Happy Birthday Libb!

Today Libb, (Live-in-basement-brother), aka Jake* turned the big two-three.

*I would like to point out the normalness of my brothers name: Jacob, and the abnormalness of my name: Leila.

Jake moved in with us in June so he could attend college in Spokane. One perk for him living with his foodie sister is that he gets an extra-special birthday dinner.

When I asked Libb what he wanted for his birthday dinner his immediate response was Potstickers! One family tradition is that everyone chooses what they want to eat for dinner on their birthday. Every year my brother and I would ask for potstickers. Just potstickers. My mom always tried to talk us into also choosing a vegetable side dish, but no, we really just wanted the potstickers.

My response, ummm yes! The hubs response? Ick! Libb thought about it for a while and changed his mind. He wanted steak burgers. Then the hubs saw a commercial for Burger King for their new jalepeno steakhouse  burgers. He decided he had to make Libb that for his birthday. My suggestion was to just take him to Burger King, but that was a no-go.


Not my style, but the boys were sure excited about this prospect.

We didn’t make it to a specialty meat market, so the boys had to settle for regular ground beef. I’m sure they will survive. I decided against eating this monstrosity and instead opted for a gardenburger.

And what did I eat before my gardenburger consumption?

Brekkie: some of the tastiest oatmeal I’ve had in ages: oats, almond milk/water, chia seeds, brown sugga, pecans and dried apricots.

Lunch: hard boiled egg sammie with a laughing cow wedge, dijon ‘tard on a whole wheat english muffin.

Snackie: a tart’n’sweet pink lady apple and a babybell cheese

plus lots of H20 out of my super cute new water bottle.

I am a firm believer that cute water bottles help you to consume more water.

Some homemade toasted sesame hummus with baby carrots,

which needs a tad more salt and something else that I can’t quite put my finger on yet.

And a little afternoon pick me up.

Numi Vanilla Black Decaf is very tasty, tasty.

But back to that gardenburger. I put bacon on it. Yes, this goes against everything the gardenburger stands for. But when the boys were making their bacon I couldn’t resist the waffs coming from the kitchen.

I expected to say Holy yummoly! But instead it was sodium overload! I ripped that bacon slice right off of that gardenburger, dignity intact.

The hubs made some bomb(dot)com onion rings too.

The boys burgers looked like this prior to grilling.

And after, Libb topped his burger with jalepeno, cheese, pineapple and bacon.

He declared himself full after 4 bites.

But we had to save room for dessert!

I picked up these babies at Celebrations.

Peppermint mocha, red velvet and 2 lemon vanilla’s.

Plus an extra large chocolate one for the birthday boy.

I think we are actually going to save these until a later date though. Too.much.food.so.full.

What did Libb get for his birthday?

Food of course.

My parents got him some Mexican snuff*, which can also be used for cooking.

*Growing up in Yakima we got spoiled by real Mexican food and products. Spokane does not have these fun items, and it is a crying shame.

And my parents and I obviously know Libb’s taste in dessert well…

fruit snacks from mom and dad.

and generic from me.

My grandma sent us gummy frogs every year, so when I found these I had to purchase them.

As well as some really, really, cheap beer. Which Libb got very excited about and opened immediately…it was warm.

My parents dogs Bachelor and Zoey sent Libb a card, complete with a paw print signature.

And in honor of my friend Lindsay, who is participating in the no-pants week challenge, I am wearing a skirt today.

I think I can manage rockin’ no pants during the work week, but no way I can take on the week long challenge. Major props to those girls who are taking on this challenge in January. If it were July I could totally do this 🙂

Babies and burlattas.

It seems everyone around me is having babies. One thing you should know about me: I love babies. Baby smell, baby chub rolls, baby laugh, baby everything. I have pattened the Leila Swoop, a certain sway/bounce thing I do with babies. I love it because I get an awesome glute/hamstring workout. Moms love it because (generally) their baby stops crying.

The hubs loves that my friends keep having babies because that means I make burlattas. And whenever I make a batch of burlattas for someone else, I may as well make a batch for us. Tomorrow my co-worker is coming back after an eight week maternity leave. So tonight I whipped these up to bring her in the morning.

A burlatta is a delicious mix of a burrito and an enchilada, and it has taken on a life of its own since I first started making them back in 2003. The original mix (shredded chicken, rice, enchilada sauce and cheese) was pretty much the only thing I could make for dinner that wouldn’t send the kids I nannied running for the hills. This was not due to my poor cooking skills, they were just really picky eaters.

Now I make all sorts of burlattas. And I try to make them healthier too. The nice thing about burlattas is that you can throw pretty much any veggie you want in there and they will be forgiving. Below is the recipe for Black Bean Burlattas, but you can sub chicken for the black beans, brown rice for white rice, add cilantro, whatever. They will still taste great.

Black Bean Burlattas

chicken version found here

Yields 12 burlattas

Nutritionals: Cal: 331, Carb: 42, Fat: 13, Pro: 14


1 cup dry rice (cook according to package or bulk bin directions)

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained

1 20oz can red enchilada sauce

1 small can diced green chiles

1/2 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow or orange)

1/2 sweet onion, diced

5 mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp cumin

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

12 flour tortillas (although my favorite are Tortillaland, they do not hold up well for this recipe because they are too soft. Guerrero or Mission work better)


Cook rice according to package directions.

While rice is cooking dice your veggies.

Heat large skillet pan with olive oil. Add bell pepper and onion. Saute 1 minute.

Add garlic, cumin and mushrooms. Heat an additional 7-9 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

After rice has finished cooking combine rice, black beans, veggies, 2 cups shredded cheese and 1/2 can of enchilada sauce in large bowl. Spoon mixture evenly between 12 tortillas and place in glass baking dish (I used 1 9×13 and one 8×8). Cover with remaining enchilada cheese and rest of cheese.

Bake 30 minutes.

Serve with sour cream or plain greek yogurt.