Red Bean & Rice Burritos

Basket Of Burritos l Scarletta Bakes

Let’s celebrate Mardi Gras!

Sure, we’re a little early. And it’s true that we’re nowhere near New Orleans. But don’t you just feel like you want to let the good times roll right about now? Me too…

Red Beans + Rice l Scarletta Bakes

I don’t have a strong connection with New Orleans or its tradition, but I have often celebrated Mardi Gras over the years; it falls at a time on the calendar when most people are just about begging for the weather to warm up, dying to let loose and live a little, and after the first of the year’s health push, probably looking for a bit of indulgence.

Perfect.

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Lunchbox Horchata Cookies

When I think back on all those first days of school, I, of course, remember them from my perspective:

Praying to the Homeroom Gods that I would get the best teacher assignment;
Packing away my sticker and Sweet Valley High book collections, knowing they would be gathering dust while I spent nine months doing stupid stuff like studying and learning;
Buffing my Trapper Keeper to a Bat-Signal-bright sheen;
And selecting just the right outfit to make just the right impression on that first, fortuitous day.

But, in retrospect, things must have been pretty rough for my Mom and Dad as well.

My brother, sister and I tended to want to eat regularly, and I’m sure keeping growing bodies in nutrition and energy requires a more sophisticated strategy than simply throwing some Flintstone vitamins into the morning’s pancake batter.

Plus there’s the matter of keeping up with food trends and what we would inevitably see our friends bringing to school lunch that we would then have to have for our own the next day, along with the question of what to prepare for the near-holy after-school snack. And dinner! Sakes alive, don’t forget dinner!

All that without having the benefit of hitting up the Interwebz for ideas. Talk about walking uphill to school both ways in the wintertime – that must have been rough.

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Tumbleweed Rice

You know, I take the sport of opinion forming very seriously. I just feel like if you’re going to take the time to take a stand on something, you might as well go strong or go home.

A. gives me a hard time about it. He says that if I decide not to like something, best lock up the women and children because it’s on like Donkey Kong.

Take potato salad, for instance. I really don’t like it. I really, really don’t like. It’s difficult for me to even sit at a table where other people are eating it.

I can’t help it. I just feel very strongly about some stuff.

The flip side of that is what A. eye-rollingly refers to as my Obsession List. The stuff that I’ve decided to passionately and stalkerishly pursue with 173% of my energy and attention.

I’m currently rocking an Obsession List that’s several pages long. About a third of the way down page 2, you’ll find rice.

I don’t know what it is but I just can’t get enough of the stuff. I fry it, I boil it. I season it and I bake it. I’m -wait for it- obsessed with it.

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Spicy Corn Egg Rolls

I like parties. Could you tell?

I like planning parties. I like hosting parties. I like attending parties.

Parties. Parties. Parties.

Luckily I don’t have any difficulty finding reasons to party.

Hey, it’s Tuesday. Party time!

Oh, look – you grew out your bangs. Partytown, here we come!

Someone remembered to take out the trash today so the Partytrain’s pulling up and we’re getting on board!

I just think that’s the right way to live.

So it should come as no surprise that while I’m not a football fan, I don’t particularly care for commercials, and I don’t generally enjoy halftime shows, this week is going to be one big fat Super Bowl-themed party at my casa.

Starting today with some spicy, southwestern egg roll business.

And Avocado Crema for dipping. Natch.

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Guy’s Mambo Rice

Let me tell you something about kitchen gadgets:  I don’t like them.

I don’t like them because they take up space and, I don’t know about you, but in my kitchen, countertop real estate is in high demand.

I also don’t like kitchen gadgets because I think that they create a barrier between the chef and the food.

I know it sounds super geeky, but I believe in learning to cook by doing. Getting your hands dirty. Putting your back in to it.

Nothing’s getting dirty with the Slap Chop.

Nobody’s putting their back into anything with the Amco Egg Cracker.

Really? There’s a gadget out there for breaking eggs?

Yes, people. And you can pay $8.57 for it! $8.57 to crack eggs! Sanity! You’ve deserted us!

So you’ll understand when I tell you that it took me ten years to commit to purchasing a rice maker.

The fact of the matter is that A. loves rice and I was spending a lot of time slaving over sixty trillion hot pots every night just trying to get dinner to the table.

Why not give myself the option to slave over just 59,999,999,999,999?

So I took the leap. And now I’m in gadget love.

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Coconut Almond Rice (Horchata) Cake

Did you go into the kitchen yesterday morning to have a large, healthy glass of water?

Of course you did.

Because you’re smart, and good, and nutritional-like.

Did you decide to throw yourself a bone and amp your water up by turning it into your favorite agua fresca? Perhaps. Innocent enough.

Horchata is made with ground rice and almonds. It’s cool and refreshing. And it’s a water-based beverage so no harm, no foul.

Did you think about the lovely flavors of Horchata while you were mixing your drink and come to the conclusion that they would make an excellent cake?

Fair enough. We’re just thinking here. No confectionary steps have been taken.

No ovens have been preheated. No pans lined and greased. No batter has been mixed. Not a single shred of coconut has been toasted.

And certainly no frosting has been whipped. None. Absolutely, positively none.

Because you’re good. And nutritional-like.

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