Friday, November 30, 2012

Spicy Baked Black Beans with Vegetables

A couple weeks ago my amazing friend Stephanie visited Philadelphia so we of course had to incorporate a Festive-Friday (or two) into our weekend of adventures. We turned to pinterest one night and decided upon Spicy Baked Black Beans with Vegetables. Our version didn't turn out exactly how the photos lead us to believe it would but it was still pretty tasty despite missing a step somewhere.

2 large cans of black beans
2 cups vegetables, diced (frozen artichoke hearts, chopped carrots, broccoli, red bell pepper and sliced potatoes)
1/2 c water
Seasonings: Salt/Pepper, Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, minced Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce
Perhaps we weren't supposed to drain/rinse the beans. Or maybe we needed to add more sauces (Blackstrap Molasses or Maple Syrup) to prevent the vegetables from drying out.
We did, however, add ample amount of Worcestershire Sauce (a new favorite sauce) but it never seemed to get as saucy (or spicy) as the we had hoped.
Luckily we were already making Corn Risotto (substitute with vegetable stock) as a side dish by the time we realized the Spicy Baked Black Bean recipe was falling short of our expectations. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vegetarian Chilli

As the brisk-fall weather becomes an every day occurrence what is better than a hearty bowl of vegetarian chili? We took some liberties for our version but it's loosely based on the A Beautiful Mess - Curry Chili recipe.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 Green Chile Peppers
2 tomatoes
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1 zucchini
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
Season with cumin, salt and pepper
In a medium/large pot heat the oil over low heat. Dice onion and saute until onion begins to soften. Add chopped bell pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, green chile peppers, mince garlic and seasonings. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Drain/rinse the black and pinto beans and add to the pot. Cook until everything is warmed through or until juices come to a boil.
Serve with cheese and corn chips.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Veggie Hodge-Podge & Salmon

When I'm feeling too lazy to get fancy with my cooking I turn to the always delicious, never failing Hodge-podge. This ever changing dinner usually consists of various vegetables and possibly beans. After stumbling upon a weekly farmer's market near my work I was excited at the endless possibilities for the next Festive-Friday meal.
1 Zucchini • 2 Tomatoes • 1 Onions • 3 Green Chile Peppers

Instead of following a specific recipe Kevin and I decided to just wing it with Salmon & a Veggie Hodge-Podge dish. 
Chop the assortment of veggies and place in pan on med-high to high until tomato juices start to form a sauce (approximately 15-20 minutes). Season with Cumin and Salt/Pepper to your liking.
Preheat the oven for 400 degrees and place two pieces of frozen salmon on a baking sheet. Season with salt/pepper and some kind of juicy fruit. Usually we make the salmon with lemon or lime juice but since we had some extra tomatoes we decided to give tomatoes a try.
If you are as big of an onion fan as we are, load up the salmon!
Cook Salmon for about 15 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through. Check on the salmon around minute 12 and on to make sure it doesn't dry out. 
Even though we didn't have much of a plan for this meal it turned out to be delicious. The vegetable hodge-podge was the perfect balance between juicy tomatoes and spicy peppers. Since this meal I've made similar veggie hodge-podge concoctions and can honestly say I'm obsessed. The tomato-salmon was surprisingly good as well--a good addition to the salmon topping rotation.  If you are feeling adventurous give this or a variation of this recipe a try.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

October: The Craziest Month of My Life

Phew! This past October was definitely one of the busiest months of my life. Between the 14 concerts I attended (including #100), being swamped at my new job, birthday celebrations, Orioles playoff runs, family occasions and visits from far-away friends I can honestly say October kicked my butt! I finally finished posting about Europe from this summer (ha) and can get back to all the festive Friday recipes that have been stuck in my draft folder and perhaps more current frolicking adventures.

October Gram-Moments

1. Concert #100
2. New phone!
3. Festive Friday
4. Birthday celebrations
5. Orioles playoff run
6. Bloctoberfest
7. Toy Soldiers
8. Historic Philadelphia
9. Fall
10. The perfect shot
11. Spoken word
12. The best bottle of wine with Steph
13. Tequila Shots
14. Poe's House
15. Hurricane Sandy
16. Halloween
I'm telling ya, October was packed to the brim with various engagements and though I had a blast I am looking forward to a semi relaxed couple of weeks before the holiday madness starts up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Until Next Time España

And so it came, my very last day in Spain. Half of which was spent completely exhausted and slightly hungover from the most epic night of my life and the other half trying to celebrate my last night with Elizabeth after such an amazing adventure together.

After a minor break down due to my debit card being eaten by a foreign ATM we found a cute little Peruvian restaurant for dinner and shared a delicious bottle of wine.

After dinner we took one last stroll around Madrid, stopped for one last scoop of Gelato, and took one last photo...
What a lovely trip! From start to finish I was completely blown away the history, culture, and mouthwatering food throughout Spain and Portugal. I can't wait to start planning my next big adventure. Where will my frolicking take me in 2013!?

Monday, November 12, 2012


Elizabeth and I left the last three days of our trip open for us to decide what to do with once we were in Spain. Once we realized we were in Spain at the same time the running of the bulls were happening in Pamplona we knew we just had to go! So off we went by train to Northern Spain for the craziest 24 hours of our lives.
As soon as we hopped off the train we grabbed some red and white running of the bulls gear and jumped right into all the festivities.
Crazy enough another friend of Elizabeth was also in Spain and met up with us in Pamplona for an epic night of dancing, drinking, street music and just all around unforgettable moments at this insane tradition.
People and booze were everywhere you looked. We literally ran into this parade that turned out to be one giant musical bar-hop where drinking in the streets very much encouraged. America get on Europe's level when it comes to alcohol.
The whole night was full of so much happiness, it could possibly be one of the best nights of life: great people, unforgettable memories, live music, dance-offs and dance-parties. We some how managed to stay up the whole night (to avoid needing to pay for any where to stay, ha!) and grabbed our front row spot for THE running of the bulls.
Everyone was extremely tired as we patiently awaited the running, which took about all of two minutes to watch. There are two sets of gates, the first being the actual barrier between the bulls and runners and the second being where people could start lining up to watch. The gap in between is used for press and emergency medics when the drunk runners get hurt..SMH
I nearly ran with the bulls myself but was convinced by a local that it was more than dangerous, it would be stupid to participate in the actual running. He himself had lived in Pamplona for over 35 years and never ran it because it's more than just the bulls you have to worry about, the biggest issue is avoiding all the drunk careless fools who are also running. No matter what it was an amazing night that I won't ever forget. Plus, it was the first all-nighter ever! Bucket List, Check Check