Chipotle Sloppy Joes with Crunchy Coleslaw

 It’s time for another recipe in the Appetite for Inspiration cooking event series.
I’ve never really been a big fan of Sloppy Joes (something about those Manwhich commercials when the little boy gets the stuff all over his face…yuck!) but these have a nice, smoky Southwestern flavor.
I didn’t get to make these, so I don’t have my usual step-by-step recipe photos. But I did get to taste them and yum!
The recipe seems easy to follow and I think this would be a great meal for those of you with children to feed.
Chipotle Sloppy Joes with Crunchy Coleslaw
Source: The Healthy Beef Cookbook by Richard Chamberlain and Betsy Hornick
 Crunchy Coleslaw
 1/4 c plain nonfat yogurt
1 Tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 c packaged coleslaw mix
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
Black pepper to taste
Chipotle Sloppy Joes
 1 pound ground beef
1/4 c chopped onion
3/4 c ketchup
1/2 c whole kernel corn
1/2 c canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c tomato sauce
1 to 2 tsp minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 hamburger buns

Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, pepper sauce and salt in a small bowl. 
Stir in coleslaw mix and bell pepper. Season with black pepper to taste and refrigerate until serving.
Brown ground beef and onion on medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain.
Stir in ketchup, corn, beans, tomato sauce, chipotle peppers and cumin. Bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add cilantro, salt and pepper.
Place meat mixture on bottom half of each bun. Top with coleslaw and top of bun and serve.

The smoky flavor of these non-traditional Chipotle Sloppy Joes is balanced by the fresh, crunchy texture of the coleslaw.

A Nightshade Mystery…

Earlier this week, I received an unmarked package in the mail.
It didn’t have a company name above the return address, which I thought was really weird.
When I opened it, I found an old, tattered book.
The Admirable Crichton by J.M. Barrie
But then it got even weirder.
There were these really weird drawings on four of the pages…
And a hand-written note from Shay Doran asking me to help him decipher these clues and post photos of them to Facebook.
I thought I’d also share the clues with you all! Click on the images to go to my Flickr page, where you can download a large file of the photo and zoom in on the letters.
Here’s the first clue:
First Clue
Start at the swirly bit and work you way along the design, writing down the words or letters that are circled.
Here’s the second:
Second Clue
I’ll write out the two messages at the end of this post so you can decipher the messages yourself, or you can just wait to see what they say.
So what’s this all about?
This is a really awesome promotion for Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, which will be released Oct. 19, 2010.
 Shay Doran is a character in the story, and in the weeks before the book release, we’ve been learning lots about him from his vlogs and Facebook posts.
I was lucky enough to get an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book, and I’ll be posting my review closer to the book release. But let’s just say…this is an awesome book, and these promotions are only adding to the story!
This is such a great idea!
Be sure to check out all of the other messages that have been posted on Facebook to learn as much as you can!
And now, for my messages:
1. In the name of the Nether death come to any Searcher who faces the wraith.
2. The book not to be read: Leviathan.
Thanks for looking!

Shay Doran, a character from Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, is trying to decipher these strange drawings in books from his uncle’s library. And he asked for my help!

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies

It’s fall in Texas! Woohoo! And by fall, I mean that it’s below 90 degrees and the leaves *haven’t* started changing color. But it’s cooler outside and that makes me want to cook fall-ish things. These oatmeal cookies definitely fit the bill!
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 c rolled oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Mix in the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
Stir in the oats until incorporated.
Drop by tablespoons onto a prepared baking sheet about two inches apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown.


Looking for more fall recipes? Look no further!



Mojo Beef Kabobs

Last week, I posted about my experience cooking with other DFW bloggers at the Appetite for Inspiration event, hosted by the Texas Beef Council.
I plan on featuring some of the delicious recipes we made during the event.
Today’s recipe is *really* yummy.
The beef is *so* peppery and juicy in this marinade.
This would make a fun, simple dinner to add to the rotation.
Chef Chamberlain explained to us that Mojo (pronounced Mo-ho) is a type of Cuban sauce that incorporates the tangy flavor of oranges and limes.
(We all thought it was mojo sauce, you know, Austin Powers’ style. I agree with Allie from Screwed Up Texan that “mojo” beef kabobs would have been better!)
Mojo Beef Kabobs
Source: The Healthy Beef Cookbook by Richard Chamberlain and Betsy Hornick
Mojo Sauce:
1/4 c fresh orange juice
1/4 c fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp salt
1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 large lime, cut into wedges
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
10 oz container grape or cherry tomatoes
Whisk together the Mojo sauce ingredients and set aside.
Cut the steak into 1-inch cubes and season with pepper.
Thread the beef, onion and lime wedges onto 12-inch metal skewers.
Thread the tomatoes onto separate skewers — you’ll cook those by themselves.
If you’re using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 10 minutes before grilling.
Coat the steak kabobs with the Mojo sauce.
Grill the beef kabobs uncovered for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning once and basting the kabobs with the remaining sauce throughout the cooking process.
Grill the tomato kabobs uncovered for about 2 to 4 minutes, turning once, until they start to soften and blister.
Serve with couscous or black beans and garnish with lime wedges and parsley.

**Thanks to the Texas Beef Council for providing a free copy of Chef Chamberlain’s cookbook to participants of the event.**
These Mojo Beef Kabobs combine tangy lime flavor with peppery beef for an easy dinner on a stick!

The Florida Sky

Saturday morning, I awoke in Jacksonville, Florida.
I was there teaching a yearbook workshop, and it was a great experience.
There are times when I think that I have a really difficult job. There are times when I think it isn’t worth it.
And then, I fly across the country to work with other yearbook nerds and have a wonderful time.
On my way home, I look out the window and marvel at the beauty of this Earth, at how lucky I am to have the freedom and ability to travel to another state and meet with people who have the same interests as me.
Some people work in a cubicle all day.
Here’s the view out of my office window:
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like this *every* day.
In fact, these next several weeks, I’m going to be working my *tail* off back home in Texas.
I’m going to do my best to work hard and come home and blog in the evenings, but please understand if my frequency in posting slacks off.
Sometimes, I have a tendency to post about the negative things in my life.
But I want you to know that there are good things.
Life is good.
Life is wonderful.
I love my job.
I love my husband.
I love the Minions.
I love our future children, even if it will be a while before they appear.
And I love this world.
How can you see this and not feel that way?
It was a good morning. 
I had good, contemplative thoughts.
Until we landed on the runway in Texas and saw this:
Well, I guess nothing lasts forever. Not even the Florida sky.
This view out of my window on my way home from Florida took my breath away.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by The Story Siren.
It’s a chance for book bloggers to display the books they purchased or received for review each week.
Here’s what I got in mine:
Featured Books:
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: Aug. 31, 2010
**ARC courtesy of author Michelle Hodkin**

The Healthy Beef Cookbook by Richard Chamberlain and Betsy Hornick

**Paperback copy courtesy of the Texas Beef Council**

You can click here to read my post about cooking with Chef Chamberlain.

Contests I Won!

Because I’m so super-stoked about winning these contests, here’s a link to them!

The Great YA Bake Sale
(Grand Prize Winner…Score! I can’t *wait* to start making some of the recipes authors included in the recipe book!)

A Hexy Giveaway for the Auburn Writers Conference
(I was the runner-up winner since the original winner didn’t claim her prize. Sad for her, but yay for me!)

It’s been a great week!

Thanks for looking!


This weekend at my cousin’s wedding, there was a beautiful sunset over the lake.
Of course, we had to take photos with it.

Mom and Dad
Andy and River
Mom and River
James and Me
I just love the beauty of nature.
Happy Saturday!
This sunset over Lake Hugo was absolutely stunning. Protection Status