Weekend Recipes

Sunday, August 21st, 2011 by Rachel

Here are some recipes that we came up with over the weekend, using items that we already had in our house! These are all simple, easy, healthy, vegetarian-friendly, and gluten-free.


Summer Smoothie


4 ice cubes
1 cup sliced peaches
1 peeled and sliced mango (about 1 cup)
Lemonade powder (we used Country Time—to about the 2 quart line)
½ cup water


Put ingredients in blender, and blend! Makes 2 servings.




Derrick’s Black Bean Tacos


(Yes, we’re still trying to get rid of those taco shells. We made black bean quesadillas last week and had leftover black bean mixture in the fridge. Derrick put the ingredients together to make a tasty lunch!)


1 can black beans
1 small can diced olives
Taco shells


Drain and rinse black beans and olives together. Put colander over a plate (so it doesn’t drip over the counter!), and season with cumin, cilantro, oregano. Black bean mix is complete. Fill taco shells with black bean mix and whatever other toppings you choose. We used Wholly Salsa “Medium” and Mexican cheese mix. Some shredded lettuce would’ve also mixed in well. We did microwave the tacos for 30 seconds in the microwave after adding the cheese, to give the tacos a little “melty-ness” to their texture.




Sunday Salad


1 can chickpeas (but I only used a few spoonfuls and saved the rest in tupperware!)
1 large tomato
1 oz. goat cheese
Salad mix
Olive oil


Drain chickpeas. Chop tomato and goat cheese. Build your salad, lettuce on the bottom, then tomatoes, then chickpeas, then goat cheese, drizzling with olive oil after all ingredients have been added. Serves two (but since Derrick isn’t quite ready for dinner…I’ll probably end up eating the other half in an hour!)

Recipe: Rachel’s Shrimp Tacos

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 by Rachel

Sure I’m on my way to becoming a master chef, but sometimes recipes just don’t turn out the way you expected them to. This weekend, I had my heart set on a chickpea taco recipe for Saturday’s lunch, a nice healthy vegetarian option that would satisfy my newfound chickpea fixation. I mixed up the chickpeas with avocado, herbs, and lime. I stuffed the tacos with lettuce and the chickpea mixture and put them in silly yellow baskets lined with heart-patterned napkins. The meal looked strange, but beautiful… until we bit into our tacos and each made a grimace. It was disgusting. It was limey and crunchy and made your tongue want to run back into your throat for safety. Derrick and I each finished one taco before throwing the chickpea mixture in the trash, brushing our teeth, and leaving the house in an attempt to erase the disgusting food memory.


But I was left with 16 Old Paso Crunchy Taco Shells that I would never ordinarily use or have in the fridge. Derrick used to make a mean beef-taco mix, but since we’ve moved away from eating beef, I didn’t want to default to an old, less-healthy recipe. So tonight, I came up with this shrimp taco recipe which turned out really nice. It’s pretty similar to how I’ve cooked shrimp in the past for quesadillas. I just happened to have fajita spice mix pre-made (Thanks Ms. Debra!), but if you don’t have it, a mixture of cumin, parsley, cilantro, oregano, garlic salt should do the trick. My point for you cooks out there is that we should never become discouraged when meals fail. Turn a bad food experience into a positive one, and work to create recipes that you want to keep in your repertoire to make over and over again!


Rachel’s Shrimp Tacos


15-20 small shrimp
1 tbl. butter
Squirt of lime juice
Serious dash fajita seasoning
Taco shells (or tortillas)


Thaw shrimp. Remove shell and vein if necessary. Preheat skillet with butter to medium. Chop up shrimp into thirds or quarters, depending on their size. When butter is melted, slide it around to coat entire pan. Add shrimp, and squirt lime juice on top. Sprinkle seasoning over top of pan; you want each shrimp to have seasoning on top, a nice spackling of flavor. Sauté in skillet for about 7 minutes until shrimp are pink and done. Put shrimp in taco shells first. Add whatever toppings you want. We added Mexican cheese and some Wholly Salsa “Medium”. This ended up being two servings, since I ate 2 tacos, and Derrick ate 3. We served with my mexican corn dish.

The Taco Philosophy

Monday, July 11th, 2011 by Rachel

A Flagstaff doctor once told me, “It’s okay to eat tacos. But don’t go out and eat tacos. Make them at home”. I know that’s a silly quote to hang onto four years later, especially since I would never list tacos in my top ten favorite foods, but it’s one that really stuck with me as I moved towards a life of happy, healthy eating. We used to go out to eat at restaurants two or three times a week, and we’ve moved to once a week or every two weeks. Not only is this good for our wallets, but also for increasing my awareness. I now care what goes into my food. I now know what every single ingredient is. With restaurants, that’s all a mystery, and it shows in terms of calorie intake, weight gain, and sometimes even the aftermath of a food-hangover.


This is an idea that I don’t just apply to eating out, but also to buying prepackaged meals, meal helpers, or meal kits. We used to eat meals like hamburger helpers at least once a week, and I was addicted to Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets, and Eggos. But I asked myself, “Why buy a taco kit when I could buy the tortillas, meat, cheese, and veggies separately, minus the preservatives and msg?” I know it’s difficult to eliminate all of these boxes from our cupboards and freezers, but, once I began making the adjustments, it came along much easier than I expected. When we want lasagna, we don’t pick up a prepackaged Stouffer’s, but make one from scratch. I’ve always been a big pizza fan, but we now make our pizza at home, mixing and matching toppings, cheeses, sauces, and crusts we choose. If I want a wrap or a sandwich or a waffle, I make one— I don’t just microwave it.


The reliance on restaurants and these prepackaged meals is one of the biggest food-related problems that I see in people our age—and usually these are the same people who complain: “I don’t have time to make meals”, “Cooking is complicated,” “why I can’t lose weight?”, etc. I value the time and effort that go into making our food. Yeah, it is tough at first, but I take every new recipe as a challenge. Because I’m the one spending the time seasoning the roast, stirring the risotto, and ultimately conquering the recipe, I have become invested in my food. I am already mentally full by the time I sit down at the table with my plate, and it enhances my enjoyment of each meal.


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