Wednesday, March 30, 2011

World Famous Black Beans

I feel like I haven't posted in forever! Which is kind of odd when you think about it, but whatever. I've had an insanely crazy week at school. There's only a little more than a month left though so I'm trying to keep my head down and plow through it. I'm never taking six classes again. It's a bit horrible.

Anyhoo, here is a quick recipe for a simple black bean side dish. We had this with Baja Style Fish Tacos and they were absolutely perfect. We're bean lovers in this house so I'm always up for a new take on an old favorite.


This recipe comes from Elly Says Opa (title all hers) and I didn't change a thing. It's perfect just the way it is.

Would I make this again? We're actually gonna have some nachos using this recipe tonight.

World Famous Black Beans


2 tsp. canola oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 fat clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 – 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
squeeze of fresh lime juice (optional)
sliced scallions or chopped cilantro (optional)


1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and add the canola oil. Once shimmering, cook the onion until translucent. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaf until the garlic is fragrant and the tomato paste has cooked off a bit, about 30-60 seconds.

2. Add the beans to the pan and using a wooden spatula, smash about half of the beans. Stir in the chicken broth (start with 1/2 cup and you can always add a little more if necessary), chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld and most of the broth has been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.

If desired, squeeze a little fresh lime juice over the top and sprinkle with scallions or cilantro.

Source: Elly Says Opa

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Holi 2011

Instead of this week's 365 pictures, here are some pictures from the Holi celebration we went to today at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah.


Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vogue Paris October 2010

Is it strange that I'd love to be dressed up like this? There is something about all that drama that speaks to me. And it is just me, or does that look like a Vulcan Jesus?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quote: Friendship

Friends, originally uploaded by JDConway.
“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.” —Jon Katz
As I've gotten older I've started to understand and practice this a lot more. I've been too quick to walk away from people in my life. I'm lucky that I have a few really good friends I've had for ever, but there are still friendships I regret letting go of so easily.

Baja Style Fish Tacos

I'm not a big fan of seafood, but I was craving fish tacos something fierce. I ended up with a super tasty dinner by combining two different recipes. Served with a simple black bean dish on the side, the only thing that could have made this dinner better was a large margarita.


I know these pictures aren't too exciting, but these tacos are delicious. Make sure you warm the tortillas so they don't break and I've found layering two tortillas works best. I only used one pound of cod (half the price of halibut) and I had a bunch left over. Easily enough for 4-6 people. Also, the onion in the sauce is the perfect way to have crunch without using cabbage (not a fan). Try it.

Would I make this again? I know I always say yes, but that's just because I try to only share recipes I love. And this is definitely one to love.

Baja Style Fish Tacos


Fish Tacos:

Oil, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
2 pounds skinned halibut cut into 5 by 1/2-inch strips
Freshly ground black pepper
Corn tortillas
avocado, sliced

For sauce:

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup thinly sliced white onion

Beer Batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup dark Mexican beer*


1. For the Beer Batter: Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually add in the beer while whisking. Set aside and let the batter rest for 15 minutes before using.

2. For the Sauce: Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine jalapeño sauce and onion in a small bowl.

3. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add enough oil to reach a depth of 1-inch. Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F or when the end of a wooden spoon sizzles when inserted into the oil.

4. On a large plate, combine the flour and salt. Season the fish pieces all over with salt and pepper and coat with the flour. Working in batches, dip the fillets in the beer batter and coat on both sides. Fry in the hot oil until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

5. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish, onion mixture, and avocado evenly among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.


Source: Cooking Light and Marcela Valladolid

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Run It Up the Flagpole (what I wore)

This outfit shows my love for the 90s pretty well doesn't it? What can I say? They wore cool clothes and made kick ass music. Also, I'm of the mindset that knee/thigh-highs make everything better. I just can't help myself.

Copy of IMG_6871
Shirtdress - Walmart
Black under shirt - Lane Bryant (forever ago)
Jean shorts - cut up Lane Bryant pants
Knee-highs - Target
Boots - F21
Sweater - Lane Bryant
Jacket - F21

I also have this dress in black. I love them both and totally want to kick myself for not getting the jean looking one. For some reason I can't button this one all the up, but the black one is just fine. It's weird.

I was inspired to make that three panel picture after seeing this pic. I really like it. Don't be surprised if you see me doing it often.

365 Project: Week 10

This week was spring break for me and I got to enjoy it by doing mostly nothing except read and lounge around. It was lovely.


Ryan's grandparents came to town so that was nice too. I was also finally able to get my hair a more manageable color. The first time I tried to dye it auburn it looked exactly the same, but I've finally wrestled it into submission. Also, Ryan shaved our dog. I laughed so hard the first time I saw him. Since Ryan hadn't finished his head it looked like his head was like five times too big for his body. Can't wait for his fur to grow back out.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Music Thursday

New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Free Love by Cage the Elephant:

Only video I could find.

Eyes On Fire by Blue Foundation:

When The Lights Go Out by The Black Keys:

Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) by Flo-Rida:

One Life Stand by Hot Chip:

Wolf and I by Oh Land:

How great are they? And this live. Wow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

Is there anything better than a stuffed mushroom? I don't trust people who don't love mushrooms. Shifty characters I say. Okay not really, but these are great. They are right up there with group favorites like Classic Deviled Eggs (with relish) and 7 Layer Bean Dip. These are perfect for company or an accompaniment to a simple pasta dinner. Yum.


I used Ina Gartin's mushroom recipe as a guideline since I tend to make my mushrooms a little different each time, but this dish really evolved over time. When I first started making stuffed-mushrooms, I simply filled them with spicy sausage and topped with cheddar cheese. Since then, my mushrooms have evolved right along side my cooking...prowess (that sounds silly doesn't it?). As always, use whatever it is you like. When I have some sherry or Marsala on hand I love to add a splash to the mushrooms and sausage (wine and mushrooms were made for one another), but it definitely isn't necessary. And I know it seems kind of weird, but there is something about letting the mushrooms slightly cool before adding the cheese that makes them better. I don't know if it's because it gives the juices times to redistribute or if it's just my imagination, but it makes a difference.

Would I make this again? Family favorite.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms


16-20 extra-large white mushrooms
1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage, removed from the casings
3 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup panko crumbs
2-4 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
Splash of Marsala wine or medium sherry (optional)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside.

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. While the sausage is cooking, remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Add a splash of wine and cook until evaporated.

2. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, add the cream cheese and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the cheeses, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.

3. Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 30 minutes.

4. After 30 minutes, pull the mushrooms out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top of the mushrooms and put them back into the oven until the cheese is melted, 5-8 minutes.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Animal Mary Janes

Aren't these just the cutest flats ever? The application was a little messy, but the idea is golden. I have to make some myself. I think I've even seen this style of flats at Walmart before.

You can find the tutorial here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

That Bridge Is On Fire

I should be studying for the biology test I have to take today, but I seem to have spent all morning listening to the XX and browsing tumblr. That twix bar I had for breakfast also isn't helping.

I have such lovely problems.

Please don't say we're done
When I'm not finished
I could give you so much
Make you feel, like never before
Welcome, they said welcome to the floor

It's been a while
And you've found someone better
But I've been waiting too long to give this up
The more I see, I understand
But sometimes, I still need you

Sometimes, I still need you
Sometimes, I still need you
Sometimes, I still need you
Sometimes, I still need you
Sometimes, I still need you
Sometimes, I still need you
Sometimes, I still need you

I was struggling to get in
Left waiting outside your door
I was sure
You'd give me more

No need to come to me
When I can make it all the way to you
You made it clear
You weren't near
Near enough for me

Heart skipped a beat
And when I caught it you were out of reach
But I'm sure, I'm sure
You've heard if before

365 Project: Week 9

I had a busy busy week. My big communications presentation was due and our group was scrambling last minute to get everything pulled together. Luckily we totally aced it and now I can stop stressing about it. I also aced my foxtrot test and got %100 on my biology essay. Yup, I'm a champ.


The weather was a tad crazy this week too. Tuesday it snowed, but then there were a few nice days that tried to sneak right by. Crazy Utah. I also bought a new couch that I'm super happy about. It was a pain to move it though. Unfortunately Ryan was out of town so I got stuck doing some heavy lifting. I tend to avoid physical exertion like the bubonic plague, so I didn't enjoy that at all. The end result was very much worth it though. I even had friends over to show it off. That shot glass was given to me by my friend when he stayed in New York one summer.

In other news, I didn't grease my bundt pan well enough and my cake wouldn't unmold. Sad times.

Hope everyone had a good weekend though! Just for fun, here's a better pic of my new couch:


This is the only picture I could find of my living room before. It's not entirely accurate since I had a different coffee table (still white and square though) but it's close enough.