Cactus Crest (Episode 1) - Counter Intelligence: Confessions of A Working Mom Blog at - 252525

Counter Intelligence: Confessions of A Working Mom

Cactus Crest (episode 1) 
Oct. 4, 2011 5:08 pm 
Updated: Oct. 6, 2011 8:51 am
The Rothschild’s had their Coat of Arms
The Channings had the Falcon Crest
And so the Enriquez will have their&nbsp;....&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <
Cactus Crest 
Really, this is almost not a joke!  My husband and I were planting cactus in our backyard and I joked with him and said “that can be your family crest”…and when I say I was joking…I was really joking.  I should've known better that my comment would get his wheels turning...and before I knew it, he actually started drawing up this family crest.  My initial reaction; I was freaking the heck out because I imagined him concrete stamping this family crest into our driveway…or having an iron smith create the crest for our gate…or having someone custom make a flag for the front of the house.  I’m not kidding people, this isn’t me being manic, he would probably do something crazy like that.  Thank God it’s only gotten as far as a napkin!!
There is a reason why we joke like a cactus is the life’s breathe of his family…his mom makes this amazing dish that has nopales in it.  Nopales is the pad off a cactus that is cleaned of needles, trimmed, cut into pieces, and boiled to soften.  I myself hadn’t eaten nopales until I met my husband.  My family never ate them, but his mom cooked them all the time and has a garden of cactus in her yard which is why hers are so tasty and tender.  I’ve made them from the store and I don’t like them as much, they are thicker and tougher.  So we got some cuttings from her and I hope someday soon, I’ll cultivate my own nopales for cooking. 
Now, they say that the nopal is the ”food of last resort”…but I say NOT!  This underrated, spiney, slimy (while you cook it) plant/veggie has a lot of potential.  Let’s just review some of the health benefits…
Health Benefits of Nopales…(taken from Wikipedia)
Nopales are very rich in dietary fiber. They are also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K,  riboflavin and vitamin B6) and minerals (especially magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but also iron and copper). Nopales also reduces the glycemic effect of a mixed meal.[4] Nopales are low carbohydrate and may help in the treatment of diabetes.[5]
Nopales are also really good with mole sauce, mixed with salsa, as a veggie taco, mixed in eggs, and if you don’t clean them yet, you can chase the kids around the house waving it around like a mad woman to keep them in line.  My favorite way to eat them is in a dish my Suegra (Spanish for MIL) calls Espinazo (es Pee Nazo).  I would not dare try making them myself because I might slap my DH with a cactus pad if he makes a face and complains to me that “it doesn’t taste like my mom’s”.  So, I left it to him to figure out how he was going to have this dish on the ready…make it his darn self. 
So he did, and at first attempt..”it was nothing like his mothers”, but tasted good.  In his defense, he went by memory and asking siblings.  So he went straight to the source and got it on his second try.  I'm really enjoying this stew like dish.
So I’m going to share this secret family recipe in a 3 part series of CACTUS CREST *roll dramatic novela opening credits*
Tune in for the next episode…
And Buen Provecho!!

Cactus Garden
Photo Detail
Oct. 4, 2011 6:42 pm
My brother and I were at a traditional Mexican restaurant and I ordered a dish with nopales. He couldn't believe that cactus was edible and after a few insults and challenges from me he decided to "man up" and try it. He not only liked it, he re-ordered to take some home for his dinner. ... I have it growing beside my house but here in Michigan it does not grow big enough to eat and the blossom pods don't have enough time to ripen. The blossoms are fantastic, though
Oct. 5, 2011 5:07 am
i think a cactus crest sounds fun and can't wait to see the recipes
Oct. 5, 2011 6:51 am
Wow.....I live in the desert and I tore out every cactus after hearing about all the injuries to pets from their thorns. I would have saved them all for you :(
Oct. 5, 2011 11:15 am
I hope my cuttings take, but I know it will take a while. I hope to plant more edibles in the coming year. I don't have much of a planting back yard, but i do have some potential with space.
Oct. 6, 2011 8:51 am
1st Lady. You should join the So. Cal AR gals on Nov 12 for lunch and a visit to Tom's Farms. We are harmless and I think we are a very fun group :) email me at
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1st Lady

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Covina, California, USA

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Nov. 2004

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About Me
Born in Mexico...raised a California girl, I'm always trying to find my roots with my cooking. I have a big family with my mom as matriarch and master cook. So I have some big shoes to fill.
My favorite things to cook
I love cooking food that my mom always made when we were younger. She doesn't really have any recipes, so it's a challenge. Every time she cooks, it's a unique experience since variations on ingredients are never the same. I also love Mexican food El Paso style. I would like to dabble more in Italian and Filipino dishes. My all time fav is BBQ and down home Southern comfort food.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I come from a Mexican Family. Family gatherings center around the kitchen and dinning areas. I love having family around the kitchen cooking, sitting around the dinner table talking, laughing,joking, drinking and eating.
My cooking triumphs
Mastered flour tortillas in 2013!!!
My cooking tragedies
That I mastered flour tortillas in 2013...I think I gained 5 lbs in one week.
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