Friday, January 30, 2015

Big game? Big nachos!

The Seahawks are the closest thing I've ever had to a hometown team, and I'm really excited for Sunday's game! Even if the Seahawks weren't playing, I'd still be excited because of the importance placed on snacking. In our house, sports snacking means fancy nachos, with emphasis on tasty toppings and plenty of cheese. You know what's sad? Naked tortilla chips and a pile of chipless toppings at the bottom of the pan.

Friends, I'm happy to introduce a game-changer: Tostada nachos. Using tostada shells is faster, easier, and more efficient than using tortilla chips. No more Tetrising of the chips to fully line a pan. No more losing valuable toppings through the cracks of tortilla chips. No more wrangling 18 chips in order to get enough toppings!
Action shot!
Here's how the magic happens:
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Lay out six or seven tostada shells.
3. Go crazy with toppings! (For Josh's birthday here, I used black beans, pickled jalepenos, red onions, frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe's, banana peppers, green onions, and cheddar and pepperjack cheeses. Some of those toppings came straight off of the Whole Food's salad bar. Look at that belly--this pregnant lady limited her time standing and chopping.)
4. Do another layer of chips & toppings.
5. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melty--usually about 15 minutes.
6. Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, radishes, cilantro...

Don't worry--this is before the second cheese layer. I'm not that cruel.

Now tell me: What's your favorite nacho topping or nacho hack?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Current Favorite Things - January 2015

I've been away from here for a while. I've been spending most of my days in a baby-bliss-filled haze, and it has been lovely. I start work Monday, and am hoping to get into a better routine of work, cooking, and snuggling. My hope for my writing is that I publish more often, but perhaps shorter posts. It can get daunting to have a big, involved idea or recipe floating around in my head, and then I try to say something interesting about pizza dough. Sometimes I just want to tell you that it's great dough and you should try it if you're looking to make a pizza.
One of my favorite things: Huge cedar trees in our backyard. This is the morning view from our guest bedroom.

So I've been thinking about a few things that I've been appreciating and loving lately, and I want to tell you about them.

In the Kitchen
  • Frozen chopped onions. Bags of these are about a dollar each, and are so convenient for quick dishes--scrambles, guacamole, veggies & rice, etc. I usually only use a quarter of a cup at time, and I'm already stockpiling bags in our deep freezer.
  • Taylor Farms Kale Chopped Salad. You all probably know that I'm a huge kale trash-talker. It's always too bitter and too tough, and I always regret trying to eat it. Well, trash-talker no more! I picked up a bag of this on sale last week to serve with butternut squash risotto, and I went back the next day to get more. It's the best kale I've ever had. I think the real secret is to dress it and let it stand for 20 minutes, which seems to tenderize the kale. (The salad also has Brussels sprouts, but even if you normally hate raw sprouts AND kale [like former me], you should give this salad a try. Really.)
  • The simple salad: spring greens, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, avocado, Parmesan, and balsamic vinaigrette. Our neighbor Jackie brought this salad to our house a few weeks ago, along with her adorable baby who's eight days older than Baby KJ! We loved the salad so much that night that we just keep making it. Thank you, Jackie!
On Your TV & Computer
  • The Great British Bake-Off (PBS) is my favorite reality show of all time. I love the transparency of the show; it's clear that the bakers have been preparing for each episode and practicing specific recipes just for the competition. There aren't any villains, and no one's "not here to make friends." It's just people who love to bake doing their thing. Bonus points: I've finally learned how to pronounce things like "marscarspone", "tuilles", and "compote". 
  • PicMonkey is my favorite site for editing photos. It's free, although the $30/year upgrade to unlock all the features is definitely worth it. It's easy, intuitive, and the tutorials are wonderful. The site's tone is also pretty cheeky, which I love. I fancied up a picture for our Christmas card and edited our wedding photos for a collage with PicMonkey. I'd love to try their recipe card tutorial next.
  • I met Tricia of A Couple of Dashes on a food tour (more about that in my next post). Tricia blogs frequently about all things fitness--motivation, food, gear, humor, nutrition--she does it all, and with a great upbeat attitude. If you are always signed up for a race or have a separate dresser for your workout clothes, her blog is for you.
  • My partner in crime who also did the food tour with me is my friend Tania of HashtagEat. Tania is a spectacular cook, amazing photographer, and the sweetest friend. Her food styling is also getting really good, so check out her blog for tasty dinner ideas or local Seattle dining hot spots.
I hope I'll find you back again here soon. I'm going to try harder!