Loaded Sweet Potato Deliciousness

Today I fell in love. He is sweet, smooth, and has a lovely orange glow.

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I don’t know what took me so long to try a loaded sweet potato, as I love all things sweet potato. But today was the perfect day to explore this comfort food that has taken the blog land by storm. I woke up to 45 degree weather and rain pouring down outside my window. This doesn’t exactly scream June to me. Instead it screams curl up under the covers with comfort food and episodes of Vampire Diaries.*

*Thanks Chels for the recommendation, I am now totally hooked.

Sourdough bread slathered in butter is my normal comfort food go-to, but I decided to go for nutrition over indulgence and whipped up this bad boy.

Loaded Sweet Potato

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 sweet potato

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 large tomato, diced

2-4 TBS chives, diced

1/4 cup shredded cheese, I used Colby Jack

2-4 TBS plain Greek yogurt

sprinkling of cumin

sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Poke sweet potato with a fork a few times, wrap in a paper towel and nuke 4-6 minutes. Nuke beans for 30 seconds. Mix sweet potato insides with cheese and top with black beans, tomatoes, chives, Greek yogurt, cumin, salt and pepper. I think this  would also be excellent with salsa.

What is your favorite way to enjoy a sweet potato?

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Fauxbux Bacon Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

I have a Friday ritual of treating myself to a grande decaf 2-pump vanilla latte and a bacon gouda artisan sandwich. Then my ritual started sliding back to Thursday, so I could make it through my weekly meeting. And then it found itself wedging into my Wednesday. This was creating a dent in my fun money that I’d rather save for pedicures.

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So this weekend I purchased some bagel thins and gouda cheese and got to work. It isn’t exactly the same, but it hits the spot and is quite quick and easy to whip up on a work morning.

Fauxbux Bacon Gouda Breakfast Sandwich

Nutritionals: Cal 356, Carb 25g, Fat 22g, Pro 19g, Fiber 5g, Sugar 4g

Ingredients

1 Thomas Everything Bagel Thin

1 large egg

1 oz gouda cheese

1 slice bacon

1/2 TBS butter

salt & pepper to taste (or Jane’s Krazy Salt)

Directions

Bake up a batch of bacon any night of the week: line a jelly roll pan with foil, lay bacon on pan, put in cold oven and bring to 400, bake for 13 minutes and flip, bake an additional 5-10 minutes, removing when desired brownness is reached. De-grease on paper towels and store in the fridge for future use.

On the morning you’d like to enjoy your sammie, heat a small pan to medium and spray with cooking spray or olive oil. Crack egg into pan and stir up the yolk a tad. Flip as soon as possible, and layer a slice of gouda on top. Break one slice of bacon into two pieces and add to the pan. Cover pan and cook approximately one minute, or until the bottom of the egg is cooked through. Cook longer to increase the cheese melt factor.

Meanwhile, toast and butter your bagel thin. Top with egg/gouda and bacon. Wrap in foil to keep warm for your morning commute.

Now I just need to purchase a Nespresso and my fauxbux fix will be complete.

What is your favorite Starbucks menu item?

Taco pie

After seeing Donna’s version of Katie’s Crockpot Mexican Lasagna, I knew I needed to eat a piece of the (non)proverbial pie. But I didn’t get my act together in time to actually make Katie’s, and I didn’t have the ingredients to make Donna’s.

Sigh.

So I fell back to an old standby: Cheesy taco casserole*.

*sidenote: wow, look how terrible those food photos are! So happy for extended daylight hours and my increasing camera skills.

But I didn’t have those ingredients either.

Double sigh.

Whatever. I can improvise. And improvising tasted particularly delicious tonight. In part because this recipe is very easy, and also because I love cheese.

Taco Pie

Serves 6

Ingredients

10-12 corn tortillas

1 can black beans (rinsed/drained)

1 cup Morning Star crumbles

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced bell pepper (I used yellow)

1 1/2 cups 1% cottage cheese

3 oz shredded pepperjack cheese

1-2 oz cheddar cheese

1 cup salsa (I used Kirkland Organic)

1/4 cup taco seasoning (or one packet)

3 TBS red taco sauce

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in large bowl, (except tortillas, cheddar cheese and red taco sauce).

Spray round baking dish (or 8×8 pan) with cooking spray and layer 2 tortillas (if round dish) or 3 tortillas (if 8×8 pan).

Spread layer of cheese/bean mixture.

Alternate layers of tortillas and cheese/bean mixture, with tortilla layer on top. Spread taco sauce on top, and sprinkle with cheddar.

Cover dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. If you like your cheese crispy, (really, who doesn’t?), broil on low an additional 2 minutes.

Why hello, crispy cheese.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, slice and serve with desired toppings. May I suggest avocado?

Enjoy.

Weekend update

How is it already 6:39 p.m. on Sunday?

I totally skipped out on posting yesterday, and I can’t make any guarantees for how many posts I’ll be able to publish this week. I’m in the midst of writing my first-ever grant, and it is quite the arduous process. Between that and this being conference week I can make no promises in the blog department.

So I’ll leave you with a little weekend update, mostly via pictures.

Friday night I attended the 4th annual Gift of Golf fundraiser.

And although my friend Jenny told me the dress code was jeans and a cute top, I decided a wine tasting was the perfect excuse to wear this little dress I’ve been waiting to debut.

With my favorite, too tall to teach comfortably in, Cole Haan boots.

Upon arriving we purchased some raffle tickets.

And I won! Not the grand prize of 2 rounds of golf + overnight accommodations at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, but I did win See’s chocolate. My friend Karen won a $25 gift card to O’Dohrety’s Irish Grille and Marla won a hat 😉

I must have been starving, because after I finished eating I noticed I completely neglected to take a photo of the spread. Tons of local restaurants donated food, and Celebrations donated cupcakes! I did not neglect a cupcake photo-op!

No, I did not devour two cupcakes, although I totally could have. The hubs enjoyed the chocolate peanut butter one, and I nibbled away at the cherry.

Saturday involved a lot of errands and cleaning for me, and raised garden bed making for the hubs.

One errand was a trip to Celebrations to pick up happy hour cupcakes, when all cupcakes are $1. Unfortunately, I got the date wrong for happy hour cupcakes, but it didn’t stop me from walking out with a few!

The champagne cupcake has edible sparkles on it!

Sparkles!!

I decided appetizers for dinner would be the perfect complement to the Lady Zags game that evening. Who, by the way, are the first 11 seed team to make it to the Elite Eight – Go Zags!

To complete my appetizer menu I hit up my local fromage shop, Saunders.

I walked away with 4 tasty selections, courtesy of our friend Kate, and assembled quite the vegetarian friendly spread.

Cheese board

Vegetarian meatballs + homemade marinara

These tasted nothing like meatballs. They actually tasted like a Morningstar Farms veggie burger. Not exactly what I thought I would be biting into.

Artichoke + jalapeño dip

Bruchetta

And LaBrea bread

Today I added leftover bruchetta and truffle cheese to my scrambled eggs. It was a brilliant idea. I gobbled them right up.

I’d tell you more, but wordpress is being a pita. It took me over an hour to write this much. Arrgh!

What is your favorite appetizer?

Sending Tanica off in style.

I have a confession: I make friends on the internet.

In 2005 I started participating on the self.com healthy eaters chat board and quickly branched off to a private healthy eaters board. I met a lovely group of women, including Megan, and even though our board has dissolved, I’ve remained in touch with the majority of them through facebook.

When I got engaged in 2007 I promptly booked it over to the knot and took residence on the local San Diego board. I met some great ladies, including one of the cutest mommies I know, Alanna, budding MBA student and journalist Natalie, and the ever so talented Tessa.

I even started a book club with my new internet friends, even if we didn’t really talk about the books…

Meanwhile the hubs and I decided we wanted to get married back in Spokane. The Knot didn’t have a Spokane local board at the time, but a few of us found each other on the Seattle local and exchanged very, very long emails. To make sure we didn’t miss anything in these massive emails, I started a local Spokane knottie chat board. After moving back to Spokane in January 2008 some of the ladies were interested in forming a book club. While not all of us lived in Spokane, some of us quickly became close friends, bonding over cake, dresses and guest list drama.

We even had a huge bachelorette party to celebrate all of our weddings.

We’ve taken trips to Washington wine country (Walla Walla and Tri-Cities) to visit our honorary book club member, Becky, from afar,

have worn ugly sweaters together,

celebrated babies,

and eaten a lot of food.

So when Tanica’s husband was offered a job in Seattle this summer we knew she would be leaving us at some point. This Monday is the fated day, and we needed to send her off in style.

Yesterday was filled with toes, tastes and treats.

Our afternoon started at Fancy Nails, where we had a rather interesting mani/pedi application process.

Poor Brianne sat forgotten at a mani station with her fingers pruning in a ziploc baggie for 20 minutes.

Tanica, Becky, Chels and I sat in assembly line of massage chairs.

I chose to be a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater.  

After our nails dried, under a light that may possibly cause skin cancer, we hit my casa for a late lunch of salad and flatbread on herbalicious pizza dough.

Then downtown for tastings.

Watch out, it’s icy outside.

We hoofed it from Barrister to Whitestone.

Where we found cheetos and fritos to munch on. Klassy.

This little guy wanted to join in the fun.

Whitestone doesn’t make whites, but they do serve a twinkie in a glass in case you are a white fan. Why a twinkie? Because whites don’t have any nutritional value either.

While walking back to the car we stumbled upon Fringe & Fray. How did I not know about this fabulous consignment shop? I scored a Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress for $38 and a cute Banana Republic dress for $15.

Up next were some fabulous snackies at Left Bank Wine Bar.

We chose the five cheese platter with two servings of Ballard Truffle Cheddar, Dubliner, Munster and Red Dragon. They accidentally gave us two servings of Dubliner, no Ballard Truffle Cheddar and a serving of Roquefort. Our amazingly adorable waitress quickly righted the situation and told us to eat the extra cheese. No problems here, just pass me the lactaid.

Tanica split the bill 5 ways.

money, money, monaaaay

Too bad we couldn’t use Becky’s ueber cute gift card.

On to Nectar for their Last Sip ($10 to taste any open bottle at the end of the night).

I was kind of in love with their chandelier.

Nectar just opened and was born out of a blog! Click here to read how the dream became a reality.

By then we were starving! Cheese and Fritos can only hold this girl so long. Off to Steelhead we went, and I was thrilled to find a portobella sammie on their menu.

Numminess.

Who goes to a bar and only drinks water? Us.

These random dudes walked in, and we decided they must be a ZZ Top cover band.

Clearly we had to take some pictures.

The owner and quaterback of the Spokane Shock were seated behind us. After introductions I said, I’m sorry, I really hate football, so I don’t know who you are. But would you take a picture with me? I have a blog.

He kindly obliged.

I think he is younger than Libb.

Chels dropped us off at my casa and the rest of the gals had a sleepover complete with some tasty cherry-lemon bars courtesy of Brianne, (adapted from this recipe).

In the morning we munched on some apples,

and Tanica’s tasty, tasty pecan rolls.

Spokane is very sad to see Tanica go, but Seattle is very lucky to have her.

Take care, Tanica, take care.