Black Bean and Corn Guacamole

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“Hey, Sara.  Why are you taking pictures of that guacamole?”

“Errrrrrr, uhhhhhm, weeeeelllllllll…..”

I feel like that just summed up my life in two sentences.

That was a quote from one of my roommates.  Sometimes it takes a while to openly admit that you’re a food blogger.  Not that I’m ashamed.  Just that it’s not something that just comes up all the time.

Until your roommate walks in, practically smacking you in the head with the front door while you “rap squat” with a camera pointing directly at a bowl of guac.  Don’t know what the “rap squat” is? Check this out here.  That should sum it up for you/give you a good laugh.

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Anyways, yeah, guac.  I’m pretty sure that I’m allergic to avocados considering I never feel all that great after eating them, but I don’t care.  Because they’re worth it.  Why are they so good?!

This guac has corn and black beans in it, like that really great salsa, except that it’s in guacamole!  Yes, please and thank you.

But Sara, doesn’t regular guacamole have tomatoes and onions in it?

Uhm, don’t you have something better to do?  Shouldn’t you be watching Netflix or something?  I recommend It’s Always Sunny. (No, Netflix is not compensating me for that comment.  But I am interested Netflix.  Need a cute little redheaded spokesgirl?  Sorry, was that conceited?).

But for real, the answer is yes.  But I hate raw onions and I forgot tomatoes at the store.  You may add them if you want.  I just did not have the necessary ingredients with me.  Sorry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

1 avocado

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 lime, juiced

1/4 tsp. onion powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 drops Tobasco, or to taste

1/4 c. corn (fresh, frozen, canned, your choice)

1/4 c. black beans (I used canned.  Make sure to drain and rinse!)

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Cut your avocado in half, around the pit.  Jam your knife into the pit and yank it out.  Just twist a little, it’ll come out.  Don’t cut your hand!  You can do this guys.

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Put the avocado in a good mashing bowl with your garlic, lime juice, onion powder, salt and pepper, and Tobasco.

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Smash it with a fork!

Screw the fork, this is taking to long.  Use a potato masher.

Oh yeah, I don’t have a potato masher.

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The fork works.

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Stir in black beans and corn!

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Serve with these!  They’re way healthier than regular corn chips and they’re way more delicious!

Again, not being compensated.  Again, interested.

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This should serve 4 regular, healthy sized portions.  But we all know you’re going to eat half of it like me.  Don’t be like me, kids.  Do yourself a favor.  Learn portion control.

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You know what, avocados are really good for you, eat however much you want.

And let me know how that goes.

Tips:

1. To find a good avocado, take the little stem off.  If it’s green, it’s ripe!  If it’s creamy white/tan, it’s not ripe.  If it’s dark brown or black, it’s bad!

2.  To keep guacamole from going brown and goopy, cover it with water.  Then just dump it out and stir whenever you want to eat it.  Kind of sounds gross, but it’s not (it’s just water) and it’s better than brown clumpy guac.  The reason it works is because food can’t oxidize in water!  Yeah, science bitch!  (Breaking Bad, anyone?)

XO Sara

Song of the Day: Honestly?–American Football

Mascarpone Pudding Filled Strawberries

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This weekend I have a Moulin Rouge party I’m going to for my friend Molly’s 30th birthday so I’ve been spending the majority of my day baking a gluten free cake and a hundred cupcakes and making a bunch of sugar diamonds.

*deep breath*

But now I’m lounging in bed watching Friends and blogging.  Also, my left contact is super blurry but I’m going to ignore that for the time being.  And by that, I mean it’s staying in there until I take off my makeup and go to bed.

I’ve been up since 6 a.m.  I’m losing the power to care about little annoying things anymore.

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Completely shifting topics here, strawberries are in season right now which means I’m going through an obsession with them.  They’re just so sweet and red and beautiful in the late spring.  And they’re the perfect start to summer.

I’m sure you’ve seen those cream cheese filled strawberries before.  They’re pretty popular, and they’re super delicious.  This past weekend I considered making them, but right now I’m kind of over cream cheese frosting (since that’s pretty much what the filling is).  Cream cheese frosting to me is just completely overused, and I was looking for something a little lighter.

Enter mascarpone pudding filling.  Yeah, like in tiramisu (without all the coffee and chocolate and stuff, of course).  Also like in canolis.  Honestly, how amazing can this cheese be?

The store I shop at actually only has mascarpone creme which has the consistency of cream cheese and is super smooth.  If you can find this stuff, use it.  Trust me…just use it.

Ingredients:

1 lb. strawberries

3 egg yolks

1/3 c. sugar

Dash of salt

1/3 c. cream or whole milk

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pistachios and chocolate chips for garnish!

First make the pudding: This is where I goofed and forgot to take pictures.  Yep, sounds like my brain right?  Luckily, it’s super easy.  Just whisk the eggs, sugar, salt, and milk in a medium sauce pan.  Heat over medium high heat until it starts to boil.  Boil for a few minutes, or until it is thick like pudding.  Remove from heat, and bring to room temp.  Using a hand mixer, beat in the mascarpone and vanilla extract.  Refrigerate it until ready for use.

Now for strawberries!

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Begin by washing the strawberries.  Here’s a tip so their juices don’t start running: wash them by rubbing them with a wet paper towel.  It takes a little longer but it’s way better than runny strawberries!

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Now remove the stems and cut a little off the top!

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Cut each strawberry into quarters, BUT DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH.  Otherwise they won’t make very good mascarpone pudding holders (;

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Arrange them nicely on a pretty plate.

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*Blurry picture alert*

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*Blurry picture alert again oh my* Fill the strawberries with the pudding.  I just cut a little tip off of a ziploc and filled it with pudding, but it would be pretty with a little tip too.  However, I kind of like my rustic looking filled strawberries.  (Rustic meaning slightly messy).

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Top them with pistachios or chocolate chips or both!  I personally loved the pistachios myself, but the chocolate chip ones were also popular at the BBQ I brought them to (:

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Overall, I would say these took anywhere from 40 minutes-1 hour.  Not too bad if you ask me!  (Plus, they were a HUGE hit).

Try them out and let me know how you like them!

XOXO Sara

Philly Cheesesteak Bites

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Do you ever get a really good idea and you need to make it a reality at that very moment?

Because that is basically my life at all points in time when it comes to food and music.

It’s almost addicting, but my blog makes it all seem okay.  So thanks you guys.

Anyways, my whole point is that that is how these little beauties came to be.  First, I made a French onion soup version my mom and I created over the phone (coming soon!) and then I somehow came up with these while craving Philly Cheesesteaks one day.

I’m quite a complex character, aren’t you impressed?

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Plus, aren’t they soooo cute?  I can’t get over how much I love them.

I just started with some good quality roast beef from the deli.  I’m serious about the good quality thing.  Don’t go cheap here, you really don’t need that much anyways.

Also, look for phyllo cups or  you may have to make your own which takes forever.  Really strive to find the premade cups and your life will be a breeze.

Other than that, it only takes about 5 minutes to throw together, and they freeze.  Easy appetizer much?

How great would these be for Superbowl?  I know what I’m making next year!

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Ingredients:

2 packages phyllo cups (15 per package)

1/2 lb. good quality deli roast beef, roughly chopped

Olive oil

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/4 onion, diced (or 2 Tbs. dried onion flakes, which is what I used)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 c. provolone, shredded + 30 small slices of provolone

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Place phyllo cups on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add bell pepper and onion.  Saute until soft.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add roast beef , salt, pepper, and cheese,  and heat until cheese is melted.

Spoon mixture into the phyllo cups.  Top with provolone squares.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly bubbly.

Serves 8-12

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These make me happy.  I even ate them for dinner.  I had no shame.

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Just put them on a cute plate, and you’re good to go.  Instant people pleaser.

*For a vegetarian alternative, use mushrooms instead of roast beef.

XOXO Sara

Homemade Hummus

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Mmmm hummus.

It’s one of my faves.  But I do not love the store bought stuff.  How do you make something so healthy taste so chemical-y?  They find a way, I’m telling you.

So I made my own!  Homemade tahini and everything.

This is perfect with fresh veggies and whole wheat toasted pita bread.  I could go eat some right now, and I just might.

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I even accidentally stabbed myself with my blender to make this stuff, so sacrifice was involved.

That’s how good hummus is.  I’m willing to give some blood for it.

But somebody’s gotta do it, ya know?

Oh, did I mention how easy it is to make this?  Even homemade tahini is so simple!  Just blend up the tahini, scrape it out and make the hummus right away.  No clean up involved.  It only took me about 30 minutes, and I was on my way to Greek food heaven.  Maybe gyros will happen this weekend?  It’s so possible.

Follow the directions like this and you will have a perfectly smooth hummus!  Any other way might not end up with the best results.  Go with your gut, but keep in mind, this is my recommendation 😉

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Spoon tahini into a blender.

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Add fresh lemon juice…

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Blend away!  Let it just blend for a good two minutes.  Scrape occasionally.

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Add a bunch of chopped garlic!

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And some salt.

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And some paprika!

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And don’t forget about the olive oil.  My favorite of all the oils.

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Blend it up!  I actually used a little too much paprika so mine looked kind of reddish orange.  You do not have to make my same mistakes, but you can if you want.

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Add chick peas and blend until smooth and creamy.  (At this point, it will be thick, so add some water to get it to the desired consistency).

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Have I ever mentioned how good hummus is with warm whole wheat pita bread?  It’s da best.

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Ingredients:

2 cans chickpeas

2 Tbs. tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

8 cloves garlic (you may use less, I recommend this many though)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. paprika

1/4 c. olive oil

2-4 Tbs. water, to thin (I needed 4)

Drain chickpeas and rinse in cold water.  Set aside to drain all of the water out.

Spoon the tahini in a blender and squeeze as much lemon juice as you can in with the tahini.  Blend together for about 2 minutes, scraping occasionally.  Add garlic, salt, paprika, and olive oil.  Blend for a few more minutes, scraping sides occasionally.

Add chickpeas about 1 1/2 cups at a time.  Blend thoroughly so that the hummus is nice and smooth.  Add water to thin to desired consistency.

Makes about 4 cups.

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Delicious.

*This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free!

*Paleo: Replace chickpeas with roasted eggplant or roasted cauliflower.

XOXO Sara

Twice Baked Potato Skins

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Potato skins are perhaps one of the most delicious things known to man, if I do say so myself.  How could you not love a potato stuffed with bacon and cheese and sour cream?  Excuse me, but I don’t hear anyone complaining.

With Superbowl right around the corner, I knew I had to make something that would stand out but was still greasy enough to make it to the game.  And by greasy, I mean delicious.  Greasy does not always equal bad.  Unless you’re on a diet.  In which case, it’s time to splurge a little, okay?

Potato skins actually proved to be a bit of a struggle for me as I was pressed for time in order to also watch a movie in between writing this post and going to bed.  Yeah, I know, my priorities are really straightened out here, but Sunday movie night is important okay?  (Tonight, my bedroom is featuring Peter Pan).

This whole being “pressed for time” thing ended up with me having slightly demolished potato skins because the potatoes did not get cooked quite as long as they needed to be (thanks to my microwave for saving the day).  So they became twice baked potato skins.  You know when bad situations turn into really, really great ones?  Yeah, that’s how twice baked potato skins came to be.  Things happen for a reason, friends.

So therefore, let me prove to you that not everything a food blogger prepares comes out looking all that appetizing and pretty…

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See?  Doesn’t look very appetizing.  But taste wise?

Oh hell yeah.  These things take the cake.

Or the potato.  Whatever floats your boat.

Enough with the cheesy sayings already, Sara.  Show these people how to make these delicious suckers.  (By the way, CHEESY?!  Did you see that?  I’m full of them today).

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Ingredients:

2 small russet potatoes

Olive oil

1/4 lb. bacon

1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 Tbs. sour cream + more for topping

1 Tbs. butter

Salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 Tbs. chives, chopped

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Preheat oven to 400* F.  Scrub potatoes thoroughly and dry.  I recommend using 1/2 a potato per person if it’s for appetizers, and 1 potato per person you’re serving this as a meal.  They’re very filling!

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Brush the potatoes with some oil.  Olive oil will be oh-so-fine.

Place them in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until fork tender.

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Meanwhile, chop up some bacon.  I apologize from here on out about the picture situation.  The lighting in my kitchen goes away at about 3-3:30 in the winter, which as many food bloggers know, is a curse.

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Then crisp up that bacon in a frying pan.  Drain on some paper towels when it’s nice and browned.

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Also, grate up your cheese for fun.  (As we all know, grating cheese is not fun so just smile while you work and listen to Tom Petty and it will seem better, I promise).

When the potatoes are good and ready, cut them into quarters.  Scoop out the insides but make sure to leave enough to make a shell to hold everything together, or you will end up with lots of mashed potatoes and no twice baked potato skins.

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Mix about half of the insides with the butter and sour cream.  Mash it all together.

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Then add about 1/2 c. of cheese, about 1 Tbs. chives, and some salt and pepper.

This is when my natural light completely left and I forgot to keep taking pictures.  Sorry for any inconveniences.  Luckily, this recipe is not too complicated!

Brush your potato skins with olive oil or butter and bake in the oven for 5 minutes on each side.  Set your oven to broil.

Fill the skins with about 1-2 Tbs. of the filling and top with some cheese.  Broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Finish them off with some bacon and chopped chives.

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Might I recommend serving them with ranch? (I would).  Why don’t you check out my recipe for The Best Ranch Ever?  I made it specifically for these little guys, and oh my lanta was is so worth it.

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I might go eat some leftovers right now, actually.

Please excuse me.

XOXO Sara

The Best Ranch Ever

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Seriously.

Drop what you’re doing right now and make this ranch.

It. Is. So. Good.

Is it sad that I literally had to stop myself from licking the mixing spoon?

At lease I didn’t drink it right?

Well, I did consider it.  But I didn’t seriously consider it.  So that makes the whole situation better, yes?  (Yes, Sara.  Whatever helps you sleep at night).

Put this on some iceberg lettuce and you may become the happiest person on the planet, it’s almost guaranteed.  (My family actually calls iceberg lettuce “ghetto lettuce”.  I don’t really know why, all I know is that it’s so good with a spoonful of ranch dalloped on top.)

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Growing up my mom never let my brother and I have ranch with our carrots or other veggies.  I guess the word “let” is not the best word.  She just simply didn’t serve it.  My brother and I were fine eating veggies just by themselves.

In fact, I was never really a fan of salad or other veggies with ranch until a few years ago.

Which absolutely does not mean this will become a regular thing.

Just until the big jar of homemade ranch in my fridge is gone.

So until tomorrow…

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Ingredients:

1/2 c. mayo

1/4 c. sour cream

1/4 c. buttermilk (1/4 c. milk + 1/4 Tbs. white vinegar)

1/2 tsp. dried chives

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried dill

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. white vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix ingredients together in a bowl and whisk with a fork until there are no more lumps.

Refrigerate in a jar or covered bowl until ready to serve.

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It doesn’t get any easier than that, folks.  If you want it to be super flavorful, you may consider doubling the spices.  Make it and then adjust according to taste.  It really isn’t a finicky recipe.

Have a great Sunday, my dear readers.

XOXO Sara

Cream Cheese Sausage Roll Ups

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Midterms are finally over.  Hallelujah.

This past week was what I liked to call “hell week”.  First, midterms all week.  Also, school from 9ish-12ish everyday, work from 12:30-6 after that, and then go home, study, and go to sleep.

Needless, to say, I did not eat healthy or work out all week.  Partly because I didn’t have time and partly because I was feeling sorry for myself.

Because normally my work day and school day only goes from 6:30-12ish.  Which gives me plenty of time to do homework, clean, make dinner, and exercise.

I’m kind of a princess aren’t I?

But this week should be much, much better, and it’s only a four day week because this coming weekend is Nevada Day (Thanks Nevada!)  And my mom is coming to see me!!!  Needless to say, I’m excited.  SO EXCITED.

Plus I got to make these delicious roll ups for dinner this weekend.  Like I said, I normally cook healthy.  But on the weekends I like to have more fun with my cooking by making whatever I want.

The normal schedule is dinner out on Friday, easy meal/breakfast for dinner Saturday night, nice Sunday night dinner.  Anyone else have these kinds of traditions?  It’s what my mom does at home too!  Some things never change, even if you move away 😉

Anyways, about these cream cheese sausage roll ups.  It’s one of B’s faves and it’s a family recipe.  His brother sent it to me and I adapted it just a tad.  And thus, Brandon was a very, very happy man 🙂

P.S. These taste kind of like biscuits and gravy, which is one of my favorites!  Luckily, these are easier!

P.P.S. These are great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Ingredients:

1-2 package(s) refrigerated croissant dough (cresent roll dough)

1 lb. breakfast sausage, regular

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. mustard powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

First, prepare by opening the roll(s) of dough.  Spread it out so that it is flat.  Preheat the oven to 350* F.

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Brown the sausage in a pan.  Drain fat.

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Add cream cheese, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.  Mix together.

(I know, it’s not very pretty.  But it’s delicious!)

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Place about 3 Tbs. of mixture into each triangle (for 1 package dough) or 1-2 Tbs. of mixture into each triangle (for 2 packages of dough).  (I like it better with less filling, so next time I will use 2 rolls of dough.  If you like lots of filling though, go for 1 package :))  Roll them up around the dough and place on greased baking sheets.  Some of them were messy because Brandon and I had an important rerun of The Office to get to, and the commercial break was over!

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve these babies!  Yum!

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They’re even kind of pretty rolled up and baked (in my opinion).

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I would serve them with orange juice.  Just my opinion.

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You could even make them mini for appetizers!

Because that’s what I would do.

Have a great week everyone!   And if this is your hell week, good luck my friend.

XOXO Sara