Author Archive: Flavor

Honey Chipotle Pork Tacos

I made the BEST tacos EVER Sunday night. Swoon. The idea for these Honey Chipotle Pulled Pork Tacos came from an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network. I only caught the last few minutes of the process of making the tacos, but the general idea stuck with me. And my gawd did they look good! There are two key parts to this recipe—the sauce and the process of melting the cheese on the tortillas. You essentially prepare half a quesadilla to put the pork and toppings into. The melted cheese and slightly crispy tortilla adds loads of texture.

Honey Chipotle Pork Tacos

I don’t know how they cooked the pork at the restaurant, and I can’t remember what toppings they used, but here is my version. Also, I didn’t measure the ingredients for this recipe, so I can only offer you guestimates. It’s easy to adjust the sauce, however, so guestimates will work. (more…)

Packed Lunch Favorites

It’s so easy to pack an unhealthy lunch. Cookies, chips, crackers, sandwiches piled with processed meats and cheese and slathered in mayo. Yick. I don’t keep any of that stuff in my house. If we’re craving it, we have to drive to the store and get it. Usually, it’s not worth the hassle. And the “not in my house” rule has made for much healthier (and tastier) packed lunches. Yes, it requires cooking, but I take Sunday afternoon to listen to the football game(s) and cook for the entire week. Here are some of my favorite recipes from three of my favorite sources. Buy these cookbooks, and visit the blogs, and try them for yourself! (Our lunches usually consist of some type of sandwich or burrito, a green salad, a bean or grain salad, yogurt, fruit, and a granola bar, muffin, or other homemade sweet treat.) (more…)

Pacific Northwest Pizza

There is a pizza shop in town that advertises on their website a Northwest Territory Pizza that I wanted to try. We called to order it one night, and they had no idea what we were talking about. Apparently, they are a regional chain, and our chain doesn’t carry that particular pie. Truth be told, I’m not much of a fan of this pizza joint anyway, so it wasn’t too disappointing. A few weeks later, I gathered similar ingredients and made my own version. I wasn’t satisfied with it, however. It was too salty, and the cheese wasn’t right. Like the pizza advertized, I used Gorgonzola and Parmesan, but the combo was overkill and you couldn’t taste the other delectable ingredients. I shelved the idea for a while and came back to it a few weeks ago. This time with great results!

Pacific Northwest Pizza

I don’t think pizza should have a bunch of rules and measurements. I think you should use the ingredients in good balance, and use more of those particular ingredients you like or whose flavors you want to emphasize. When I made this pizza, I opted for more apple and sundried tomato, and went light on the walnuts and mushrooms. I also went light on the cheese, using just enough mozzarella to cover most of the pesto sauce, and a light sprinkling of Parmesan over the toppings. Choose a pesto sauce you really like, because you’ll definitely be disappointed if your pesto sauce isn’t appealing. (more…)

Strawberry Pomegranate Wine

I’ve never been a fan of fruit wine. (Yes, I know, grapes are a fruit, but they are in an entirely different classification that is NOT fruit wine.) When I think of fruit wines, I think of sticky sweet, thin, bodiless, alcoholic cousins to fruit juice, and distant distant relatives to real wine. I can’t help it. And I’m only sort of sorry I feel this way. But! I’ve recently taken another look at fruit wine.

Strawberry Pomegranate Wine

Several months ago, my husband started home brewing. He’s done beer here and there in the past, but always from kits. Now, he’s making his own mash and wort for beer, and diving into fruit wines. His first fruit wine was a cran-apple. We spent hours coring and juicing apples, and I kept thinking: This is going to be a waste of time. I HATE fruit wine!!! I was stunned when I tasted it, and it tasted like, well, wine! Not exactly wine wine, but not a sticky sweet, thin, bodiless, alcoholic cousin to fruit juice either. This had a lot of body, depth, and flavor. (more…)

Sausage and Potato Pizza

This is an incredibly rich pizza. I definitely suggest making a thin crust, and using light to moderate amounts of cheese. A side salad with a vinaigrette dressing will also help lighten up the meal. As for the crust, use your favorite recipe, but I’d steer clear of 100% whole wheat, or the store-bought Boboli shells, as both are dense, and will only weight down the pizza even more. Use the highest quality Sweet Italian sausage you can find. Don’t use ground sausage, or breakfast sized links. Neither will produce very good results. In my humble opinion… I’ve used Trader Joes brand, and also Johnsonville, which weren’t too bad, but if you have a nearby butcher shop, check it out. Look for them with the Brats. Red potatoes are less starchy than other types, so I’d stick with them. I also think the Fontina works beautifully here. If you can’t find Fontina, try a mild to medium white cheddar.

And yes, I know, I make a lot of pizza!

Sausage and Potato Pizza

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil
  • large grain sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Sauté garlic and herbs in butter and olive oil until fragrant. Keep warm.

(more…)

Quattro Formaggi and Olive Pizza

Wow. Another pizza post. You’re probably wondering if that’s all we eat in my house. Really, it’s not. For some reason, it’s one of the few foods that inspires me to blog, however. Maybe it’s just my lack of time that stifles my creativity in the kitchen. It is soooo hard to cook, and cook something original, when you work odd hours and have to be ready to show property on a moment’s notice. As such, we’ve been eating a lot of simple dishes lately because of my random schedule. But I had time to crave a cheesy, olive pizza, and actually make it this past week. It really makes me want to get back in the kitchen on a regular basis. We’ll see…

As usual, the ingredients are relative. I offer approximates. The rest is up to your personal taste.

Quattro Formaggi and Olive Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza dough for a 16-20 inch pizza

1 16 0z. can diced tomatoes (low sodium preferable)
basil, to taste
oregano, to taste
garlic, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes (optional), to taste
olive oil (more…)

PLTA Salad

P=prosciutto, L=lettuce, T=tomato, and A=avocado. Yep, like a BLT but different. The addition of avocado makes (almost) everything taste better, and if you have yet to convert from bacon to prosciutto, it’s high time you did. Prosciutto is a thinly sliced Italian dry-cured ham. You can eat it uncooked, right out of the package, but for this recipe, I pan fry it, just as you would bacon. This gives it a nice, crunchy texture. The flavor is similar to bacon, but without all the added artificial flavors usually found in bacon. It is also less fatty.

If you’re in a hurry, you can use store-bought salad dressing. I’m not a Ranch fan, though it would be okay. I prefer a vinaigrette. The recipe for my White Wine and Herb Vinaigrette is below. It’s akin to an Italian Vinaigrette, and goes well with this salad. Unlike Ranch, it won’t weigh down and drown out the flavors of the greens or avocado, and yet it’s plenty flavorful enough in and of itself.

prosciutto salad

Hubby and I ate this salad as a main dish, along with a loaf of Rosemary Garlic Bread, and a glass of Kestrel’s Mourvedre. Perfect meal for a warm summer night on the patio… or even a cool, rainy night at the kitchen table working on a puzzle…

If you like this recipe, try PLTA Croissant Sandwiches. (more…)

Poblano Boats

If you love stuffed chiles, but don’t like all the work involved, this recipe is for you. I don’t bother roasting and peeling the chiles, and then stuffing them full of yummy goodness. I simply cut the top off, cut a slit down the center, deseed it, stuff it, and bake it. It doesn’t quite have the same flavor as a roasted and peeled chile, because the skin gives it a slight–very slight—bell pepper taste. If you don’t like bell peppers, you’re welcome to go through all the extra steps of roasting. But for the amount of time and hassle you’ll save skipping it, I think you’ll still love these, and be able to make them for dinner in a snap.

Poblano chiles are not mouth-burning hot, either. Especially if you deseed and devein them. Some are warmer than others, but the batch I made were completely heatless. If you get a chile that lacks the heat you’re looking for, add the seeds and veins into the stuffing mixture. It should pep it right up! The chorizo this recipe calls for also adds some spice, not to mention plenty of flavor.

As usual, I do not measure. I can offer approximates, but please feel free to adjust up or down depending on your personal tastes.

Poblano Boats

Ingredients:

(more…)

Complete Protein Veggie Burritos

While I am not a vegetarian, I am conscious of how much meat I eat. I generally plan half of our meals with meat, and half without. Not only is this easier on the budget, it is, in my opinion, healthier for the body and the environment. Since my husband’s job is very physical, I also try to make lunches that are high in protein. This balancing act led to me these Complete Protein Veggie Burritos. A complete protein is a protein that consists of all 12 amino acids. To get a complete protein from food other than meat, you have to combine foods. This recipe combines beans, brown rice, and corn. Super simple and easy, and the burritos last all week for lunches. (Keep half in the freezer and pull out as needed.)

Complete Protein Veggie Burritos

Cooking notes:

I added plenty of red chile and chipotle, but you can make it as spicy or as mild as you like. I also added about ½ cup provolone cheese for flavor and texture. If you’re vegan, simply omit this, or try sweet potatoes if you miss the creaminess of the cheese. (more…)

What To Look Over When Comparing Pregnancy Pillows

Not only is it important to know what kind of pregnancy pillow suits you, but there are also other things that play.

using-pregnancy-pillow-for-better-sleep

What is the filling of the nursing pillow?

There are different kinds of stuffing used by manufacturers to make as comfortable and supportive as possible the nursing pillow:

Styrofoam balls

You know them, those little white balls that are also in a beanbag. These are Styrofoam balls. These shots are mainly found in the cheaper food pillows. The power supply pads adapt quickly through the styrofoam balls to your body and body posture. Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to the polystyrene balls. For noise-sensitive mama: they make some noise when you move or turn around. Also paste the shots after a lot of use to each other, making the cushion quickly loses shape and support. Not just stick the balls to each other, but they are also charged with static electricity by friction.

Polyester filling

Polyester fibers are also commonly used in the ordinary pillows. It is often mixed with cotton to get a kind of wooly substance. It is soft and … does not sound! The composition of polyester ensures that the dust little crease and firm to the touch. This is dependent on some polyester fibers in the nursing pillow. Polyester is very popular with the moms but also has a downside. Polyester does not breathe like other types of fill (blown sweating). (more…)