That’s a Bad Smell

The seasons are changing. I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer, but I can’t help but enjoy the fall feel of the mornings. I step out outside, taken by the sharp, crisp cool air of fall rolling in. I take a deep breath. The new air smells just as crisp. Clean.
Then I step back inside. My nose automatically takes the defensive again. A position that it has taken and become quite accustomed to since I first brought Riley home. Before then, it was relaxed. Laid back. Quick to point out an offensive smell but reassured that it was a quick fix. There are no quick fixes anymore. (more…)

5-Minute Corn Salsa

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Sometimes the mood for salsa strikes, but time doesn’t allow for it. Or sometimes you just forget that you have an event to go to and need to make something quick. Neither of those happened to me, but I was still happy to have salsa in such a short amount of time, and with ingredients that I already had around the house.

5-Minute Corn Salsa

5-Minute Corn Salsa

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Dice onion. This will be the most time-consuming part of the whole dish. If you want to shave off some time, I highly recommend investing in a chopper (note to moms: you can use this and carry a baby at the same time)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine onion, sweet corn, tomatoes, chili powder, and garlic. Mix together.
  3. Add vegetable oil and lime juice. Mix again.
  4. Grab some chips and enjoy!
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Grammy’s Mac and Cheese

My mom makes the best mac and cheese. I’m not bragging. It’s just a fact. The ultimate comfort food, it has been called upon over the years to soothe heartaches and enhance celebrations. Now, for my children, it has become Grammy’s Mac and Cheese. I know the recipe. It’s an easy recipe. But it will always taste better when Grammy makes it.

Grammy’s Mac and Cheese

Grammy’s Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a medium-size saucepan. Begin cooking noodles while making the sauce.
  2. Whisk in flour until smooth.
  3. Add milk slowly, stirring with the whisk consistently.
  4. Add in small cubes of Velveeta, allowing the cubes to dissolve before adding more. You will use about 2/3 of the large box. Check for taste along the way until you reach your desired cheesy-ness.
  5. Add sauce to cooked and drained macaroni.
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Once Upon a Time a Book Was Born

Once upon a time, a little girl had a dream of being a writer—not just any writer, a children’s book writer. She loved stories and daydreamed about what it would be like to use her words to bring imaginative worlds to other children. She scribbled out tales but never shared them. She traveled to faraway dangerous lands but didn’t allow anyone to join her quests. A small, yellow, twisted, and thorny knot lay at the bottom of her heart, and it turned and churned when she thought about what others would say about her dream. (more…)

Black Bean-Avocado Enchiladas with Mole Sauce and Blackberry Margaritas

Last year, I attended a work training where I met a good-looking man who told me about a cookbook comprised of only dishes that were made of chocolate. Sounds like the stuff of every little girl’s dreams, right? Okay, maybe just mine. The thought of making chocolate part of my main meal and having it be acceptable has stayed with me since. This month, I decided to make the dream a reality with the Mexican dish Mole.

Mole is intimidating. It calls for several ingredients, not all of which you are likely to have or likely to find easily. I must confess, I cheated a bit. My biggest concern was the ancho chiles. A lot of recipes called for other kinds as well, but I couldn’t even bring myself to consider them. I knew I would have to make another trip on the weekend to a different grocery store. It was something I was mentally prepared to do until I saw it. Right there on an end cap in Kroger. Ancho chili powder. I was saved! No other grocery store, no drying of the chili or picking out seeds. Just a touch of guilt. I could live with that. I should also mention that I chose a recipe that already made the recipe simpler. But, I digress.

A touch of mom brain also plagued me on this shopping trip, and I forgot a couple of ingredients. Sigh. I made do without them, and I must say it turned out pretty good. Actually really good. I learned not to judge Mole on the first bite. With all the flavors, the taste can only be described as complex. Give it two or three bites before you really decide.

Skip to the Blackberry Margaritas

Black Bean Avocado Enchiladas with Mole SauceBlack Bean Avocado Enchiladas with Mole Sauce

Ingredients for the Mole:

6 tbsp Ancho Chile Pepper
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 small onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 oz Baker’s unsweetened baking chocolate , melted
1 cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Optional:
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground anise

Ingredients for the Enchiladas:

1 can of black beans
2 ripe avocados, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package queso fresco
tortillas


 

  1. My suggestion is to make the Mole first. It’s the most time consuming of the two. Begin by peeling the tomatoes and chopping both those and the onions.
  2. Saute onions in vegetable oil until soft. Add the garlic when onions are almost ready. When the onions are nice and soft, add the spices (not the sesame seeds). Be sure to stir the mixture consistently to avoid burning it.
  3. Put tomatoes, onions, sesame seeds, raisins, almonds, and chocolate in blender. Blend.
  4. Add spice mixture to the blender. Blend thoroughly.
  5. Done! See, gathering the ingredients really is the hardest part. Now, on to the enchiladas.
  6. Combine all ingredients in a bowl (minus the cheese and tortilla) and thoroughly mix together. Not knowing how mole would heat in the oven, I mixed mine in a pan and heated the ingredients to be sure the insides on the enchiladas would be hot.
  7. Spoon mixture and queso fresco into tortillas to create the enchilada. Place them in a long baking dish. I used small tortillas and a 9×9 baking dish.
  8. Top with mole sauce and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the mole. It will burn, which makes it even worse looking than it already does. Trust me, it tastes great!

Black Bean Enchilada recipe adapted from: Creme de la Crumb
Mole recipe adapted from: Baked Bree

Blackberry MargaritasBlackberry Margarita

Ingredients:

Blackberries
6-8 limes
1 cup of sugar
8 oz Triple Sec
8 oz silver Tequila
7 cups of water


 

  1. Muddle blackberries in the bottom of a pitcher. Add sugar and 1 cup of water. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add the juice from the limes. I have a handheld citrus juicer, which is fantastic. It gets all the juice with half the effort!
  3. Add the triple sec and tequila.
  4. Start with half of the remaining amount of water. Add 1 cup at a time until you reach the taste you are looking for.
  5. Enjoy!