Tag: Mexican food

Meatless Monday (More or Less)

In 12 minutes Meatless Monday will turn into Taco Tuesday and before that happens I need to share an official Meatless Monday meal with you.

In the interest of joining in on a movement that takes some very nice steps towards sustainability for our planet, I have decided that we at Chez Peady will be taking part in Meatless Monday on a regular basis.

I have been thinking about it for a while and with a storm brewing in the Atlantic Ocean and creeping up the coastline, today seemed like the perfect day to start. I had absolutely no desire to fight the crowds of storm chips shoppers at the grocery store and since Thing 2 was home from school today (still fighting the most recent bug – such a hanger on, this one!) it made sense to just stay put and shop my own pantry.

Still, when I did that I was not quite feeling inspired, so in typical Peady fashion I took to twitter to ask my tweeps (the coolest tweeps, fyi) for Meatless Monday ideas.

As usual, the Twitterverse did not disappoint.

I went off to hang out with Thing 2 and when I returned there were no fewer than  7 suggestions for delicious, nutritious, make-it-right-now, ideas for Meatless Monday.

How cool is that?

I knew for tonight, I wanted an extremely easy dish, but one that was also big on flavours and appealing to Thing 1 and Thing 2. Pasta seemed a logical choice. I went to the kitchen to gather the goods, so that when suppertime rolled around I could simply work my Peady Powers and whip up supper in no time flat.

Decision. Action.

What did I come up with? Well, I made Gluten Free Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Parmesan. I also made some oh-my-goodness-it-smells-so-good Cheesy Garlic Bread to go along with it.

If there’s one thing I know about my family, it’s that garlic and cheese bring these people joy. Throw that cheesy, garlicky goodness onto a carb and well, stick a fork in them, they’re done!

It was a hit!

Go, me!

It could not have been easier.

Here’s what I did. (I promise, soon there will be a pretty recipe plug-in here to make things more organized. Thank you for your patience.)

Boil water for Pasta (add a bit of salt)

While the pasta water is coming to a boil, make a simple tomato sauce by sautéing some diced onion and some garlic in olive oil, add sweet bell peppers (diced, whatever colour or combo of colours you like), add a can of diced tomatoes, S & P to taste, and let the sauce reduce while you cook your pasta. (or open a jar of your favourite sauce!) (remember KISS!)

Cook pasta.

Open a can of Chickpeas. Call them Garbanzo Beans. Laugh. FOCUS!

Strain the Chickpeas and rinse under cool running water*.

Drain cooked pasta.

Add sauce to the empty stock pot (this is where I cooked the pasta).

Add the Chickpeas.

Add the pasta.

Toss to coat everything well.

Add a bit of Parmesan cheese and stir it in. (fresh shredded oh-my-goodness-why-is-it-so-expensive, isn’t necessary in this particular case)

Add a pinch of dried oregano (or a nice handful of fresh if you have it -yum!)

Serve immediately or cover it and make some yummy garlic cheesy bread.

Like this.

Turn oven to 375 degrees.

Slice carb of choice (bread, rolls, what have you) and place on a baking sheet.

Spread a bit of butter on the bread and sprinkle liberally with garlic powder.

Cover the garlicky, buttery, carb with shredded cheddar cheese**. (A combination of marble cheddar and mozzarella is also popular here.)

Bake until the carb is toasty and cheese has melted.

Serve immediately***.

 

It was really good and totally meatless! I do believe that is what the people like to call a win-win.

I would make this again. In fact, I will.

Next Meatless Monday, I will make a new recipe thanks to all the helpful tweeps who were so sweet and generous with ideas this morning.

I will post our Meatless Monday experiences for the next little while as we try something new and see if we can’t make Meatless Monday a regular thing at Chez Peady.

 

 

*Rinsing canned beans in this way can reduce the sodium content by about 40%. Always rince canned beans. You could also cook your own from dried. Another post for another day.

**SHREDDAR

***If not sooner. Otherwise you run the risk of eating all the garlicky, cheesy, gluten-y goodness!

Mele Kalikimaka!

Today might be a three post kind of day because I have so many drafts, that I am starting to get anxious about it.

Anxiety at Christmas? You don’t say!

Hah!

Who doesn’t have a little extra anxiety during the holidays? I don’t think I know a single person, actually.

However, I have vowed to not be that stressed out Mummy. No way. It’s no fun to be told Christmas is nothing but stress. Or worse, to think it. Especially when you have little eyes and ears watching and listening to everything you do and say. It’s simply not true, anyway.

Christmas is a wonderful season of perpetual hope, and if there is one thing I have learned in my years on this planet* it’s that hope floats. It’s always there and you have to hone your hope holding skills throughout your life, because it’s short. Really, really short. Even when it seems long.

Christmas is what you make it. You can make it all about stuff and spending and stress. Sure! Go right ahead. Seriously, fill your boots, but don’t blame your getting caught up in the commercialism on Christmas. Nope. Christmas didn’t make you do that. Santa didn’t point to the most expensive, elaborate, electronics and say, “By the powers of Comet’s Candy Cane, I command you to buy that!”. Not a chance.

Christmas is simple.

Humans make it complicated.

You have to be human, but you don’t have to be pressured into a holiday that stresses you out.

Cool your jets.

Take a breath.

Remember the wonder.

Breathe in the aromas.

Think back to a time when you believed in the magic.

Embrace the simplicity of an old fashioned Christmas, whatever that means to you.

Know that you are not alone.

Everyone is stressin’ a bit.

No one has *everything* done.

Martha Stewart has a team!

We just have each other.

Smile and know that even when people around you seem to have everything under control, there’s always an element of mystery in how the heck things get done.

For instance, we here at Chez Peady have been having the soggiest December I can ever recall and we have also been fighting a wicked cold, so we are very admittedly behind our typical December schedule. All the things that have not yet been done, were put on the back burner while the things that had to be done got done. School concerts, finding the lost trumpet, trumpet practice, finding the right shoes, making sure everyone was where they needed to be on time, getting a bit of shopping done, making sure I talked to my mother as often as possible, getting to a few charity eventseven one in my Jammies – these all took precedent over making sure the ornaments were in the perfect place.

It’s life and it’s messy.

Look!

 

Am I freaking out? Nope. Why should I? Why should I waste a single drop of my precious energy freaking out when it will get done, with or without a grown-up tinsel tantrum?

It always has. I have yet to miss a Christmas. *wink*

So, my best advice to you, as Christmas is festively, twinkling up on us, is to take a deep breath and embrace the merriment.

 

Don’t forget to take care of your own needs, too. You matter! We need you to be at your best**, of course.

This morning I went to Zumba – just so you know I really am practicing what I preach – and I almost jumped for joy when I heard this pop up in the middle of class.

Yes, we did a Hula this morning to Mele Kalikimaka***. It was so fun! Could my Zumba instructor be any cooler?

 

So, tell me, what stage of preparedness are you in for the upcoming Holidays?

Are you about ready to be Dasher and flee the scene?

Are you happily a Prancer ready to take on the task and dance your way through your cookie exchange?

Are you feeling Grinch-like and wondering what the heck is the big deal anyway?

Has your inner Ebenezer reared his Scrooge-y grumpiness?

What is your best advice for having a yule that’s cool?

Leave a comment and share your best tips for avoiding tinsel tantrums.

 

 

*No, I have never lived on another planet. Though there was that time last winter when it felt like we lived on Hoth.

**But we even like you when you are at your worst.

***Mele Kalikimaka**** has been a month-long mind-worm. Go ahead and ask my chicas! Ukuleles at Christmastime? Oh YES!

****Then there’s this, which I saw on Saturday, but wasn’t blogged out until today, hence the edit! COME ON!! This is hulu-arious! (Day #8) Zucchini is the sweetest doggie!

Chimichanga! As fun to eat, as it is to say!

*Bonus! How to fill and fold a Chimichanga for leak-free baking!

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**Bonus bonus! “Homemade” Guacamole with Rick Bayless “Frontera” enhancement.

***Thing Bonus! The reasons I do the things I do.

I hope you enjoyed seeing our “Tex-Mex Week” as much as we enjoyed documenting it.

 

Do you ever pick a theme and explore it with your kiddos? What kinds of things does your family do to learn about different cultures, countries or cuisines?

If you decide to have a Tex-Mex week – or another theme week, I’d love to hear all about it!

Here’s to a happy and stress-free week! (What?!? I hear that’s *totally* a thing!)

MYO Pizza: Tex-Mex Week Edition (aka Mexican Pizza)

Friday was Mexican Pizza day on the “Tex-Mex Week” menu and it was awesome!

First of all, here is another meal where everyone gets to express their creativity or, depending on personality type, maintain creative control. This ensures everyone eats and everyone likes what they eat or at the very least everyone is responsible for their liking and/or not liking of what they make. Shall I over explain some more?

Secondly, I was extremely pleased to find La Tortilla Factory tortillas at Pete’s Frootique (I *love* Pete’s!) and then blissfully happy to find a gluten free tortilla made by the same company. There may or may not have been happy dancing in the bread aisle. (Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really. Well maybe that nice lady who smiled as I danced saw, but I can’t be totally sure, but I digress…)

Thirdly, we took our time getting around to making them and it was really relaxing because there wasn’t a whole lot of prep for anything. The crusts were easy (tortillas). The cheese was pre-shredded (nacho cheese blend, fyi). The sauce was from a jar (Mrs. Renfrew’s Medium Salsa). The tomatoes were speedily sliced. Dicing the red pepper is always fun anyway, so it was enjoyable to make that happy little dice of red pepper “confetti”. The most effort came from slicing a jalapeño which was fun to show the Things because I could explain how most of the heat came from the seeds and pith while I removed them. (The seeds and pith, not the Things!) Oh! I did slice the red onion excruciatingly thinly, but that was really more about entertaining myself than anything else. (In other news, I have mad knife skills, yo! You could practically see through the slices!)

Fourthly, (yeah I’m going with that) the pizzas turned out to be some of the yummiest on record at Chez Peady. Here, have a look!

 

 

 

Bonus: All about Pete!

Burritos for the Bro!

 

Huevos Rancheros – It’s like Brinner in a sombrero!

Last night was Huevos Rancheros night on the “Tex-Mex Week” menu and it went even better than expected.

Breakfast for dinner, or “Brinner”, is always a popular meal at Chez Peady and it (conveniently) seems to fall, most often, mid-week, which is exactly when I need the break – and I mean I need a break, fast (Hah!) – of a simple supper. Since it is Tex-Mex Week, and on a Wednesday, Huevos Rancheros was the logical choice!

Now there are a lot of really fancy ways* to make this extremely simple dish, but remember that break I needed… yes, I had places to go and people to see. In fact there was an especially good reason for me to choose a simple and speedy approach to last night’s dinner. There  was a thing at a place with some stuff** and well, I had to be there – on time!

Once again, the goal was to offer a delicious, healthy meal that everyone would enjoy. Since we have one tomato lover and one tomato tolerator, I decided to make the components separately and allow each diner to customize Brinner to his or her liking. This is what works best for my family, generally speaking, but especially on an evening when I am pressed for time. The last thing I want is to have to have a discussion about trying new things, when all I really am trying to do is bolt. (Should I wait here for all the parenting awards? Or…?)

Not surprisingly, Thing 1 and Thing 2 tried everything, anyway. Thing 1 *loves* this meal. There were lots of spicy, bold flavours and that’s what he enjoys. Thing 2 tried the Chorizo and decided it was a tad too hot for her taste, but piled on lots of fresh tomato. So, it’s really just another case of “To each, his/her own”. In the end, everyone was full, happy, and I wasn’t too late for my thing.

Here is what it all looked like!

 

Huevos Rancheros Wednesday was wonderful!

Have you ever had Huevos Rancheros? Do you enjoy breakfast for dinner? Do you call it “Brinner”? What is your go-to breakfast for dinner? What would be on your ideal breakfast for dinner menu?

 

*Like this, this, this or this!

**I had to be at an event at Thing 2’s school at 7 to hear a talk given by a person who has helped Thing 1 immensely. I was *not* going to miss it!

Tostadas Tuesday! (also in pictures) (mostly) (With a bonus song!)

Tex-Mex Week is in full swing at Chez Peady and as you may already know, Monday’s Fajita Fiesta was fabulous.

In keeping with our theme, Tostada Tuesday was terrific.

Do you know what a tostada is? Have you ever had a tostada? Oh, you are in for a treat! Honestly, it is a thing of joy.

Here, let me just show you.

 

That’s Tostadas Tuesday, in a taco shell! (Get it? Like nutshell.. but because it’s Tex-Mex Week I said “taco” instead of “nut”.. see? Shall I over explain it some more? I’m sorry. I’ll just stop talking now.)

It is an easy, delicious meal and can be customized to individual tastes. I love that Thing 1 & Thing 2 can make their own. Kids make pretty good choices when left to their own devices. They can be as creative as they wish! Don’t you just love that?

Tell me, will you give Tostadas a try? I hope you will.

 

And now, as promised, I give you your bonus song*.

 

*Okay. Okay. It’s a mind worm. I admit it, but my Things were just playing it and it seemed fitting!