Tuesday, April 30

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Are you guys on Pinterest? I recently joined and I am already addicted. It's such a great way to keep track of recipes to test out, crafts to try, and I've even got a board full of tattoo inspiration.

I'm a fan of all things spicy, so I pinned this recipe to try during Lent when I wasn't eating meat. I substituted shallots for onions, red jalapeño for green, and decided to add red bell pepper on a whim to give it a little color. It was absolutely delicious.

1 tablespoon/15ml olive oil
1 shallot or onion, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 green jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
½ teaspoon/2ml cumin
2 cups/473ml cooked black beans
2 cups/473ml vegetable stock
lime juice, to taste
¼ cup/59ml non-fat Greek style yogurt
2 tablespoons/30ml chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Heat a large pot over medium high heat
2. Add the oil and sweat the onion (or shallot) for one minute
3. Add the garlic, jalapeño and cumin and continue cooking for one minute
4. Add the beans, vegetable stock, and yogurt and bring to a simmer (I'm not a fan of Greek yogurt, so I didn't add any to my soup, but use the Greek yogurt to tame some of the spiciness of the jalapeno.)
Please excuse my stove and cookware, everything in my apartment is super old.
5. Let simmer for five minutes and transfer soup to a blender
6. Working in batches, puree the soup until smoothness desired and return to a medium sauce pot on medium heat
7. Season the soup to taste with salt, pepper, and lime juice
8. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, drizzle some yogurt over the soup and garnish with the chopped cilantro.
This recipe alone made me fall in love with Pinterest. Being able to easily share photos, upload recipes and borrow ideas from people all over the world is amazing, and shows just how much social media has grown over the years. If you love spicy food like I do, this recipe is amazing! And even if your taste buds can't handle it, just add the Greek yogurt to tame it down. If you're on Pinterest, let me know in the comments, and find me: Matilda Makes!

Monday, April 29

Seven Psychopaths

Happy Monday beautiful people of the internet. I hope everyone had a fun filled weekend, I know I did. It wasn't really eventful; I just spent a lot of time reading, doing homework, and playing with the puppy. I love my Wilfred. We have a very special (although sometimes bordering on the psychotic) relationship. After school I race home to greet him, and I can't imagine living my life without him. So at the recommendation of a close friend, I decided to scare myself and check out a movie in which I hope I am never put in the circumstances of.

Movie Poster courtesy of IMP Awards.
Seven Psychopaths is a British crime comedy written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the Academy Award nominated writer of 2009's In Bruges. Seven Psychopaths stars Colin Farrell as struggling screenwriter and alcoholic Marty Faranan. He dreams of finishing his screenplay "Seven Psychopaths", a violent movie about love and peace, but so far he's only got the title. With the help of his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), an out of work  actor who kidnaps dogs for a living, they come up with the stories of the seven psychopaths. When Billy and his partner Hans (Christopher Walken) steal the wrong gangster's Shih Tzu and Marty gets caught up, he suddenly finds that he's living in his movie. Check out the trailer for Seven Psychopaths below: 

Martin McDonagh has done it again with Seven Psychopaths. The dialogue is excellent, the action is fantastic, and the acting by the ensemble cast is top-notch. This movie is hilarious, action packed and a little heartfelt. I've never cried during a movie, and without giving too much away I will say that Christopher Walken's performance almost brought me to tears. Seven Psychopaths is a movie that will make you laugh, cry, leave you on the edge of your seat, and even give you something to think about as you leave the theater.

Seven Psychopaths is now available on blu ray and DVD.

Saturday, April 27

90 Second Cookies

I absolutely adore Lauren Conrad. Like every other teenage girl in America I would gather with friends once a week to watch Laguna Beach and later The Hills. She's gorgeous, sophisticated, and she truly shows that nice girls don't finish last. I love that throughout the years she's never compromised her standards, and she's been able to avoid major scandal unlike some of the other celebrities of our day. She's well on her way to becoming the next Martha Stewart.

I check her blog daily, so when I found this recipe for 90 second cookies I knew I had to try it. I don't eat chocolate, so I substituted a few of the ingredients, opting for my beloved butterscotch chips instead. Try her recipe, or my updated version instead.

½ cup/100ml butter
¾ cup/87g + 2 tablespoons/30ml brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon/2 ml almond extract
1 cup/237ml whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon/2ml baking soda
¼ teaspoon/1 ml salt
½ cup/100ml oats
½ cup/100ml butterscotch chips

Cookie Dough Directions: 
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and brown sugar until smooth.
2. Mix in eggs and almond. Continue to whisk.
3. Add in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir well.
4. Lastly, add in oats and butterscotch chips and mix.

Cooking Directions:
1. Heat waffle iron. (Note: I suggest waiting until you've mixed up the batter since waffle irons can get too hot if left heating for too long, which will burn the cookies!)
2. Coat griddle with cooking spray.
3. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto each waffle square.
4. Close iron and cook for about 90 seconds (The first batch took about 90 seconds, but as the griddle got hotter they needed less and less time!)
5.Using a pair of tongs, carefully remove the waffle cookie from the iron and transfer onto an iron rack to cool.
6. Repeat, let cool, and enjoy!
These will keep for about 2-3 days in an airtight container. They are delicious with a glass of milk or even a big bowl of vanilla ice cream! I made these for a work function, and everyone devoured them up. They truly are divine. You can never go wrong with butterscotch (or chocolate) chips. So heat up your waffle iron and give them a try.

Thursday, April 25

Captain America (part 2)

Sometimes I do nerdy things.

After choosing Captain America for this week's Monday movie, I told you guys to check back on Thursday for part 2.

Photo courtesy of TOMS.

I know I'm a little late on the bandwagon, but I finally got myself a pair of TOMS at the encouragement of a few of my friends. I like the fact that they support a good cause, and they really are comfy. I know that everyone and their mother has been wearing TOMS for ages now, so I bought a pair of plain white ones with the intentions of decorating them to make them stand out a little. You know I hate being just like everyone else. With some of the left over acrylic paint used for my canvas box, I came up with a brilliant idea of a fun and patriotic design I wanted for my new white canvas classics.

Batman is my favorite comic book superhero, and at first I wanted a cool dark knight symbol to showcase my nerdiness, but after the events in Boston last week I decided to go a different route.
This is my dedication to the the amazing people of Massachusetts after everything that's happened in Boston. Even though those events were tragic and lives were lost, it reunited this country once more. If even for a little while we forgot about north and south, conservatives versus liberals, gay people and straight people and were all just AMERICANS. The quote says "This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe in no matter the circumstances."

I think we could stand to channel our inner Captain America every once in a while.

Tuesday, April 23

Rigatoni with Yellow & Green Zucchini

Seriously, Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite is starting to become one of my favorite cookbooks. After last week's blueberry muffins I was eager to try out an entree. Not only are the recipes healthy and delicious, they're also super easy to make. I will admit some of the ingredients are a little hard to find, but if you can it's totally worth it. I made this zucchini rigatoni recipe and served it with a spiced pork chop, and honestly. . .I can't wait to make it again. This recipe makes about four to five servings, but since it's just me I cut in in half to have a serving that night and leftovers again for lunch.

8 ounces (250g) dried rigatoni or other pasta shapes
sea salt and black pepper
2 large green zucchini, trimmed
2 large yellow zucchini, trimmed
3-4 tablespoons (45-60ml) olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely crushed
handful or basil leaves
Parmesan, to grate

1. Add the pasta to a pot of boiling salted water and cook according to the package directions until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, halve the zucchini lengthwise and slice thickly. Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil. Tip in the crushed garlic and sauté for just less than a minute.

3. Add the zucchini with a pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper. (If your pan is not large enough, cook the zucchini in two batches.) Pan-fry over high heat for 3-4 minutes until the zucchini are just tender and lightly golden brown around the sides. Take off the heat.

4. When ready, drain the pasta and immediately toss with the zucchini and basil. Taste and adjust the seasonings as you please. Divide among warm plates and grate over Parmesan to serve. 

Spiced Pork Chop Ingredients: 
2 thin cut, boneless pork loin pork chops
½ teaspoon (2ml) mild chili powder, to taste
1 teaspoon (5ml) sweet paprika
sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon (2ml) coriander seeds, crushed

1. Cut off excess fat around pork chop. Mix the chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic and coriander seeds in a small bowl. Using a basting brush, baste both sides of the pork chops. Put the pork chops in a wide baking dish, cover and let marinate for at least thirty minutes or in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, and fry pork chops for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the meat is just firm when lightly pressed.

The pasta was amazing, and the pork chop was its perfectly complimented counterpart. Paired with a crisp chardonnay, this would be the perfect dish to serve at a simple dinner gathering with close friends or family. 

And if you still haven't, pick up Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite from your local bookstore now!

Monday, April 22

Captain America (part 1)

Good morning and happy Monday beautiful people of the internet! And a happy Earth Day to those of us here in America. Today is a beautiful day to get out and do something wonderful with nature. Plant some seeds, help clean up litter, or maybe even just spend the day in the park admiring the beautiful scenery Mother Nature has blessed us with. Today is going to be a wonderful and special day, I can just feel it.

Movie poster courtesy of IMP Awards.
I was feeling a little patriotic today, so for today's Monday movie I've chosen one of my favorite superhero comics, Captain America. Captain America: The First Avenger is the fifth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

It's March of 1942 and we're at the height of World War II and all Steve Rogers wants to do is serve his country by enlisting. But in addition to being short and skinny he's got a plethora of health issues including asthma and scarlet fever, which obviously deems him unfit for service. 

However, as with anyone who is truly determined to live out their dreams, this doesn't stop him from trying to enlist several more times in various cities using different names. It's during his fifth failed physical examination in the Bronx that he meets Dr. Erskine, a physician and scientist who sees Rogers's whole-heartedness and potential. He signs the boy up for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, the world's first superhero. 

Now bigger and stronger, Captain America is on the hunt for Johann Schmidt, the head of Hitler's advanced weapory division who is bent on world domination of his own. Check out the trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger below:

Captain America's patriotism, love and integrity really started my love affair with this country from an early age. He's been one of my favorite superheros since I was a child, and I think this updated rendition of a comic star and true American hero did the Cap justice. Starring some of my favorite people including Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving and the hunky Chris Evans as the title star himself, Captain America is not a movie to be missed. After seeing this I guarantee you'll be just as pumped for The Winter Soldier as I am.

Captain America: The First Avenger is now available on blu ray and DVD.

P.S. Wanna know why there's a part 1 attached to this post? Check back on Thursday for a special surprise.

Tuesday, April 16

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

If you know me, or have ever followed me on twitter (@matilda_makes), then you've probably realized I have an obsession with all things Gordon Ramsay. Hell's Kitchen, Master Chef and Kitchen Nightmares are all on on my must-watch list. He's mouthy, brilliant, Scottish (*swoon*) and extremely talented. The man has like twelve television shows, numerous published cookbooks and currently holds 14 Michelin stars. And this past January he was inducted into the culinary hall of fame.

I recently purchased one of his latest books Healthy Appetite, and was delighted to find an amazing, healthy version of a breakfast classic, blueberry muffins.

Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite

2 large, very ripe bananas
scant 2 cups/ 300 ml whole wheat flour
1½ teaspoons/7 ml baking powder
1 teaspoon/5 ml baking soda
pinch of fine sea salt
½ cup/100 ml light brown sugar
scant 1¼/284 ml buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
⅓ cup/75 ml light olive oil (or melted butter, which I used) 
7 ounces/200 g blueberries rinsed (I like to rinse with apple cider vinegar) and drained
1 tablespoon/15 ml raw brown sugar

Blueberry Banana Muffins Ingredients

1. Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with muffin cases. Peel the bananas and mash in a bowl using a fork.

2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, egg, olive oil and bananas. Quickly fold the ingredients together until just incorporated, taking care not to over mix. Tip in the blueberries and give the batter one or two stirs.

Blueberry Banana Muffin Batter
*note: I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and  ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to my flour mixture. Just because it tastes yummy*

3. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle with the raw brown sugar. The cases will be quite full. Bake in the over for about 20 to 25 minutes until well risen and golden brown on top; a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin should emerge clean.

Blueberry Banna Muffins Before
Let cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
These are delicious with a glass of milk and some fresh picked strawberries. I shared these with my best friend and he descried it as "an explosion of blueberry in your mouth". The best part about this recipe is that it's not only great tasting, but good for you! In my eyes Chef Ramsay can do no wrong. If you haven't already, pick up a copy of Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite in bookstores now!

Monday, April 15

Black Swan

Happy Monday morning loves! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent the weekend with my hair let loose and the music turned up and I danced the weekend away. I've never cared if I looked like a dork, it's fun! Although it's still Monday, I haven't quite gotten the dance outta my system yet which is why for today's Monday movie I chose Black Swan.  

movie poster courtesy of teen hollywood.
Black Swan chronicles the story of Nina Sayer (Natalie Portman), a young dancer in a prestigious New York ballet company as she prepares for the role of a lifetime playing the swan queen in Tchailovsky's
Swan Lake. She's innocent and naïve, perfect for the role of the white swan, but she has trouble tapping into the evil seductress of the black swan. 

She meets Lily (Mila Kunis), another young dancer who seems to be everything she's not: a natural dancer at ease with her dancing and her sexuality. She's perfect to play the black swan, and as rehearsals progress Nina becomes convinced that Lily is after her role. This is the role of a lifetime and Nina is not just gonna give it up without a fight. 

Though not a movie for the conservative or faint of heart, this movie is visually stunning and exhilarating. Natalie Portman is captivating as she brings the audience on her journey to channel her dark side. Black Swan gives a thrilling and terrifying perspective into the world of ballet. This movie is addictive, seductive and will definitely leave you wanting more. Check out the trailer for Black Swan below: 

Black Swan is now available on blu-ray and DVD. 

Saturday, April 13

Wonderful Weekend v.4.2

Grab your  Rachael Ray enamel cookware set, gather your friends and host a potluck. You can each pick a different culinary style and expand your horizons!

Locate your nearest animal shelter and volunteer! Slip into your charming little Vince Cable Crop sweater and spend the day with amazing animals. The cute little cats and dogs will immediately adore you. What's a better pick me up than that?

Candid Coco
How could you resist a face as cute as this?

Share your passion for reading by forming a book club that explores stories about friendship about the ages. A great novel to start out with is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Keep it low-stress by asking a local bookstore or coffee house if you can meet there.

Blast some Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera, *NSYNC, Vanilla Ice and other 90s music and jump up and down on the bed, singing into your hairbrush as if no one were watching. Do the macarena. You'll get a good workout without even realizing it.

Slip on your Merona ® Blue Wool Beret and spend the weekend with nothing but a canvas and paint. Oh, how easy it is to unleash your fantastic French artiste when something so simple as a hat is placed upon your head. Then when the weekend is over reveal your creations to the world. As the award-winning novelist Jane Porter once stated:
"Happiness is not perfected unless it is shared."
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. What are your plans?

Thursday, April 11

We Develop from the Negatives

My apartment is literally one of the girliest places ever. It's filled with pinks, purples and pastel colors. I've got pretty post-it notes on the wall and my room is decked out in Hello Kitty. What can you say?

I just love for my living space to be happy and inspirational, a true reflection of who I am. And for someone living on a budget creating my own decoration pieces has been a fun and unique way to spice up my home and make it stand out from anyone else I know.

Photography is one of passions in life, and I recently painted this canvas to remind me to do what I love and pursue my dreams. I hung this in my room to remind me to never forget what makes me happy.

First I started out by taking my ruler and penciling in some stripes for my canvas creation.

striped box

Next I used scrapbook paper to draw and cut out a vintage Pentax camera.

Ashi Pentax

Then I used simple acrylic paint to color the stripes and glued the camera to the canvas.

stripes and glue

Then to cap it off I added one of my favorite quotes.

finished Pentax

What do you think? I love how it turned out! Now I've got an a pretty reminder hanging in my bedroom encouraging me to go after my goals. What's your ultimate dream, and how do you incorporate it into your everyday life?

Wednesday, April 10

St. James Strawberry Wine

St. James Winery

Wine is usually made from grapes.

Key word in that sentence being usually. However, at St. James Winery in Missouri they took the notion that wine is essentially just the fermented juice of fruits and ran with it. I promise, fresh picked strawberries have never tasted this good. This award winning wine hails from one of the awarded vineyards in the Midwest.

First opened in 1970 by husband and wife duo Jim and Pat Hoffher, St. James winery has grown to become the largest winery in Missouri. In 2009 it was named Winery of the Year in the eastern United States by the Critics Challenge International Wine Competition. 

It got its humble staras a small, family-owned business run by the owners and their four children. Within the first year the Hoffher's were able to produce over 3,000 cases of wine! Drawing inspiration from the spirit of the early Italian immigrants that settled Missouri during the late 1800s and determined to resurrect the winemaking acclaim Missouri was known for before prohibition, their vineyards are composed of 300 acres of CatawbaVignolesChardonelConcordNortonChambourcinSeyval and Rougeon grapes. They also have a collection of fruit wines including cherry, peach, blackberry, blueberry and raspberry and of course amazing strawberry being featured today.

This wine is made from sweet, vine-ripened strawberries. It's delicious and sweet without having that overbearing jam-like taste. Best served chilled, St. James's strawberry wine is great with desserts including milk chocolate or even a delicious pound cake

Sold online and in over 10 states at only $8.99 a bottle this delicious wine is tasty, affordable and a perfect excuse to have friends over for a dessert party. So try it, I promise it's good!

Images courtesy of St. James Winery.

Tuesday, April 9

Spinach & Mushroom Chimichangas

In keeping with yesterday's post, I decided to stick with a Spanish theme for today's recipe. After reading this post from one of my favorite blogs I've been cutting back a little on the meat lately (although there's no way I could ever give it up entirely) and I was inspired to make one of my favorite chimichanga recipes. These crisp, deep-fried little guys are loved all over the world and are totally easy to make.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces/225 grams small mushrooms, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5½ cups spinach leaves, torn into pieces if large
6 ounces/175 grams Cheddar cheese, grated 
6 flour tortillas, warm
vegetable oil, for deep frying

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottom skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for five minutes or until softened. 

2. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for five minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the spinach and cook, stirring for one to two minutes or until just wilted. Add the cheese and stir until just melted.

3. Spoon an equal quantity of the mixture into the center of each tortilla. Fold in the opposite sides of each tortilla to cover the filling, then roll up to enclose it completely.

4. Heat the oil for deep frying in a deep-fryer or large, deep pan to 350°-375°F (180°-190°C). Deep fry the chimichangas two at a time, turning once, for five to six minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels before serving. 
Frying Chimichangas

These chimichangas are perfect served with a spoonful of Guacamole and some sour cream. Garnish with some chopped tomatoes and onion and a side of Mexican rice. Add some tequila and you're in for an amazing supper.

Monday, April 8

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Welcome to the beginning of the week! I hope everyone had a great weekend. We have approached yet another Monday, and I've been in the mood for a little Spanish, so for this week's Monday movie I've chosen one of my absolute favorites.

Movie poster courtesy of imp awards.
Making its debut at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival is Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a brilliant movie written and directed by Woody Allen. The film centers around Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), a pair of friends who are opposite in personality but connect nonetheless. Both girls are going through a transitional period in their lives when they decide take a summer vacation to Spain. They meet handsome and suave artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) at an art exhibition. He is immediately enamored by both of them yet still harbors feelings for his volatile and quite unstable ex-wife María Elena. Little do any of them know that María Elena is about to turn all three of their lives upside down. 

From the first time I saw this movie I was instantly obsessed!  Woody Allen is amazing, and this film is just another example of his genius. This flick is funny, romantic, a little crazy and incredibly sexy. The Spanish backdrop is a character in itself, adding so much culture, ambiance (and at times) tension to the film. The score is eclectic and fun, featuring a soothing mix of Spanish guitar music, traditional flamenco and even newer music like the soothing voice of Giulia y Los Tellarini add to the story's lighthearted yet passionate tone. Not to mention outstanding performances by a gorgeous cast bring Allen's well though out, in-depth characters to life (and also net Cruz her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) and really catapults the film to greatness. Check out the trailer for Vicky Cristina Barcelona below: 

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is now available on blu-ray and DVD.

Thank you to YouTube for allowing me the usage of their trailer.

Sunday, April 7


Thanks to The Catholic Realist for the photo.
Happy Sunday beautiful people! I hope everyone had an amazing weekend.

I've taken somewhat of a prolonged break from this blog for a few months to focus on more pressing endeavors and to observe Lent. I'm not really one to discuss religion or politics on the blog because it tends to lead to arguments and unkind words being said. Everyone has their own opinions and who am I to tell someone that their beliefs are wrong? However, I will say that I am Catholic therefore I observe Lent.

The traditional purpose of Lent is to prepare for the celebration of the death and Resurrection of Christ through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial. It is normal to "give something up" as a form of sacrifice and penitence, for which I refrained from blogging and reading blogs (and eating candy, which I LOVE) in order to do some spiritual reading and commit more to prayer instead to improve my relationship with Christ and have somewhat of a better of an understanding of the sacrifices he went through so that I may live. I learned some wonderful things during my blogging break, about both myself and about my Lord Jesus Christ while I was away, and I can honestly say that I am better person for my experience. 

So now back to the fun stuff. Check me out tomorrow for a fun a sexy movie Monday!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover