• Food

    Cuban Braised Beef with Avocado

    A few weeks ago we found a trail off the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Apparently, it connects to Jordan Lake and its secret status allows for afternoon frolicking with the dogs without running into boy scouts or super-mom joggers.

    It’s almost abandoned and private property-like (don’t worry, mom… it’s not), so there’s plenty of opportunity for fun and make believe farm playing,

    treasure collecting,

    and October swims.

    Ahhhh…. bliss.

    What better way to top off an afternoon like this than with BEEF! Manly, farm style beef… with a cuban twist… and add some avocado… okay maybe it’s not SO manly, but it’s GOOD.

    Recipe for Cuban Braised Beef (adapted from Real Simple)

    • 1 lb steak (any cut, doesn’t need to be expensive)
    • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
    • 1 large white onion, quartered
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1 cup water
    • 3 cups brown rice, cooked
    • 1 avocado
    • sour cream

    Cut steak into strips and sear in the bottom of large pot with peppers, onion, and garlic. When beef is beginning to brown and vegetables are softening, add cumin and pepper flakes. Add water and bring to a simmer before covering and letting cook on low for at least an hour. In the meantime, prepare rice.

    When beef is shreddable, pull apart with the fork and let sit in juices while you get everything else together. Layer braised beef and vegetables on top of brown rice. Top with generous chunks of avocado and a drizzle of sour cream.

    special shout-out to young house love. I know how much you guys love this placemat!

    What’s up with everyone lately? Do you ever eat Cuban food? Empanadas, perhaps?…

  • Recipe

    White Chicken Chili

    While I hate hype, I do love fall. I am just as guilty as all the other suckers who squeal when they put on that first sweater and sip a warm latte on a cold morning. It’s a wonderful feeling and I can’t deny it.

    A wise friend once told me that things were cliche for a reason. As my fall-birthday-sister, with whom I sadly will not be celebrating this year, I knew she was right and go back to this when I find myself fed up with other’s cliche-ness. Instead, I try to embrace the natural good feelings that we all get and come to terms with the fact that just because everyone else feels one way, doesn’t mean I need to feel the opposite.

    ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO FALL!!!

    Beautiful colored leaves, boots, layers, flannel sheets, hiking in hoodies, whiskey beverages, and chai! Anyone who doesn’t like SOMETHING on this list is lying… or very hot in nature and might not enjoy extra-warming things.

    AND of course, you can’t forget the doozie. It may be last, but it is certainly not least.

    Chili.

    Good, hearty, nourishing, warm chili. This chili recipe is something a little different. It’s a white chili with chicken and poblano peppers. It is one of the best I have made and also one with the fewest amount of ingredients, which is something I strive for. No need to make things more complicated than they need to be.

    Recipe for White Chicken Chili

    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
    • 2 large poblano peppers, diced
    • 2 jalapenos, diced
    • 1 lb ground chicken
    • 2 cup chicken stock
    • 3 cans navy beans
    • 2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded

    Sautee garlic and onion in large stock pot until fragrant. Add chopped poblanos and jalapenos, remove seeds if you want things less spicy. When peppers begin to soften, add chicken and cook until there is no pink.

    Add chicken stock and beans and turn stove down to low. Let simmer on stove for a minimum of 1 hour. Add cheese and enjoy!

    *Like most, this chili gets better and better the longer it sits. Time and patience pay off, grasshopper!

    What are your favorite comfort foods for cold weather??…

  • Food

    Now What?

    There are endless possibilities with pumpkin seeds. You can make them spicy and savory, cinnamon and sugary, or even just plain and salted. With a thriving rosemary plant on the porch, I figured I’d use what I already had and toss my pumpkin seeds in rosemary and olive oil.

    Recipe for Rosemary Pumpkin Seeds

    • 3 cups raw pumpkin seeds
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 generous pinches of salt
    • 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

    Toss ingredients and bake on a sheet pan at 275F for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown.

    These might just rival the beloved tamari almonds. What do you do with your pumpkin seeds?…

  • Recipe

    Pumpkin Layer Cake

    You know what’s really cool? Putting vegetables in desserts. Treat yourself and your family this weekend and whip up this super easy pumpkin cake.

    Recipe for Pumpkin Layer Cake

    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup butter, melted
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 2 cups pumpkin puree

    Recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 1 lb powdered sugar
    • 2 tbsp vanilla extract.

    Whisk together sugar and butter with bread. Add eggs one at a time and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking powder. In three additions, add to wet mixture, mixing well between each addition. Finish by folding in pumpkin puree.

    Pour batter into two 9in round cake pans and bake at 350F for about 40 minutes.

    Let cool, remove, and ice with cream cheese frosting.

    Directions for Cream Cheese Frosting

    Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Slowly add sugar and vanilla extract and beat until desired consistency and sweetness.…

  • Recipe

    Bacon Fig Pizza

    nana nana ni na naaaa. What? I heard Will Smith is making a comeback.

    anyway…

    A friend gave me these figs at work (hi Jeremy!) and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. I once heard a recipe for bacon figs and thought they would be great on some pizza.

    I just roughly cut up about half a pound of bacon and fried it up. When it was basically done, I drained most of the grease, tossed in some halved figs and tossed ’em around for a few minutes, smashing them up with the back of my spatula.

    While this was going on, I had the pizza dough doing its thing in the oven. When it was a light golden brown, I took it out and topped it with the bacon and figs, and few leaves of spinach, about a quarter of a red onion, half a can of diced tomatoes, and plenty of goat cheese. I popped that baby in the oven for an about 10 more minutes and voila. figgy pudding pizza.

    what do you do with figs?…