Chilaquiles

Thursday, February 23, 2017

 

I've had this post sitting in my draft folder since June 25, 2016. It's been a long time coming, just waiting on me to hunt down the pictures and get some graphics ready. The photos were taken with my iPad. Tyler Florence shot a whole cookbook with one...so, a blog post now and then is okay, right?

Up until about a month ago I'd never heard of Chilaquiles. I'm not sure how I've lived this long without knowing what they were, but I'm glad I know now! Here's the story...

I was sitting in my living room watching a new to me show (Guy's Grocery Games) when a contestant decided to make a batch of Chilaquiles. He had this really touching story about his Mom. He said that all her life she was always cooking whatever people wanted to eat. He said that he appreciated her cooking, but that the fact that she cooked what they loved really meant a lot to him. He got all teary when he explained that the last thing his Dad asked his Mom to make was Chilaquiles.

With a story like that, I figured these things MUST be good. So, I watched him make them. I watched the judges rave about them. And then I started seeing them everywhere. One of my favorite food bloggers made a batch, but used canned enchilada sauce. I wanted the REAL deal. Her post convinced me that I COULD do it and that I HAD to.

So, I scoured the internet for recipes and having never tasted them in m life, decided to take a stab at it. I used a combination of these three recipes to get the finished product that I had in mind. I can officially say that I LOVE CHILAQUILES!!!! And I hope you will too.

 

Ingredient gathering is super simple. Canned tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, garlic, cilantro (or not), chicken broth, salt, oil, corn tortillas, and whatever toppings sound good to YOU are all it takes.

It's not as complicated as you might expect. This is one of those 30 minutes or less dinners. You make your sauce, you fry your tortillas (or use pre-made chips), and then you make a heaping mess on your plate and stuff your face.

They're goooood, I tell ya!

Chilaquiles

SAUCE
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
2 jalapenos, charred, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped (I had to leave this out because my store was OUT, yes OUT. I'll start with about a 1/2 cup and then add more according to taste and color. I suggest you do the same!)

1 Tbsp. veggie oil

1 tsp. salt
1 cup chicken stock

Place tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, onion, and cilantro into a blender. I used a Vitamix and blended it until it was nice and smooth.

Heat oil in a sauce pan over med-high heat. Add the sauce to the pan being aware that it will start bubbling and spitting right away. Be careful and start stirring. You'll want to boil it for about 7 minutes, stirring very often.

Reduce heat to keep things at a gentle simmer and stir in the salt and the chicken stock. Let it continue to simmer while you work on your tortilla chips. The sauce just keeps getting better the longer it cooks.

When you're happy with the way your sauce tastes, prepare the tortilla chips OR use pre-made tortilla chips. If you go that route, skip to the assembly step.

TORTILLA CHIPS
20 (6 inch) white corn tortillas, left out for a day or so and cut into 8 triangles each
oil for frying
salt

Place tortilla pieces into hot oil. I could give you a temperature, but you'll know it's hot when you put your tortilla in and the oil starts to fry it. Cook until golden brown on each side.

Remove chips to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle hot chips with a little salt.

Continuing frying the chips until you've got enough to go around. You'll have to work in batches.

ASSEMBLY
All the recipes say to put the chips directly into the sauce pot. That's not how I work....

Place some sauce into a bowl or a small pot (I went the bowl route). Add chips, add more sauce, and stir until the chips are thoroughly covered.

Transfer your chip mess to a plate, being sure to pour the excess sauce that was left in the bowl onto the chips. Top with shredded cheese, onion, cilantro, lettuce, sour cream, and whatever else your little heart desires.

Repeat until everyone has a plate and DIG IN! These are traditionally a breakfast dish meant to use up old, dry tortillas, so feel free to top them with a fried or scrambled egg if that sounds good to you.


That's it! That's all there is to it. I REALLY like the way they turned out, but I've got plans to play around with different combinations of chiles (3 dried ancho chiles and 3 serrano chiles were recommended in one recipe) and I'd like to try to make it with fresh tomatoes (2 medium tomatoes OR 5 small tomatoes and 5 tomatillos) once as well.

Store the extra sauce in the fridge until you're ready for seconds. You can also do like I did and use it to make a batch of enchiladas. It's ESPECIALLY good for making cheese enchiladas, but that's a story for another day. 

What's a food you've recently discovered?

Have you tried to make recreate it in your own kitchen?






Back to Blogging

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 25, 2014

I apologize if I've bombarded you with posts lately. I have gotten back to blogging before. One of my downfalls is getting into a groove. The problem with coming back is that you are FLOODED with ideas. You take the time to develop each one and schedule posts only to step away because "I have posts scheduled" and then before you know it, you're not back to blogging anymore.

So, this time...I've been writing my ideas down and working on each one a little at a time. It has worked really well so far. I think it's safe to say that I'm "back" again.

Some of my tips from this time around:

Answer emails. People comment. Take time to TALK to them. This is how we bloggers say thank you to one another.

Sit in your chair and write. Take the pictures, upload them, and hit "publish". You don't get to schedule ahead of time yet. If you get too comfy, you'll lose your momentum.

Give yourself specific assingments. Photograph ____ recipe. Collect links for _____. Take an hour to write a post on ______. Honestly, this is the strategy that has made THE most difference.

Make time to read the posts your friends are writing. Don't forget to leave comments to let them know what you think.


Do any of these tips resonate with you?

How has your blogging strategy changed over the years?


Called to Bask

Friday, February 17, 2017

January 11, 2017
I'm struggling with how to introduce this post. I want to write about what it is to live out my word for 2017 and to be honest about how it's going.

On a superficial level, it's going WELL. I'm thinking about God, delighting in the small things, feasting on His gifts, praying over people, and using music to preach to myself. As far as having a disciplined soul goes, it's going HORRIBLY.

The whole purpose of this word is taking time out to be with God. It's about following Jesus Christ's example of slipping away and withdrawing and getting alone with God to pray. It's about going to God for the strength and grace and sustenance that comes from Him alone. If Christ needed this and devoted Himself to this and depended on this, it is something I most certainly cannot live without.

I KNOW this, but somehow, the discipline is lacking and it shows. I had to tell my friend Abigail that I hadn't been in the Word. My bad attitude proves to my family that I'm not actively submitting my spirit to God. The anxiety creeping in proves that I'm not abiding in His Spirit.

You ready for a peek into my journal? (This is for you, Mom!)

via Dec. 29, 2016 //

As I go into 2017, I want to remember that I am waiting on God. I want to BASK in the light of God. I want to bathe in the Word. I want to be one who waits on Him constantly. I want the storm to rage on while I cling to Him. I want to seek His strength and find it and show that I have it. I want to trust His will and His timing for all my hopes.

Isaiah 8:20-22 says, "To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness."
My attitude lately has been of one who has no dawn. One who looks around beholding distress and darkness and is hungry and in anguish and even enraged. I've felt it. I've taken it out on my family. God's light has shined into my darkness and I want to remember it. His strength came along showing me where my strength is to be found, namely, in Him. He has shown me on whom I wait, namely, on Him. He has granted me light to bask in and is ever ready with strength to endure.

At every turn I'm reminded of God's grace and strength and peace. I'm reminded that He is ruler over all (Psalm 29). That everything is in His hands. And then, waiting becomes sweet. I'm not waiting on anyone but Him. I'll say that again: I am waiting on Him. His timing is perfect and His will is best. Even if the road is slow or lonely, by it I will know Him and become like Christ and it is on that road that I've been begging Him to keep me all these years...If you're looking for me, you'll find me there.

//

And yet, here I am. I've reached the middle of February being reminded of these things and being beckoned into His strength only to disregard the call to BASK. If I'm going to keep this resolve, it's going to take effort and it's high time I do whatever it takes to get back on track.

via Dec. 31, 2016 //

I will need to learn from men like Paul and Christ and Whitefield and Washington. To set time out to be alone with God reading and praying and seeking Him. My priorities need shifting. I know that. My "defaults" need resetting.

//

I'm sharing all of this as a kick in the pants to myself, but also as an encouragement to all of you! Our resolves drive us back to God. They keep us seeking Him and depending on Him and rejoicing in Him, and praising Him.

For me, this going to look like imitating Christ's practice of going away to be with God. I struggle with this because I don't like going away. The thing is, if I'm going to receive God's strength, I've got to go to Him. If I'm going to be one who represents Christ to those around me, I've got to go to the Father just like He did.

If I'm going to bask, I have to bask. 


Let's look to Christ. Let's reset our defaults. Let's put in the effort. Let's BASK. However dark the day, the sun is out!

5 More Things About Me pt. 5

Thursday, February 16, 2017

July 6, 2015


I have this thing with bare ankles. Unless it is WARM (pushing 80+), I need mine covered. Pants must be boot cut.

I don't watch previews if I can help it. Same goes for books. I read and watch based off of recommendations or go by what looks good.

I make up names for people. Sometimes it'll be an adjective or two. Other times it will be a name that I think fits them. Occasionally I refer to them as a person that they remind me of. I do this with real people, movie stars, and even characters in books. It's never mean, but always intentional.

My dream is to have a dining room table that is ALWAYS cleared off unless it's actively being used. You know people that have a tablecloth or a center piece or even just a "scrubbed table"? I want to be one of those people.

In a room full of people, I will gravitate towards the group of middle aged women. This has been true my entire life. It's also true online. Three of my dearest friends are closer in age to (and perhaps even older than) my Mom and were shocked to learn that I was only in my 20s.  I can remember being 3 years old and getting asked if I would prefer to play with the children. I had to assure my aunts that I would much rather sit at the table with them.


Your turn! What don't I know about YOU?


It's been over a year since we've done a round of Ask & Answer. Send me some questions and I'll bring that feature back! The questions can be serious or silly. If you're new, learn more HERE.



A Library Haul

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

 

There are two places that I go "for me": church and the library. Both have obvious functions and they are by far my favorite places to go.

When I go to the library, sometimes I'm in a hurry. I might be armed with a list, I might be swinging by just to drop off something that's due, or I might be running in to pick up a hold that came in. Other times, I can take it slow. I'll wander around looking for just the right books to take home. Depending on the day, my visit to the library may differ, but I always come away with at least a book or two to dig into.

I'll be telling you about my 2017 Reading Challenge soon enough, but today, I wanted to tell you about a little library game that I play. I don't know what to call it, so I'll just explain. This is the game that inspired me to become a reader. My sister and I played it just last week.


This nameless game is great for getting out of reading ruts. It challenges you to read things you might not normally read AND it gives you an excuse to talk about books with someone else. In order to play this game you just need two things: a library and a friend.

The rules are simple. The game begins by you asking someone to pick out a few books for you. They can put as much time into it as they choose. They can read descriptions, flip through the book, or make a choice based on some previous knowledge they have. OR They can select the book simply by looking at the cover. However they do it, they need to attempt to find books that give them some indication that you will enjoy them.

Once the books are chosen, you commit to read at least three chapters of each book. Once you reach the third chapter you are free to abandon the book if it's not for you. You don't have to have a "good" reason. If your friend's selections draws you in, keep reading!

After that, you and your friend can talk about their selections. They can tell you WHY they chose it for you. You can tell them why you kept reading or what caused you to toss it aside. Hopefully, you'll enjoy the books your friend chooses with you in mind and maybe even convince your friend that THEY would enjoy them too.


This very game is responsible for the place reading currently has in my life. It was 2013. I was recovering from missing my best friend and her kids like CRAZY. I had spent six months going back and forth between their house and mine helping my friend take care of her brand new baby, his older sister, and their house. All of a sudden, my time was my own again and I was beside myself.

I missed the kids. I couldn't seem to stop thinking through my day in terms of snacks and naps and feeding times. I missed my friend and our chats at the end of the day after the kids were tucked away into bed.

My Mom went to the library and I asked her if she'd get a few books for me. I didn't make any requests. I hadn't really been reading much during those six months and I didn't even know what I was in the mood to read.

She came back bearing three books that were completely unfamiliar. I didn't know the authors and I didn't know a thing about any of the books. She said, "Pick one. Give it three chapters before you decide to quit." and then she walked away. I spent the next month making my way through those books that neither one of us knew anything about. I haven't stopped since.

Last week, I asked my sister if she wanted to play. I explained how it worked and she decided that it was too fun to pass up. She chose two books and brought them to the place where I was browsing.

I'll invite you to play a little game now: of the three books pictured in this post, I chose one because of the cover and the other two are the ones my sister chose for me. Of the two she chose for me, one is one I wouldn't ever pick up and the other is one that I would choose based on the cover alone. Care to guess which is which? Go ahead!

Okay...Here are the answers:

 

Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister // The book my sister chose for me that I would choose for myself.

I know nothing about Dorothy Parker other than that her name is vaguely familiar. As for Meister, I've never heard ANYTHING about her in my life. The colors and font come together making this book look like something I would snatch off the shelf in a heartbeat.

 

Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum // The book my sister chose for me that I would never pick up. 

It's something about the hands belonging to a child. If I had to guess what this one is about, I'd say it has something to do with those Amish stories. It looks sad and the falling petals make me think of tragedy. 


Everything I Don't Remember by Jonas Hassen Khemiri // The book I chose for myself based on the cover alone.

The title caught my eye. When I pulled it off of the shelf, I knew it was for me. It reminds me of a piece of writing being edited, there is a tea cup, and again with the font...I have high hopes!

 

This game has been on my mind because I recently put one of my Mom's picks for me back in 2013 back into her own hands. I've mentioned it over the years, but the time hadn't been "right" until now. She read the first one and has since read the next two or three books in the series!

Some other discoveries I've made this way include: Emily and Einstein and Minding Frankie.

I haven't started on any of these books yet, but I'll be sure to share what I think when I'm done.


Does this sound like a game you would like to play?

What places make you happy?

What did you bring home on your last trip to the library?