homemade corn tortillas

I never realized how easy it is to make your own corn tortillas.  Have you ever gone to a Mexican restaurant where they serve fresh, warm, homemade tortillas?  They are the best and definitely make the meal.

It is super easy and you only need 3 ingredients: Masa Harina, a pinch of Salt and Water.

Masa Harina is a special type of corn flour that is made from corn that is soaked in lime, dried, then ground in to a fine flour.  It is different from corn flour or corn meal, so make sure that you pick up the correct flour for your tortillas!  I had trouble finding the flour in stores, so I ordered it online through Nuts.com.  I got it the very next day!

Lets walk through the process!

Mix together 2 cups of masa harina, 1 tsp salt and 1.5 cups warm water and let sit for about 30 minutes for that it can set and form a dough.  As you wait for the dough, you can prepare your toppings!

Take your dough and form into balls about the size of a golf ball

Individually, place each ball of dough in between 2 pieces of wax paper and roll (flatten) into a patty about 1/4inch thick

Keep some thickness to them because it makes it easier to place on the grill, flip and stuff with your favorite toppings!

Cook in a pan or on a griddle for about 2 minutes on each side until browned and the edges start to curl up.

While the tortillas were cooking, we got all of our toppings ready to go:

The beauty of fajitas/tacos is that you can make any creation that you want!  We had a little bit of everything: grilled chicken, black beans, peppers & onions, roasted corn, salsa, pepperjack cheese, avocado, sour cream, fresh limes.

The fresh tortillas are perfect piled high with all of your favorites

And, they don’t fall apart when you are eating!

This was a completely delicious meal and so worth the few extra minutes it took to make the tortillas!  The tortillas still tasted great the next day, so you could even make them ahead of time is you need to.   Yum!

simple lentil bolognese

It’s the start of a new year!  The perfect time to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle after the holiday season.  One of my goals is to start cooking more and it is easy to do that when you have a full stocked fridge and pantry.  Another easy way to get back in to cooking is to plan simple quick meals for the week.  That way, when you get home from a busy day at work, you will already have a simple menu planned.  Try to plan meals that will take you no longer than 30-45 minutes from start to finish because that is the key to wanting to cook after a busy day (it would most likely take you that long to get takeout anyways!).

On the menu tonight – Lentil Bolognese.

Ingredients (serves 6-8):

  • 1 lb whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 zucchini
  • 6 white mushrooms
  • 2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Start by putting 1 cup of lentils in a pot (or rice cooker) with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, until tender.

2. Next, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add your pasta and cook until al-dente, about 7-9 minutes.  Drain, rinse with hot water to prevent sticking and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, get to work chopping your veggies! Mince your garlic, onion, carrot, celery, zucchini and mushrooms.

4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add your onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

5. Add your chopped carrots and celery and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender.

6. Then, add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until just tender.

7. Add the 2 cans of tomatoes and tomato paste and cook on medium-low heat until warm.

8.  Add cooked lentils and basil.

9. Mix everything together and simmer until ready to serve.

10. Serve warm over pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.

This makes a terrific weeknight dinner because it only takes about 40 minutes to prepare start to finish and tastes delicious!  Vegetables make super simple dinners and when you pair them with beans or a grain (or both!), you add protein to keep you satisfied.

This recipe will serve 6-8 people.  You can cut the recipe in half, or make the full recipe and save it for leftovers.  It keeps very well in the fridge or freezer!

Tuna Bean Pasta

I have been doing a great job of sticking to my goals over the past few weeks!  I have been doing cardio 4-5 times per week and weight lifting or doing a mini bootcamp 2 times per week.  My cardio includes running, walking, elliptical or an interval workout.  I already feel so much better mentally and physically by making working out a priority again!

But, my goals didn’t stop there.  Cooking more and eating healthy real food has been even more of a priority for me.  I have only been shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store (except for a few items) and picking up delicious fresh fruits and veggies each week.  It is really easy to eat healthy if you only have healthy foods in your house.  I used to be so good at this (check out my pantry here!), but after having a baby I got a little off track.  But, I’m back!!

My pantry is re-stocked and I am getting back in to cooking delicious and healthy meals for my family.

It is the end of the week, so our fridge is looking a little bare, but that didn’t stop me from making a delicious lunch!

Tuna Bean Pasta

serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are 🙂

Ingredients:

-1 can tuna, white albacore

-1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

-1 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked

-1 cup frozen broccoli, thawed while cooking pasta or in microwave

-2 tbsp dijon mustard

-1/4 cup relish

-pepper to taste

-avocado for garnish

Throw everything in to a bowl and mix!  Viola!  A simple, delicious, healthy meal!!

This meal was delicious.  If you like tuna, it is a must.  You could even serve it over a bed of greens to get in more nutrients.  It would be a perfect meal after a long day at work, or something that you could make and grab for lunch each day.

With the addition of the avocado, this meal is a great balance of protein, veggies, fat and carbs.

Try it!!

adventures in breadmaking

This past Wednesday, Boston was hit with a big snowstorm, which meant a snow day!  It was a perfect day to stay inside and bake. 🙂

I started the chilly, snowy day off with a bowl of warm oatbran.

I cooked the oatbran with milk, a mashed banana, a dash of vanilla and a shake of cinnamon.  It came out great!

I stirred in some dried blueberries towards the end and topped it with chocolate peanut butter, cranberry almond butter and a sprinkle of coconut.

A great breakfast on such a chilly morning.

Next on my list for the day was to try out my new breadmaker that we got for Christmas!

I had been dying to try it out.  So, I looked up some recipes and got started with some Cranberry Almond Apricot bread.

It is extremely important that you put the ingredients into the breadmaker in the order shown.  Wet ingredients must be first, then dry on top.

Then, place the pan into the breadmaker.

Close the lid and make your selections.  For this bread, I used the White Bread setting for a 1lb. loaf on light (next time, I would do medium).

Three hours and 21 minutes later, out came the perfect loaf of bread. 🙂

A crust formed on the outside, and when you sliced into the bread it was soft and doughy.  Just the way I like it.

A little while later, I sliced up a piece of the warm bread spread on a little butter and served it with a smoothie for my afternoon snack. 🙂

A chocolate cherry bomb smoothie!

Yum!

Now, I know not everyone has a breadmaker…and you could definitely make this bread without one and bake it in the oven.  It just takes a little more work because you are waiting for the dough to rise, etc.  But, I’m sure the bread would come out just as good!

my newest cravings – carbs!

I still can’t figure out if my cravings are really from being pregnant, or just normal cravings that every woman has. What I do know, is that I give in to my cravings much more these days…and I love it. 🙂

This week, my newest obsession is cereal. But, not just any cereal…crunchy cereal! The last few days, I have been loving Kashi Go Lean Crunch – Honey Almond Flax.

It is crunchy and sweet, without being overly sweet.

And, I love it topped with banana and served with freezing cold milk.


The ingredient list isn’t so bad, and the nutritionals are definitely up to par. With 200 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein it will keep you full and satisfied for awhile.


Other favorites for lunches have been hummus sandwiches made on homemade bread (made with my new breadmaker!!) filled with hummus, spinach/lettuce and cucumbers.

This might be my absolute favorite lunch…it’s delicious and satisfying. Two really important things!

Along with my sandwiches, I try to eat a piece of fruit and a yogurt for more staying power.

And, for dinners I have been craving carbs! So, the other night we decided to make up a lighter Mac & Cheese that I found in my Women’s Running magazine.

It was delicious! Made with butternut sqaush and a limited amount of cheese…it still tasted cheesy!

We cheated and used frozen butternut squash, which made the dish extremely simple to make.

You just mix everything up.

Pour into a baking dish, sprinkle on a breadcrumb and parmesan mix and bake for 30ish minutes!

It bakes up with a crispy, crunchy top which makes a perfect mac & cheese.

This is definitely a dish worth making…and it served us both for 3 meals!

back to the kitchen

My meals have not been the most exciting lately, which is really why I think that I haven’t been in the mood to blog.  I mean, who wants to see the same dinner every single night?! 🙂  You already get to see enough oatmeal and smoothies…

Pasta, simple salads, grilled cheese, simple salads, eggs, simple salads…that is basically what has been on the menu for the past month, which a few goodies thrown in there every once in awhile.  I have been wanting carbs, carbs and more carbs!

Last night, I finally decided that I wanted to make something for dinner!  So, I went with an old favorite – Stuffed Peppers.

Stuffed peppers really are super easy.  I popped 1 cup of rice into my rice cooker when I got home from work (on quick cook) and headed out for a 60 minute walk around the neighborhood for some fresh air and exercise.

Once home, the rice was done!  So, I cut up the peppers and placed them in the oven to cook a bit while I was making the filling.

Into the filling went diced pepper, frozen peas, frozen corn, brown rice and taco seasoning (which I cheated and bought at the store).  After that was all heated through, I added a few big spoonfuls of salsa and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.  So simple!

Stuff your peppers and bake for about 20 minutes, until the peppers are soft.

The rice takes awhile to cook, but if you use precooked rice, then you have yourself a simple weeknight meal!

Tonight, I got even more creative (but still kept it simple).

I had a craving for broccoli cheddar soup, so into my vita mix went the following:

  • 1 cup of 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cheddar cheese
  • 1 head of chopped, steamed broccoli
  • 1/4 sauteed onion
  • 1 tsp tapioca startch to thicken
  • salt and pepper to taste

Once everything was pureed, I left the vitamix on for a good 5 minutes to make it hot!

YUM!!  Garnish your soup with a few broccoli florets and some shredded cheddar cheese.

Along with the soup, I made up some easy homemade corn muffins and roasted some asparagus in the oven with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt and pepper.

All in all, it was a great meal.  Just what I was craving!

The corn muffins were just ok, but I thought I’d give you the recipe anyways.  I mixed them up first to get them cooking while I was making the soup.

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cups turbinado sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup safflower oil

Mix your dry ingredients together.  Mix your wet ingredients together.  Then, add the wet to your dry and mix to combine.

Pour into muffin tins of choice and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned.

Serve warm with a pat of butter.  Mmmm…

A delicious meal.

a simple weeknight meal

After a 45 minute walk around the neighborhood after work tonight, I was more than ready for dinner.  The walk was very chilly, but I bundled up and headed out to walk in the snow flurries!  It was a brisk walk to get my blood flowing and legs moving.

I haven’t talked about my exercising too much on the blog lately, but I have been trying to get some type of physical activity in on most days of the week.  That includes walking, running, swimming, ellipticalling and lifting some light weights.  Running is definitely getting harder, so swimming and walking are my new two favorite activities!

I think that it is important for a pregnant woman to get some type of exercise everyday, even if it is a 20 minute walk.  It is good for both you and the baby, and definitely helps with sleeping at night along with many other things.  Plus, it’s nice to have that time to devote to each day to clear your head before the baby comes!

On to dinner!

I wanted to eat my hand off when I got home, so I needed to make a super quick dinner.  I picked up some Annie’s Mac & Cheese at the store today made of a variety of grains: amaranth, quinoa, kamut, spelt and whole wheat.

For a quick and healthy dinner, I like Annie’s products because they are organic and made up of minimal ingredients.  Definitely still processed, but minimally processed compared to other ‘boxed’ dinners. 🙂

It was cheesy and delicious!

Served along with a simple salad to get some vegetables.

This has been my favorite salad recently – filled with lettuce, dried fruit, nuts, cheese and a honey herb dressing.

In this mix:

  • spring mix
  • pecans
  • dried fruit mix – peaches, papayas, pears, apples and cranberries
  • feta cheese

A delicious dinner – quick & healthy!

After dinner, I whipped up Emily’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

I followed the recipe exactly, only making one substitution – dark chocolate chips, instead of vegan chips.  Everything else was the same…and it came out perfect!

The outside seemed a little dry, but on the inside it was just as moist as Emily says – delicious!

I enjoyed a few slices hot out of the oven with a glass of milk.

Who doesn’t love chocolate, bananas and peanut butter?!

Mmmm…