Saturday, October 29, 2011

homemade refried beans (healthy version)

And yet again I have no after picture. I just get so excited. And hungry.

I have been wanting to make homemade refried beans for some time now. Kevin fell in love with them on our trips to Mexico. He would eat refried beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
But I did not want to put bacon grease or lard in it (like 1/2 cup!). That fat is probably what Kevin loves about it, but Im pretty sure if I saw that much lard or grease go into anything, I would feel sick.
But I will gladly eat refried beans made at any Mexican restaurant since I don't have to watch them make it :).

People these are good. Flavorful and good.

Healthy Refried Beans

1 T olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 C diced carrots (about 4 med carrots)
1 diced onion
2 cans beans, rinsed and drained
1 3.5oz can green chilies
2 cans low-sodium beef broth
1 t kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t dry oregano leaves
1 bay leaf

Saute onion, carrots and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes.
Add the rest of ingredients and simmer for 25 minutes.
Remove bay leaf.
Puree in blender until completely smooth.
Sprinkle cheese, or melt cheddar cheese on top.

These beans are awesome alongside these:

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

1.5 lbs pork or chicken, cooked and shredded
1/3 c honey
1/4 c lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 (10 oz) cans green enchilada sauce
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheddar & mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix honey, lime juice and garlic powder in bowl. Combine with chicken and let marinate for 3 hours or more (overnight is even better).
In 2 baking pans, pour enough enchilada sauce to cover bottom.
Fill flour tortillas with chicken and cheese and place on sauce.
Pour remainder of sauce on top and cover with cheese. Use a lot of cheese! The more the better!
Cook for 30 minutes.
Broil the top for 2 minutes or until the cheese is browned and crispy.
Let sit for 5 minutes. They are better when they have settled.
This recipe could make two pans of enchiladas or one. It all depends on how much chicken you want to stuff in them enchiladas.

And now I am off to St. George for a fun weekend with my hubs.
Peace out.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

perfect roast chicken

And I have no after pretty pictures, it was gone before I even thought to take a picture!

Found this Ina Garten recipe online. Looked easy enough. And it was! I will be making this over and over and over and over again.

Roast Chicken

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, quartered
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges ( I didn't add this, and it was still awesome)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Pat the outside of the chicken dry so the salt + pepper and butter will stick to make a nice crusty top.
Generously sprinkle salt + pepper all over chicken and inside cavity.
Fill the cavity with the fresh thyme, lemon quarters and garlic.
Brush melted butter all over chicken and then again sprinkle with salt + pepper.
Tie the legs together with some kitchen string (you want those legs close to the body so they will not get burnt), and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
In your oven-proof pan, toss carrots,onion and extra thyme with the olive oil and sprinkle will salt + pepper. Place the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove chicken and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.
You'll probably want to eat the whole chicken in one sitting between just the two of you; we did.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

starting with a donut

Before we went on our morning mountain bike sesh, we decided to go and grab a donut for breakfast. I have been wanting to go to a new local donut shop near our house called Daylight Donuts. We both got the big bear claw. It was the biggest one they had. It was perfect before our big ride.
It was a bit chilly this morning (40 F) but it was a beautiful time to bike. The leaves were all over the trail and the dirt for riding was perfect. This might have been one of our best rides together just yet. We both were feeling good, and me extra good since all my bike training was paying off and I was able to keep up with Kevin uphill. Granted, his bike is a lot heavier than mine (its a great handicap), but I was still proud. I still quite can't keep up him with downhill; but I'd rather be alive at the end of the trail then not. Don't want this to happen again.

bring on the bike race!!

Last weekend, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, my mother-in-law's sister-in-law and myself (phewf) had our big bike race in St. George. I'd like to say it was our 60 miler, but it ended up being only 54 miles. I'm not sure how they lost those 6 miles...but they did.
My other sister-in-law even came to cheer us on with her cute new pregnant belly.
When we got to St. George we planned on driving the course of the race so we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Boy was that a bad idea. Do not do that before any kind of race. For some reason driving the hills on the course made them seem pretty long and hefty to us. We started to rethink this whole thing. We all started to chyme in:
"The 30 mile race is looking pretty good...heck the 10 mile race is looking dang good...Are we sure we want to go big and do the 60 miler...?"
But then we realized we were tuff, had trained, and could totally take the hefty hills and all.
So we went on with our plan to dinner at Xetava to have our nice healthy meal before the race. We don't really believe in carbo-loading, so we opted for fish and shrimp. It was delicious! But then we decided we need to carbo-load on bread pudding. And it was goooood.
We then of course had to get into the hot tub to relax all of our muscles. And to have girl talk.
With every thing done and said in preparation for the race, we all headed to bed.
I called my husband who then turned into my coach.
Oh did I not tell you there was $100 on the line? Oh yes. The Brower's, nay the Brower boys, thrive on competition. Especially when it's between their wives.

"Ok Mal, did you eat enough?"
"Go eat something right now, you want to have plenty of energy."
"You know Shalane is in the other room right now planning with Daniel how to win."
"It's all in your head Mal, all in your head."
"Go drink 5 glasses of water right now. You want to be hydrated."

"Ok, I now have to get some sleep Kevin...gotta get off the phone you...gotta go...goodniiiiiight..."

We got all our bikes ready, on the rack and ready to go in the morning (without our husbands mind you).
Took some pictures before the race.
And we were off!!

SO much cheese.

The course ended up not being as bad as we had imagined. This was good. We all felt great! They had two pit-stops along the way to refill water bottles and grab some energy. There also was some talk with a tattoo-covered, half-naked Ironman guy who had also done triathlons, biathlons, and I won't bore you with everything else. He sure bored us. But his tattoos were cool.

We biked into Arizona. Yep it was a duo-state race. Big deal.

My bum started to go numb. So did my hands.

Then came the last 5 mile leg of the race.
"I should talk to Shalane about this whole race/money deal..." I thought.
There she went.
At a stop light she saw the opportunity and took it. Darn her.
I look back at Lorna and go "And there she goes."
I tried to catch back up with here, oh boy did I try. I do not know how she got so far ahead; so far ahead uphill.
My body told me the race was about to be over, and it would like to be done. Please.
Shalane had won, I had lost out on $100 and a nice dinner at Zermott I had planned on spending it on.

We made it to the finish line. And I pumped my fist into the air to show how excited I was to be done.
And to punch Shalane.
I kid.

I then called Kevin.

Everyone was laughing hearing my side of the conversation. Kevin could not believe it. His wife had lost to his brothers wife.
He demanded a rematch. I said give me a few months.

After a much needed shower to get all the chain grease off my legs and a nap, we all headed to our "We did it!" dinner at Anasazi Steakhouse. It was just what we needed.
Cheese fondue.
Beef filet, scallops and shrimp cooked right on our own hot rock.
Chocolate, Toblerone chocolate, fondue.
It was all so tasty.
If your in St. George, and looking for a nice place to eat, this is it.
But do share. Between the five of us we got two cheeses, two main entrees, and two chocolates and were completely stuffed at the end.

It was a great girls trip.
We were all so proud of our accomplishment. And despite all the talk, Kevin was too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

alpine loop

Sorry I haven't been blogging as much lately. But here are some pictures to let you know we are alive and well!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

pan roasted chicken

I am always looking for new ways to cook meat. Ways that make the cut juicer, more tender and all around better. I found this recipe on how to cook chicken on the Williams Sonoma Blog. It worked really well with a few adjustments. The chicken was very flavorful and juicy.

Pan Roasted Chicken

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (they recommend breast halves with wings, but I got the thighs because they were cheaper. I got three large thighs for $3.00)
2 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt + ground pepper
whatever seasoning you want to use (I used Spade L Ranch fish & seafood seasoning)

Preheat oven to 400 F
Rub chicken with 1 Tb olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, then rub on seasoning of choice.
In an ovenproof pan roaster or saute pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tb olive oil and brown the chicken on each side.
Place the pan in the oven and roast until completely cooked through.

This is where I had to play around with the time. The recipe called for 10 to 15 minutes. It seems to me that recipes always downplay the time needed to cook. I swear they do this so it looks like it will be done in a jiffy. Well let me tell you Williams Sonoma: it took my chicken twice as long to cook. So my thighs cooked for a good 30-35 minutes until they were thoroughly cooked. Or my problem could be my whack oven; who knows?

Please remember to use an oven mit when taking the pan out of the oven. Please. Grabbing a 400 degree pan hurts. It hurts bad.

Once roasted, transfer chicken to cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let sit for 5 min before cutting into it. You don't want those yummy juices to run away!
Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and enjoy.

Also, I know that chicken with the skin on is "bad" for you, higher in fat, calories... yada yada. But the skin and bone-in are important for chicken. This keeps the chicken moist and flavorful. Good restaurants (the one I work at) only use skin-on, bone-in chicken. It's the way to go. And when I was at the store, it was cheaper. Win win.
And if you still don't want to eat the "bad" part, don't; take it off after it cooks.
Win win win.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hadley thinks I'm Jesus

This weekend I was able to spend a lot of time with my two nieces and sister due to them staying up here with my mom while the boys went to Lake Powell. Watching two little girls was hard with the three of us. How does my sister do it?! There was constant taking out of toys, playing with toys, throwing toys and cleaning up of toys to go around.

We took little (almost 2!) Hadley to Snogression to see how she would handle it. She loved it. She was jumping like she was born to jump. She would watch the boys go off the ramp and yell "Kenin!!!!" (Thats her form of Kevin). She knows what he does. Then Kevin would come over and show her some tricks on the tramp and she would go crazzzzzyyyyy. She would clap and yell "WOW!" We even taught her to do a back flip. Ok, maybe it was just a somersault. But a backflip is next.

It is fun to hear her say all of our names.
Grandpa = Paki (we have nooo idea where this came from) or Randy. She heard my mom say it, so she started to say it.
Grandma = Mimi
Kevin = Kenin
Malorie = Maroree
Tyler = Ty
She loves looking at old family pictures of us and pointing out us and saying our names. She recently noticed the family pictures above the fire place and started naming all of us. She did good until she got to me.
Not real sure why she thought I was Jesus. Was it my hair? My angelic smile? My holy hallow above my head? We will never know. I'll just take it as a compliment for now.

And here are some pictures of cute Afton. She's 4 weeks old. Still so little!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chili Chocolate Chili

This recipe is supposed to be called Chipotle Chocolate Chili. Since me and Kev are not fans of heat, I opted out the chipotle sauce. But I did keep the chili powder in it, so hence the name CHILI Chocolate Chili. I wanted to make sure you didn't think I was special and just accidentally wrote chili twice.

Due to the recent cold weather, The crock-pot has been used non-stop. I love the smell of something yummy cooking all day, especially something warm on a cold, supposedly-fall day.

I wanted to make some homemade chili and I happened upon this recipe. It said chocolate in it and that was all I needed. I did change it quite a bit though. They used ground turkey, but this stuff just drives me nuts. Why does everyone think ground turkey is soo much better for you than ground beef? It's not. More times then not it has more sodium added to increase flavor. Hold the sodium and "natural flavoring", I want my ground beef. Just always get the lean ground beef. I also took out the cumin, because that tastes like dirt to me. And opted out the extra cans of diced tomatoes and kidney beans: I have a small crock-pot. I was hesitant to add the chili powder but am glad I added it. Just adds great flavor, not heat. And I added corn because I like it.

Chili Chocolate Chili (Crockpot Style)

1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 red (or green) bell pepper, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 14.5-oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz. can beef broth
1 can corn
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (optional; use to taste as needed; be careful, because too much will make your chili bitter)
3-4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

sour cream
Chopped green onions
Shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil and sauté onions. Add beef and cook until cooked through. When cooked through, add brown sugar and cocoa powder and stir until evenly coated. Add to crockpot. Saute chopped bell pepper in some oil; add to crock pot. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, beef broth, salt and pepper and stir.
Let this cook on high for an hour or two.
Add red wine vinegar and unsweetened chocolate. Add more of these if you want to play with the flavor. But be careful with the chocolate, you don't want your chili to become bitter and muddy.
Cook on high for another hour.

Adapted from here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

free gift certificate. say whaaaaat?

Yep here is a free $25 gift certificate to my restaurant The Wild Rose.
All you have to do is click on this and print.
Easy Peasy.

Tell em I sent ya.