All posts by Stina

Once More, With Feeling(s)

(first of all, bonus points to anyone who gets the reference in the title of this post…)

One thing trait, or lack thereof, that has always sort of bothered me is that I’m not a very sentimental person. I want to be, and sometimes I try to be. But in truth, I’m just really not even sure how to be.

I’m sure it has to do with my family and upbringing, and while I suppose maybe understanding why I’m not a very sentimental person might help me to become a more sentimental person, that’s not really the purpose of this post.

Sometimes, I look back and periods of time, and I’m really disappointed in myself for not remembering more, writing more, and capturing more. I realize there’s a fine line between living your life and documenting your life, and that sometimes you need to be in the moment rather than thinking about how you can remember this later. But I want to walk a little bit closer to that line than I currently do.

One of my goals for this blog is to help me document and remember more of the “little things” in my life – my thoughts about training for my first marathon, the feelings of crossing the finish line, the taste of new recipes and restaurants, the details of my adventures. But the blog will only get me so far. There are some details of my life I don’t want plastered all over the interwebs. There are also details of my life that involve other people who maybe don’t want their lives plastered all over the interwebs. There are details of my life that I might find very meaningful and my readers find boring as hell.

Most people, myself included, look at January 1st and see it as the ideal time to set new goals for the coming year, but when you stop and think about it, any day is the perfect day to set goals and take yourself and your life in a new direction.

My twenty-eighth birthday is coming up (33 days, start shopping now friends!), and its rapid approach makes it seem like the perfect marker to set my new goal of being more sentimental. I might’ve “missed my chance” to fully embrace and document all the little things in my life during 2012, but I can do that with my 28th year. I’ve been making a goals list (which I will be revealing later this month) for the coming year, and several of the goals revolve around different methods of documenting my life and embracing (and expanding) my sentimental side. I’ve been surfing the web and gather ideas. I’ve found a few things I love: lots of the sentimental art pieces over on Young House Love, project life, project 365, photo a day…

Part of me wants to jump in feet first and go balls to the wall, but another part of me feels like I should start small and learn to build on my warm fuzzies. So this is where you come in my friends. Give me idea, suggestions, things you do. How do you document and remember? What do you do to bring out your sentimental side? Do you have a gratitude journal? A regular journal? Take photos? Jot yourself notes?

Perfect Refried Beans

me: So, the other day I decided (and just redecided right now) I want a robot that will make me homemade refried black beans on demand.

Laura: Hahaha! That’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever said

me: Hahaha, surely that can’t be the most ridiculous thing I’ve EVER said! Maybe in a while, but ever? 🙂

Laura: Ever

me: Hahaha! Well I still think it would be awesome. I mean it could do other household chores, like laundry and the dishes, but its primary duty would be to make me refried beans.

I’m not sure there are words to adequately express just how much I love refried beans, but that conversation with Laura is probably a pretty good illustration. In fact, I’m pretty sure my love of Mexican food actually stems from my love of refried beans. When we were in Mexico for Christmas two years ago, I swear I ate refried beans at every single meal. This is also where I became obsessed with refried bean and cheese omelets. (I know; I know. It sounds weird, but it’s delicious. Trust me.)

I’ve been making homemade refried beans for at least a year now, but I never really measured my spices or wrote anything down. Then a couple of weeks ago I set out on the quest for the perfect pot of refried beans. I started measuring, and writing, and tasting, and I am confident in saying I have finally perfected my recipe.

But before I get on with sharing it, can we take a moment to discuss the fact that refried beans are easily Top 5 on the list of least photogenic foods. The chip + Instagram was my attempt to make my bowl of refried beans look appetizing and photogenic. How did I do? Yeah…on to the deliciousness!

Prefect Refried Black Beans
View/ Print on Recipage
Yields: about 3, ½ cup servings Points Plus: 3


  • 1 – 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ – 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin


  • Pour beans into small sauce pan and add enough vegetable broth to just cover the beans. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cilantro, and cumin and stir until spices are dissolved.
  • Bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  • Once boiling, remove from heat and mash beans with a potato masher. NOTE: This will result in there still being some larger chucks of black beans in the mix. For smoother refried beans use an immersion blender or carefully pour mixture into a blender.
  • Spray a skillet with a thin coating of cooking spray, add mashed bean mixture and “fry” over medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes stirring occasionally.

Serve your favorite way! Nachos, tacos, enchiladas, toastadas, with chips, in an omelet, the possibilities are endless!

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