Background - wood

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Early morning playlist.

Inspired by my friend Scout,  I decided to post my playlist this morning.

I love to wake up early. When Colton has to go to work at some ungodly hour, I always get up with him to see him off.

Being up before the sun rises always makes me feel very clearheaded.

This morning, I've been lounging on the couch working a crossword, browsing pictures of architecture and interior design, and singing along with these songs. I hope you enjoy them too!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Good Eats: Chili Time!

I think that humility is a very important trait.

However, one thing I tend to be a little boastful about is my chili recipe.

It is award winning after all...

(See? There I go again.)

I think that everyone should have an easy chili recipe on hand, because it's cheap, it freezes well, and it's an easy way to feed alot of people. Who doesn't love a one pot wonder? Make it ahead if you need to, because the best chili needs to simmer for a coupla hours.

Here's my recipe.

You'll need:

1 lb ground beef 
(I actually used 1/2 lb this time - I've gotta stretch my grocery money, baby!)

1 green bell pepper

1 yellow or brown onion

1 can tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can rotel or other brand diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 can black beans

1 can red beans

salt and pepper

2 heaping Tbsp chili powder

1 heaping Tbsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne (or 1 minced jalepeno or serrano chile)

optional: 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee or 1 tsp cocoa powder

 Roughly chop 1 onion and 1 green bell pepper. Mince the fresh hot pepper if using. (I forgot to get one at the store, so I just used ground cayenne!)

 Combine with the ground beef and a generous sprinkling of fresh ground pepper and kosher salt in a 4 qt pot, and cook over medium until beef is browned.

 While the beef is browning, begin to open up the cans. There are alot of them! I always give myself a wrist cramp with my manual can opener :)

Go ahead and drain and rinse the beans. (Feel free to use other varieties, although I swear by the black beans. They make good chili. Besides, kidney beans freak me out. They're a little big. It's a miracle I eat beans at all. From the time of my birth to about 16 years of age, I ate approximately 10 beans.)

When the beef is evenly browned, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and rotel. Next, add either a can's worth of water OR brewed coffee. (Don't worry - it doesn't make your chili taste like coffee! It adds a nice depth in flavor.) Finally, mix in the beans.

 Spice time! This is where the magic happens.

 You want a heck ton of spices in the pot. I mean it, people! Start with 2 heaping tablespoons of chili powder, 1 heaping tablespoon of ground cumin, plenty of black pepper, and 1/2 tsp cayenne if using. If you used water instead of coffee, add 1 tsp cocoa powder. You won't regret it!

Stir, and peer closely at your chili. Can you easily see the spices? If not, add some more! You want them to be visible in the juices.

And that's that! Just bring it to a simmer, slap the lid on, reduce the heat to medium low, and let it simmer for about three hours. Check it once in awhile - you want it to be bubbling, but not going TOO crazy. If you want to simmer it longer, just add extra water as needed so it doesn't burn.

 There ya go! Easy-peasy. And check out those fall decorations.

Serve with grated cheddar, sour cream, and fritos!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Friendship Swap

I love sending off packages and receiving them in the mail!

If you do too, a lovely lady named Kristin is holding a Fall Friendship Swap, where you'll be paired up with another blogger to exchange fun autumn-themed package!

Click the link if you want to sign up :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The one thing I don't like about Burbank...

I like Burbank alot. It's fairly quiet, it has some cute little boutiques and a bakery that looks like a train station, and it has lots of trees on the side streets.

But there's one thing I don't like about it.

Milt and Edie's.

Every time I drive down Alameda Boulevard, I get excited, because I think it's a cutesy retro ice cream parlor.

And then I'm very disappointed, because I realize it's a dry cleaners.

(Not that I have anything against dry cleaners. It's just not ice cream, you know?)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Good Eats: My favorite salad dressing!

Does anyone else love Smitten Kitchen?

I'm sure you do.

Everything she makes is SO DREAMY.

Plus, her toddler eschews grilled cheese sandwiches for savory truffle cookies.

(He's a very sophisticated toddler.)

What's not to love?

One of Deb's recipes that I use most often is this easy Napa salad with buttermilk dressing.

It's just delicious. It's crunchy. It's light. It's tangy!

I've made the original recipe for several parties and get togethers, and it's always a big hit.

Here's the recipe directly from the Smitten Kitchen Blog:

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 pound Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
6 radishes, diced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced diagonally

Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in chives.
Toss cabbage, radishes, and celery with dressing.

Today, though, I decided to beef up the salad so I could pass it off as lunch. (Colton is sometimes a little put off by what I would call a "Light Lunch". He would call it an "Appetizer".)

I kept the original dressing recipe and poured it over a sort-of cobb salad consisting of:

-Red Leaf Lettuce
-Diced Radishes
-Celery  (It was a little limp, so I left it out, but I'll put it in next time!)
-Crumbled crisp bacon
-Diced chicken tenderloin
-Minced fried egg

It was delicious. And I think that it passed (barely!) for lunch :)