Monday, January 28, 2013

Super Bowl Line-up

I’ve played softball my entire life. I played volleyball for years. I played basketball in middle school (I never scored once in the two years I played, but I did win a half-time 3-pointer contest once). I was a cheerleader and dated the quarterback (I went to the smallest high school on Earth, so that probably doesn’t mean what it does at big schools, but feel free to picture a Friday Night Lights/ Tim Riggins scenario…Texas forever).

You would think I’d be a sports-minded individual. But, regardless of how much time I spent on the field or the court, I’m the girl that yells touch-down at a soccer game, doesn’t know what 1st down means (is that even a thing?), and pulls muscles warming up for recreational kick-ball. What I lack in ability or knowledge, I make up for in competitiveness and spirit.

In high school, I always won the spirit award. That pretty much means that I’m the most committed and determined player out there, even though I can’t score a point to save my life. I’m the same way with watching sports. I want my teams to win… I want them to win so badly that I scream until I’m hoarse and I literally feel sick if we lose. But if my teams aren’t playing, then I could care less.

The Seahawks lost a few weeks ago, and then I stopped following football. I don’t even know who’s playing in the Super Bowl. I don’t even know if I’ll watch it. I do know that I’ll make some delicious snacks, wear sweatpants, and drink beer. I think the grown-up version of the spirit award goes to whoever makes the best chicken wings.

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If you want to get in on some of that spirit, here’s an award winning line-up. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Aperitivo de Frijol {Mexican Bean Dip Fondue}

Mel and John did tons of traveling around the southwest before Amanda and I came along. My dad was a traveling phone man. I think he installed telephone systems for businesses, hospitals, and the like. There was a whole lot of 'em, traveling phone men. My parents always talk about so-and-so from the telephone business. Some of John's dearest friends were fellow phone-men. They hopped all over California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. They lived in hotels and trailers and tiny apartments, and made friends from all kinds of crazy walks of life. Some of Mel's dearest friends were people she met at stops along the way. Their stories from that time were legends in my house when I was growing up. Like the time Mel lost her top every time she dove into the otherwise unused pool at one of their stops, only to learn–after days of swimming–that the inside of the pool was a 2-way mirror… with a big giant window right into the local bar full of old men. Or the time when they had to buy beer from a secret window in a tiny dry town in Utah. So many stories about the people they met, the food they ate, the adventures they had. Foot loose and fancy free, those crazy kids. 

At some point along the road, Mel picked up a deep, unrelenting love of Mexican and southwest flavors. She also picked up some amazing recipes. Her red chile pork tamale recipe came from a lady they rented an apartment from in a tiny town in California. And this recipe I'm sharing with you today–Aperitivo de Frijol–is from a cookbook a fellow traveling phone-man gave Mel in a tiny town in Arizona. 

That cookbook is great. It's spiral bound, has a hand-drawn picture of enchiladas on the cover, and is full of great recipes–the greatest being Aperitivo de Frijol. My family has busted out this cheesy bean dip recipe for years. Move over 7-layer dip. Seriously. Beans, green chile peppers, cheese, all slow cooked to gooey, super amazingness. It might not be the prettiest bean dip you've ever seen, but hot damn, it tastes so good! 

Aperitivo de Frijol 

4 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled (include the drippings too!)
4 cups refried beans (canned or homemade)
1 can black beans, drained)
1 cup chopped green chiles (canned or roasted & peeled)
1 large onion, diced, or if you don't like larger pieces of onion, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 pound grated sharp cheddar (reserve a half cup)
1/2 pound grated jack cheese

Add everything except cheese to slow cooker. Cook on low for 3 hours. Add all but the reserved half cup of cheese, and cook for one additional hour. You can serve a few ways. The original recipe says to serve in a fondue dish with the remaining cheese sprinkled on top. You can also just keep it in the slow cooker and have people ladle up their own serving–perfect game day food! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting Social

Guess What!? Loves Food, Loves to Eat has a Facebook page now! I'm hoping this will be a place to share more frequent updates and tid bits from around the internetz, and keep the conversation flowing between blog posts and real-time comments! Head on over!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Peanut Butter Coconut Instant Oatmeal

Guys, I think its intervention time. And not the show Intervention, because that would totally defeat the purpose. What I need is a serious TV intervention. I stream everything on Netflix and the internetz, which means hours and hours (and hours and hours and hours…and hours) of entertainment. Evan and I blew through the first season of Downton Abbey last week, and I somehow also managed to knock out a season of 30Rock at the same time. You know things are bad when Lady Mary, Liz Lemon, Mrs. Patmore, and Kenneth the Page are all running around in your dreams every night…together. That makes for a really weird night of sleep. I mean, can you imagine Liz Lemon sitting down for dinner with the Crawleys?

Somehow, in between all that, AND my day job, I managed to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner each night. Women today, we can really do it all. Individual portions of homemade instant oatmeal help.

Obviously adding hot water to oats (voila, breakfast!) is nothing new. But, I was inspired by one of these instant oatmeal cups. And thought to myself that I could do that much cheaper for myself, if I could only solve the peanut butter issue… you see, if you want to make a bunch of these bad boys ahead of time, actual sticky-gooey peanut butter might complicate things.
Luckily, you can now buy POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER. That’s right, POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER. Best. I was eyeing this crazy concoction at the grocery for a while, but it wasn’t until the oatmeal inspiration struck that I decided to go for it. It seems pricey (compared to regular peanut butter), but it goes so much further! If I was really into math, or even semi into math, I’d calculate how much each portion of this instant oatmeal would cost. Since I’m not super or even semi into math, you just have to trust me that you can get way more bang for your buck packaging your own instant oatmeal than buying those spendy little pre-made cups.

I make mine in little sized mason jars, because I have a million of them, and you can add hot water right to the jar. The ultimate grab & go breakfast! I’ve also packed it up in little mini sandwich bags, then just dumped into a bowl when I got to work. You could even try mixing up a giant batch and just using a scoop each day, but I’m not sure if all the goodies inside would distribute evenly. It’s up to you, my friends. The world is your oyster. Your peanut buttery oyster. (Definitely something that would wind up on the Lemon-Crawley joint dinner table!)
Peanut Butter Coconut Instant Oatmeal
1/2 cup quick oats
1.5 teaspoons powdered peanut butter
1.5 teaspoons desiccated coconut
1.5 teaspoons coconut palm sugar (you could really use any sugar, brown would be good too!)
1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips
Pinch of salt & cinnamon
Optional add-ins: dried cherries, slivered almonds

Add everything to jar. Before making, give it a good shake, then add hot water to just about an inch over the top of the oatmeal, and stir. Sometimes if my water isn't hot enough, I give it a few seconds in the microwave.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Another New Year

It’s crazy to look back and see how much has changed in one year. Sure, 2012 was a lot like 2011—weddings (not mine), babies (not mine), and great vacations (mine all mine!).  But, remember last January, when I wrote about how stressed out I was at work, and how much fun I missed out on by working non-stop? Well, it took almost a full year after writing that to make a change. So here I am, ringing in the new year with a new job and a lot less stress. Feels good, man.

So, last year’s theme was to not waste time. This year, my theme is to be awesomer. That’s right, I didn’t say more awesome, I said awesomer. (adjective) The act of being your most impressive self. That’s my theme: to be my most impressive self. Feel great, do great, look great… be great.

Step 1 in my 2013 theme: eat right. Ok, so everyone has some health related resolution, old news, I know. And I definitely think we should resolve to eating healthy every month, not just in the new year. But ya know, we all need to reset sometimes, and I think January, right after all that holiday indulgence, is the time to do it. So to go along with my new year's theme, each January I have a goal for the month, a way for me to reset and really focus on being healthy. In the past this has included giving up booze, meat, and sugar/baked goods for the month. This January my goal is to bring my lunch to work the whole month. I tend to get caught in the take-out rut for weekday lunches, which tends to drain the heft from my wallet and add it straight to my thighs. 

So this month, it’s all homemade sandwiches, salads, and leftovers for this gal.
Switching from weekly lunches of sticky sweet teriyaki, cheesy burritos, and spicy gyros can be tricky, so I wanted to start off right with fresh tasty food that would get me stoked to eat my homemade lunch. That’s why I made this super chunky and thick hummus—it’s really simple, substantial enough to fill a sandwich, and delicious enough to keep me from straying. 

Super Thick & Chunky Hummus
Inspired by Evan's dad's recipe!

2 cans chickpeas, drained (around 4 cups)
1 cup tahini 
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon parsley (dried, or finely chopped fresh)

Add half of the chickpeas, the tahini, lemon juice, and sesame oil to food processor and blend until pureed (don't worry about getting it super smooth). If needed, add a splash of olive oil to make blending easier. Taste, and add salt as needed. Lightly smash second half of chickpeas with a pastry blender, fork, or other smashy tool (barely smashed). Stir together with the rest of the hummus and the parsley. Enjoy with crackers, veggies, or add a hearty spoonful to a sandwich. 

PS: Top 12 of '12! 
Some of these were the most visited posts, and some were just my favorite to write, eat, or photograph in 2012. 

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