Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bandits' Nachos

Usually when you go to a restaurant and order nachos, this pile of chips come out.  It doesn't have nearly enough cheese.  There are way too many olives (but in my opinion, one olive, is too many olives).  And by the time you get to the bottom, the chips are all soggy and there are no toppings left.

It's a major problem.
Well, there's this one restaurant that knows how to do it right.  So, if you're ever in Park City, UT, you have to stop in at Bandits.  First of all, it is the only semi-affordable restaurant in the highly overpriced ski town.  Second of all, their nachos are practically worth the trip.
Every time Austin and I go home, Austin insists on going to get some Bandits' Nachos (and a giant mug of their "Cowboy Lemonade").  Austin's not really the type of person to have strong opinions, so when he insists on something - you kind of assume it's worth it.
There are a couple of things that make these (copycat) nachos special: baked beans and big chunks of tri-tip.

tortilla chips
cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tomato, diced
1/2 c. baked beans, drained
4 green onions, diced
1 lb. tri-tip
sour cream

1.  Grill tri-tip to your desired "done-ness."  Cut into chunks.

2.  Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Spread out an even layer of tortilla chips.  Cover with cheese.  Top with tomatoes, baked beans, green onions, and steak.

3.  Place under the broiler (on high) - watch closely so the chips don't burn - cook until the cheese is melted.

4.  Top with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

I went to a happy hour for work last week.  It was at a brewery uptown and they catered the whole thing.  It wasn't really typical bar food.  It was way better than bar food.  Not greasy like normal.
Like I always do at any social gathering, I hovered around the food.  And don't think it's a method to get out of social interaction, because it's totally not.  It might be, except that every other person was also standing right next to the food.
Part of the reason everyone was acting like a vulture, was most likely because they had this awesome spinach artichoke dip.  It was so good that I had to make my own over the weekend and relive it.

You could make this on Sunday if you're having people over for a certain football game.  Just a thought.

Recipe from Alton Brown
1 package frozen spinach
1 - 14 oz.can quartered artichoke hearts
6 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. parmesan, grated
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1.  Defrost spinach and drain (according to package directions).

2.  Drain artichoke hearts.

3.  Microwave cream cheese for 1 minute to heat up.  Stir in all other ingredients.  Serve hot (microwave longer, if needed).
p.s. Here is a little video to brighten your day :)  It worked for me!

Project 365: Week 4

Jan. 21 - Unedited sunset over the Flatirons.
Jan. 22 - Day 12 of 40 days of yoga.
Jan. 23 - Wednesday was Winter Bike to Work Day - Austin rode up to work with me and we enjoyed our free bagels on Pearl St.
Jan. 24 - I had one meeting after another on Thursday.  This was the only 15 minutes of peace I got.
Jan. 25 - Driving home after tutoring German.
Jan. 26 - Dingo learned a new trick, "Target." - Then she got really excited when a woman tried to pet her and peed on her shoe.
Jan. 27 - I ate a lot of these!  (Recipe soon)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Today was winter bike to work day.  In Boulder, at least.
The city organized this event and there were different restaurants around town that were giving out breakfast to the people participating.  So, I signed up last night before I went to bed (in all honesty: it was 60˚ today so it wasn't too much of a sacrifice) for the free bagel with schmear.
I'm the type of person that thinks breakfast is a cup of coffee.  Maybe a couple hours later, I'll eat something, but not right after I wake up.  The only time I really eat breakfast is on lazy weekends.  On the weekend, the whole breakfast story gets rewritten.  Taking your time on a Sunday morning in your pajamas, making an intricate meal, just sets your whole day off on the right foot.

And then there are some breakfasts that are worth even more time.  These aren't your bike-by breakfast bagels, or your sunday morning banana pancakes.  These are your sweet potato cinnamon rolls made from scratch Saturday night so you just have to bake them Sunday morning.
Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times
0.25 oz. (1 package) active dry yeast
3 1/3 c. bread flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. mashed, cooked sweet potato
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Cinnamon-Pecan Filling
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 c. chopped pecans, divided
Maple Glaze
3 Tbsp. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. good maple syrup
pinch salt
1 c. powdered sugar

1.  Stir yeast into 1/3 c. warm (not boiling) water and allow to activate for 10 minutes.

2.  Add sweet potato and vegetable oil to water/yeast mixture.  Combine with flour, sugar and salt.  Knead or use bread hook on stand mixer to combine.  Dough should form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl.

3.  Place in a greased bowl.  Cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap.  Allow to double in size (about 1 hour).

4.  Grease a 9x13" pan.  Set aside.

5.  Roll dough out into a rectangle.  Spread 2 Tbsp. butter (from filling ingredients) on dough.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Top with half of the chopped pecans.

6.  Starting on the long edge, roll up dough.  Cut roll into 12 1" slices.  Place in greased pan.  Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until double in size.  (*You can also allow the dough to rise, refrigerate overnight, and in the morning allow the dough to rise one more time, before baking.)

7.  Bake for 18-20 minutes at 375˚.

8.  Combine maple glaze ingredients and spread over warm cinnamon rolls.  Sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Salted Peanut Chews

Some of you know already that I am a yoga instructor.  If you didn't, now you do.  

11 days ago, I started a 40 day challenge with the studio where I teach.  Basically it entails 6 out of 7 days a week of yoga, for 40 days.  
There's an aspect of this program that is centered around nutrition so it's a more complete experience.  And instead of focusing on what I can or can't eat, I'm supposed to be entering the world of "intuitive nutrition."  Essentially, being more mindful of what I eat and noticing how I feel after I eat it.  Problem is: this is totally foreign to me!
You'd think that for writing about food and taking pictures of food and reading about food, I would have some thoughts about what I eat, but most of the time, I just shove handfuls of stuff into my mouth without ever thinking about it.  (Major reason why I have to spend so much time at the yoga studio!)
So, first step: pay attention to what I eat in a day.  Today's list:
  • a cup of coffee with milk and sugar
  • 1/2 grapefruit, sprinkled with a little sugar
  • 1 brownie (recipe coming soon)
  • leftover mashed potatoes
  • half a cheese sandwich
I think the reason I'm having a hard time with this intuitive eating is because most of the food I eat on a day-to-day basis is pretty forgettable.  Some foods do stick out though - mostly the ones that show up on this blog.  
Before Christmas, I made these Salted Peanut Chews, and I remember every bite!  And I ate a lot of bites!  (I'm not sure, but I think Dingo remembers them too.)

Recipe from Aunt Linda
1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 egg yolks
3 c. mini marshmallows
2/3 c. corn syrup
1/4 c. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
12 oz. peanut butter chips
2 c. salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 c. rice crispies

1.  Combine all crust ingredients except marshmallows.  Press into ungreased 9x13" pan.  Bake 12-15 minutes at 350˚ until it's light golden brown.

2.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with marshmallows and bake 1-2 minutes until marshmallows start to puff up.  Remove from oven and cool.

3.  In a large saucepan, heat syrup, butter, vanilla, and chips until melted and smooth, stirring constantly.

4.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cereal and peanuts.  Spread over marshmallows.  Chill.  Cut into bars.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Project 365: Week 3

Jan. 14 - Leftover birthday cake on Monday!
Jan. 15 - One-eared giraffe.  Toy supposedly tough enough for "even the toughest chewers" didn't last very long.
Jan. 16 - I think this was the only time I sat down all week.  Pretty good way to enjoy lunch (roasted winter veggies over farro).
Jan. 17 - Dingo is in the phase of her life where she eats anything she can fit her mouth around.  I don't know what that is hanging out of her mouth exactly but it looks kind of like a slug.
 Jan. 18 - After what felt like the longest week ever, all I wanted to do this weekend was use my Kitchenaid.
 Jan. 19 - Margaritas and Pacificos at T|aco with Austin.
Jan. 20 - The weather has been so nice here lately - we pretty much have to spend all free time outside.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pomegranate Margaritas

This week has been one of those weeks where I have been booked solid.  My calendar is broken into 15 minute increments just so I can fit everything in.  Because of this, other things have fallen by the wayside.  Like doing the dishes and hygiene.

Next week is shaping up the same way unfortunately.  But this weekend, I don't have anything pressing.  It feels like a really well-deserved 2 days off.  When things get hectic, all I really want to do is bake - so you can expect something good coming your way soon (if I ever get a chance to sit down and write about it!).
Maybe this weekend, I'll really relax while I bake/cook though - My Drunk Kitchen style.  I'm gonna drink some really strong margaritas and bake up some cupcakes :)  I'll post the evidence!

These are just the really strong margaritas I need (be careful, they sneak up on you).

Recipe from Safeway
4 c. pomegranate juice
1 c. lime juice
1 Tbsp. Cointreau
1 c. tequila

1.  Freeze pomegranate juice in an ice cube tray.

2.  In a blender, combine lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila.  Add frozen pomegranate juice cubes slowly.  Blend until the margaritas are slushy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Last week, I got a "fancy girl phone" aka iPhone.  I have been avoiding the whole smartphone thing for a long time because one of my biggest pet peeves is seeing people walking around on their phone all the time.  Even worse than the aimless walking through the grocery store, is when I see people out to dinner ignoring each other, looking for something on their phone that might be more interesting than the person they are with.
Anyway, I finally gave in, realizing that I can have the phone without the bad habits.  So, I am now an iPhone toting, kale eating, 21st century woman.  That's really all it takes.

A little about kale: kale is one of those vegetables that's been around forever, but it has gotten revamped lately.  It's really the go-to healthy vegetable.  For that reason, when I had to make something to bring to a party for my yoga studio, I figured it better have kale in it.  Kale and brussels sprouts!  I don't think it gets healthier than that!
Recipe from Bon Appetit
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
black pepper
2 bunches of kale, chopped
12 oz. brussels sprouts
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. almonds, with skins
1 c. grated parmesan cheese

1.  Combine lemon juice, dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside to let the flavors meld.

2.  In a large bowl, combine chopped kale and grated (with a cheese grater) brussels sprouts.

3.  In a skillet, heat enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan.  Add almonds.  Toast for about 2 minutes, until almonds are golden brown in spots.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool and dry.

4.  Add olive oil to dressing mixture.  Combine kale mixture, parmesan, and dressing.  Toss to coat.  Right before serving, garnish with almonds.  (You can make all of the individual parts ahead of time.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Project 365: Week 2

Jan. 7 - Monday started the week off with me finally catching up with the rest of society and getting a fancy girl phone (more on that later).
Jan. 8 - Paying for parking at work per the usual.
Jan. 9 - Rolling up towels and mats before teaching yoga.
Jan. 10 - Believe it or not, this is from before it got cold (on my afternoon walk with the Dingo).
Jan. 11 - The last of the sunshine before a dreary, cold weekend.
Jan. 12 - Austin and I celebrated our 8-year anniversary eating fondue like we always have.
Jan. 13 - Today, I turned 25!  Not super happy about it but I am happy about this peanut butter cake with chocolate icing that Austin is making me!

Friday, January 11, 2013


The Broncos are playing the Ravens tomorrow in Denver.  A couple weeks ago, tickets were really expensive.  Then this really weird thing happened.  The weather forecast for Saturday came out.  Considering the high for tomorrow is a whole 19 degrees, tickets are significantly cheaper.
So, while this may be the only playoff game that I ever get the chance to go to, I think I'll pass.  Maybe if football games weren't 15 hours long, I could handle sitting outside in the cold and watching.  But considering there really is no time frame with football games, I'm staying home.
I'm going to stay home and eat trilby and be warm.
1/2 lb. mild cheddar cheese, crumbled by hand
6 green onions, chopped
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
dash paprika
1 c. (+/-) mayonnaise
parsley, optional

1.  Combine cheese, onions, eggs, and paprika.  Stir in mayonnaise a little at a time (adjusting how much to your preference).  Add salt and pepper to taste.

2.  Mash together to create a ball.  Chill

3.  Garnish with parsley.  Serve on a thinly sliced baguette or crackers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Strawberry Banana Chia Smoothie

Probably a lot of you are on juice cleanses right now which means a lot of you are hungry.  I'm sorry.  There's a reason I don't do juice cleanses.

My only real effort at being healthy is skipping the waffles in the morning and replacing them with smoothies.  But if I'm going to skip the heavy carbs for blended fruit, it better have a little more substance to it.  That's why this smoothie has chia seeds and oatmeal, so you won't get that fruit-cleanse-hunger thing goin' on an hour after you eat it.
And if you remember these smoothies that I made a while ago, you'll remember that you can make these ahead of time.  So much easier than making juice :)

Recipe adapted from The Yummy Life
Makes 2 Smoothies

2 bananas
1 c. strawberries (fresh or frozen)
3/4 c. vanilla yogurt
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oatmeal chia mixture*

1.  Blend all ingredients together.

2.  Pour into two jars and store overnight to thicken.

*Oatmeal Chia Mixture = Blend together 2 1/4 c. oats with 1/4 c. + 1/2 Tbsp. chia seeds.  (Use 1/4 c. mixture per smoothie.)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Today, I watched some trashy reality TV.  Not really much different than every other day.  But it was!  It was different because a girl I went to high school with, was on the trashy reality TV show!
It's always weird when you see someone you know out of place.  Especially weird when you see someone you know on national TV.  But it got me thinking.  Mostly, about my career as a TV star, and how there never will be a TV career for me.
First of all, I don't have the look.  Second of all, I don't really like to be in the middle of a bunch of drama.  I'm pretty sure I would quit 10 minutes through the first episode.  There's no way I would last.  Plus, who wants to watch a girl who likes to wear zip-up hoodies read books and make sweet potato enchiladas?  That's right.  No one.
I could never have a show on the Food Network either because I don't look dainty and graceful when I eat cupcakes or really anything for that matter.  I prefer to just let the food speak for itself.

Recipe from Vegetarian Times
2 jars red enchilada sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
16 oz. jar salsa
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile, rinsed and chopped
1/2 c. water
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz. round queso fresco
2 limes, sliced
sour cream

1.  In large saucepan/dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.  Saute onion until soft.  Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, salsa, garlic, chile, and 1/2 c. water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 30-40 minutes (or until potatoes are done).

2.  Mash potatoes.  Stir in black beans and half of the cheese.

3.  Grease a 9x13" baking dish.  Spread 1/2 c. enchilada sauce in bottom of pan.  Assemble enchiladas, placing seam side down in dish.  Cover with the rest of the enchilada sauce.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the enchiladas.

4.  Bake at 350˚ for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and switch oven to the broil setting.  Broil on high for 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.  Let rest 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with lime wedges, sour cream (and avocado).

*Tip: freeze half of the filling and save for later.  (Whole batch serves 8.)

Blogging tips