June 8, 2009

Ha! Right?

I’m really tired.

I have been having this internal struggle because I really want to go eat at La Fiesta but I know I shouldn’t because 1) I will feel gross 2) sometimes they sing there 3) we’re better off saving our money for more exciting, higher-quality meals in the next few weeks and 4) it’s right next to a liquor store where you can build your own six pack of delicious beers and that would just be more money spent. But sometimes you just really want that oily cheese that congeals like hard shell on the beans.

So, anyway, I was going to make enchiladas or burritos tonight, but when I came home and actually looked at the tortillas I had, I realized that they were way too small for any kind of wrapping or folding. So, I improvised and made a casserole out of it. Just as good and, bonus, Matt had a crown replaced today and was pretty pumped about eating some soft food.

If there’s anything the Moosewood Collective has taught me, it’s that black bean and sweet potato burritos are a wonderful thing. Maybe even better? Black bean and sweet potato enchilada casserole.

BBSPEC (serves 4)

you need:

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes
  • 1.5 cups (or 1 can, drained and rinsed) black beans
  • 8 smallish corn tortillas
  • spices to taste
  • red sauce – mine was 1/2 can of tomatoes, crushed red pepper, about 1/4 cup of diced onion, 3 cloves of garlic, all combined in a food processor for, I don’t know, a few seconds

and then you:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook the sweet potato(es). I did it the easy way and diced mine up and cooked them in the microwave for 6-7 minutes until they were easily speared with a fork.
  3. While they’re cooking, put some onions in a hot pan for the red sauce.
  4. When the sweet potatoes are done, mash them up with a potato masher. Not super smooth, still a chunk or two here and there. Think sweet potato casserole, not baby food.
  5. Make your red sauce (see above).
  6. Layer four tortillas on the bottom of a casserole dish.
  7. Spread the mashed sweet potatoes on top of the tortillas. You will need to use your hands unless you have some kind of magical sweet potato spreading instrument that I am not aware of. Which you might.
  8. Add a layer of black beans.
  9. Cover with another layer of tortillas.
  10. Spread red sauce on top. And an appropriate cheese if you have it. We didn’t. I was ashamed.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes.
BBSPEC and rice

BBSPEC and rice

Obviously, I made some rice. I was starving while I cooked this, and I got really nervous that it wouldn’t be enough because it’s a fairly compact little casserole. So I made some short grain brown rice cooked partially in lime juice and spiced with cumin and chili powder. And topped with some mozzarella I found when I was foraging in the refrigerator. It didn’t really go but, hey. It’s cheese. It’s a good thing I went for the rice, because I basically put my face in this bowl and inhaled it. I think I saved just enough space for one of the freezer-burned lime popsicles I found last night when I was freezing a jillion tons of black beans, though.

the breakdown

2/3 package sprouted corn tortillas = $3.14 (an estimate, and on the high side, because I’ve had this bag of tortillas in the freezer for longer that I’d really like to think about; on the plus side, they are my new favorite)
1.5 cups black beans = $.63
.68 lb sweet potatoes @ .99/lb = $.67
1/2 can diced tomatoes = $.31
1/4 cup diced onion = $.10
1 cup short grain brown rice = $1.00
2T lime juice = $.10

grand total = $5.95

So that brings the price per serving to $1.49. Which now seems oddly expensive to me. Forcing yourself to do math after every dinner really changes you.


Chilly = Chili

December 14, 2008

I used to be a really creative person, but I can never seem to break that out when it comes time to make up titles for blog posts.

It’s really cold here today. At least, the weather reports say it is, and I haven’t been outside at all so there’s no reason for me to doubt it. According to my weather widget, it’s about 55 degrees colder than it was last night at this time and the wind chill is below zero. The term “arctic cold front” is being thrown around.

So, when I was deciding what to make for dinner, chili felt like the obvious choice. So I made some.


This was a new recipe for me, Sweet Potato and Lentil Chili from Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. It was really, really good. I was a little nervous about the sweet potatoes, but they really are an awesome chili addition. My version was extra chunky because I forgot to buy crushed tomatoes and ended up using a few cans of diced instead.

Since I’m off exercise for a bit, I’ve been trying to keep my meals as healthy as possible. For instance, I only added one handful of cheese to this chili. Hopefully that made up for all of the Pocky I had for a “snack” this afternoon.

Okay, I think it’s time for some hot chocolate. Just to keep up with the theme of warmth.

I don’t know if you can tell, but we really like chili.

December 7, 2008

This new WordPress is fancy. I hope I can figure it out.

What’s with my weekends being less than relaxing lately? Last night I was nursing a really painful swollen knee and trying to read through the pain when I heard a familiar scratching sound. In our bedroom wall. So. gross. Let’s hope it goes away quietly and there aren’t any more rodent run-ins.

I’m refusing to live in fear this time around, though, so I did manage to cook dinner. We had a bunch of pesto leftover from our pasta the other day, so I decided to use it. So, we ended up having chicken chili with pesto.


I was a little nervous but this turned out really well. So well that I even packed some of it for my lunch tomorrow, which never happens.

We went grocery shopping today for the first time since before Thanksgiving. It was beautiful. Matt tried to convince me that we could go for a few more days, but I was out of ginger snaps, so that wasn’t happening. Plus, last night I used up the last of our acceptable foods to make breakfast for dinner:


That’s a spinach and goat cheese frittata with sweet potato “home fries.” Kind of a stretch, I know.

Other food- and drink-related highlights from the last few days include: mushroom and goat cheese pizza for dinner before our final class event of the semester, new  Trader  Joe’s  gingerbread coffee that came in the mail as an early Christmas gift, and a big piece of delicious ice cream cake.

And now I’m off to watch some basketball, clean, eat ginger snaps, and otherwise avoid acknowledging that it’s Sunday night.

Soul food

October 17, 2008

Last night before our class event, I had dinner at Donna’s with a few other teachers. She had the day off work and slaved over a hot stove for hours to prepare this delightful meal for us:

Black-eyed peas with spinach and mustard greens, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat cornbread. It as awesome – I’m already planning to make that cornbread for Thanksgiving. She also made an experimental fruit salad with a spicy dressing:

It was really good had quite the kick from some of those seeds you see there. I have to recommend Tara’s interpretation of the meal, which is far more impressive than mine, I must say.

It was just what I needed to power me through a two and a half hour musical. Maybe Donna will post some recipes for us in the comments.

I would share a picture of tonight’s dinner, which is cooking as I write this, but I bet you know what a frozen pizza and salad bar salad look like. We’re about to head out to our first basketball event of the season, so I opted out of cooking. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get the inspiration back.

Okay, it’s hoops time!


May 26, 2008

Yesterday, we registered at Target and I got to live my lifelong dream of walking around with a scanner gun thing and selecting everything I might possibly want. Seven cutting boards? Check. Sheartoku? DONE. Then we had a tornado watch last night, along with some nasty storms and a really creepy looking sky. The watch went into effect right after I got home from the gym, so I made a quick dinner to fortify us in case of emergencies.


With bulgur, chicken, black, beans, and tomatoes. And a salad on the side with mixed greens, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and a cumin-lime vinaigrette. I also had a fruit bar, because it was really hot.

The tornado never came, and I spent the night reading In Defense of Food. Which was interesting, but didn’t blow my mind. I’d imagine that most people who would be inclined to pick this book up feel similarly and aren’t all “Go-gurt isn’t just yogurt??? WHAT???” Still, it’s interesting to think about all the crap that’s in the food most people eat. I thought about it again when the kids bagging my groceries today were all “that’s a lot of vegetables.”

Yes. That’s a lot of vegetables. That’s why I’m going to live forever. Like in Fame.

I had a really long list of things I wanted to get done today, but then Matt talked me into acting like I was actually on vacation. I resisted until I realized that there was a Law and Order marathon on, and then I decided he was right. I’ll probably regret it in about five minutes when I walk into the kitchen and see all of the dirty dishes from dinner. And also, later this week when I have to wear pajamas to work and pretend they are real clothing as all of my regular clothes are dirty or embarrassingly wrinkled.

This afternoon, we finally watched Breach, which was underwhelming. There’s something about Ryan Philippe that makes it really hard for me to take him seriously. Is it his hair? His resemblance to Justin Timberlake? His entire role in Cruel Intentions? I don’t know.

Then we had a cook-in for memorial day, because 1) we don’t have a means of cooking out and 2) it was storming. We had veggie burgers, spinach, and sweet potato chips:

See how I am always creating these incredibly imaginative meals that are like nothing I’ve eaten before. The last time I had this exact meal, it was a black bean burger. And it was on a bagel square. This time, a Mushroom Lovers’ burger. On an English Muffin! I like to keep you guessing.

Oh yay, another lightning storm!

Let’s call this… Sunday night

May 4, 2008

I woke myself up sneezing at four different points during the night (I also tried to wake Matt by groaning loudly and stomping around to get tissues so that he could sympathize with my pain and comfort me, but it didn’t work), but I didn’t actually get out of bed until 10:30. As you can see, I am a highly motivated individual. Since then, I have: gone to the gym, gone to the storage unit for more fans, gone to three different grocery stores (I have special needs), caused a scene at the Starbucks in the first grocery store by having the gall to use a gift card, looked at magazines at Hastings and confirmed my suspicion that Martha Stewart is somehow behind them all, cooked dinner, eaten dinner, and watched several episodes of Seinfeld. Including that one with the valet who has such bad B.O. that nothing gets the stink out of the car. It gets me every time.

We had those Veganomicon black bean burgers again, with some spinach and roasted sweet potato chips.

You will notice that I have yet again violated the vegan sanctity of the black bean burgers by adding cheese.

I had every intention of cleaning tonight after dinner, but when I got home from the gym this afternoon and Matt had already cleaned the whole apartment. Because he is made of goodness and light. That is also why he is in the kitchen doing dishes while I am blogging and watching a horribly depressing show about the top ten kitchens in the United States. Every single one of them is at least twice as big as our entire apartment. Oh wait, now it’s a different show about some couple buying a house, but there’s a catch – they have to stay under $625,000 dollars. HOW WILL THEY DO IT???

This is why I never watch HGTV. Matt said I should watch the kitchen show, because it would give me something to aspire to. But really, what more could I want? A kitchen with a normal floor instead of remaindered carpet? More than three and a half square feet of counter space? A refrigerator that doesn’t stink?

Dare to dream.