You know the part of What about Bob when Bob Wiley says, “What if I’m looking for a bathroom, I can’t find one, and my bladder explodes?” Well, I can relate to Bob’s uncertainty of never quite knowing how I will feel. Not bladder related, but migraine and ambulance accident related. I know how easy it is to scroll social media feeds everyday and think. ‘Wow, that person’s life is perfect.’ Well, mine is perfectly imperfect. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but the bad days make me appreciate the good ones.
I have touched on my battle with migraines on the blog before and since the accident, it has been a true test as to how I feel each day. I have slowly weaned off the migraine meds that I took for two years and the withdrawal was BAD. Real bad. I have now successfully not taken anything for one week and it is hit or miss. Somedays I am dizzy, have sensitivity to light, and a constant pounding in my forehead. Add ten broken ribs, still recovering left clavicle, and four broken back vertebrae and I am a doctor’s dream!
I don’t share this to complain, rather I share it because we all have our daily struggles. Some big, some small, but they are there. So, be kind to yourself and others. I constantly tell myself to slow down. Life is not a marathon!
Ironically, I write this as I prepare for bootcamp tomorrow with one of my best friends. I’ll be there bright and early, wearing my Spiritual Gangster tank, and ready to kickass (within reason).
The people I admire most are the fighters, the warriors, and the everyday heroes. Hopefully, I will be one of those three someday. In the meantime, I am going to continue to experiment in the kitchen and share with y’all the random things that make me happy.
So, here it goes: Rebar! I finally experienced a full meal at Rebar and not just a drink at the bar. The location is prime – it is located across from the City County building. The first time I went was with my Dad last summer and I did not have my driver’s license with me. I did not plan to drink (it was lunchtime), but they told me I couldn’t sit in the restaurant without identification.
Fast forward to now and I think they have relaxed a bit. I went with my boyfriend and his mom this week and I did not have any problems. I also removed the bow from my hair and wore my sassy new leather jacket, which may have upped my apparent age.
The burger is a must. It rivals Bru Burger and I loved the toppings: goat cheese, tomato jam, and yellow tomatoes. We split the burger and fries and still managed to have leftovers. We ordered the fried green tomatoes as a starter, which came with a tangy salad. The fries were some of the best I have ever had and the Bloody Mary sauce made it worth ordering.
The fill your own beer concept is nice for people like me that can’t commit to one type of beer. Taste a sample and move on – they even had Zombie Dust. We finished the meal with a boozy milkshake called the Big Lebowski, which had Kahlua and malted milk balls. My dad would always get a small bag of malted milk balls from behind the counter at Cracker Barrel on road trips, so it reminded me of him.
Rebar is also owned by IU alums, so I plan to be a frequent customer. If you haven’t been, wear your stretchy pants and you won’t regret it!
Now onto the recipes. I recently made Food and Wine’s cranberry oatmeal cookies and The New York Times’ black bean soup. Both will be repeat recipes on the Libby kitchen rotation. The cookies felt a little healthier than my typical chocolate chunk and the black bean soup has been my lunch for the last two weeks. I kicked the spice factor up a few notches and it was so filling! I also realize I never took a photo of the soup. I have no excuse since I ate it for days and days, but just imagine a mug full of thick, chunky black beans topped with sour cream and cilantro.
FOOD AND WINE’S CRANBERRY OATMEAL COOKIES
Recipe via Food and Wine
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- hot water, enough to cover the cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or sea salt
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Soak the cranberries in the hot water for at least 15 minutes. Set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the oats. Set aside.
- In a mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until well combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Drain the cranberries and stir them into the batter. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour or up to overnight (the dough can also be pre-scooped and frozen for future use).
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a couple sheet pans with parchment paper. Scoop the heaping tablespoon sized portions of the dough onto the lined sheet pans, spacing them about 1 1/2-inches apart.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned. Let them cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
BLACK BEAN SOUP
Recipe via the New York Times
- 1 small (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped (I only did one onion)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 pound dry black beans
- 2 quarts mild vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon oregano, preferably Mexican
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Red wine vinegar, to taste
- Empty the can of chiles into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth, scrape into a container, and set aside.
- In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add carrots, onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Pour in wine and let simmer until pan is almost dry and vegetables are coated. Add jalapeños and cook, stirring, just until softened, 2 minutes. Push the vegetables out to the edges of the pot and dollop 2 teaspoons of chipotle purée in the center. Let fry for a minute and then stir together with the vegetables.
- Add beans, stock, oregano and bay leaves. Stir, bring to a boil, and let boil 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adding hot water as needed to keep the soup liquid and runny, not sludgy.
- Continue cooking until beans are just softened and fragrant, 1 to 2 hours. Add salt and pepper and keep cooking until beans are soft.
- Adjust the texture of the soup: The goal is to combine whole beans, soft chunks and a velvety broth. Some beans release enough starch while cooking to produce a thick broth without puréeing. If soup seems thin, use an immersion blender or blender to purée a small amount of the beans until smooth, then stir back in. Continue until desired texture is reached, keeping in mind that the soup will continue to thicken as it sits.
- Heat the soup through, taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, drops of red wine vinegar and dabs of chipotle purée.