Tag Archives: easy

Homemade Bath Bombs

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Grace and I had a craft day a few days ago, and it was awesome!  She found a “recipe” on Pinterest for how to make homemade bath bombs.  We ended up having to modify it, but we played around with it and they turned out beautifully.  It was a lot of fun!

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED FOR EACH BATCH:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 2 tbsp scented oil
  • 3-4 drops food coloring

HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. You can use those silicone candy molds–have them out and ready.  We just shaped ours without a mold–line cookie sheets with wax paper.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl.  It’s going to fizz.  It’s okay.
  3. Mix it up with a whisk.  It’s going to get crumbly.  Perfect.*
  4. Use your hands to shape it, or press it into molds.  We used a meatballer to make them little spheres.
  5. Let your bath bombs sit on your baking sheets to harden.  They should be ready in about an hour.  Everything nearby will smell really good all day.
  6. We put ours in mason jars, tied ribbons around them, and wrote tags.  Be creative with how you present them!  They would also look cute in little baggies or in a bowl.

*The first time we did this, it was too poofy, too moist.  When we tried to shape the bombs they expanded and poofed and it was terrible.  If this happens, you need a little more baking soda.  If by chance the opposite happens and it is too crumbly and not sticking together at all, you need more citric acid.

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Step 2. It´s going to fizz!

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Step 3. Crumbly and perfect!

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Step 4. The meatballer!

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These were too poofy so we put them back in the bowl, and mixed them up with more baking soda.

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These were the perfect consistency. They kept their shape while hardening.

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We put them in mason jars because they look pretty!

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We added ribbons and tags. Merry Christmas!

 

Five Spice Creamy Chipotle Chicken

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We´ve all heard of chipotle-mayo, haven´t we?  BUT have you ever thought about chipotle-mustard?  Ahaaa!  I got to thinking about how good this combination would be, and concocted up this chicken that turned out beautifully.

Okay, so by now you might have noticed I´m a big fan of chipotle peppers.  I use them in a lot of my cooking.  I just love their rich, smoky, almost sweet flavor.  Go with me, here.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cup adobo sauce
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers, chopped, de-seeded
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cream cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Once you´ve cubed your chicken, put it in a bowl along with the salt, garlic powder, adobo sauce, chopped chipotle peppers, cayenne, paprika and mustard.  Mix it all together with a spoon, or your hands.  Yes, it´s a little messy, but it smells wonderful.
  2. Melt butter in an open skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Put saucy chicken in the skillet and let it cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.
  4. Add half and half, milk and cream cheese one at a time, stirring well.
  5. Once your sauce looks homogeneous, turn heat down to low.
  6. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.

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I serve this one over rice with a side of steamed broccoli.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Butterscotch Drops aka Mr. Pete’s Christmas Cookies

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Chocolate Butterscotch Drops aka Mr. Pete’s Christmas Cookies

Hi! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are looking forward to a merry Christmas! 🙂 Yesterday I spent the day baking cookies as gifts, and the ones I make every year without fail are Mr. Pete’s Christmas cookies. Who is Mr. Pete? A friend’s dad. I learned this recipe from him when his daughter and I were only children. They’re super easy and are always a big hit.

 

Make sure you have everything ready and measured before you start because this all has to be done pretty quickly. Chocolate is very fickle and you don’t want it to burn on you, or harden before you’re done.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 12oz bags of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12oz bag of butters chips
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts (the saltier the better!)
  • 2 cups rice noodles

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WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Spread out two long sheets of tin foil side by side. Leave aside.
  2. Warm a pot over medium heat. Not too hot because chocolate is very fickle. Once warm, pour in chocolate chips and start stirring.
  3. Keep stirring. Pour in butterscotch chips.
  4. Once the mixture is smooth, add in peanuts and rice noodles. Stir to coat well.
  5. Move pot off of heat and use two small spoons to drop mixture onto tin foil. Don’t make them too big. These guys are rich. Enlist help if you can get it, and work quickly! You don’t want it to harden before you’re done.
  6. Let the drops sit, cool and harden. This takes a couple of hours, but then you’re done!

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Enjoy!

Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya

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I kind of made this recipe up one day, based on the ingredients I had around the house.  Initially I was torn between calling it a jambalaya or a paella–because (this is embarassing) I don´t really exactly know the difference between the two.  I grew up eating both, in New Orleans and in Mexico, and well, they just kind of blend together in my mind.  I know paella has clams and is usually yellow-er, where as I´ve never seen a jambalaya with clams, and I think it almost always has tomatoes, making it redder.  But heck.  Other than that, they´re both rice dishes with chicken and shrimp, right?  And I didn´t even have shrimp when I made this, so I added chorizo and bacon to the mix.  Ahh whatever, call it what you will.  Wikipedia says jambalaya has it´s roots in Spanish paella, which–given the history of Louisiana–would make sense.

I´ve told you about how hard it´s been to find good chorizo, but I came up with this recipe when the chorizo was plentiful.  You can substitute it for any other sausage, no worries.  This dish is pretty easy, and delicious, as always.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
  • 2 chorizo links (or any other delicious sausage)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, chipotle seasoned
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Optional: 4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • Optional: 1 lb medium shrimp

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Fry up the bacon.  Once it´s about halfway cooked, add in the chorizo.  Remember, if you have good chorizo, it´ll be crumbly once you cut the casing off.  If you´re stuck with terrible chorizo because you haven´t been to Mexico recently, you might have to chop it up.  If you don´t have chorizo, I guess you can substitute in any other delicious sausage.  Do your best.  Let these two cook and release flavorful fat.  Yum.  You can drain a little of the fat if you have a lot, but don´t get rid of all of it.
  2. Add onions and garlic.  Sautee until translucent and aromatic.
  3. Add chicken cubes.  After about 2 minutes, flip the cubes so they seal evenly on all sides.  Season with pepper and paprika.
  4. Add rice and sautee it.  Let it soak in those flavors.
  5. Add can of diced tomatoes.  If you have shrimp, add those now.
  6. Pour in chicken stock.  Mix everything gently so that everything is covered by the stock.
  7. Cover and lower heat to medium low.
  8. Let cook for 25 minutes without opening the lid!

ENJOY!

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Huevos Rancheros

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Huevos Rancheros

Growing up in my household, Sunday mornings meant Huevitos Mexicanitos. This translates as “Little Mexican eggs” and as I grew older I learned they were our family’s version of Huevos Rancheros.  I think everyone has their own version of Huevos Rancheros, with variations, but this is how we make them. They’re easy and delicious and remeniscent of happy Sunday mornings.

Nowadays I make them several times a week because my husband is very much a breakfast-eater and these are quick and easy.

HERE´S WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Tortilla–traditionally corn but I prefer flour
  • Cold cuts: sliced ham, turkey, or maybe even chicken
  • Eggs
  • Salt and Pepper or Tony’s
  • Chunky salsa

HERE´S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Heat skillet over medium high heat, once warm, pour in a quarter inch of oil and let it get hot. Do not put oil in a cold skillet!
  2. Submerge tortilla. After about 30-60 seconds, flip it to the other side. Let it fry for another 30-60 seconds. Take tortilla out with tongs and rest it on paper towels.
  3. Crack open two or three eggs (or as many as you like) into the same hot oil. Turn down to medium heat.
  4. While eggs are cooking, move tortilla to plate, cover tortilla with thin layer of cold cuts. I prefer ham. Michael prefers turkey. Doesn´t matter.
  5. The eggs should be getting crispy around the edges. This makes for optimal deliciousness. Use spatula to splash hot oil onto the tops of the eggs so that all the whites become opaque and so that a thin layer forms over the yolks.
  6. Carefully slide spatula under eggs, place them on the tortilla. Pat gently with paper towel to absorb extra oil.
  7. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper or Tony’s over the yolks.
  8. Top with chunky salsa.

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Sketchy chorizo.

I like to serve refried black beans on the side. BUT HERE´S THE THING ABOUT THE BEANS. My mom always refried the beans in chorizo. The problem is finding good chorizo. I go to Mexico at least once a year–usually in January, and try to bring home a year’s supply of chorizo. Invariably, we run out by about March or April. And then I’m sad for the rest of the year because of my lack of chorizo.

Recently, I found some at our local Rouses that didn’t look good, but looked passable. It´s Johnsonville brand and who knows where the heck that is.  But, previously, I had only ever been able to find this tube chorizo that really creeps me out (see left) because I never trust meat that is packaged in such a way that the meat cannot be seen.

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Anyway, I found this new chorizo and well, it was okay. I could tell it was okay because I could cut the casing off pretty easily. And the meat was pretty crumbly when I cooked it. These are the signs of decent chorizo. I just hope January comes quickly! We’re getting a little desperate around here.

Honey Sriracha Shrimp and Bacon and Grits

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Honey Sriracha Shrimp and Bacon and Grits

Yummm!  This is one of my favorite dishes!  And it´s pretty easy, too–yum yum yum.  Before I married Michael, I never ate or cooked with sriracha at all.  I´m kind of a disgrace to my Mexican/New Orleanian family because I don´t really like very spicy food.  Because of this, I had avoided sriracha most of my life.  I had only ever having seen it at pho restaurants, anyway, and I know exactly how I like my pho–no use messing with a good thing.

Well!  As it turns out, sriracha is delicious.  It´s not just generic spicy like Tabasco is, it´s got a wonderful flavor.  It´s peppery and garlicky and vinegary and very rich.  A few months ago there was a rumor that the sriracha factory outside of Los Angeles might shut down.  Apparently the residents in the community were complaining about the fumes, but then the sriracha people reworked their ventilation system, and all was well.  Apparently the factory has even become a bit of a tourist attraction now.  Anyway, during that intermediate period, people were afraid that there would be no more sriracha, and in fact, Walmart ran out of it briefly.  Our household (that is, my husband) was in a panic.  And then one day, I received an email that seemed to be heaven-sent!  World Market had sriracha!  I rushed over there on my lunch break and got several extra large bottles for us to keep.  I also discovered this lovely sriracha mayo they carry.  (This became Michael´s favorite sandwich condiment.)

This is the email I got from World Market

And so, due to the abundance of this fine sauce in our tiny house, I´ve started becoming creative with its usage.  I remembered seeing this Martha Stewart recipe, and decided to modify it a bit and give those flavors a spin.  I came up with Honey Sriracha Shrimp and Bacon and Grits–and it´s become a household favorite.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 6 strips of bacon*
  • pinch of garlic
  • 5 tbsp sriracha
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup cream cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro
  • 2 servings grits
  • 1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel your shrimp.  If you´ve got some extra time on your hands, butterfly them.  They look prettier this way.
  2. Cut bacon into little pieces.  I use scissors and cut them into tiny strips, about 1/2 inch long.
  3. Heat skillet over medium high heat, spread bacon pieces evenly on skillet to ensure even cooking.  Cook bacon til pretty crispy, about two minutes per side.
  4. Move bacon to the edge of the skillet, add shrimp.  Let the shrimp soak in the bacon flavor.  They cook pretty quickly, so keep a good eye on them.
  5. After about two minutes of sautéing the shrimp in the bacon grease, use a slotted spoon to get the shrimp and the bacon out of there.  I let it all drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
  6. Pour out most of the excess bacon grease, leaving just a little to coat the skillet.
  7. Sautee garlic until fragrant.  Add sriracha and honey and stir.  Add 1/4 cup cream cheese to thicken consistency of sauce.
  8. Add salt, pepper, cilantro to taste.
  9. Lower stove heat to medium.  Add shrimp and bacon back in to sauce, stir to coat.

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ABOUT THE GRITS:

Make them however you like.  I used to use instant grits until Michael found out, now he makes me make real “old-fashioned” grits the slow way, swearing he can taste the difference.  Whatever.  I think they taste the same.  However you make your grits, though, add salt, pepper and butter, for sure–but (this is my super secretI always add a little cream cheese here, too.  It makes them creamier and generally more delicious.  For two servings of grits, I add 1 tbsp of butter and 1/8 cup cream cheese.

Serve saucy shrimp and bacon over grits and enjoy!

I made some GREEN BEANS on the side.  I drain a can of green beans and heat them in a little melted bacon fat.  Add Tony´s and some hummus (I feel like this is another of my super secrets), mix it all around, and flavorful, easy green beans result!

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*About the bacon:  Before I got married, I never really ate bacon, either.  But then Michael talked me into buying some normal bacon, and then our friend from high school started his own gourmet bacon delivery company, and well, I´m hooked.  The real story is that he was a lawyer and hated it, so he quit his job and road-tripped across the country, buying local butchers´ bacon and mailing it to his subscribers.  It´s been great.  He´s on hiatus now, but will be accepting new orders soon–I highly recommend this.

Crawfish Cornbread

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Crawfish Cornbread

Okay, so I make this delicious crawfish cornbread, usually only when I´m attending a dinner party or gathering of some sort.  It´s always a big hit!  It´s too good to make at home just because.  ¿Do you have any food like that–that it feels too indulgent to make without a special occassion?  Anyway, Michael´s grandmother recently invited the family over for a Sunday potluck lunch and I made this crawfish cornbread that I love.  But I had a lot of the ingredients left over–enough to make a second batch, so about a week later I made it again, just for us.  I felt like I had an excuse to make it because I was going to feature it on SmashTable.  Special occasion enough.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 box (8.5oz) Jiffy yellow corn muffin mix
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped canned jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup cream style corn
  • 1 lb chopped crawfish tails

Y´all, this recipe is really, really simple.

HERE´S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Dump everything together into a bowl, stir by hand.  Sift the cornmeal to avoid lumpiness.
  3. Lightly grease 9×13 baking dish.  Pour mixture evenly into said dish.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.

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Let cool before cutting.  The slices might be a bit jagged because of the crawfish.  Don´t stress.

Enjoy!

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