mixture on the plate after it has cooled.

Very lightly line the bottom of your baking dish with some of the enchilada sauce.

Lightly dip your corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce, taking care not to overcoat them, as they will get soggy and break.

Lay the coated tortilla on a separate plate and add the pork mixture. Don’t add too much, it will tear your tortilla when you try to roll it.

Fold/roll the tortillas around the pork and put them in the sauce lined dish seam side down.

Coat the enchiladas with more sauce to cover.

Sprinkle cheese on top and pop those bad boys in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  I cooked mine for 25.

They will come out looking like this. 🙂 I let mine stand for about 15 minutes to allow the mixture and sauce to solidify a bit for easier, less mushy serving.

*OMG FORK GLARE!! O_O!!!* Serve up with some Mexican rice, homemade guacamole and sour cream and voila! Your very own Mexican dinner without leaving your house!!

Bueno!

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