black bean tostada + sweet potato oven fries

Sometimes, during a fast paced week you just get bored with all your normal go to meals.  When J was out of town recently, the boys wanted tacos and I wanted salad.  This was our compromise.  It's healthy (mostly), vegetarian and it seems a little bit dumpy because of the oven fries ( which are really nothing more than roasted sweet potato).  Win.  This dinner has officially been entered into our mix of weeknight staples.  You should give it a try.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into french fry size pieces
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 -1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  On large sheet pan (with side) combine potatoes, oil and salt.  Start with the minimum amount of oil and add more if needed.  You want a nice coating of oil but not too much.
Spread out in an even layer.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and flip over all of your fries. Return to oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes.

Black Beans

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil 
  •  1 tablespoon tomato paste
  •  1 clove of garlic, minced
  •  1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  •  1/2 teaspoon of salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon cumin

In small sauce pan, heat olive oil.  Add garlic, and tomato paste. Heat for a minute until fragrant and add vinegar and black beans. Bring to a simmer.  Add salt and cumin.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Set aside.

  • canola or grapeseed oil
  • corn tortillas
  • pinch of salt 
Pour a 1/4 inch of oil into frying pan and heat oil to 350 degrees.  Fry corn tortillas one at a time, for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.  Use metal tongs to remove to paper towel lined plate.  Sprinkle with a little salt.  Repeat.  Hold in a 250 degree oven until ready to serve.

  • cilantro
  • tomatoes
  • feta
  •  jalapeno
  • plain, Greek style yogurt
  • lime wedges
  • hot sauce (we like Cholula)

best days.

This weekend was fun, but felt a bit off.  G left on Thursday for his aunt's wedding in Austin.  It is never quite the same without him. F was a little mopey in his absence, but was really excited to have grandma to himself for an entire night. Robes, slippers, treats and endless card games.  What more could he want?
 J and I have been working hard on some new projects, so most of our extra time this weekend was dedicated to those.  We did manage to dress up in our slothy finest and celebrate Halloween with friends on Saturday. It was a great night!
Food was simple and easy this weekend.  I got out the ol' waffle iron and used it for two different meals.  It was less about waffles the second day and more about being too lazy to put it back away, but it was delicious.  I have no regrets.
Hope you had a great weekend!

1>> banana bread waffles for breakfast.
2 >> just a couple of sloths.
3 >> fawaffle!
4 >> cake is cozy.
5 >> sunday dinner is the best.


1 >> beautiful cutting board.
2 >> happy little solar cat.
3 >> candles for a cozy fall / winter.
4 >> old friends magnets
5 >> tgif

Woolgathering // Kool Aid for life

 So, I was gone last week. I was soaking up the joy that is 90 degree weather in October, good food, and some of the best bike riding anywhere. That's California, in case you didn't get that. What was I doing? Working. Well, mostly working. I took a technical service course for modern bicycle mechanics. Mostly stuff I already knew, some that I didn't quite understand, and a few things I was fortunate to learn before screwing them up. Being in such a laid back, and purpose specific environment put a few things back into perspective. If you love something a little, it's easy to love it a lot.

 Events like the one I went to are definitely fun, as long as you remember there is always an underlying theme. You are having fun, right? You are learning a lot, right? You feel like you belong here, right? Well, make sure you don't forget who it is that's taking care of you! "Would you care for anymore Kool-Aid, brah?"

 That's the thing, though. I went there, knowing what it was. I knew they would let me ride dream bikes and pay for my beers. They would feed me well and make sure I was taken care of. It is their job to make me want to love them. I went intending to learn a little, but remain unfazed. Didn't work.

 I have been saying out loud for days now, "everyone was genuinely happy to be there, they loved what they were doing", trying to make sense of it. How is it possible? How is it possible to remain enthusiastic in your day to day life, when what you are doing is trying to sell someone something. Trying to lure them in.

 Loving the moment. Of all the things I was supposed to bring back, I am sure this is the one thing that was not really intended. Despite that, it may have been the most beneficial to learn. Being happy in what you are doing. Not what you are not doing. Being proud when you make someone, or something better.

 Not too focused on the future that I can't enjoy today. Positive in the present. This is where I've been.

Ultra Green Pesto

 Improvisation. It is something our kitchen does really well. At times, it can mean that our creative juices are flowing. Others, it means we set out to make a recipe and assumed there were ingredients that are now nowhere to be found. Or maybe, just maybe, you did a catering gig and have enough excess produce that making yourself presentable enough to leave the house in search of provisions can totally wait another day. Whatever the reason, making the most of what you have on hand keeps you creative, keeps the waste down and can keep you in your ratty old sweatpants all day. Not to mention, sometimes it even tastes good. 

 Ultra Green Pesto

2 cups Flat leaf parsley, loosely packed  // 2 cups Arugula, loosely packed // 1 cup Fennel frond, just the stringy ends, no stems // 2 cloves Garlic // 1/3 cup unsalted Almonds // 1/3 cup Parmesan // 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt // Juice of 1 lemon // 4 Tb. Olive oil

Combine all ingredients together in food processor except for oil. Pulse until all ingredients are combined and uniform in size; scraping the sides as you go. With the processor running drizzle in oil until totally combined. Toss with your favorite pasta. Done.


best days.

This weekend flew by. Lots and lots of food, a party with friends, and tons of family time. It was very relaxed and almost felt like a vacation after last week!
 Saturday, we catered lunch for the cast and crew of The Perfect Find.  We love working with our friend John whenever we get the chance! 
Saturday evening, we whipped up some last minute costumes and headed to a friend's house for a little party.  It was great to have some adult time!
Sunday was spent cooking, eating, playing games, watching movies and going for a walk.  It was pretty perfect.  We just wish it could have lasted a little bit longer.

1 >> last minute bandits.
2 >> sunday morning migas.
3 >> very green pesto.
4 >> sunday dinner.
5 >> pie crust.
6 >> apple pie with thyme.



So, things have been pretty quiet around the blog this week.  I wish I could say the same about our house.  It has been busy.  J has been in California all week and the boys and I have been on our own. We are soooooo ready for him to get home tonight.  Under the best of circumstances parenting is difficult on your own.  School ( that means getting up at 5:45 these days), breakfast, packing lunches, grocery shopping, dinners, homework and bedtimes.  Repeat.  Throw in a sick kid, a perpetually grouchy kindergartener, rebellious pets, no sleep, and pms.  I also managed to lock myself out of the house in the middle of the day while drinking a pbr.  I don't normally drink during the day but felt it was well deserved.  I hope none of my neighbors saw me climbing through the front window with an open beer can.  Sheesh.  It has been interesting to say the least.

I have always appreciated J and all of the many roles he plays in our house. I know there are moments when I take all of those things for granted, but weeks like this put it all back into perspective.  I really missed having him here to laugh about all the challenges and absurdity of these last few days. I am definitely a better parent and person when he is around.

We have a fun weekend planned.  A small catering gig, an Oktoberfest party and general hang out time.  We'll be back to share our best days on Monday!

Another Harissa Recipe.


Recently, J and I have been lucky enough to have part of Thursdays together. After the boys are off to school, we have five whole hours to ourselves.  Five hours is a great deal of time in the world of kids, multiple jobs and too much responsibility.  Naturally, during these periods of respite, we find ourselves in the kitchen.  Having a leisurely breakfast during the week feels just as special as a date night, and I don't even have to get dressed.
Last week J made this spice paste for smashed // fried potatoes and it was so good, I found myself putting it on most everything for the next few days.  This spice paste is really versatile. Use it on potatoes, eggs, chicken, and pork.  Anything you grill, use it as a base for vinaigrette, Mix it with sour cream or yogurt for a topping, or even add it to soup. You won't be sorry.

African Style Spice Paste

  • 6 dried arbol chile
  • 2 dried guajillo chile
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon caraway
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorn
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon

Toast spices over medium heat until fragrant 2-3 minutes, taking care not to burn.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Place spices in food processor and add garlic, jalapeno, olive oil and lemon. Puree until smooth, scraping the bowl as you go. 
Use as you like.  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.  Will keep up to 3 days.

best days.

This weekend was quiet.  J leaves for Cali today, so we just tried to soak up as much family time as possible.  We managed to get some time in with friends ( I had the pleasure of wedding dress shopping with Nicole), cleaned and organized around the house and even get a few projects finished.  It was a pretty nice balance.

Can we talk about Halloween?  My family is borderline obsessed. Costumes are a big deal in the Cheesebrew house, and both boys are taking their duties pretty seriously. F has been wearing various pieces of his costume around the house for the last week.  He is pretty damn cute.  And in typical G fashion, he has every tiny component planned out.  I love his attention to detail! We are having fun planning and prepping. I think this might be our best year yet!

1 >> Sunday morning breakfast.
2 >> this kid is ready for Halloween.
3 >> the boys watching the space jump.  I was a nervous wreck! It was crazy and amazing.
4 >> playing in the fort with lord winky.



1 >> I really like the idea of this Halloween garland. 
2 >> ummmm....amazing.
3 >> love.
4 >> pretty cake stand.
5 >> tgif.


Woolgathering // Polar Express

       It won't even officially be winter for months and the weather is already kicking my ass. I would surmise, that anyone from the Mid-West over the age of 12 has some ingrained defensive mechanism which automatically kicks in when things begin to turn brown and freeze over. A daily ritual or some intense serotonin boosting activity, to keep oneself from totally losing it. We all have our ways of dealing with this time of year. But it's not just the weather that does it. Is it?

       It's that feeling, that it's over. At least for this year. No sun. No one wants to be outside. Work is slow. Everything is slow. Money is tighter.  We are less inclined to make the effort towards anything beyond the bookshelf and the refrigerator. Hibernation in imminent. It's that winter blues I am talking about.

     It happens every year. It just seems like this year it's going to be especially taxing. Perhaps, it is just my defeatist tendencies coming through. However, I feel a sense of urgency much greater than in years past to make, as L calls it, "The push". Pushing past the monotony of  the proclamations we lean on to get us by. *Sigh*

      Now I have gotten to that point. The part in the rant where I have to trudge forward and vocalize my frustrations or wrap it up in a tidy (and admittedly, often corny) fashion. Well, here it is.

    The cold is depressing, and I am depressed. For real. Yeah, I am chipper and mostly engaged. But it definitely comes at a price sometimes. Like when I sit still. When I have time to acknowledge that I really could fall asleep at 3 in the afternoon. Or when I fixate on the realities of living paycheck to paycheck. That's when shit caves in.

      This is why I have been trying to keep it tidy when I write lately. Sparse and slightly lackluster have definitely been my style . Motivation has really not been on my side.

     What has been on my side is other people. The nice thing is that they really didn't know they were doing me a favor. Just being able to hear other people be candid about how much things can suck, is sometimes all the push you need.

      Living for right now. Remembering that I am not the only one. This is where I've been.



sriracha jalapeno hush puppies

 How can you not love a good hush puppy?  Even the bad ones are kind of good.  Especially this time of year when all we want is warm homey things.  Like southern comfort food and vinegar. Lots of vinegar.

sriracha jalapeno hush puppies

>> 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
>> 1/2 cup AP flour
>> 1 tablespoon sugar
>> 1 teaspoon baking powder
>> 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
>> 1 teaspoon salt
>> 2 teaspoon sriracha
>> 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
>> 1 egg
>> 1/2 cup buttermilk
>> 1/4 cup water

Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk together.
Add sriracha to buttermilk.  Combine all wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix or they will be tough.  Batter will be lumpy. Add jalapenos last.  Set aside.

In a large deep pan, heat 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees.  Drop teaspoon size balls into hot oil. Fry, turning once until dark golden brown. Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve warm with sriracha vinegar.

sriracha vinegar

Combine 1/4 cup good quality apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons sriracha. Mix well and enjoy!


best days.

This weekend was a good mix of busy, and relaxed.  We had a rare night out to ourselves, had a brunch with friends and got to hang with our two favorite dudes.  The weather has officially changed and the evenings have gone from crisp to downright cold.  Evenings have been spent snuggled on the couch with drawing supplies, legos and favorite movies. This colder weather and the feeling of fall is making us excited about Halloween, the holidays and all of our family traditions.  It won't be too long before the creepy santa collection is out!

1 >> our dudes H.O.B.
2 >> brunch with friends.
3 >> F in all his glory.
4 >> Sunday morning breakfast.


1 >> it's true.
2 >> recycled bike tube pouch tutorial.
3 >> rolling pin hook
4 >> I want this shelf.
5 >> tgif. 
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