Nothing shows me more of the Christmas season than hot cocoa, snuggling on the couch, spending time with the ones that I love while worshiping Jesus for his birthday. Every year, we make several “big” batches of homemade hot cocoa mix to use during the cold weather.
In a large mixing bowl, combine milk powder, sugar, cocoa powder, and creamer. Stir till thoroughly combined.
Store cocoa mixture in an airtight container. Makes about 15 cups mix (about 45 servings)
To serve, place 1/3 cup cocoa mixture in a coffee cup or mug, and add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir until dissolve.
Top with whipped cream, chocolate syrup – you can even seep the boiling water with peppermint leaves before mixing with cocoa mix to make a peppermint flavored cocoa.
Luke 1:33 -And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
We love making everything from scratch. Lately, tortillas have been on our mind. I have many different recipes that we have used over the years however, we are trying out a new recipe this week for regular corn tortillas. We had picked up two tortilla presses from years ago, but they are not necessary if you have a rolling pin (just a lot harder to get even and round tortillas.)
These are extremely easy and are GLUTEN FREE if you use the masa harina that I have pictured below.
Here are a few tips to making tortillas…
Plastic wrap, Saran wrap or even a gallon sized zipper bag will work GREAT to prevent sticking on the tortilla press. (TIME SAVER!)
If you are using a rolling pin instead of a tortilla press, make sure that you are 100% even on the rolling of the tortilla dough so that it doesn’t cook unevenly.
The Masa bag says that this makes 18 – 6 inch tortillas – It makes more like 10 or so… and 8 if you counts the ones that kids keep snitching from the plate. We double or triple the recipe below to make enough for our clan.
2 cups masa harina (we have found this at the local Mercado as well as our local Safeway)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( I use pink Himalayan Salt)
1 1/2 cups hot water
Prepare the tortilla press: Cut the zip-top bag open along the sides or wrap the base of the tortilla press with plastic wrap. Open the tortilla press and lay the opened bag on top. You will only need to do this ONCE during the process. You can reuse the plastic for all of the tortillas.
Mix the masa harina and the salt together in a mixing bowl. Pour in the water and stir to combine.
Using your hands, knead the dough for a minute or two in the bowl or you can use a dough hook attachment on your kitchen aide. The dough is ready when it’s smooth, but no longer sticky, and easy forms a ball in your hand. The dough should feel a bit “springy,”. – If the dough absorbs all the water but is still dry and crumbly, add water a tablespoon at a time. If the dough feels sticky, or gummy, add more masa a tablespoon at a time.
Cover the bowl with a towel and rest the dough for 15 to 30 minutes.
Pinch off a few tablespoons of dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball. This will make roughly a 6-inch tortilla. If you want larger tortillas, use more dough.
Place the ball of dough on the plastic-covered tortilla press in the middle of the press. Fold the other side of the plastic bag over the top of the dough. Bring the top of the press down over the dough, then press with the handle to flatten the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. If the tortilla doesn’t look quite even after pressing or you’d like it a little thinner, rotate the tortilla in the plastic and re-press.
Peel away the top of the plastic, flip the tortilla over onto your palm, and peel off the back of the plastic. Be careful that you don’t tear the tortilla… Although, they taste the same whole or torn.
You can either cook the tortillas as you press them, or you can press all the tortillas and then cook them. Keep both the dough and the stack of pressed tortillas covered with clean towels. If you choose to press all the tortillas and then cook them, be careful when peeling each tortilla off the stack — they can stick to each other or break around the edges, especially the ones on the bottom.
Warm a large, flat cast iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.
Gently position as many tortillas in the pan as will fit in a single layer without overlapping. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the edges are starting to curl up and the bottoms look dry and pebbly. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side.
Serve Immediately! You can also save these for a few days in the fridge. However, they never last that long in our house.
5 years ago we really took a jump on changing how we eat. We had already taken all of the dye filled foods out of our lives and then we started with all of the processed. No more boxed rice or pasta sides for us!!
We discovered that it is a ton easier to make it from scratch than to make the processed mixes. When we make quinoa, we normally make a double batch so that we have leftovers for the next day.
What is quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa) is a seed from the quinoa plant. It has been a staple food in Peru and Bolivia.
To cook it, the ratio is 2 liquid to 1 quinoa – We normally make 3 cups for our family of 10… so 3 cups of quinoa to 6 cups of water or broth. Before you cook it, rinse it. If you don’t it could have a bitter flavor.
You can also add other things into the quinoa. We have added cheese, chopped veggies, even ranch dip mix, butter or soy sauce.
Here is a favorite that we make with left over quinoa in our house.
Avocado Quinoa Salad
1 cup cooked quinoa, chilled
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 avocado cut in cubes
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup baby spinach
2 Tablespoon diced red onion
2 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
sea salt to taste
Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and serve! Easy-Peasy
Yes, this time of year is a crazy time… monsoon weather comes up and yes, zucchinis start growing and growing and GROWING!!! I remember the year that I moved to Arizona, about 25 years ago, someone left a bag of zucchini in my mom’s car at the grocery store… The zucchini wars of 1991 in Chino Valley, AZ.
There are many different ways to prepare zucchini… We LOVE Z-Bread – and have now perfects a Gluten-Free version for Trystan… All of the kids gobble this one down! Click here for that recipe!
We make a TON of dried chips during the summer, including kale and zucchini.
Since I have a few zucchinis the size of my arm… yes, I know… you are supposed to pick them when they are little… but, they seem to grow overnight with the monsoon rain. We sliced them thin and placed in a glass bowl.
I drizzle with 1T of olive oil and toss until coated.
Lay out on the dehydrator trays – I run 2 Excalibur 3900 dehydrators most of the summer and fall with goodies for snack for later.
Sprinkle with salt (We only use pink salt in our house… and I grind it … SO GOOD!) Or you can try a BBQ blend, garlic salt, ranch dressing mix (we make our own with buttermilk and other seasonings)
Dry at 115 degrees for 12+ hours or until crisp. (Don’t use too much oil or they will be greasy and mushy and ever get really crisp)
When I shop for different foods at the grocery store , I am very conscience of every ingredient that is in an item. If I can’t pronounce it, it probably should not be in my body. We don’t eat anything with dyes in it, stay away from extra salts… and avoid as many chemicals as possible. (My sister congratulates me on my journey in “turning crunchy” – check out her website at www.turningcrunchy.com) Once I realized that so many of those chemicals were hurting my kids… I started checking out all of them. (Remember – I have one deathly allergic to red dye, one who is gluten and lactose intolerant, 2 others who are on a processed and dye free diet, etc)
Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onions
1 clove garlic, pressed
1-16 ounce can tomatoes, diced & undrained
1-8 ounce can of tomato sauce (We go through a lot of tomatoes in this house, but a few times a year I make a huge batch of homemade tomato sauce and paste from scratch.)
1-1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1-4 ounce can of green chilies (We grow our own chilies)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
3/4 teaspoon salt (We use pink Himalayan salt in our house only)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (We make our own chili powder from dehydrating chilies from our garden)
Melt butter in saucepan on stove. Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chilies, sugar and seasonings. Simmer for about 15 minutes until heated.