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Ok ok ok… I’m sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A. lately.  I’ve been a little preoccupied with the usual stuff… Basically with life in general.  I can’t really remember what has happened in the last 10 days, but I’m sure there have been things… I hope there have been things anyway.  How lame would that be if I didn’t accomplish anything in the last 10 days??

Meh… it’s January so therefore it’s ok to not really accomplish much.  I’ve been working a lot, we’ve been trying to maintain a consistent workout schedule, we’ve been busy with friends and family, I have found a new obsession with Pinterest (I am so behind on what’s cool these days) and I’ve been very consumed by this whole “try to continue to eat ‘cleanly’ and not go out to eat hardly ever” thing.  There have been days that it’s been a challenge, but we have majorly cut back our eating out and it definitely shows in our bank account.  It’s amazing how much money you can save just from something so simple!

Oh… I know what I’ve been doing for the last few days… (I just remembered this) I’ve been addictively (did I make that word up?) watching Sons of Anarchy and this just in… Breaking Bad.  Good god… the things I have been missing in my life!  Well, I’ve always been a Sons of Anarchy fan but I started watching it at like the end of the second season so I decided to start from the beginning.  Brad and I only just started watching Breaking Bad on like Friday night (it’s now Tuesday) and we’ve watched the whole first season.  Which, hold on!  The first season is only 7 episodes so don’t get your undies in a bunch!  However, I am literally so obsessed and uncontrollably addicted that it’s all I think about.  A television show.  It’s pathetic.  I know.  You don’t have to tell me.  And I can’t wait to watch more tonight.

Ok… now that you are all fully aware of my television addictions and strange desires to watch shows about cooking meth and cancer and motorcycles and guns and high school science teachers and violence and …

Oh god.  I’m doing it again.  AH!

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Ok.  Moving on.

Let’s see.  We made these little burrito bowls like the day after we decided to stop doing CLEAN.  It definitely fits in the CLEAN program and it’s also SUPER easy so I have a feeling we will be making this many more times.  Oh!  It’s also pretty cheap too!  All you need is rice, 2 cans of beans and two avocados, a lime and cilantro!  I mean, I didn’t keep track of how much it cost, but I’m sure it’s under $15 and fed us for two lunches!  You do also need some seasoning, but I would hope everyone has garlic powder and cumin on hand.  We always have a bag of brown rice in the pantry too, so for us, it was even cheaper!

This would also be a perfect meal to use leftover rice for.  I know that whenever we make rice, for maybe stir fry or something like that, we always have a buttload leftover (wait, did I just write “buttload”?  Why yes, yes I did) and we usually end up throwing at least some of it away.  This is the perfect answer to that never ending problem!  Even if you have a little bit leftover, say like a cup’s worth, you can still pop open a can of beans and pour it on top and dollop some guac on there too and you’ll have a great lunch!  If you wanted to get really crazy, you could even wrap all of it up in a tortilla, but then it wouldn’t be considered a CLEAN recipe.  Whatever you choose, I think you’ll really enjoy this dish!

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Burrito Bowls
Serves 4

1 cup uncooked brown rice (this should make 3 cups of cooked rice)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinse
Garlic powder
Ground Cumin
Chili Powder (optional)
2 avocados
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of cilantro, roughly copped

Cook the brown rice according to the package directions.  While the rice is cooking, make your guacamole.  Mash the two avocados in a bowl.  Poor in the lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Mix together.  When the rice is done cooking, poor some in a bowl and top with beans.  Sprinkle the garlic powder, cumin and chili powder over top, along with salt if desired.  Then plop a couple spoons of guacamole on top and go to town!

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Believe it or not, these black bean burgers have been on my list to make for about 6 months.  I have bought the ingredients for them at least 3 times over those 6 months and still never got around to making them.  That is, until the other day!  I had no reason for not making them, I just for some reason never did.  I’m so glad that I finally got to it.  These things are awesome!

Now, technically these are “spicy” black bean burgers, but they are only spicy if you add the jalapeno.  However, if you are anything like me and you think you have a jalapeno in the fridge that you didn’t use the other day, when in fact you don’t…. well… they aren’t so spicy.  But they are still tasty!  They just don’t have the kick.

They are actually very simple to make.  However, I was determined, once again to not use all the required appliances in order to lessen my dish washing load.  I’m not sure what my deal is.  I get so excited to have all these awesome food processors, blenders, mixers, cheese graters…. and I love them, but when it comes down to it, somedays I don’t want to use them only based on the fact that they are more time consuming to wash.  I should really stop doing that.  Anyway… I found that they didn’t stay together super well, but I have a feeling that’s because I didn’t use the food processor to really blend some of the ingredients together so they didn’t act as much like glue as they should have… that’s my guess anyway.  So these may be more like “black bean sloppy burgers” but they still have the same awesome flavor as they would if they weren’t sloppy.

These are a great alternative to a real burger.  They are just as filling, if not more, and they are so much better for you!  They also have soooo much more flavor.  We paired them with some steamed veggies and chips and salsa.  We also topped our burgers with avocado and hot sauce.  Definitely the way to go!  Enjoy these!  They are a perfect meal for Meatless Monday!

Spicy Black Bean Burgers 
From Eat, Live, Run
Makes 5- 1/3 cup size burgers, which are pretty thick burgers

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons of water
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)
Avocado for topping
Hot sauce for topping
Olive oil (or canola oil) for frying

In a small bowl or measuring cup or mug (whatever is easiest to clean!) stir together the ground flax and water.  Set aside.

Add the jalapeno and garlic to a food processor or blender and mince finely.  Add one can of beans and pulse until combined.  Add cumin and salt and pulse more until pretty smooth.

Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl.  Add the bread crumbs, tomato sauce, corn and flax.  Stir to combine.  Add the remaining beans.

Heat a little bit of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop the bean mixture and form a patty with your hands.  Place on piece of parchment paper or foil.  Make remaining patties until you have used up all of the bean mixture.  Fry in the pan for about 4 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.  Warning!  These were pretty tricky to flip, so just be prepared!

Serve the burgers with avocado and hot sauce, maybe even some tomato and lettuce too!


This is the last of the “official vegan week” recipes.  Yea… like I said, we didn’t make it very far.  Actually, there’s a fourth recipe, but I have no photos so like I said in the previous post, I’ll just tell you it.

This tortilla soup is actually based on Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup, however, I cut out the chicken and the chicken broth to make it… Vegan!!  And if you ask me, it’s still pretty good!  I subbed vegetable broth for the chicken broth, that’s pretty much the only difference between the recipes.

The original recipe is fantastic.  It’s pretty much the best chicken tortilla soup ever (I have to say McAlister’s is a pretty close second though!)  It has lots of beans and veggies and adding a little cornmeal at the end to thicken it is key.  Knowing how delicious this soup is, I was nervous about how it would turn out without 2 of the key ingredients… chicken and chicken broth.  To my surprise though, it was fantastic!  There wasn’t a whole lot of difference really.  As Brad put it “it tastes like the same soup only I got a bowl without any chicken in it”!  I’ll take that!!

As I was getting started cutting up the veggies, I noticed that I still had a couple of ears of corn leftover from our trip to the farmer’s market that past weekend.  So instead of using frozen corn like I usually do, I cut all the kernels off the ears and used them!  It gave the soup a whole new, fresh flavor that I really enjoyed!  I just cooked the corn in the soup pot, but I’m thinking that I could have Brad grill the corn next time to get a char on it… that would really add some good flavor!  Frozen corn does work really well, but if you have any leftover corn from the night before or just want to try fresh corn, I highly recommend it!

Anyway, I think this tortilla soup is a great vegan alternative to chicken tortilla soup.  It’s just as tasty and just as filling (even more so because I added some extra beans!)  While it’s not exactly the best meal for a 100 degree day, it’s still just as delicious as it would be if we were eating it on a winter day!  There’s a good chance I’ll start making this instead of chicken tortilla soup from now on!

Oh- real quick!  The other vegan recipe is a burrito that we made to take to the track with us!  This was when we were still on our vegan diet on Friday.  It was one of the best burritos I have had it was ridiculously easy!  They were just black beans, Spanish rice and guacamole wrapped in a tortilla!  That’s it!  I’ll include a recipe at the bottom of this post, but unfortunately I don’t have any photos.  But they are so worth sharing!  They are perfect for a picnic, day at the track, or just a really quick, easy dinner!  And if you use Wholly Guacamole like I did… they are even quicker and easier!

Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup
Serves… a LOT.  Not sure how much… at least 8 servings though

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen corn)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 – 10 oz can of Rotel (original diced tomatoes with green chiles… there are 2 in the photo above but I only used 1 can)
32 oz vegetable broth
2-3 cups of water, depending on how thin you want the soup
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons of cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat.  Add the corn and cook for about one minute.  Then add the onion, green pepper and garlic.  Cook for another couple minutes.  Then add the cumin, chili powder and garlic powder, stir to combine.  Add the tomato paste and mix in.  Then pour in the Rotel, vegetable broth, water and beans.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water (about 2 tablespoons maybe?) in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Pour into the soup and stir everything together.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.  Add salt according to taste.  A couple minutes before serving, add the tortilla strips and stir gently.

Serve in bowls with guacamole or salsa on top.  Crispy tortilla chips go really well on top too!  Adds a nice crunch!

Bean, Rice and Guacamole Burritos
Makes 3 burritos

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package of cooked Spanish Rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice that cooks in the microwave for 90 seconds.  Super easy!)
1 package of Wholly Guacamole of your choice (I used the guac with pico de gallo) or use homemade guacamole if you would like!
3 burrito size tortillas
Foil

Heat the first tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to get nice and soft.  Spoon 1/3 of the beans in the middle.  Top with about 1/3 of the rice and 1/3 of the guacamole.  Fold one side over the filling and then tuck the sides in and roll over to close.  Wrap in foil (if taking it to go, but the foil also helps hold it together).  Side note: you can heat up the beans in the microwave before putting in the burritos.  I didn’t though because the burritos were going into a cooler for about 6 hours so we just ate them cold.  See!?  Couldn’t be easier!!


Oh lordy… it has been a chaotic few days at this house.  Brad has been out of town which has left me to take care of the little devils (that is… Etta and Cash).  So I haven’t had much of a chance to quietly sit down and write a post.  But I figured while there’s calm before the storm (storm meaning the whole routine I have to go through before I leave for work) I might as well try to squeeze a post in.

I wasn’t 100% sure what to call this meal, Salmon with Avocado and Orange Salsa was the best I could come up with at the moment (my brain is only functioning at probably 50% and quite frankly, I think it’s shocked that words other than “Cash NO” are formulating).

We have had this meal before and every time we have it I fall more in love with it.  It seems so strange to eat a piece of salmon with a spoonful of, essentially guacamole, but with oranges, but it is one of the better things I have ever tasted.  I originally found the recipe for this from Martha Stewart (I just realized that she calls it an orange avocado salsa too!) and we made that whole thing one night.  But it didn’t take long for us to realize that grilled bok choy is… uh… kind of gross.  I have also altered the recipe a bit because I don’t think it’s necessary to have sesame oil in the salsa.  Nor do I add salt and pepper.  But we’ll get to what I do in a minute….

If you are a salmon lover, this recipe is totally for you.  Wait, if you are a salmon AND guacamole lover this recipe is definitely for you.  You will be very surprised at how well this all goes together.  It is so fresh tasting that it just feel like summer in your mouth (no really, it tastes like that).  I like to make sure to get a little bit of everything in every bite.  Little bit of salmon, orange, avocado, cilantro and a tiny bit of red onion.  It’s amazing how it melds together so well.

Oh and thank god it’s starting to be corn season.  Well… at least close to it.  We’ve been craving grilled corn since, uh, November.

Try this recipe, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!  Oh and it’s a great weeknight meal because it is super quick.  You’ll see when you read the directions!

Salmon with Avocado and Orange Salsa
Feeds About 2

2 salmon fillets (whatever size you prefer)
1 avocado, pitted and diced
1/2 lime, juiced
1 handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 orange, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon red onion, chopped

Grill your salmon fillets until cooked through.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine diced avocado, cilantro, orange, red onion and lime juice.  Taste to make sure there’s enough lime in there, add more if you would like.

When salmon is finished on the grill, place on a plate and pour a few spoonfuls of the salsa over it.  Ta-Da!!

Told you it was quick!


Look at that deliciousness right there.  Have you ever seen anything so beautiful before?  What could be better than black beans, corn, cheese and some other tasties, wrapped up in an egg roll wrapper and dipped in an avocado cream sauce?

Nothing people.  Nothing.

I made these way back in February for the Super Bowl and completely forgot about them until this past weekend.  How I forgot, I’ll never know, but I did.  I thought they would be fun for our Cinco De Mayo themed weekend… except, we ate these on Monday so I guess that doesn’t count.  They are also “Southwestern” not really “Mexican” sooo… I really lost on this one.  I’m over it.

Anyway, these things are awesome.  They are filling enough to be a meal, but if you only want to eat a couple, they work perfectly as a snack.  You can also use wonton wrappers instead of egg rolls wrappers for mini versions of them, but that will be very time consuming to stuff and roll… just a warning.  They aren’t the quickest things to make.  I don’t want to fool anyone here.  They require a good hour from start to finish, maybe even more if you are slow like me (I feel no need to rush in the kitchen sometimes).  They are absolutely worth the time though.

I think there’s room for experimentation with these as well.  You could add salsa to the stuffing, maybe.  Or even some other beans, like pinto beans.  You could use taco seasoning instead of the cumin and chili powder. Let’s see… you could add jalapenos, green peppers, poblano peppers… the options are endless!  The avocado dipping sauce definitely makes these egg rolls as well.  It’s a little gross by itself, but somehow when you combine it with the rolls, it tastes so much better.  I wouldn’t suggest skipping making the dip, however you could definitely use salsa instead.

These are perfect for a Meatless Monday meal (like we did!) or a snack for a group of people or just the family.  I can’t wait to actually remember to make these again!

**Note:  These keep quite well, but they obviously loose their crispiness.  The egg roll wrappers sort of go back to their original texture, so keep that in mind.  You could reheat them in the oven if you want to re-crisp them, or just reheat them in the microwave, but believe it or not, they are just as tasty cold.  Just like cold pizza . . . Oohhh college . . .

Southwestern Egg Rolls
Oringinally adapted from Cakeandallie.com
Makes 25 Egg Rolls

2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1-15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-9oz package frozen spinach, thawed and juices squeezed out
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (you can add some cheddar in there too if you want)
1-7oz can of diced green chiles (use less if you don’t want to use that much)
4 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 packaged of egg roll wrappers (I find mine in the refrigerated health food section, I hear they can be found in the produce area too)

In a bowl mix together corn, black beans, spinach, cheese, green chiles, green onions, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt (basically, all ingredients other than the egg roll wrappers).

Preheat oven to 425.  Spoon the mixture (about 2-3 large heaping spoonfuls) into the center of one egg roll wrapper.  Wet each corner with a dab of water.  Fold the bottom corner over the mixture, then tuck in both side corners and rolls closed.  Repeat until you use up all the filling and egg roll wrappers.  Place seam side down on a greased, foil lined cookie sheet.  Spray rolls with cooking spray and bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping once, until crispy and golden brown.

Avocado Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons sour cream
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
2 tablespoons of milk (you might need more, just depends on desired consistency)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 green onion, chopped
Dash of salt

Mash the avocado with a fork in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.  (You can also puree all the ingredients in a blender, but that requires more dishes that what I like, I just mix it in a bowl.)  Dip finished egg rolls and enjoy!

 

Oh… and since I’m sure you are all curious, I’ll provided you with some photos of the pups.  They like getting their pictures taken… not.


Ok… so I apologize for it being a whole freaking however many days since I wrote a post.  I think the last one I wrote was Thursday or Friday.  Allow me to explain what has happened….

Brad and I may or may not have adopted an 8 week old puppy.  Ok… we DID adopt an 8 week old puppy.  I have learned that having an 8 week old puppy is something like having a baby.  Only…. you have to take the puppy outside 50 times a day and walk it 7 times a day as well.  Oh and it barks and cries and pees on your floor.  And it drinks water by the gallon.  And it tries to eat everything in sight.  Babies don’t do any of that right? . . .

So as you can imagine, it’s a little hard to focus on writing a post when you have a miniature terrorizing tornado in your house running around chewing and peeing on everything and trying to play rough with Etta.  And that my friends, is why I haven’t written in a few days. Oh wait… he just peed on the floor.  Hang on.

Ok… deep breaths.

I have still been cooking though!  Nothing to worry about there!  In honor of Cinco De Mayo, this weekend we had Mexican!  Shocking!  We loaded up on margaritas, queso, guacamole, and southwestern egg rolls (that counts right?).  SO the next 3 posts after this will probably be Mexican related!  Yay!

We make guacamole probably once a week.  Wait, maybe once every 2 weeks.  The other week we make salsa.  They are our two favorite things to eat.  You really can’t go wrong with either.  Now, I know we all think we have the best recipe for guacamole, but I have news for you.  I actually do make the best guacamole.  So… sorry, but yours probably isn’t as good as mine.

It’s terribly simple too (simple is always best).  All that’s required are avocados, tomatoes, cilantro and lime!  That’s it!  And all of that seriously makes the best guacamole ever.  You have to keep in mind though that guacamole is always best right after you make it (that’s what I think anyway).  I won’t eat it the next day because it gets all gross and brown aannnnnd I don’t like it super cold.  Room temp is best for me!  So don’t go making batches of guacamole thinking it’ll last you for the week.  Because, well, it just won’t.  But you might eat it all anyway in one sitting, so I guess just make as much as you want.

Guacamole

2 ripe avocados (not too ripe because then they are nasty and brown inside)
1 small vine-ripe tomato (those are usually smaller)
1/2 – 1 whole lime, juiced
1 big handful of cilantro, stems removed

Cut the avocados in half and take the pit out.  Scoop the insides into a bowl and mash a little with a fork.  Finely dice the tomato and add to the avocados.  Add lime juice (start off with 1/2 of the lime.  I like a lot of lime in mine so I usually use a whole lime).  Coarsely chop the cilantro and add to the bowl.  Mix all together.  Some people add salt, but I think the saltiness of the chips is enough.  That’s it!  Dip your chips and you are ready to feast!



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