Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch Copycat Recipe

I just thought I'd pop in and share this recipe with y'all.
These are quite a production to make, but they're SO worth it!
They are like eating a delicious Cheesy Gordita Crunch From Taco Bell®, but without the miserable belly ache after! Yum.

1 lb ground beef
1 batch taco meat seasoning (recipe below...or just buy a packet)
1 batch of 10 flatbreads (recipe below)
1 batch Baja Sauce (recipe link below)
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 tomatoes diced
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 diced avocado (optional) 

For the Taco Meat Seasoning
1 T chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix together. Brown and drain 1 lb ground beef. Add seasoning mix and 1/3 cup water. 
For the Baja Sauce 

For the Flatbread
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. water (boiling)
1/4 c. instant potato flakes
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tsp yeast

Place 2 cups flour in a bowl, and stir in 1 1/4 cups boiling water.  Stir until smooth. Throw a towel bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
Combine 1/4 cup potato flakes and the remaining 1 cup of flour with 1 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tablespoons cooking oil, and 1 tsp instant yeast.  Whisk until its crumbly.  Add to the cooled flour/water mixture and then stir together.  It’ll seem dry at first, but the dough will pick up the flour mixture after some mixing.

Knead the dough until it is smooth.  Put the dough into a greased container.  Let the dough rise, covered; for about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces.  Roll the pieces into balls and let rest, covered, for about 20 min.

Roll each piece out into a circle about 5” across.   Roll them very thin, 1/8” or less.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, and place one flatbread into the skillet.  Cook till spotty brown underneath, about 1-2 minutes, and the bread puffs up some.  Turn over, and cook till the other side is spotty as well, about another minute. Poke any big bubbles with a toothpick or end of knife, to keep the bread more flat. (This recipe originally appeared here.)

Alright, Now you've got all your ingredients together! Here is how to assemble your gordita! 

Put some cheese on your flatbread, and zap in the microwave til it melts a little; 20-30 seconds. 

Carefully fold the flatbread around the hard shell, holding for a moment, until the cheese sticks to the shell. Now add other ingredients into your hard shell in this order: first taco meat, then Baja sauce, then lettuce, then tomatoes. Top with shredded cheese. Add on some avocado if you'd like. 


Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Ginger. A Love Story

 He was four years older than me. That made him a preschooler when we met. I don’t remember meeting him. In fact I don’t remember meeting anyone when I was an infant. If I could remember meeting him, I would remember meeting a freckled-faced ginger.
When I was in preschool, there were nights he would stay with me. He and his brother were like the big brothers I never had. They were so small then. I remember looking down at the floor by my bed at the two of them, squished into the same sleeping bag. Theirs heads peeked out the top; one of them blonde… and one of them ginger.
In grade school, he would come over to play with my little brothers and me. We played hide and seek. We once hid together. We built forts, we rode bikes, and we played in the sandbox together. He now stayed the nights in my little brother’s room. We talked and we talked and he was a good friend, that ginger.
My family moved away and I made new friends. We might have gone two years without seeing each other. When I was a pre-teen, his family came to visit. We played catch for a couple hours. We talked and we talked and we talked. He was still my good friend, that ginger.
In my early years as a teenager, he moved to the same town as us, for a summer job. We’d become awkward. We were turning into young adults. That childhood innocence had faded and our gender difference had made itself known. I looked at him from afar, and thought to myself, “Well… he is growing up… And turning into quite a handsome young ginger.”
A couple years later, he moved to our town permanently. By then the awkward in-between stage had passed. We became fast friends and spent so much time together. We caught up on the years we had spent apart. We realized we were best friends, and we began dating. I wanted this young man to forever be my ginger.
After a couple years of dating, we were married in our church surrounded by family and friends. We felt so lucky to be together. We couldn’t imagine any other way. We want to have children together. We want to grow old together.  I couldn’t be happier; he is now my ginger.
Years pass, and life changes. But we are still so happy together. We bought a home to call ours forever. We’ve been through easy times and tough times. We’ve traveled together. We’ve grown together. We’ve never once regretted our vows to each other. We’ve been blessed with many babies (and counting!), and I secretly hope one of them will come out ginger.
The other day, as we sat in the sun together, I looked up at his ginger hair. I see white hair hiding here and there. Right now they are like needles in a haystack, scattered here and there. I imagine them increasing in numbers over the years, until they are all he has. As I look at this little peek into our forever, I smile to myself. Even if he has a head of white hair, he’ll still forever be my ginger.

 Happy Valentines Day Everyone!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Oh My Goodness! A Cookbook Giveaway! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Remember my new new cookbook I was raving about?
Guess what guys?! I've partnered up with the authors to give one away to a lucky reader! I am so excited to be able to share this with one of you!
If you did not read my last post about it, let me tell you now. This is seriously my favoritist cookbook that I own. It is full of real life recipes that you can actually make, and feed your family! It has real life ingredients that you might even have in your kitchen already! Not only that, it also is full of super awesome drawings (similar to this one and these ones), quotes you can cut out and hang in your kitchen, and baking/cooking tips too. Did I mention the authors are super duper witty?! It totally makes the book a fun read too, not just a cookbook.
I've already tried (and totally approved of) their recipes for Spicy Penne Pasta, Beef Tart, Puff the Magical Oven Pancake, Sweet Chili Chicken, White Bean Chili, Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Alfredo, and I can't wait to try their Carmelitas. Yum.
You need this book in your kitchen. I pinky promise.

SO! How to win yourself one of these here books?
Alls you have to do is comment here telling me that you need to get your hands on one too!

For additional entries do any or all of the following:

1. Follow me on Instagram here and comment in a separate comment that you did, along with your IG username.
2. Follow me on Pinterest here, and comment in a separate comment that you did, along with your Pinterest username.
3. Subscribe to The Family Life Newsletter here and comment in a separate comment that you did, along with the email you signed up with.

So, you can each enter up to four times! Giveaway is open until the end of the month- February 29, 2016 at 12am. A winner will be chosen shortly after and announced in this post. Giveaway is only available to U.S. Residents. (I am sorry, international readers!) Please include in your comments, an email I can contact you with if you win.

Good Luck! 
Sylvie, along with Ellen and Marita

*****WINNER IS....****
Congratulations Karen, I will be emailing you shortly!
(Winner was chosen using a random number generator)

To the rest of you, thank you all so much for entering.
Have a great week!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Follow Me on Instagram

I've found it is so easy (and quick!) to share inspiration with all of you on Instagram. So fast and easy to share snippets on there. If you would like to hear from me more often, follow me on IG here!

Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spicy Penne Pasta Recipe: Our Newest Favorite Dinner

We have a new cookbook in this house... 
Therefore, we have a new favorite dinner in this house too!
First, let me tell you. The cookbook is called "Oh My Goodness" and its written by Ellen Halberg & Marita Levanen. You guys. This. cookbook. is. the. best!! I've never ever ever in my long-legged life read a cookbook from FRONT-TO-BACK! Until I got his one. Literally, every page in this book is fun to read. There are super cool and fun drawings, there are quotes you can cut out and hang in your kitchen, there is heaps of witty humor, tips for cooking/baking, and of course stacks of good recipes. Not the kind recipes you can only dream about making. Actual real life recipes you can find ingredients for at your local Walmart, and then whip up and feed to your kids!
So anyways. About our new favorite recipe. Spicy Penne Pasta. I don't know what we ever did without it! Every single child loves it and Mr. Liv says "Yessssssss" everytime I make it. Even when I make it twice a week. I've even brought the ingredients to my parents and forced it upon kindly made it for them. I even bought the ingredients and gave them to my sis in law, to try at her house. I am super pushy when I find awesome new recipes. I just had to share my excitement!

I've partnered up with the authors, to GIVEAWAY one copy of the lovely book to one of you. We'll be hosting the giveaway here on this little blog, soon! Since I can't give each of you one (though I'd love to), I will share my favorite new recipe with you all...

(Insert my own picture of the yummy dish. Oh wait. It never sticks around long enough to get a proper picture of.)

Spicy Penne Pasta with Sausage
{One-Pot Wonderfulness}
Serves:8 Time:30 minutes

1 lb. italian ground sausage
2-4 garlic cloves (minced)
3 c. chicken broth (about 2 cans)
1 can (10 oz.) Ro*Tel tomatoes (drained)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (drained)
1/2 c. heavy cream
12 oz. penne pasta (or whatever you've got in the cupboard*)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 c. shredded cheese (whatever you have in the fridge, although pepper jack is really good)
4 green onions (sliced thin)

*Most boxes of pasta are 16 oz. Don't use the whole thing or you'll throw the noodle-to-meat ratio off.

Preheat the oven to broil.

In a large** oven proof skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through.

Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Dump in the pasta, broth, cream, tomatoes, and salt and pepper.

Bring to boil, then put a lid on and keep it at a simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes. Remember to stir it here and there.

When your pasta is tender and you feel special because you didn't have to boil it in a separate pot, stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, then top with remaining cheese.

Place under the broiler until cheese is melted. About 3 minutes will do it.

Sprinkle on the green onions, give Marita a jingle. Invite her and her family over for dinner, then serve.

NOTE: Ro*Tel tomatoes are a brand of canned tomatoes with green chiles added. If you can't find them, or if you just prefer a milder flavor, just get plain, canned diced tomatoes. Your pasta just won't be as spicy. But still wonderful! 

**We mean LARGE! Like the largest skillet you got. At the very least, use one that is 12-inches across by 2-inches deep.
Enjoy! Be sure to watch for the giveaway coming soon!

(Note: I received a copy of "Oh My Goodness" in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!)