Black Bean and Potato Nachos

Few things move me like nachos do.  

Sad?  Care.  Which is just a simplified way of saying I don't even care.  


OK.  I'm done having an attitude now.  I guess without realizing it, I've stayed a little longer than needed in the thug kitchen.  

So, this little dish came about after discussion with my good buddy, Win.  Win isn't a 1/7 vegan but she is one of my running buddies so she's pretty affected (effected?) by what I eat.  We both agreed that this dish could be loved by 1/7 vegans and non 1/7 vegans alike; that's pretty solid if you ask me.  

My first experience having nachos with a potato base was Fat Tuesday of this year.  It was the night before Ash Wednesday and I was all set to give up french fries for Lent.  A group of us went to Webster's for dinner, that's where the idea came to me!  

Me:  Um.  Can I have the macho nachos?  But with french fries instead of chips? 

Server:  Yeah, I don't see why not?     

Me (always feeling like I need to give excessive details in all situations):  Yeah, well I'm giving up french fries for Lent.  So....

Server:  Oh, so you don't want french fries? 

Me (this is getting awkward): No, well Lent starts tomorrow, this is Fat (Shrove) Tuesday so I'm good.  

Server (now she's awkward):  Oh, Ok.  Yeah.    

To make a long story (full of excessive details) short, the french fry nachos were beyond a hit.  People were jealous and there was talk of them becoming a regular menu item.  These french fry nachos weren't quite the same as the ones at Websters but they were pretty solid.  Would they have been more solid with that white cheese sauce?  Probably.  But I wasn't having white cheese sauce that day.  

What's cool, though, is that avocados can give that little hit of creaminess that sometimes you need when you are being a 1/7 vegan.  You could also make a cashew cream sauce but who has time for that?  Not I, said the fly.  Not I.  

Black Bean and Potato Nachos
adapted from Oh She Glows 

For the potatoes:
2 medium baking potatoes cut into wedges
1 tbl melted coconut oil
Kosher salt, black pepper, chili powder to taste 

For the black bean mixture:
1/2 tbl olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder

1 avocado
green onions

Preheat the oven to 425.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (Important!  I didn't do this and my potatoes stuck like all get out) and toss the potatoes, coconut oil and seasoning.  Bake for 15 minutes. Flip potatoes and roast for another 15-20 minutes.  

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil.  Cook the onion, garlic and pepper for about 8 minutes.  Stir in the black beans, chili powder, cumin and salt and cook for another 5 minutes.  Set aside until ready to use. 

Prepare your toppings.  

To serve layer 1/3 of the potaotes, 1/3 of the black bean mixture and 1/3 of the toppings on a large plate.  Enjoy a few tortilla chips on the side if that's your style!

Serving size 1/3 of recipe
Points plus 10      


Cilantro Pesto

At first glance, this might look a little nursty, which is kind of like nasty but said with more attitude. 

The same attitude, in fact, that one just might find over at the Thug Kitchen.  Have you checked out the Thug Kitchen?  It uses language to describe vegan recipes that would make a sailor blush...quite clever if you ask me.  Using shock value to jolt people into awareness of what they are eating.  Well played, Thug Kitchen, well played.

I whipped up this cilantro pesto on one of my vegan days.  I had it, along with some black beans and an avocado, wrapped up in a flour tortilla.  I think it would also rock with some pasta or maybe even a crudite.  I don't know.  Get crazy.  Let your hair down.  Life is entirely to short to not experiment with your pesto.     
Cilantro Pesto
adapted from Thug Kitchen

1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup slivered almonds
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbl lemon juice 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend.  

Serving size 1 tbl (makes 20)
Points plus 1  


A Few on Friday

Here are a few things on this lovely, lovely Friday:

1.  I know that 'ole Lulu Lemon's message can be a bit skewed at times and I know that they had that see through pants debacle.  BUT here's a video about the Africa Yoga Project that I really enjoyed watching.  Empowerment and remembering that we have a choice is good stuff, regardless of where you are, who you are, and whether or not you can see through your yoga pants. 

2.  I ran across this article from NPR recently that is all about activities that can beat back dementia.  Here's a pretty sweet quote:

"Putting it all together, Kramer jokingly suggests that the best advice might be to join a book group that walks and drinks red wine while talking about the book. Red wine contains antioxidants, Kramer notes. You'd be discussing a stimulating topic with good friends while exercising your body. "How can you beat it?" he says. "It's got all four!""

Since the main focus of my work is geri-psych I found this article to be extremely interesting.  Read the full article here.  No time like the present to start making healthy changes!! 

3.  Guys.  I have so many appetizer recipes to share with you.  Next week, its happening.  

4.  If BBH could talk the third thing he would ask for, behind some ham and for me to stop singing to him, would be that we get a bigger car. 

5.  Happiness in salad form is the Nola Salad from Nola in Indianola (whew, lots of Nola happening there) with its blackened chicken and its apples and its candied pecans and its mandarin oranges and its blue cheese and its red onions and its sweet dressing.  Stop it

Why am I telling you this?  Because I want to recreate it at home and needed a safe place to write down what's in it.  And I'm eating it as I type.   

Crunch, crunch crunch.

Hope everyone enjoys themselves this weekend!  Be well, have fun, thanks for reading!! 



Woohoo Wednesday (Breaking Your Addiction to Negaive Self Talk)

While cruising the Facebook over the weekend, I ran across this article.  Give it a read:

Two Step:  Breaking Our Addiction to Negative Thinking.  

It's a mother load of good information, not necessarilyly new stuff but good stuff.  The author talks about setting a fierce intention to not focus on negative thinking and to reset yourself when things start to go all grey (gray?) skies up in that brain.  Not to be forgotten is that ever important concept of not beating yourself up about being negative but instead using all that energy that went to the bad and putting it towards something good.  Like trying to make yourself look like this chica:

Boho tunics. by naida

You know...all surrounded in light and smiling and content and shiz.  In a flowy tunic top. 

Hee hee, haa haa, snort....I'll probably never seem all surrounded by light and shiz BUT I can set a fierce intention to focus on positive rather than negative thinking all while remembering that we're probably OK right now.  This practice will for sure help me to put more good energy out than bad which is one of my ongoing goals at this time.     

All of this reminds me of the old saying that I used to hear when I was an intern at an adolescent treatment center:  

The problem's not the problem, it's your thoughts about the problem.   

Sally forth, dear friends!  Remember, you are not responsible for the first thought that pops into your head but you are responsible for whether or not you continue to dwell on it.    


An Earth Day Garden

The planting of B and LMAM's garden is just another example of the beauty of perfect timing.  The Delta's rainy spring has pushed us back and pushed us back to where yesterday was our first opportunity to plant.  What was yesterday? 

Earth Day.  

How cool?  We planted our garden on earth day!  

You know what else was yesterday?  The fitting of my temporary crown.  OK so that part wasn't very cool but it did have me available to start planting a little bit earlier, droopy face and all. 

Here's a peek at our little plot of land:
Landscapers cloth with soaker hoses snaked underneath.  That little guy poking through is a blueberry bush.  Don't worry, we've got a second so they can do their thing and cross pollinate.  

The loot:  Tomatoes (Cherokee purples, grapes, better boys (or maybe big boys?  It's starting to all run together)), cucumbers, eggplants, peppers (jalapeno, banana, red bell, green bell, chocolate bell, yellow bell), okra, squash, zucchini squash, strawberries. 

Up close and personal:  I'm really looking forward to this guy. A chocolate beauty bell pepper.  

We can't forget our garden mascots:  
 Jack the Beagle!

And you all know Big Browne the Akita.  Might I add how lovely he looked up next to Brantley's flowering trees.  As Win said "he's a spring like his Mama."  Speaking of Win, she and Malone and Brandon were also gardening mascots but I didn't snap any pictures of them.  

Since this is my first vegetable garden I'll be documenting progress and success and failures and thoughts.  Here are a few to start us off. 

::  My partner in growth, Brantley, has two degrees in plants so that should be helpful.  She's the one that is hip to things like landscapers cloth and soaker hose.  It's also her yard so she's got a lot going for her.  Be sure to check out her facebook page and contact her for any landscaping needs! 

::  Cucumbers have to grow up things.  Like pieces of molding propped up on the fence.   

::  To grow stuff through the landscapers fabric you simple cut and X through the fabric and put the little guy in there.  Captain Obvious here, sure, but I really have no idea what I'm doing. 

::  A little bit of fertilizer was placed around the neck of each plant and then the soaker hoses were turned on to give them a good, well, soaking.  

::  Gardens should be watered in the morning or in the evening so that there's less heat to evaporate the water.  The landscapers cloth should also help with this.  

::  Worms in your soil are a good thing, means it's good and healthy.  We've got more worms towards the fruit/squash/pepper section than the tomato/eggplant/cucumber section.

::  Brantley had the coolest gardening tool I've ever seen, I'm envious of it.  I can't remember the name of it or find a picture of it but it looked kind of like a cross between a gardening tool and a weapon. 

::  We need a name for our garden.  Any suggestions? 
Here we go now!  Garden 2013!  Woohoo!  Any advice, tips or jokes you have about gardening would be much appreciated, as always. 

In closing, here is the Prayer for Agriculture from the Book of Common Prayer.  It's lovely:     

Almighty God, we thank you for making the earth fruitful, so that it might produce what is needed for life: Bless those who work in the fields; give us seasonable weather; and grant that we may all share the fruits for the earth, rejoicing in your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Dinnertime Breakfast Burritos

Hey turkeys!  Happy Monday!  

Are you on the Meatless Monday train?  If so, this ones for you.  If not, add some bacon to this dish. That's what Brandon did.  And that's what Big Browne would have done, had he been enjoying this Dinnertime Breakfast Burrito.  But he wasn't, so he just had some bacon.   

Bacon = easiest compromise ever.  Makes the men (human and hound) happy in my house.  

Cream cheese = best kept scrambled egg secrete ever.  

Allergies = on my nerves.  

Breakfast burritos = not on my nerves.  Ever.  

Oh happy day!   
Dinner Time Breakfast Burrito
adapted from Dinner: A Love Story Cookbook

3 flour tortillas
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
1/2 of an avocado, chopped
1/4 cup of shredded cheddar
2 tbl sour cream
3 eggs
1/2 oz of cream cheese
1 tbl butter

Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20 seconds.  Set aside. 

Combine the beans and the bay leaf in a small pan and heat.  

Heat the butter in a skillet, add the eggs and the cream cheese and scramble.  

Assemble the burritos as follows:

tortilla, 1/3 of the egg, beans, cheddar, avocado, sour cream.  Add some salsa and whatever other toppings blow your skirt up.  Enjoy!

Serving size 1 burrito (makes three)
Points plus 11       


A Few on Friday

Hello my friends!!  Happy Friday.  Here are a few things:

1.  Here is a lovely story kind of about the Boston Marathon Bombings but more about running the the human spirit and the power of community.  Give it a read....

Runners Dig In Their Heels:  We Can Endure A Lot

And wait!  Here's another one....

Every Step 

2.  I'm hunting an exercise crop.  For yoga, for running, for lounging.  Any suggestions?  Nothing crazy expensive either guys, sisters on a budget.  

3.  Speaking of exercise, sister Jennifer and I will be trotting in the Cotton Mill 5K this weekend.  I'm so proud of Jenny From the Block as she has completed her couch to 5K training; this will be  her first race!  Last year's CM5K was my first race....I'm glad to run it again!

4.  While we are on the topic of firsts, the Big Browne Hound had his first venture to the Tractor Supply in town this week.  He had a FREAKING BLAST and got what appears to be a dinosaur thigh bone.  Don't believe me?  See below. 
Gotta say he was a bit upset about not being able to take this mammoth thing inside. 

Aside from his bone, he checked out the drill bits, sniffed some people, and got a can of wet Taste of the Wild hound food.  Overall, he was a champ!!! 

You should probably take your hound on an adventure this weekend.  Or yourself.  Or your child.  Or your parakeet. 

5.  Anyone planting a garden this year?  I'm doing one with my good buddy Brantley but we can't seem to catch a break with this weather!!  Farmers:  I don't see how you do it.  I'm about to bust out of my pants to get my Cherokee purples in the ground, can't imagine what it's like for those of you whose livelihoods depend on this.  

6.  In honor of Heart being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, let's jam.  

7.  There are things that I am good at (making mix CDs) and there are things that I am not good at (knowing what accessories to purchase). This website recently caught my eye, perhaps it could be helpful: 

Noonday Collection

Perhaps I'll host myself a party.  Or perhaps I'll just buy some stuff.  Liiiiike:

Ruth Necklace, Turquoise and Red

Unpredictable Necklace 
find both those guys here
Tagua Seed Bracelet (Seagreen) (*Backordered*) 
find it here 

I hope this post finds you well!  Take care of yourself this weekend.  Do things that you enjoy with people that you enjoy, all while wearing your favorite pants.  Go    


Rice and Bean Casserole

Oh SNAP.  This is a good dish.  

Well.  I thought it was good.  Brandon enjoyed it as a side dish but it might be tough to convince him that it was supper worthy.  

So let's rephrase that and say oh SNAP.  This is a good vegan dish.

It's got several key players.....brown rice, black beans, green guac.  Lots of fiber and shiz to keep you full and prevent you from face planting into a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos (CRDs if you will) at three o'clock in the afternoon. It's also cheap and leftover. 

Now you just try and tell me that's not awesome.  Because I'm not even hearing any of it.      
Rice and Bean Casserole
from Eat Live Run

1 cup of uncooked brown rice
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups of vegetable broth
8 oz tomato sauce
4 oz diced green chilis 
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 350.  

In a large baking dish, combine all ingredients.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 90 minutes...no peaking!

Serving size 1 cup
Points plus 6  

For an extra point you can add 2 tbl of guac.  I went the home style wholly guacamole route and didn't regret it.   


Woohoo!!! Wednesday (Wanting What I've Got)

One lesson that I'm constantly working on is not pointing at something else and saying I WANT THAT!  

Bratty, I know, coveting things aint cool. 

But just being honest, kids.  Just being honest.  I feel like we all do a little better when we're honest, eh?  

So, the most recent situation that this lesson is manifesting itself in is my house.  I'm currently bouncing back and forth between cursing my old rental with its impossible carpets and cursing myself for being an ungrateful twit.  

What would balance in this situation look like?   
One glimpse into having a balanced attitude towards my old house occurred Saturday afternoon when I was moved by an intense urge to clean out.  It started with the sewing room and ended in my closet.  It didn't take that long but resulted in several garbage bags full of clothes and about 679 coat hangers.  

Coat hangers = the bane of my existence.

Amidst those coat hangers and garbage bags, a little shift occurredA shift that caused me to change my gaze from what I want (a newish house with no carpet and a fenced in backyard for me hound) to what I have (a roomy, cozy, hound friendly, charming, affordable little spot).   

Intellectually, I get it.  I get that focusing on what you have is much better than focusing on what you want.  However, those beautiful moments where you actually feel the power of being grateful for what you have are pretty stinkin' cool. 

Cleaning out, giving away, rearranging...they are all very therapeutic.  Getting rid of the clutter so that you can actually see what's in front of you can lead to some pretty cool revelations.  In your closet and in your life.  Bam

Examples of revelations:  wow, the light in this room is amazing!  I shall now but my makeup on in here.  And:  that basket that I was cursing for existing would be a wonderful spot for scarves! 

The greatest gift of a purge is that it reminds you that if you have things to get rid of, then you have enough.  Isn't that lovely?  Lucky, we are, that's for damn.  

If you decide to tackle a purging project to help shift your focus from what you want to what you have, might I suggest you listen to a little Alt-J.  I purchased this album over the weekend and can't. get. enough.  


Another Easy Chicken Parmesan

Well it's been entirely to long since we've talked about Chicken Parmesan on this blog, eh?  Just to catch you up, it's still Brandon's favorite and I still don't trip over myself to make it.  

I think it's the pounding of the chicken that gets me.  


And confession:  It's really hard for me to blawg about chicken Parmesan because I think I've written about it 12 times before.  

Anywho.    This chicken parm recipe is solid.  It's pretty quick, quite tasty, Brandon approved and cheesy.  But like cheesy gooey not cheesy awkward.  Boil up some pasta and throw together a salad and you will be done.  And people will be impressed.  And you'll be happy and full and ready for stretch pants.  Stretch pants, by the by, is my favorite thing to be ready for. This is probably the least surprising thing you've read all day, huh? 
I made the choice to not use any reduced fat type stuff in this recipe.  I do not regret this choice one bit, real cheese is the best cheese...that's for damn sure.  Consider this my attempt at clean eating.  We'll call it clean enough or sorta clean.  
Easy Chicken Parmesan
from Southern Food

4 chicken breast, pounded thin
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbl olive oil
8 oz jarred spaghetti sauce
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced to four slices
4 tbl grated Parmesan  

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together egg and milk.  Dredge the chicken breast in the egg/milk mixture and then dredge through breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Brown the chicken in the hot oil, about 3 minutes on each side.  Work in batches if you need to.  Transfer chicken to a baking dish.  

Top the chicken with the sauce, one slice of mozzarella each and 1 tbl of grated Parmesan.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbly.    

Serving size 1 piece of chicken
Points plus 12