Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eat Your Veggies - In a Wrap

A great way to eat some more vegetables is in some sort of wrap.

We have enjoyed sauteing peppers, onions, and zucchini then scramble in some eggs. If the veggies are chopped the night before, it makes a quick breakfast. Spoon into a tortilla, sprinkle on some cheese or add some diced tomatoes or salsa and you have a breakfast burrito that can't be beat.

The same veggies can be added to beef or chicken fajitas.

I'm been experimenting with making my own tortillas. I have no idea how to get them round, as mine are lopsided ovals, hearts and anything but circular! But the flavor of homemade (like usual) beats commercial hands down. The most recent recipe I used was Amy's whole wheat tortillas and it was the best attempt yet.

It takes more time to make things from scratch, but sometimes I'm surprised when I actually watch the clock and find how little time it actually takes. For me, who does not live real close to a grocery store, sometimes it faster just to make something myself then pack up four children and go shopping! I generally avoid stores like the plague!

The other week, I had decided to make tortillas. I got a late start (I laid down with the children at quiet time and fell asleep myself!) and only had the ingredients measured in the bowl when a plumber showed up to fix a leak in our basement. By the time he finished, and I got back to the kitchen, I only had one hour before Ed would be home.

I quickly finished stirring the tortilla dough. The recipe said to allow it to rest ten minutes.  While we were waiting, my daughter and I ran out to the garden to pick some onions, peppers, and carrots. We added these veggies with some zucchini from a friend. As soon as the tortilla's rest time was over we divided the dough in small balls. Then it needed to rest for another ten minutes, giving us time to cut our veggies up and get them frying in a pan with a little oil.

My daughter likes to help roll out the tortillas. She pats them with her hands then I finish with a rolling pin. It doesn't take long to fry them in a skillet and we soon had an assembly line going rolling and cooking tortillas. My children have difficulty holding and eating a fajita so I turned them into enchiladas. I spread the still warm tortillas with re-fried beans. I stirred some cooked chicken into the veggies and spooned it over the beans. Once rolled, the filled tortillas were placed in a baking pan. I spooned some tomato sauce over the top and sprinkled on some cheddar cheese. The whole pan was slid into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Whew! We made it! Now we had time to set the table and wake the younger still napping children. We didn't have time to take any pictures but the whole meal was made in less then an hour, including the oven time, and it was completely from scratch. Of course, it helped that my re-fried beans and chicken were already cooked. I always cook up a large batch and freeze the extras. I'm convinced that with just a little bit of  planning, cooking from scratch is possible even for busy moms.

But there are two things to keep in mind when attempting to cook from scratch. First, it will always take longer when you are first learning. It takes me twice as long when I'm trying a new recipe then when I've made it numerous times. Second, you may choose NOT to make something yourself. Just because I can make tortillas, enjoy making tortillas, and believe my whole wheat tortillas taste better and are healthier - doesn't mean that I'm not going to pick up some tortillas at the store. I think I have some bought tortillas in the freezer right now and I'm sure they will be handy some night when I have something better to spend my time at then rolling tortillas.

I hesitate sometimes to share "from scratch" recipes because the last thing I want to do is heap a burden on an already busy mom. Some of us do this for fun (believe it or not)! Just because my hobby is cooking - doesn't mean you need to copy me, in fact, please don't! You will have different goals, dreams, and skills.

I really liked the post on When Homemaking gets in the way of Mothering. Good reminder that relationships need to be first! I have been guilty of thinking (if not saying) "go play something and let me alone so that I can cook you a wonderful meal." I want to be willing to (cough) buy bread if I can better meet the needs of my family. But I'm really hoping I can continue to do both!

I would love to hear how you keep relationships first in your home!

6 comments :

  1. Sounds good. We eat a lot of rice/stir fry. I have found that a way to use up veggies, and get everyone to eat them.

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  2. Amen!! I'm still learning (cooking and mothering). And, there IS freedom in sometimes choosing store-bought.

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  3. My Mum used to make her own bread but only once or twice a week. It was a great time for us to spend time together and she'd make a big batch and we'd knead the same lump of dough from opposite sides of the counter it was so big! She'd slice and freeze some for toast in the mornings (usually sourdough) and any left over fresh bread went into breadcrumbs to cover fish or chicken for dinners or make meatballs/burgers etc.

    I want to be the Mum who makes everything from scratch but it's just not going to happen all the time.

    I made monkey bread today - loved it! I totally cheated. Used the bread maker to do the dough and rise while we were at church then we spent time in the garden playing while I let it rise after another quick hand knead (couldn't help it!). It was a great and mostly reverent Sunday activity for kids. We assembled it together and sat in front of the oven for the last few minutes. I overdid the sugar!
    I'm guilty of giving the kids "time occupying" activities so I can be left alone but in the last few days since I've made time,(even if it's just half an hour)I've seen an increase of love towards me and each other in the children.

    I've learned something called 'Connective Play' that means that for the 5/10mins you want to do it for everyday you're not allowed to:
    *Give instructions
    *Ask questions
    *Correct them
    You also need to:
    *Praise ALOT
    *Mimick actions in play
    *Narrate ("you threw me the ball, I'm going to throw it back", "Wow you're climbing so high in that tree")

    It sounded so dumb and I felt like a right plonker when I had to do it at this voluntary mother's class but the results were AMAZING! Their confidence grew instantly, they responded to me much better throughout the day and their speech was clearer.. due to all that flippin' narrating. The neighbours must think I'm out of my tree.
    Let them!
    xx

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  4. Not long ago, I purchased an electric tortilla maker online. We love it. I flatten the dough in the press and fry them in a skillet. The heat makes it a snap to press them out. My daughters come sometimes for a day and make a lot to freeze. Our favorite is tomato basil. Filled with fresh tomato, slivered basil leaves and cheese, I could eat one now!

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  5. "Second, you may choose NOT to make something yourself. "

    So true! Good words, Gina. :)

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  6. M-m-m-m-m... I do like homemade tortilla. We had them for the first time in Colorado cooked on the surface of a wood stove. The hotter the surface the better... the little bubbles pop right up and get that brown-black spot.

    I don't have a woodstove anymore, but I do have a cast iron griddle and with the gas on high it gets pretty hot.

    I asked for a tortilla press one year for Christmas and my sweet husband found one. I have friends who can start the circle and then toss them around in the air and get them big and round, but I'm not that talented. The press works great for me.

    Here's a recipe I picked up off a blog somewhere... I thought it was Carrie at samsmommy.blogspot.com
    but I went to look and couldn't find it.

    2 C WW flour
    1 t salt
    1 t baking pow
    2/3 C warm water
    4 T oil

    mix dry, mix oil and water and pour over dry. Mix adding a little flour if necessary to make a soft dough. Knead very little and break into 4 or 8 balls... depending on size of tortillas you want.

    Roll on floured board and toss onto a very hot griddle. As soon as bubbles appear flip.

    These take very little time to cook and are nice and soft and flexible so they don't crack when filling.

    We eat at least two bean meals each week. Beans and cheese make a good complete protein. We usually cook them in the pressure cooker which takes much less time and energy. Beans and tortillas are a favorite and with all the nice ripe tomatoes right now a little fresh salsa on that is the best.

    We love our veggies :)

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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