Recipe: Tostadas

The more recipes I add to this blog, the more you’ll come to realize, we like Tex-Mex food. I won’t claim that this is authentic Mexican food because I’ve never been to Mexico. But a lot of it can be found in Oklahoma kitchens and restaurants alike.

If you want to read about tostadas and unmet expectations, hop over to my original blog and read this post.

Most of my cooking omits fresh onion. Sometimes I can squeeze in a little onion powder without much notice, but my hubby does not like onions otherwise.

Also, most of my cooking is suitable for large families as we feed 7 mouths at the dinner table most nights.

White Corn Tortillas or Tostada Shells (I like to fry ours up fresh.)
1/3c Avocado Oil
2 1/2 lb. ground beef
1tsp. Cumin
1/2tsp. Himalayan Salt
1/4tsp. Black Pepper
1/2tsp. Paprika
1/8tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2tsp. Onion Powder
2-3 Fresh Roma Tomatoes, chopped
1c fresh shredded lettuce (We use leaf or romaine for added nutrients.)
2c shredded cheese (We’ve been on a cheddar kick, but lots of cheeses work for this recipe.)
1 can Refried Beans
18 Fresh eggs
Sour Cream
Salsa

I start with prepping veggies and measuring my spices into a small dish or cup. I get everything chopped and covered, ready for when the tostadas are done.

Brown the ground beef thoroughly. Drain off the excess grease. Add the spices. Sometimes I add 1/4c water to the meat and spices to mix everything thoroughly, then let it simmer together on low heat while I prep the tostada shells and fry the eggs.

Start heating the refried beans on low-med heat.

If I’ve bought tortillas to fry, I get my avocado oil heated in a small skillet, then I add 1 corn tortilla at a time, and let them fry on each side for 1 min – 1 min 30 sec. I remove the first one and make sure it gets crispy. Sometimes I have to adjust the heat, change burners, or increase the time in the oil. (I stick the already crunchy tostada shells in the oven to warm them, per the directions on the box.)

Once I’m happy with how the tortillas are crisping, I make 2 tostada shells for each person I’m feeding. (That’s too many for the little kids, which leaves extra for the adults and big kids.)

As the last of the shells come off the stove, I start frying eggs in a little bit of butter. This is where extra hands come in helpful, and usually, my husband jumps right in for this part. He grabs a shell and layers it with beans, meat, cheese, then sticks the plate over my way to receive one over-medium egg on top.

The kids then pick lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, and/or salsa for their toppings, and hubby and I work down the line until everyone has tostadas.

This is a simple, delicious meal. I will warn you, the runny eggs can be a little messy so be sure to equip everyone with a napkin and remind them to eat over their plates.

I hope you enjoy this recipe – it’s a favorite at our house!

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The Makeup Bag Moment

Saturday rolled around and it was time to go pick up hubby. I was thrilled and I wanted to look nice. I’m down 9 pounds, and thought I’d do something other than the no makeup/messy bun/leggings look that I’ve been rocking for months. I’d try to look cute for him. So I got my jeans on, and a cute t-shirt, flipped my hair up out of the way and yanked open my makeup drawer.

It’s not actually an entire drawer of makeup, for those of you wondering. It’s just the drawer that held the few makeup items I had.

Had.

My precious, wild three year old had opened every tube of LipSense color, remover, gloss, poured out what she could, let the rest dry out. Okay, no lips. I’ll just do my powder and my eyes.

Mascara? Open, dried out. Eyeshadow? Covered in dried LipSense. Powder? Same as the eyeshadow. Even my eyeliner was broken to nothing.

Now, it’s been three years since I bought any makeup, and it’s been MONTHS since I wore any of it, but it was mine. In my drawer. In my bathroom. I thought the couple times she ran out with a little color smeared on her face was just nothing. I cleaned her up, and the closed drawer made me feel like all was right inside the drawer.

I completely lost it. I was crying, and chunking things in the trash, and I called my hubby and he seemed confused, a little like he couldn’t hear me, and a little like it didn’t matter anyway. But he pointed out I should have left already. More tears as I hung up the phone, now mad that he couldn’t see my problem for the problem it was.

I stormed around, angry and crying. My 6-year-old tried to comfort me, and even told me she would try to buy me new makeup. I turned to look at her and it hit me. I hit my knees and pulled my three littles close. I lost my peace over some makeup because of a million other things weighing on my heart. I kissed each of their sweet faces, helped the girls with their hair, and we went to get my husband.

I don’t care about makeup. While I can’t replace 15 tubes of LipSense, or even the other things I have right now, losing my peace over that moment was silly. It wasn’t the real issue brewing under the surface. I was forced to admit that the tears and ache had nothing to do with makeup.

It has to do with working out how robbed I feel of the dreams I had for the next few years with my two boys. Good things can also be hard things. As much as the peace of God has overwhelmed me through all of this, I still have so much processing that I’m working on.

It looks a little like this:

Did you know I am a curriculum nerd? I was so excited for the curriculum I was going to use with the boys this year. I thought it was going to be a great year.

Did you know I am getting to stay home for our school year? I had so many activities planned for the boys.

Our activities, places we would go, things we would see. It all sits in a basket in my mind, full of things that were going to be that never got to be.

It’s my least favorite brain basket. Sure, I have plans with the other kids and those haven’t changed, but they aren’t the plans I had with the boys.

So I lost my peace over a bag of makeup. I’m thankful I didn’t unpack and live there – not over the makeup, not the with the basket of undone things. I returned to God and asked Him to remind me why we are doing this, to remind me what He is doing, and why He calls us to surrender the hardest of things and let Him have the wheel.

Friend, what are you losing your peace over? Is it the real problem, or just an outlet for something else you need to deal with?

 

God’s Not Been Surprised

Here we are, 5 days past the boys leaving home. Through a series of events, I was persuaded to offer my 13-year-old the choice to go live at his dad’s. As I suspected, he jumped on the opportunity with an immediate and unwavering, “YES!”

My 12-year-old son wanted the same choice and while I was reluctant at first, I finally caved and gave him the choice. Without hesitation, he said, “YES!”

My thoughts battled back and forth over letting the boys choose, it was one of the hardest things I’ve faced. I submitted my thoughts to God in prayer, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am that we serve an involved God. He whispered to my heart so many precious things.

He walked me down memory lane – to a moment with a much younger me. I sat on the side of my bed, scared that I hadn’t gotten pregnant in a year, listening to the man I was married to remind me that we prayed we wouldn’t have a baby until we were ready and God had faithfully answered that prayer.

“Well I’m ready, I want to have a baby.” I declared.

So we prayed together to have a baby, and 6 weeks later I got a positive pregnancy test, and some months later, my firstborn son rested in my arms, content, round, and perfect.

The gentle voice of the Holy Spirit as we walked this path of memories reminded me that God has not been surprised by a single thing from the moment I held that pregnancy test, until today. Not the things in my life, my ex’s life, or our son’s life. None of it has surprised him.

Better still, as I questioned, as I wrestled, God knew all that was coming and He picked us to be the parents of two amazing young men. I was starting to see more clearly, but I can’t say I didn’t still want to argue. Yet the more I prayed, the more questions I asked, the more clarity I begged for, the more God pointed me toward this choice.

So Wednesday arrived in a rush, and the boys left on an airplane, and I teetered on the edge of peace that exceeds all understanding, and the abyss of human emotion and lost dreams.

Wednesday was also our first night back to Switch for the school year. I was enjoying the kids and other leaders and really not sure if I would keep volunteering on Wednesday night now that the boys were so far away and not in Switch anymore. Then worship happened. And as the band began to play, I felt the void at my side where my 12-year-old would stand and worship with me. It was our thing, every week. He would leave his friends and come worship with me. The tears started there and lasted through the end of the set.

Despite the flood of emotion, our good God was still whispering to me. Reminding me that we often see God first through our earthly father. Whether we get a great representation of who God is through our earthly father or a terrible one. God uses that to reconcile us to Him and to help us see Him. The boys experienced years of absence following some yucky choices their dad made. That time was excruciating for them. If God can use the reparation of their connection with their earthly father to reconcile them to Him, then I surrender my control. We don’t see God through our mom the same way we do through our dad.

I started to wrestle with this again and I wanted to start reminding God of everything that has occurred in the last 13 years, He asked me if I thought He couldn’t use all of it? Well no, that’s the case. I know He can. God often redeems our greatest pain for His greatest glory. May it be so in the lives of my children.

So here we are, 5 days in. So long as I take all of my concerns to the cross, I am met with a peace that I cannot describe. While several people have raised their eyebrows and I’ve been tempted to turn in His peace for my control, I’ve also been met with a great deal of encouragement. I’ve heard over and over how boys their ages need their dad during the next couple of years. I’m praying God uses this to grow and shape them into men who serve Him boldly, faithfully, and for their entire lives.

Until next time,
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