Monday, April 28, 2014

Mormon Tacos and Kumquots.

My days have been luxuriously plain this last week. After moving into our apartment again, I've spent days organizing, and cleaning, and the OCD inside of me is deliriously happy because of it. Because I have this jobless free time, I've also been able to cook real meals which the man in my life naturally appreciates. Do to a health kick I've been going on (more info to come) I have been trying to plan meals, use new foods, and cook deliciously clean meals. The only thing is I'm a casserole, and meals that come from a box kind of girl, so there is a lot to learn. It's especially intimidating when we spend time at Ryan's house and I see the kind of gourmet cooking he grew up with... It's no wonder he's less than ecstatic about my tuna mac and cheese! Thanks to an online nutritional course through Stanford, and I have been introduced to all sorts of fancy, hoity toity foods I aint neva knew existed! (Including, drumroll please.... 
A lot of gourmet CHOCOLATE)

Ladies and gentlemen of the courtroom, I give you Exhibit A:

I'm dying to know what that prickly pear tastes like. And since when was a kumquot a real thing? I definitely believed that was a word out of the Dr. Suess dictionary. 

Anyways, in a future alternative universe I will order my finest foods and ingredients from said site, of which would be served to me by my butler Arlo on a diamond encrusted platter... but ya know, my husband should probably be done with school before that happens. Even so, I've been able to really embrace the inner homemaker in myself, which both my husband and my tummy appreciate. 

Now, I will not come to a potluck and bring nothing to share so I offer you the most simple recipe from my holy grail of recipes. This recipe was taught to me by an employers wife who happened to be Mexican herself (shout out to Veronica Cisneros, a master in the kitchen!), so you KNOW it's gotta be good. So good, that my boss actually had it prepared EVERY day for lunch (and I'm sure still does!)

Without further ado, the ever-so complicated recipe of...

Tacos. (Lovingly referred to Chris McCombs as "Mormon Tacos")

I know what you are thinking, everyone has had tacos, what's the big deal? Well, I suppose it is just something you will have to try.

Corn tortillas
Coconut oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan and fry in)
Ground beef
Taco seasoning
Mexican blend cheese
Green onions
Picante mild salsa

The directions go as follows:

In a pan melt coconut oil. You will put a corn tortilla in the coconut oil and let a soak a little on each side so the tortilla does not crack. Then, fold the tortilla in half and place something in the middle to keep it open like a taco shell (tongs, a fork, or spatula work well). Golden brown them on each side and place upside down on a paper towel to dry and let excess oil drip off.

Then, cook your meat. I like to use veggie beef substitutes for a healthier option, but there's no denying the ground beef is gooooood. Flavor it with taco seasonings. Then, fill the shells with a little meat in each one. Stand them up on a plate and sprinkle with a shredded mexican cheese blend and nuke it in the microwave just enough to melt the cheese. You can also broil it if you think the microwaves gives you a third eye or something ;) I typically skip the cheese to make it more vegan/health friendly, but oh boy does it taste delightful with cheese! What doesn't?! 

After the cheesy tacos come out of the heating unit of choice, sprinkle sliced green onions on top, and finish it off with a few thin slices of avocado. 

Serve with Picante mild salsa. WHOOOO DOGGY. Those are some mean tacos. And versatile! I've had them with black beans, corn, chicken, and have yet to find a combo that isn't friggin good. 

Now, I know frying stuff doesn't exactly fit in the "healthy" category typically, but man it makes all the difference. I 100% understand southern cooking and their techniques now. haha

Anyways, I dare you to try these. You will not regret it!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hello Again, Let's Talk About Why I've Been Ignoring You.

Let's be honest. I've been avoiding you.

It's not that I don't care, it's just that I've been so underwhelmed here on vaca, that the thought of writing anything overwhelms me. That, and my life is about as interesting as dust collecting on the window sill.

Alas, I will update everyone on my latest obsession, which if you follow me on the Insta-gram or the Facebook you will probably have already seen enough of. Even so, here it is.

About a year ago I painted a calendar. And I loved it to pieces. I had the intent of framing each month in a simple and sleek black document frame from la dolla store, and to then create a gallery wall in my living room. Then, school caught up to me, I didn't have the digital design experience to fine tune it, and the year passed. Next thing I knew, my calendar was out of date and I had moved out of my beloved apartment in the ventures of higher educational requirements (aka student teaching.) 

With a move back to said apartment in Rexburg in about a week, and still I had these designs I painted over a year ago that I was not quite ready to part with. What to do with them was the question. The dates on the pages were for 2013, and frankly I wanted to use the floral scenes I'd painted for more than just a calendar. 

So, I put those bad boys into Photoshop and got rid of the old calendar dates, and played around with fonts. The possibilities were endless. Name placement cards, Table labels, invites, Calendars, handouts, quote backgrounds... call me conceited, but I've been loving these designs more and more. With a little help from google, I've managed to turn the various paintings into Microsoft Word header templates, PDF documents, and jpegs, and decided... hey, maybe I'm not the only one who may be attracted to this idea.

With that being said, I've decided to offer these designs with the digital downloadable files in my Valpo Studio Esty shop. 

With these templates, YOU can customize the page however you'd like, in the medium you prefer (ie word, photoshop, hand written, Picmonkey, etc.)

And if you really wanna be a pal, you'll help me spread the word! (What's that? You can pin the image to Pinterest by clicking on it? How conveeenient!)

To celebrate the event, I'm also giving you a free May 2014 calendar page (Using a not-yet-in-the-shop template!). Just drag to desktop and print :) As soon as I can figure out all that technical download bid-ness, we'll get an official download going. Or you can e-mail me and I'll send you the file. That works too.

I hope you love them as much as me, my mom, and my computer.
Happy Creating!