homemade taco seasoning

i love to be able to make my own stuff.
you know, like taco seasonings, that you usually buy at the supermarket.
especially when you find your recipe (or someone else’s) to be better than store-bought.
i like this one a lot because it’s not as salty as the ready-made packets.
we made tostadas the other night and after using it on the meat, i used a little bit in the sour cream that was on the tostadas.
SO yummy.
you can also use it as a rub for grilled chicken.

taco seasoning & rub

1/4 cup chili powder

2 tbsp cumin

1 tsp dried cilantro

2 tsp  paprika

3 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 tsp fine grind black pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp oregano

optional, for some extra heat: 1/2 to 1 tsp ground chipotle chiles


combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar and whisk/shake until mixed well (or if you want it more powder-like, place all ingredients in a food processor and blend.). store in an air tight container.

when making tacos: start with about 2 tbsp of the mix per pound of ground beef or ground chicken or turkey for tacos. for beef, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup water. for turkey add 1/2 cup water. let simmer 5-8 minutes or so.

recipe adapted from whole new mom

lacey’s marinated cheese


marinated cheese | via she likes to eat
i make this appetizer for almost every potluck.
i made it for the little she’s first birthday party.
it is requested often throughout the year. and i swear i would make it for only myself for no other reason than to sit and eat it all in one sitting.
and i can only tout it that way because it is not my own recipe.
the credit belongs to my oldest and dearest friend, lacey.
we have been friends since we were 2 years old and lived across the street from each other.
she is a fantastic cook and i am always peeking in her kitchen for my next favorite recipe.

lacey’s marinated cheese


1 block cream cheese

1 block cheddar cheese

½ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil

1 tbsp italian seasoning

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

¼ cup chopped green onions

3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

1 large roma tomato (or about 6 grape tomatoes), seeded & finely chopped (don’t use canned tomatoes, trust me) – optional


1. in a bowl, combine the vinegar, EVOO, seasoning, sugar, basil, green onions & garlic.

2. slice up both cheeses and alternate them (cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese & so on) in two rows on a serving dish with sides at least 2 inches high.

3. pour vinegar & seasonings mixture over the cheeses and refrigerate for at least 3 and up to 8 hours.  every 30 minutes, take cheese out of the fridge and re-dredge the cheeses with the vinegar mixture in the bottom of the dish.

4. top with chopped tomatoes & serve with table water crackers.

(cook’s note: after your guests have polished off the cheese, save the marinade and use it the next day to marinate a chicken breast. or use it to dip italian bread in.)

spiced molten chocolate cakes

once a week, i have several close girlfriends that come over & invade my house.
for girls night.
my favorite night of the week.
and for girls night, we love to get our sweet on. and THIS recipe is the best way to indulge.
this is the best molten chocolate cake i have ever tasted. hands down.
it is perfectly gooey inside and, when served hot, is capable of making me cry it’s so good.

spiced molten chocolate cakes

4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1 tbsp cabernet sauvignon

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

6 tbsp flour

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground ginger

1. preheat oven to 425.  butter 4 (6 oz.) ramekins or custard cups & place on a baking sheet (spray butter works great or you can use cooking spray).

2. microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwaveable bowl on high 1 minute or until the butter is melted. whisk until chocolate is completely melted. stir in wine, vanilla & sugar until blended. whisk in eggs and yolk.  stir in remaining ingredients.

3. spoon evenly into prepared dishes. bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. (really watch the cakes here – if cooked even a minute or 2 too long, it won’t be as gooey in the middle and could get a little dry.) let stand a few minutes to cool. loosen edges with a knife and invert onto serving plates (i prefer to just serve them in the soufflé dishes).  sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar or a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

the batter can be prepared up to 1 day ahead of time. pour the batter into prepared custard cups; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

makes 4

macaroni & cheese with chickpeas

this is a fantastic recipe that i have made for the little she so many times.
i had been looking for a kid-friendly macaroni and cheese, but one that was fairly healthy.
(and it had to be super yummy because i wanted to make it for my hubby too.)
the first time i made this was with my mom while she was in town visiting.
and after the little girl had her fill, us big girls finished off the rest! 

macaroni & cheese with chickpeas (or hummus mac’n’cheese)

1 1/2 cups – 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni (uncooked)

1 cup milk (you can use nonfat, i used whole for babygirl)

1/2 cup (i used – on accident – 1 can & it was fine) chickpeas/garbanzo beans (or navy beans or white beans), drained & rinsed

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 8 oz.)

1/2 tsp salt (i used about 1/4 tsp)

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp pepper

PAM (i used olive oil cooking spray)

1. bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. drain.

2. while the macaroni is cooking, combine the beans and the milk in a food processor and process until pureed.

3. coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and set it over medium heat. add the bean mixture to the pan and cook, stirring until smooth, 1-2 minutes. add the cheese and cook until melted and creamy, 1-2 minutes longer. stir in salt, garlic powder, paprika & pepper.

4. stir in the macaroni and serve warm.
(it will keep for up to a week or so, but it doesn’t last that long in my house!)

from the cookbook deceptively delicious by jessica seinfeld.
i highly recommend this cookbook

ricotta and honey toast

this breakfast reminds me of my childhood.
my mom, “the mahm” (long before she was “the mahm“), made this often for my brother and me before we’d head off to school.
i made it this week for the first time in a long time and the taste was so familiar, so sweet.
also eating this splendid breakfast: the other she. the 14-month old she.
and she loved it. couldn’t shovel it in fast enough. (that kind of explains me too.)

ricotta & honey toast


4 slices whole grain bread

4 tbsp ricotta cheese

2 tsp honey

1 banana


put your oven on broil (about 500 degrees). arrange bread slices on a cookie sheet. spread each slice with 1 tbsp of ricotta. then drizzle on the honey, about 1/2 tsp for each slice. sprinkle on the cinnamon to taste.
broil for about 3-5 minutes (keep an eye on it – i took it out once i felt that the edges of the bread were getting pretty crispy.)

optional, but my favorite part: slice about 6-8 thin slices of banana and arrange on top of each slice of toast.

makes 4 slices (the perfect amount for me and the little she for breakfast.)

this also makes a wonderful toddler snack – packed with lots of healthy goodness.

fruity ice pops

i love this idea for popsicles…they’re so pretty! 
they are fairly healthy (not packed with tons of added sugar like most popsicles) and they are perfect for a teething toddler or kids trying to beat the summer heat.
and as hot as it has been for the last week in missouri, this might be all imma be eatin’ during the month of august.

fruit salad ice pops

1 peach, cut into 1/2 inch slices (1/2 cup)

2 kiwis, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

1/2 cup whole blueberries (3 ounces)

3/4 cup strawberries, hulled & halved

1 1/2 to 2 cups 100% white grape juice

arrange some of each fruit in 8 three-ounce popsicle molds, making sure pieces fit very snugly. pour enough juice into each mold to just cover fruit. insert popsicle sticks & freeze until solid, about 6 hours (or up to 2 weeks).

makes 8 popsicles
(each pop: 55 calories)