Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sweet Potato Asada Fries with Recipes for Taco Seasoning and Pico de Gallo

I was lucky enough to be a part of the Influenster Pumpkin VoxBox, designed especially for moms! Inside was a bunch of goodies, including a full-value coupon for one Alexia product! We were challenged to come up with a recipe using one of their products, and since I love Alexia's products, this seemed like a no-brainer! Here's a pin of the product I chose:

  • 1 bag of Alexia Sweet Potato Fries
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 batch of taco seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1 bag Shredded cheese
  • Pico de Gallo salsa (recipe below)
  • Guacamole (I used the complimentary Yucatan Organic Guacamole I got to try in my Influenster Pumpkin VoxBox!)

I picked up this little bag of goodness at Target. I had my coupon from Influenster for a free package of these, but they were also running a coupon on Cartwheel for 20% off, or something like that. No, I didn't get any money back! How do those couponistas do it?

I started out buy preparing the fries according to the directions on the package. My oven cooks kind of cold, so I always use the maximum time suggestion. Even after that though, the fries still needed about 5 minutes. The Sprout ate a bunch of them! These are definitely toddler-approved!

Next came the ground meat. There is no way I am going outside and barbecuing carne asada when I'm so cold I can barely type up this blog! This California girl is not prepared for any "winteresque" weather coming her way! My husband laughs at the fact that I came up with the idea to visit the Grand Canyon and Salt Lake City during my winter break... What was I thinking!?! Anyway, I digress.

So I decided to throw some seasoned ground beef on top of my fries to give it that asada flavor, without needing to bear the cold. It also gave me a chance to work on my taco seasoning recipe. Growing up, my father used to make us American-style tacos with ground beef, using the infamous packet of Lowry's Taco Seasoning; a savory sodium death-bomb of deliciousness. It also has wheat and milk products, and there are times when we're following a strict paleo diet and those don't work for us. Here is my current recipe for taco seasoning:
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • dash of cayanne
  • 2/3 cup of beef broth or water

Just get your ground beef all browned up like this, sprinkle the dry seasoning mix on top of the meat and stir it around for about 30 seconds to let the flavors of the chili powder and garlic start to bloom. once it's all incorporated and smelling good, pour the beef broth or water over the meat and simmer until the liquid is mostly gone. You'll love it. delicious and comforting.

Another important part of this dish is the Pico de Gallo! AKA red salsa, Pico de Gallo, is a staple in traditional Mexican dishes. It's really easy to make and adds a ton of flavor to any dish! Here's my basic recipe:
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 of a sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • salt to taste

Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl and add the salt a little at a time until it tastes great. Of course you have to keep tasting it, so have some tortilla chips at the ready! It's that easy! You can substitute with serrano peppers if you like or a different kind of tomato, but for classic Pico, this is it!

Assemble the Sweet Potato Asada Fries with the fries on the bottom, then some ground beef, a sprinkling of shredded cheese, Pico de Gallo, and a dollop of guacamole for a delicious anytime dish that your whole family will love!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


We love bananas in this house! We usually go through 10-15 a week and it's just the three of us. The Sprout was eating a whole banana by himself by the time he was one and a half! Due to this intense banana love, I find myself buying two bunches a week on our weekly shopping trips. Sometimes the bananas will be gone in a few days, but sometimes, if we're out and about for a couple days out of the week, a couple of bananas will go rogue and way too brown before anyone can enjoy one for breakfast or throw it in a lunch sack. I know, I know... these bananas are still good and useful for banana bread and smoothies and banana pancakes, but it's not always easy to get around to making those things. In an effort to keep my bananas fresh longer, I've undertaken a few experiments recently to see if there were some banana saving tricks that I could use to save the banana goodness on those weeks where it just doesn't work out. Here's what I pinned:

Make Your Bananas Last Longer

So for the first experiment, I got my two bunches as usual and put them in our hanging basket; one bunch in tact, one bunch broken up into individual bananas. According to the pin, your bananas will last longer if you break them apart instead of keep them in the bunch. To be honest, this seemed a little counter intuitive to me, but heck... it could be the very thing that would save my bananas for good! Worth a try!

Here are my bunches of bananas, ready for the experiment! The top basket of bananas have been separated and are now individual and the bottom bunch are still attached.

Three days later... (we've eaten a few)

Five days later...

One week later... the banana on the left is from the top basket, the right banana is from the bottom.

Verdict: Leave your bananas attached together! Separating them does nothing, and may actually make them brown faster (unless that's what you're going for).

Life Hack Zombie Banana!

So this YouTuber Brandon Queen has a video that's been circulating that shows him reconstituting a banana. I saw it on a friend's Facebook feed and I was in awe! I didn't do any research, otherwise I would have known off the bat that this one had been busted already, but I still went for it and tried to copy his results! Without further ado, here's my attempt in response:

Bottom Line: just eat the bananas!