Monday, May 27, 2013

The Best Guacamole Ever.

Sometimes when I want to find a new recipe, and Pinterest doesn't provide me anything that piques my interest, I go to Google. I search "best *insert food here* ever" and see what comes up. 9 times out of 10 I have been very pleased with the results. Yesterday I was looking for a solid guacamole recipe so I did the ol' Google search. The first recipe that came up was Alton Brown's guacamole recipe. It intrigued me and didn't have anything too crazy in the ingredient list so I decided to try it out.

Y'all. This really was the best guacamole I've ever had. It had a little bit of a kick to it, which I loved, and was full of flavor in general. I really don't know how to describe it other than dang good. I brought some over to my friends house last night and my friend made some comment like, "Bring enough guacamole?" because it was a lot. The three of us had downed the whole batch in about 20 minutes.

Long story short, this recipe is too good not to share with the world (or the 7 people who read this blog.) So here it is. I'll even type it out for you.

Alton Brown's Guacamole (aka The Best Guacamole Ever)

3 avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (I just realized we used a whole instead of a half which could have added a bit of the spiciness, but it was so good I would do it again)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (we didn't seed ours and it turned out just fine, if you're in the mood to be lazy)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl, place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Using a potato masher, add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Let sit at room temperature for an hour then serve (and eat the whole batch in less than 20 minutes.)

Just make this already...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer List.

You may know this about me... but I like lists. Not in an OCD kind of way. In a "that's too good to forget so I better write it down before it's lost forever" kind of way. My brain isn't what it used to be (says the 25 year old...) so I have to write things down. I have started a list of things that I would like to do this summer. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and it seems like that is the unofficial start of summer so I thought it was time to share the list with you. (I also got a bad sunburn today which is another sign that summer is here.) This is just the beginning... I reserve the right to add (but not take away) anything from this list that I want to. (Hope you enjoy the cheesy visuals...))

1. Play lots of sand volleyball. I love sand volleyball. I played with some friends last week and it was basically a night of perfection. (Perfection as in a grand ol' time with my friends, not as in perfect volleyball playing. It was the opposite of that actually.)

2. Grow my own fresh herbs. It is just about as expensive to buy a basil plant as it is to buy a batch of fresh basil, so I've decided I want to try to grow my own herbs. I'm thinking cilantro, basil, parsley, and maybe some others...

3. Buy a mandolin and make healthy chips. Nope, I'm not talking about the folky instrument (although that'd be cool, too.) I'm talking about one of those things that slices things really thinly. Think of the possibilities... apple chips, sweet potato chips, uh... other kinds of chips! It'll be great!

4. Decorate our kitchen. Back in November I started working on our kitchen. I filled all of the holes in the wall with the intention of painting over them and then hanging up new things where I wanted them. Turned out that we didn't have matching paint so we have had white spackling splotches on our wall since then. It's time to paint the whole kitchen, and decorate.

5. Bake with rhubarb. Rhubarb intrigues me... I remember my grandma used to cook with it and I think I liked it. It's been years since I've had anything with rhubarb in it so I think I would like to take a stab at it this summer. Strawberry rhubarb pie, maybe? (This one from Joy the Baker looks like it could be a winner.)

6. Invite people over for dinner more regularly. I love hosting but I rarely do it. So I'm gonna.

7. Ride bikes. My friend April and I said all last summer that we should ride bikes together sometime. I think it's time we stop talking and start biking. It better happen this year.

8. Learn how to use my camera with my aunt Cindy. You've heard me say it about 859 times on this blog that I would like to learn how to use my nice camera. I've decided that I need someone to hold me accountable so I have asked my aunt Cindy, who knows a thing or two about photography, to meet with me regularly to teach me how to use it. Dinner and Photography we're going to call it. (At least I'm going to call it that.)

I'm open to suggestions of glorious things to add to my list... And I encourage you to make a list of your own and enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Try-It Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

My schedule went from crazy full to crazy empty in about two seconds. I remember back in December saying, "Ok, if I can just survive this craziness until May, I'll be alright." Well, May is here and a lot of my commitments are over for the summer and my life has slowed down... Really slowed down... One of the cool things is that I have had time to cook meals this week. Three days in a row! That might be a record. Let me tell you about what I made...

Monday. I made Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps. The recipe technically calls for ground chicken, but they didn't have any at the grocery store, so I went with turkey and couldn't really tell a difference. I made a couple of other substitutions as well. I didn't want to invest in oyster sauce so I used hoisin instead. And I doubled the amount of water chestnuts in place of the mushrooms because... well... I despise mushrooms. Even with all of my little changes, these turned out really well! And it was (say it with me now...) healthy, easy, and delicious. What I'm looking for in a recipe.

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

Tuesday. I went back to a typical Abby meal - some kind of Asian chicken concoction served over rice.  Thai Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry. This was good... but not spectacular. I would say I've made other things similar to this that were a little better. You'll have to see for yourself though...

Thai Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry.

Wednesday. I had my mom over for dinner tonight and went back to a recipe I've tried before. It used some of the ingredients I already had on hand (I'm pretty bad about being efficient and planning ahead choosing recipes that have similar ingredients... I'm trying to get better at this.) It was Pioneer Woman's Meatballs with Peppers and Pineapple. I liked this the first time but I feel like it turned out a lot better this time. I'd highly recommend this recipe. Also, we had angel food cake, strawberries, and Cool Whip for dessert and it was delicious. AND healthy! I've found my go to dessert for the summer. On top of the good food, I had a great time with my mom. She's pretty much the coolest woman I know... What a great night.

Meatballs with Peppers and Pineapple.

Happy cooking!

Monday, May 20, 2013


Today something happened at work that kind of sent me into the funk. Let me just say that now I know why everyone says to never date someone you work with... If things don't work out, you have to see that person... every. single. day. Anyway, I immediately started praying that God would take me out of it. That He would keep my focus on Him and that I wouldn't let my day (or week, or month) be ruined by something so unsubstantial and worldly. I've got to admit, I didn't rely solely on the Lord... I might have texted my friends Jessie and April too, but God showed up.

Jessie sent me this verse, Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Then my friend April sent me this verse, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3

And then I looked up and saw this quote I had written out from a book I read last summer. It's hanging in my cubicle for days like today and as a constant reminder...

We are called to think this way: God is my sovereign, wise, and compassionate Father. He is intimately aware of the details of my life, and I can trust Him with my circumstances. Christ took my sins on His shoulders to pave the way for me to enter God's presence. God is transforming me into Christ's image, and His discipline, His training in righteouness, is a blessing because it roots out sin and wrong thinking in my life. It is a very good thing that God doesn't leave me in the state He found me but transforms me, even when it involves hard circumstances. Christ is my perfect Bridegroom. The core longings of my heart for relationship are perfectly fulfilled in Him. He loves me, He died for me, and He sits at the right hand of the Father eternally making intercession for me.  Practical Theology for Women, Wendy Horger Alsup.

This is good stuff. I am resting in these truths today. With God's help, I'm not letting myself sink back into my funk. I just thought I'd write out where my heart is tonight because maybe your heart needs these truths just as much as mine does.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Try-It Thursday: Black Bean Burgers (Take Two)

(Dinner on my porch tonight.)

Life has actually been pretty busy the last couple of weeks. I don't really know where all of the time went, but it went somewhere, because there hasn't been much of it for blogging. I did try a new recipe tonight though, so I thought I'd share it with you.

I was craving a black bean burger, I'm not really sure why. I've made black bean burgers before (in fact it was a Try-It Tuesday way back when) but I didn't remember loving that recipe so I thought I'd try a new one. Whenever I am looking for a recipe I normally find it in one of two places: 1. Pinterest, or 2. Google - I search "best *insert food here*" and am rarely disappointed. Google provided my recipe tonight. It was actually from the cheesy lady on the Food Network, Sandra Lee. Not her biggest fan but this recipe was actually pretty good! I've got to say... homemade black bean burgers may be one of the least appetizing-looking things I've ever made, but I sure do like the way they taste.

This recipe was all of the things that I look for in a recipe: 1. Easy. 2. Healthy. 3. Tasty. I'd recommend it if you're a black bean burger kind of person like myself. If not, stick to your beef. Leave the black beans to me.

Sandra Lee's Black Bean Burgers.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Try-It Tuesday: Turkey Sloppy Joes.

I'm getting good at this Try-It Tuesday thing consistently falling on the weekend after. I thought I was going to be all inspired to blog this week because I had a lot of down time being sick and all... that wasn't exactly the case. BUT, I'm on the mend! Today was the first day that I woke up and didn't wince when swallowing and could hear out of both my ears and breathe out of both my nostrils. This is good news, folks.

Anyway, this week, since I wasn't feeling well, I was craving a different kind of food than I normally do. My roommate Kathryn asked, "What are you making?" And I said, "Well, it's kind of weird, I don't know why I was craving it..." And her response, "Something Asian?" (She knows me so well...) But no, not Asian. Not this week. I made sloppy joes! I don't know why, it just sounded good to me. My mom makes a pretty tasty sloppy joe (I think she even just uses a can of Manwich or something - a testament to the fact that from scratch isn't necessary to get good food.) So anyway, my mom makes good sloppy joes and I was craving some "comfort food" because I still wasn't quite feeling up to par. Apparently sloppy joes are comfort food to me... Weird.

The good news. This recipe that I tried was delicious! And healthy! My favorite combination... I was looking for a sloppy joe recipe using turkey instead of beef and I found this on Pinterest (shocker, I know...) The blogger called it "Favorite Super Lean Turkey Sloppy Joes" and I thought, "How can you go wrong? Favorite? Lean? Turkey? Sloppy Joes!" And then I looked at the list of ingredients, "Onions - yes please. Red pepper - yum. BBQ sauce - heck yes. Brown sugar - I'm on board..." So I tried it, and it was a delicious. Normally I get tired of left overs a couple of meals in, but I've had about 4 or 5 servings of this stuff and I'm still going strong! I'd highly recommend it if you're in the mood for some sloppy joes.

Favorite Super Lean Turkey Sloppy Joes

Alright, well, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Retry-It Tuesday: Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes.

Man, I've been a slacker lately. I had a busy couple of days at the beginning of the week, and then I got sick on Thursday and have been alternating between sleeping and watching movies for the last 36 hours. I thought to myself, "You should blog. You actually have the time." And then I thought again, "You're sick and grumpy. You don't have anything good to say." THEN, I read this blog post from one of my new favorite bloggers and she inspired me. So here I am...

Try-It Tuesday was actually on Tuesday this week but it was a recipe that I had tried before. Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes. The special thing about this meal was that my two roommates enjoyed it with me on our screened in porch in 70 degree weather. It was one of those perfect moments.

The only disappointment was that I used legit rosemary (well, kind of legit, it wasn't fresh, but it wasn't ground either.) The recipe called for 2 tablespoons and I only used one but I felt like I was constantly picking out pine needle type things (aka the rosemary) and I didn't like that. I didn't even eat the leftovers because I was so turned off by those. The recipe is a keeper though - I would just say cut back on the rosemary... It doesn't add that much.