Monthly Archives: February 2013

My Favorite Mexican Seasoning Mix!

I love Mexican foods!  I can’t help it, I just love the spicy blend of flavors.  But, I don’t like all of the salt you find in over the counter packaged mixes.  So now I prefer to mix up my own.  It takes about 5 minutes to make and saves a ton of $$$ and is better tasting too!

Mexican Seasoning Mix

1 cup dried minced onion

1/3 cup beef bouillon powder

1/3 cup chili powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons garlic powder

4 teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional)

Combine all these ingredients and store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.


  • Add 1 tablespoon to and recipe calling for Mexican flavor, or sprinkle on top of foods you want to make spicy.
  • Add 1 tablespoon to chopped tomatoes and green peppers for a tasty dip or filling for tacos.
  • Add 1 tablespoon to shredded cheese before melting for another dip.  Serve with sour cream.
  • Mix with ground beef, and cheese for topping nacho chips.

Chilean Flan

A few weeks ago I spent a week in Santiago, Chile, South America.  It was part of a capstone project to complete my masters degree.  While in Chile (pronounced – Chee-lay) I experienced some amazing flan. Just thinking of it with its caramel and vanilla goodness, made my mouth water.  It is light easy and oh so good!  I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Caramel Custard (Flan)

4 servings

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 can  (13 oz) evaporated milk [1 2/3 cups}

1/3 cup of sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla ( I also add a pinch of vanilla bean powder too!)

1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat 1/2 cup of sugar in a heavy 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and golden brown.  Divide syrup among 4- 6 oz custard cups; rotate cups to coat bottoms.  Allow syrup to harden in the cups about 5 minutes.

Mix remaining ingredients; pour into custard cups.  Place cups in a square pan, 9 x 9 x 2 inches, on oven rack.  Pour very hot water into pan to within 1/2 inch of tops of cups.  Bake in 350 degree oven until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.  Immediately remove from water.  Serve warm, or refrigerate and unmold at serving time if desired.  

I like to garnish mine with fresh raspberries, strawberries or other berries and a small dollop of whip cream on the plate .  It looks decadent, but oh so easy! 

Waiting out the Blizzard

With all the winter weather that we’ve had (and are still having for at least another day), thoughts of the garden for this summer are a little bit on hold. Later this week, I should have a couple posts and pictures from the 2nd Outdoor Living and Landscape Show (Mar. 1-3 at Century II). So what to do while waiting out the storm? Think about what to cook with all the vegetables we haven’t even planted yet, of course!

I’ll be partnering with our Foods & Nutrition Agent, Denise, to have some new classes, called “Saturday Samplers” one Saturday each month this spring through fall. These will be short classes out in the Demonstration Garden, somewhat similar to the Friday Lunch in the Garden events I did a few years ago. More information on those will be coming later. For now, I’m amusing myself by looking for interesting recipes featuring things we’ll have in the garden this year.

If you’ve been following the blog long (or attended any of my gardening classes), you’ve probably heard me joke about how I don’t consider eggplant edible. I’ve really only ever found a couple recipes that make it palatable. So I’m definitely looking for some good eggplant recipes. (Yes, I know all about eggplant parmesan.)

Here are some other veggies and herbs we might feature at some point:

  • Thyme (regional herb of the year!)
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Tomatoes (of course!)
  • Root Vegetables (radishes, fall radishes, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips)
  • Brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage)

Do you have any interesting recipes that feature any of these vegetables or herbs? Healthy is always good, but we aren’t specifically locked into recipes that are “low-everything.” (At least I’m not! You have to like a vegetable first, in my opinion. Then we’ll talk about how you are cooking it. Except battered and fried. I drawn the line there. Sorry.)

You get extra points if you can fit multiple of the things listed above into one recipe! I found this one: Cold Tomato-Thyme Soup with Garlic Croutons.

It’s Still Snowing!

I guess I’m photo-blogging the snowstorm. I guess it hardly qualifies as a storm, especially given my Wisconsinite roots. Still…it is kind of fun to see the small piles of snow build out in the garden!

This is just now at 2 p.m.

It’s Snowing!

I’ll try to post some more snowy pictures as it piles up! (My husband was so excited that one model was projecting 13+ inches of snow last night…we’ll see where we end up.)