Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Burrito Bowls Chipotle Style

Kent and I both love Chipotle.  It’s fresh and can be fairly healthy if you order it that way.  My fav is a veggie burrito bowl.  Kent’s got skills for recreating our restaurant favorites and has managed to recreate the cilantro lime rice which is the base of the whole burrito bowl.  The only thing we measured in this dish is the rice. This is super easy. Just make the toppings to your liking.  IMG_1792 
Ingredients: rice (basmati or jasmine), 1 can black beans, sweet peppers (any combo of green, red or yellow), onion, avocado, tomatoes, Monterey jack cheese, sour cream, jalapeno, limes, cilantro, salt, olive oil (not pictures), chips optional.

First get the beans and rice started.  All you have to do is dump the beans into a small saucepan and heat.  For the rice add 3 tsps of olive oil to a preheated skillet.  Heat oil then add 3c. of rice and 3T of lime juice.  Mix for 1 minute until rice is coated. 
Dump the rice into a rice cooker and add 2c. of water.  Put the lid on and push the lever down.  When the lever pops up the rice is done. It’s really megasimple and comes out perfect every time.  When the rice is done fluff it with a fork and add roughly 4T of cilantro.IMG_1798
While the beans simmer and the rice cooks, we make the guacamole, Pico de gallo and sauté the peppers and onion.  For the Pico, I chopped two tomatoes, about
1/4 c. of onion, 1/2 of a seeded and ribbed jalapeno, 2T of chopped cilantro and the juice from 1 lime with a couple shakes of salt.
For the guacamole I used 1 avocado.  To remove the pit use a large knife and chop the pit once then use the knife to pivot the pit out of the avocado.  Use the edge of the counter or cutting board to remove the pit from the knife. (note…this is the knife I’ll be referencing later in my “cooking confessions”)
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I used a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh from each half.  In a bowl combine the two halves, 1T of minced onion, 1/2T chopped cilantro, a tsp of lime juice and a couple shakes of salt.  Mash all together with a fork.IMG_1806
We sliced a red, yellow and green pepper and 1/2 a large onion and sautéed them in a little olive oil with some chipotle seasoning.  Sometimes we use fajita seasoning.  We like our veggies a little on the crunchy side so it only takes a couple minutes. 
IMG_1808 Shred some of your favorite cheese and chop some green onions and the assembly line is ready!
Start with some rice.                             Add some beans.
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Add veggies.                                         Add Pico de gallo.
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Add guacamole.                                    Add a little sour cream.
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Add cheese.                                          Add green onions and the bowl is complete!

This is a great crowd pleaser because everyone can make their bowl to their own liking. 

Cooking Confessions: Like clockwork Kent said, “Why are you using that cheese knife?”  Me, “I like it because it’s sharp.” Two seconds later, I sliced off a hefty chunk of my left thumb.  It’s a lot easier to make burrito bowls with 10 fingers than with 9. Who knew how important a thumb is for making burrito bowls!  I momentarily gave up on this blog as if it has something to do me slicing my thumb.  Fortunately that passed quickly and I’ve lived to blog about it!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Dear Dave Ramsey,

I’m sorry for what I’m about to post.  Well, kind of…it was totally worth it.

Your friend and semi-follower,



We just returned from a weekend in Chicago.  It was a relaxing weekend without a schedule or an agenda.  Here are some of the highlights which we highly recommend.

Saturday we started our morning at the Original Pancake House.  The line was out the door the whole time we were there and we soon understood why. The food was great, but the restaurant was teeny tiny.  They pack people in and with a quick turn around.  In fact, we sat at a six person table with four strangers. We had the middle seats too.  It was interesting to say the least.IMG_1698 
We visited the apple store which, believe it or not, was the only shopping we did on the Magnificent Mile the whole weekend. It’s a huge store and even has an area on the second floor with theatre seating where classes are taught.chicagoapple1 IMG_1707
We met my brother and his girlfriend for lunch at Giordano’s.  It was arguably some of the best pizza we’ve ever had. We waited over an hour for a table, but it was well worth the wait.  We were entertained by the pizza dough throwing while we waited.
We had the deep dish stuffed with spinach and tomatoes. A…mazing!
The four of us walked to Millennium Park to check out cloud gate, aka “the bean”.
Saturday night we enjoyed that best sushi we’ve ever had at, Friends Sushi on N. Rush Street. (picture from Friends Sushi facebook page). The atmosphere was modern yet cozy and the prices were quite reasonable for sushi in Chicago. Friends Sushi 
The “guy in charge” happened to be our waiter as they were short staffed.  We took all his recommendations and he didn’t steer us wrong.  The umi roll was our favorite: shrimp tempura, cream cheese, avocado topped with spicy tuna, tempura crumb, and unagi glaze (picture from Friends Sushi facebook page).umi 
Sunday, we headed to the Maxwell Street Market.  Note to self…read more than 1 review of a city market or ask a local about the market before you go.  It wasn’t the city market with fresh flowers, produce and homemade bread that I was expecting. There were 500 vendors, many of which appeared to be living out of the vans that hauled their goods.  I have no pictures because quite frankly, I was afraid to take my camera out of my bag.  I don’t think that would have gone over well.  There were lots of used power tools and electronics.  I said, “If I lived in Chicago and was robbed, I’d come here to look for my stuff!” I did some research and it appears as though the Maxwell Market has quite a rich history and has changed drastically from the 50s when 50,000 people would crowd Maxwell every Sunday.  We did stop long enough to enjoy excellent and authentic quesadillas, with sweet peppers and refried beans.  The visit was complete with a churro from the churro truck for only $1.25.  This was without a doubt the most economical food purchase we made and it was delicious! 

After spending much less time at the market than we had anticipated we made a last minute decision to visit the Museum of Science and Industry. The highlight was taking a tour of the Smart Home, a current exhibit right outside the museum.  It is eco friendly in every way and has a simplicity about it that we both liked.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but here are a couple of the outside.  This exhibit will be even better once spring is in full swing and all the gardens are in bloom.  Visit the architect's blog here for some great pictures of the inside and all the green information about this house.IMG_1789

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It’s a megasimple Lucky day for….

Carrie, winner of a Stella Leona Dessert Egg!

Capture Captureegg

Thanks for participating in the second megasimple giveaway!  Don’t forget to order your Stella Leona Easter chocolates today!  Add to your blogroll for all the latest Stella Leona news.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stella Leona Blog and Dessert Egg Giveaway!

Local chocolatier Nancy Bontrager of Stella Leona (previously posted about here, here and here) is letting us in on her some of her secrets and new products via her new blog at!  Check it out!


Megasimple Giveaway #2

This is one ‘sweet’ giveaway! I am giving away one Stella Leona Dessert Egg.  The winner will have the choice between two dessert eggs that are true works of art!  


Pale Yellow Speckled Egg

with layers of….

Made-from-scratch Carrot Cake
Cream Cheese Buttercream filling


Robin Egg Blue Dessert Egg

with layers of…

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ganache
Raspberry Preserves
White Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse

Mouthwatering Brownie


To enter, visit and leave a comment on this post answering this question…

“Which Stella Leona creation(s) do you hope to find in your Easter basket?”

One comment per visitor.  This giveaway ends on Tuesday, March 23rd at 9PM!  A winner will be selected using a random number generator. The winner must notify me via email indicating which egg dessert they want by 9pm on Wednesday, March 24th.

(Hint…if you have trouble posting your comment…click the “post” button multiple times.)

Friday, March 12, 2010


Pesto is a staple in our house.  We grow basil and freeze pesto in mass quantities every year.  We put it in and on everything.  Pesto, tomatoes and mozzarella are one of my favorite ingredient combinations and you might be surprised at the number of different ways these three ingredients can be prepared together.   This is the first of many pesto recipes to come. This recipe is so simple that the pictures speak for themselves.  Eventually, I’ll post the actual pesto recipe, but that won’t be until our next fresh batch of basil is ready this summer. 

IMG_1164   IMG_1173 IMG_1176   IMG_1182 IMG_1184   IMG_1185 IMG_1187    IMG_1191 IMG_1197    IMG_1199

             Broil at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

OK Go Video

Check out this amazing video that I saw over at!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sauder Village Bridal Show

Sauder Village will be hosting their first Bridal Show tomorrow from 12-4.  Print off the registration here and receive 2.00 of the 5.00 admission at the door.  There will be many local venders there.  Even if you aren’t planning a wedding (like me) many of the vendors provide services that would be beneficial for a variety of occasions.wedding_pictures_08

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gardening 101 at Sauder Village

There is still room in the Sauder Village gardening class tomorrow morning! Walk ins are welcome! I’m looking forward to learning from the master gardener and seed man, Roger Rupp, of Rupp Seeds! Hope to see you there!

Gardening 101

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stimmel’s Market

signhoursTwo of my colleagues recently told me about Stimmel’s Market in Napoleon, Ohio. We made our first, of what I’m sure will become many stops.deli    wine This market specializes in beers and wines and hosts a deli and bar as well.
deli menuThe deli menu is written on chalkboards; always a good sign. We ordered a jalapeno cheese dip/chips appetizer.  Fully expecting a hot dip, we were skeptical upon it's arrival, but soon pleasantly surprised that that this dip was served cold.  The kick from the jalapenos was balanced by the cool temperature and likely would have been too spicy for me if heated.  It’s a definite recommendation. We shared the Erie and Riverview, two vegetarian sandwiches and neither disappointed. 
stimmel'sBe sure to become a fan of Stimmel’s on Facebook. They faithfully update their soups of the day. Rumor has it the lobster bisque is A…mazing!

Kimberly BischoffMuch to my surprise, this Saturday afternoon adventure proved to satisfy two of my goals for this blog: explore/appreciate what the Midwest has to offer and meet new people.   We were talking with our server, Kimberly Bischoff, only to find that she is a fellow blogger.  Kimberly is one of only five women participating in “The Happiness Project” with Woman’s Day magazine!  She will be posting on the Women’s Day Happiness blog all year long.  Check out the happiness project here and read all of Kimberly’s posts here.   Leave her a comment to show your Midwest support!