Homemade Taco Seasoning

IMG_5255This recipe is endlessly adaptable. Your family likes their tacos hot? Add more red pepper flakes (we like it mild, so I only add half). Like it salty? Double the salt. Don’t like cumin? Use less or leave it out. You get the idea. The base amounts here makes about 3 tablespoons. In tacos, I like to use about 3 tablespoons per pound of meat, so when I make a batch, I usually double or triple the spices (pictured is a quadruple batch).

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (I use flakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon flour (optional)

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together until combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
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Pumpkin Spice Latte

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: time for everything to be coming up pumpkin. I saw this recipe on a friend’s Facebook thread about pumpkin spice lattes and decided to try it today, with a few alterations. I am so glad I did. Honestly, my first thought was that it might be a little bland, but it grew and grew and grew on me to the point that I can’t wait for it to be tomorrow so I can justify having another one.

Serves 2 (and I think it’s probably best fresh rather than warmed up, so either be prepared to drink a lot (eh) or make half)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use whole ’cause that’s what we have around here)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (more wouldn’t hurt)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • dash garam masala (you could skip this, but, really, I wouldn’t)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 2 cups strong coffee (a scoop or two stronger than you would otherwise drink it), hot

Directions:

  1. Combine milk, vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, garam masala, and maple syrup (so, everything but the coffee) in a microwave-safe measuring cup (or bowl) and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, or until very hot (you could also head the mixture on the stove)
  2. Pour the milk mixture into a blender and blend until it is frothy (about 2 minutes?)
  3. Pour frothy pumpkin milk into a large mug (fill it about halfway), and add hot coffee to fill the mug the rest of the way. You can play with the proportions to suit your taste.

Brownies

These are super easy. I bet you have everything for them in your pantry right now (which makes them free). And they taste at least as good as boxed brownies.Brownies* Truth in advertising disclaimer: the brownie pictured is actually a gluten-free brownie (recipe here) and not at all the brownies from this recipe.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or some combination of oils and applesauce; part coconut oil is nice, but all coconut oil would be overwhelming)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees in a greased 8×8 pan for 20-25 minutes.

 

Chocolate Pudding

I have added a new category Worth Making from Scratch. Of course, others may have different opinions of what is “worth it” in terms of convenience and cost vs. time/energy, but generally speaking I am finding more and more things that taste better, are more healthful, are simple enough to prepare, and are often cheaper when made from scratch. 

Jason wanted some pudding cups for lunch. It has always kind of bothered me that you can find those in the non-refrigerated  aisle — what do they do to the milk that’s supposedly in there? This pudding, adapted a bit from More with Less, one of my very favorite cookbooks, is cheap, delicious, and, for me, a perfect example of something worth the (minimal) effort.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (or less) honey or sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups milk  (0r almond, soy, or coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon butter or ghee (do not use if using coconut milk)

Directions:

  1. Combine honey, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until thickened, stirring (almost) constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter until combined.
  3. Serve warm or cold.