The Tortillas that “Nearly” Did Me In
I feel like I need to write this post mostly so I don’t forget today and it’s frustrations. Not sure why I feel the need to publicly document my failures, maybe it’s because I know it’s easier for others to relate to the failures more so than the successes. Today does need a bit of a back story though.
My sister’s family has gone through a difficult year (or more) with health issues and so this has led them to completely revamp their diet. Because of this I have been trying to make some similar changes in my own family’s diet that I knew needed changing (and a lot of things I didn’t know needed changing). Therefore I’ve been spending a much larger chunk of my time in my kitchen and an even larger amount of time learning about traditional food. For those who are curious, the ideas I have been leaning towards and giving a try are based on the Weston A. Price Foundation. Anyway, these ideas taken in all at once were incredibly overwhelming and I wasn’t sure if I could handle tackling even baby steps whilst being pregnant. Well, I finally got brave and started reevaluating my pantry and my recipes. It feels a little bit like opening a can of worms because once you alter something small it leads you to take on more and more.
Those familiar with the Weston A. Price Foundation will know that a big part of their recommendations involves the soaking of grains so today actually began yesterday when we finished off the last of the muffins. Due to the fact that I’ve been trying to weed out packaged granola bars and crackers from the pantry I felt I should plan ahead and make another batch of muffins so that the kids had something easy to grab. This meant I needed to soak the whole grain flour required for the recipe for 24 hours first. I did the recipe a little bit different than the first time I had tried it using more whole wheat flour and a milk/yogourt mix instead of buttermilk.
I woke up this morning knowing I needed to figure out supper because we had cleaned out the fridge of leftovers the night before. I knew I had loads of beans in the fridge so I thought I’d try doing homemade tortillas with refried beans. Only problem was, I forgot to soak the whole wheat the day before. Oh well, at least it will be an improvement from store-bought if I let the flour soak all day. So I mixed up the flour according to the recipe and set the bowl on the counter. I then had a great brainwave. Warmer air aids with the soaking process so I just warmed up the oven for a minute, shut it off and stuck the covered bowl inside. Brilliant.
Next on the list that I wanted to tackle was to make beet borscht. I had made this before using beets my mom had pre-cooked and grated for me so I didn’t think it would be a big deal. And it wasn’t, but I cheated on the flavouring and used some “Better than Bouillon” which (heaven forbid) has MSG in it hiding under another name. Whatever, it’s all about baby steps right? I did push my luck with Shannon though and put a fork full of sauerkraut in her soup (probably to soothe my conscience regarding the MSG) and the “pink soup” that she usually loves didn’t get devoured like it usually does. The husband also wouldn’t even touch the stuff. Shocker. Ellie on the other hand was happy to dive into hers.
Once Wyatt came home from school I figured I should get started on the muffins so that I wouldn’t run out of time to work on the tortillas and refried beans. I first had Shannon help me mix up the muffins and I noticed they were much “runnier” than the first time around. I figured that maybe they just had to bake a little longer and it wouldn’t be a big deal. Since the final steps to the muffin recipe are pretty quick and easy I wisely preheated my oven to 325˚F. The dishwasher also had finished its cycle so about this time I asked the kids to unload it. Oddly enough, when we opened the door all the tupperware that had been cleaned out of the fridge the night before was bright pink. Weird, I thought. Powerful stuff, those beets. Next, I went to put the muffins into the oven, (I’m sure you saw this coming) and I am greeted by the lovely sight of my soaking tortilla flour with a melted plastic lid on top. Crap. (That is not what I said, if you are brave you can question my children as to what I said. Or don’t.) Well, there goes that batch of (very expensive) flour along with my handy-dandy plastic lid. I was fortunate that the stainless steel bowl came out unscathed and all the plastic easily scraped off. The kids had by now finished the dishwasher and when I went to put a few dirty dishes into it I noticed a bright piece of paper at the bottom. Low and behold, it wasn’t beets that turned everything pink but a crayon. Here’s hoping they really are non-toxic.
Now that my prepped tortilla flour was ruined I needed to figure out an alternative and I was running out of time. I quickly Googled a regular flour tortilla recipe and set to work. I tried being lazy by using my Bosch mixer but it ended up being more work than simply mixing it by hand. About this time Ellie woke up from her nap and after being all cute and pleasant for about 10 minutes she started yanking on my pants demanding “Kacky”, code word for cracker. As you now know, we don’t have a great cracker selection in the pantry, only saltines which are likely “demon-crackers” with no nutritional value. At least, that’s what the internet tells me. “No Ellie, no cracker.” Wailing. Thankfully, she did accept a cut up apple and sat in her high chair happily for a little while. Non-organic apple I might add. Bugger, that’s on the Dirty Dozen list isn’t it? It’s probably loaded with hormone disrupting pesticides! Should’ve just given her the cracker.
I’m still working on the tortilla dough even though the recipe said prep was 15 minutes. My fault, I shouldn’t have tried the shortcut. I did eventually get the dough finished and divided (sort of) into 24 equal parts. Equal is a term I would use loosely. Now I was a bit stumped. If I started frying up the tortillas they would get cold while I prepped the rest of supper. If I prep the beans and veggies first then I’ll be rushing to get the tortillas done. I gambled and went with the second option. The beans went together pretty smoothly but I wasn’t super confident in how to season them and when I put in coarse sea salt (because anything else is the devil and has no nutritional value) there were chunks of sea salt floating around in the beans. To solve this I added a little bit of canned crushed tomatoes (laced with BPA I’m sure) and then tasted the finished product. I wasn’t sold and was pretty skeptical that anyone else would enjoy the flavour. Too late, time to move on.
Muffins were done a little while before I had started the beans but I had not yet removed them from the pan. I needed to do this asap because I had more muffin batter to bake. First muffin I pry out leaves behind a lovely chunk of chocolate chips at the bottom. (Yes, I added chocolate chips to the muffins because I’m not a *complete* psycho just yet.) Obviously the batter was too runny to attempt this ad lib and now I had muffin tops with chocolate chips to scrape out of the pan. I just dealt with it quickly myself by consuming about 1/4 c. of melty chocolate chips out of the aluminum pan. I needed to spare the children all those carcinogens. “Kacky?!” “No Ellie, no kacky.” Now she’s climbing the pantry shelves. Screw it. Eat a muffin top. I’ve got to get this muffin tin scrubbed for the second batch. I don’t care it’s a flop, I’m not throwing away muffin batter and maybe if I butter AND flour each cup, they might just pop out the next time.
Beans are now sitting on the warming element and I need to scrub my cast iron pan as well so that I can fry up the tortillas. Who would even dream of using a Teflon coated aluminum pan instead? That stuff will kill ya for sure. Finally, I have the second batch of muffins in the oven and I can begin prepping the veggies for supper as well. Better scrub the pesticides off the conventional bell peppers like my life depends upon it because apparently it does. It’s nearly 5:30, maybe hubby will be home soon, it is Friday after all. That way he could help dish the tortillas for the kids while I roll them out and fry them. The phone rings. Never mind that last part.
Muffin is all gone and Ellie is losing it. “Uppy!” I’m losing it. She won’t let go of my pants. Now she’s dumping a $14 bottle of vanilla extract on the floor. “Wyatt!” Time to feed these creatures I call my children. I roll out the first tortilla. Seems a little small, but go with it anyway. The first one goes swimmingly and puffs up like it’s supposed to. The next few I begin to notice a lot of smoking. Must be all that burning flour. It was a little tricky rolling the tortillas, frying them and dishing the kids simultaneously so my pan sat on the stove smoking a good deal. It looked a fright by the end and some of tortillas got a little burnt as well. I gave up on rolling out all 24 portions and started making bigger tortillas by combining two balls of dough for each one. Ellie ate her whole wrap or at least I haven’t found any evidence of it flung to the floor just yet. Both the older two kept commenting on how it was “just like a restaurant!” and kept returning to the kitchen for more. This was a big deal for Shannon especially because the last few months she has been sitting at the supper table picking at her food and often has a look on her face that says she wants to upchuck. Not sure what that’s all about, she used to be my best eater. I do finally finish feeding the kids and finish frying the tortillas. I finally sit down to eat my own meal, also included is the lap ornament more commonly known as Ellie with a complimentary Fisher Price phone that sings. Yay. Something in this meal is giving me wicked heartburn. Don’t care, I’m eating it anyway.
So the aftermath in the kitchen after all of this was a little more than I usually deal with, not to mention that the second batch of muffins came out exactly the same as the first. But now it’s done, the kitchen is clean(ish) and the kids are in bed. Here’s hoping no one wakes up puking tonight (that was last week) so maybe I’ll go read “The Raw Milk Revolution” and eat a muffin top.
For anyone interested in what sort of crazy propaganda could possibly have led me to try these sorts of things I’ve included a number of links below. Also, I know that this seems a rather odd post to have on a photography blog especially since I didn’t take (many) pictures of the disasters but it is a big part of what has been going on in my head this last little while. I do hope to soon return to my more usual posts, I am warning you that they just might include a few more food pictures though.
I do have to add that food related scriptures have also been jumping out at me these last few days which I thought I would add.
“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” – Romans 14:17
“Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.” – Romans 14:3
“Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31