Posted in Meals/Sides, Teacher Life

It’s Taco Time!

I know what you’re thinking: Katie, it’s the beginning of the school year! Aren’t you supposed to fall off the face of the blog-osphere for a few weeks until things settle down?? And yet here you are posting twice in one weekend??? Well, my response to that is trinitarian (that’s right: I learned this weekend that without the capitalized T, this word is a synonym for threefold…mind blown!): 1) I had a 4-day weekend…so I actually had time to plan and prepare for the week ahead; 2) I designate a theme of the year for each school year (last year was gratitude, the year before was positivity) and I’ve deemed this year the year of balance (namely of the work-life variety)..hence, this is me balancing; and 3) the topic of this post is just so important that it just can’t wait another second.

Tacos. Take a moment: soak in the word. Allow your brain to conjure up a mental image accompanied by the memory of the scent which wafts through your home for hours after your taco dinner has ended. Tonight I made tacos…and of course enough meat to last me for another evening to celebrate Taco Tuesday tomorrow. As I reached for my Pyrex of homemade taco seasoning, I had a horrible realization: I never wrote this post back in July when I originally planned to! So I apologize for my delinquency but let’s not waste another minute!

It’s Taco Time!!

Those of you who know me well are aware that forceful is not usually an adjective used to describe me. However, for this moment in time I will be and I have one admonition to share: DON’T EVER MAKE TACOS WITH THOSE SEASONING PACKETS AGAIN!! I mean this sincerely. Now please allow me to explain why.

1) Homemade taco seasoning is SO easy.
I sought out a recipe for homemade taco seasoning in the midst of my early food-intolerance days. Thanks to my trusty sidekick, Pinterest, I stumbled upon this awesome blog called The Nerd’s Wife. Here is her awesome/super easy recipe for homemade taco seasoning:

3 parts chili powder
2 parts ground cumin
1 part paprika
½ part cayenne pepper
1 part dried oregano
1 part onion powder
1 part garlic powder
1 part salt

½ part black pepper
*Courtesy of The Nerd’s Wife*
Several months old…and still going strong!

2) Homemade seasoning is highly cost-effective.
Think about it: when you decide on taco night, it usually involves a stop at the grocery store to pick up a packet of that Old El Paso seasoning. If you’re at the store anyway, why not bypass the packets and head straight for the pure spice section. First of all, chances are you already have some of the necessary spices in your kitchen; second, even if you have to shell out much more for the spices than a simple packet of taco seasoning, in the longrun, I guarantee the cost will likely balance out. Plus, you know you’ll end up using all those spices in other recipes at some point!

3) Do you know what is in that packet?? I didn’t think so…
I’m sorry, I promised I would never be one of those people who preach about how horrible everything that comes in a grocery store package is for you..and I won’t. However, this one has even me a little fired up. Take a look at this package:

Just look at those ingredients…
Now as you know, the corn starch jumps out at me as dangerous, but even for those of you with non-corn-adverse immune systems, think about this label for a moment. First of all, the only actual spices in your seasoning are chili pepper, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder…which are likely spices you already have sitting in your cabinet. Second, soybean oil? In your taco seasoning?? Why, General Mills, why? Third, an anticaking agent? I can personally attest that I made my homemade seasoning back in July and it has sat through a hot, humid summer in my sealed Pyrex and has remained completely fine and uncaked without any artificial preservatives or anticaking agents mixed in. I have a feeling it’s because those little packets sit on the shelves for up to 2 years…but again, that’s just my untested hypothesis.
And last but not least, please note the main ingredient: maltodextrin. Do you even know what that is?? Well, according to the FDA, “(a) Maltodextrin ((C6H10O5)n, CAS Reg. No. 9050-36-6) is a nonsweet nutritive saccharide polymer that consists of D-glucose units linked primarily by [alpha]-1-4 bonds and that has a dextrose equivalent (D.E.) of less than 20. It is prepared as a white powder or concentrated solution by partial hydrolysis of corn starch, potato starch, or rice starch with safe and suitable acids and enzymes” Yep, doesn’t mean much to me either. However, what I do know is that I shouldn’t need to turn to the science-savvy Saint in the Bow Tie…or the even more science-savvy Saint in my life, whom we’ll call the Philanthropic Physicist…in order to decipher the ingredients on my food label. Seriously, google image maltodextrin; you’ll be greeted by a chemical structure model which will bring you back to your high school chemistry lab days. Not exactly what I should have to decipher before putting something into my body.
So in short, I promise I’m not trying to scare you…but I just don’t think this makes any sense. If taco seasoning can be made so easily and frugally at home, why settle for a packet that all too often is covered in dust when you grab it off the shelf?? Granted I’m well aware there are probably a million and one other items on those grocery shelves that have the same issues, but for today I’m choosing one grievance at a time. Today, taco seasoning. Tomorrow (or really whenever I find time to write it again so probably more like Thanksgiving), soft drinks.
Taco meat for tomorrow night!
You know what that means: Taco Tuesday 🙂
Pair your taco with these corn-free chips…a perfect Labor Day meal!
Or Taco Tuesday, as the case may be…
So next time you’re at the store, grab some ground beef and stock up on the spices: tacos are always a great decision…no matter what day of the week it is 🙂

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