Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Black Eyed Pea Chili

New Years Eve Black Eyed Pea Chili

  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas
  • 6-7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tsp cocoa powder (special dark if you have it)
  • 2.5 tablespoons chili powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in crock pot and turn on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
2. Remove bay leaves and serve as is, over white rice and/or with chili toppings (onions, cheese, sour cream, avocado or anything else you like).

Cheers and here's to a New Year! 

Black Eyed Pea Chili

Sunday, October 27, 2013


With fall here and the inevitable slowness of winter it's time for some goals and hobbies. So here's what I got so far.


1. Stop being the typical girl with zero muscles.
  • I'm going to the gym and going to try a structured workout I heard about. It has several different exercises and you focus on a different part of the body each day. I'm hoping to ease into it and actually gain the muscles needed to do the exercises, it will just take a little time. This involves
    • not being afraid of the weight room. God there's just so many machines that I am undoubtedly doing to look like a moron trying to figure out how to use. Whatever.
    • Going 6 times a week.
    • Going straight to bed when I get home and not eating a bunch of garbage.
    • Not stopping running. I'm hoping to go 2-3 miles 2-3 times a week.
    • Changes to be made
      • lean, toned thighs
      • tight, toned abs
      • legitimate upper body strength
      • back dimples
2. Become BJCP certified
3. Ski Welch
4. House projects
  • Stain the upstairs bathroom cabinets
  • Pick paint colors
  • New Doors

5. Take better care of myself mentally and physically.


1. Mexico to see Cliff and Giselle
2. Fort Collins in the spring with Amy
3. Possibly Greece and Italy in the fall with Tally
4. Somewhere with Justin, hopefully involving music and dancing.


1. Crochet and use up all that yarn.
2. Read more.

... that's all I got

And every post needs a recipe so here you go.


1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 pound confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening
  1. Cream together sugar and peanut butter then add in the butter until combined. Add the vanilla and mix well. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or until firm. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper. Stick each ball with a toothpick to be used later when dipping in melted chocolate.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave by warming on high for 1 minute and 30 second, stirring every 30 seconds, and then for 45 more seconds, stirring every 15 seconds until smooth. Use a toothpick to dip balls into the melted chocolate, leaving a small uncovered area so balls resemble buckeyes. Place balls on waxed paper. Use fingers to blend in toothpick holes. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Enjoy!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Lesson in Salad

Here's my lesson, it's short, simple, sweet, and works without fail:

Salads are all about color.

No matter what you put in, as long as it looks vibrant and everything blends well like a Monet, everyone will ooo and ahh and say things like, "Oh my that looks wonderful!" Honestly, you can't go wrong. It is for this reason that I struggle to write a definite salad recipe because once you put the serving bowl on the counter anything is possible. You will always have a green base (romaine, kale, spring mix, spinach, Brussels sprouts) and vegetable or fruit mix ins (tomatoes, onion - red, green, white, pearl, nuts, carrots, peppers, peas, raspberries, strawberries, nectarine anything really) and extras (nuts, seeds, beans, bacon, cheese) and some kind of dressing. So open the fridge, get creative, do your body good and go make a salad.

Today's salad (in case you needed some inspiration)

Spring Mix
Cherry Tomatoes
Shaved Carrot
Red Onion
Chopped Roasted Almonds
Italian Dressing and Champagne vinaigrette

and no one ever complains if there's a side of bread and butter.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Somebody someday...

Somebody someday...

Somebody someday will love that I've lived in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada and Minnesota.

Somebody someday will admire my independence, my drive, my unwillingness to settle.

Somebody someday will be in awe of my pursuit of variety and always aiming to try something different.

Somebody someday will love my cooking and baking without end.

Somebody someday will be truly grateful I didn't fall in love with someone else.

Somebody someday will love my relentlessly detailed planning.

Somebody someday will know me truly and what makes me heart happy and my mind rest.

Somebody someday will make this unhappy loneliness I feel worth it.

Somebody someday will be right for me... will be worth waiting for...

I wish it was someday. I wish it wasn't just me. I'm tired of regular ol' me.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear life, What's next?

With graduation number three approaching I again am faced with the horrible inescapable and depressingly unavoidable question of "what's next?" I find this theme in my life of the presence of this inquiry consistently leaves me feeling alone, distraught, frustrated, and overwhelmed with anxiety. Why is this?

Being far from the first battle against such a miserable question I have a few ideas:

1. Variety is the spice of life, and rarely is variety obtained by committing to a full time career. You will begin excited for the paycheck, hopeful for the future, and even curious to see where this magical path will take you. This honeymoon phase lasts approximately six months and then the truth comes out: it's not all glamorous, your coworkers have some rather frustrating quirks (the ones you only put up with when your closest friends and family do them but are certainly not worth is for anyone not in those positions), your eight hour shift has magically turned into an eternity, and your sick and tired of having no time to enjoy because you're either a. constantly at work or b. exhausted from having been at work. You crave change, variety, something different! and instead you are forced to return again the next morning for the so well known same shit, different day.

2. Every time I look at a job that truly lights a spark in my heart I glance at the pay and benefits and that spark is reduced to a mere wisp of smoldering ash where hope and happiness once were though possible but now drip with satirical laughter.

3. Training. it blows.

4. and finally...

So, what the hell happens next? To tell you the truth I don't exactly know. I've tried many times to get the answer right and as far as I can tell, the fact that I'm in the middle of my twenties, had about fifteen jobs in the last three years, and about to graduate with a certification in a field that I'm pretty sure is not what I want to do for another day, means that I am in fact awful at answering the question in general.

With all these revelations I have come to a few conclusions however: first, I do really enjoy baking and craft beer. They are two topics that fascinate me and lure me into conversation regardless of who it's with or what it's about. I love seeing the interworking's of a persons  true self as it is realized by their God-given pallet. What food and beverages you decide to put into your body is a very intimate thing and can control your actions and attitudes with such ease of persuasion I believe it's truly an art and can even be a weapon.

With such awareness of my passions you might wonder why this choice regarding where to go in life is so hard but ironically remains to be resolved. The challenge I face is that my passion is quite a niche on one hand and on the other somewhat of a lost hope for financial and professional stability. (Funny how my desire for variety gets in the way of my requirement for a tangible safety net.) I'm caught in a battle between my head and my heart. I'm skilled at what bores me and afraid of what thrills me.

The reality is I have no answers and change is fast approaching. I am incredibly curious and completely helpless to say what's next. All I have to lean on and cling to is this one thing which I struggle to remember but force myself to know more now than ever:
thanks mom. thanks dad.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pumpkin Souffle, a recipe to amaze

I have no time. School is crazy and I'm dying to be on the plane to Arizona. Each day seems to pass slower than the rest and although I'm very much enjoying my studies, work, the upcoming ugly sweater party, etc, I just want it to be 10 days from now!

I light of class and apprehension of moving and the holidays I haven't tried much more pumpkin creations so instead I'll leave you with the best pumpkin souffle recipe I have every found. The pumpkin flavor and spices are perfectly balanced AND you can make everything, put the souffle's well wrapped in the freezer and pop them out to bake anytime you have a craving (quite possibly one of the most delightful discoveries I've made while experimenting with a new recipe. Ever.)


Serves 8
  • Active time:25 min
  • Start to finish:45 min
Gourmet, November 2008
Though these delicately spiced soufflés reach toward the skies, they capture the fragrant earthiness of pumpkin. Best of all, this airy alternative to pumpkin pie leaves you satisfied, not stuffed.
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided, plus additional for coating ramekins
  • 3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin (from a 15-oz can, not pie filling)
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Equipment:

    8 (6-oz) ramekins
  • Garnish:

    confectioners sugar
  • Accompaniments:

    bourbon molasses sauce; unsweetened whipped cream
  • Whisk together milk, cornstarch, spices, and 1 Tbsp granulated sugar in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking, then simmer, whisking, 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in pumpkin. Transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in lower third. Butter ramekins and coat with granulated sugar, knocking out excess, then put in a large shallow baking pan.
  • Beat egg whites with salt in another large bowl using an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Add remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar a little at a time, beating, then beat until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  • Fold one third of whites into cooled pumpkin mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Divide mixture among ramekins, mounding it.
  • Bake soufflés until puffed and golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Pumpkin mixture (without egg whites) can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.
  • Soufflés can be assembled 1 hour before baking and kept in freezer.
  • Baked soufflés can be repuffed if necessary in a 400°F oven 10 to 12 minutes (serve quickly, as they will deflate a little faster the second time around).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Lesson in Pumpkin Pie

With all this pumpkin tasting going on I thought it would be appropriate to share some recipes of mine for my most revered pumpkin creations. This first one is very dear to my heart in that I actually put it to the test by doing my own pumpkin pie throw down comparing fine cooking, bobby flay, bon appetit, and libby's pumpkin pie recipe. After all the pies were made an my team of judges placed their votes I ended up making my own recipe which I believe is the best pumpkin pie recipe to date.

So here is the recipe, perhaps it will make it's way to your family's table this holiday season.

Libby's on Left, Heavenly Pumpkin Pie on the Right
 The BEST Pumpkin Pie.


15 oz pumpkin puree
½ c dark brown sugar
2 T granulated sugar
1 T corn syrup (or light molasses)
1 T flour
1 ½ t cinnamon
¾ t ginger
¼ t cloves
¾ t pumpkin pie spice
¼ t salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
½ vanilla bean split, seeds scraped (optional)

1 ¼ c heavy cream


Pick your favorite recipe or go with the store bought kind. Crust is always a challenge for me so it's not fair for me to include a "best" crust recipe when I simply do not have one. Vodka and super chilled butter and butter/shortening combinations all seem to add something different but it really depends on your preference and effort you feel like putting in.


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. When mixed pour into a fine mesh sieve and strain (I swear this makes a difference and gives the pie an incredibly smooth texture that is reminiscent of flan and other ridiculously delicious custard desserts. Do not leave this part out, if you don't have a find mesh sieve then go get one, it's worth it.

Pour strained ingredients into pie crust and bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350-325 and bake for another 40-50 minutes until jiggling in the center is more like set Jell-O than liquid sloshing*. Let cool for 3-4 hours then dive in.


*On bake time, custard pies will crack if over baked and should be taken out just before you think they're done, you know, like a good cookie should be. It will continue to bake a bit more and set up as it cools and it's nice to have a pretty pie. Other things I've found to help this are using a ceramic pie plate or a hot water bath and glass pie plate.

**The heavy cream can be part half and half or hearty milk but of course the cream is super rich and yummy. The spices can be flexible. If you don't have dark brown sugar, use molasses, if you do have dark brown sugar, use corn syrup.