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It’s cold outside… Black Bean Soup

9 Feb

I love black beans.

Well, I love food in general, but I LOVE me some black beans. I love black beans in quesadillas, I love black beans in salad, I even love black beans in my pot-pies. Well, let’s just be honest, If you can put a black bean in it, I assure you I love it. Even soup.

Our chilly “soup days” are few and far between here in Hawaii and you can’t really plan on tomorrow being the perfect soup weather to prepare your soup. Some of the best soups I’ve had are a 2 day process and as a busy mom I don’t have that kind of time. So, I have done some research to come up with the best Black Bean Soup I can make on a whim. I believe I have a GREAT solution and a good competitor against even the best black bean soup out there… Yes, I am talking to you “Thank God It’s Friday” people…

I am highly impressed with my last-minute soup and it has become a staple for those few and far between rainy days at my home. I hope you can give it a try!

IMG_1365April’s Black Bean Soup


2 tablespoons butter (for vegan friendly recipe, use vegetable oil)
1 cup diced white onion
1 cup diced celery
3/4 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
3 tablespoons minced garlic
5 15-ounce cans black beans
5 cups of chicken broth (for a vegan friendly recipe, use veggie broth)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2½ teaspoons Chili powder
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon cumin
¾ teaspoon salt
Concentrated hickory liquid smoke {to taste}
(I add about 2 teaspoons of the liquid smoke before I boil, then add more to taste before ready to serve)

*Shredded Cheddar, Monterey Jack or “Mexican blend” cheese. {omit if making vegan, duh}
*Chopped Green Onions
*Homemade Fried tortilla strips* or crumbled store-bought tortilla chips

  1. Heat butter or oil in large sauce/soup pot over medium/low heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic to your butter or oil and simmer slowly for 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to “sweat” and onions are practically clear. Don’t brown! Keep the heat low.
  2. Meanwhile, pour canned beans into strainer and rinse them under cold water. Measure 4 cups of the drained beans into a food processor with 1½ cups of chicken (or veggie) broth. Puree on high-speed until smooth.
  3. When veggies are ready, pour the pureed beans in. Add the remaining whole beans, the rest of the broth, and every other ingredient in the list above (down to the liquid smoke), to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour stirring occasionally. I’ve allowed my soup to sit on low simmer for 2+ hours! Add more liquid smoke, if needed, to taste.
  4. While your soup is simmering, prepare your garnish. Chop up green onions. Crumble up your tortilla chips OR *If you are making your own crispy tortilla strips you will need to pour about a fingers width of oil in a pan, heat up on med/high heat. While your oil is getting hot, cut up your tortilla’s {I use plain flour tortilla’s but you can use corn or whole wheat too} into long skinny strips, and then half them so they are small. Once your oil is hot, sprinkle in your cut up tortilla strips and fry them for about 30-45 seconds or until brown and crispy. Lay them on a plate with a paper towel to drain some of the oil.

                   TIP: I recommend growing your own green onions, it’s so easy to do and you don’t need to have a “garden” to do it! I’ll make it easy for you, buy some local, organic green onions with some roots still on the bottom. When you get home, or after you cut and use what you want, place them in a cup of water and leave them on the counter or in the window sill. You will see within days that they are shooting out new onions from where you cut them. You can then plant them nearby or leave them in the cup of water. Saving you time and money for your next Green Onion need!

  5. Serve soup topped with cheese {again, omit cheese for vegan friendly}, green onions and crispy tortilla strips {or crumbs}. Not Vegan? – You could also add a tablespoon of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt!
  6. Enjoy your black bean soup!!



My life: the coloring’s of a 2 year old

4 Feb

Good music.

A beer.

A new adventure.

A dream.

Self motivation.

A new chapter.

A new chapter…

There’s a point in every story where the climax is almost reached and the story tends to lean in one conclusive direction, leaving the witnesses with a false sense of knowing what will come next or what the outcome may be. I am always one who predicts what will happen. I tend to usually be right, of course, when I am not. Okay, who am I kidding… I am usually never right.

If I had to draw my life out on a map, it would basically look like a two-year old went a little crazy with a marker. It’s all over the place and the “paint by numbers” section is nowhere close to what it was supposed to be. There’s black for white, and red for green. It’s not at all what I was told.

My life has been full of chapters that I have graciously ended and improved on. It has been full of climaxes and full of rock-bottoms. I have learned and I have failed, miserably, at times. Yet, here I stand. A smile on my face and new chapter in my life…

I have to say though, my last chapter is coming to a close and it has been the hardest one to close.

I fear as though this will be the start of chapters being hard to close.

My job as a mom to young, I want you to hold me young minions, is almost at its climax and I am having to put those years behind me. It’s the place: “I’m 31 and I am done having children”, it’s a bitter-sweet place…

It’s a bitter, bitter… sweet place…

Like for example: Now that my youngest is potty trained, I will no longer have to change any more diapers. Ever. EVER! Then it’s the realization that “I will never change my babies diaper again”.

It’s the sad SAD realization that my babies will no longer be that small again… bitter sweet.

* yeah, yeah, I hear you mom and dad saying: “This girl is RETARDED!” (you say it like Carlos Mencia does) “I would be stoked to never change a diaper ever, ever, ever, again!”

Yes, I hear you, but I aint talking to you! I’m talking to the future you. The future you when you come to my same cross roads…

Exciting things come after you close a chapter, willing or not.
New things can begin, new dreams come alive!

I am looking forward to this new chapter. Even though I am not ready for the craziness that comes with two little lady killers, I am up for the challenge. There is bound to be a couple “Mom doesn’t like that girl…” moments and you best bet that I’ll have my shot-gun ready. I’ll have my shot-gun in one hand and a spatula in the other… pretty much.


I have dreams other than just being a super awesome mom, we should all have them. Yes, I may have cleaned up toys, washed soccer and MMA uniforms, answered a billion “why” questions, kissed another booboo, pretended to go to the moon, pretended to be a monkey who went to the moon, colored I don’t know how many Lightening McQueen cars, read the same story with ‘Scout The Dog’ and a number of other things I do automatically like some mom zombie… But that doesn’t mean I can’t have other dreams. I can be the best mom, and totally rock at other things too.

I’ve learned that just because one chapter closes, doesn’t mean it’s the end of me. I’ve taken the opportunity from my kids getting older and applied it to something for me. So, for the last year I have been working on building my business Ohana Sweet Treats. {thus the lack of me being here}

My dream is finally {slowly} becoming a reality. I couldn’t have closed the “baby” chapter unless I had started my new one.

A blank canvas now becomes a dream. MY dream now becomes my vision. A vision becomes reality.

I am focusing on maintaining my passion and my goal to be a better mom, daily. I am proud to say that you can follow my business on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM and you can find my “behind the scene” blog here! I am back bitches!!!!!

Take you for a ride on my big green tractor…. cake

6 Apr

Do you think I am crazy yet? Well you haven’t seen anything yet!

Yes, I made another tractor cake for my son.

Here is the cake I made him for his Birthday Party we had this past Saturday.
3d cake


What fun it was to make!

I will have my tutorial up soon for those of you wanting to know how you can create this fantastic cake for tractor lovers everywhere!

For now, I am spent and utterly exhausted and will be found probably sitting on my couch watching TV while consuming some alcohol…


Happy! Happy! Happy!

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