Monthly Archives: October 2011

Black Bean Enchilada Soup

Black Bean Enchilada Soup

I have this awesome friend named Lisa.  She is a riot, beautiful, and always, I mean always has a big smile on her face and a great story to share!  Oh, and she also has a great appreciation for good shoes and good food — no wonder we are such great buds!

So, Lisa sent me this Enchilada soup recipe over the weekend.  When Lisa sends a recipe, I know I had better drop everything and make it immediately!  Which is pretty much exactly what I did!  She got the recipe from her Farm Chicks cookbook (I guess I need to get my hands on one!) and I adapted it with my usual tweaks to create this flavorful masterpiece that ended up in my stew pot this weekend–pure scrumptiousness in a bowl!

Before I share the recipe, do you want to know more about our weekend?  Too bad, cause I am going to tell you anyway!  🙂  It was our first weekend at home with NOTHING TO DO–no visitors, no commitments, NOTHING–in a very, very long time!  I can’t tell you how happy that made us!  So, what did we do??  LEAVE!  We took Tobi and Wilson (Henna has a bum leg right now, so she stayed home to rest) hiking on Sunday.  We headed south to check out Johnny Morris’ Dogwood Canyon Nature Reserve.  Great decision!  I have to take this opportunity to give Johnny much deserved thanks for creating a wonderful place for nature enthusiasts to get some exercise in the heart of the Ozarks!  For those of you who aren’t from these here parts (ha, I had to say that!), Dogwood Canyon is a beautiful nature reserve boasting a 6 1/2 mile paved trail for hiking, running, biking, roller blading–they even have a tram for those less inclined to get out and move!–whatever your preference may be.  The trail is lined with waterfalls, stunning cliffs, caves, trees, and much, much more!  Making it a photogs dream!  You could seriously spend all day exercising and snapping photos of the scenery–which is pretty much what I did!  Oh, happy day!

Anyway, we were exhausted by the time we made it home, but I couldn’t wait to get started on the much anticipated enchilada soup.  I quickly got the prep work done and set the soup to simmer.  Simmer it did–for about two hours while we sat outside by a bonfire sipping on thirst quenching home brews, playing with the dogs, rehashing our day of fun!  When we finally drug ourselves in for dinner we were starving for this hot and filling soup.  It took just one bite to know that it completely exceeded our expectations!  It was the perfect way to end our perfect day!  THANK YOU LISA for sharing!

Dogwood Canyon


Black Bean Enchilada Soup

Servings:  6

1 T ground cumin

1 T cumin seed


1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 T  garlic, minced

3-4 c veggie or chicken broth

1 # chicken (thigh is best), cut up into small pieces (hormone free-antibiotic free).  This soup tastes GREAT without the chicken, so don’t be afraid to make this vegetarian or vegan.

2 cans organic, non-gmo black beans, do not drain

1 14 oz can organice fire roasted tomatoes, diced

1 1/2 c frozen corn (non-gmo, organic)

1 c organic salsa

2 roasted jalapenos, minced

1 T chili powder

1 lime, juiced

1 t chipotle pepper flakes

cilantro, chopped

green onion, chopped

non-dairy sour cream (we use tofutti sour cream!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Slice open the jalapenos and place them on a cooking sheet seed side down.  Roast for about 25-30 minutes, until very soft.  Remove from oven and mince.

While the peppers are roasting, saute the red and yellow onion, garlic, chipotle pepper flakes and cumin (both the seeds and ground) in EVOO in a large skillet over low heat until the onions are soft, but not brown–about 5-7 minutes.  Turn up the heat to medium and add the corn, chili powder and roasted jalapenos and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add the salsa, fire roasted tomatoes, chicken (optional) beans and a big squeeze of lime (about half of the limes juice) and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Turn up the heat to medium high, add the broth and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low (as low as you can go!) and cook uncovered for about an hour (or two if you get distracted), stirring occasionally.

Serve the soup once it has achieved the consistency you desire!  Garnish with a big spoonful of sour cream, a handful of chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, and a big, big squeeze of lime!






Carousel Pizzas

Hi ya!  Today I thought I would share my favorite pizza combinations.  We had a big pizza party here at the casa last weekend and my neighbor and mother-in-law refused to let me in the kitchen–I was instructed to mingle while they topped the pizzas.  Mingle I did!  What a great evening of eating, drinking and catching up.  I have no idea what sorts of pizzas were created, but they were having a blast custom creating for the hungry party-goers all night long!

Before the party, I put together a list of our carousel (regular rotation) topping combinations for Celine and Brenda to use, but once the custom orders started coming in, I don’t know how many of mine were actually made.  Which is why I am posting them here!  If you have a favorite combination please let me know what it is and I will fire up the oven and give it a try!

Carousel Pizzas

Peach, Pig, and Parm

  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Roasted garlic
  • My red pizza sauce
  • chipotle pepper flakes
  • very thinly sliced peaches or mango
  • pancetta, pan fried very crisp and crumbled into tiny pieces

Sun-dried tomato, sweet onion, and hot, hot pepper

  • baby mozzarella, cut into very small pieces
  • sundried tom
  • my red pizza sauce
  • jalapeno, minced
  • carmelized onions
  • chipotle pepper flakes

Pesto and roasted corn

  • roasted corn, with loads of minced garlic, and chipotle pepper flakes
  • pesto sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Italian cheese blend
  • chipotle pepper flakes
  • freshly ground pepper

Margherita Pizza

  • my red pizza sauce
  • mozzarella slices
  • fresh or dried basil
  • chipotle pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper




My new fav lunch

Doesn’t that look good?? My new fav lunch!

I just finished devouring my new fav lunch.  It is fresh, delicious, and it only took 3 minutes to make–including the time it took me to get the ingredients out of my big a** fridge!  Keep the ingredients on hand for this one cause it is a super smart, super delicious, super filling, and a super great decision!  What is up with my fixation on SUPER today??  Anyway, try it–you WILL love it!

My new fav lunch

Servings:  2

Calories=350; fat=who really cares, most of it is coming from the avocado!

  • 2 GF tortillas–I like Udi’s (found in the freezer section at Mama Jeans)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, sliced into 6 slices
  • 4 T fresh salsa–I use Artisan from Sam’s
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds or cumin powder
  • a few sliced black olives
  • 1-2 T diced red onion
  • sprinkle of nutritional yeast
  • 1 T cilantro, torn–if you have some on hand
  • 1/2 lime, juice only

Put half of the ingredients on a tortilla and sprinkle lime juice over the top.  Pop it in the micro for 30 seconds or so.  Prep the second one or do your clean up (return items to the fridge and wipe off the knife) while it is cooking.  Roll it up, eat and enjoy your quick and healthful lunch!


Forno Bravo Pizza Crust


As many of you already know, we spent a year of our lives making a pizza oven.  Insane?  Yes, probably.  There were many frustrating moments in which I swore I hated the massive pile of concrete and brick–like when it was a 110 degrees outside and the awning keeping the sun off wasn’t enough to keep us from burning up; when the summer storms hit quick and we tried desperately and often unsuccessfully to keep the awning in place in 60 MPH winds; cutting and recutting stone to get it to fit and when it finally did the whole top would collapse; hands that were so dry from the concrete they would crack and bleed with any sort of movement–awwww I cherish those memories.  Actually, now that it is all over, they make me smile (and realize I never want to build another one–EVER–in my lifetime) and understand how much of ourselves we gave to that oven.  Now I LOVE it!

So this is how our pizza nights go here at the casa.  I make the dough, roll out the crusts, and decide on and prep the toppings.  During which time my hubby splits the wood, fires up the oven, and cooks the pizzas to perfection!  I usually get things started about 1 or 2 in the afternoon and by 7ish we are eating pies!  After-which, we turn up the tunes, pour another big glass of wine and/or beer and sit in front of the oven reflecting on the day and how lucky we are to be living our dream!

I thought it was about time to share the crust recipe that I most often use with you.  It is from Forno Bravo–where we learned how to build our oven.  I haven’t tried it in a conventional oven, so I don’t know the best cooking time.  In fact, I don’t even know the best temp since conventional ovens do not get to 900 degrees like my pizza oven.  My suggestion is to play around with it set between 450 and 500 degrees, watch it closely, and let ME know what works best!  The best advice I can give you is to use MY pizza sauce recipe, go LIGHT on the toppings, use a high quality cheese (or cheeses), roll out a nice and thin crust, cook with a very hot oven, and serve immediately.  This will get you closer to authentic pizza than about anything.  Oh, and stay away from toppings that are high in natural juices or fat–during the cooking process they will weep out and ultimately cause the crust to get soggy.  If you want to use something like pineapple or fatty meats cook them ahead of time!  TRUST ME ON THIS–we have cooked a ridiculous amount of pies and sadly ruined a LOT of crusts experimenting!

A couple of crusts ready to be topped!

By Volume

  • 4 cups Molino Caputo Tipo 00 or bread flour
  • 1 ½ cups, plus 2 TBL water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
  • Fun ingredients to mix in with your dough–freshly ground pepper, chopped fresh rosemary, dried basil, dried oregano, chipotle pepper flakes, cumin seed or any of your favorite DRY herbs and spices!!

Throw all ingredients into your mixer.  Mix it slowly for two minutes, switch to the dough hook and then mix it faster for 5 minutes, and slow again for 2 minutes.  Check out youtube for videos on prepping the dough and rolling out thin crusts!

Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until double. Punch it down and push out the air bubbles. Form the dough into a large ball, then cut it into 4 pieces.

To make your pizza balls, shape each piece of dough into a ball. Gently roll your dough into a ball, then stretch the top of the ball down and around the rest of the ball, until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together to make a smooth ball with a tight outer “skin.” Set your ball seam-side down where it can rest. Dust your pizza balls with flour, and store them under a damp towel, in a proofing tray, or under plastic wrap. This will prevent the outside of the ball from drying out and creating a crust, and becoming difficult to work with. The top of the pizza ball should be soft and silky.

Your pizza balls will need to rest for about an hour to become soft and elastic, so that they can be easily be stretched or rolled into a thin crust pizza.

Rolled out paper thin for a super crispy crust!

If you won’t need your dough for more than an hour, refrigerate it until you are ready to start.

Cozy by the fire!