An “Egg”cellente Kind of Week

Between our holiday Monday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and then two consecutive  “Snow Days”, this week has included a lot more play than work. On our snow days, the boys and I lounged around the house in our pajamas without a care in the world. I got so caught up in the ease of no makeup and messy hair that I had to mentally psyche myself back into the idea of going back to work last night.

Another highlight of my week was plated and served the last three nights for dinner. Let me just say each of these recipes was incredibly fresh, easy, and simple to orchestrate from start to finish. With the wintry conditions, I didn’t venture out for my typical midweek grocery store run. Grateful for my standby kitchen staples, I whipped up three amazing egg dishes I highly recommend. Every single one of them was vegetarian friendly too. From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

HUEVOS RANCHEROS

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground comino
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • cherry tomatoes (not pictured), quartered
  • eggs, # depends on how many you’re serving
  • corn tortillas, again the quantity depends on the # of people at your table
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • salsa

Directions:

In a skillet on medium high heat, sauté the garlic in one teaspoon of olive oil until fragrant. Add the black beans and ground comino and stir until well blended. Allow the beans to warm through. While the beans are warming, in a separate skillet fry an egg in one teaspoon of olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. As the egg is frying, warm the tortillas on a comal until slightly charred. To assemble, place the tortilla on a plate, top with a fried egg, black beans, tomatoes, avocado, and salsa. Continue frying eggs and assembling until everyone at your table is served.

The only ingredient I didn’t have on hand was fresh cilantro. Next time, I’ll make sure to have an extra bunch in my fridge to enhance the flavor of this dish even more.

This recipe is truly a simple, delicious, and healthy option that is ready in no time flat. The only skill required is the ability to multi-task in the kitchen!

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AVOCADO TOAST

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 12 grain bread, # depends on your dinner party and/or how hungry your guests are
  • fresh spinach
  • cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • eggs, again this will vary
  • sea salt & pepper
  • avocado (not pictured), smashed to create a spread
  • hot sauce- our new favorite is Yellowbird Sauce Jalapeno Condiment

Directions:

In a toaster, toast the bread to your preference. Set the toast aside.

Cut an avocado in half, squeeze into a bowl, and smash with a fork. Spread evenly on each slice of toast. Then evenly layer the spinach leaves on top of the avocado.

In a skillet on medium high heat, fry an egg in one teaspoon of olive oil. Place the fried egg on top of the spinach. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes and top with hot sauce.

My brother and sister-in-law gave us this amazing new hot sauce for Christmas. It’s made and bottled in Austin and apparently is in high demand in all of the local restaurants there. My brother said Austinites have dubbed it their local Siracha. The flavor and heat bring a lot to the palate, and it definitely harmonizes well with eggs.

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BAKED EGGS IN TOMATO SAUCE

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I discovered this recipe while perusing the internet. A blogger after my own heart Recipe Runner (reciperunner.com) encourages her readers to “eat well and run happy.” A mantra I’ve been living by for years. This recipe is hands down the easiest thing you could make on a weeknight. I was blown away by the combination of flavors and will definitely be serving this one again very soon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar of tomato sauce
  •  6 eggs
  • parmesan cheese (not pictured), grated
  • fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • sea salt & pepper

Directions:

In a large cast iron skillet, pour a jar of tomato sauce and spread evenly with a spatula. I used a jar of H-E-B’s Tomato & Basil. Feel free to use whatever sauce you have on hand. Next evenly layer the grated parmesan cheese over the sauce. Then carefully break six eggs over the cheese. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. You will know when the dish is ready when the tomato sauce starts to bubble and the whites of the eggs set. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil. Serve warm with fresh bread.

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Seriously, “egg”cellente!

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A Snow Day in South Texas

This morning Liam crept into our room at 7:15 full of excitement about today’s snow day.  Atticus slept soundly in the nursery as Liam and I searched the Internet for the latest weather updates. Soon we were cozied up in our bed watching the local news and preparing for our day.

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A little before 8:00, Atticus peeked his sweet head over the side of the crib as I was finishing my breakfast. I noticed the movement in the monitor and sent Liam into the nursery to spend a few minutes with his brother before I joined them to nurse. As I listened to the two of them giggling and playing happily together, I felt my heart melt with joy. I silently slipped into the nursery to sneak an unexpected photo. Brotherly love truly is beautiful!

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Truth be told, on our “snow day” there was a lot of anticipation and waiting for snow. Liam repeatedly and anxiously looked out the window hoping for snowy conditions to come into full effect. He kept asking, “Mom, can we have another snow day?” I tried explaining that this kind of weather in South Texas was incredibly rare. I told him that he was very lucky that already in less than a month an a half he’d already had two days of wintry weather with snowlike conditions. For an overeager six-year old though, explaining and rationalizing how the precipitation and temperatures had to align in perfect harmony to create a winter wonderland was lost on him.

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As sleet and snow flurries fell intermittently all morning, the boys and I settled into a morning full of indoor adventures. Building a teepee, experimenting with polymers, baking peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, playing with Octonauts and Hot Wheels, and a little video gaming set the stage for an ideal morning together.

By mid afternoon when the wintry mix of precipitation led to an accumulation of more sleet than snow fall, Liam decided to venture out even if it meant playing in a slushy mess of ice. Bundled up in long johns, ski pants a few sizes too small, a warm winter coat, mittens, and a beanie, he ventured out to the backyard. Our trampoline covered in a sheet of white sleet and snow offered a perfect platform for him to slip, slide, jump, and play. After a day of being cooped up, it was an ideal way to expend some energy and take in the wintry elements.

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More and more little Atticus aspires to be like his big brother. It is truly an endearing quality and so incredibly adorable to see. He wants to wrestle on the floor with Liam the way he sees Liam and his dad rough house. Today proved to be no exception. When Liam anxiously peered out the window in search of snow, Atticus followed suit.

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And when Liam ventured out to play in the snow, Atticus expressed great sadness that he couldn’t partake in the wintry merriment too. He stood on the window ledge banging on the window and babbling with a tone of sadness about how he wished he could also be frolicking in the snow. His sadness crescendoed with a loud thudding noise as he banged his hands on the window pane. While my heart ached seeing him so distraught, I also couldn’t help but feel heartfelt joy about the love and adoration he had for his big brother.

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As today’s snow day comes to a close, I’m reminded by how beautiful these little moments in our lives can be. It is rare that we have the opportunity to enjoy a day with no agenda whatsoever. So often the constraints of work and other daily to do’s take precedence. Today offered an unexpected opportunity to let things come to fruition organically and with little concern for time. Life has a way of circling back to the little things that remind us how truly blessed we are!

A Tortilla Soup State of Mind

This afternoon heavy rain and strong winds blew in a cold front. On my drive home from work, I was awed by an unbelievable, beautiful double rainbow. As the sun set and the winds continued to howl, the temperature plummeted quickly. This evening prepping for my run required an extensive amount of apparel- gloves, a long sleeve tech shirt, athletic tights, a down vest, and a ski hat.

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Most of the time as I run, I reflect on my day or formulate a blog post in my head; using the miles for inspiration. With the wind chill, tonight’s 43 degree temperature felt about ten degrees lower. My thoughts drifted to warm sandy beaches, extra hot chai lattes, and a boiling pot of homemade soup. Warm thoughts propelled me through the miles and windy conditions I encountered on tonight’s run.

What better way to kick off the weekend than with a pot of tortilla soup that warms the core and soothes the soul. On Christmas Eve my family shared bowls of savory soup and stories about life. A few days later, my friend Jenny hosted a soup exchange party and again a pot of homemade tortilla soup brought friends and family together. Then for New Year’s Eve, I made another batch of soup to share with our NYE guests. 2017 ended and the new year began with this simple and delicious recipe that I now share with you.

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INGREDIENTS:

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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cartons of chicken broth; sub with vegetable broth to make it vegetarian
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, stems trimmed
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 store bought rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and roughly chop; nix the chicken if you’re a vegetarian and consider adding zucchini or yellow squash in its place
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped; remove the seeds if you want to tame down the heat
  • 2 bags of frozen corn
  • 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground comino
  • 1 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder

GARNISHES:

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  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Grated cheese; my favorite is the Mexican blend
  • Cojita cheese
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sliced avocado
  • Tortilla chips; I love Julio’s because the seasoning adds another layer of flavor to the soup

DIRECTIONS:

On medium high heat, sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the chicken, jalapenos, canned tomatoes, and spices and bring to a boil. Then allow the soup to simmer for several hours until you are ready to serve. About 45 minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, add the frozen corn and bunch of cilantro. Garnish with grated cheese, sliced avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips. Serve with warm flour or corn tortillas and a side of Mexican rice.

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Savor and enjoy your tortilla soup state of mind. Buen provecho!

Houston Runs 4 Harvey

Tonight I laced up my running shoes in solidarity with other Houston Area Road Runners as part of HARRA’s Houston Runs 4 Harvey 5K. Participating runners had the option of joining them this evening at TC Jester Park in Houston for a 5K or running the same distance at a satellite location of your choice.

I set out later than normal. The night was eerily quiet with just the rhythmic hum of the cicadas cheering me on. As my feet hit the pavement, I fell into a cadence that easily allowed me to get lost in thought. With each step forward, I pushed myself a little harder and coaxed myself to run a little faster.

The deep orange glow on the horizon and a lone star shining brightly in the sky served as my guide to a finish line that only existed in my head. I weaved through twists and turns in the road racing against the clock closing in on 3.1 miles. As I ran, my head raced with negative thoughts about a hurricane named Harvey who brought destruction and heartache to so many people in the Gulf Coast areas of Texas. I thought of the people I knew directly and the ones I read about or saw on the local news who were directly impacted.

As my pace continued to quicken so too did my heart rate. My chest began to burn, but I still pushed on coaxing a swell of emotions out at the same time. My heart ached for so many who lost their lives, homes, and treasures to Harvey. My heart swelled with pride for a city I’ve called home for the last seven years that came together to support those who needed them most.

When my watch finally flashed 3.1 miles signaling the end of tonight’s virtual run, I found myself overcome with emotion. I stopped my watch, slowed to a walk, and found myself fighting back tears. For me, the completion of tonight’s run symbolized the end of a monster that took it’s toll across southeast Texas. A monster that left many wounded in it’s path; a path that still requires a lot of stamina, faith, and charity to overcome and rebuild what was lost.

As I turned the corner around the lake, a perfectly round moon with an orange glow took my breath away. It hung low cast perfectly on a blanket of black and purple sky. In that moment of natural beauty, I found myself reflecting on truth, goodness, and light. Those of us who lost nothing must serve as the light for those who have lost it all; coming together in goodness to help our neighbors through charitable giving.

A Helping Heart

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This morning the sky was a perfect blue and the sun was shining radiantly. After so many days of darkness and despair for so many in the Houston area, it was a welcome change.

As we sat together over breakfast, the local news stations continued to show footage of the devastation in our area. Liam and I sat in silence taking it all in. In that moment, teaching him about the importance of helping others in times of need struck a chord with me. I told him that we were so incredibly fortunate to have weathered the storm without losing anything. I explained to him that it was our time to help and give back to those who did not fare as well.

We spent the better part of the morning gathering linens, toys, diapers, water, children’s books, crayons, art supplies, coloring books, baby clothes, and toys for the rescue shelter at St. Maximillian Kolbe Catholic Church. A colleague and friend of mine was headed there after lunch with her son to volunteer and offered to deliver our donations.

Liam was a real sport parting with some of his prized possessions. He didn’t complain once and beamed with pride about being able to help others. For this Mama Bear, it made my heart absolutely melt with happiness and pride.

More than 46% of Texas’s population was affected by Hurricane Harvey. Rebuilding our coastal regions and the greater Houston area will require the volunteer and donation efforts of many. Although Liam is only five, you’re never too young to learn the value and importance of having a helping heart. Big or small every little bit helps. #Texasstrong

A Rainy Day Recipe

In preparation for Hurricane Harvey, I stocked up on a plethora of non-perishable food items anticipating the potential for power outages. But as long as we do have power, we’re going to enjoy home cooked meals as long as we can. Last night, I decided to throw together an easy spaghetti so that in the event we did lose power, the items in my fridge wouldn’t spoil.

INGREDIENTS:

spaghetti ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 box of pasta
  • 1 pint of portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • garnish with grated mozarella and fresh basil

DIRECTIONS:

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Boil water in a pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sea salt. I typiclally use a penne or bowtie pasta because it’s easier for Liam to eat. Use your favorite pasta when preparing this dish.

In a skillet, saute onions on medium high in about a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Then add garlic, and saute until fragrant. Next add the Italian sausage and saute until brown. Finish with the mushrooms and continue to saute until the pasta and sauce are ready.

In a separate pot, add the jarred tomato sauce and spices. Simmer on medium.

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sausage and mushrooms. Then add the sauce and mix thoroughly.

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Garnish with fresh basil and grated mozarella, and serve with your favorite crusty bread. Buon appetito!

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For my Houstonian friends, I hope you continue to stay safe and are blessed to still have power. I will continue to keep those most affected by the storm in my thoughts and prayers. Mother Nature, your kindness in the coming days will be greatly appreciated.

On a lighter note, it looks like Atticus and Liam may be following in their Mama Bear’s footsteps. Atticus proved he knew his way around the play kitchen, preparing a savory roasted garlic chicken with fresh lemon. He also seemed very interested in my blog post, pulling up on the side of the bed to make edits. Liam gave me an innovative dessert idea for dinner last night: smores made with a Snickers bar. Ingenious and absolutely delightful! My moustached wonder knows a thing or two about sweets. Who knows, I may just have to pass the cooking and blogging torch down to one of them in a few years.

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