Yesterday I got to thinking...thinking about things I used to enjoy doing on occasion. Things like reading, scrapbooking, antique browsing, shopping, etc. You could chalk them up as hobbies. Dictionary.com says a hobby is an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation. (Does anyone even use the word hobbies anymore? And I never considered myself a hobby type but...the definition fits.)

Life has changed...some of them have taken a back seat for now - and I have picked up more practical ones. I don't really remember when this one started but it morphed its way in and so now you know why I keep posting recipes. Simple recipes with simple ingredients, finding recipes that replace the dining out ones we love, recipes that replace prepackaged things we buy, recipes that use ingredients we love, new twists on old recipes, recipes for things we have never tried, it is endless around here! But its fun too.

Its what we are doing here...at Life with the Lynchs...enjoy or skip over!

TACO BRAID: (if you like taco seasoning, this ones for you. We LOVED it)
1 t. active dry yeast
2 T. sugar, divided
3/4 c. warm water (110 to 115 degrees), divided
2 T. butter, softened
2 T. nonfat dry milk powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t. salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 c. sliced fresh mushrooms, optional
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 T. taco seasoning (see bottom of post for recipe to make your own)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. sliced ripe olives

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 t. sugar in 1/2 c. water; let stand for 5 minutes.
Add butter, milk powder, egg, salt and remaining sugar and water.
Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
In a skillet, cook beef and mushrooms over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in tomato sauce and taco seasoning.
Set aside 1 T. beaten egg.
Stir remaining egg into beef mixture.
Cool completely.
Punch dough down.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface, roll into a 12x15 inch rectangle.
Place on a greased baking sheet. (I roll out on back side of baking sheet and skip the step above)
Spread filling lengthwise down center third of rectangle.
Sprinkle with olives and cheese.
On each long side, cut 1 inch wide strips about 2 1/2 inches into center.
Starting on one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling.
Pinch ends to seal and tuck under.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. (I let it rise a little, put in filling and braid it up and then let it finish rising on top of stove while oven is preheating)
Brush with reserved egg.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Romaine Roasted Corn: (I was too curious to NOT try it - and we liked it)

6 T. butter, softened
1 t. dried rosemare, crushed (we don't love this flavor so I didn't put much in)
1/2 t. dried marjoram
1/2 t. parsley
6 ears corn on the cob, husks removed
1 bunch romaine lettuce
Salt and pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, rosemary, marjoram and parsley; spread or brush over the corn.
Wrap each ear in 1-2 romaine leaves.
Place in a 9x13.
Cover and bake at 450 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the corn is tender.
Discard romaine before serving.
Sprinkle corn with salt and pepper.

Taco Seasoning:
2 T. chili powder
5 t. paprika
4 1/2 t. cumin
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients.
Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Use within 6 months.
2 T. is about equivalent to one package of taco seasoning mix.
When adding this seasoning to ground beef, add 1/2 to 3/4 c. of water to the beef and simmer for about 10 minutes.

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