Copycate Chipotle Corn Salsa

The wonder that is Chipotle took it’s sweet time getting to the PNW. I remember when I first heard about it from friends who grew up in the Midwest, and I didn’t understand how they could be so obsessed with a single burrito shop. I actually had a guy friend take me directly to the Chipotle in the Seattle U-District without missing a turn, although he had only been there once before, was drunk as a skunk when he was. When a Chipotle finally opened in my neck of the woods, a good friend of mine and her husband immediately drug Jack and I there to it.

It. Was. Amazing.

Finally, I understood what all the fuss was about. The food tasted fresh and delicious, spicy and packed full of flavor. Nothing had the plastic taste you get from eating that has been cooked, frozen and flash-fried. Suddenly the usual Mexican fast food just wasn’t going to cut it. One of my favorite parts of the Chipotle experience is their delicious corn salsa. For me, it’s what really makes the food the best. I’ve been craving it like crazy lately, but sadly for me, both the cost of frequent eating-out trips (not to mention the gas for the 30 mile round-trip) isn’t in my budget. Luckily for me however, many have gone before on this Chipotle-less path, and have found easy to make at home versions of many Chipotle favorites.

After some research, I settled on a recipe. None of the ingredients were extremely foreign or hard to find. I did buy my corn frozen (organic, though!) has corn season won’t come to these parts for several more months. I found both jalapeno’s and poblano peppers, as well as my red onion, at my local spot, Spud’s. I cooked the corn according to the packaging, then drained it in a colander over a dish towel while I roasted my pablano’s in the oven. **Editors note: I also roasted my jalapenos. Only after I had done so did I realize the recipe called for fresh jalapenos. The salsa still tastes great, but next time I will not roast them!  I didn’t feel like breaking out the BBQ just to roast some peppers, so I went ahead and just broiled them in my oven. This is accomplished easily enough; by cutting the peppers in half, de-seeding and cleaning them, then lightly spraying them with oil and placing them on an aluminum foil lined pie pan in a pre-heated broiling oven. After about 30 minutes, the skins had started to blacken, so I pulled them out and placed them in a Ziploc bag to cool. 15 minutes later, they were cool enough to peel without giving myself 2nd degree burns, and the skins came off cleanly.

Chipotle Corn Salsa - Not Your Mama's Kitchen

 

In a medium mixing bowl, I combined the cooked corn, hot diced roasted poblanos, jalapenos, a quarter of a diced red onion and 2 disks of my frozen cilantro in oil. After giving everything a mix, I added a dash of lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper until the taste was how I like it. I let it sit for a few hours covered in the fridge to let the flavors mingle and I’m glad I did, in short it was great! We had more then enough to eat as we wanted, I used some for breakfast burritos (recipe to come) and even had enough to freeze for later. I give this recipe a 10, and will very surely make this again.

Chipotle Corn Salsa - Not Your Mama's Kitchen

 

 

Copycat Chipotle Salsa
Adapted from Em Malik’s Kitchen

  • 1 lb bag of frozen corn, cooked
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro (or 2 disks of cilantro in oil)
  • 1 jalapeno, cleaned and diced
  • 1 roast poblano pepper, diced
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion, diced (to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • lime juice

Cook corn according to directions, drain in colander  Roast de-seeded poblanos in oven under broiler setting until skin blackens. Remove and place in sealed Ziploc bag for 15 minutes, after 15 minutes remove skin and dice. Add all ingredients except lime juice, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl and toss well to mix. Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Store up to 3 days covered tightly in refrigerator or freeze for later use.

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Operation Egg’d – Easter Ding-Dong-Ditch

I was the troublemaker in my family. Big Guy’s dad swears it’s a second-born child thing. My sister was a model kid; she did well in school and behaved in general. I did alright in school, well enough to escape the wrath of my parents, but not well enough that I had to really apply myself. My pals and I tended to do things like see if we could get to the nearest Taco Bell and back during our breaks, and there was that sophomore chemistry class that we all should have failed. Nevertheless, my point to all of this was that some habits die hard.

Yesterday, I had planned for the boys and I to finish off our Easter eggs and dye them in several different ways. That didn’t happen. We had everything ready, sitting down at the table, and suddenly I didn’t want to do it. I looked up at Jack sitting across from me and I could tell he didn’t have the heart for it either.

“Want to go ding-dong-ditch people?”

Jack just looked at me, and I realized he had no idea what I was talking about. I explained “We go up to their door, leave something on the porch, ring the doorbell and run away as fast as we can.” His eyes lit up right away, and the plan was born. I had seen a blog earlier in the year where the poster hid 12 eggs in someone’s yard, and left a cute note telling the homeowner to look for them. I liked the idea, but honestly if I came home to a note saying there were eggs hidden in my yard, my reaction would be more “What the??” and less “Yay, fun!”. So instead, we decided to just place our eggs in cartons and decorate the cartons. I wasn’t planning to add a note or poem explaining it, but Jack mentioned that you shouldn’t eat candy from strangers, and I figured that a quick note would hopefully clear us of any shady intent.

Operation Egg'd - Not Your Mama's Kitchen

I let Jack go to town painting the cartons with Easter colors, then Jack filled 2 dozen plastic eggs with Easter candy we grabbed from the small grocer in town. Because I cut both cartons into 3 sections of 4 eggs each (“More eggs to give!” Jack), I used to hot glue gun to tack down the carton flaps so they were a bit sturdier and off we went.

Operation Egg'd - Not Your Mama's Kitchen

Since we live in a rural community, it’s hard to drive or walk down a 1/4 mile driveway without being noticed, so, we delivered most of our packages to folks in town . Dropping off each package was really fun, and Jack had a blast! We only got caught once, and seeing Jack sprint across lawns then hide in bushes was the most fun I’ve had in a while!

Operation Egg'd - Not Your Mama's Kitchen

Run, Jack! Run!

After the riot we had yesterday, I plan to make this a Easter tradition! If you have kids of the mischievous ages, I absolutely recommend doing this! You can find plastic eggs for cheap, and if you buy off-brand or bulk candy you can do a lot of eggs pretty quickly. Start a new tradition of giving this Easter with your own kids, you will not regret it!

Wizard’s Wands – Fun with Harry Potter Part 2

As much as I love helping my boys imagination along with capes, wands, and other props, sometimes the practical application is easier to imagine than create. Enter Pinterest, the busy mom’s new best friend. Pinterest is a gold mine of tutorials of everything from home science experiments to intricately themed birthday parties. When I began brain-storming ways to make the wands for my boys, Pinterest was my first stop. 95% of the tutorials involved gluing construction paper around a chopstick. Paper and a chop stick? Seriously, do these people have children?! 

I know, I know, paper can be serious stuff. But in this house, with these boys, I expect a paper and chopstick wand to last about 3 second,. 5 seconds tops. Also, while the wands were beautiful, they didn’t look Harry Potter-like. Later, I did find a very cool blog over at Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! on how to create wands with “cores” of dragon heartstrings and phoenix feathers from bamboo sticks, but by then I had already bought the supplies I planned to use. However, if we ever end up doing a Potter-themed birthday, I will definitely have those for the kids to create.

For our wands, we started by hitting up Joann Fabrics craft section. I bought a cheap low-temp glue gun and glue sticks ($3 each) and a 6 pack of 7/16″ width dowels ($1.50). I already had brown and black paints, so after applying my 25% purchase coupon, I spent about $5. Once at home, we spread newspaper on the kitchen table and set out some paper plates to lay the wands on as the glue cooled.

I googled images for Harry, Ron and Hermoine’s wands so I had ideas to go off of, and started glue gunning away. I didn’t have any specific technique ideas when I began, so I started off with the wand that was intended for my friend’s youngest son. I figured he is young enough he’d be excited to get one without getting terribly caught up on the details if I messed it up a bit. I pushed the glue gun trigger down about halfway, then made loops around the dowel at the very bottom, then again about 3 inches up. Between these two loops I drew 4 parallel lines to create a handle. I made a few more loops around the tip of the wand, then called that one good and started the harder pieces.

I figured out pretty fast into the next wand, which was modeled after Harry’s, that it was just easiest to start with a ring on the end and holding it away from you to gently turn around while lightly squeezing the trigger. If you are sure to put the glue right on other side of ring it sort of melts together, or it you give them a bit of space you get more of a roped twine look. I preferred the rope look, because I wanted them to look as organic as possible. To me, the Potter world wands always looked like they might have come directly off a tree, and I really wanted that feeling to show through. For the ends of the Harry handle, I added a few more layers of glue, gently blending them in so there wasn’t an abrupt edge.

For the Ron handle I did the same theory, but with a large ring at the very base. I then built a tip off the top but swirling the glue like an ice cream cone. I also did a bit of a rainbow shape at the top of the handle to make it more asymmetric. For the Hermoine wand, I started with a tight ‘rope’ then about 4 inches out become wider, then peeled the glue off in leaves and swirls that were less compact as you went along, until they disappeared all together.

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You can paint them however you like, but we found the painting over the thick glue with a dark brown or black, then starting at the tip end (away from your handle) with a light color and working your way backwards, using a light touch over the already darkened areas makes it look like the handles and designs are knots and marks naturally made in the wood.  The Hermoine wand I painted in pink and purple instead of wood tones, because it’s going to a little girl who loves Hello Kitty, and I don’t think Hermoine would have minded.

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All and all the project took me about 3 hours. This included the learning curve with the glue gun, set up, cooling the glue and painting. It probably would have gone a bit faster had I not involved the kids so much with the painting and detail portions. (Although what fun would that be, this was for them after all.) They’ve been playing with them solid for two days and they don’t have any signs of wear or damage yet so far, so good.

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Harry Potter Wands

What you need:

  • Wooden dowels
  • Hot glue gun (high or low temp)
  • Glue Sticks
  • Craft paint

Use the hot glue gun to draw the designs on the handle and/or shaft of the wand, keeping out of reach of small kids. Allow the glue to cool, then paint to desired color. Once the paint is dry, play away!