Monday, April 18, 2011

Making An Effort Monday

In an effort to make more of the things I love -- good food, pretty things, and organized spaces -- I bring you Making An Effort Monday!

I decided to wait to post this until late because, quite frankly, my efforts this week were not at all fantastic, and I was planning on making a new recipe tonight, so I thought it would be super-lame without that new recipe.

Honestly, the only other efforts I can think of this week are making baby food (which I do all the time) and making more bows (which, I apparently also do all the time).  But cute, right?

I made this one to go with a frilly pink dress:
I made this one to go with her "Future President" shirt:
And I made this one because the ribbon is cute :)

Anyway, here is the new recipe I tried tonight, which I got from an unlikely and delightful source: a cookbook my mom bought me in the early nineties -- Cooking with FRIENDS.  Believe it or not, it is still available on Amazon.

Amazing.  It's also full of quotes from the series.  Love it.  I especially love the "No Food With a Face" section, which this recipe comes from.

Feisty Black Bean Soup

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used Smart Balance oil)
2 medium onions, chopped (I used one)
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 small jalapeƱo peppers, stemmed and minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt (to taste)
1 1/2 cups beer
1 cup cold water (you can also omit the beer and increase water to 2 1/2 cups)
3 19-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed (my beans are all in 15-ounce cans ... apparently times, they are a-changin'.  I used 4 15-ounce cans.)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Chopped scallions to garnish (I omitted these because I hate them with a fiery passion)


1.  Heat the oil in a large soup kettle or stock pot.  Add the onions and saute over medium heat until translucent (about 5 minutes).  Stir in garlic and jalapeƱos and cook until garlic is golden (about 2 minutes).

2.  Add the cumin, chili powder, and a generous amount of salt.  Stir-cook until the spices are fragrant (about 1 minute).  Pour the beer and water into the pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the beans and return to boil.  Simmer until the soup thickens and the flavors blend (about 10 minutes).

3.  Remove 2 cups of the soup from the pot and puree in a food processor or blender.  Return the pureed soup to the pot.  Add the lime juice and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

4.  Garnish and serve immediately.

Jeremy liked it, and I thought it was just lovely.  I don't think it's quite a bi-monthly meal, but I really liked it, and I had a very runny nose -- a very good sign!  Jeremy said, "It certainly IS feisty!"

I decided at the last minute to make cornbread, because OF COURSE, and discovered we were out of milk.  Since I don't drink milk and rarely use it in recipes, I never know how much milk is in the house, and Jeremy only uses it on cereal.  ANYway, I furiously googled "Can you make cornbread with water instead of milk?" and every answer said something like, "Do you have evaporated milk?  Powdered milk?  Soy milk?  Almond milk?  Use one of those instead!"  NOT HELPFUL.  All of those are MILK.  It says so in the name.  Stupid Internet.

I had to leave the house in my comfy clothes to get milk, because my heart was set on cornbread.  And it was delicious.

Guess who else made an effort this week?  Good old Jeremy made some tough choices and cleaned out his closet.  I could not be more proud of him. :)

Happy Monday!  Brag about your own efforts in the comments! 

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