Fajita mix and fajitas!

I grew up on Mexican food and have loved it since I was a little girl. Unfortunately my grandmother is no longer around, so now that I am exploring more with cooking I cannot ask her for advice, and how she made her wonderful food that I remember from my childhood. I have been slowly trying to get away from packaged mixes, so I hit the internet and decided to try this I didn’t have everything on here, so I made some adjustments. One of the things I like about cooking is that there is a lot of freedom to it, you can make a couple of changes to suit your tastes.

Ingredients:
MIX
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
¾ tsp crushed chicken bouillon cube
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cumin

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FAJITAS
2 lbs chicken
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 onion sliced
2 tbsp fajita mix
Lettuce

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Directions:
1. To create the mix, add each of the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. Set the mix aside.
2. Cut the chicken into stripes, pour 1 tbsp vegetable oil onto a large skillet and cook the chicken until it is no longer pink.
3. Add in bell pepper (I used a mixture of red, yellow, and green) and onion to the chicken, cook 3-4 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water to the skillet, and 2 tbsp of fajita mix. Stir to coat and let cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
4. Scoop the cooked chicken and vegetables into waiting lettuce wraps, or you could use tortillas.

** I used lettuce instead of tortillas just to try and cut down on calories, it turned out delicious! I would recommend adding a little Monterey cheese to top it off with. **

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Double Arch Trail

I’ve been hiking in the Red River Gorge since summer of 2009, a big challenge was finding online resources for trails. I found this great resource online. After finding that website, I decided to also check out a couple of books from the local library I got: Hiking the Red by: members of the Bluegrass Group Sierra Club, and Red River Gorge Trail Guide by: Jerrel Goodpaster. So I did some reading before hitting the trail on Sunday.

Sunday was a great day to go for a hike, it was in the 60’s and sunny. Normally when I hike we start early in the morning, we left around 1:30 in the afternoon yesterday though. Thankfully it was early enough in the year where it’s not super hot in the afternoons yet. We were originally hoping to hit up two different trails but with the time we made one, we went on the Double Arch Trail.

The beginning of the trail is this

20130311-124900.jpg for about a mile or so before reaching the trailhead. As you can tell I am clearly excited to get started

20130311-125008.jpg this trail is an out and back so you are looking at around 4 miles including the gravel road section, this marker was about ¼ to ½ a mile in after the trailhead. Here are my hiking companions for the day.

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20130311-125348.jpg Precious puppy I know!!!

If you look up at the right spot on the trail you’ll be able to get a sneak peek at the arch this trail ends at.

20130311-125532.jpg Really throughout the entire trail any time you look up you’ll get the chance to look at some great sandstone cliffs.

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From the arch there are views of the surrounding country. The below picture is the Auxier Ridge trail, one of my favorites!

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20130311-125909.jpg Look! It’s me under the double arch!!

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20130311-130027.jpg More pictures of the double arch.

I was so happy to start off what I hope to be a long season of hiking this weekend, and to be able to get a start on checking off items on my adventure planning! As weird as it sounds I kind of miss the smelling of bug spray after a long hike, what I don’t miss is making sure no ticks have attached themselves to me! Gross, those things freak me out! I cannot wait to try and hike all spring, summer and fall long

What are some of the things you are most excited to start up again this spring?

Other hikes I’ve gone on this season:
Gray’s Arch
Whittleton Branch Trail

Viva la spray paint neighbor!!

I live in an apartment, which means my neighbors and I are close. Not necessarily meaning we are BFF’s, but we have an idea of what goes on in each other’s lives whether we wanted to know or not. My one neighbor, sweet guy, could not for the life of him remember my name. After 6 introductions I gave up, I just figured he would never know my name. Wrong! While he may still not know my real name he apparently has given me a nickname. For good or ill he knows me as the spray paint neighbor, I’m going to go out on a hunch and say doesn’t mean it negatively! You see, I love going to the thrift store, buying something someone else has given up on, giving it a few coats of paint and a new chance in my home!

Today’s find:

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8 frames for just $25.44, the variety of sizes and styles are perfect! Now, I’m not sure if you’ve bought any frames recently but it can be expensive!!! This was a steal. Plus the more unique the picture the better chance it will be cheaper! For real. Well I don’t mind the uniqueness of the pictures because what I’m interested in is the frames. For me I like the uniformity of black frames. Don’t get me wrong I have frames that aren’t black but those are not the frames that are hanging on my walls. Those are the ones on my desk, tables, and bookshelves.

After I’ve purchased the frames and get them home I remove the old pictures and glass. Depending on how dirty the frames are I will give them a once over with a wet wipe, and voila! They are ready to be painted!

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So I find an old cardboard box or two, grab some frames and head to the grassy area behind my building. Here comes the fun part, let the spray paint begin!!!!

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After they have all been painted I have to let them dry, probably my least favorite part of the process. Once they are dry

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It’s time to add picture and decorate. I will have to update this once I have all the pictures printed. I was hoping I could get them printed today but to no avail. There are some extra frames in this last picture. It’s been cold so I’ve been saving up my frames for a warm day. What have you spray painted today??

Have a great spray paint Saturday y’all!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

From the Rival Crockpot cookbook. This cookbook kind of looks like it’s a children’s picture book. When I first moved to Kentucky my parents gifted me with a Crockpot. This was when I only knew how to cook three things… tater tots, fried rice, and chicken patties. Little did I know then how much I would come to love cooking in the Crockpot, or even how much I would end up expanding the food I ate. This cookbook was easy to understand and didn’t require me to get a million different things to make one meal, a huge plus for a beginning cook! I’ve made this recipe probably 20+ times since the first time, and there are a couple of little things that I added to the original recipe to make it, in my opinion, taste even better!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Ingredients:
1 pkg Spanish rice
1 lb lean ground beef
½ cup diced celery
½ onion chopped
1 egg beaten
4 medium bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
1 can (10 ¾ oz) tomato soup, undiluted
1 cup water
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
½ cup salsa
salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except: the whole peeled tomatoes, tomato soup, water and green peppers in a large mixing bowl. Mix until blended, divide the meat mixture evenly among pepper halves.

20130224-194850.jpg 2. Pour the whole peeled tomatoes with the juice into the Crockpot first. Arrange the filled pepper halves on top of the tomatoes. (Personally arranging the peppers in the Crockpot is the most difficult part of this whole recipe for me!) Combine the tomato soup and water in a medium bowl. Pour over the peppers, cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

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I wasn’t thinking clearly the other morning when I made this; I blame it on not having my coffee yet! Half way through mixing the ingredients together in step one I freaked out because I couldn’t find the Spanish rice I could have bet that I bought the day before. I grabbed the brown rice and was trying to figure out what spices to mix to get the right flavor, when I looked over at my pantry and clear s day the box of Spanish rice was sitting there! Now you may have some super duper recipe for Spanish rice, but I don’t, so if you have one help me out and add a link to the comments! I’d love to try it out!

Oh and also if you all haven’t seen the Slow Cooker Liners before they are wonderful!!! No more trying to scrape off caked on food, they are wonderful and make cleaning up so much easier, I would recommend using them. If you thought cooking with a Crockpot was simple before, you will never want to cook with anything else after using these

It’s still winter :(

I know it’s only the 2nd of march but for some reason I figured flowers would bloom trees would get their leaves and spring would happen over night. Not the case! as I was having my morning cups of java 20130302-111412.jpg I do love to drink my coffee and read on the weekends. A really amazing was to get focused and ready for what the day has in store. Back to the point, I could sit and talk about reading and drinking coffee forever! Well I look out my window and what do I see?

20130302-111731.jpg you may not be able to see it, but I see these little white flakes falling from the sky.

Yes, snow is beautiful, but I’m trying to get people together to go hiking next weekend! Hiking in the snow isn’t something I want to experience. I’m hoping the weather predictions were accurate when it said next Saturday would be in the mid 50’s. Keep your fingers crossed, so I can show you all the beauty of Gods creation at the Red River Gorge!

Also I found a list of a bunch trails that I’m going to try and tackle this summer! Fun, right?!? Some of the trails are super short and close to one another so hopefully we can knock a couple out on a single trip. I found this blog that does a better job than I could ever imagine at describing the trails and how to get to the trailhead. I’ll link to them because my directions would go something like this: “find the curvy road, suddenly turn left, go over a bridge and follow the gravel road till it ends.” For real, that’s how you get to Auxier Ridge. Hoping the weather warms up a bit for next weekend!