The Ninjas’ Last (Not-So-Much) Challenge

The Ninjas’ Last (Not-So-Much) Challenge

We’ve reached the end of our summer adventure! School is back in session, and the pace of life has started to pick up again. When I look back on my list of cooking challenge ideas for the Ninjas, I giggle a little: Croque En Bouche, Sea Scallops, Souffle…. I had high aspirations. Reality doesn’t always meet our aspirations, does it, now? But overall, I’m pleased with our results, and I learned some things along the way, as I’ll share with you after recounting our final adventure.

First of all, let me tell you that I wanted to do something fresh for our last challenge, a salad perhaps, but as our Ninjas only enjoy their leafy greens blended up in a smoothie, I figured it wouldn’t go over so well. About the time that we were planning our final mission, Sammi over at Grounded and Surrounded posted the prettiest little fruit salad you ever did see. You need to check it out to fully appreciate the rest of our story. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Did you see? Did you see the perfect little watermelon stars and the melon flowers? Couldn’t you just taste the plump juicy blueberries? I figured that this would be a big hit in our family, since we all adore fresh fruit.

That’s when the dreams began…. no joke, I actually dreamt about this fruit salad. Happy dreams? Unfortunately, no. In the dream I was using my tiny cookie cutters (yes, I really have them) and trying to cut these beautiful shapes except they were all coming out wonky. The star only had four points, the flowers were crooked, etc. Did I heed this warning from beyond? No, I did not. I dismissed it as start-of-a-new-school-year anxiety and proceeded with the plan.

Confession time… I never buy watermelon. I hate the mess it makes when you cut it, I never know how to pick a good one, and where in the world do you store it?! My poor children are terribly deprived and really only get watermelon at picnics and church potlucks. (Or Grandma’s… always at Grandma’s.) But I was bound and determined for us to make this beautiful salad, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and brought home a watermelon. Upon cutting a nice, even slice to create a perfect canvas for my beautiful little star cutters, the entire middle of the watermelon flopped out on the counter. It was so gooey and mushy on the inside it was inedible. This, folks, is why I don’t buy watermelon. I will head right back into that comfort zone, thank you.

So now what? We needed something fresh to go with our Thai Chicken Satay dinner. We also needed a task for the Ninjas to tackle. Friends, I, frankly, am done. We are onto new things this fall, and I wasn’t about to go searching for a new recipe, so I decided to raise that white flag then and there. We would make that fruit salad with whatever we had on hand.

Mark used his “up and over, soldier” knife skills to cut all the grapes in half.

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Then, into a big bowl went: a jar of pineapple, all the grapes, a carton of raspberries, and a carton of blueberries. Done, y’all, done.

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Now I will share with you the wisdom I gleaned from this summer’s adventure: cooking with kids can be great, but you need to let it come naturally. If you’re forcing them to sit down and cook with you, it will be more of a punishment than a lesson. Let them want to help! If you make it fun, they’ll think it is fun, too. Also, when they ask to help, let them! And don’t worry about things not being as perfect as you would do them. Mark is a legitimate help to me now in the kitchen – I can say, “Mark, can you peel and chop these potatoes while mom pounds out the chicken?” And he will do a fantastic job. Chase is still learning, but I can see his skills improving all the time.

And as for my adventure in blogging? It was fun, but more work than I had anticipated! I like writing, but I don’t like HAVING to write. I will leave blogging in the capable hands of others for now.

Thank you SO much for joining us on this adventure. It was such an encouragement to us to get your likes and comments. Chase even said, “Mom, we’re famous now, right?” 

Much love to you and yours as you head into the fall. May your lives be filled with peace, grace, and lots of pumpkin-flavored desserts.

-The Ninjas and their Mom

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It’s my party, and I’ll bake if I want to

It’s my party, and I’ll bake if I want to

Baking my kids’ birthday cakes from scratch is something I’ve done since the time my eldest had his first birthday. I’ve often regretted setting that bar when birthdays fall in the  middle of stressful weeks, but when the candles are blown out, I’m grateful I went to the extra effort. That being said, I am NOT a cake decorator by any means. I do the very best I can to create the cake they have requested, and I don’t stress about the fact that every one comes pretty close to a #nailedit on a #pinterestfail Facebook article.

I usually grant their cake wishes, no matter how strange… but this year I had to alter it a bit. When Ninja Chase asked for an American Ninja Warrior cake, I was originally inspired by thoughts of slicing into a giant warped wall. After doing some research and looking at a lot of other people’s attempts, I decided this one was just too much for me. The construction was a bit more than my culinary giftedness would allow. I asked him if he could settle for a Ninja Turtle cake, which he was just as excited about. #momsavestheday.

Usually, I try to keep the kids’ cakes a surprise until they’re all done, but they wanted to help me with this one, so I tried to throw in a couple new skills to make it a Ninja challenge.

The recipe I found ended up being just ok, so I won’t link to it. It was quite a lot of work for a relatively mediocre result. Chase had requested vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, so here’s what we did:

First, we prepared the pans for baking, and the boys learned about parchment paper, greasing and flouring.

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Then, we got out the sifter, which proved to be very tedious for the Ninjas. They kept having to switch as their hands got tired. (If you have ever sifted three cups of flour, you can relate. When they weren’t looking, I dumped the last cup of flour in un-sifted. Please don’t tell Ina Garten.)

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The next step is where we strayed from the recipe a bit to learn about a new ingredient and a new skill. I have had half a vanilla bean in my spice drawer for several years now, just waiting for the perfect recipe. I figured this was the day for it to fulfill its vanilla bean destiny.

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In addition to the vanilla extract, we cut open the vanilla bean and scraped all the seeds into the batter. That smell is amazing. We put the leftover bean into our sugar bowl to make vanilla sugar. Yum.

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A ridiculous amount of butter was placed into the batter… 1/2 Tablespoon at a time, every ten seconds.

The batter for this cake was just gorgeous. So light and fluffy – like angel food cake batter!

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After the cakes baked, I was really impressed with the loveliness of them… so high and golden.

Now comes the fun part… the decorating!! As I’ve mentioned in the past, there are some ingredients we really try to stay away from. One of them is artificial food coloring. For me, it triggers migraines, and studies have shown that it really affects behavior of kids. Usually we find it pretty easy to stay away from food coloring at home, but birthday cakes are challenging. I want my kiddos to have a fun cake that dazzles them…without it making them (and their mom) sick. The solution we’ve found to this is to use candies to decorate the cake instead of frosting, or in this case, just to cover the top with toys! It’s like a bonus birthday gift!

I used a couple ingredients on this cake to make it fun that were easily removable. “Fruit” strips for the ninja turtles roads and a small stripe of green frosting around the outside. Here’s the finished product!

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Like I said, the flavor of the cake was good, but not really worth all the extra effort of scraping vanilla beans, timing out individual pats of butter, and whipping egg whites. But I don’t think it made his birthday any less special.

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He likes sweatbands. Can you tell?

I’m so proud of this little Ninja. 

Next week the Ninjas get a break because we’ll be out of town. But the following week we’ll be back with something a little more healthy than chocolate chip cookies and birthday cake! 😉

Fake Out Take Out

Fake Out Take Out

One of my many food enemies is MSG, which is short for monosodium glutamate. It’s a soybean product that I don’t know too much about, but I know it makes me sick. The bummer deal about it is that it’s in a LOT of stuff… from chicken stock to salad dressing. One of the most common places to find it is in Chinese food, which means that our family rarely goes out for Chinese, despite the fact that egg drop soup is the ninjas’ “favoritest soup ever.”

In the past I have attempted to make our own Chinese food at home, and I have had mixed results. I make some really good egg rolls, but any type of stir fry I’ve made has just been mediocre. And then, I found this recipe on BudgetBytes.com for Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken.

This recipe is two of my favorite things: Easy, and cheap. Since the ninjas did so well with the raw chicken last time, we decided to make this our challenge this week.

I must make a disclaimer here… Our summer schedule has changed a lot and it has been more difficult to squeeze in our cooking lessons. Although the boys helped me do all the prep on this one, we were serving this meal to a dinner guest so I ended up taking the reins for the cooking. And you’ll have to refer to Budget Bytes for the really delicious looking after picture, as our dinner guest was hungry and dinner was about forty minutes behind schedule, as you will read about.

The first step is to make the marinade. I highly recommend using fresh ginger root for this and not powdered ginger. I learned a really useful tip from Rachael Ray (she taught me a lot my first year of marriage) about ginger root. You can buy it and freeze it, then use it right from the freezer in recipes. It keeps indefinitely, I’ve found.

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The new tool we worked with for this challenge was the Microplane grater. If there was a fire in my house, I would go back for my kids, my Pampered Chef cookie scoop and my Microplane grater. Just sayin’. For a very short video of Ninja Chase demonstrating the ginger root process, check out our Facebook page.

After we made the marinade and whisked it around, we cut up some chicken thighs and Mark “put them in the bath.”

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There they sat for a couple hours, marinating in the wonderfulness that is brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger and garlic, until I browned them all nicely and served them to our hungry guest. Actually, in reality, it went something like this:

I started to heat the oil in the pan and forgot about it because someone was at the door. So when I came back, not only was the oil scorched, the kitchen and dining room was filled with smoke. It was about 100 degrees that day, so opening the windows to let out the smoke made the climate in the house similar to that of a sauna. So I scrubbed the scorched-ness out of my skillet, started over with new oil, and voila! Our dinner guest arrived, right on time. She was gracious and waited patiently as I browned all the chicken, made the rice, and thickened the marinade until it was reduced to a sticky, delicious glaze that covered the tender, juicy chicken bites.

The details of this dish make it really special. I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds over the top and added fresh green onions and salty cashews. It was a hit with everyone, especially the ninjas. #IWishIHadAPicture #EvenTheLeftoversAreGone

We’re winding down to our last couple of Ninja challenges! We’d still love to hear your suggestions for something you’d like to see us make!

Oops, My Bad: A Cookie Problem

Oops, My Bad: A Cookie Problem

As you can see from my son’s attire in the picture above, we’ve had a pretty laid back summer. Part of my letting go of control this summer has been letting the boys choose their own clothes every day (except Sunday, I still rule on Sundays). That’s why he has this used up light stick necklace creation going on. That being said, we have pretty much our only scheduled “summer thing” this week and next: daily swimming lessons. For that reason, and the fact that I’ve been watching another little girl a few days a week (who’s an absolute doll), the last thing I wanted to do this week was to do a cooking lesson. But I also wanted to keep my commitment, so we decided to double up: The ninjas make chocolate chip cookies, and I have a snack for our home group. I think they call that “boo-ya.”

Normally, we’d want to try something just a little more challenging than cookies, but we inadvertently learned two valuable lessons from this week’s challenge: 1) Don’t let mommy cook when she’s exhausted and 2) Mistakes are learning experiences in themselves.

I will tell you right now… these cookies are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. I found this recipe a year or so ago, and it immediately replaced every other chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever even thought about making. This recipe is from Host the Toast and you will want to go there right now, pin it, print it, tweet it….(that’s the wealth of my social media terminology) and then put all your other recipes right in the recycle bin.

I won’t go through the steps with you… after all, you know how to make chocolate chip cookies. What I will tell you is that apparently when I am this exhausted, I lose all ability to function in the kitchen. And yes, I had my afternoon coffee. I was guzzling it like a champ. But everything I told the ninjas to do, I told them wrong. And I kept calling them the wrong names. And I kept running into things. So many times during this process I wanted to throw in the towel, but I kept trudging on.

After carefully measuring all the dry ingredients, the boys whisked them around and then measured the sugars and cracked the eggs. For yet another adorable video, please visit our Facebook page. Everything was going smoothly, except for the fact that I told Ninja Mark to pour the white sugar not in the KitchenAid, but in with the dry ingredients.

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“Sorry, buddy…that was mom’s fault.”

Here’s where lesson #2 comes in… sometimes we make mistakes and we have to live with them. There’s no way I was going to waste all these ingredients, so I told them we were going to do a little experiment with these cookies. We were going to see if putting the white sugar in with the flour would still create a good cookie.

You know what? It did. I don’t think it hurt the cookies at all. I think the dough may have spread just a little more than normal, but that means a bigger cookie, and if that’s the worst problem you have in a day, then please trade lives with me.

The boys learned another important lesson from the day’s events: When mom is tired, and she gives you a cooking lesson, and is entertaining friends for home group that night, you get crackers and cheese for dinner. And cookies, of course.


Extra Credit!

We tried another of Sammi’s recipes from Grounded and Surrounded this week: Coconut Lime Energy Bites. I don’t always like dates in things, so I was a little hesitant… but we needed something healthy for a snack and these looked so easy. I picked up the FOUR ingredients I needed and whipped these up in about five minutes. The kids loved to roll them into balls for me! I’m sorry that I can’t share pictures, but they contain kids that aren’t mine so I don’t feel comfortable putting them on a public page. But these are GREAT and next time I will make a double batch for sure. My kids don’t usually get too excited about nuts so I was really excited that they liked these so much! The whole family loved them. Go protein!


Hey, friends! Due to Facebook’s increasingly frustrating algorithms, most of you who liked our Facebook page are not seeing the updates. They want me to pay for you to see them, and as I don’t make any money from this blog, that is a financial impossibility. So would you do me a favor? Would you choose to “get notifications” for our page? I promise I won’t overwhelm you and that way you won’t miss a thing. Thanks in advance!

Kid food, hold the fries

Kid food, hold the fries

Fingers, tenders, crispers, strips, nuggets… call them what you will, but a tender piece of white meat chicken wrapped in crunchy, seasoned coating is hard to pass up. There’s a reason this is a popular “kid food”: it’s easy to eat, fun to dip, and there are no bones to get in the way.

Now in general, I don’t like the concept of “kid food.” I think kids should eat what adults eat about 99% of the time. It discredits their growing taste buds to give them the same bland food all the time. But in my opinion, everyone can enjoy a chicken strip from time to time, and if you can make them in your own kitchen where you control the ingredients, all the better (and cheaper)!

Let me confess right now…. I was dreading this ninja challenge from the beginning. I get pretty neurotic about the whole raw chicken bacteria thing when I’m making it myself, but when you give two children under the age of 7 a big pile of raw chicken, well, that’s enough to keep any controlling mother up at night. But a huge part of this summer blogging adventure for me is to give up some of that control and give it to these smart and capable boys the Lord has entrusted me with. So here goes….

This is one of the few things I cook without a recipe. It’s different every time, but it is delicious every time, so I’ll do my best to share all the steps with you so if you want to try and recreate it, you sure can.

I start with two chicken breasts. Don’t be tempted to buy the already cut chicken strips. They aren’t as tasty and they are way more expensive. It will take about ten minutes to make them yourself.

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We have a family of four, and we can get filled up (sometimes with leftovers) on just two chicken breasts. This is how we do it: Cut the chicken breasts crosswise so that you have four pieces of chicken. This takes some practice to get right, and I did this part myself.

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There was an extra little piece that fell off one of the breasts. It was destined to be a chicken strip.

To stretch the chicken even further (and make it juicy and tender), we pound it out with a meat mallet. This part was so fun for the boys!

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Use the flat side of the meat mallet so as not to tear up your chicken. Use a piece of plastic wrap to cut down on spreading bacteria.

You don’t need to pound too much, just enough to get the chicken breasts to an equal thickness of about 1/2″.

Then, the chicken breasts can be sliced lengthwise into strips. Cutting them width-wise makes for chewier bites due to the muscle fibers going the wrong way.

In addition to chicken safety, one of the lessons we focused on for this project was seasonings. I explained to the boys what the difference was between spices and seasonings, let them smell a variety of seasonings, and they chose what would go on our chicken.

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You can use whatever you like at this stage! Simple salt and pepper, garlic, a seasoned salt, lemon pepper, cajun (if you want them spicy), or whatever you can come up with! A quick side note: my cooking has improved immensely since having found Penzey’s Spices several years back. Some towns are lucky enough to have a physical Penzey’s location, but I get mine via mail order. The spices and seasonings are fresh and affordable, and it has really made a difference in everything I cook with them. Plus the seasonings do not contain MSG, which is very important to me.

We laid out all the chicken strips on the cutting board, and after a generous sprinkling of kosher salt, we added our seasonings. The boys chose Penzey’s “Old World Seasoning” and “Barbecue of the Americas.”

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We sprinkled just one side of the chicken with salt, but flipped them over and sprinkled the seasonings on both sides. It’s up to you and your seasoning how you’d like to do this step.

Now came the part I was dreading the most! The breading of the chicken. I use a “wet-dry-wet” method of breading, so I dip whatever protein I’m breading first in flour, then in an egg/milk mixture, then in Panko bread crumbs (sometimes with a little fresh Parmesan cheese added with the crumbs). I was truly amazed at how well the boys did with this. In truth, as much as I love making my own chicken strips, fish sticks, etc., I really find the breading process tedious. After today’s project, I will no longer be doing this! The boys did so well, they have a forever job. For some really adorable (trust me, you don’t want to miss them) videos of the boys doing the breading, check out our Facebook page.

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All ready to go in the pan!

I suppose you could deep fry these for a true restaurant experience, but all that hot oil terrifies me so I choose to shallow fry in a little olive oil (not extra virgin, the light stuff). Just a few minutes on each side over medium to medium high heat gives you a beautiful, crunchy outside and a juicy, tender inside.

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When I make this without the cooking lesson, I like to serve it with some raw veggies and the best french fries at home recipe ever from Bless this Mess. I will admit that the french fries take a lot of time, so after the emotional stress of all the raw chicken we decided to just snack on all these delicious chicken strips and call it dinner.

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Really, the only negative part about this project was my broken heart as my older son asked for ketchup to dip his chicken strips in. 😉

Is there anything you’d like to see the ninjas cook? We would love your suggestions in the comments below!


Hey, friends! Due to Facebook’s increasingly frustrating algorithms, most of you who liked our Facebook page are not seeing the updates. They want me to pay for you to see them, and as I don’t make any money from this blog, that is a financial impossibility. So would you do me a favor? Would you choose to “get notifications” for our page? I promise I won’t overwhelm you and that way you won’t miss a thing. Thanks in advance!

Canning (aka I am not Caroline Ingalls)

Canning (aka I am not Caroline Ingalls)

I have never really been much of a “live off the land” kind of girl. Sure, I love the romanticism of Laura Ingalls Wilder… making salt pork for winter and tossing around the pig’s bladder like a balloon. (Really?) But when it comes down to it, I like big cities, and grocery stores where you can get lobster in Iowa and watermelon year-round.

At one point in our lives, we lived in Michigan – a state where you only have to look at the ground and some fabulous fruit tree or berry bush will sprout up before you. (If you’ve never been to Traverse City, plan a trip this summer. If you like food, you won’t be disappointed.) While we lived there, I mentioned (or maybe my husband did) that canning some of this fabulous produce would be a good idea, but I had no idea where to start. Enter my pretty amazing mother-in-law, who made sure that this was in my stocking the next Christmas:

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Fast forward about eight years, to this week, when we got it out of the box. Of course, now we live in a much less fertile place, where we couldn’t get basil to grow in pots on our porch. But one bright spot of this region is that there are blackberries everywhere. My husband, Will, bikes and hikes with the ninjas often, and found numerous blackberry bushes along the paths. So one morning, before I had even finished my first cup of french roast, they set off with buckets and bug repellent in search of blackberry treasure.

I wish I could claim the excellent idea of trying our hand at canning – but it was all Will. I had always kept the canning set (pictured above) in a handy place in the kitchen, because I always thought that someday soon I would use it. But it took a huge bucket of fresh, wild blackberries (and a husband willing to take a turn with the ninjas’ cooking lesson) to actually do it!

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This was only half of the harvest – we had to save some to eat fresh!

The recipe we used was from the book pictured above, and it’s a pretty basic preserves recipe so I’ll let you find your own. But the process was fun, and not nearly like the exploding-jars-glass-and-scalding-hot-fruit-everywhere image I had in mind.

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So. Much. Sugar. I’d like to experiment with some honey or lower-sugar options, too!
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Mark got a lesson in stirring gently. Chase was much more interested in playing with the tools than canning. I can’t blame him, they are pretty cool.

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The result? One jar of preserves. And it was cooked a little longer than ideal, so it’s kind of the texture of gummy bears. BUT…. the entire process was pretty fun, simple, and definitely worth trying again.

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Another happy surprise that came out of this blackberry episode was the discovery of this ice cream at Aldi. Do you shop at Aldi? If not, you are missing out. Great prices on lots of natural and organic foods. This ice cream is easily the best I’ve ever tasted in the town we live in, and it has five ingredients, all of which I can pronounce. Try it. You will thank me.

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Does your family do canning? What kinds of foods to you enjoy preserving? Any tips for the ninjas and I? I’d love to hear them in the comments below! We need all the help we can get!


Hey, friends! Due to Facebook’s increasingly frustrating algorithms, most of you who liked our Facebook page are not seeing the updates. They want me to pay for you to see them, and as I don’t make any money from this blog, that is a financial impossibility. So would you do me a favor? Would you choose to “get notifications” for our page? I promise I won’t overwhelm you and that way you won’t miss a thing. Thanks in advance!

A “Pressing” Project: The Tortilla (Mis)adventure

A “Pressing” Project: The Tortilla (Mis)adventure

Well, friends, I told you when I started this blogging project that I would share everything – the good, the bad and the ugly. I must confess that yesterday was NOT my favorite day. Despite the happy faces you see in the pictures, this adventure lasted ALL DAY and cost me my sanity. Well, at least for the day. The majority of my sanity has returned this morning and I have lived to tell you the tale of the tortilla (mis)adventure.

Tortillas have always been a staple in our home. Whatever we had for dinner last night gets put on a tortilla, sprinkled with cheese, and made into a quesadilla for lunch. (Meat loaf quesadillas, anyone?) Because we eat a lot of them, I like to make sure the ones we buy are the healthiest possible. Unfortunately, organic, or even all natural tortillas are not available in the supermarkets in the city we live in. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a package of tortillas? On the ones we have in our deli drawer right now, there are fifteen. FIFTEEN?! Most of those are unpronounceable. I always knew the basic ingredients of a tortilla were very simple, so I thought (ever so foolishly), “What a great project to do with the boys!” I had grand visions of delicious, handmade tortillas that I would make once a month and freeze. I would be saving money and putting healthy food in my family’s bellies (Hello, mom of the year!)

This, my friends, will NOT be my reality. And so the adventure begins….

Our first stop on Wednesday morning was to the local Mexican Grocery Store. This is, by far, is the best part of our adventure. There we met Miguel, a very nice man who will become a friend of our family, I’m certain. (If I were a more dedicated blogger, you’d be looking at a picture of Miguel. I’m too self-conscious to ask strangers for pictures, so you’ll have to use your imagination.) We needed a tortilla press (a tool used to flatten the balls of tortilla dough), and although they were out of stock, the conversation was more than worth our time. He asked me why we were making tortillas and what we were making them with. He gave me some tips, and told me that his store offered made-from-scratch Mexican street tacos every Thursday afternoon. He also showed me the homemade tortillas available in the freezer that he claimed were the best available. Our discussion turned to our time in Bolivia, which led to him offering to order some frozen Maracuya (Passion Fruit) pulp that I miss so much from our time there.

I’m so glad I have a time machine, and I can go back to that moment and say, “Ok, great! Well, I will completely abandon this homemade tortilla idea and just buy the ones that very gifted culinary artisans with years of experience have made instead!” Oh, wait. My time machine is in the shop. So the adventure continued.

We found a tortilla press at another store, so we bought it, went home, and immediately got to work (ironically, after a lunch of store-bought tortillas and turkey).

We decided to make both corn and flour tortillas, partly because of the aforementioned temporary insanity, and partly because my husband prefers flour and they really hold up better for leftover quesadillas.

Below are the three (THREE) ingredients used in corn tortillas:

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The Masa de Harina is a great product. I already had it in my pantry for thickening soup.

We mixed by hand. This was pretty fun for the ninjas.

And this was the completed corn tortilla dough, which had to sit for an hour.

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While the corn tortilla dough sat, we started the flour dough. Again, such simple ingredients:

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The recipe called for a stand mixer for this one, so after working on our measuring skills, we whipped up the flour tortilla dough in a jiffy.

We cut the dough into equal parts, rolled it into balls, and then the fun part: pressing it with our new tortilla press! (For a fun instructional video by Ninja Chase, see our Facebook page.)

Here’s where it gets a little hairy: the cooking process. Seems simple enough: heat your pan over medium high heat, cook the tortilla dough for 30 seconds to one minute on each side, and voila! You are supermom.

Only:

  • I couldn’t get the temperature right.
  • So I may have ruined my favorite ceramic coated nonstick pan.
  • So I switched to my best stainless steel pan.
  • Which I also may have ruined.

Plus:

  • All the tortillas were different sizes.
  • Due to the extreme heat of the pan, I was a nervous wreck with the kids at the stove and I got very controlling and irritable.

And in addition:

  • The Ninjas are “totally over it” by this point.
  • So they are arguing.
  • And the kitchen is a floury disaster.
  • And it’s in the mid-nineties.
  • And I’m standing over a really hot pan.
  • Over. And over. And over.

The results were fair. The flavor of the tortillas was okay, but the tortilla press didn’t get them thin enough so they were more like pita bread. Some were doughy, some were scorched. (The process was very similar with the corn tortilla dough, so I will spare you the details.)

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After all the frustration and drama of this day, I realized my husband would be home in an hour and I still had to plan and make dinner. I knew I had to redeem the day somehow by incorporating these oddly sized and shaped, doughy/scorched pita-like “tortillas” into the meal. I had two chicken breasts thawed in the fridge that needed to be eaten, so after a quick Pinterest search I came up with this recipe. I had my handsome husband run by the store to pick up some ripe avocados, and an hour later, this was on the table.

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It was pretty good. And I got the head nod from Will, which is his highest form of culinary flattery.

In conclusion, I am pretty sure I will be making monthly trips to our closest Whole Foods (about two hours away) to stock up on tortillas. But I am happy that we met Miguel, and that we have a source for some really great Latin American ingredients.

Anyone want to buy a tortilla press?


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