Life Tastes So Good

Exploring life one taste at a time.

Mexican-style potato Skins

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” — Julia Child

mexican style with name

 

Basically my world has been a hot mess the last few weeks, but happy belated Mother’s day to all the moms and happy belated birthday to my husband, Matt.

Do any other moms out there feel like they are just constantly screwing up or is that just me? Sometimes I have to take a step back and just breath. I find cooking helps relax me and this last time I dove in the kitchen I made these Mexican-style potato skins. Plus side? I must be doing something right because my daughter, Emily, joined my cooking in the kitchen the moment she saw me start cooking and it made my heart smile.

I haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while and had random items to cook work with. I had almost everything for tacos but no tortillas. What to do? Well potatoes of course! I was a little leery of the idea but it worked well! (Insert Happy Dance!)

Here we go!

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey

1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup of sour cream

5-6 large baking potatoes

1/2 C diced white onion

1/4 C of fresh cilantro

2 diced roma tomatoes (or smaller tomatoes)

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of diced garlic

Cilantro for garnish

1 small bag of frozen corn

Pre-heat oven to 400*F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut each potato in half (as pictured above) and line them on the cookie sheet (doesn’t matter which way) bake for 15 minutes.  After the first 15 minutes of baking ‘flip’ the potato and continue to bake and flip every 15 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a pot heat oil on medium heat, add garlic and onion, cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add ground beef to pot and brown. Once browned drain meat of excess oil. Add the dry ingredients, tomatoes and corn an cook an additional 10 minutes.

Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop hollow the centers of each potato. (Save the ‘centers’ for later, they make great mashed potatoes).

Fill each hollowed potato with ground beef. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream and garnish with a little of freshly cut cilantro.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Mexican Pozole.

“The best seasoning to food is the love you put in it.”

~ Unknown

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mexicanposole

For years I’ve always harassed my mom when I wanted to eat pozole. I would tell her that I didn’t know how to make it and that only she can make it right. I finally fessed up and tried to make pozole on my own. My first attempt came out okay but the last batch came out great! My mom even called me the next day to tell me that I have graduated to the next level, according to her. Ha. This recipe was hard to actually write out since my mom does not write recipes and does everything by a pinch, a spoon full of the “spoon with flowers” and so forth.  There was a lot of measuring, double checking and taste testing to get this down as close as possible to what my mom has been making for years. Other than the measurements the actual cooking process is very simple and produces something so dynamic in taste you would think it was much more difficult. Serve this on a cool autumn night and it will warm you all over.

For the Meat and Stock:

A large stock pot

4 quarts of water

2 pounds cubed pork shoulder

1 pound pork spare ribs or baby back ribs

3 cans (15 ounces each) hominy, drained

1/2 of a med sized white onion, finely chopped

8 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon dry Mexican oregano

Salt to taste

What you need for the Pepper Sauce:

12 Ancho peppers cleaned, seeded

One large bowl

3 – 4 cups of hot water

For the Garnish:

1 Head of cabbage finely shredded

1/2 of a med sized white onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cup of radishes sliced

Limes, cut in wedges

Tostadas, deep fried corn tortillas

In a large bowl, place all 12 seeded ancho peppers and add very hot water until all the pepper are submerged. Set aside.

In a large stock pot start to boil the 4 quarts, add to the water the first 1/2 of chopped white onion, add the 8 minces garlic cloves (to speed this part up I just used the blender to “mince”) and add the 1 teaspoon of dry Mexican oregano. Salt water to liking. Allow water, onion, garlic, and oregano to boil roughly 5 minutes then add in meat and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer meat stirring occasionally for an hour and a half.

At this point you can check on the ancho peppers. Once they feel soft and rehydrated, blend the pepper in a blender until it becomes a paste like mixture. Using water from the stock pot, add 1/2 cup to blender. Blend again. Pour ancho pepper “sauce” into stock pot with meat. Lastly add the 3 drained cans hominy to the stock pot continue to simmer for another half an hour or until hominy is tender to bite.

Reduce heat, serve in large bowls and garnish with chopped onions, sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, and fresh squeezed lime juice. If desired enjoy with tostadas on the side.

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Agua de Horchata.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
―     Ernest Hemingway

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I have been so tired the last two weeks. Seriously falling asleep at work tired. My car was out of commission and therefore to get to work I had to get up at four-thirty AM to head out with the kiddos and husband with one car. I know I am going to sound spoiled when I say this but I hate having one car. We live in an area where there is no public transportation and getting around basically requires a car. It stinks when moments like this happen. Anyways off my soap box, I’ve been extra lazy luckily this cool summer drink does not involve much of any work other than waiting. My husband loves this drink and so do my step kiddos, they call it cinnamon milk. It’s a traditional Mexican drink that I enjoy from time to time and it’s a bonus that my kiddo and husband like it so it never lasts.

Horchata

Agua de Horchata

1 3-inch cinnamon stick
4 cups hot water (Bring to a boil on the stove and remove from heat)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Sweetened Condense Milk
Ice cubes
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (Optional)

What To Do:

 In a large bowl mix up rice, cinnamon stick and water;

Cool it down, and Cover; Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Strain the mixture over a pitcher, reserve the liquid. Remove Cinnamon sticks. Place rice in blender. Add a ground cinnamon (optional, for a stronger cinnamon taste.)

 Cover; blend on High for 3 to 4 minutes until mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the reserved soaking water and Sweetened condensed milk; blend for an additional 2 minutes. Pour entire mixture into pitcher.

Serve over ice or blend with ice in the blender for a “shake” texture.

Enjoy!

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Caramel Turtle Cookies.

Sometimes I think that the one thing I love most about being an adult is the right to buy candy whenever and wherever I want.

Ryan Gosling

(PS- Not only a looker but a lover of candy? Watch out husband he’s giving you a run for your money!)

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There isn’t much going on in the crazy world of Diana these few week. I did get exciting news that I got offered a secure position at my job, full of benefits and vacation time. Real grown up talk. Boring! Let’s talk candy! YUM! When I was pregnant with my littlest, Emily, I loved me some candy! Top of the list? Chocolate. Dark. Milk. Chocolate covered anything. It was chocolate. It was mine. Point. Period. End of story. At that point of my life I was working at a pharmacy and they carried large boxes of the caramel turtles. Oh my! All of my favorite things in one bite! I mean who wouldn’t love it? Unless you don’t like chocolate, in that case I’m not really sure if we can be friends. Hate to break it to ya.

This past week I realized its been ages since I’ve made cookies or had turtles and then the wheels started turning. Combine these amazing items into one. Needless to say I did to a little happy dance in the store and people were staring but who cares my house was about to smell amazing. The cookies didn’t last through one pot of coffee another favorite of mine. What is your favorite candy? Have you tried using it to cook or bake? I am going to experiment with a few more the next coming weeks. I am excited to see what we can come up with.

caramel Turtle cookies

Caramel Turtle Cookies

What You Will Need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

30 caramels

What to Do:

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat to cool.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Chop about 10 caramels to in small  “chunks”, and set aside. In another bowl, beat together melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Beat in egg and vanilla. Slow your mixer to the slowest setting and gradually add in the flour mixture.

Stir in, using a spoon or spatula, the chocolate chips, pecans and chunks of caramel.

Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (skipping this step will make your cookies too thin)

Heat oven to 350°F

Roll dough into balls or use a cookie scoop and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake 8 minutes or until set and light golden. Cool on wire racks. Melt caramel in the microwave and drizzle over cooled cookies.

*Note: these cookies are a tad sticky so if you are transporting them it may be best to wait to put the caramel topping on at location.

And of course, enjoy.

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Asian Glazed Drumsticks

“We  keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re  curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
~ Walt  Disney

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I started blogging to push me out of my comfort zone with cooking. I needed to try new things, explore and fail some. However, I haven’t tried anything too adventurous just yet. I decided to make something I normally wouldn’t make for dinner. I stink at making Asian food. I’ve tried and failed. Over and over. When I saw this recipe on Skinny Taste it seemed simple enough. I actually pulled this one off! Ha! I added broccoli and shredded carrots to it as well. Modifications have been made to the recipe. I hope y’all enjoy as much as we did.

ASIANGLAZEDDRUMSTICKS

Ingredients:

8 medium chicken drumsticks (No Skin)

Olive Oil

1 cup water

1 tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce, or more, some like it hot!

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar

3 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 tsp. grated ginger

2 tbsp chopped chives

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 cup of Broccoli florets

1/2 cup shredded carrots

What To Do:

In a large sauce pan heat up a enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of pan. Brown chicken for about 5 minutes about half cooked. Stir in all the ingredients excluding the broccoli and carrots . Allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes on low. Once the 20 minutes has passed add in the broccoli and carrots and turn the heat up to high and allow the sauce to reduce for about 8-10 minutes , until it becomes thick. Watch out not to burn the glaze, stir often. Once it’s thick enough for your liking Serve over a bed of white jasmine rice for a full meal.

Print the Recipe Here

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S’mores Cake Bites

Ah,  summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
Russell  Baker

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smores with sig

It’s officially summer, at least my calendar says so, take a look on June 21st, it’s summer y’all and it’s hot. Now most haven’t had a warm Texas summer in their lifetime but you’re not missing much. You know the leather seats so hot you get third degree burns or the fact that you will only do yard work at 6:30 to 7:00 pm ’cause that’s when it finally starts to cool down. Cool down meaning 90s. Yea that kind of summer.

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My kids are really at this point to little to enjoy to many summer things with the heat. If you let two toddlers run around and get hot outside all you’re left with is two hot cranky toddlers. Needless to say we stay inside for the most part. This weekend we took our little monsters to go see the new Monster’s University movie. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. This was our first movie with our kids. I was terrified my kid was going to be that one that screams and yelling and over all just won’t shut up. Much to my surprise both of my kids behaved fairly well. After the movies I wanted to continue our summer fun with S’mores. Although I trust my toddlers with a few things, eating, not killing each other, not blowing up the house, ect, I don’t trust them around fire. Not sure why it looks so fun to go play in but fire was out of the picture for my S’mores. These require no fire. Safety first kids.

I made the cake “part” when the kids were napping and the rest they helped me make.

These taste great but do not store well and they are messy so strip your kid grab a S’more Cake and make some summer memories.

For the cakes I used this recipe. I made no changes.

Print it Here

What you will need:

FOR THE FILLING:

Two large cans of Marshmallow Fluff

1 C Chocolate chunks or mini chocolate chips

1 1/2 Crushed Graham Crackers

Water

What To Do:

Basically, get all the fluff into a bowl, its a work out.

Add 3 Tbsp. of water, and mix.

Add in chocolate chunks.

Add in Graham Crackers.

DONE!

(PS- if you’re not into baking that’s cool, this makes a great dip as well, show up to the table with this plus additional crackers for dipping, its a winner.)

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Never Have I Ever.

Tip of the Day: Don’t let your toddlers play with your ipad without a case. It never ends well. Ask my poor ipad and his hurt screen. Yup.

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Let’s be honest here, none of us have tried all foods ever made. Just isn’t going to happen. I mean you can visit many countries and try many foods but I doubt anyone in a life time can eat every kind of every food that has ever existed. With that in mind, when I married my husband we had what you could call a culture shock. My family is Mexican and Puerto Rican therefore I was raised on mostly Hispanic based foods. His family is more of a traditional American meal kind of family, nothing wrong with it, I just never had experience with it. Before my husband and I lived together I had never had a meatloaf, and honestly thought the idea of eating mean in the shape of a loaf of bread sounded weird as heck. In the essence of trying to be a good wife I decided to start cooking some meals I had never made before. Ever. Including my latest encounter with Brussels Sprouts.  I had never even noticed these little green dudes at the store before last week. I’ve heard of them but never took interest into eating them. The looked funny, why would I? Much to my surprise I enjoyed them quite a bit. They can be a tad bitter tasting but the recipe I used seemed to take the bitter taste out. I hope y’all enjoy learning about new foods as much as I do, even if its a very common food to some, to me its completely foreign (don’t worry I will post all my new food adventures as I have them).

Caramelized Onions & Bacon Brussels Sprouts

4 Slices of think cut bacon

1/4 cup of butter

1 medium onion chopped

1 teaspoon of packed brown sugar

1 1/2 Lbs of Brussels sprouts, trimmed, and halved lengthwise

Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet until crispy, once fully cooked set side to cool. When cool chop bacon coarsely.

In same skillet, with the bacon grease, add the butter and add the onions and sugar. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are tender.

While the onions are caramelizing, place the Brussels sprouts in saucepan, add enough water to cover all the Brussels sprouts. Bring water to a boil, cover the boiling water with a tight lid and reduce heat to low. Cook until tender, typically about 10 minutes..

Once Brussels sprouts are tender drain excess water and add Brussels sprouts to the caramelized onions, stir until all the Brussels sprouts are well incorporated into the onions. Keep heat on medium to low and continue to stir. Add the chopped bacon and remove pan from heat. Stir to insure bacon is mixed in with all the Brussels sprouts. Serve enjoy!

Adapted from: Land O’Lakes Caramelized Onion Bacon Brussels Sprouts.

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Things I am in love with as of now.

Liquid Dreamsicle

Tip of the Day: Ceiling fans always amaze me. I mean how can something that is always moving (at least here in Texas it’s always on) get so freaking dusty?! HOW!? No matter the science behind it, the best way to keep the blades dust free for a longer time is to wipe them down well then once they are clean and dry get a dryer sheet or two and thoroughly rub all the blades down. Boom!

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Girl scout 1

It’s that time of year. Pollen. Rain. Lots of Claritin and Girl Scout Cookies! I mean who out there does not like at least one type of Girl Scout cookie? Unfortunately I enjoy way too many of them. My husband and I fight over boxes of cookies and enjoy them with a huge glass of milk (Soy milk for me though). What are you favorite flavors? Or what is your ultimate favorite flavor? When I was nine month pregnant with Emily the Girl Scouts came -a-knockin’ and oh did I love it. So much my doctor swore they started my labor later that week.  Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties, or Caramel Delights, whatever your poison I believe they go to a great organization and will buy them for life.

girl scout 2

Now on to a topic that is even more fun that cookies. Drinks! When I was in New Orleans a few months ago I had the great honor of trying my first Dreamsicle drink. It was epic. I’m the kind of person that likes mixed drinks that actually tastes good, not one that leaves an odd burn that makes me wonder if I just drank acid. You know what I’m talkin’ about!  I thought to myself….I bet I can make that at home. Being that I am on a diet I decided to make a Skinny Liquid Dreamsicle Drink, but that being said you can easily used regular products instead of diet products. I bought a cheaper vodka and got the same results as I did with a more expensive brand. I believe total cost for all products was under ten dollars, which is much better than paying seven dollars a drink at a bar.

I hope y’all enjoy this drink a much as did. Once the kids are in bed and I get to sit down with a month worth of Grey’s Anatomy to watch, these hit the spot!

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Ingredients

Sprite Zero*

Lite Orange Juice*

Cake Flavored Vodka

Orange for garnish

Measure out 1/3 cup of Sprite, allow all bubbles to calm before finalizing measurement, add to glass of choice.

Add 1 Cup of Orange Juice to Sprite and then add  2 Tablespoons of Cake flavored Vodka.

Garnish with orange twist or wedge, if desired.

Serving Size for one 9.5 oz glass.

* You can substitute Sprite Zero for regular Sprite and Lite Orange Juice with regular juice.

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The Wait is Over.

Tip of the Day: Want whiter teeth but don’t want to pay a ton? Add Baking soda to your “brushing” routine. Typically what I do is apply my toothpaste as I would, and lightly coat the top of the toothpaste with the powder. Brush as usual. Do this a few time a week until desired “color” is reached. Repeat week, monthly or as often as needed for the upkeep. Tada!

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This post is going to be a hard one to write. Mostly because it’s on such a sensitive topic for me. Odds are this is a topic most women are sensitive to as well. So here goes nothing.

My whole life I’ve been a bubbly girl, outgoing in most aspects of life and some would say too “chipper”. Secretly inside I was and still am battling my own demons. Since a young age I was the kid my parents would say “watch what you eat, you need to run more, you need exercise,”….and so on. I was however a very active kid, played outside in a daily basis and eventually joined track in middle school and soccer in high school (not saying I was any good or anything but I did get a workout, to say the least). And yet still a chubby kid. I just grew into thinking ‘I’m just not meant to be skinny.’ Though personally I didn’t think size twelve was that large as I grew up into my body. Which I stayed at for a long time….

Of course life happened. I graduated high school so then starts the weight gain, the long nights of “studying”   and then meeting a guy….and finally, babies.

At first with my son there wasn’t a huge difference of weight but I did change clothing sizes, just one up, I could handle that. Then my second baby, my little girl,…eighteen months later after my first I had her. My body freaked out. The actual large amount of pounds didn’t even come until after the babies were both born.  I have no one but myself to blame honestly. Along with hormonal changes with babies and having to move back in with my mother and well marriage the pounds packed on.

A few weeks ago I stepped on the scale and could not believe what I saw. I stepped off even changed the battery on the scale to double check that the number was right. It didn’t change. Holy crap. Holy crap. HOLY CRAP. How on earth did this happen.

At this point I had been a stay at home mom for almost a year and never really found the need to wear much of anything other than pajamas. I had my ‘Ah-Ha’ moment when I got a call for a job interview and couldn’t find any work clothes that still fit. First I was angry, then terribly sad. Que the tears and clothes throwing. Needless to say I got the job, making it more of a reality check that something needed to be done. All my nice skirts dresses and slacks didn’t fit. Not even close.

I started dieting, and so far have successfully lost fifteen pounds. But if I had to eat one more egg I was going to lose my mind. Doing a carb-free diet was working, but I felt so tired all the time and couldn’t take eating a 90% protein only diet. I decided I needed to try something else. I started doing some research and really checking out what I could do for realistic weight loss and a way to keep it off. I came across an article about Clean Eating. I fell in love.

I started clean eating less than a week ago and already have lost three pounds. No starvation. No weird cravings. Amazing food. My mom (because we live together *sigh*) keeps asking what diet this is, and I just tell her over and over, it isn’t a diet! It’s a lifestyle change. I know I probably do not follow all the rules to  the law or any of that but I try to stick as close as possible as I can.

I think one of the biggest reasons I keep starting diets and never sticking to them is because I’m not holding my self accountable and no one is holding me accountable. I figured I could blog about my journey, my bad days, good days, and new adventures with great natural foods. So mostly, it’s for me to stay on track and get my act right. If anyone even reads this, I welcome any advice, tips, tricks, or constructive criticism.

I’m a girl on a mission. Tired of wearing pajamas, tired of acting like I don’t want to go out just because I can’t find anything to wear. I am putting my foot down.

Hope we can enjoy this journey together! 

PS- I totally had a brownie today! FAIL!….but it was just one small one. Ha. Like I said my good days and bad. One day at a time. 


– Marc Jacobs


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Giggles.

Hello all. It’s been far too long!

I’ve been locked out of tech world for awhile, with a broken laptop and all. I finally took the plunge and got and Ipad. Of course I felt guilty for buying it so I let my son play with it. HUGE mistake. Now I don’t have a laptop or Ipad. Yay! Though I do try to monitor how much my stinker uses my Ipad I do enjoy watching him play and figure things out on there. One smart cookie.

Other than that I recently got a new job. Woot-woo Work. It’s only part time for now but that will do, better than nothing. I stopped writing and one night realized how much I missed it, so here I am again. I’m not writing for anyone really but myself. Most of my daily conversations are with my two year old and one year old so not many real sentences are exchanged. My husband is starting school, which may I add I am very proud of him for, but in doing so I am alone with the kids a lot of the time. So any adult interaction is awesome.

With that being said,…I have become an addict. Addicted to Pinterest! With the addiction I have found tons of new things to look into. I absolutely L-O-V-E these! I can’t stop laughing!

I mean they have so many different ones with SO TRUE of statements on them, I love it! Just thought I would share some updates. Sorry for the boring post. Hopefully my next post will be more of an action packed thriller and not so vanilla.

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