Saturday, August 28, 2010

Homemade Tortillas- no other way to go!

When I moved to Oklahoma for my freshman year of college what I found myself missing the most was mexican food. "Well there is mexican food in Oklahoma", you might be thinking. Well, let me explain myself, I mean TEXAS mexican food! TX-mex, in my opinion is amazing. There is no TX-mex in Oklahoma, there just isn't. Some might say, "I prefer authentic", but let me tell you it feels a whole lot more authentic when I go in Pappasito's and can see the tortillas being freshly made. And let me add, their house salsa is spicy, unlike a very good restaurant here in OKC. So needless to say, tortillas make it or break it for me in the mexican food industry. Second to judge would be the salsa.
Where I am from, mexican restaurants MUST make their own tortillas or they simply will not be a successful company. And that's really not the case here in Oklahoma. People tell me about there favorite places and I go and order something with uncooked tortillas and they are pre packaged, taco bell worthy tortillas. Gross. Now, Ted's is very good and I love their tortillas. (And the fact that I occasionally babysit for Ted's family) But I miss Pappasito's!!!

OK, now that all of that is out of my system, I will talk to you about what I made for dinner tonight! Yes, that's right! I was so excited I had to tell you about it today! I made tortillas! I thought it would be so hard, and that I would need authentic tools, but I saw a recipe on PW's sight and knew I had to make them! I've been craving fresh tortillas for SO long! So I made them! And we had soft tacos for dinner!

They take some time but they are simple. Pretty much all you do is mix the dry ingredients, cut in your fat, add the hot water and stir. Kneed it a couple min and let it sit under a towel for an hour and then make your balls and let them sit 30 min. Then you make them! See it's so easy! I put the link to her page on the bottom... check it out!

I halved her recipe.
Here is what I needed:
Flour, baking powder, lard, salt, water, and my laptop (to follow her step by step pictures)
If you keep a well stocked pantry they are so cheap to make. The only thing I bought was the lard, but I had crisco I could have used. But it was like $1.25. So for real... cheep!

Now, she says to roll them into a ping pong ball shape, but that simply didn't do for me. I couldn't manage them so thin and don't like to eat them that thin! I ended up doubling these balls so they were about golf ball size. I like thick doughy tortillas, that are so amazing you want to eat them by themselves. I suggest golf ball size balls.

And here is the finished product. They were very good!

I think I'm going to continue to practice these. Not that often though cause they are so utterly fattening. I'd like to try different ingredients, and even using whole wheat four. Maybe use different fats to see what the outcomes are.

And a tip if you decide to make them yourself: dust the ball in flour before you roll it out. When I did this it came out better.

You should really try them!
Check out her page!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

random cooking pictures

I have too much time on my hands right now, and that is why I'm already writing another blog. But I'm not complaining because I enjoy all of this time. I found some pictures on my camera and decided to share them with you :)

The first set of pictures are from the last time I made my lemon curd bars. I have made them several times this summer and I think I've figured out why they are so fun to make. I get to use lots of my gadgets!

My pastry blender is amazing and I love it. (My crust is really brown because I like to add lots of cinnamon & nutmeg to it.)

My little reamer is amazing too because it really gets all the juice out. But I usually have to wear gloves because the citrus burns my hands.

I like to use this little thing to help me get all the seeds out. I always seem to miss one if I don't use this.

I've also become really good at getting off zest.

I enjoy brown eggs. They just feel more rustic too me.

Also get to use one of my favorite cookbooks: Williams Sonoma Baking Book

Also get to use one of my favorite baking dishes :)

I started to buy these noodles over the summer and I think they are the best. They don't have the gritty texture found in other whole wheat noodles. They contain no preservatives and no artificial color or flavor. The only ingredient is 100% Durum whole wheat flour, which includes wheat germ and bran fiber. 6 grams of fiber per serving only 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of sugar. I can not tell you how much better this pasta is.

This is some bread I made. It was hearty and good.

These were some cinnamon sugar muffins I made that were very delicious. I'm also wearing my apron which I'm quite fond of!

Now here is a trick I learned from my dad. It's actually what I grew up doing. We always used lean meat, and it's so nice not to have so much fat to worry about. Although, I've noticed that even the lean meats seem to produce a lot of fat these days. Anyways, scoot the meat to the side and fold a paper towel in quarters. Press on the fat with your spatula. Have a trash can near by. If you are using good quality paper towels you'll only need a couple. Much easier than getting a colander out I think. But be careful because the paper towel will be hot!

Last night I made "Rosemary Focaccia". It was really pretty simple and didn't take much. Flour (unbleached of course), EVOO, warm water, 1 TB of active dry yeast, salt, sugar, fresh rosemary, and sea salt. By the way... I love my set of prep bowls. They are so great!

Here is the final product. Having a kitchen aid really helps when making bread. I'm really glad I got one for Christmas. I've used it so much already.

Now, I'd like to tell yall that we hardly ever finish eating all the stuff I make. Also, I don't sit around making fatty things all of the time. It's just that the unhealthy stuff is what's the most fun to share. And I always try to use fresh, organic (if possible), and natural (what I consider more rustic) ingredients. So it's better for you than a lot of the highly processed things seen in the freezer isle, even if there are more calories or fat. My theory is that eating healthy is all about balance. So I do focus on eating my fruits and veggies and lean protein as well. Though Paula Dean is my hero.... I don't live by her standard of herbs counting for a veggie! Just thought I would defend myself a bit, because I always talk about fatty foods! I will still admit though... the unhealthy stuff is my favorite. I think most people would agree with me on that, those people who say otherwise must be lying!

Have a great week yall!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

family inspiration & a yummy meal

Inez Marie- Age 16

If you've ever seen the movie, Julie and Julia, then you'll understand (to some extent) the relationship between me and my Grandma Lehman. Julie was fascinated with Julia Child, not because she knew her really well, but because of what she left behind. I am fascinated with my grandma because of the legacy she left behind within her family. Julie created an image of what Julia Child was like. In her mind, she was perfect- and that is exactly how I picture my grandma. If she was or not, I do not really care. It's my mental image of her (based on what I've learned) that inspires me so much. She left behind mountains of recipes- hand written and cut outs from newspapers, food products, and magazines. She left behind pictures, handkerchiefs, quilts, some even unfinished. She left behind quality cookware that my parents still use. One of the things I am most thankful for is her love and character. She left it in her children. And I'm able to witness it in them.

She taught my daddy to cook, and my daddy inspired me to cook. The love around the freshly baked cinnamon rolls, or hot steamy tortilla soup. He likes to cook for people, and we always had a good time when he did. Which is what made me so interested.

My grandma's cinnamon rolls from last Christmas. With her fork, next to her locket. All on top of a special letter they wrote after they met my mom.

Blake and I had a very special guest over on Saturday and I wanted to cook her a good (and impressive) lunch. A bistro roast chicken, creamy garlic mashed potatoes, and I hadn't figured out the rest. I knew I needed to practice though so Monday was my day to try roast chicken and potatoes. The potatoes came out wonderful the chicken was another story. Everything was going fine except that my hands were burning from the acid in the lemon herb butter mixture I was trying to rub on. My problems began a little over half way through the roasting process when a cloud storm of steam came from the oven. Don't worry yet... I had opened the oven when this happened. I was supposed to bast the chicken with the juices. I didn't know if all the steam was normal, so I thought maybe I needed more water in the pan... so I added some. I went to sit down on the couch and a few min later I could see steam from the oven. I went to check on it and the smoke alarm went off. Oh great. So Blake ripped it off the celling and we pressed on. There was more smoke though, and the chicken wasn't cooking through. So we gave up.

As I was cleaning up, I was looking at my picture of grandma over the sink. "I wish you were here to tell me what went wrong. I wish I could have learned this whole process from you!" I thought about what she would tell me. "Kristin Marie, don't cry. Now what good does that do?"

I sat down and watched some TV with Blake, and went to work the next day. We ate hotdogs and nachos the rest of the week though. Now, as I show you what I decided to make for the special lunch please note these are not my pictures. I forgot to take some so these are scanned from my cookbooks. But the salad and dessert actually turned out much like the picture. The breadsticks... well lets just say it was good for a first round.

I decided to make a cobb salad

along with Grissini breadsticks

Gateau Basque for dessert

So on Wednesday I made the pastry cream for the dessert. On Thursday I made the Grissini. On Friday I made the Gateau Basque. On Saturday I made the salad.

Every thing turned out lovely! Our guest was Genie, who is like a grandma to Blake, his sister, and now me! I was so glad she got to visit and she even taught me a lesson. Never use fresh eggs when your going to boil them because it makes them hard to peel. (I had used fresh eggs) But now I'll always know that!

I think about my grandma a lot. Even though I didn't get to know her in the way I would have liked to, I feel like I'm getting to know her a little more every time I cook or bake.
I know this is long.... what's new! Not only do I talk too much but I write too much! Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

me & my grandma

Saturday, August 7, 2010

a matter of the heart

There are always many different things I feel like blogging about. This week I've decided to take a turn from the "susie homemaker" style topics and discuss a matter of the heart. Before I get into it though, I'd like to say again that I'm sorry for any grammar or spelling errors you might come across. I'm awful in both categories! Growing up I had a little bit of Romona Quimby in me, and still do today. So if you do see something that is just embarrassingly wrong please tell me cause I'll remember better if do! But other than that, please just excuse me : )

So on with today's blog. It will be sort of long and I'm sorry because I don't know what to cut out.

Blake and I both grew up at loving church congregations. Our whole families were both very involved and we felt like we knew everyone there. Our home congregations were considerably smaller than the huge one we've been attending, and try as we may, it just didn't feel like home. So we began our great church hunt this summer. I say great, but we really only looked at a couple, but it is great because it's taken all summer long and we have still not made up our mind. This isn't because we don't agree with how things are done, or because the song leader is off tune. I've narrowed it down to 2 main factors:

1. Our Age

You see, we are the generation of impersonal business. We would rather take care of just about anything online because it's easier. This feeds into our daily life because we are a less personal brand of people. So it's hard to meet people our own age because our generation just doesn't seem to talk to people at church very well. But I think there are other factors to this. This is a transitional time of life- finishing up college, or being fresh out, starting families, finding a career, finding a church home. Most young couple we see at church are trying to get adjusted just like we are. And it's just a weird time of life I've decided.

2. When you grew up most of your life in one congregation, nothing feels the same.

And nothing is the same because you don't know all the members the way you are used to. I could go on and on about this reason but I'm leaving it at that.

Through lots of prayer, we are beginning to see an end to this process (I hope). But it's taken quite a toll on me spiritually this summer. This is where the true subject of this blog begins. I was listening to one of my favorite songs by Ginny Owens this week called "I am nothing". I've always been inspired by this song, but at a different phase in life. A time when I would get so caught up in church service and leadership that I needed to remember God called me to something higher than that- love. And that if I wasn't loving, then all my services were worth nothing to the Lord.

This summer, I've been yearning to serve in church again, and do the things I've always loved to do such a teach bible classes and help plan children's events. I haven't been able to though because we were not committed to a congregation. In all of that frustration, I was allowing myself to fail spiritually because I wasn't able to serve God like I wanted to. I wasn't remembering that God has called me to something even greater than church work- love.

Church service is very important to help the Kingdom but it isn't everything. And if I'm not currently serving the church, I can still answer God's greatest calling by loving Him and loving others. I can love my Lord by spending more time in prayer and study and getting to know Him better. When I do that, I'll know how and have His power to help me love as He has called me to. This isn't to say that I shouldn't be seeking ways to serve the Church when we have placed membership. It's saying that that serving isn't the basis of the faith and I should not treat it as such.

This is what I thought about as I listened to the song this week. And it changed that way I've thought about this time in my life. I wish God would have brought me to this revelation sooner than he did but I know it probably wouldn't have been as meaningful. I know God does everything in His time and by His will.

I'd like to leave you with the lyrics to this song and a link to hear it on youtube. The only you tube video I could find of that song is someone's wedding slide show, and it's a little bit different the version of the song I listen to. It's still the same song though, and if you want want to hear it, it's there.

Hope yall have a great weekend.
As Always, Kristin Marie.

I am Nothing
Ginny Owens

I could travel over oceans, cross the deserts, climb the mountains
Just to share Your story, bring You glory, and win souls for You.
AND I could sing like an angel, songs so humble and so thankful
Full of drama and emotion, so the world would know Your truth.
I could give away my money and my clothes and my food
To restore those people who are poor, AND lost, and down-and-out.
Oh, I could succeed at all these things,
Find favor with peasants and kings,
But if I do not love, I am nothing.

I could live a flawless life,
Never cheat or steal or lie,
And always speak so kindly, smile SO warmly, and go about doing good.
I could dedicate myself to do what everyone else wants me to-
Listen to them, compliment them, say the things I should.
I could show up every Sunday, lead the Choir and Bible Study
And they all might come to know me as a leader and a friend.
Oh, I could achieve success on Earth, but success cannot define my worth
And all these actions, all these words, THEY will not matter in the end-

CAUSE Songs will fade to silence,
Stories, they will cease.
The dust will settle, covering all my selfless deeds.
So as I strive to serve You,
Won't You make it clear to me,
THAT If I do not love, I am nothing.

AND If I cannot live my life loving my brother,
Then how can I love the One who lived His life for me?

OH, Sent to Earth from Heaven,
Humble Servant, Holy King,
Come to share a story, get no glory, and save my searching soul,
You knew that I'd deny You, crucify You, but nothing could stop You from
living for me, dying for me, so that I would know-

THAT Songs will fade to silence,
Stories they will cease,
The dust will settle covering ALL MY selfless deeds.
But Your life here has made it clear enough for me to see
That if I do not love, I am nothing