Monday, July 1, 2013

Steak and Black Bean Crock Pot Chili

It's been a while since I've posted a recipe.  Life has become hectic between the kids, work, the husband and my new little  play dough business (Love Bubs Scented Play Dough- check it out!).  So, trying out new recipes have taken a bit of a back seat.

I do apologize.

A big change that has happened in our house is that Abe got braces today.  He had bite issues that was causing some issues, so after a lot of thought and consultation, poor Abe had to get braces at the young age of 45.  Brought me back to, um, middle school.

Since he can't eat and we had a defrosted steak that needed to be used up, I searched for a way to cook the steak down enough that Mr. Brace Face (don't worry, he lets me use that term) could eat.

And yes, it's the first day of July and I'm making chili.  Crazy lady.  But it was a cold and rainy July 1st, so I think I got away with it.

The chili was a hit with both Abe and the kids.  Ava actually licked her bowl and she's been hard to get any food in her belly lately.  So, that's a good sign.    The meat sort of shreds and blends into the chili and Abe said there was a good balance of spices.  

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and jalapeno, if you like it spicy.  Corn muffins and a green salad would be a yummy addition, too.

I got the recipe from

Steak and Black Bean Crock Pot Chili
Serves 6

2 lbs boneless beef cubes, for stew
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chili-style chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese

Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes.

1. Place beef in slow cooker and turn it on low.

2. Sprinkle the chili powder, garlic powder and cumin over the meat.

3. Add onion and green pepper.

4. Drain and rinse the cans of beans and add them to the slow cooker.Add tomatoes and sugar.

5. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

6. Uncover and sir in the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Garnish with sour cream and cheddar cheese.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Yummy Black Bean Soup

Image via Google

I love a good black bean soup.  Warm, hearty, tasty and I don't feel guilty if I go back for a second bowl (and then another one in the evening). 

Abe's been watching his waistline again, so after indulging in some less-than-healthy food the day before, he requested a healthy dinner the next morning.  And I happily agreed.  Until it was about 30 minutes before he was to come home and I had forgotten about dinner.  Oops.

A bit panicked, I remembered I had a bunch of black beans in the freezer.  So, black bean soup it was.  I looked around for a recipe that would be a bit different than the sometimes bland ones I've made in the past.  I hit the jackpot with this one! I think it's the best black bean soup I've made in a while.

So easy and so yummy.  The celery seed and cumin add a bit of a twist and you can spice it up or keep is on the mild side for the kids by reducing the pepper flakes, like I did.  A bottle of hot sauce at the table will let the braver ones add more heat.

Full of fiber and protein, this will stick to your ribs during a cold night.  It freezes well, too, so double up and you'll have dinner waiting for you the next time you're like me and forget to cook. 

I served with a leafy green salad.

Recipe from Melissa D'Arabian.

Yummy Black Bean Soup 
Serves 4-6

2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked black beans
1 tablespoon vegetarian (or chicken bouillon base)
1 bay leaf
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the celery, carrots and onions in the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, celery seeds and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the black beans, bouillon, bay leaf and tomatoes, and enough water to cover by an inch or two (about 3 cups). Simmer for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours, adding water if needed. Season and serve.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Product Review and Giveaway: Loeb's Onion Crunch

When I was contacted by Loeb's Onion Crunch to do a review, I'll admit that my first thought was "Oh oh, I hope I am going to like it or I won't be able to give a good review".  We're not a fried onion product kind of family.  I haven't bought or eaten it in probably 15 years.  When we eat fried onions, we do it ourselves.

The package came and smiled a bit at the very happy onion on the jar.  The jar is easy to open and shake out.  I cracked it open and shook some into my hand and into my mouth.  Um, yum.  I was fully expecting some greasy soggy onion bits.  These were light, crunchy and you could really taste the sweet onion flavor.  They weren't super salty either.

Since I'm being candid, I will admit that I put them aside for a while since I had no idea how to use them.   I mean, I could've done the classic green bean casserole that you think of fried onion product. I gave it a good faith effort and bought green beans, but in the rush of holiday and work and kids, I forgot and they went bad.  I was feeling a bit desperate to come up with some fancy dish to showcase these onions.  And I was having cooking-block.

Then finally, I thought I'd just sprinkle them on some eggs I had made.  And it was delicious.  It added a delightful crunch and flavor.  So then I tried it on my soy dog.  Yummmm.   I even tried it on a sandwich and again, it added a subtle onion fried goodness with a great crunch.  I convinced Jimi to try it on his eggs and after an initial "Really??", he was sold and enthusiastically nodded a yes when Abe asked if it was good.

I've sprinkled them on the frozen veggies I've made for dinners.  I'm going to try it on salads.  I bet they will add a yummy texture element (see, there's the foodie touch you've been looking for!).

They are simply onion, palm oil, wheat flour and salt. Crunchy yummy goodness.

Check them out to perk up a lot of your dishes!

*I have received a sample of this product to review, but have not been compensated.  My opinion is my own.*

Now, time for a giveaway!!  Want to try Onion Crunch for yourself?  Enter to win!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Best Meatloaf

Courtesy of

I'll admit.... I'm not really a fan of meatloaf.  I mean, before becoming a veg-head, I'd eat it when my mom made it. I always covered in tons of ketchup to make it palatable and only ate it because the wrath of my mom wasn't worth risking.

As a wife and mom myself, I never really consider making it.  I tried it once a while ago and it was a disaster.  So, when I was, yet again, panicking at 3:00 about what to make for dinner, I surprised the heck out of myself by thinking "Hey, frozen ground beef.... MEATLOAF!"  Abe even had a pause of surprise in his voice when he called to ask what was for dinner.

I found a recipe that had a lot of great reviews and seemed to have a lot of flavor to it and wished for the best.

It was a huge hit!!  Abe's exact words were "Wow, this is.... great!"  Jimi gave me a thumbs up while munching away and went back for a second serving.  Adam told me it was yummy.  Ava played with her food, like usual, and then begged for a yogurt once the dishes were done.  That's another story for another setting....

I messed up slightly with the seasoning, so I'm going to write the recipe the way I made it.  Base recipe is from

The recipe calls for patting out a free-form loaf instead of using a loaf pan.  My limited experience with meatloaf seems to agree. I just put it on plastic to keep the bits together and smushed out the shape best I could (throwing away the plastic, of course).  I resisted the urge to add more binders, as I knew that would make the loaf more dense. 

Oh and don't be like me and forget that you need to defrost the meat before making the meatloaf.  I rarely make anything with ground beef and it's always tacos which can be defrosted as you cook.  Oops.  Thankfully the microwave did a good job of defrosting on the spot.

The Best Meatloaf

1 tablespoon butter
3 celery ribs, finely chopped 
1/2 large onion, finely chopped 
2 pounds lean ground beef 
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (or any kind of breadcrumbs with some Italian herbs added)
1/3 cup ketchup 
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (I used Cajun as that's all I had)
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce (I used spaghetti sauce)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ketchup 

Melt butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat; add celery and onion, and sauté 7 minutes or just until tender.

Stir together celery mixture, ground beef, 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into a 10- x 5-inch loaf; place on a lightly greased broiler rack.

Place rack in an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Stir together remaining 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon ketchup until blended; pour evenly over meatloaf, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until no longer pink in center. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Asian-Glazed Chicken Thighs

What was just a throw-together "Oh my god, dinner is coming up and I have no recipe!" moment turned into what Abe titled as One Of My Best Chicken Recipes, Ever.     Top 3, he said.  Sweet and slightly spicy and yum.

Hey, I'll let him think I carefully perused the recipes to find just the perfect one for him.  Sometimes, the best results come from accidents.

He had to stop himself from eating all 8 chicken thighs.  I had to pack them away for lunch,

I had to modify the recipe for what I had at home, so I'm going to post that recipe since it was the winner.

Base recipe found on

Asian-Glazed Chicken Thighs
Serves 4

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 tablespoons Asian chili garlic sauce
3 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt to taste
8 skinless chicken thighs

Whisk the vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, garlic, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Pour half the marinade into a large plastic zipper bag; retain the other half of the sauce. Place the chicken thighs into the bag containing marinade, squeeze all the air out of the bag, and seal. Shake a few times to coat chicken; refrigerate for 1 hour, turning bag once or twice.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Pour the other half of the marinade into a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, to thicken sauce. Remove the chicken from the bag; discard used marinade. Place chicken thighs into a 9x13-inch baking dish, and brush with 1/3 of the thickened marinade from the saucepan.

Bake 40 minutes, basting one more time after 10 minutes; an instant-read thermometer inserted into a chicken thigh should read 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Giveaway Time!

Giveaways are everywhere lately, it seems.  I've come across one that I thought some of you guys might be interested in, so I had to share it!  It's not food related, but it's a great one!

Anyone with a baby nursery or a child's room has seen the beautiful wooden wall letters that spell out the child's name or an inspirational word.   They add a lovely and personal touch to the room.

Pink Taffy Designs, a baby boutique, is hosting a giveaway where you can have a chance of winning a set of wall letters, valued at $23.99 per letter!  I know I'd love a set of these in my kids' rooms (hint, hint). :)

Entry is simple and I'm adding a link to the contest right below.  Just click and you're all set! The contest runs for the next couple of weeks.

Hope you win!  Come back and make sure to tell me if you did.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 22, 2012

Garlic Hummus

Abe is the breakfast cook in this house.  I cook the vast majority of dinners, but if there's a weekend breakfast being whipped up, you're likely to find my man at the stove.  It's a girls' dream. :)

One of his famous breakfasts is his garlic hummus.  It was taught to him by his mother, who was taught by her mother and so on.  Middle Eastern cooking at its finest.  When I first saw him make it, I was surprised to see him boiling the chickpeas right in the can on the stove.  While I convinced him to start doing it in a pot, he still makes it sometimes like that.

The recipe is in Abe's words.  It will be some of the yummiest hummus you'll ever have (those are my words).  Make it for breakfast, a quick dinner or anytime!

Garlic Hummus

1-3 cloves fresh garlic
Dash of cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can of chickpeas  (or equivalent dry chick peas, soaked over night in water)
1 tablespoon plain yogurt

Bring can of chickpeas to a boil.

Grind the garlic in a food processor.  1 clove minimum.   3 cloves gives a fairly strong garlic flavor (more than that can be certified Garlic Flavor). Add tahini, salt, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil.

Using a straining spoon, add the chickpeas.  Save the liquid from the chick peas.

Add the contents of the pot to the food processor.  After initial grind, add tablespoon plain yogurt.
Continue food processing, slowly adding liquid from the chick pea boil until you get your desired consistency.    Be careful, once you get too liquidy, it is tough to go back...

During final processing, one could add flavors....fresh parsley or fresh cilantro, or even roasted peppers.

Serve on plate, adding a dash of paprika if desired, but most definitely a table spoon or two of olive oil.