{Vegetarian} Brunch Tostadas

You guyyyyyys. I know, I’m always like, oh this is the best recipe ever and you just have to try it. But seriously, it is the best freakin’ recipe ever!!!!!!! I am obsessed with Mexican flavors in case you haven’t noticed by now. (Click on every word in the previous sentence to find my favorite Mexican inspired dishes!)

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I am always trying to come up with different ways to use my favorite ingredients in new recipes and this one is a blue ribbon winner dear friends!

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Also, it could NOT be any easier. Warm the tostada shells in the oven while you saute onion and garlic with your beans and some spices. Fry a couple eggs and garnish with cotija cheese and pico de gallo and you’re brunching like a rockstar!

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It’s easy enough that you could actually probably swing it on a weekday morning too. But it might be best enjoyed on a sunny, slow Saturday morning out on the deck with a big cold brew decaf caramel latte. Keep your eyes peeled for that latte recipe coming soon!

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It’s time to brunch bishes.

{Vegetarian} Brunch Tostadas

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 6 tostada shells
  • 8 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon diced chiles in adobo
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread tostada shells out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake them for about 2-3 minutes just to warm them through.

While the oven is preheating, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add black beans, red beans, cumin, chili powder, chiles in adobo and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Turn heat to low and use a potato masher to mash beans. Mash until about half are mashed and half are still whole. Turn heat off, but leave pan on the burner to stay warm while you prepare the other components of the dish.

Fry eggs in batches by heating olive oil a large saute pan over medium heat. Use 1 teaspoon of oil for each egg. Crack them into the oil, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute, uncovered. Turn heat to low and cover pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Cook remaining eggs in the same fashion.

To assemble tostadads, divide bean mixture between shells, spreading it in an even layer. Then add fried egg, a heaping tablespoon of cotija, a heaping tablespoon of pico and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Serve immediately!

Lemon and Dill Goat Cheese Bites (3)

The Best Ever Crispy Baked Fries

Spoiler Alert: If you just want the recipe keep scrolling because Olivia’s about to get real. I can’t say for sure what it is, but there’s a certain quiet loneliness about the late winter months that I just can’t seem to shake. The warmth of the holidays has worn off, the sun is out for like 3 hours and I’m not much of a cold weather person so I don’t really get anytime quality time with mother nature. Did anyone else feel the seasonal anxiety and depression that comes along with winters in Wisconsin this year? I honestly have never realized it before. But looking back, the last few years I’ve been buried pretty deep in those mid-winter blues. As the sun starts shining, the temps warm up and I come out on the other side now, I noticed that I have quite a distinctive pattern around the same time every year. Usually it’s late January or early February, but sometimes it even rolls into March. I start to feel really out of it and melancholy and start contemplating life and how crazy it all is. Which prompts me to schedule a visit with a doctor, who of course tells me everything is fine and then spring comes and I forget all about it. One year it was a few trips to the ER, a few EKGs and finally an echo-cardiogram because I was having palpitations and chest pains (which I later realized were actually panic attacks). A couple years in a row it’s just triggered me to schedule my annual exam and have some labs drawn; I can’t tell you the number of times they’ve tested my thyroid levels. This year it was some delightful rectal bleeding and lower abdominal CT, followed by a colonoscopy. Oh, and there’s usually a drastic hair cut or color thrown in there somewhere. How have I never noticed this about myself before? But with this realization comes the ability to do something about it!

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Move to a warmer climate, right?! JUST KIDDING. I do love Wisconsin; mostly because it’s where my family lives, but I also appreciate the seasons. Even if I go a little crazy for half the year. Every season has it’s pros and cons, but I like living somewhere where you get to experience each season so distinctly. Plus I hate big spiders, snakes and scorpions. So climates where it’s warm all year are out of the question for me. I need that deep freeze to make sure the spiders only get pretty big and not gigantic.

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This past winter my anxiety actually got so bad and constant that I considered adding some sort of prescription pharmaceutical to my daily routine. Which if you know me at all, is quite a surprising thing to hear (see my latest post regarding a sedation free colonoscopy) because I am someone who hates to even take Excedrin when I have a raging migraine with aura. But, almost like clockwork, the seasons have begun to change and I am feeling good again. Certainly not anxiety free, but leaps and bounds better than I had been feeling even just a month ago.

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*Just to clarify: I am in no way putting down those who take prescriptions for anything. I realize it is very necessary for many and might even be for me some day. I just really hate to put any medication of any kind into my body so when I started to consider it, it was a sign that my anxiety was really starting to take a toll on me. It’s so important to listen to your body and take it’s queues.

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The Best Crispy Baked Fries

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice each potato into 1/2 inch slices, then cut each slice into 1/2 inch wide sticks. So basically, cut the potatoes into french fries. Then add potatoes, oil, garlic powder, thyme and paprika to a large bowl. Add a couple generous pinches of salt and large pinch of pepper. Stir until seasoning is well distributed and fries are well coated.

Spread fries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the fries so all sides get nice and crispy. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Then crank the heat to 500 and bake for 15 minutes. Flip fries and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until desired crispiness is reached. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. I’m not going to pretend like mine isn’t Heinz ketchup, because it is.

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (8)

The Best Roasted Breakfast Potatoes

I can guarantee these will be the best breakfast potatoes you have ever eaten. They are golden brown and crispy on the outside, while perfectly tender and soft on the inside. They are seasoned but not too salty or too herbaceous. These are the perfect accompaniment to a sunny side up egg with a buttered piece of toast a few slices of ripe avocado.

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I have never before cooked breakfast potatoes with such ease and grace and I owe it all to Ree Drunmond over at a little blog called The Pioneer Woman. Ever heard of it? I thought you might have. My recipe was adapted from her’s and I think we can all agree that Ree takes the cake when it comes to any sort of comfort food.

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These potatoes do all of their work in the oven, leaving you free to prepare other food on your stove top or just kick back and relax with a cup of tea. I used to dice my potatoes, boil them, drain them, saute them in oil and spices and every single time I’d end up with soggy, overcooked potatoes and still somehow never managed to get golden brown on the outside.

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Then while laying in bed on Sunday morning, I scrolled across this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. And I thought, hell yeah! This is worth trying. The potatoes are roasted at 425 for about 25 minutes to get them nice and tender, then you crank the heat to 500 for another 20 minutes to give them that golden brown color and crispiness on the outside. It’s genius. And if you’ve ever used any of Ree’s recipes before, I’m sure you’re not surprised. Her recipes are always spot on and super tasty.

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The Best Breakfast Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. baby red potatoes, large diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • large pinch Kosher salt
  • pinch fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Start by heating your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl and stir until potatoes are thoroughly coated. Spread potatoes in a single layer across the pan. Spread them out as much as possible to promote even cooking.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring potatoes halfway through. Crank the heat up to 500 and bake for another 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve! Does it get any easier than that?

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (1)

 

{Vegetarian} Creamy Roasted Poblano Soup

We got our taxes back this weekend! Back in the pre-baby era I did our taxes with TurboTax every year and got them done by mid-February at the latest. Post baby, I am lucky if I remember to get them to the accountant before April! Since adopting our daughter we’ve handed our income taxes over to a professional in hopes of getting the full amount of the adoption tax credit. For those who aren’t familiar there is a $13,570 tax credit for those who adopt. Cool huh?! It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s really not. While it does off-set the cost of adoption slightly, it’s a credit, not a refund and you claim it over 5 years, so you get a little extra back each year. They don’t just hand you a check for $13,000 (boy, that would be nice though). And chances are good we probably won’t end up getting the entire credit because we make too much money, which is hilarious because we seriously do not make that much money at all. While we both love our jobs, we both work part time (about 28-30 hours a week) and neither of us have a college degree.

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Now I’m not complaining! Our adoption cost about $35,000 total so any amount of money we get back is wonderful. But it is pretty effing crazy that when a birth mom wants to place her child with a loving family, that loving family has to pay $35,000 (and that birth mom doesn’t see a single dime by the way). It’s no wonder that many people cannot afford adoption no matter how much they’d love to do it. But I get it, you gotta pay the people to do the jobs to facilitate the adoption. It is what it is. And our daughter was seriously worth every single penny, and every sleepless night and every failed adoption we went through. She is the most amazing thing that ever happened to us and I am thankful for her every single day.

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I was especially nervous with these new tax laws that we might end up owing money this year and wasn’t really sure how it was all going to pan out. The accountant called to tell us our taxes were done and left a message saying, “…you have a balance due of, (my heart starts racing, thinking craaaaap) oh woops, I mean you have a federal refund of…” (my heart slows down to a normal rhythm and I breathe a sigh of relief). Thank goodness we still make so little money that we get a tax refund!!!

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Oh yeah, this was a soup post wasn’t it? I’ve got to get one last soup recipe in before spring arrives! Technically it’s here already, but apparently Wisconsin didn’t get the message. We’ve still got tons of snow and are layered in long sleeves and winter coats. But the 5 day forcast is looking like we’ve got a few 50 degree days coming up (followed by a little more snow of course) and I haven’t had to scrape frost off my car for at least 3 days now–so that’s a win in my book!

Creamy Roasted Poblano Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 32 oz. vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream + more for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Start by heating your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes then flip each pepper over and roast for another 20 minutes.

Allow the peppers to cool enough to handle. Remove the waxy skin, then remove the stems and seeds from each pepper and discard. Roughly chop pepper and add it to a high speed blender.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and saute for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with a splash of veggie stock and then transfer onion and garlic to the blender.  Add remaining veggie stock and blend on high for about 5 minutes.

Transfer soup to a large pot and stir in cumin, white wine vinegar and a generous pinch or two of salt along with a pinch of pepper.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, then stir in cream. Salt to taste and serve!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (5)