the chimi burrito that will save your turkey leftovers

So, originally, I set out to make these Baked Turkey Chimichangas, and my plans were nearly thwarted by an ill-fated plan to make refried beans.

Once I regained my composure and my friends went to the store for a can of refried beans, I got back on course. We made a few changes to this recipe... mostly we fattened it up.

As I cleaned up from the earlier culinary mess, my friend heated up some leftover turkey with two teaspoons of vegetable oil, salt and pepper on medium heat.


the misadventures of refrying beans

Do not underestimate a two dollar can of refried beans. It's harder than it looks.

Saturday night, I had friends over, and naturally being the weekend after Thanksgiving, I wanted to flex my skills with some leftover turkey. There is no shortage of online ideas for your late November turkey, but I've had one in my back pocket for years: Baked Turkey Chimichanga... but far less healthy.

I did not have refried beans, as the recipe called for, but I did have a bag of dry pinto beans. And, as usual, I said, "How hard can it be?" And didn't go off of more than that.

The bag had instructions for quick cooking, which is not entirely true. Beans need to be soaked overnight. I boiled and soaked for upwards to four hours. That apparently was not enough.


the evolution of eating well

So you're well acquainted with my nerd-like devotion to online lectures. I've got another one for you.

New York Times bestselling author of Food Matters and How to Cook Everything Mark Bittman gives us even more reasons to eat well -- not only for your own health, but for the environment as well.


out with the old, in with the new shoes

Saturday marked the official retirement of my Nike Air running shoes. I bought them three years ago in Chesapeake. They've run throughout the neighborhoods of Hampton Roads and northern Virginia. They endured a year long membership at Gold's Gym and witnessed me being hit on by a handful of handsome military men. They were there when I fell on a trail in Annapolis, resulting in leg scars I may have for life. They've done two official 5Ks, one half marathon and countless miles of training. I kept them far longer than I should have. Saturday's run was purely for sentimental value.

The Good Journal: Old Shoe

Meet my new shoes. Brooks Ghost 3 Women's Running shoes. I tried several pairs and after lightly jogging around the shoe store in these, something about them made me want to run.

The Good Journal: New Shoe

Marine Corp Marathon 2011.. I'm comin' for ya.



what's good: snickerdoodle cookies

While cooking from scratch is still a recent dalliance, there is one element of the culinary world that I've been involved in since I was the little kid: baking. I grew up as a resident cake, cookie and assorted baked goods expert in our household. So every time I break out the flour, sugar, shortening and eggs, no matter where I am, it feels like home.

Last night, I got that sugar craving at around 8 p.m. and went to work on some Snickerdoodles -- essentially cinnamon sugar cookies.

The Good Journal: Snickerdoodles


what's good: roasted artichoke

I had my first artichoke this year. I'd eaten it in sauces and dips before, but a few months ago was the first time I was in possession of a raw artichoke. I had options, all of which sounded tasty.

I found this quick tutorial from Food Wishes on YouTube for roasted artichoke and it proved quite delicious.

Simply Roasted Artichoke - Wrap and Roll - Food Wishes



recipe-ish: (a type of) pesto sauce

I'm very happy that olive oil is good for you, because I use it every day. Seriously. What's coursing through my veins now is, no doubt, three parts blood, one part Bertolli.


chicken and dumplings... or "attack of the mystery bouillon cubes"

I debated for a while whether or not to post this blog, but if you're going to get a virtual view of life in my kitchen, you should know things often go awry, and a large portion of cooking is making mistakes and bouncing back. A metaphor for life, if you will.

Last night, I searched the Web high and low for a suitable chicken and dumplings recipe that did not require a Dutch oven or two hours of prep and cooking time. It was harder than it seems.

I finally found a feasible recipe from food and cooking bloggers Kevin and Amanda. And nearly destroyed it.


what's good (kinda): not-so-french breakfast puffs

One of my roommates grew up in France. When I showed her the recipe for French Breakfast Puffs and asked her if she'd eaten such a thing before, she furrowed her brow, then shook her head. So I went into this feeling a little suspicious.

Yes, as the picture depicts, I used 2% milk, which I believe is why my dough runneth over. That aside, it was sweet, rich tastiness. Instead of rolling the puffs, I broke off pieces, dipped them in melted butter then dipped them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

A quick Google search reveals that everyone has a French Breakfast Puff recipe. I used the one from All Recipes. If you find one that works, let me know. Even if it's not really French...


meditation.... or "breakfast with God"

Mornings are important. It's the tithe of the day. If you don't invest it in something worthwhile, your whole day is off course.

Yesterday, I was tweeting back and forth about meditation with author and natural hair expert Chris-Tia of Thank God I'm Natural. I'm not a sit and oooooooommmmm type of meditator, although I have been known to practice some pranayama. Feels quite nice actually. I mostly love the idea of quiet time.


the savory and the simplicity

Yesterday morning, I had porridge for breakfast. The tempering of the egg aside, it was marvelously simple and it got me thinking, ironically enough, about fancy food.

Since joining the fray of food blogging and watching more cooking and food travel shows than intellectually necessary, my eyes are inundated with complicated dishes. Foams, bone marrows, gold flakes, truffles, and other expensive examples of gastronomy... I watched a chef just the other day on YouTube making a lovely dish, but he lost me right away when he said the words "liquid nitrogen".



recipe-ish: roasted red pepper tomato sauce

This was adapted from Epicurious. I got a large beautiful red pepper from the farmer's market with this recipe in mind.

The Good Journal: Red Pepper, Ready and Willing

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce
from Epicurious
of course, tailored to my insatiable love of mushrooms and onions


dinner with friends

The Good Journal: Beef Tenderloin and Roasted Vegetables

My friends come over. I love to cook for them. It happens often, and it's a true joy in my life. I love to see people relaxed and happy, and there's nothing like the happiness that comes from a casual, home-cooked meal. Simple as that.

Once a month, though, I do a more formal dinner party. I invite different people over every time. The menu is a more complex, and we eat at the dinner table like actual grown-ups. Last night was such a night.

Beef tenderloin with roasted shallots. Roasted vegetables. Feta cheese mashed potatoes.


erykah badu: next lifetime

I have a few reasons to post this video as our musical selection of the week. First and foremost, Erykah Badu is the pure embodiment of soul. She is effortlessly harmonious and strong all in the same note.

Not to mention, her music is timeless. This takes me back to another lifetime.


what's good: tyler florence and his amazing flying potato chorizo

Okay, so chorizo can't fly, but otherwise, it seems to do no wrong.

This is a recipe-share, one of those great times when I step aside and just share a few pictures of a recipe so delightful that I didn't need to change a thing.

Take a look at Tyler Florence's Potato and Chorizo Tortilla. I found it on the Cooking Channel website. It was the first thing I made with my newly acquired tube of chorizo.

See the sizzle.

The Good Journal: Chorizo

Okay, so it starts out a little greasy, but it gets better once it goes in the oven.


recipe-ish: grilled gouda and bacon sandwich

Grilled cheese sandwich. Its deliciousness is in its simplicity. Butter bread, cheese, grilled. If this food was any more comforting, it would come with its own blanket.

I'm not big into "taking a twist on a classic" or any of the other ways people ruin food. However, grilled cheese just leaves so much room to improvise. I'm trying this version out, Grilled Gouda Cheese and Bacon Sandwich, because we all know everything is better with bacon.

Cut four slices of artisan bread. Something thick. I use an Italian round.

The Good Journal: Bread


mint lemon tea: the feel-better-soon remedy

The Good Journal: Mint Lemon Tea

Today, I'm ill. And not in an '80s hip-hop kind of way.

I'll spare you my ailments, but let's just say that you know I'm sick if I'm not hungry. And today, I'm not hungry.

Whenever I get like this, I want simplicity, preferably piping hot. I want tea.
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