Chilaquilles

(Also known as Breakfast Nachos, but it’s way more fun to say Chilaquiles in your best Sofia Vergara voice.)

It’s a few days into New Year’s Resolutions. Raise your hand if you really just want to eat nachos for breakfast every day.  Hopefully you didn’t make some sort of cockamamie promise to eat fewer nachos this year? (I wonder if anyone made a resolution to eat MORE nachos?  Because I wish I’d thought of that.)  Well, it doesn’t matter anyway. This dish has enough cheesy, eggy, spicy goodness to cure what ails you even if you happened to fall of the resolution wagon last night (so soon?), but also secretly contains enough veggies to make you still feel good about yourself today.

The green sauce is epic, and super easy to make.  No knife skills required… just a blender! Even boys can make this. (Recipe below.)

GreenSauce1  GreenSauce2   GreenSauce3

The rest is mainly oven work and general assembly.

The pretty little veggies (zucchini, red pepper, corn, kale) get tossed with olive oil, salt, red pepper and a pinch of cumin, and then roasted until tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, start building the nachos by placing chips in the bottom of an oven safe dish and top with green salsa and shredded cheese.  Place in oven a few minutes until cheese melts.  Top chips with veggies, a little more cheese, and crack two eggs on top.  Cook for about 12-15 minutes to set the eggs.

You can make some coffee and figure out if you are going to wear pants today while it’s cooking.  And maybe wipe away the gunk under your eyes.

Chilaquiles

Top it all off with lots of fun stuff: Salsa, sour cream, peppers, cilantro, green onions.

Yes, please!

Veggie Chilaquiles with Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
Chilaquiles
  • 15-20 Tortilla Chips
  • Tomatillo Avocado Salsa (below)
  • ½ Cup Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Ear Corn
  • 1 handful chopped Kale
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • Salt, Pepper, Cumin to taste
  • Optional Toppings: Salsa, Sour Cream, Peppers, Cilantro, Green Onions
Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
  • 1 12 oz. can Tomatillos (and juice)
  • 1 large Avocado
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 handful Cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup pickled Jalapeno slices
  • 1 pinch each: Salt, Cumin
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare the Tomatillo Avocado Salsa by placing the tomatilloes, avocado, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno and salt, cumin into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Dice the zucchini and red pepper. Cut the kernels off an ear of corn. Toss all of the veggies in olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and cumin. (Keep the kale separate so that you can take it out earlier if needed.) Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes. Watch the kale, and remove when crispy , usually after about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, assemble chips in the bottom of an oiled, oven-proof dish. (Use individual dishes, or one bigger dish.) Top the chips with the green salsa, and then with shredded cheese. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
  5. Place the roasted veggies on top of the chips and cheese. Make a small well for each egg, and then crack two eggs (per serving) into the dish. Bake for 12 minutes, until eggs are just set.
  6. Serve with optional toppings as desired.

 

 

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Stand-up Desk

by Marianne on 11/02/2015

in Home, Create

StandUp Desk

Did I ever tell you about my Stand-up Desk?  No?  Well, it’s pretty much my favorite thing, which is great, because I spend an abnormally large portion of my life in front of it.  It’s rarely this neat in real life.  It’s usually covered in sticky-notes, piles of notebooks, and random pages of scribbles, but it’s fairly easy to tidy up (ie: hide everything in a bin) when I need to.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but now I spend most of the day standing. I keep a stool nearby for those moments when I do need to sit. That’s usually when I’m up to something complicated that requires an extra dose of brain power.  Normally though, I feel most productive when standing, and when my butt isn’t screaming obscenities at me.  Now I dread going somewhere if I have to sit most of the day.

As an extra bonus, all this standing also makes me put on shoes, which (usually) makes me put on clothes that aren’t pajamas.  That also will (almost always) encourage me to at least brush my hair and throw it into a pony tail.  These are good things, which I am grateful for when someone unexpectedly shows up at the door. (The exterminator really has no business knowing that my pajamas have tiny dogs all over them, but he does. Just one of the perils of working from home. (I know, #FirstWorldProblems.)

The desk is an Ikea hack and cost around $200 dollars.

IkeahackDesk  IkeahackDesk2

(Not all of the same items are available online now, so below are the closest found.)

We used some heavy duty Velco strips to secure the desktop to the base, and it does not move.  I also put some small adhesive pads under the legs of the monitor shelf.  It’s movable, but does not skid around. My desktop is around 63” X 31” and is a great size for a workspace. The overall height worked out perfect for me. Someone on the taller side might need something to raise the desk up a bit.

I love it!  And also really happy to have finally finished off the rest of my office space.

Office

It sure seems that everybody loves hanging out in the office.  Here is just a peek of what is normally going on right behind me:

 s  

 

 

 

 

So much work happens up in here, it’s ridiculous!

 

Sitting all day is slowly murdering you.  So get off your ass, and try standing!

(Also, get you some dogs.  Foster and/or Adopt!)

 

 

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Random Flowers

by Marianne on 09/26/2015

in Home

Random Flowers

I ran across this TEDx talk the other day about happiness that really struck a chord with me.  It was pretty timely; I had  just been thinking about my own happiness (and sometimes the lack thereof) and how a shift in my attitude might make my “right now” life better.  The speaker was Shawn Achor.  You should watch it (he’s pretty funny, too):

http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en

In the talk, Shawn posits that you can retrain your brain to have a more positive (and happy) outlook by doing these 5 things for 21 days:

1. (List) 3 Gratitudes

2. Journaling

3. Exercise

4. Meditation

5. Random Acts of Kindness

I’m in!  I actually ran out at lunch and bought a journal and started that very day.  Each page starts out with 3 things I am grateful for.

Today I am Grateful for:

1) Random Flowers

2) Having enough

3) That quiet time when all the dogs are fed

 

Random Flowers. These are not flowers from 1-800-Pro-Flowers that just show up at my door.  I mean, those are nice and all, but what I mean by random flowers are the ones that just pop up in my yard (or anywhere) that I had absolutely nothing to do with.  They show up despite my neglectful watering habits.  I’m sure these are still the work of the prior owners, but I’ve spent the last 3 summers alternating between accidentally killing all the growing-on-purpose things, and trying to keep the rest of the things from overtaking the neighborhood.  I’m not the best gardener on the block. But every so often, something new pokes through and surprises me.  It’s like, even though I failed at this gardening thing again this year, the world just gave me a little do-over.

Having enough. I have food when I’m hungry.  I have a home.  Well, technically, the bank has a home, but they let me live in it while I pay them the agreed upon sums of money each month. I have clothes to wear, even though I bitch about most of them not fitting me.  I can go buy something new if I want.  I don’t really have or want extravagant things, but I spend a good deal of time day dreaming about winning the lottery (and you can bet your sweet ass I bought a ticket today!)  But, I have what I need. I have enough.

That quiet moment when all the dogs are fed. This one just goes without saying. Mornings are insane and loud around here, and those few moments when the whole house is quiet (except for the crunch, crunch, crunch of 5 happy dogs eating) is the best part of the morning.  Time to make the coffee.

Here’s to living happy.

 

(PS – I ran across this post while looking for the name of these flowers.  They are Spider Lilies, and I love this story.)

 

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Cajun Lentil Dip

by Marianne on 07/26/2015

in Eat, Home

Dear Hummus, I’ve found another dip and it makes me very happy.  I still like you, but I think maybe we should see other dips.  I mean, when I see you in a restaurant, all made-from-scratch and perfectly creamy, I’m still gonna be like “Oh yah, I want some of that.”  But, don’t get your feelings hurt if I walk right past you in the grocery store and act like I don’t even know you.  It’s just that I’m sometimes underwhelmed by you in those tiny little $4 containers. Maybe we can just be friends?

The new dip of my dreams is made with lentils.  I love this stuff.  It’s so easy, and for about $2 I an make a giant vat of it.  Go get some dried lentils and give it a try.  The lentils don’t need to be pre-soaked, so they are cooked in about twenty minutes.  I like it with some Cajun spices (like Slap Ya Mama!), but I’ve also made it with Madras Curry Powder and turmeric for a different spin.  It’s all good!

Aside from being delicious, lentils stack up pretty admirably against chickpeas, so that’s a nice bonus. Check this out. (Chart found at Sparkpeople.com)

lentilChickpea

Lentils win in pretty much every category.

Cajun Lentil Dip

I seriously could eat this all day, every day.  Creamy, garlicky, and just a bit of spice.  So yummy!

It also makes a great veggie sandwich!

 

Cajun Lentil Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3 cups
 
Ingredients
  • ½ lb. dried Lentils (Red or Yellow)
  • ½ Onion
  • 1 TBLS Cajun Seasoning (such as Slap Ya Mama!)
Per 2 cups cooked Lentils:
  • 2 TBL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 TBL Lemon Juice
  • ⅔ tsp Cajun Seasoning (such as Slap Ya Mama!)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4-5 splashes Hot Pepper Sauce (such as Frank's, or Tabasco)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
Instructions
  1. Rinse Lentils in a colander and place in a pot covered with 2-3 inches of water.
  2. Add ½ chopped onion and 1 tsp salt.
  3. Bring water to gentle simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  4. Let the lentils cool, then strain to remove excess water.
  5. Working in batches, per 2 cups of lentils, add the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. There will be some extra if using 2 cups. (1/2 lb uncooked will yield about 3 cups of cooked lentils.)

 

 

 

 

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Jackson Happy Tails

by Marianne on 05/24/2015

in Home, Dogs

I gave him one more hug, and kissed that face… oh that face!…and left him with his new family.  On the way over we talked about them, about how excited they were that he was coming.  We talked about how he would have a girl who was eleven, and that she really hoped he would sleep in her room and cuddle.  We talked about how he would have a new dog friend named Bob.  Bob has lots of toys to share.  We talked about how this worked – this fostering thing.  This was the promise I had made to him… that I would help him find a wonderful home.  I told him not to miss me, even though I will miss him.  Tears welled up a few times, but none fell, at least not then.  Everyone had giant smiles on their faces when I left, including Bob the dog.

Jackson

Jackson found himself a great family and that makes me happy.  But that goofy little guy sure did leave a spot on my heart.  He was here about 3 months, and not one day went by without him causing at least a few out-loud laughs. He sat in chairs, he got stuck places, and he made hilarious noises when he played bitey-face.  He is a total clown.

JacksonChair

Stuck under the couch

He’s such a great dog.  Perfect in every way. My heart swells just thinking about him.  And to think, he almost didn’t make it.  Just a few months ago, he was a stray, and was picked up and taken to the pound.  This was his former “address” where he was picked up:

He was skinny, and sad, and also unfortunately had heartworms.  The heartworms would keep him from getting to the adoptions building, so his chances of leaving the pound alive were grim.   He was just one of many email pleas that went out to local rescue groups.  He didn’t even have a name.

JacksonKennelCard

 

Luckily, he had a hero. A Red Collar Rescue volunteer saw his pathetic picture, and stepped up to sponsor him.  He put up his own money to get him out of there, and to get his heartworms taken care of.  That day Jackson became part of the Red Collar Rescue family.  That day his luck turned around.  The poor guy managed to get out of the pound with the beginnings of an upper respiratory infection, but at least he was out!  His freedom ride picture is the saddest thing ever.

20150112_143003

Poor little guy.  But Jackson left the pound that day, and never looked back.  He’s living the good life these days.

JacksonBarkBox1

All he needed was a chance.  What a lucky boy!

Happy life, Jackson.  You will be forever in my heart.

Jackson04077

 

Be kind.  Be a hero.  FOSTER – DONATE – ADOPT

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Blueberry Cheesecake Lemon Squares

April 9, 2015

So, this happened last weekend. I was on a mission to try and use up the thousand or so Meyer Lemons still hanging on my tree, and the first thing that came to mind was Lemon Squares (And ironically, this actually only used up a total of 1 or 2 lemons,  so I’ve got way […]

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New Years Soup

February 12, 2015

Yah, I know it’s a bit late for New Years.  Half-way into February, and here I come with a post for New Years Soup.  This is why blogging isn’t the job that pays me… or maybe it’s because of that?  (Stay tuned for my Valentine’s Special, coming this fall! haha!)  I’ve been making this soup […]

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One for the Good Guys

January 19, 2015

This weekend I was taking my new foster pup, EmmyLou, to meet some potential adopters, and hit a little traffic snag en route. I mumbled “Asshole!” to the driver of the car who had been behind me in the slow-moving traffic jam, as he decided to use the entrance ramp lane to jump maybe 8 cars […]

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Merry (Doggy) Christmas

December 25, 2014

Twas the night before xmas, and all through the house,    Not a creature was silent, not even Maggie! The brown dogs had dug up the plants, I see    and had Molly on another all-night barking spree. Rusty is here to share in the joy    and make sure we shred every last toy. […]

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Sweet Potato Kale Hash

December 21, 2014

There is nothing that cures what ails you quite like a warm sunny-side up egg layered atop something delicious. And what ailed me this morning was about 2 gallons of wine, staying out past my bedtime, and way too much laughing last night.  Yes, another fun (and loud) Fraser family Christmas has come and gone.  […]

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