Taco Seasoning

How to make taco seasoning

Taco Seasoning is extremely popular Worldwide for building the best tacos.

What is best about this taco seasoning is the Gourmet Chili powder which uses very little salt. That means you get fresh homemade taco seasoning with by using very little salt.

For my personal Taco Seasoning combine the following:

  • 1 tablespoon Gourmet Smoked Chili Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Hellfire Habenero
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (optional)
  • Zest of 1 lime

So minus the lime, you can store this taco seasoning for a long time and use it in so many places.

 

OK, so let’s continue here and I’ll show you how to make your tacos with my awesome seasoning.

Combine the dry ingredients with the juice of two limes and 2 tablespoons white vinegar.

Whisk until combined.

Chop the following:

  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small bunch cilantro (optional)
  • ½ to 1 white or yellow onion.

In 12 to 14 in. sauté pan add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Sweat the veggies over medium heat until they just turn soft.

Add 1 to 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef, turn up the heat to medium high.

Add the chili fixings and stir gently to break up the meat and combine the amazing flavor of the smoked chili powders.

Sip the beer as you stir the taco fixings every few moments until meat is completely cooked 170 to 180 degrees F.

Turn off the heat and star warming the tortillas.

From here it up to you:

Shredded cheese, salsa, shredded lettuce, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro, whatever make you happy.

BTW, this works with ground turkey or chicken also.  Just add a bit more oil to the pan when you start sweating the veggies.

Taco Seasoning

Why you need less salt.

SODIUM GUIDELINES

Sale (and therefore sodium) is a mineral found naturally in foods and also added to foods. Sodium plays an important role in maintaining normal fluid balance in the body. A low-sodium diet is important to follow in order to control your heart failure symptoms and prevent future heart problems.

  • Limiting your sodium and fluid intake will help prevent and control the amount of fluid around your heart, lungs, or in your legs.
  • When you carry extra fluid, it makes your heart work harder and may increase your blood pressure.

A low-sodium diet means more than eliminating the salt shaker from the table!

  • One teaspoon of table salt = 2,300 mg of sodium

GENERAL GUIDELINES

  • Eliminate the salt shaker.
  • Avoid using garlic salt, onion salt, MSG, meat tenderizers, broth mixes, Chinese food, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, barbeque sauce, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, pickle relish, bacon bits, and croutons.
  • Use fresh ingredients and/or foods with no added salt.
  • For favorite recipes, you may need to use other ingredients and delete the salt added. Salt can be removed from any recipe except for those containing yeast.
  • Try orange, lemon, lime, pineapple juice, or vinegar as a base for meat marinades or to add tart flavor.
  • Avoid convenience foods such as canned soups, entrees, vegetables, pasta and rice mixes, frozen dinners, instant cereal and puddings, and gravy sauce mixes.
  • Select frozen meals that contain around 600 mg sodium or less
  • Use fresh, frozen, no-added-salt canned vegetables, low-sodium soups, and low-sodium lunchmeats.
  • Look for seasoning or spice blends with no salt, or try fresh herbs, onions, or garlic.
  • Do not use a salt substitute unless you check with your doctor or dietitian first, due to potential drug or nutrient interactions.
  • Be aware of and try to limit the “Salty Six” (American Heart Association), which include:
    1. Breads, rolls, bagels, flour tortillas, and wraps
    2. Cold cuts and cured meats
    3. Pizza
    4. Poultry (much poultry and other meats are injected with sodium. Check the Nutrition Facts for sodium content or read package for a description of a solution, for example, “Fresh chicken in a 15% solution.”)
    5. Soup
    6. Sandwiches

Learn to read food labels. Use the label information on food packages to help you make the best low-sodium selections. Food labels are standardized by the U.S. government’s National Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). Nutrition labels and an ingredient list are required on most foods, so you can make the best selection for a healthy lifestyle.

Review the food label below. Determine the total amount of sodium in this product, or ask your dietitian or health care provider to show you how to read food labels and apply the information to your personal needs.

Food Sodium | Cleveland Clinic

Maintain a healthy body weight. This includes losing weight if you are overweight. Limit your total daily calories, follow a low-fat diet, and include physical activity on most, if not all days in order to maintain a healthy weight. Eating a healthy diet to either maintain or lose weight often means making changes to your current eating habits.

In order to make sure you are meeting your specific calorie needs, as well as vitamin and mineral needs, a registered dietitian can help. A registered dietitian can provide personalized nutrition education, tailor these general guidelines to meet your needs, and help you implement a personal action plan.

RESTAURANT DINING TIPS

  • Choose a restaurant that will prepare items to your request and substitute items.
  • Plan ahead by reducing your serving sizes of foods high in sodium.
  • Order food a la carte or individually to get only the foods you want.

Appetizers

  • Avoid soups and broths.
  • Request fresh bread and rolls without salty, buttery crusts.
  • Avoid breaded items.

Salads/vegetables

  • Avoid pickles, canned or marinated vegetables, olives, cured meats, bacon and bacon bits, seasoned croutons, cheeses, salted seeds, and nuts.
  • Order salad dressings on the side and dip your fork in them before taking a bite of the food item.
  • Request steamed vegetables.

Main courses

  • Select meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish choices that include the words broiled, baked, grilled, roasted, and without breading.
  • Request plain noodles or vegetable dishes.
  • Ask the server about the low-sodium menu choices, and ask how the food is prepared.
  • Request food to be cooked without salt or monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Avoid restaurants that do not allow for special food preparation, such as buffet-style restaurants, diners, or fast food chains.
  • Avoid casseroles and mixed dishes. Ask for gravies and sauces on the side or omit them all together.
  • At fast food restaurants, choose the salad entrees or non-fried and non-breaded entrees, and skip the special sauces, condiments, and cheese.*
  • Avoid breaded items.

*Avoid salted condiments and garnishes such as olives, pickles, and relish.

Save

Herbs and Spices – Southern California 2009

Southern California 2009

The Misty Mountains beckon.

For some time after the last of our children moved out to start their adult lives, Donna and I spent more and more time thinking about our future. Our important jobs as parents (the heavy lifting part) was behind us. Before us, lay a new type of freedom. Perhaps new freedom is not quite right. We were rediscovering ourselves as friends and mates. The years of child rearing and working two stressful jobs had left scars and physic damage. Shell shocked. The silence could be overwhelming, especially at night. Slowly, like all empty nesters we started to realize we could draw a breath. We were free to dream. That’s also when the future opened before us and we took a real hard look.

Yikes! That is some scary looking road ahead!

Philosophy corner:

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.

Sophia Loren

The answer to old age is to keep one’s mind busy and to go on with one’s life as if it were interminable. I always admired Chekhov for building a new house when he was dying of tuberculosis.

Leon Edel

I could not agree more. There will time enough to rest when I go west for good. Now is my time to make hay.

A New Business is Born

A great friend of ours, who is also a very wise cookie, said to us “Well, you have raised your children, now it is time to raise a business.” She intuitively knows that once you are a parent you never turn it off. We must continue to nurture and nourish.

So, we decided to make a nourishing spice blend which we could share with our friends. We originally wanted to travel the open road selling BBQ sandwiches. Lets face it, Donna and I still have a gypsy spirit deep in our souls. The business would subsidize our travels. This proved to be an impracticable plan, for now. I still hope to get back on the open road again.

I had been trying to come up with a rub which you could put on your grilling meat that would make it taste like real smoked BBQ. I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Not that it was overnight process. It took two years to lock it down to the exact flavor profile we wanted. From there, the muse of fire took over and the other three spice blends came to me in waking dreams. I know it sounds crazy but they really just came together like I had always been making them. All those years of tasting and all that cooking with love paid off. Then, at the urging of our friends who enjoyed our spice blends, we created two more: a salmon seasoning and a nuclear powered version of our smoked chili powder.

The Great Spirit of Sacred Misty

I am in the habit of talking long walks after work. I walk for fitness, and to help clear my mind of clutter and stress. We live at the base of ancient foothills thrown up by the San Andreas Fault. In the early winter, angry Pacific storms roll in across the coast. Wispy water laden clouds boil over the tops of these foothills. The clouds form ghostly rivers of mist which sweep across the valley floor to disappear into the desert. My Misty Mountains are a cathedral. It’s where I go to listen to my Creator and reflect.

So, as you can see, Misty Mountain Smoke House is more than a selection of spice blends. It is a way of life for us. We hope it will become a part of your life as well. Our fondest hope is the you enjoy Misty Mountain Smoke House Blends as much as we have enjoyed the journey to creating them.

God bless you and keep you,

And God Bless the U.S.A.

Jeff and Donna Bock

Herbs and Spices – Georgia and California

Georgia 1984

After getting hurt in a diving accident and told never could never dive deep again, we made the choice to reinvent ourselves yet again. So I enlisted in the US ARMY. Amazingly, the Army doctors never noticed the scar tissue in my chest. Quite different than today. I was stationed at Fort Stewart with the 24th Mechanized Armor Division. Again, when I was home (my unit trained in the field constantly), Donna and I would travel to Savanna for some R&R. Oddly enough, our most frequent hang out was a small funky sushi bar on River Street. Japanese cuisine became a new fascination. This is where I was also introduced to classic southern BBQ. The smell of hickory smoke still does something magical to me.

California 1996

My mother came to live with us that year. It was the circle of love and caring come around to us. Mom was still able to do as she always did. Feed us. Those farm girl cooking skills never left her. She helped us raise our boisterous and highly energetic children. Massive meals were once again part of our lives as three teenagers and all their friends would descend upon us like ravaging mogul hoards. We wore out two stoves and several refrigerators. The kids grew up strong and hearty. We were blessed to have her with us through those years. We spent countless happy hours together planning meals and cooking together.

Philosophy corner:

Why is cooking food with others so important? The time we spend cooking and sharing the process of creating a nourishing meal bonds us together as few other activities. The conversation, sharing a taste of something, and total focus of all your senses on the moment allows us to swing away from our troubles. The pride of accomplishment as the meal is presented to your loved ones gives deep heart felt joy. All these things create a Zen of emotional and sensory impact. It is a primal need as social creatures, to bond over the fire and nourish our bodies and feed our souls.

 

Herbs and Spices – Georgia and California

Herbs and Spices – California and Texas

My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.

~ Winston Churchill

 

California 1977

Like most young people, I truly thought I was bullet-proof and could lick the world. After graduation from high school, I drove across country to seek my fortune. While I was trying to make a living, I was exposed to an entire galaxy of new food. LA had and still has an extremely diverse number of cuisines to enjoy. Being an adventurous eater, I tried them all. I learned about serious pepper heat. I fell in love with Chinese stir fry. I craved tacos and salsa. A plate of Pad Tai was a steaming wonder. A falafel pita sandwich often made a yummy filling lunch. I was in culinary training but did not know it. However the months spent in LA were a massive personal disaster. Not only did I lose everything I owned, I had my heart broke in several pieces. With great failure comes greater wisdom. After returning to Iowa licking my wounds for a long while I decided to try again. This time I ventured forth with a different approach.

 

Texas 1980

Still seeking adventure I moved to Texas so I could begin my carrier as a professional salvage diver. My training had taken me back to southern California. There on a lonely Sunday afternoon, I met Donna. How I got so lucky I will never know. She took some time to win over, but I think she had a soft spot for scruffy lovable rouges. She soon followed me to Texas. Coastal Texas has a different approach to food. Tex-Mex was abundant however, shrimp ruled the culinary roost. When I was home, (I spent long periods at sea) we could go down to the docks and purchase shrimp right off the boats. We never realized what fresh seafood tasted like until then. On the work boats, we would fish for and catch snappers, grouper, barracuda, and dive for spiny oysters and rock lobsters. The Cajun and Creole cooks on those boats knew exactly what to do with those tasty critters. I am forever spoiled on any other kind of seafood. On my journeys across from Freeport to Morgan City and other industrial oil industry docks, the crews I worked with would stop at small village food shacks for food. Often, you could see thru the floor boards to the swamp below. I not sure the most hygienic standards were met but the food was insanely good. Boudan, jambalaya, crawfish, smoked pork, and as always, shrimp. We washed down with gallons of sweet tea.

Herbs and Spices – Iowa 1968

Philosophy corner:
Farm work is terrifically hard and dangerous; having grown up with it I am bemused when I hear folks complain about an 8 hour day crunching numbers or those boring meetings. They come home and consume a prefab meal they pull out of the freezer never giving much thought about where it came from. It’s important to remember, another human being, out of love, toiled some of their life away so you could be nourished. However, we feel, just throwing food into you body to stop your tummy from growling is not enough; it should also enrich your soul.

My Aunt Jo looks on with quiet satisfaction; she knows the men are enjoying their meal. She did not produce this meal alone. It took a bevy of women working since sun up to put this together. My Mom, my Grandmother (the boss) and several other farm wives all pitched in. The mid-westerners of that era rarely voiced there approval of much of anything. When they spoke it was pretty matter of fact and directly to the point. “Good food, thanks” was high praise from the men as they wandered into the parlor to digest and nap. Perhaps herbs and spices weren’t predominant in their minds.

Aunt Jo was the flavor of the meal. She was very different from the other farm women yet she was totally accepted by them. She was an immigrant. In fact, she was a war bride from Germany. Before WWII she lived with her family near the Black Forest. She was sent to Paris to attend the Cordon Blu cooking school. In that era it was rare to have a women enrolled, but she trained and learned and then went home to Germany. A Germany now firmly controlled by the Nazis. It occurs to me now, what an adventure it must have been for her. Pre-war Paris was filled with romance and fine wine and was the center of the universe for the most flavorful food in the world. She would not talk about the war years. But she did tell me of escaping thru the wire of occupied Germany to the west in the early 50’s. She was a woman of great courage and intellect and I loved her dearly.

After the noon meal the men would rest for about half an hour and then start back to the fields. Since I was still a bit young to keep up with the men all day, Grandma would hold me back to help the ladies in the kitchen. What a contrast in work. I went from pitching bales to kneading bread for dinner. Always the teachers, my female family members would spend the afternoon showing me all sorts of cooking techniques. Aunt Jo, with her quiet voice and German accent taught me little tricks and let me measure and mix. Her accent always was a source of fascination to me. The flavors she created were a direct link to continental cuisine from long ago. I still remember the noble sauces she could create. This is where my life long love of cooking and creating meals to nourish my family’s bodies and souls began. It took me many years to understand the reason those times were so special. The rhythms of the seasons which dictated the work to be done, a natural division of labor which fit our bodies and minds made for a deeply fulfilling spiritual life. Unquestioned creative freedom allowed me to grow and blossom. Stoic devotion to creating the stuff of life; children, love, and food grown with our own hands. And time to reflect on the meaning of this rich tapestry of life.

Like many children of my generation I was pulled away from the farm. Perhaps, I should say I allowed myself to be lured away by the false prophet of secular humanism. It is one of my regrets in life that I did not know then, what I know now.. that at my core, I will always will be a farmer. And now late in my life, returning to my roots, here I am growing herbs and spices for others to enjoy.  I have a knack.  You have the appetite.

However, if I had not slipped away I would not have met the most amazing friend I have ever had. My best friend is my lovely wife Donna. She has been keeping up (putting up) with me for over thirty years. She is a very stubborn woman. She keeps thinking I will grow up…

Continue on to herbs-and-spices-california-and-texas