Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spring Fever Pt. 3

Here's the last part of the Spring Fever series, Design.  We're experiencing a cold spell in Dallas right now so this is especially wishful thinking.  And here I thought spring was right around the corner...

Letterpress fill-in invites by Pei Design
Part of a poster by Allan Peters for Artcrank 2012
Logo design by Oscar Morris for the Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (the aquifer beneath my home town!)
I don't have a credit for the last image unfortunately.  I particularly liked the color scheme though, so I had to include it.

I think the groundhog decided spring was coming early, right?  Let's hope so!  I can't wait to break out my tank tops and shorts.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Adventures in Quesadillas

For someone who loves Mexican food as much as I do, it's crazy that I didn't think to make quesadillas before this week.  I was in San Antonio over the weekend and I brought some flour tortillas from Alamo Café home with me (seriously the best tortillas ever).  I'm going to freeze most of them for now, but I used a couple last night to try my hand at chicken quesadillas.  I made up the recipe as I went along, and while there are a few tweaks I would make next time around, it made for a delicious dinner. Mexican food is comfort food to me, and a week with two exams calls for comfort food!

Grilled Chicken Quesadillas with Fresh Salsa
For the chicken:
1 Chicken breast, fat removed
Mexican oregano
Chili powder

For the salsa:
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 Bell pepper any color, chopped
2 Green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
Small bunch cilantro, to your preference, minced
1/2 tsp Lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

Other ingredients:
1/2 cup Kraft four cheese Mexican, shredded
2 10" Flour tortillas
Butter or olive oil
Dollop of sour cream

To season the chicken, rub the spices on the full chicken breast, trying to evenly distribute them.  Go easy on the cumin--trust me.  Alternatively, you could use a pre-made fajita or taco spice mix.  Then, cut the chicken into small pieces, anywhere from 1/2" to 1" depending on your preference.  Smaller pieces will make a flatter quesadilla, which will stick together more easily later on, so keep that in mind.    Using a skillet with a grill pan preferably, cook the chicken until it is no longer pink in the center.  You could also boil and shred the chicken if you prefer, but if you do leave out the seasonings initially.  Set the chicken aside.

Prepare the salsa by mixing all of the salsa ingredients together in a small bowl, adding the lime juice and salt last.  You could also chop the vegetables in a small food processor if you're pressed for time.  Make the salsa as chunky as you want!

Brown the tortillas lightly in a skillet using either butter or olive oil.  If you do use butter, use it sparingly.  Set aside one tortilla on a plate and leave the other in the skillet.  On the tortilla left in the skillet, pile a layer of half the cheese, a layer of chicken, a layer of salsa, and a layer of the remaining half of the cheese (you can always add more cheese if you'd like), then cover with the other tortilla.  Heat on medium or medium-high until cheeses have melted and the quesadilla sticks together.  You can try to flip the quesadilla midway if the bottom tortilla is getting too brown.

When all of the cheese is melted, transfer the quesadilla to a plate, cut into four wedges with a pizza cutter or knife, and add a dollop of sour cream in the middle for dipping (bean dip or guacamole would also be great).  Enjoy!

If you're not hungry enough for a full quesadilla, you can easily halve the ingredients and use just one folded over tortilla.  This huge quesadilla was too much for me to eat, but now I have leftovers for lunch today.

If you give the recipe a try, let me know how you like it!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spring Fever Pt. 2

Here's the second post in the Spring Fever series, Living.  Plus, a (very loose) smoothie recipe below.

If only vintage cars like that were fuel efficient, eh?
The washi tape is still available at Madewell; I saw it the other day when I was there.
I wish I had an occasion to make a fancy cake for!  That decoration is so beautiful.

Part 3, Design will be up some time after Sunday.  I'm in San Antonio this weekend for my Dad's birthday and therefore without Photoshop.   Luckily I don't have too awful much homework this weekend, so I'm mostly relaxing and enjoying spending time with my parents.  Sometimes I wish my college wasn't so far away from home.

My mother and I made pretty delicious smoothies tonight for dinner, since we had a big lunch out (Alamo Café, my favorite Mexican restaurant in SA).

Here's a quick and easy recipe:
1 cup Italian soda blend from HEB in Fruita D'Isola
1 Sambazon frozen açai smoothie packet (any variety will work)
1 cup frozen mixed berries (ours had strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
1 fresh kiwi, peeled and sliced
Just a smidgen of honey.

Blend and enjoy!
I'm hoping I can find the Italian sodas at Central Market in Plano too (they're owned by HEB) because it really was a nice addition.  If you are not lucky enough to live near an HEB, you could just as easily substitute vanilla soy milk and I'm sure it would taste great, just not as tart and fruity.  I'd also recommend any type of simple fruit juice, maybe orange or apple.

What are some of y'all's favorite smoothie combinations?  One thing I really want to try is incorporating greens into the mix.