Monday, December 28, 2015

It's done!!!


This is going to be a short post.  My quilt is done.  Yes, finally.  The quilt that took over our kitchen table and dominated quite a few of my summer and weekend days is now on our bed.

I have to admit, I didn't make much progress during the busiest stretch of the fall semester.  At the beginning of winter break, I put the finishing touches on it, and it was done.  Just like that.  :)

It's a little too long for our bed.  It matches nothing in our bedroom.  Due to the size, the pattern (a sugar skull) isn't even discernable.

It doesn't matter.  It's staying!

I never thought I'd get into sewing.  I've always been more into making consumables - food and alcohol!  (Everybody likes that stuff, and it doesn't have to match with ANYTHING!)  However, I changed my mind last spring after becoming heavily involved with a musical called "Quilters".  I bought a sewing machine, I picked a pattern, and there you go.

There were seven women (including myself) in the cast, and we all carried piecing bags throughout the show, using the various scraps and quilt blocks inside them to tell the stories of the spectacularly resilient women we were portraying.  I still have my piecing bag, and now it's filled with the scraps that are left after making this quilt.

I hope to fill it with many more.

There was a lot of frustration along the way, but I'm glad I made the quilt.  Now I have a tangible reminder of an amazing experience. 

Ask me if I would recommend making a king-size quilt right out of the gate.  Go ahead.  Ha ha.  Ha ha ha.  O.o

Next, I'm going to make a nice lap-size quilt for curling up on the couch and watching movies!  R2-D2, I think.  :)

38. Southwest Turkey Sloppy Joe Tacos


I often find inspiration for my taco recipes in restaurant meals.  There is (or was) a really tasty turkey sloppy joe that I've had a couple of times at an Arizona restaurant called Zinburger.  It had kind of a southwestern twist to it (some chiles in the mix somewhere) and a slice of cheddar cheese.  I thought it could be a great jumping-off point for a taco recipe!

Unfortunately, when I looked at the menu (to remind myself of all the components), I found that it has been replaced by a beef sloppy joe.  Maybe it's the same?  I'm not sure.  I decided to go with the idea anyway, in spite of the fact that my memory of the turkey sloppy joe was not entirely clear.

I remembered a little bit of spice in the sloppy joe mix, some cheddar cheese, and some kind of spicy mayo.  I don't specifically remember lettuce, but I almost feel obligated to add some kind of lettuce, cabbage, or slaw to my savory taco recipes!

The end result looks a lot like your run-of-the-mill "Americanized taco", but it doesn't taste like one!

Here's the recipe:

Southwest Turkey Sloppy Joe Tacos

Serves 4 (about 12 tacos) 


For the poblano mayo:

One poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

For the ground turkey mixture:

2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium garlic clove, crushed in a garlic press
1 tsp. New Mexico chile powder
1/4 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1 lb. ground turkey
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
One 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. cider vinegar

12 crunchy taco shells (I used Trader Joe's Brand.)

4 to 6 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

Shredded iceberg lettuce

Chile powder, for garnish (optional)


1.  Make the poblano mayo:  Stir the poblano pepper, mayonnaise, yogurt, and salt together in a small bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Cover and set aside.

2.  Make the turkey filling:  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onion.  Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until it is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and peppers and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more.  Add the chile powder and oregano and cook for another minute, or until fragrant.  Add the turkey, salt, and pepper and increase the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring and breaking apart with a spatula, until the turkey is slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.  Cook gently until most of the liquid is reduced.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  Keep warm.

3.  Prepare the shells:  Preheat an oven (or toaster oven) to 375 degrees.  Place the desired number of shells on a baking sheet.  Toast until hot and just starting to brown - about 1 to 3 minutes.  This could vary depending on your oven, so watch them carefully.  They can go from browned to burned very quickly!

4.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a shell on a plate.  Fill with some of the turkey mixture.  Top with a generous amount of grated cheese.  Add some lettuce and spoon on some of the poblano mayo.  Finish with a sprinkle of chile powder, if desired.  Enjoy!

If you've read any of my other taco recipes featuring hard shells, you might have noticed that the photos are always a mess.  The tacos won't stand up and the filling spills out all over the plate.  Well . . . no more!  Check out these nifty taco holders that my youngest sister put in my Christmas stocking!  She knows me very well!  :)

We both really enjoyed these.  Steve tasted them and said, "These remind me of something, but I don't know what . . . "  (Sloppy joes, maybe?)

Actually, that wasn't what he was thinking of.  Ha ha.  After I told him about my inspiration, he mentioned that he didn't have much experience with sloppy joes as a kid.  I did.  It's a great meal for a big family!

Anyway, I think these tacos evoke good memories of comfort food.  Steve also said that these are the perfect "gringo" tacos.  He meant that as a good thing!

We've gotten to the point where we're trying to avoid leftover tacos.  However, we'll be eating the rest of these tonight.  We're both excited about that.  I think that makes this recipe a winner!

In addition to the taco holders, I also received a taco shaper (for deep-frying) in my stocking.  I'm excited to try that soon.  Hmmm . . . flour tortillas deep-fried and dusted with cinnamon and sugar?  The possibilities are endless.  Cheesecake tacos?  Coconut cream tacos?  Cherry pie tacos?  O.O


I'll be back tomorrow with MORE TACOS!  I'm going to try and squeeze one more recipe in before the new year.

Please feel free to comment!  Did you try these?  What did you think?  Thanks for reading!  :)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Ultimate Christmas Granola


I don't know how it started, but I've been making homemade granola for Christmas every year for the last several years.  In the past, I would usually use someone else's recipe.  Over the years, I've come across a few that I really love.

This cookbook from Cafe Pasqual's (an amazing restaurant in Santa Fe) contains a wonderful granola recipe with apple juice, peanut butter, coconut, and several kinds of nuts.  It also contains many other delicious recipes - no joke!  :)

There is also a hemp seed granola recipe in this vegan cookbook that I have grown to love!

Most recently, I tried this granola recipe from Floating Kitchen.  I found it most interesting - it contains quinoa (raw!) and chia seeds.

Well, this year I decided to concoct my own granola recipe.  I used elements of the hemp seed and quinoa granolas.  I also decided to add some dried cherries and a dark chocolate drizzle.  Why?  I don't know . . . it's Christmas!

. . .

Well, it was.  I didn't actually get around to completing this post until the madness of Christmas was over.

It's OK, though.  Chocolate and cherries belong in granola ALL YEAR LONG.  I just never realized it until now.

Here's the recipe:

The Ultimate Christmas Granola

Makes about 18 cups (I filled three 6-cup containers.)


6 cups rolled oats, divided
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup whole hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup liquid coconut oil (you may have to melt it)
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
4 tsp. vanilla extract

Non-stick cooking spray

1 cup dried sour cherries (sweetened)
One 3.5 oz bar dark chocolate


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Spray two large baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Place one cup of the oats in a high-powered blender and blend until they are almost the consistency of flour.

Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add the remaining oats, spelt flour, nuts, hemp seeds, quinoa, coconut, chia seeds, spices, and salt to the bowl.  Stir until well blended.

4. In another small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, honey, and vanilla extract.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

5. Divide the mixture between the two baking sheets and spread out so that you have an even layer on each sheet.

6.  Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, stirring/flipping the mixture with a spatula and then switching the position of the baking sheets about every 15-20 minutes.  

7. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and sprinkle the granola with the dried cherries.  Place the chocolate bar in a one quart Ziploc bag.  Gently microwave until just melted (about 60 seconds).  Snip one edge off of the Ziploc bag and drizzle the melted chocolate evenly over the granola.  Allow to cool for several hours (or preferably overnight) until the chocolate is set.  Break into large clusters and store in airtight containers.  It will keep at room temperature for a few weeks (if it lasts that long).  Enjoy!

I made a couple of batches of this!  We gave most of it away, but I was able to save a little bit for us.  We had it this morning with milk (as a late breakfast).  It's the ultimate breakfast cereal.  Delicious! 

I love the texture created by the nuts, quinoa, seeds, and coconut.  This is serious granola!  At first I was afraid I overdid it by combining too many elements, but now I see that it was the right choice.  It's AWESOME!  :)

I hope I didn't make a mistake by calling this "The Ultimate Christmas Granola".  I thought about calling it something else, but then decided to stick with it!  It IS very festive - perfect for the holidays!  It would also be just as good in July!

Please feel free to comment!  Do you have any ingredients that you would include in an "ultimate granola" recipe?

Thanks for reading!

37. Marinated Strip Steak-Caesar Salad Tacos


This recipe is one that I squeezed in during the week leading up to Christmas.  You'll notice that it's specifically "for two".  I usually try to plan my recipes to serve about four.  In a normal world, where people aren't trying to make tacos 100 times in a year, it's probably nice to have leftovers.

Well . . . when I made these tacos, we were in the throes of holiday shopping (most of it online, if the truth be known), and baking.  We didn't want leftovers.  Under any circumstances.  Ha ha.

This recipe is perfect for an occasion when you want something simple and classy for only two people.  Steak - classy.  Caesar salad - classy.  Tacos - well . . . sort of classy.  It works.  These are kind of fun.  I thought about doing chicken caesar salad tacos, but that seemed too obvious.  Also, recipe number 35 was a (delicious) chicken taco, and I'm trying to to rotate my protein/main ingredient as I progress through these recipes.

I seem to be making progress in my steak-cooking skills.  As a former vegetarian, cooking steak still feels a little bit outside my comfort zone.  I've come a long way since recipe five, though.  I'm getting better!

I realize that my "caesar salad" has some issues.  It doesn't have any egg in the dressing.  It contains tomatoes.  (It needed some color!)  Well.  That's just the way it turned out.  Trust me - it's good!

Here's the recipe:

Marinated Strip Steak-Caesar Salad Tacos for Two

Serves 2 (about 4-6 tacos, depending on how large your strip steak is)


For the marinated meat:

A New York strip steak, about 3/4 lb.
2 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1/2 small orange
juice of 1/2 small lemon
2 medium cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil for cooking

For the caesar salad topping:

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 anchovy fillet
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 large clove garlic
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
About 10 grape tomatoes, halved

8 to 12 small corn tortillas (You can double these up if you wish, but mine were thick enough to just use one per taco.)

An ounce or two of grated Parmesan cheese

Lemon wedges for garnish, if desired

1.  Prepare the meat:  Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl and add the steak.  Cover tightly and marinate at room temperature for up to an hour.  Turn it every now and then.

2.  Make the dressing:  Place all of the dressing ingredients in a glass liquid measuring cup and blend with a hand blender until smooth.  (Alternately, you can use a regular blender.)  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

3.  Cook the steak:  Heat a generous amount of canola oil (about 2 tbsp.) in a medium skillet over high heat.  Add the steak (drained of excess marinade) and cook for a few minutes on each side until the steak is slightly blackened and reaches your desired level of doneness.  We prefer our steak medium-rare.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate.  Cover with foil and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.

4.  Prepare the tortillas:  While the steak is resting, heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, one by one, until browned but still soft, about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.  

As they are done, stack them on a sheet of foil.  When you have as many as you want, wrap in the foil and set aside.  You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven if you wish.  

5. Prepare the salad:  Place the lettuce and tomatoes in a medium bowl.  Toss with some of the Caesar dressing.  You may not want to use it all.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Slice the steak into thin strips.  If desired, you can gently microwave the strips to heat them a bit more.  (Ours had cooled down.)

7.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  (You can use two per taco if your corn tortillas are thin.)  Place a few strips of the steak down the center of each tortilla.  Drizzle with some of the dressing.  Top with a small amount of the salad.  Finish with a sprinkle of the cheese and a squeeze of lemon, if desired.  Enjoy!

We liked these.  They were fairly easy, and I was very glad that I didn't have much left!  They were also on lighter side, which was nice to experience during this season of excess!

While we were eating them, Steve asked, "Why didn't you do a chicken caesar taco?"

O.o  Ha ha.

I'm trying to be creative.  And not use chicken for every other taco filling!

Steak caesar salad is a thing.  I know I've seen recipes for it in more than one cookbook.

Anyway, these were a solid addition to my repertoire.

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try them?  What did you think?  Can you remember seeing a steak caesar salad anywhere, or am I just imagining it?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 21, 2015

36. Banana-Nutella Tacos with a Hazelnut Pancake Shell and Frangelico Whipped Cream


I'll be honest.  We needed to give the savory tacos a rest - for the sanity of our taste buds!  Ha ha.  So, I decided this recipe would be a sweet one.

Also, I'm on winter break right now.  What does that mean?  Among other things, it means that EVERY DAY of  my life is a good day for brunch.  :)

This was really a no-brainer.  I love the combination of bananas and chocolate.  Believe it or not, this is actually the first time I've ever purchased a jar of Nutella.  My experience with Nutella has only been at restaurants - mostly as a filling for delicious crepes!  Usually, there was ice cream involved.  There were always bananas involved.  Buying the Nutella may have been a mistake - now I have most of a jar of Nutella left.  Hmmm.  What ELSE can I put it on???  This could get a little dangerous!

I decided to amp up the hazelnut character just a bit by adding some ground hazelnuts to the pancake shell batter.  I have discovered that the Oregon roasted hazelnuts from Trader Joe's are delicious.  Hazelnuts always seem a little rancid when I buy them from a regular grocery store.  Well, not these!
And since you can never have too many hazelnuts in your life, I added a splash of Frangelico to the bananas and whipped cream.  If you don't want to buy an expensive bottle of Frangelico for this, you would still get delicious results if you left it out.  We just happened to have a bottle already!  :)

As you can see from the pictures, I seem to be incapable of making a brunch that does not include bacon.

Here's the recipe:

Banana-Nutella Tacos with a Hazelnut Pancake Shell and Frangelico Whipped Cream

Makes 12-15 tacos, serving about 4 or 5


For the hazelnut pancake shells:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole roasted hazelnuts
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. canola oil
As you can see, there is a good, strong cup of coffee here.  That's for the cook, not the tacos!  :)
Non-stick cooking spray

For the whipped cream:

1 half-pint container of heavy whipping cream
A pinch or two of sugar
A large splash of Frangelico

For the banana mixture:

Three large green-ripe bananas
A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp. apricot preserves
A splash or two of Frangelico

Nutella (A small jar is plenty; you won't use it all unless you really LOVE Nutella.  Ha ha.)

Additional hazelnuts, chopped (for garnish), if desired

1.  Grind the hazelnuts.  Place the whole hazelnuts in a high-powered blender (or food processor) and grind until fairly fine, but still containing some small chunks.  Mine looked like this:

2.  Transfer the hazelnuts to a medium bowl.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine.  In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the remaining ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended.

3.  Generously spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat.  Cook the pancakes, 3 at a time, using about 3 tablespoons of the batter for each one.  They should spread out to about the size of a street-taco tortilla.

Don't try to flip them too soon!  My first batch stuck pretty badly.  I really would recommend a good amount of cooking spray and a little bit of patience.  :)  After the first batch, they were fine.

(It all worked out, because I got 15 pancakes and I was only planning on 12, so I had room for a few mess-ups!)  As you finish them, stack them on a sheet of foil, wrap them up, and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.

4.  Place the cream in a medium bowl and add sugar and Frangelico to taste.  Whip with a whisk until soft peaks form.  You can also use a hand mixer.  Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the tacos.

5.  Make the banana filling:  Cut the bananas in half lengthwise and then slice.  Toss in a squeeze of lime or lemon juice and set aside.  Heat the preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add Frangelico to taste and stir the liquid has mostly reduced and the mixture is hot.  Lower the heat.  Add the bananas and stir until just warmed through.  Remove from the heat.

6.  Assemble the tacos.  For each taco, place a pancake shell on a plate.  Top with a healthy smear of Nutella.  Spoon on some of the banana mixture.  Top with the whipped cream and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts.  Enjoy!

There's really not much to say about these.  If you like Nutella and bananas, you will LOVE these.  If you don't . . . well, try these apple tacos instead!

If you're serving a small amount of people (like two), you will want to halve the banana and whipped cream recipes.  Neither of those elements keeps very well as leftovers.  The pancakes are great heated up the next day, though.  You can even eat them as PANCAKES (with syrup), if you wish, and not tacos.  Ha ha.

I did endure a little bit of teasing from some of my family members about these.  You know, along the lines of, "Are you SURE those count as tacos?"  OK.  I'll admit - it's a stretch.  However, I had to direct my detractors to my original project description.  These were stable enough to pick up and eat and we did!  Therefore, they are tacos - for the purposes of this project, anyway!

By the way, if you want to just make all of the components, call them pancakes, and eat them with a fork, go ahead.  You won't be disappointed.  Call them whatever you want - they taste amazing!  :)

Well, what do you think?  Please feel free to comment below!  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

35. Creamy Poblano Chicken Tacos


If you've been following my last couple of taco recipes, you might have noticed that they took a detour into some unusual territory.  Number 33 was a coconut curry taco with mahi-mahi.  You can check that one out here.

Number 34 was a roasted carrot taco.  Yes.  It was a bit controversial.  I loved it, but I would probably recommend saving it for a time when you have some serious granola-type friends coming to dinner.  :)  Here's the recipe for that one.

Anyway, this time around, I decided to make a taco that was somewhat traditional . . . or at least used some traditional ingredients.

For some reason, I thought of sour cream-chicken enchiladas - southwestern comfort food at its finest!  Oddly enough, this recipe didn't end up containing any sour cream.  That's definitely where the inspiration came from, though.

I decided to use the boxed hard taco shells from Trader Joe's.  They're pretty good, and I haven't used them since recipe number 27 (Pavo Verde Tacos), which you can check out here.

When I was at the grocery store buying my ingredients, I suddenly had a strong premonition that these tacos would need chopped green olives.  I wanted to top them with lettuce and tomato, but I thought a briny, salty garnish would keep the top of the taco from getting too bland.  If you hate green olives, you can leave them out!

I was pretty happy with the end result!  Here's the recipe:

Creamy Poblano Chicken Tacos

Serves 4 (about 12 tacos) 


For the chicken mixture:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, generously seasoned with salt and pepper
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder
1/2 cup white wine
4 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup chicken stock

12 crunchy taco shells (I used Trader Joe's Brand.)

4 to 6 oz. medium cheddar cheese, grated

Shredded iceberg lettuce

2 to 3 chopped Roma tomatoes, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

About 1/2 cup small pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped (optional), for garnish


1.  Start the chicken mixture:  Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken thighs and cook, turning after a few minutes, until lightly browned on both sides (about 7 or 8 minutes total).  Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate.

2.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add the cumin and chile powder and cook and stir until fragrant, about another minute.  Pour in the wine and stir to deglaze the pan.  Raise the heat a bit, bring to a simmer, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Add the poblano chile, salt, and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.  

3.  Return the heat to medium-low.  Add the cream cheese (cut into pieces) and the chicken stock.  Cook, stirring regularly, until the cheese melts and the mixture becomes uniform, about 10 minutes.

4.  Return the chicken thighs to the mixture, cover, and cook gently until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove the chicken thighs and use a fork and knife to cut/pull into small pieces.  (Usually, I'm not opposed to using my fingers, but these chicken thighs are hot and covered in sauce!)  Return the chicken pieces to the sauce and stir to combine.  Continue to simmer gently until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.  I wanted mine pretty thick - it took about 10 minutes.  Keep warm.

5.  Prepare the shells:  Preheat an oven (or toaster oven) to 375 degrees.  Place the desired number of shells on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese down the center of each one.

Toast until the cheese is melted and the shells are hot and just starting to brown - about 2 to 3 minutes.  This could vary depending on your oven, so watch them carefully.  They can go from browned to burned very quickly!

6.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a shell on a plate.  Fill with a generous amount of the chicken mixture.  Top with some of the lettuce and chopped tomato.  Finish with a sprinkle of chopped green olives, if desired.  Enjoy!

These tacos really had some great flavors.  I thoroughly enjoyed them!  Steve liked them, too, though he did say that he would have liked the chicken mixture to be less "saucy".  That's fair enough.  They were pretty saucy.  These were like chicken nachos in a taco.  Sooooo decadent and good!

I have to say, I was really happy with my idea to add the cheese first (and melt it).  It seemed to seal the taco shell against the saucy filling.  I was afraid the shells would break and fall apart, but they didn't.  Yes.  That's why I added extra cheese . . . for stability.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Ha ha.

It would be really easy to add another half pound or so of chicken thighs to change the chicken-to-sauce ratio, should you so desire.

It's funny - I didn't tell Steve what the inspiration for these tacos was.  He said, "You know, these would make really great enchiladas."


Ha ha.  Well, yes.  They would.

As much as I enjoyed these, I found this recipe to be a great jumping off point for some other ideas.  I'm picturing a southwestern biscuits and gravy recipe:  cheddar biscuits with a variation of this sauce . . . bacon on the side . . . fresh fruit salad as a token nod to clean living . . . salty dogs or mimosas . . . THIS HAS TO HAPPEN!

When this project is over, I want to write a cookbook based on all of the ideas that I have gotten from making these taco recipes.  All I need is a publisher.

. . .


Ha ha.  I would highly recommend these.  They probably won't make you lose any weight (if that's your goal), but your taste buds will be happy.  

Stay tuned.  I've already made number 36; I just need to finish the post!  Nutella and banana tacos.  Don't laugh.  They were outstanding.  :)

Please feel free to comment!  Did you try these?  What did you think?  Thanks for reading!  :)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Stitch Fix #15 Review - December 2015


I can't believe it!  Time flies.  It's time for another Stitch Fix review!  :)  (It's also almost time for Christmas, but don't remind me about that - I'm not ready!)

I loved my last fix, which arrived the day before Thanksgiving!  I've had the same stylist (Melanie) for the last several fixes and I've gotten some great things.  I got an awesome fringe bag, which I've been using regularly.  I also got some lovely teal corduroy skinnies and a black faux suede moto jacket!  It had a broken snap, but SF customer service took care of that promptly - over Thanksgiving weekend, no less!  :)

Well . . . this one was a little rough.  It's OK.  It's bound to happen.  It was disappointing in more than one way.  Seriously, though, if I have time to get frustrated over a clothing box, then I have it pretty good.  I know that!

First things first:  If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're familiar with Stitch Fix.  If not, check out any of my previous reviews for a more detailed explanation of this awesome service!

November 2015 - #14

November 2015 - #13

October 2015 - #12

September 2015 - #11

Stitch Fix Keepers

September 2015 - #10

August 2015 - #9

If you're not currently a member and are interested in trying it out, here's my referral link:

If you sign up using my link, I'll get a small credit.  Just in case you were wondering, I pay for all my own fixes.  My only relationship with Stitch Fix is as a customer.  I signed up this past January and I've really been enjoying it!

Well . . . here's what I got!  :)

1.  Zenzii Torazo Layered Chain Necklace - $44.00

I specifically asked for some more mixed metal jewelry in my note to my stylist.  I used to be all about silver, but I'm finding that it can be fun to mix things up now and then.  This necklace is very interesting.  Most of it is grey, but it's got some sparkly accents and some gold mixed in with some of the chains.  It's easier to see in this photo:

I wasn't sure what to style it with at first (though there are a lot of possibilities) so I grabbed the Gilli Boatneck Shift Dress that I just recently received from another clothing by mail service, Golden Tote.  This dress was my favorite item out of my last Golden Tote box!

Golden Tote is a little different than Stitch Fix, but it's equally fun!  I'm on my third tote and I'm already a little bit hooked!  Here are my reviews of those experiences if you're interested:

Golden Tote #3 Review - December 2015

Golden Tote #2 Review - November 2015

Golden Tote #1 Review - October 2015

So . . . the necklace.  Yes.  It's pretty cool.  I'm starting to like long necklaces quite a bit.  At this point, I'm in favor of it.  Good choice, Melanie!  :)

Verdict:  KEEP

2.  Fate Howardson Striped Lightweight Sweater - Price - $68.00

I can definitely see why Melanie picked this for me.  I have a few different striped sweaters and tops pinned on my Stitch Fix Inspiration Pinterest page.  The stripes are navy - blue is always a good choice for me.  The sleeves are long enough.  It's really a cute sweater.  Here's a view of the back.

It's also lightweight, which is a good thing.  In Arizona, it's rarely cold enough for heavy sweaters, and if it is, things could change by mid-morning!  This was a good choice.  
I really have concerns about the quality of this item, though.  Look at the photo below:

As you can see, one of the seams is coming out.  There are also multiple flaws along the neckline.  At first, I thought that it was purposely "distressed", but I'm not so sure.  I did see a few photos that other people took of this item that seemed similar, but none to this degree.  

There are lots of little spots on this sweater that make me question its quality.  I could definitely ask Stitch Fix if I could exchange it for another of the same sweater, but I'm just not motivated to do that.  Would it really be better quality?  The price of the sweater is almost $70.  If it doesn't feel like an item that will hold up with normal wear, then I'm going to pass.  With regret.  It's cute.

Verdict:  RETURN

3.  41Hawthorn Arnette Jumpsuit - Price - $88.00

I have to admit - I peeked at what was coming in this fix!  When I saw that I was getting a jumpsuit, I was not thrilled.  I've never put on a jumpsuit that I thought fit well or was flattering on me.  If there had been a way to veto this item, I would have.  I always try everything on, though, because you never know!  :)  Well, the top is kind of cute, but it's super low-cut and needs a camisole underneath.  Because it's a jumpsuit, there's not a convenient way to keep the camisole pulled down so it doesn't ride up and create bulk at the waistline.

The bottom half does not work for me at all.  It is loose and saggy - there seems to be a bunch of extra fabric in the crotch area.  I hate that.  This is just a big NO all around.  It's funny - my husband kind of liked it.  Ha ha.  I just couldn't do it, though.  I felt self-conscious, uncomfortable, and kind of pudgy.  Not happening.

I went to my style profile to see if there is a way to indicate that I don't want jumpsuits or rompers.  There isn't.  Stitch Fix?  That might be a good check-box to add!  I think I will email customer service to see if they will put a permanent note on my profile as I would rather not receive them in the future.

Verdict:  RETURN

4.  RD Style Rawson Faux Suede Moto Vest - $98.00

This vest was the biggest disappointment in my fix.  I actually emailed customer service about it before I even received my box.  That might have been jumping the gun a little bit, but I was pretty surprised at this one.

What's wrong with the vest?  Isn't it cute?  Yes.  It is.  It's totally my style.  Look at this jacket that I purchased from my last fix, though.  That was three weeks ago.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like this is almost the same item.  Without sleeves.  I don't think I can justify spending that much money when I just bought something so similar.  Maybe if it was another color I might consider it.  It's a nice vest.  It feels like it's probably better quality than the jacket.  However, one thing that I do like better about the jacket is that, if you're wearing it open, you can snap the front part of the jacket (with the snap detail) back so that it's out of the way.  You can't do that on the vest.  It kind of sticks out and I could see it getting in the way.  I probably wouldn't wear something like this zipped up.

I did request a vest.  I had pinned several faux fur (and a couple of quilted) vests.  Melanie stated in her note to me that there weren't any fur vests available.  She was trying to fulfill my request for a vest.  Fair enough.  I'm not sure if the last fix is clearly visible when the stylists are choosing items for a current fix - I'm sure things like this can happen.  Given the large number of fixes each stylist must complete, I'm sure it's easy to miss something from time to time.  Or maybe a lot of other people really would like two black faux suede moto-style items and I'm just being weird.  (Ha ha.  That's not out of the question.)  I would just rather have received something else if my original request couldn't really be fulfilled.

I just feel like it was a wasted item.  The chances of getting a 5/5 fix (and thereby getting the discount) were pretty low before it even got here.  I did get a response from customer service that kind of puzzled me - something along the lines of, "Sometimes you might receive things that are out of your comfort zone . . . "  ???  But - the vest was NOT out of my comfort zone.  That was the point.  I liked this style so much that I just purchased almost the same thing.

This was my first interaction with customer service that didn't really thrill me.  They're usually pretty great.  I don't know what I was expecting - maybe an assurance that, had I liked the other four items, I could have still gotten the discount since I was unhappy receiving something so similar to my last fix?

Anyway, after receiving the box, I could tell that I wouldn't be keeping most of it, anyway.  It was then a moot point, so I just decided to drop it.  Ha ha.

As I said before, getting annoyed over a clothing box is a luxury.  If I have the time and energy for that, I have a pretty good life.  Moving on . . .

UPDATE:  After my last communication to customer service, (in which I basically said, "I don't really understand your response, but thanks, anyway") I got another email (a different representative this time) stating that they would honor the 25% discount if I kept the other four items.  That was nice.  Obviously, that's not going to work out this time, but it's nice to know that they took the time to address my concern.  It's all good.

Verdict:  RETURN

5. 41Hawthorn Zappo Printed Mixed Material Top - $58.00

This lightweight sweater is a pretty blue color.  Did I mention that it's lightweight?  It's see-through, especially in the back.  I don't mind sheer tops, but this one is pretty fitted and I wouldn't really want to wear a camisole underneath it.

I'm just not loving the print.  It seems rather paisley-ish, and paisley is not usually my thing.  I don't think it's similar to anything on my Pinterest page.  It's just not my style at all.  (Except for the blue.)  I've seen this sweater on other people and thought it looked cute.  On me, it feels frumpy.  It just doesn't do it for me.

Verdict:  RETURN

So, that's it.  I really wanted to love this fix, but I just didn't.  The necklace is pretty and unique.  So, there's that!  :)

To be honest, I feel kind of bad for complaining about the vest because Melanie has done a great job for me over the last several months.  I think this was just . . . one of those things.  Oh, well.  I'll just look forward to my next one.  I saved some money by not buying more items, right?  I should look at it that way!

Please comment?  Did I make the right calls?  Do you think the vest and jacket were too similar, or was it just me?  Have you received any of these items?  What did you think?  Thanks again for reading!