Salsa with a Twist

If you know me well, you know that when I eat Mexican food I prefer fajitas or a fajita salad. One of my weekly standby dinner recipes is taco salad with warmed fresh tortillas for the guys (I’m cutting back on carbs). I don’t really eat Mexican or spicy food. My stomach doesn’t like the spice, bell or jalapeño peppers, I’m allergic to avocados (not pretty), and believe it or not, I don’t like beans.

However, I can’t get enough of this salsa!

The recipe is derived from an online recipe for Tito’s Tacos. This taco dive was an old high school haunt that is still in W. Los Angeles today. But my sister-in-law doesn’t think it’s their original recipe after just traveling there. However, it’s close.

I altered the recipe to fit my tastes. For example, I really like cilantro and lime, so I added those two ingredients.

Possible Tito’s Tacos Salsa with You Rock Mom’s Twist:


  • 8 Roma tomatoes cut up
  • 2 pickled jalapeños from small can (Wimp here uses 1!)
  • 2-3 pickled carrots from same can
  • 1-2 tbsp liquid from same can (I use 1 tbsp 😉 )
  • 1 slice of white onion
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (I use lime juice instead)
  • 1 tsp salt (I like sea salt)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (or a few grinds of fresh ground pepper)
  • 1 tsp sugar (I think my sister-in-law uses an apple slice instead)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.  Add more from the can if you need it hotter. (I’m sure you will! I will not!) Let it sit for an hour in the refrigerator before serving.

For taco salad dressing, I mix about a tablespoon of sour cream and a couple of tablespoons of salsa. Yum!

For gifting, I like to give a jar of salsa with twine tied around it, along with a salsa bowl, and a decorative spoon.



You Rock Mom Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m making these cookies this evening without eating them or the dough. God, please help me!

I came across this recipe in my early 20s but I’ve altered it to make it my own. The original recipe is supposed to be Mrs. Field’s of which some college student got angry about being billed $200 for. Therefore, the recipe was passed around my place of employment.

Truth or not, I’ve never made another chocolate chip cookie recipe since. But, like I said, I altered the recipe and now I know and make it by heart for my sons.

Tomorrow is the last day of school and my oldest is swimming at a friend’s house. The cookies were requested!

I know your kids and adults will enjoy them as well! Test it! You will rock!

You Rock Mom
 Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 lb of butter (4 sticks)
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of almond extract
(Please note: use a Kitchen Aid mixer or a very large bowl for hand mixer—this recipe is huge!)

Dry Ingredients
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 bags chocolate chips (I typically use 1 milk choc. & 1 semi or dark choc.)

In a large bowl blend butter and brown sugar and scrap down sides.  Add one egg at a time, scraping the sides each time. Mix in extracts.

In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients. Mix in two cups at a time to batter. Mix in chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 15 min. or until tops of cookies crack and lightly brown.  Makes approx. 7-dozen cookies depending on cookie scoop size.

Fitness Friday – Nothing Tastes as Good as Healthy Feels

Have you heard this motto? “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” This motto is actually chided in some media circles because it encourages teenage anorexia.  It doesn’t work for me, because frankly, I like food too much.

I need mottos with substance, kind of like food with substance. How about this motto instead, “Nothing Tastes as Good as Healthy Feels” I’m liking that motto better because it makes me focus on nutritious food, instead of empty calories.

As I’ve said in the past, on Fridays I start feeling my food-guard go down.  I want to unwind, not really cook a huge meal, and reward myself with food.  I could easily gather my pizzeria coupons and order pizza which I have done often.

A healthier option that I actually chose tonight was to make my own pizza. My bread machine has a dough cycle, so I was able to add herbs to the crust. I made one spinach pizza and the other pizza was half cheese and half meat for my guys. They were delicious! I took one bite of the meat pizza and feasted on the spinach pizza.

Instead of spending money for extra calories, I can actually say “Nothing Tastes as Good as Healthy Feels” tonight, with healthier pizza options.

Here’s my Spinach Pizza recipe:


  • Homemade dough, or pre-bought dough (can buy in freezer section or from a pizzeria), or pre-bought pizza crust
  • Jarred or canned sauce
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cracked Pepper
  • Box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained with strainer and paper towels
  • Mozzarella (use sparingly for that “healthy feeling”)
  • Parmesan


  • If you make your own dough, add about 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Roll out dough with flour and pre-bake on pan for 10 min. at 400 degrees (I use a pizza stone)
  • Top dough with about 1/4 cup of sauce
  • Sprinkle a light layer of mozzarella cheese
  • Season with cracked pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder
  • Sprinkle drained, squeezed spinach
  • Add another layer of mozzarella and parmesan cheese
  • Bake for 10-15 min. at 400 degrees or until cheese begins to bubble and lightly brown.

I think next time, I will put the pizza directly on the rack, since I pre-bake the crust.  I should get a crisper crust with that method.

I also made a little olive oil dipping sauce for the crust. 🙂 Probably shouldn’t have but it was better than the garlic butter that comes with many pizza chains.

To eat more nutritious this weekend remember, “Nothing Tastes as Good as Healthy Feels.”

Accidental Cook

I consider myself an accidental cook, not like my husband who is a great cook, especially on the grill, smoker and camp fires.  He researches recipes and makes his own spices, experiments with BBQ rubs, sauces, and perfects recipes…

Most of my standby recipes are accidents that turned out delicious but nothing I researched out to perfect. For example, my banana bread recipe originated out of the cookbook that came with my bread machine which has a cake cycle; however, I no longer make it in the bread machine because the top never cooked all the way.

After I resorted to baking the bread in the oven, I also altered the recipe and added two of my favorite ingredients, vanilla and cinnamon. More often than not, I double the recipe because I usually have more than two ripe bananas and I share the wealth with friends.

Here’s the recipe for your eating pleasure:

AuntiEllen’s Accidentally Delicious Banana Bread!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray pan with cooking spray.

Wet ingredients:
1/2 c butter
2/3 c milk
2 lg eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Dry ingredients:
2 1/2 c flour (substitute 1 c flour w/wheat flour-I do when trying to be healthier)
1 c sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Add after all ingredients are mixed:
2 ripe bananas
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional–I don’t)

Mix butter and wet ingredients, including sugar. (When using wheat flour, I add my substitution here to soften the wheat flour). Slowly add dry ingredients until smooth. Mix in bananas until smooth. Bake approx. 50-60 min or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Your house will smell amazing.

If you can wait until it cools, try it with Nutella.

So accidentally delicious!