A bit of a two recipes review #3 and a product review for the first recipe

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Not long ago, Diane, of indianeskitchen.com     featured a recipe for “Taco Baked Potatoes”, on her very fine blog,     https://indianeskitchen.com            So, I thought I would share how I prepared my version of her very nice recipe. I say “my” version because I used somewhat different ingredients than she did, and I prepared it a little bit differently than she did. Here is a link to her original recipe       https://indianeskitchen.com/2017/11/09/taco-baked-potato/         So, on to my version of the recipe…

Taco Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:

  1. 6 small red potatoes
  2. 1 1/2 cups gardein the ultimate beefless ground
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1 1/2 Tbsps taco seasoning mix
  5. 2 oz. shredded Mexican mix cheese
  6. 1 sliced fresh green onion sprig
  7. 2 Tbsps sour cream
  8. 1 smallish tomato, chopped
  9. 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut out the “eyes” and bad bits from the potatoes and then pierce each potato at least to the middle. Then place the potatoes on a microwave safe plate and cook them on High for 10 minutes or until when stabbed with a fork they are determined to be tender all the way through. Set aside
  2. Place the 1 1/2 cups of the gardein the ultimate beefless ground, in a frying pan on medium heat.
  3. Mix the taco seasoning into the 1/2 cup water and then pour that over the “beefless” ground in the frying pan. Simmer that mixture for at least four minutes or until the mixture is less soupy looking or reduced somewhat. You don’t want the mixture dripping wet when you spoon it over the cooked potatoes. It took about 10 minutes to reduce the mixture.
  4. Slice the top half of the cooked potatoes lengthwise and then crosswise part way through. Then squeeze the potatoes open with your clean fingers and fluff the innards with a fork and leave the potato skin as intact as you can, it will help hold everything together.
  5. Spoon the reduced taco “meatless” mixture, at least 2 good tablespoons per serving, over the fluffed potatoes.
  6. Top with at least 2 tablespoons of the cheese per serving. The heat from the “meatless” taco mixture and the potato should melt the cheese. If more melty-ness is wanted, place the taco-fied potatoes, on a microwave safe plate and place in the microwave and warm on a low setting just long enough to melt the cheese. A piece of waxed paper draped over the plate will help protect your microwave from splatters.
  7. Add a good dollop of the sour cream and a goodly amount of the diced tomato – at least 2 tablespoons worth. Then sprinkle the green onion slices on top. Serve and enjoy!
  8. Options for added toppings: several slices of fresh avocado, chopped black olives, several spoons of cooked pinto beans or black beans, a spoonful or 2 of cooked corn kernels, a shake or two of dried cilantro or a small amount of fresh chopped cilantro leaves, dried or fresh parsley…pretty much whatever your favorite taco toppings happen to be, you can use to top these taco potatoes.

Here are some more of the prep pictures:20190411_160207 (2)Here are the potatoes, above, washed, the bad bits and “eyes” cut out, and pierced and ready for the microwave.20190411_162145 (2)Here, above, is what the “meatless” ground looks like straight out of the bag.20190411_164037 (4)Here, above, is what the “meatless” ground looks like after the taco seasoning, the water and the one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil have been mixed in.20190411_164919 (2)Here, above, are three of the cooked small red potatoes, squeezed open with the “meatless” taco mixture spooned on top. 20190411_165429 (2)Here, above, is how it looks with the cheese and sour cream dollop.20190411_165811 (2)And here, above, is the whole shebang, some of the chopped tomatoes, some of the sliced green onions and as an optional topper, some sliced black olives. My husband sprinkled some of the dried cilantro and some dried parsley flakes on top and then proceeded to wolf it all down! The amounts of ingredients I used were enough to make three good servings, as in a serving is three of the small potatoes as the base for the fixings. My husband had these for two nights and then I put the third serving worth of the taco mixture into a freezer bag and froze it for another day. On the yummy meter of from 1 to 5, with 1 being so-so, and 5 being WOW!, my husband, the official taste tester, says these “Taco Potatoes”, are a triple 5, as in WOW!, WOW!, WOW!!!!! He really likes them and wants me to add them to our regular lineup of meals that I make for him.

And now for the product review: 20190414_192429 (2)For the Taco Potato recipe I prepared, instead of ground beef, I used “gardein, the ultimate beefless ground”. This is a soy based ground beef alternative, as in no animal had to die for these taco potatoes. You can use this product in many of the dishes you would use crumbled hamburger in, as a healthy and cruelty-free alternative to meat. My husband thinks this product actually tastes better than hamburger and that is really saying something coming from a life long carnivore. 20190414_192707 (2)Here, above, is the nutrition info…20190414_192745 (2)And here, above, is what the back of the bag  looks like. My husband actually asked me to add this review to this post so people could see that there is an alternative to using hamburger for making this recipe for the taco potatoes and some other recipes which call for hamburger meat. Pizza would taste good with this product, I think. He says this “meatless” ground is so good that he would even eat it warmed up straight, just by itself! So, my husband gives this “gardein the ultimate beefless ground” a 10! That would be as in, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the least liked and 10 being the most liked. So, we will be using this product on a regular basis!

Now for the second recipe…20190411_172025 (2)During this past March, in between four visits to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned, have a cracked tooth fixed and be fitted for a new bite-guard,( I had chewed the old one to pieces), I caught a bad cold. My husband had it first, so of course then I caught it. ourlittleredhouseblog  very kindly posted a Simple Salsa recipe in my comments, for me to try, that is healthy and full of vitamins and all kinds of goodness to help bust cold germs. So, as many Mexican restaurants serve salsa with meals, I thought I would include the Simple Salsa recipe to go along with the Taco Potatoes. And it really is a simple and easy to fix recipe…

Simple Salsa

Ingredients:

  1.  1 can whole peeled tomatoes, diced, I didn’t have that so I used a whole fresh tomato and what was left of the tomato I didn’t use for the taco potatoes
  2. 1 bundle of green onions, chopped, I ended up using four sprigs of the onions cause I was making a small amount of the salsa.
  3. 1 small can of tomato sauce
  4.  1 bundle of fresh cilantro, chopped, I used 1 teaspoon of dried cilantro and then my husband added a little more to adjust the salsa to get it to taste the way he wanted it to.
  5. Optional: Dried Parsley to taste, Pink Salt to taste, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste. 1 yellow pepper and 1 jalapeno pepper, both chopped and boiled slightly to soften.

Directions: Mix all the main ingredients and your choice of the optional ingredients in a medium size bowl, I used a two-cup size glass measuring cup, until well mixed. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy! It will last about a week stored in the fridge. 20190411_173258 (2)I had a bag of tortilla chips to show with the salsa but my husband ate them before I could get a picture taken. So, he really likes this Simple Salsa and rates it a 5 on the yummy meter, where 1 is so-so, and 5 is WOW!!!! And that is my fault, not the fault of the recipe.  I made the salsa without the peppers, and he thinks he would have rated the salsa higher if it had a little bit a kick to it. So, we are still experimenting to see what pepper varieties  give a little bit of a kick but don’t set his head on fire. And he really liked that I didn’t chop the tomatoes and green onions up hyper small, he likes salsa that is chunky. So, we are still experimenting with this Simple Salsa to get it to the just right level of chunky but not too hot. And here is a link to:

https://ourlittleredhouseblog.wordpress.com

Check out her blog, she makes all kinds of really neat projects! Plus, she is SUPER NICE!!!!

So, there you go! Two recipes and a product review! The Taco Potatoes are very easy to fix and don’t take very long at all to prepare. Even a young person with some parental supervision for cutting the potatoes and slicing the tomatoes and green onions, could prepare this recipe! It’s not hard at all! And the Simple Salsa really is easy to fix! Have a GREAT DAY!!!! and HAPPY COOKING!!!!!

 

 

A Bit of a Product Review #4

20190107_023621 (2)20190107_023638 (2)It really annoys me to have to do this review for this product, but something needed to be said. My husband received these socks, U A Charged Cotton 2.0 Crew Socks, for Christmas from his sister who purchased them from Academy Sports. And she is not to blame in any way for what these socks are doing. They are sold by Under Armour and are 76% Cotton, 22% Polyester, and 2% Spandex. And as you may be able to see from my pictures, they are starting to disintegrate and they have only been washed and worn two times. Plus they shrank up almost to the size that a young boy would have been comfortable wearing them. I followed the washing instructions exactly, wash cold water, rinse cold water. Air fluff as in no heat and then hang up to air dry. Hand fulls of the black fluff are ending up in the lint catcher of the washer and the dryer. I’ve tried stretching them to make them wearable for my husband, I deformed coat hangers to hang them on so that they won’t shrink back up while drying. The black fluff is ending up all over our rugs all through our apartment. I don’t think these socks are going to last a whole lot longer with the way they are shedding. I tried to convince my husband to let me use the socks to make sock creatures, but he said he wanted to try to get at least a little wear out of them. Now I’m sort of glad I didn’t use them for sock creatures, even made that way they would probably have kept shedding and eventually be just a pile of fluff. On a scale from zero to ten with zero being the absolute worst and ten being the very best, I would only give these socks barely a one. They are not worth the money my sister-in-law paid for them. We are really disappointed. I thought Under Armour was a good brand, I guess some corners were really cut in the production of these socks. If they were never washed or worn maybe they would last longer. We are not happy!

20190107_023505 (2)On a much lighter note! My husband gave me a NordicWare Microware Popcorn Popper for Christmas and it is really great! It is BPA and Melamine free. It has a twelve cup capacity and pops up the corn kernels in about 5 1/2 minutes on high in the microwave oven without having to use any oil. The batch of popcorn you see in the popper started out as a third of a cup of kernels  and popped up to completely fill the bowl and then some. The package recommends hand washing the bowl and the lid which is no problem, they are both light weight and easy to handle.  I really like this popper! On a scale from zero to ten, with zero being the absolute worst to ten being the very best, I give this popper a TEN!!!!  It is so nice!

20190107_022940 (2)Being a vegan, I eat a lot of beans, vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. The beans and some of the veggies can cause gas, plain and simple, especially the beans. So to tame the gas I drink a mix of several herbal teas which take care of the problem. On the far left of the above picture, is Heather’s Tummy Tea, which is made from Fennel seeds which are very good for gas and upset stomach in general. I tear open the bag and use about half of the amount in my tea mix and then I chew up the seeds and eat them, they are actually very tasty and taste like licorice and this tea is organic. In that tin you get 45 extra large tea bags, it is Non GMO, and is a real good amount for the money and I ordered this tea from amazon. com. Next in line is Numi Moroccan Mint Tea. Its only ingredient is spearmint leaves and boy is it good! Spearmint is another gas buster as are almost all the mints, and is very gentle on the stomach. It also is organic and you get 18 tea bags per box and it is Non GMO. I get this tea at my local health food store. If I can’t get the Moroccan Mint Tea, I use Bigelow Mint Medley tea, which is a mix of peppermint and spearmint leaves. It is Non GMO and you get 20 tea bags per box. And I get this tea at my local Walmart. Now to Celestial Seasons Chamomile tea. It is very calming and very good for soothing a troubled stomach and busting gas. It tastes kind of like apples, very nice. It is Non GMO and you get 20 tea bags per box, it used to be 24, but what can you do? I get this tea at Walmart and it is probably available on amazon.com for a very good price. And now on the far right is Celebration Herbals, Absolutely Organic, Catnip Leaf & Blossom tea. Catnip is not just for cats! It is a very calming tea, a member of the mint family, very soothing to the stomach and very good for busting gas. And supposedly, catnip is very good for preventing cataracts in the eyes, though I don’t know how much you’d have to drink to achieve that effect. In the box you get 24 tea bags and is Non GMO and I get this tea from amazon.com. Now a word of warning, don’t drink Chamomile and Catnip teas together in the same 24 hour period, use one or the other or you’ll end up a bobble head person, you won’t be able to stay awake!  All these teas are caffeine free and I usually have them with a type of real tea such as white tea, green tea or black tea. But that is just my preference, I like my teas together in the same mug, they all flavor each other very nicely. And it does drive my dental hygienist kind of nuts, but you know, out of my cold dead hands, I’m not giving up my tea! I just brush my teeth well and use a whitening tooth paste every day and it keeps the tea stains down to a minimum. Now for a rating, all these teas individually work very well for taming gas and stomach troubles in general. But combined they work even better, just not the chamomile and the catnip on the same day, use one or the other. And all these teas are very gentle and safe to use. On a scale with zero being the absolute worst and ten being the very best, I give all these teas a 10! They work that well!

So, there you go! I hope my product review is helpful and maybe inspire someone to maybe at the least give one of the teas a try. I use them everyday and they really help me! And I’ll do a regular tea review on another post, I am a major hot tea drinker and some are better tasting than others. Thank you for reading my bit of a product review #4 and I hope you have a very good day!

Since I did this review, I have found out that Bigelow Tea has changed its recipe for the Mint Medley Tea. Originally, all that it had in there was peppermint and spearmint. Now it has : peppermint leaves, spearmint leaves, rose hips, lemon peel, and hibiscus. I avoid products with hibiscus in any amount in them because it has estrogen-like properties. I had to have bad cells removed from my right breast several years ago and my breast surgeon  has advised me to avoid herbs and foods that have high amounts of plant-type estrogen  in them and hibiscus does. I also had to give up red clover leaf tea, a favorite, and all soy foods and alfalfa sprouts and black beans. He said it is better to be safe than sorry, to try to keep anymore cells from going bad. He said it is okay for me to use fennel seed tea, just don’t take ground fennel seed powder pills, too concentrated. So, I have started using Celestial Seasons Peppermint Tea when I can’t get the Numi Moroccan Mint Tea. I get the Peppermint tea at Walmart for a very good price and it is also available from amazon.com

So, always read labels on products you buy, companies will sometimes change recipes and ingredients and don’t always say anything about it or give any warnings to the possible buyers of those products of changes in said products. It can be very annoying when you go to get a product that you have used for years and find out the company that made it has made changes to that product and now you can’t use it for health reasons. So, there you go, again! And I hope you all have a very good day!

A Bit Of A Product Review #2

20181029_151020 (2)This TERRASOUL CAROB POWDER is really good! It is very finely ground and not gritty. It is NON-GMO and USDA Certified organic. There are only thirteen calories per Tbsp (6g) and has 3g Total Sugars and no added sugars. I use it in my tea as a natural sweetener that also gives a nice chocolate-like flavor. The only gripe I have against this product is that the pinch closure doesn’t close well once opened, so I store the bag in a plastic gallon size food storage bag that closes with twist ties to preserve freshness and protect from moisture.  On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give it a 4 1/2, and that is only because of the bag closure problem, the carob powder is SUPER GREAT!!! I ordered this from amazon.com.

20181029_151251 (2)These ‘CORN THINS’, from REAL FOODS, are very good! They are organic, non-GMO, USDA ORGANIC. They are fat free, 23 calories per slice, 7% Dietary Fiber per slice and gluten free. There are 46 calories in a 2 slice serving, 31mg of sodium, 9g total carbs, 1g dietary fiber and 0g sugars. All that is in them is organic corn, 99% organic expeller pressed sunflower oil and sea salt and that’s it. I use these instead of rice cakes. I got these at Lovey’s Healthfood Market & Cafe, in Wilmington, NC, and these can probably be ordered from amazon.com(seems like you can get just about anything from amazon now). On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give them a 5 cause they are SUPER GOOD!!! Great corn flavor and hold up well to having various toppings slathered on them! 20181029_151811 (2)I eat mostly gluten free but I don’t eat rice anymore cause it started giving me a problem. So millet is a good alternative. Unfortunately, for some reason, millet is kind of hard to get here where I live in Jacksonville, NC. I usually now have to drive to Wilmington, NC, and buy it at the health food stores there or I order it from amazon.com. ‘Anthony’s Organic Hulled Millet’, is my current favorite which I order from amazon.com. It is gluten free, vegan and organic. It cooks in about 45 to 55 minutes(similar to brown rice) at 1 cup dry millet to 2 cups water. It has 210 calories in a 1/4 cup serving, 2g total fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 0mg Sodium, 40g Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 0g Sugar, 6g Protein. It is a product of the USA. Millet has a very mild flavor and cooks up to a porridge-like consistency. When you prepare millet you need to pick through it dry just like you would if you were preparing dry beans from scratch, cause it is a natural product and some times there are small rocks and grit and bits of twigs and chaff that need to be picked out. Other than that it is very easy to fix. You bring the two cups of water to a boil in a two-quart pot, turn down the heat and add the millet. Bring it back to a boil and then turn down the heat to about low to medium-low and cover loosely and simmer for 45 to 55 minutes. You do need to keep an eye on the millet while it is cooking cause if the heat is too high it will boil over all over your stove. So, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give this millet product a 5 because it has really good flavor and I’ve never had a problem with this brand tasting of mold.

So there you go! I hope someone finds my product reviews helpful. Have a great day!