Jan 28, 2011---Black Bean Soup....and other (inexpensive) Deliciousness!

So...I tagged this as "almost vegetarian" because I suppose you could take out the bacon.  Seeing as everything is better with bacon, this meal made eating-in very easy (and uber-affordable).

One of my gal-pals over at Kitschen Feast suggested using this recipe from Dave Lieberman for Black Bean Soup.

For better or for worse, here is my altered version (as I'm coming to realize I alter 96% of my recipes).**

4 cups Black beans (do it cheapy version and use 2 cups dried and bagged version....just be sure to cook the beans before you add to the recipe) (reserve the cooking water)
10 strips of bacon ***
1 cup of fresh cilantro
1/2 onion
2 T ketchup
A few shakes or Worcestestersterieisties sauce
6 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup tomatoes
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp cumin
Green onion (for garnish)
Sour Cream (just a dollop for garnish)
Shredded Cheese (just a sprinkling...for garnish)
Poached Egg (for added richness....if you don't think the bacon is enough)****

1.  Cook beans (remove cooking water)
2.  While bacon is cooking, you can do the following:  Chop and shred remaining ingredients...AND cook in cook onion and garlic til clear, add rest of spices and ingredients (except garnishes)....let simmer for 7 mins
3.  Marry 1 and 2
4.  Add cooking water as necessary, mash beans a little with potato masher) and let simmer til you can't stand it anymore (Mine was for a whole 10 mins)

So overall, dinner took 30 mins...and the cost was soooooo little.   With some deviation due to error, I estimated that our dinner cost 4.26....for our whole family (and then some).

**I altered this recipe primarily because, as a whole, my family has a very delicate palate.  We enjoy seasoning, but not hot spice.

***Easiest way I've found to cook bacon (and not have to actually tend it and get your stove-top all greasy) is to find your broiler pan [place bacon on top slotted layer], crank your oven up to 400, and let it cook for 20 minutes.  Result=degreased crispy bacon (without having to slave over your stove)

****We did not add a poached egg to the recipe tonight, however in other black bean recipes I've used, I've added this and appreciated the addition...and it wasn't included in my cost analysis (however seeing as eggs are at most .20 [for the type I buy]...this would add a whopping 1.20)



Jan 28, 2011---"Swap Following" Linky Party ...and how to make new friends but keep the old

So I follow a gal (Nicole)...who is following a gal (Homemaker on a Dime)....who had this quirky idea of creating a "Swap Following" Linky Party...and it's a share and share-alike kinda deal.  Kinda like those jean swap parties or housesitting ventures (you know who you are...but you are required to let my dog out when we go on our 17 vacations this year).  Anyway, kinda different, just for fun...and I always wanted to be stalked (in the best kind of way).
Doing it...Brownie style.

Jan 28, 2011---Ugly Cake

So, we celebrated chocolate cake day yesterday.  But in the ugliest of fashions.  Let's just say that this cake reflected my sentiments toward yesterday---it was unpleasant to look at no matter what angle you choose.

Here are some tips if you want to have an ugly cake experience too: 
  • have a crappy day, make sure you struggle to keep ankle-biters away from the hot oven while separating constant bickering from your older two children
  • be hungry and cranky too
  • don't properly grease your pans (or allow your 6 yr old to grease them)
  • pull your cake out of the pan when it's too warm
  • be sure to laugh maniacally if you start icing your cake and it falls apart
  • continue laughing maniacally to prevent crying, but continue icing until either you need alcohol or a trip to the head shrinker
  • get neither but indulge in super-chocolatey ugly cake
ahhhhh....can I say I'm glad chocolate cake day is over?