Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Start of a New Collection

If you remember, I lost a box of books that I loved.  They were books mostly from when I taught, and the ones I read over and over to my students.  Chris Van Allsburg, Auntie Clause books, Cranberry Thanksgiving...just to name a few.  One book was from my elementary school librarian, The Second Witch, I loved that book.  I read it so many times in grade school, the librarian gave it to me when I graduated from high school.  I read it to my class every year.  It was gone. And I cried (I know you are surprised).

Well, I got home and there was an envelope from my dear friend Suzanne.  Inside was a copy of The Second Witch.  I couldn't believe it.  Of course I cried again.  I don't know why I love this book so much, but I do and I am so thankful to have it back.  I reread it and put it someplace safe in my office.  I am considering a safety deposit box for it (really).

How blessed am I that I have such thoughtful friends that go out of their way to bring joy to my life.  I can't imagine how or where Suzanne found this, I am so thankful to her that she did.  Suzanne, herself is a gift.

Now, if that gave any of you ideas, there was this box of diamonds I lost...

1 year ago:   Rain Days and Hot Chocolate Peppermint Affogoto
2 years ago: Loaded Bread Boule

January 29, 2014   Daylight 6 hrs. 38 min. 8 sec.  Temp. H 18/ L 7°F

Monday, January 27, 2014

Costa Rica

On the suspension bridges.  I couldn't look down or I would lose my lunch!  Notice the death grip on the side of the bridge?   It rained on us the first 7 days.  No wonder sloths have plants growing in their fur.
We are home from our vacation to Costa Rica.  We had a fabulous time, enjoyed the warm weather, the rain, the beach and hot sunny weather, and the food.  I took over a thousand pictures (that is only 100 pictures a day) but thought I would only share a few with you.  I'm saving to go back!

The view from the suspension bridge. This is the canopy of the rainforest.

This moth was the size of a quarter!  Sunning himself.

Dancers before lunch.  

Iguanas on the top of a tree.  

The Beach.
A friend on the beach.

One of our many beautiful hikes.

A curious monkey during a walk through a national park.  He really was this close.

Dave found a new friend.

Tropical flower.
The kids did a good job keeping the dogs alive.  The Bboy started classes and it stayed above zero the whole time we were gone.  The East coast is freezing and buried under snow, and Fairbanks had to close schools because of the warm temperatures and freezing rain.  It was unsafe to drive busses.  It amazes me how different each environment is.

1 year ago:   Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese Flatbread
2 years ago: Saturday Morning Coffee with Donna

January 27, 2014   Daylight 6hrs. 24 min. 52 sec.  Temp. H 28/ L18°F

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Little Break from the Cold....

I'm not home today, or this week.  We are in Costa Rica on a tour.  I'm very excited, my husband has even called me unbearable.  He laid down the law in November and said I wasn't allowed to talk about the trip again until Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and my Birthday had passed.  I think I was perseverating just a little.

It is not really my fault, I've been planning this trip for YEARS...really.  When the Bboy was in high school, he went  with a high school group.  I was going to go along, but while I was at a conference for work the summer before, someone (I won't mention any names, curly haired boy) wrecked my van and I had to replace it.  I couldn't afford the new vehicle and the trip, so I didn't go (I'm sure much to the Bboy's relief).

So, then I planned on going 3 years ago...three years ago.  But something (Dave) got in the way.  Then two years ago, but Dave had just changed jobs and he didn't have enough vacation time to go to Costa Rica and moose camp, moose camp won.  So this year I told him I was going, with or without him.  It would be fun if he went, but I would have fun without him, he went.

So. we are in Costa Rica.  I'm enjoying the sun, the animals (except the spiders) and the beaches.  I'll share pictures when we get back.

1 year ago:   Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese
2 years ago:  Roast Beef Salad Sandwiches

January 20, 2014   Daylight 5 hrs. 39 min. 44 sec.   Temp:  I don't know about Fairbanks, it's warm in Costa Rica!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Birthday Soap Ball

For my birthday, the Baby boy gave me this lovely gift, with instructions...
Just because he is not smart enough not to eat his bath soap ball, doesn't mean I'm not smart enough to know better.  But, just to be safe, he did give me these instructions.

The "No gain holiday Challenge" didn't work out for me so well.  Um, yea I gained, donated my $$ to those skinny bitches  lovely friends that have some willpower, and celebrated with waffle brownies.

I saw this several years ago on t.v. (I think Rachel Ray) and there was a blog she was talking about where the blogger waffles everything!  Brownies, sandwiches, hashbrowns, mac and cheese... the list goes on, but it has been a couple of years since I looked.  You just have to go to "the google" (sorry, family joke) and search 'blogger that waffles everything' and you get The Waffleizer.
This is my mom's hand-me-down waffle iron.  It is huge!  I can waffle 4 full size sandwiches on this at once.
I made these at work that year, and put the waffle iron away.  I thought it would be fun for the Bboy and the chick, so we celebrated my success with 1) not eating my soap ball and 2) eating everything else so I lost my $ in the challenge.

Yes, I know how to make healthy choices....just not today (or last week, or last month...).

Waffle Brownies

Your favorite brownie recipe or mix
I used Baker's One Bowl Brownies, from the pkg. of unsweetened Baker's Chocolate

1 pkg. (4 oz) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high for 1 minute, stir, then 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating until chocolate is completely melted and mixed well.  Stir in sugar.  Blend in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour and nuts.

Heat waffle iron.  Spray with cooking spray, or brush lightly with melted butter.  Pour about 1/3-1/2 cup brownie batter on bottom and close lid.  Cook until batter is cooked or according to your waffle iron's directions.

I topped the kids' with cool-whip since they are dairy free.  I topped mine with ice cream...the low calorie kind. (As if)

1 year ago:  Lemon Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce
2 years ago: Homemade Marshmallows and 45 below

January 17, 2014   Daylight 5 hrs. 9 min. 24 secs.  Temp. H 23/ L 21°F

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weaving Bacon

As a teacher, everyone always talks about the three R's, reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic...which I never really got because two of those words are spelled and/or pronounced wrong and as a teacher don't you want to correct that?

So, I live by my rule of the three B's...butter, bacon, and beer.  Everything is better with at least one of the three B's. :)  A combination is even better.

I try to make a little easier on myself by having one night a week be soup and sandwich night.  Not Dave's favorite night for dinner, but I thought I could change his mind with this.  BLATs with bacon weaves.  It was really easy and he loved it.  Bacon will never be the same for us.
Cut bacon strips in half and weave
See how easy that is!
Place on a foil covered cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 15 min.
Flip bacon over and bake for another 10-15 min. or until your degree of desired crispiness.
Drain on paper towel.
Add to your sandwich.
Bacon in every bite!

Bacon Weaves

each weave needs three pieces of bacon, cut in half.

Lay three 1/2 pieces next to each other.  Weave the other three 1/2 pieces into the first three.  Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes.  With a spatula or tongs, turn the bacon over and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until the desired crispiness is achieved.  Drain on paper towels.  Enjoy.

1 year ago:   Orange Pound Cake
2 years ago: Packer-tini

January 15, 2014   Daylight 5 hrs. 9 min. 24 secs.    Temp.  H 5/ L 1°F

Monday, January 13, 2014

Baked Brie with Pecans and Apricots

January is my birthday month...I celebrate all month.  I drink champagne, I go to lunch and dinner with friends, I have special nights at home to celebrate get the picture.
So, I invited some friends over for drinks and another celebration and made this snack, apricot-pecan pastry wrapped brie.  I love this.  I like to bake it about 45 minutes a head of time so it cools enough to be warm but not ooze all out when you cut it.  It is also the easiest thing in the world to make.

So, if you are interested, come over  have some champagne a snack and help me celebrate my birthday month.  We have weeks left to go!  And by the way, I decided I was dyslexic and I'm 25 now.  (I think I'll be dyslexic for a couple of years but then it won't work in my favor so I won't have that problem anymore.)

Baked Brie with Apricots and Pecans
Because it is my birthday and I like it this way
1 wheel brie cheese
Simply fruit apricot jam
1 cut pecans, chopped
1 sheet puff pastry dough

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Unfold puff pastry and roll with rolling pin to soften fold marks.  Cut top rind off cheese.  Top with chopped pecans and apricot jelly.  Fold pastry dough over top and seal with a little water.  Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes until pastry dough is cooked and golden brown.  Let cool 45-60 minutes before cutting, or cut immediately and the cheese will ooze all over.

1 year ago:   Coq Au vin
2 years ago:  Corn Bread and plugging in your car

January 13, 2014   Daylight 4 hrs, 57 min, 56 secs  Temp: H --27/L -38°F

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lobster Bisque

We have some consistent visitors in the winter, a couple of moose.  Usually it is a cow and her calf but this year it is two cows, they look like they might be a couple of two year olds.

Our neighborhood has a Facebook page.  We keep track of the moose so no one sends their kids out to play or to the bus stop and unexpectedly gets surprised by these animals.  They are very large and can be dangerous if startled or feel threatened.
Not so good a picture, but one moose coming around the corner of the house.

So these two cows were bedded down for the night in our front yard.  The Chick was amazed they were right next to the house, their backsides against the window in the kid's t.v. room.  The next morning they were still in the yard, chewing on the trees before they moved on.
She sees me and is holding very still...deciding if she should run or come trample me.

I couldn't bring myself to cook the moose burger I had planned for dinner, so I made this instead.  It was a request from my brother-in-law, and he bought the lobster - score!

Lobster Bisque
adapted from Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen, online
·       1 tablespoon unsalted butter
·       1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
·       6 cloves garlic, smashed
·       3 carrots, roughly chopped
·       2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
·       2 red onions, roughly chopped
·       1/2 teaspoon sea salt
·       Freshly cracked pepper
·       1 ounce brandy
·       1 cup good white wine
·       6 cups organic vegetable stock
·       1/3 cup tomato paste
·       1/2 teaspoon fresh peppercorns
·      4 cooked lobster carcasses, chopped
·       2 bay leaves
·       1 sprig fresh thyme

·       DARK ROUX:
·       1 stick unsalted butter
·       1/2 cup all-purpose flour

·       1 cup heavy cream
·       1/2 teaspoon saffron

·       2 tablespoons unsalted butter
·       4 cooked lobsters, meat only

For the lobster broth: Heat a large soup pot on medium and add the butter, olive oil, garlic, carrots, celery and onions. Add the sea salt and some freshly cracked pepper and saute for about 8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the brandy and burn off the alcohol. Pour in the white wine and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, tomato paste, peppercorns, lobster carcasses (keep meat for later), bay leaves, and thyme. Top of with water, just enough to cover the shells. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. 

For the dark roux: Heat a small saucepan on medium. Add the butter and flour and whisk continuously until amber in color and nutty smelling, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. 

For the bisque: Using strainer and cheesecloth, strain the lobster broth into a medium pot. Add the dark roux, heavy cream and saffron and mix. Let reduce on medium-low heat until thick, another 15 to 20 minutes. 

For the lobster meat: Heat a big pan on medium-high and melt the butter. Add the lobster meat and saute until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Spoon the lobster meat into a big bowl, ladle on the lobster bisque. Enjoy

1 year ago:  Vodka Martini for a hard week
2 years ago: Grapefruit Pound Cake and Sunday Dinner

January 10, 2014   Daylight  4 hrs, 41 min, 37 secs.   Temp. H -10/ L -25°F

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chili Rubbed Pork Roast with Spaghetti Squash

This might not be a big deal to some people, but I had to cry about it twice yesterday...and one of those times was in public, with Donna, after I surveyed the surrounding tables about needing alcohol in our coffee (maybe I need a "feel sorry for Donna tag"), but I digress...

I have had a box of books.  They were my most favorite books, mostly from teaching.  All my Chris Van Allsburg books, my Auntie Clause books, the book The Second Witch, my elementary librarian gave me because I read it so many times throughout grade school, and the Cranberry Thanksgiving books that were going to be heartlessly discarded because I was the only one in the school checking them out (and the librarian gave them to me because I was going to cry about it), they were all in this box in my office.  

Well, last summer we worked on the office.  Removed the wall paper, painted the walls, shampooed the carpet, replaced the window...then before the kids came home we cleaned out the closet, re-arranged and re-organized.  

Well, the Bboy was telling the Chick about one of our favorite books, The Z was Zapped and the wonderful illustrations in the book.  I told them about my favorite Chris Van Allsburg book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.  I bought that book before I was a teacher, I saw it in the window of a small bookstore in Deerlodge, Montana and it was calling to me.  I had to buy it, and it opened the world of exceptional picture books and Chris Van Allsburg to me.  I have cherished it ever since.  So, I skipped into the office to pull out my box of favorite books to share with the Bboy and the Chick, so happy the Bboy loved Chris as much as I did (he remembered the books from first grade!).  The box wasn't there on the floor, as it had been for the last 4 years since I moved out of my principal's office.  I searched the closets, the dish room, the bedrooms.  Mason began to help me with the search, we could not find the box.  I texted the Seattle Chick, hoping that I sent her the books, nope.  We looked again, nothing.  I couldn't understand what I could have done with them.  I had my Auntie Clause book from that box, I read it in December at a school, but I couldn't find the box or the rest of my treasure (I'm sitting here crying right now, how dumb is that?).  

The only thing I can think of is that we had it in a pile in the garage when we were working on that room and it accidentally got in the "go to donations" pile and now they are gone.  I am heartbroken.

I know they are just books, and they can be replaced, but my first Chris Van Allsburg and the Second Witch from elementary school were special...

So I did what I do when I'm upset, I cooked.  I hoped a big hunk of protein would help me remember what I did with those books.  If you are in a second hand store and find any of my missing books, there is a reward out for the safe return of my babies.

Chili Rubbed Pork Roast with Spaghetti Squash
recipe from Taking on Magazines and Family Circle

§  1 spaghetti squash (about 3¾ pounds)
§  1 tablespoon butter, melted
§  1½ teaspoons ground cumin
§  ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
§  ¼ teaspoon salt
§  2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Roast Pork
§  1 tablespoon chili powder
§  2 teaspoons ground cumin
§  1 teaspoon smoked paprika
§  ½ teaspoon salt
§  ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
§  1 center-cut boneless pork roast (2 lbs)
§  2 teaspoons canola oil

1.     Heat oven to 350. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. In a small bowl, combine butter, cumin, paprika and salt. Brush butter mixture onto cut sides and into cavities of squash. Place squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour ¼ cup water into pan. Roast at 350 for 1½ hours or until squash is fork tender.
2.     Meanwhile, make roast pork. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Place pork on a sheet of wax paper and apply dry rub to meat evenly, patting so rub adheres.
3.     Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, browning on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer meat to a roasting pan. Place pork in oven with squash and roast until internal temperature reaches 135, about 40-45 minutes.
4.     Let pork rest on cutting board under tented foil for 10 minutes; let squash stand on baking pan for 10 minutes. 
5.     With a fork, scrape flesh of one squash half into a serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro. 
 Slice and serve with spaghetti squash.

1 year ago:   So Long to a Good Friend
2 years ago:  Chicken Soup

January 8, 2014   Daylight 4 hrs, 31 min. 26 secs.   Temp. H 7/ L 1°F

Monday, January 6, 2014

Plain Chocolate Fudge and Losing June's Coat

So, I'm not husband likes plain fudge.  Nothing special, no nuts, no marshmallows, no peppermint, just chocolate fudge.  He really doesn't have a sweet tooth except for plain fudge.  So once a year I make a batch of plain fudge, just for him, with nothing in it. BORING...but I'm not judging.

I really owed him this fudge this year, for several reasons.  First, have you met me? Second, I got him into trouble with his mom.  There aren't any other reasons, there doesn't need to be.

Dave's mom and brother go to Hawaii for the month of November.  They have a condo, the BIL golfs every day and the MIL sits in the sun and enjoys a break from Alaska's cold weather.  Dave and I enjoy a break too miss them terribly while they are gone.  Well, this year when Dave dropped them off at the airport, the BIL took the MIL's coat and put it in the car.  They don't need a coat in Hawaii and Dave can bring it back to the airport when he goes to pick them up.  Dave got home, hung the coat up and didn't think about it again...keep in mind this was at 5:00 am on a Saturday and Dave is not a morning person, he actually forgot about it.

Well, at the end of the month Dave went to pick them up at the airport, and stopped by the MIL's house for a coat, he only found an old one.  He brought it to the airport and the MIL was not happy.  She wanted her regular coat.  Dave explained it was the only coat he could find.  Where was her regular coat, she wanted to know?  Dave had no idea, and we proceeded to look...for weeks.  Dave asked if this coat I had given the chick to wear when they moved in was the MIL's coat.  No, I said, I bought two coats last year when the chicks came up to visit over the holidays.  We kept looking.  I decided the MIL wore the coat on the airplane and left it there, forgetting it in the overhead bin (um, people do it all the time...and then they have to buy a new one and feel sad that the beautiful tree pin was on that coat, and it was a friend, yea a friend of mine did that once).

Finally, after the MIL was really upset, and Dave had told her we would buy her a new coat, and I was just drinking more, Dave had the great idea to look at the pictures from last year's Christmas to determine which coat was which...

I had given the chick the MIL's coat...oops. (See the chick wearing the MIL's coat here)

We were very excited that we could give the coat back, the MIL was happy, and all was well with the world yet again.  Dave was a little I made him fudge.
It is a very easy recipe.  I think I'll make it on a regular basis for him, as a pre-emptive move on my part. He really does deserve it.

Easy Chocolate Fudge

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 12oz. pkg. chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate - your choice)
1 tsp. vanilla
Optional mix ins: nuts, candy coated bits, mini-marshmallows, small broken pretzels pieces - but not if you are making it for Dave

Line a 8X8 pan with aluminum foil, butter foil generously.  Leave edges hanging over the edge for easy removal.

On low heat in a medium pot, heat sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips until completely melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and add vanilla, mix well.  Pour into prepared pan.  Let cool completely, about 2 hours or more.

Remove fudge from pan with aluminum foil handles, cut into squares.

1 year ago:    New Cookbooks 
2 years ago:  Surprise Birthday Party

January 6, 2013   Daylight 4 hrs, 21 min, 57 secs.  Temp: H 21/ L 10°F

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tattoos and Crock Pot Chocolate Nuts

So, with the Baby boy and his chick home for the holidays, we have been re-living a lot of family stories.  This must be "pick on the Bboy week" since he did eat the bath ball from his stocking.  So we were telling stories about him.

One of the stories is about when he was a senior in high school.  He gave me a call one day before Christmas and asked if he could come see me at work.  I told him yes, expecting him to ask for money for presents.

I was a principal at the time and he showed up at my school.  He came into my office and was obviously nervous about something.  So, thinking he was going to ask for money, I said, "Just spit it out Mason, what is up?"

And then he shut my door.

I never shut my office door.  I worked with lots of kids, and the door always stayed open, I even had a basket of rocks in front of it to keep it open.  But he moved the basket and shut the door.  I knew it was serious.

The thing that flashed through my head was: "Oh my, he got his girlfriend pregnant.  Don't be upset, what is done is done, we have to come up with a plan now, why did I spend all that time talking about birth-control and abstinence, don't be mad, you can't change anything and he needs to be able to work with you and not get defensive."  I tried to keep my face as neutral as possible and said, in my calmest voice, "So, what is going on?"

"Mom," he starts, "Don't be mad......(big breath)..... I got a tattoo."

"A tattoo?  Is that all?"

"You aren't mad?" he asks.

"NO.  Oh thank God, no one is pregnant."

He starts to laugh, and I do too because I am so relieved that no one is pregnant!

So, the tattoo takes up the whole left side of his chest.  It is the outline of Alaska with the words "Go Big" in the middle.  I don't care.  It is covered by his shirt for a job interview, it is not profane or have naked girls on it, AND no one is pregnant.  A total win as far as I am concerned.

"Mom," he askes, "Will you help me tell my dad?"

"Nope, you are old enough to get a tattoo on your own, you are old enough to tell your dad on your own." (He waited for his big brother to get home from college and had him around when he told his dad!)

So these crock pot chocolate nuts are delicious.  They make a big batch (Go Big) if you need to take them someplace or make goodie bags for something.  They really don't take any work for something so good.  I got this from my friend Michelle's Facebook post and adapted it for what I had at home.

Crock Pot Chocolate Nuts
adapted from Just a pinch and thanks to Michelle for posting on Facebook

16 oz. unsalted mixed nuts
16 oz. salted mixed nuts
1 12oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 12oz. bag milk chocolate chips
1 10oz. bags peanut butter chips
2 16 oz. bags vanilla candy coating

Layer all ingredients into large crock pot, starting with nuts.  Turn on low and cover.  Stir after 11/2 hours.  When completely melted, about 2 hours, mix well and spoon mixture onto parchment covered cookie sheets.  Let cool completely, at least 1 hour.
I made 96 candies with this amount.

1 year ago:   Dog Sledding
2 years ago:  Birthday Resolutions and Carrot Martinis

January 3, 2014   Daylight 4 hrs, 9 min, 10 sec.   Temp: H /L °F

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili and Eating Soap on Christmas

Every year something happens at Christmas that marks or labels it for the following years. We have the "Joe thought his bumper for the truck was a gun case" Christmas, the "Riley under the Santa skirt" Christmas, the "Santa brought all the boys condoms" Christmas, and now the "Mason tried to eat soap" Christmas.

I found these bath balls on Amazon.  They had a Poke-Mon toy in the middle.  You put the ball in the bath, it bubbles and when it is dissolved, a little toy pops out.  Two of my boys were obsessed with Poke-Mon so when I saw them, I got two.  I mailed one to the curly haired boy and stuffed the other in the baby boys stocking.

Christmas morning we opened stockings, the Bboy and the Hippy boy laughed about the gobstoppers they got.  They talked about the giant jaw breakers they had as kids and how they would eat them for days, until their tongues were sore.

After presents, we got busy with the day, I headed to the kitchen to start bread for dinner and everyone else started putting presents away or playing games.  Mason came out the the back bedrooms with a funny look on his face.

"What's going on?"  I asked.

"I ate the giant jaw breaker and it was soap."  Mason holds up the tiny Poke-Mon character.

"That wasn't a jawbreaker, that was a bath salt ball."  I started to laugh.

"Now you tell me."  he whines.

And so he told up this story.

"I decided to unwrap the jaw breaker and eat it.  I opened it up and took a lick.  It tasted really salty.  The package was all in Japanese so I thought it was some kind of preservative that made it salty.  I licked it again and it was terrible.  So I got my tongue really wet and gave it a big lick to get past the preservative layer.  The ball started to bubble and foam and I had a mouth full of soap!  I dropped the ball into the bathroom sink and ran water to rinse my mouth out.  The ball bubbled, foamed and dissolved and this little toy came out.  It is a bath soap!"

We were laughing so hard we were crying.  The Baby boy ATE his bath ball!

This Christmas will forever be known as the Christmas that the Bboy ate soap.

I made this chili.  It is full of flavor: spicy with sweet potatoes and beans.  The perfect thing to get the taste of soap out of your mouth!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
adapted from Sunset, Dec. 2013

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped,
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 lb. sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 in. dice
1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 can (14 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper

diced avocado
fresh cilantro leaves
sour cream
lemon or lime wedge
tortilla chips

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes and cook, stirring until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.  Add chipotle chile powder, cumin, and coriander and cook until spices are fragrant, about 10 seconds.  Stir in beans and broth and partially cover.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are soft and chili is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle chili into 4 bowls.  Top with cilantro, avocado, sour cream and crushed chips.  add lemon wedge to juice over the top before eating.

1 year ago:   Sundried Tomato and Blue Cheese Layered Torte
2 years ago: Chocolate Aztec Cakes and DeSanta-tizing the House

January 1, 2014   Daylight 4 hrs, 1 min, 46 sec.   Temp. H 8/ L -2°F