Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Recap & A Side of Baked Chilaquiles with Black Beans and Kale

I recently realized that it's been over a year since I started this blog. In fact, it was one of my New Year's resolutions last year to start it. It's funny because I kind of dislike resolutions for lots of reasons. First and foremost, I believe in a constant evolution and bettering oneself, on a daily basis if possible. I want to strive to be more intelligent, in better shape, challenged, day in and day out. Typing that out, I feel like it sounds like that Kanye West song "Stronger"... but I digress. I also hate that so many people "resolve" to do unrealistic things like to get totally ripped, when they just let their goals fizzle out by week three, and the regular gym-goers breathe a sigh of relief that all their regular fitness classes are no longer packed to the gills. Anyways, I was always one to make resolutions, and to make them specific, like "start a food blog, run a half marathon, become a barre instructor", which were last year's. 

This year, I didn't make any. Maybe it was a feeling of being overwhelmed or the over-arching sadness/anxiety that what I thought would happen with the last year of my life simply didn't. But, I found myself returning to this blog. I hadn't even thought about trying to post in months when I came back here and sat down and read every single one of my posts in a row. This is going to sound so cheesy and narcissistic, but afterwards, I felt INSPIRED. 

Compared to last year at this time, my life hasn't changed all that much. I still live in the same house in the same city with the same boys. Though I have added three more jobs (I know, I know, I'm insane) to my single job that I had a year ago, I am still living with an uncertainty of what I am going to end up doing for "forever". For the first time, as I listened to an NPR podcast last night as I drove through central Pennsylvania, I realized that my confidence has wavered. But, reading through my old posts made me feel so many feels. This year so far has made me feel so many feels. A lot of them are uncomfortable. Looking at yourself through a magnifying glass is not fun sometimes. But this podcast was talking about thoughts, and how you can choose to deal with your own thoughts and how you do this can change your entire life. Now, I don't have crazy murderous thoughts like one of the characters, and I am not a vegetable trapped in my own mind, like another. But, though I didn't realize it, I have been feeling insufficient. Not good enough, not smart enough, not professional enough, not enough. It's time for that to end. 

So, I am on a mission to become the best Larissa I can be, with a marked determination. I want to be the best friend I can be, the best girlfriend I can be, the best barre instructor, the best dog mom, the best chef, the best human. What is life if you let yourself start down a slippery slope, cutting corners, taking short-cuts, and letting your negative personal thoughts come to fruition. So, although it's now February 1, and this isn't a resolution as far as the definition goes, I am jumping in with both feet. I am not going to wait for news that might not come. Instead I am going to take advantage of opportunities, plan ahead, and make the most of the ridiculously awesome person that I am. Because, well, I am pretty damn cool. 

So, what's a food blog without a recipe? I do think that my taste for spices and my speed in the kitchen has improved, as well as my ability to adapt recipes. Even though my posting has been worse than spotty, I still cook every single week, if not every day. Lately, I make a lot of things just for myself to eat, so I tend to not be overly creative. But, I have had quite a few dinner parties lately, which are so motivating. Honestly, one of my favorite things in the world is having people over for dinner. So, to get back to it, let's check out a recipe that combines my two favorite food things in the world: brunch & Mexican! 

Baked Chilaquiles with Black Beans & Kale

8 corn tortillas, cut into eights with kitchen scissors
olive oil
salt, as needed
1 12 ounce jar of red enchilada sauce (I used the one from Trader Joe's)
1/4 yellow onion
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed 
4 large eggs
1/2 cup packed shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup Cotija cheese
cilantro, for topping
1 lime
1 ripe avocado (optional)
sour cream (optional)

1. First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and make sure that your oven racks are in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, toss your tortilla pieces with enough oil to lightly coat, plus some salt and pepper. Spread evenly on two baking sheets, making sure they do not overlap.
3. Bake until golden and crisp, about 12 minutes, switching the racks and flipping them halfway through. 
4. Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion under tender, about five minutes. 
5. Add the kale to the onion along with a splash of water and a pinch more salt. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, until wilted. 
6. Put the now-crispy tortilla triangles back into the same bowl and lightly toss with the enchilada sauce. Fold in the cooked kale, onions, and black beans. 
7. Spray a cast iron pan (I used my standard 8 inch) with non-stick spray or spread some oil lightly around in it. Then, spread your coated chip mixture into the pan, making sure it is evenly distributed.
8. Bake for 10 minutes, when the chips are starting to brown at the edges.
9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the pepper jack cheese evenly over the top.
10. Using the back of a spoon, make four appreciable divots in the chip mixture and crack an egg into each.
11. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. 
12. With the cast iron still inside, turn the oven up to 425 degrees and bake until the whites of the eggs are no longer translucent, about 5 more minutes. 
13. Remove from oven, top with cotija, cilantro, and avocado slices. Squeeze half the lime over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with remaining lime wedges and a dollop of sour cream. 

recipe adapted from

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Endless Apologies (& Blueberry Muffin Cast Iron Cake)

So I think I committed, like, the number one no-no in the entire blogosphere if you want people to care about your blog: stop posting. I promise that I didn't do it on purpose though. Let me tell you- life gets in the way sometimes. You probably (maybe? it's been so long) recall me talking about how my life was like a stay-at-home mom, full of cooking meals, trips to the dog park, and mopping the floors. Let's just say that the last few months have been nothing like that.

In March (I think it was March?), I got a call from the Anthropologie store here in Philly asking me if I wanted a job. Don't get too excited - I know it sounds so glamorous, but it's not. I'm just a sales associate. I did it for years in Colorado (albeit, working very few hours) and the store here was hiring. It's a beautiful store, in a giant historic building with a spiral staircase, fireplaces on all four levels, portraits of the Doges of Venice painted on one ceiling, and a real Tiffany glass dome. Plus, most of the women that I work with are pretty cool. Granted, there are a few grumpy ones who take the job much too seriously, but all in all, it's a good group. However, this job ended up taking up way more of my time than expected. My first couple weeks, I was there almost full-time hours, staying as late as 1am on closing shifts, folding, sorting, sizing... carrying piles upon piles of apparel and home goods up and down grimy staircases because of a broken elevator. I like the job. I like dressing up, the weekly trend challenges, and talking to people. I more than like the discount. It's insane. Because of some sort of privacy laws, I'm not supposed to share about it, but let me tell you, it's even better than you would think. It's definitely enough to lure people in, and make them stay. My wardrobe thanks me, my wallet doesn't. But, I have reaped the benefits of a professional wardrobe, thanks to Anthro a couple years ago, in my adult life so far. It is expensive, however necessary to have nice clothes, and I intend on having a lot of them. There's worse things to collect, right?

I also started teaching barre classes in May. Finally. I mean, it only took three months of training, but it felt like forever. It's felt even better to be set free, making my own playlists and moves. My first class was SO scary. I had to teach on five minutes notice because the studio manager got sick and I think I was shaking the entire time. But, I did it! And my classes only keep getting better. True, I think I recite barre cues in my head almost 24/7, even in my sleep. But, there's worse things. I also think that my arms are showing some good definition (but maybe that's also just wishful thinking). Anyways, I am set loose to inflict any and all fitness pain upon my clients, and I love it. I have only gotten amazing feedback so far, especially about my playlists. It's crazy time-consuming to find songs and download them and make sure they match up to the moves with both beat and timing. Plus, they can't say *too* many dirty things (although I probably stretch the boundaries on that one...). I was so scared, but I recently added a Marilyn Manson song to compliment this killer ab series, and I have had tons of women come up to me and tell me that they love it. Who would have thought?! 

Last, but not least, I have been living in medical school purgatory. After my interview in February, I was placed on a delayed decision list with the rest of the late interviewers. A couple months later, I was wait-listed, seemingly with everyone else. Slowly, the school has picked some lucky ones off the list in the last few weeks, but I haven't been one of them. On one hand, I am trying not to lose all hope, but chances are super slim right now. They can accept students up to the day before classes start, but that's soon. So, I preemptively turned in my fall of 2015 application and have been writing secondary essays like crazy. It feels so much better to do it so early, but I've also been having kind of a quarter life crisis about it all. More on that later. Maybe. 

In between, I have been traveling for cadaver labs more than ever before. I went to Milwaukee, Las Vegas, New Orleans... and vacationed in Sedona, Arizona with my mom and Colorado with my boys. We backpacked in the Great Sand Dunes, bought a bunch of legal weed products, and had a total blast. I finally made it to Coney Island, and my sister came out to visit too. The boys took their boards exams (and aced them, those smarty-pants) and are now on their clerkship rotations. So, life has been weird and disjointed and hard to get used to. But I guess that's life, right? Enough about me, on the the recipe! (I have about a million to share, but we will start with this - a highly requested and very delicious treat). 

Blueberry Muffin Cast Iron Cake


For the jam-
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon granulated sugar 

For the crumb topping- 
4 Tbs melted, unsalted butter
2 Tbs dark brown sugar
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
dash of salt

For the cake-
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt 
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Canola oil 
1 cup buttermilk 
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract (optional) 


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 inch cast iron pan with coconut oil.
2. Make the jam. Place the blueberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to continually smash the berries and frequently stir so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until thickened and bright blue in color. Leave over the lowest heat setting on the burner, so as not to completely cool, while you prepare the rest.
3. Make the crumb topping. In a small bowl, combine the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and cooled butter. Add flour and stir until just combined and crumbly. 
4. Make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Set aside.
5. In another bowl, combine the sugar and eggs, whisking until light and fluffy. Add in the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and almond extract, stirring until uniform. 
6. Add the dry mixture to the wet, stirring until almost combined. 
7. Drop in the blueberries, mixing until just incorporated.
8. Pour batter into the cast iron pan. Next, add spoonfuls of the jam throughout the surface of the batter. Using a knife, swirl it in.
9. Evenly scatter the crumb topping over the top of the batter.
10. Bake for 35-45 minutes, checking frequently (every 5 minutes or so) near the end to ensure that the center is evenly cooked through. 

Share with friends! 

recipe adapted from Pursuit of Sweetness 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Greek Yogurt

This last week has been seriously rough. Do you ever just have those times where absolutely nothing is going your way? I was already sick and feeling terrible, so I was spending a lot of time in these new dog print pajama pants. I'm a total sucker for dogs and when I saw these on the Anthropologie website, I literally couldn't stop thinking about them. Let me just tell you- I own WAY too many animal print things, most of them dogs, and I don't even care. I am so happy I gave in and bought these to wear instead of my ratty sweatpants from my high school lacrosse team, which is my usual. Also, they're long enough!! Thank science that someone is out there designing adorable pajamas and looking out for almost-six-feet-tall women! 

Then, I found out that a work trip I was reallllllly looking forward to got cancelled. It was Vancouver, a city that's been at the top of my list for years. My company has been sent there every year for the past four years, and I finally got to go! It was less than 24 hours until departure, I was checked into my flight, and the event cancelled. I was so utterly and completely crushed. I had every minute of the four days planned, down to the meals and the coffee shops and the roads I would drive on... devastated was an understatement, and I was still sick too, which made the sniffles even worse. 

That got added onto with some disheartening news, which is more personal than I will share here. But, another blow to the chest. Then, my laptop started acting up. Again. This 6 month old MacBook with retina display that costs way more than I have ever spent on any one thing before. So, it went back to the Apple store (third time since I've had it!), leaving me computer-less, sick, sad, and grumpy. Lastly, my boyfriend ordered me this adorable shirt from J.Crew that I was absolutely swooning over. When the package came, they had sent the completely wrong shirt (a pink paisley tank top instead, labeled with my "crinkle boy shirt in red check" label!). I marched it straight to the nearest store, only to be told that the shirt I really wanted is completely sold out everywhere and I cannot get one anywhere in my size. Sigh. 

First world(ish) problems, I know. But it was just like one bummer after another, the unnamed one being the worst. But what do you do when you feel super down and depressed and beaten? I don't know about you, but I bake. I bake something that I absolutely love, which seems to work even if I don't eat any. Then I paint my nails and do something I enjoy. Since I was still sick, I decided to watch Dexter. I am terrible at watching TV shows and have barely seen anything. But I managed to make it to the last season of Dexter and I am determined to finish it! If anyone out there wants to chat about it, please reach out. I have heard the ending is a doozy and I am doing this all alone! However, I seem to only watch a couple episodes a week, max. Like I said before, I'm not that good at sitting still. Even these posts make me feel a little bit active. 

Moral of the story: to get out of my rut, I made lemon poppyseed muffins... & did pop art nails & watched a serial killer chop people up. What can I say, I'm multifaceted :)  

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Greek Yogurt
makes 12 muffins

2/3 cups granulated sugar
zest of 1 large lemon
juice of 1 large lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbs poppyseeds

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with liners (or spray/butter if you prefer.
2. In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until you can smell the fragrant lemon and the consistency is that of wet sand.
3. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In another small bowl, combine the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and melted butter and mix until uniform.
5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir to combine, until there are no dry spots, but not over-mixing. Fold in the poppy seeds.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are golden and puffed up.
7. Let cool before devouring. 

Recipe Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod 

Black Quinoa Power Salad with Raw Chopped Fruits and Veggies

I love the term "power salad". It just makes me feel like such a badass. It took a while for me to think of myself as a healthy person, someone worthy of using terms like power salad. I have always been active and athletic, but was never really one for stereotypically healthy foods. I think that's one of the best things that I learned post-college: to cook and to both appreciate and enjoy food. 

"Healthy" is like this weird spectrum that means different things to different people. My healthy is eating mainly plant-based, almost everything that I make myself, from scratch in my kitchen with my two hands. That means that sometimes I make BLTs. Sometimes I make cookies or brownies and stuff them with other cookies on the inside. But, I make it myself, meaning no preservatives and no questions about what's inside. Some other times, I eat nothing but salads for a week straight. The other day, my cashier at Trader Joes told me that I had the healthiest cart he had checked out all day (best compliment ever!). Post college, I stopped eating frozen food. Any and all varieties. I also decided to learn and take responsibility for the various things going in my body, which has been so great. I think of myself as an extremely healthy person, but I definitely still meet people who put my diet to shame. However, I have become worthy of making power salads. 

I also move around... a lot. Sometimes when I am up and going, I don't sit down for 12 hours. I walk to the city to run errands, bike to the barre studio, take Gustav to the dog park, cook in the kitchen... However, I never thought I would get the chance to teach other people fitness. I absolutely love group fitness of all kinds and have been taking classes and trying things for years on top of my usual running regime. I used to be a regular at hip hop class and I didn't miss a weekly zumba class for over a year. I frequented kick boxing, body pump, and pilates. I loved it all. Barre workouts have always had a soft spot in my heart, probably because of the changes I saw in my body the first month I was going to classes. I haven't been able to do it for years, but I finally have the time in my life to pursue this passion. 

Since the beginning of the year, I have been associated with a barre studio here in Philly and have been training to be an instructor! I'm about half-way there and already have my class-time slot ready and waiting (6:30am - the most popular class!). In all my free time lately, I am there. I work the desk two mornings a week, I take class every single day, and then I train with the various owners a couple times a week and on weekends. It's amazing and it's also so scary. I am having a blast making my playlist and practicing my cues, but I just can't wait to be good at it. I feel like I can't get barre out of my head lately (1 inch up, 1 inch down, heels high, abs engaged!). Trying new things and taking risks is hard, not to mention time-consuming and sometimes disappointing. But I never thought I would actually be making this one dream come true.

Wow- I digress. I went off on a rant about barre and forgot about my power salad. But all this exercise just makes me want to eat clean and feel good. I think cleanses are stupid and juices are a fad, and I will definitely stick up for those thoughts. But, eating raw produce is never a bad thing, and its perfect for after a long workout when you don't want to eat something heavy and feel like your whole day got cancelled out. Also, black quinoa?! If you ask me, everything is better in black. 

Black Quinoa Power Salad with Raw Chopped Fruits and Veggies
serves 6
2 cups black quinoa, cooked and cooled
1/2 of a seedless cucumber, chopped into slices and then quartered
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped
1 cup red grapes, halved
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
agave nectar

1. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa with the veggies, apple, grapes, and almonds. 
2. Add the fresh herbs, garlic, lemon juice, yogurt, and a couple squeezes of agave nectar. Toss together until uniform.
3. Taste and adjust agave or add salt if needed. 

recipe adapted from Camille Styles 

Candied Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

What do you do when you're stressed out or anxious? I feel like I never owned up to the fact that I get anxiety until this past year. I am a social person, I can talk to anyone, and I have a lot of confidence. Wow- that sentence sounded terribly conceited! I guess the point is that because I never struggled with a lot of typical things (nervousness about tests or new situations, etc), I thought I never would. News flash: the world will present post-high school Larissa with tons of new, awkward, and scary situations. This will only become way worse when applying to medical school (aka the most anxiety-ridden and drawn-out process on the face of this Earth). The first time I owned up to my anxiety was regarding the MCAT. It's like a mythical beast with endless tricks up its sleeve, and it beat me down so many times. But after admitting that I may have anxiety issues and addressing them in a proper way, I came out on top. Just owning up to that was one of the hardest things I have ever done. 

This whole year has been a lot of sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-and-wait. I'm done with grad school, I'm trying to stay true to myself and do things I enjoy, but I also feel like I'm constantly planning for the future. So much so that I am not enjoying the present very much. I know a lot of people feel this way, but being unsure about what I will be doing in 6 months is completely overwhelming. I try to take it lightly and be thankful for my situation because it could be way worse. But no amount of controlling the other aspects of life (cleaning the house, bathing the dog, running tons of miles, etc) can make me feel any better, for long term anyways. It also probably doesn't help that I am a completely schedule-driven person and plan every single thing out, possibly to a fault. However, I made an amazing event planner when I used to do that! 

Anyways, I had a massive interview coming up. Like, life-changing ability interview. I had my questions rehearsed, my outfit perfect and pressed, and my mind constantly reminding me to not twirl my hair (a bad habit I have literally had since birth). But, I still had a whole day before this interview and not much to fill my time/the space in my mind between freak outs. So, I decided to go with a couple remedies to calm myself: baking and working out. I whipped up these cookies to keep my mind occupied (and because I am terrible at sitting still) and then went to the gym and sweat buckets on the stair master while they were cooling so that I could come home and indulge. I still had one nightmare before the interview and my heart was pounding the entire time, but at least I got through it. Now I just have to hurry up and wait some more...

Need to distract yourself or calm down? Baking or creating something that boosts my self-esteem and then tiring out my body are my best remedies. Oh yeah, and lots of deep breaths. 

Candied Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt 
makes 16 cookies

1 cup & 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
7 oz dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars.
3. Add the vanilla and the egg. Mix again. 
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, ground ginger, salt). 
5. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet, beating in between until completely combined.
6. Fold in the chocolate and ginger chunks. 
7. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then drop the dough in rounded balls. 
8. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until just starting to brown. 
9. Let cool before digging in! 

Recipe Adapted from Minimalist Baker 

Chipotle Crockpot Chili with Black Beans & Quinoa (pssst it's vegan!)

I promise I am not going to start every post with an apology for the lapse in time between posts. I know it's been a while, and life has gotten in the way (doesn't everyone's sometimes?) and I fully plan on catching you all up on both my life and some of the stuff I have been whipping up in my kitchen too. So here it goes!

I originally made this recipe because I realized that winter is coming to a close (yipee!) and I have yet to use my crock pot a single time during these chilly months. How terrible is that?? It's such a great tool for throwing things in and then just going about your day and coming back to bam! dinner made. 

Last week, the crud caught up with me. That sounds like such a mom-term, but I don't know what else to call it. I don't think it was the flu because I got my shot, and I don't think it was a rhinovirus either. Anyways, I could feel it coming on Sunday, but decided to go to back-to-back barre and yoga classes in hopes of sweating it out and clearing my sinuses/soul (that's what yoga is for, right?). Bad idea. I woke up Monday and I was miserable, so I moved from the bed to the couch and slept until 1pm. When I woke up, I decided to make this chili. It took me forever to chop everything and I felt so weak that I had to sit down when I was doing it all, which is terrible. Have you ever tried chopping veggies while sitting down? It doesn't work very well. But, I was determined to make dinner for when the boys got home from their exams and have one productive thing to show for my day. So, I filled the crockpot with delicious things, cranked it on high, and headed back to the couch for another couple hours.

Word to the wise: I would definitely soak your beans overnight. This was actually the first time I have used dried beans and they took WAY longer to soften than they should have. Or, you could do canned too (just drain and rinse first). I just like the raw form, but really should have soaked them beforehand. I also whipped up this corn bread, following the Quaker label on my corn meal package. It was so easy and really good. However, it is not vegan :( so if you're looking for a good vegan cornbread recipe, I would head over to the Post Punk Kitchen blog and follow her directions. She's a vegan genius. 

Anyways, this dinner was perfect for a sick cold night. It was spicy, hearty, and ready when I woke up again, which made me one happy camper. I honestly wouldn't suggest cooking anything when you're sick, but if you're anything like me, it totally sucks to have a day completely wasted, even if it's because you feel like total crap. So if you feel the need to cook when you're under the weather, just throw it in the crockpot! 

Chipotle Crockpot Chili with Black Beans & Quinoa 

2-3 Chipotle Chilis in Adobo Sauce
1 Tbs dried Chipotle chilis
1 lb black beans (soaked overnight!)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 dried cinnamon stick
2 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp dried coriander
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
7 cups water
4 small corn tortillas
olive oil, for brushing
salt & pepper
lime wedges 

1. Add all ingredients through the water to the crockpot and stir to combine.
2. Turn the crockpot on low and cook for 6-8 hours, or cook on high for 4-5 hours (I try to do the low cook if possible!)
3. About 30 minutes prior to the chili being done, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Using kitchen scissors, cut the corn tortillas into wide strips and arrange them on a baking sheet.
5. Brush the tortilla strips with olive oil and salt fairly generously. Bake for 6-8 minutes on the top rack, flipping once while baking.
6. You can tell the chili is done when the beans are tender. 
Once everything is good, remove the cinnamon stick.
7. Serve the chili in bowls with chopped chives, tortilla strips, and a squeeze of lime. 

Recipe Adapted from Tasty Yummies

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Peanut Butter & Jelly Scones

I seriously love peanut butter and jelly. It's just one of those foods that I could eat at any time on any day. Since I was a kid, I have loved it, and I still always have supplies to make PB&Js at my house. So, when I stumbled across this recipe online, I knew I had to make it. The only problem was the peanut butter chips. As a die hard Trader Joe's shopper (since I have become an east coast resident), I am slightly restricted to what they carry. Normally it's not an issue at all, but I had to wait until I made a trip to Target to get the peanut butter chips for this. Thank goodness I also ran out of laundry detergent last week. 

I love it when other people enjoy my baked goods as much as I enjoy baking them. My best friend lives in New York and is an amazing hair dresser- she is the only one who has touched my hair in years and she does a fabulous job. I have arguably the most important interview of my life this upcoming week, for entrance to medical school. So, I convinced her to come to Philly on her day off and do my hair for my interview (I was really worried about my roots because everything has to be perfect!). 

I have been weirdly crazy busy lately between traveling for my part-time job, fitness instructor training at the barre studio, and preparing for this massive interview. It would have been really hard for me to make it to NYC, so I wanted to make it worth her while to come here instead. So, I baked these scones and brought them to the bus station when I picked her up. Between her, her roommate that she brought along, me, and both the boys, these scones were gone in a matter of two days! 

Even though our time was limited, we had a ton of fun while she was here. We made lentil sloppy joes, went to a drag show, and happy hour bar hopped a bit, as well as getting my hair to the perfect platinum before she had to head back to the big apple. I have been wanting to find this Kurt Vile mural since this summer, and we stumbled upon it during sunset under the el in fishtown on Friday night, which was sort of magical. 

It has been ridiculously nice here this weekend, especially compared to all the freezing weather that we were getting. By ridiculously nice, I mean above 50 degrees. Balmy. Tropical. However, I have heard rumors about a new snowstorm coming in on Tuesday, and so I must soak up all the sun I can before then! I rode my bike to brunch with the boys yesterday (!!!) and today I am going on a long run. I have already booked my evening with an old friend, so I don't know how many miles I can squeeze in, but I need to do at least six. My half marathon is in about five weeks and the only training I have been doing is cross-training. Eeeek! But, while I finish my coffee, here is the scone recipe you have been waiting for: 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Scones
makes 16 scones 

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 
3/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes 
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup peanut butter chips
4 Tbsp raspberry jam
2 Tbsp butter, melted for brushing on top 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
3. Add the cold butter cubes and mix with your fingers, smashing the cubes and pinching the larger clumps until the mixture is coarse and the consistency of sand. (This may take a few minutes)
4. Stir in the buttermilk until just moistened, and then add the peanut butter chips, stirring until combined. 
5. Lightly flour a clean countertop and dump out the dough in one ball.
6. Divide into four equal portions and form each portion into a roughly 7 inch diameter round.
7. Spoon 2 Tbsp of jam onto one round and spread it around. Place another round directly on top of that one and slightly seal in the edges.
8. Repeat step 7 with the other two dough rounds.
9. Brush the tops of both two-layer rounds with butter and lightly sprinkle with additional granulated sugar. 
10. Cut each circle into 8 equal wedges (like a pizza) and place them on the prepared sheets.
11. Bake for 13-17 minutes, until just lightly browned, but cooked thoroughly. 

recipe adapted from Erica's Sweet Tooth