Black Bean Chili

This winter has been especially cold and rainy. During times like these, I gravitate towards noodle soups or just soups in general, stews, and chilis. You know, the comforting stuff! I found this particular recipe in a Cooking Light magazine, which is extra points in my book. Yummy AND “light”? YAAAAAAS.

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I made some tweaks to the recipe, but nothing substantial. I like my chili thicker so I eliminated the water. Also swapped one can of black beans for one can of diced tomatoes because tomatoes > beans. I mean, I know this is called black bean chili, but come on, FOUR cans of black beans?! WHY?

Oh, and a word of caution… When I first made this chili, I interpreted “3 canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce” as 3 cans of chipotle chilis instead of 3 chipotle chilis. Oops. Don’t make the same mistake as I did. I love spicy foods but that was almost unbearable! I use 1 can now 😊

2016

2016 was a roller coaster. There were many highs (my promotion) and just as many lows (my toxic relationship with T). But overall, it was a good year. A year of growth, personally and professionally. Before I welcome 2017, let me reflect on all that happened in 2016…

I furnished my place…

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I received two awards at work: employee of the quarter and team of the quarter. Also got promoted! 💵 😁

I traveled to…

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I completed some amazing hikes…

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I cooked up some new recipes and made some oldies but goodies…

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Looking back, I really can’t complain. It’s been a good year and I look forward to even bigger and better things in 2017. Bring it on beeeeetches!

xoxo, kc

Pho Is Life

For as much Vietnamese food I consume, I must have been Vietnamese in my past life. pho reaaals.

When I was with H, we ate pho almost every weekend.

T, who is Vietnamese, expanded my Vietnamese food horizons. Thanks to his sister, I was lucky enough to have home cooked Vietnamese food basically everyday. And family events on the weekend? Food. Heaven.

Now, with CT, my Vietnamese food cravings are as strong as ever. And though he’s very supportive, it’s usually just me in SD, so it’s up to me to satisfy my own cravings.

So what’s a girl to do? Make her own pho of course. In her instant pot.

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Tadaaaa

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Happy tummy. pho sure!

I eat: La Vecchia Cucina

I’ve been feeling stressed out lately, now that I have both work and school, so I took two days off two weeks ago and had myself a staycation in LA. I made sure to fill my days off with gluttony. From ice cream to chicken wings to a DineLA dinner, I did a whole lot of eating!

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Coffee Moo (salted butter saramel with coffee) from Mother Moo

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Linguine for days at Maccheroni Republic

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TEBASAKI!!! ♡

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Kimchi spam musubi

And what better way to end an extended weekend than with a DineLA dinner!

I usually have a hard time choosing restaurants for DineLA. I’ve spent hours before browsing through menus and reading reviews on Yelp, Open Table, and Urbanspoon. Yes, I do my due diligence. But this time, it was a breeze. One look at an Instagram picture of uni pasta from La Vecchia Cucina and I was sold. What can I say? I’m a sucker for uni pasta. I did check the menu though, just to cover my bases 😉

We managed to snag the window seat. TOTES romantic! And fantastic lighting for pictures! Since I looked at the menu beforehand, I already knew what I wanted…

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Capriccio Imperiale

Well executed. The lemon vinaigrette was light and refreshing, which provided a great starting point for the meal. Although the seafood was cooked properly, I wish the ratio of the different seafood was more balanced.

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Spaghetti All Ricci di Mare

Not bad, but def not the best uni pasta I’ve had. There was only one piece of uni and not enough sauce. However, the spaghetti was cooked perfectly.

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Affogato

No complaints, but honestly, I’m not sure how anyone can mess this up…

La Vecchia Cucina was my only opportunity to experience DineLA this time around and overall, I was pleased with my meal. I can’t say there were any aspects that I particularly LOVED, but I would definitely come back to try the other pastas on the menu.

Verdict: 3.5/5
La Vecchia Cucina
2654 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Tupperware Tuesday: Not Just Lunch

** Tupperware Tuesday, a real look at the food I make each week. No fancy cameras, no lightbox contraption, no perfect angles. Just what’s for lunch.

OK, I know. Bringing breakfast, lunch, and dinner? I should just blow up an air mattress and sleep here! Srsly.

Last week, I attempted to do Whole 30, but failed miserably due to poor planning. When you’ve lived your whole life in non-compliance, it’s hard to turn that around in one day. But that’s my problem, I guess. I commit to things too easily and without much thought.

So instead of Whole 30, I browsed the internet for Paleo-friendly meals…

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Breakfast: Sweet Potato, Apple and Pancetta Bacon Hash (Whole 30 approved!)

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Lunch: Zoodles with Meatballs

I finally broke out my Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer. Yes, it’s been 10 months… This baby is seriously the best thing EVER! SO easy to use. SO easy to clean. And the best part is, I don’t even miss REAL pasta!

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Dinner: Pork Loin and Butternut Squash Stew

OK, I know the stew looks like shit, but let me assure you, it is delicious! And it tasted better the next day after reheating. This pretty much applies to all stews. It’s basically science (and good eats!). Alton Brown said so.