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Tag Archives: cocktails

Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili

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As I said, I went to visit my parents this weekend, which meant I needed to stock up on things unavailable in the Fort. Essentially this means that every time I go home, I go a little crazy at the bulk bin section in Whole Foods. This past weekend was no exception, and I left the store with 3lbs of wheat berries, among other things. Now I just needed a way to use those wheat berries, without Brent objecting too much. Brent has already made it clear he is not a fan of the “weird chewiness” of wheat berries, so I sought a way to disguise them a bit.

One of my favorite recipe sites is Eating Well, and so I checked there first. One of the first recipes that came up was this chili recipe. I like beans, chili and wheat berries, so it sounded like a good fit to me. The only change I made was to use fire-roasted diced tomatoes because I love them in a big way.

Loved, loved, loved the flava of this chili. It was a total winner. Even Brent said “Yeah, the flavor is really good. I can tolerate the wheat berries.” Praise of the highest sort, obviously.

Things are going pretty fantastic here at casa Monroe, so to celebrate, I dragged Brent out for a drink. We went to Old Crown which is definitely my current favorite place for cocktails in the Fort. In fact, when we sat down, the bartender said “Hey. You guys were here last week, right?” Guilty.

After a magnificent whiskey sour, we got back home in time for The Biggest Loser, and I’m going to hang out with Brent and catch up on some Hulu shows.  🙂

Dinner, Dessert, Drinks & Dancing

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This weekend my friends Tessa, Greg, Kathryn, and Jesse came to visit us in the Fort! I love getting together with my friends, and I was so excited this time because we planned on going dancing! I am quite possibly the world’s worst dancer (Brent tells me I should hate dancing because I’m so bad at it), but I enjoy it so much! Before the boozin and groovin, I fed the troops. I made a batch of Teany’s Top-Secret Chili from this book. This is probably my favorite chili recipe. I love the seitan in it.

Everyone enjoyed dinner, as I knew they would (Tessa’s the one who gave me the recipe. She loves it). I also had a pitcher of pre-made POM margaritas, which were also a big hit. No meal, especially one for my friends, is complete without dessert! I made a batch of Mucho Margarita Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I once again used my tequila-lime buttercream frosting. So deliciously sweet and tart!

After some dinner, dessert and a few drinks, we were off the the bar. I made a fool of myself, had way too much fun, and stayed out way too late! Luckily, once we were at the bar, I managed to have equal amount of water and booze so I woke up feeling as close to normal as I could hope for.

I’m glad I got in a fun weekend with friends because I start back at school on Wednesday, so the rest of my summer may be a whole lot less fun. I’ll leave you with a photo of Kat, Tess, and I from the cab ride (love college roomies!).

In Honor of Cinco de Mayo

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I present to you the POM margarita! The folks at POM Wonderful contacted me a while ago (a long while!) to see if I would like to sample some of their pomegranate juice. I was delighted to do so, but unfortunately it took me a while to get around to doing so. With the house and school and family stuff going on, the juice sat in my fridge for quite some time, until I decided to bust it out in the form of an adult beverage.

I have to give Brent the credit for this drink. I was on the couch while he whipped this up in the kitchen. For one drink he used: 2oz tequila, 1/2oz simple syrup, 1/2oz lime juice, 1/2oz POM and a splash of triple sec. Amazing! I was pretty much in love with this margarita. I highly recommend it. 🙂

Belated Valentine’s Day Post

Hey all. My posting has been so sporadic, sometimes I wonder why I bother, but the blog is (if nothing else) a fun reference for me when I’m meal-planning. On to tonight’s post. If you read last year’s Valentine’s Day dinner, you may remember that Brent always cooks me dinner. This year was no exception.

While he was preparing dinner, Brent presented me with a cocktail ( also tradition), which was Stoli strawberry vodka, lime juice, and some sort of punch. Delicious and pretty. 🙂

Our appetizer was a mixed baby greens salad, topped with balsamic caramelized onions. He just sautéed this until caramelized and added splash of vinegar to deglaze the pan. At least I think that’s what he did. I was on the couch 😉 These onions elevate any salad to spectacular.

For our main course, Brent went with Sole Meuniere and fingerling potatoes. I love these potatoes! Unfortunately, the sauce for the fish was just a bit too sour. I guess I don’t love lemon as much as I thought I did, but it was nice to try something different.

In addition to schoolwork, I’ve been obsessed with the Olympics. Brent thinks my focus on the Olympics is borderline insane. I think he’s just sick of ice dancing. Oh, also I got my cholesterol test done, and it’s super high. 😦 Can’t outrun genetics I guess. I have a follow-up doctor’s appointment in two weeks, and I’ll get a better understanding then, but you may be seeing some dietary changes in the Monroe house.

I have more to post, so hopefully I’ll be back before next week!

Fresh & Flavorful

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Tonight was like our Friday because I’m going out of town tomorrow to visit my family and attend a bridal shower. Obviously tonight’s dinner need to include the bounty from the CSA, but I also wanted pizza and cocktails! Like I said, it’s like Friday. 🙂

Our “first course” was a fresh, flavorful CSA salad made with the lettuce mix and the pea shoots (and some English cucumber), along with some homemade red wine vinaigrette.

HPIM3474This was so flavorful. I have no idea which lettuces were included in the mix, but I got so many different flavors from it. I tasted something herbal, and brent claimed he tasted “something oaky, kind of like bourbon.” The salad was tender and absolutely delicious.

Up next, I made personal pizza for each of us. I thought it would be fun for us to each make our own pizza, but all Brent was willing to do was put the toppings on his. My pizza was out of this world good. (I could sense Brent rolling his eyes even as I typed that.) My toppings were homemade tomato sauce, roasted red pepper slices and goat cheese all stacked on a whole wheat crust!

HPIM3479I like to cut my pizza into to tiny slices because it takes longer to eat and extends my delicious enjoyment. 🙂 It was absolutely phenomenal! I’ve become addicted to these roasted red peppers. Love them! Tasty. Tasty. Tasty!

Our dessert course was… mojitos! They made use of the CSA apple mint. Brent makes a great mojito, probably because it’s his favorite drink. 🙂HPIM3488

Now I’m enjoying my mojito while watching season 4 of Weeds on DVD. Tomorrow is work, animal shelter, 4 hour drive and then Chicago deep dish pizza!!! I’m hoping when I come home I’ll have a wonderful nursing program acceptance letter waiting for me!

Nearly Done!

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I finished final number 2, and I got results from my micro final too! I’m feeling pretty good about ending the semester. 🙂 Unfortunately, I also had to go to the dentist today. Blah. So this evening before my test, Brent made dinner (Thanks!) while I was napping off my Novocain. Something Mexican would have been fun, but we had a block of tofu that needed to be used so we had some soba noodles with tofu, sugar snap peas, red bell pepper, and carrots. The sauce was made of, according to Brent, “some Asian condiments.”

hpim3279It was delicious – even if I could only chew with one side of my mouth. After finishing my exam (which went very well) in record time, I stopped at the store to grab some lemons and limes in preparation for a celebratory cocktail. I was feeling particularly dedicated though, so I did head to the gym for a cardio workout first.

Now I am finally on the couch enjoy said celebratory cocktail: a margarita! My recipe for margaritas is super simple, maybe not authentic, and not too strong: 1 part each: lemon juice, lime juice, tequila, triple sec and simple syrup.


I need your help! My work is having a potluck cookout on Friday and they would like me to bring a dessert. I’d like to make something bite-size or at least individually portioned, but I’m kind of cup-caked out, and I’m not sure cookies would be exciting enough. Any suggestions?

Cheered Up!

As I mentioned earlier, I got a great surprise yesterday afternoon, which was just the break I needed from my pity party. The very sweet Nicole sent me an awesome Secret Valentine package!

hpim2844I got a really cute mug with the Thoreau quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams…” which I love. English was my second major in school, and I spent quite a bit of time dealing with Thoreau. With the mug was a cute mini book of inspirational quotes and a very sweet note from Nicole inside. 🙂 A West Chester University key-chain, which was a very cute personal touch and lots of mini candies — M&Ms, Twix, and Snickers, which Brent was all over, and quite a few new bars! I haven’t tried any of these yet, so I’m really excited. What is even more exciting are the mint chocolate M&Ms! I’ve seen these but never tried them, and I LOVE mint chocolate things. Yum! Thank you so much Nicole!! This package made my day! 🙂 I also want to thank Lee for organizing this great exchange!

I spent this afternoon wrangling with butter and sugar to produce the toffee!! I hope you’re excited Julie! It will be on its way tomorrow!

hpim2850Dinner was pretty quick and easy. Sadly, it has a pretty low blog-worthiness because it is a repeat of the Bulgur Salad with Green Onion Vinaigrette from Bobby Flay. Still delicious.

hpim2853I again added a can of chickpeas, and we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow! I actually felt like being lazy and going out to eat, but after much internal debate, my wallet was spared and we ate what was on the menu.

I have spent the better part of my evening struggling with a less than awesome physiology lab and being stressed out.  I managed to clean the kitchen, bathrooms, and vacuum up copious amounts of dog hair as well. I did, however, skip my workout. My mental health had to take priority over a sweat session. Brent left for the gym without me, but, because my husband loves me (and it’s a big hassle for him when I’m stressed), he came back with secret ingredients and made me this!

hpim2855So now I’m enjoying a mid-week Cosmopolitan while watching Lost! I love Brent, really, even though he annoys occasionally. This sort of thing makes up for the fact he continually leaves his shoes in the kitchen for me to trip on. 🙂