We're thrilled to let you know we're adding another new face this week! It's a week of changes. :) We're so glad Virginia Munoz will be joining us, posting on Wednesdays! We're dubbing her The Fresh Pioneer, bringing us fresh, healthy food from the West Coast. Virginia, we're glad to have you!
Here's a quick bio, and then I'll turn it over to Virginia with her post...
Virginia was born near the Rocky Mountains and although she has traveled around the world, the wilds of Colorado run in her veins. A big fan of the wide open sky and all four seasons, she believes in embracing the small moments of everyday life. A home schooling mom of six young children who rarely wear shoes, those moments usually involve a lot of noise, a lot of mess, or a whole bunch of warm cookies. Virginia holds degrees in Linguistics and Religious Studies from the University of Oregon. She lives with her habanero-eating husband, Crusberto, who is her polar opposite in all things except faith. They’ve learned to speak in short-hand code and look forward to the day they can actually finish a sentence. In the meantime, Virginia thanks God for the laughter and abundance of hugs that fill her day as she plots her next book.
This is Virginia, over here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m soooo excited to be posting in Yankee Belle Café with the lot of youse. (Didn’t know I was multilingual, did you?)
Over in these parts we’re all about the fresh food this time of year. Everybody’s got a garden, the Farmer’s Markets are out in force. It gets so bad we have to lock our cars or we find bags full of zucchini in the back seat. And you know there are only so many things to make with zucchini.
I also have lots of kiddos around who like to ‘help’ (I see you moms and dads and grandmas and babysitters nodding) so it’s also nice to have something they can do. Tasty AND educational!
Something we make fairly often is a twist on the usual nachos. We would love to eat full fat sour cream, loads of melted cheese, and deep fried everything but unfortunately it makes you CHUBBY. (Who knew??) So, we try to dial down the calories and dial up the flavor. Hot melty cheese and cool, fresh veggies on top of crunchy chips and a few small changes make it a healthy dish you can feel good about. Plus, it’s just YUM.
First order of business: find yourself some tasty tomatoes. Preferably from someone’s garden. (Ask permission, I don’t want to hear about anyone getting arrested for produce thievery.)
And we live near Walla Walla, so we’re drowning in sweet onions. But if you’re in the south, a Vidalia will do nicely.
We love avocados, but they can be spendy, so make sure you buy them on sale. And make sure they’re ripe. Because hard, unripe ‘cados are the worst.
Now, for the sour cream, we use Greek plain yoghurt that’s left in a paper towel, in a colander, for an hour in the fridge. (With a bowl underneath. Don’t forget the bowl, like one of my kids did once. Big mess.) The whey (didn’t I say this was educational??) drains out and the yoghurt becomes the consistency of sour cream. Then it has WAY FEWER calories and a lot less fat. Here’s a handy link, if you want to see for yourself. http://www.livestrong.com/article/526634-nutritional-values-of-greek-yogurt-vs-sour-cream/
While that’s draining (because you do everything last minute like I do, right?) we’ll work on the beans. Now, I personally LOVE those old cans of pinto bean mush. LOVE THEM. My husband, not so much. But he does seem to think the black beans in the can are okay, and the kids think they’re cool, so… into a small pan they go. ( I know there are three varieties there. They just came out of the pantry that way. Weird, isn’t it?)
Add some garlic, salt, a little water and let them boil so they’re nice and soft. (Mush. Squish. Five minutes of anger therapy on the cheap.)
Next, we shred cheese. You can use low fat and get away with it here. Some recipes just fall apart with low fat food. But here it’s not as noticeable. Usually we stick with cheddar, because kids are picky, but you can use pepper jack. Slice the peppers that you all want to put on your nachos… No? Not even these?
Well, if you’re a big scaredy cat like me, let’s move on to the base, which is tortilla chips (of COURSE), but we’re going to do something a little funner and make them BLUE. Yay for blue chips! You knew there were white, and yellow, but blue? Yes, indeedy. In most grocery stores, in the chip aisle, are blue tortilla chips. I’m not convinced they’re healthier, even the organics, but the kids love ‘em, so we get them. They say there’s more fiber, but really, I just think it’s great to eat blue food.
At this point you can add low fat hamburger meat, taco flavored. Or chicken breast shredded. But we’re going for simple so we’re doing it all veggies.
Now, for the assembly. This is where the kids love to help. (“Wash your hands. Wash your hands! Wash your hands!!”) See, Yankee-Belle café is like being in my own house, nagging and all. Lucky you!
My husband loves fresh lime on everything so we usually slice a few of those. Then we let whichever baby is around taste it. Then we laugh at their expression and take pictures. Of course, they learn pretty fast so that only works once or twice. Try the neighbor’s kids. Maybe they’ll fall for it.
For the chopped veggies, you can mix them altogether or have separate dishes. I usually keep them separate to avoid the picky eaters starving to death.
Plus, I’m not a fan of cilantro. It smells like feet. And when my husband eats it his BREATH smells like feet. It’s a wonder we have six kids. Anyway, I was going to say, some people love cilantro. It’s usually pretty cheap and will go for several meals, and keep in the fridge. If you can get past the feet smell.
With a nice glass of iced tea, we’re all set to go! Happy nachos, everybody!
P.S. I know this is a doubled post (don't look below!! Hey, you looked.) but the other pictures weren't showing. Hopefully, we'll get that fixed right up! Just enjoy this one while we iron out the wrinkles...