So, you know how I mentioned that last week I said goodbye to my 20’s and I was…a little bummed about it?  On my actual birthday things didn’t really improve.  I worked as usual, picked the kids up from school and then on our way home, we were stuck in an unimaginable traffic jam that brought our commute to a total of two hours door to door.  Two.hours.  As a result, I missed my hot yoga class, and well, after two hours in the car with tired, hungry kids (and tired, hungry me), it just wasn’t the greatest day.  It’s okay though.  It got better.

The next evening, Ben arranged a dinner with my brothers, their better halves, and a few close friends.  He packed the kids up and drove them over to the babysitter’s house while I had about 40 glorious minutes in the house to myself – such a rarity.  I did glamorous things like sort mail, clean up the playroom, and take out the recycling.  Ben finally returned and said he had picked up one more birthday present for me on the way home.  Into my kitchen walked my amazing friend Courtney.  All the way from Richmond, VA.  I was floored.  I am supremely difficult to surprise but somehow everyone involved pulled it off and it was amazing.  All sorts of unintelligible shrieks and squeals poured out of my mouth as I jumped up and down.

So, we had a wonderful night out that evening with my family and friends.  We stayed up super late talking while we baked my birthday cake.  The next morning we woke up and did what we always do together – decided to cook something awesome.  Though normally indecisive, it didn’t take long for us to settle on this heck of a breakfast dish.  Eggs in a ranchero sauce with black beans, topped with lots of melted cheese, freshly baked tortilla strips and a mouth-watering lime crema.  Yowza.  Basically, my perfect breakfast, made even more perfect by Courtney’s company.

My already phenomenal weekend was made even more perfect when another of my BFFs hosted a rockin’ birthday party for me the next evening.  She thought of every little detail (hello, margaritas in mason jars!) and added so, so many sweet personal touches.  My other great friend and the best art director in the world Ryan covered a massive chalkboard wall in semi-snarky, tongue-in-cheek graffiti – oh, how he knows me.  (Also, like that center design?  Good, because it’s about to be a t-shirt you all can wear – minus the 30, obvs.  Details soon…)  Tons of my friends came to celebrate and they all contributed dishes made from this very site.  My sweet friend Shanon made the trip all the way from Milwaukee.  The sweet and inspiring Alex and Sonja were there too.  It was truly amazing to have so many people I love all in one place.  So yeah, I’m feeling just fine about 30 now, in case you were wondering.


For the sauce: 
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cups (1 28 oz. can) whole tomatoes, fire-roasted preferred
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1½ cups (1 15 oz. can) black beans, drained and rinsed

For the tortilla strips: 
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 small (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into ½-inch wide strips
Coarse salt, to taste

12 large eggs
1¼ cups coarsely shredded pepper jack cheese*
1 cup greek yogurt or sour cream (low fat is fine)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  To make the ranchero sauce, combine the jalapeño, tomatoes, onion and garlic to a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the sauce into a 12-inch ovenproof skillet.  Stir in the black beans.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Lower the heat but maintain at a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, brush a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Spread the tortilla strips in a single layer on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake about 6 minutes, tossing once or twice, until lightly browned and crisp.  Set aside.  Do your very best to not devour them all before the eggs are finished cooking.  It’s not easy.

  • 03

    When the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pan from the heat.  Carefully crack the eggs over the surface of the sauce placing them as evenly as possible.  Return the pan to the heat, cover, and let simmer gently in the sauce about 10-12 minutes, until the whites are partially but not completely opaque.

  • 04

    Heat the broiler.  Sprinkle the cheese over the top over the eggs, place underneath the broiler, and cook until the cheese is browned and bubbling and the eggs are cooked to your liking, just a few minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt and lime juice.  Remove the pan from the oven, top with dollops of the lime crema, sprinkle with crumbled tortilla strips and the cilantro.  Serve immediately.

  • 05

    *For best results, always use freshly shredded cheese.  Pre-shredded cheese comes coated in things such as flour, cornstarch to prevent clumping and results in an unpleasant, gritty texture when melted.