May 16

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Mmmmm…who doesn’t love dipping fresh veggies in hummus? Or spreading it on wraps or sandwiches?

It’s incredibly easy and quick to make. Once the garlic is roasted, this dip comes together in less time than it takes to go to the store.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Garlic Hummus

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 350.  Remove papery outer layers of garlic.  Cut off the end to expose the garlic cloves.  Wrap each head in tin foil.  Roast for 45 minutes to an hour.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before handling. Use a fork or your fingers to remove cloves. Squeeze any stubborn cloves out.

Combine all ingredients (including roasted garlic) in a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add more olive oil for a smoother texture if desired.  Refrigerate in a covered container for 3 to 5 days.

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May 09

Crazy Easy Chocolate Pudding

Whenever there is a candy giving holiday, I gather it all into a large bowl and put it out of the kids’ reach. They ask for some during the first few days and then, gradually, forget there’s a big bowl of candy on top of the fridge.

And I’m left trying to figure out what to do with it all. From Halloween to Easter, the supply just grows and grows.

And thus, this recipe is born, using the extra chocolate Easter eggs given by doting grandparents.

Milk Chocolate Pudding

Milk Chocolate Pudding

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 6 oz milk chocolate

Combine cornstarch and milk in a saucepan.  Add chocolate.  Heat over medium low, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Increase heat to medium, continuing to whisk constantly, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.  The thickening happens suddenly and once it starts, it’s very quick.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Let cool, then serve.

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May 06

Refried Beans – How To

In honor of Cinco de Mayo (which is today as I type, or yesterday when this is published), I decided to post a recipe I’ve been holding on to for a while.  I have no idea if refried beans are authentically Mexican, but Cinco de Mayo is really more of an American thing than a Mexican holiday, so the honor totally works either way.

Refried beans are one of those things that intimidated me for a long time.  Like salad dressing, making this on my own seemed really complicated.  How do I get the beans mashed to the right consistency and seasoned correctly without drying them out?  The whole thing was too difficult to deal with.  So, any time we made burritos or chimichangas, we’d use whole beans or bought a can of already refried beans.

Mr. Ish didn’t like doing it this way, so did some Googling himself.  After some trial and error, this is the process he settled on.


  • 4 tbsp lard or oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups pinto beans with liquid ( 2 cans or so)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, or more to taste)

In large skillet over medium, heat lard or oil until hot and a little shimmery.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.  Add 1 cup of beans.  Use a potato masher to smash beans.  Continue adding beans, 1 cup at a time, mashing after each addition.  When all the beans are added and desired consistency is achieved, stir in cumin, salt and cayenne pepper.  Use in burritos, quesadillas, with rice, as a side, or just in a bowl with shredded cheese.

Note: Now that we’ve mastered the how-to of refrying beans, we use the process for any leftovers after eating Chuck’s Mexican Pinto Beans.  Just heat the lard and add beans.  So easy and flavorful!

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Apr 29

Sweet Potato Soup

Greetings from sunny Seattle!

I’ve moved 850 miles since my last post.  It was unexpected and sudden and quick, but we’re very happy.

Apparently, I’m breaking a cardinal Seattle-ite rule by admitting the sun is shining, but the weather is amazing this week and I am going to celebrate.

Not so amazing in other parts of the country, which makes soup a perfect dinner.  This recipe was inspired by an ordinary trip to the grocery store.  I was walking through the produce section, trying to come up with some meal ideas.  I looked at the squash.  At the carrots.  At the kale (because who doesn’t love kale?).  Nothing was sparking an idea.

Then suddenly, I had a light bulb moment.  The sweet potatoes were on sale.  I love love love my potato soup.  How amazing would sweet potato soup be?  And did I mention they were on sale?  You just can’t beat that.

And, so, this soup was born.  And it was good.  Very very good.

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in large pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat until hot and bubbly.  Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened.  Add garlic and continue cooking for another minute, until fragrant.  Add broth, sweet potatoes, cinnamon, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes (or until potatoes are soft), or up to 3 hours.   Remove from heat.  Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves.  Stir in yogurt.  Puree soup to desired consistency with an immersion blender.  Alternatively, you can puree in batches in a regular blender or food processor.  Serve with crusty bread (may I suggest this one?).

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Feb 11

Chipotle Chili

Mmmm…there’s just something about chili on a cold day.  It’s perfect.  The house smells fantastic and you feel good after eating it.  Especially if you eat it with cornbread.  Add in the smoky spiciness of Chipotles and everything is just happy and good.

To make this recipe kid-friendly, I add everything except the Chipotles before bringing the chili to a boil.  Then I remove a small amount to simmer in a separate pan while the Chipotle spices up the rest of the recipe.

Chipotle Chili

Chipotle Chili

Serves 6

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 12-oz can or bottle of beer (can substitute beef broth)
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 to 3 Chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce (or 2 to 3 tbsp pureed chilies)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)
  • sour cream (for topping)

In a dutch oven or large pot, brown ground beef over medium heat.  Just as the beef is brown, add onion and green pepper.  Cook until onion and pepper are soft.  Add garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.  Add beer, tomatoes, kidney beans, Chipotle chilies, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin and salt.  Stir until combined.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for an hour or so.  The longer you can simmer, the better the flavor will be.  Top with sour cream or shredded cheddar to serve.

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