Diversion: “An instance of turning something aside from its course -or- an activity that diverts the mind from tedious or serious concerns; a recreation or pastime.”
These are the moments in my day when ideas spark. Creativity shines. When the “I should be…”, becomes a captured photo, a creative twist on a recipe or a fun little project. These are the sunny spots that add warmth to my life. They help define who I am.
And this is my opportunity to share my “Sunny Diversions”.
I like tacos but most seasoning mixes sold in stores are high in sodium and I never cared for the way the thickeners made it taste. I found several sites online for ideas on how to make your own taco seasoning. This is the version I came up with, minus some of the salt!
Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
In large skillet, fry ground beef on medium high heat until browned. Using spatula or wooden spoon, break meat into small pieces while cooking. Remove from heat. Drain off any excess fat.
Sprinkle taco seasoning over the meat. Add water and stir into the meat and seasoning until well mixed. Simmer on low, until most of the water has evaporated off, but meat is still moist.
I work every third weekend. The last weekend I worked, we were in the middle of a big April snowstorm; receiving a foot of new snow! Three weeks later, such a different sight. May is here and the tulips and daffodils are in full bloom.
Last summer we grew two very large cherry tomato plants. And those two plants produced an abundance of tomatoes. So, I went searching. Could you make bread with cherry tomatoes? The answer was yes! I combined and tweaked a few recipes to make what I thought would be a good loaf. It exceeded my expectations. There was this wonderful fragrance in the house during the whole baking process. And the bread was amazing. It had this warm, light orange/red color and taste was absolutely delicious. I juiced up and froze enough tomatoes to make several more loaves through the winter months. I even made a loaf to give as a gift.
This recipe was too big for my bread maker to knead. Instead, I relied on my Kitchen Aid mixer to do the job.
Zesty Tomato Bread
Makes 2 loaves
Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, salt and seasonings. In a saucepan, warm tomato juice and olive. Not to boiling, just warm. Add to dry ingredients and beat until smooth with paddle attachment on mixer. Exchange paddle for dough hook. Stir in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is formed. Divide the dough in two and knead each section for 4-6 minutes (I found this is easier on my mixer). Place each piece of dough in its own greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Let rise until doubled, about an hour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Punch down and shape into a loaf. Repeat for second loaf. Place each loaf into a greased 8 1/2″ x4 1/2″ bread pan. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350° F for 35-40 minutes. Remove from bread pan and cool completely before cutting.
Now, get ready to enjoy the best tasting grilled cheese sandwich made with your Zesty Tomato bread. Yum!
My sister recently gifted my Mom with a lifetime membership to a family cookbook site online. In reality, the gift is for our whole family. Yesterday, she sent my user name and password. It was the perfect day to receive it. I am “under the weather” with a cold. Playing on a cookbook site was just the right “medicine” to keep my spirits up.
I love to read through recipes and cookbooks. I have a large collection. I try to imagine how they would taste. I love to look at the pictures. I think about cooking for my family, wondering if they would like it.
Recipes are such a joy to share and to receive. Although, it is getting easier to just print off the directions from the internet, there is something nice about receiving a handwritten recipe card. I love seeing recipes written out by my family members in their own handwriting. The one in the picture is from my Grandma.
Recipes mark time like a diary. The first recipes written in my name were for a church cookbook from the early 70’s. My Mom let each of us kids choose a couple of favorites to enter in our names. My choices were Chewy Gooies and Sugar cookies. As I got older, high school friends and college roommates shared their favorites with me. I have the recipe cards I received for my wedding shower. Recipes from neighbors. Recipes from co-workers. I believe I have at least one from every place I have worked. Nurses love potlucks! And certainly from every church I attended. The recipe received, helps you also to remember the occasion. The birthdays, holidays and special meals where you shared not only food but memories together. The likes and dislikes of your children as they grew older. It is like a little photo of the day, and the recipe is the picture captured.
Hopefully, I will keep pace with adding recipes to the site once I am feeling better. And thank you to my sister for such a great idea and gift for Mom (and the rest of us).