Home is Wherever I’m With You (Yes, I love Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros)

I hate when people ask me, ‘Where are you from?’

I don’t know! I don’t know! I just don’t know!

Well, I sorta/kinda do. Technically, there is a location listed on my birth certificate.

However, the story is long and confusing because my parents, while not nomads, have shifted homes and cities for the promise of a better future one too many times for me to feel confident in my ability to accurately state my true hometown.

I was born in one city, raised in a different city in the same state, relocated in my elementary school years to a different state, returned to my birth state for college, and moved back to where I had attended high school to start a career. Let’s add to the confusion by mentioning my parents relocated to a completely different state while I was in college. My grandparents live in 3 different states, one of them currently living in a state I’ve never lived in. My aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family add at least 3 more states to the mix. So where am I from?

Seriously, where am I from?

Do I align with the state I was born in? The state where I did most of my growing? Or the state that has the NFL team that I support? We can’t forget about the state where my parents currently reside, can we?

Born here. Grew there. Schooled here. Colleged there. And now I am career-ing here, but visiting family way up there.

I always joke that I am from the Midwest. After all, I’ve never lived outside of the central US.  At least not yet…

But you know what I have come to realize?

Where you are from isn’t necessarily a place or a town. It’s not a house that you took your first steps in or the street where you first learned to ride a bike without training wheels. Home isn’t a zip code or an address. For me, home isn’t necessarily a familiar house, a childhood bedroom, or an attic full of old photos (and spiders).

Home is wherever I go to visit the people that know me best. I’m at home when I go (wherever I need to go) to receive a somewhat too-tight, semi-painful, but ultra-loving bear hug with a smooch on the cheek from my mom. I’m at home when I’m sitting on the couch next to a brother or two laughing about a hilarious video on Youtube. I’m at home when my dog jumps on my lap and offers to share his half-chewed, disgusting bone with me. I’m at home when I’m sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee and reading the newspaper with my dad on a Sunday morning.


Home is wherever I’m with you.

Baked Burritos with Sour Cream Poblano Sauce
Source: Smells Like Home, original source Elly Says Opa
Printable Recipe

For the burrito:
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground chicken (or ground beef)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1T tomato paste
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4C water or chicken stock (or beef broth if using ground beef)
1/2tsp oregano
1 1/2tsp chili powder
1/2tsp cumin
1/8+ cayenne pepper (to taste)
1tsp brown sugar
1C cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack)
4-10 whole wheat tortillas (# depends on size used)
cooking spray

For the sauce:
2 poblano peppers
2T butter
2T flour
2/3C chicken broth
1/2C sour cream (light if desired)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Spritz a baking sheet with no-stick spray.
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft/translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add ground chicken to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink and the juices are clear. Drain any excess fat.
Add in garlic and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to avoid brunch. Add in broth, spices, salt (~1tsp), and beans. Reduce heat and cook until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Place about 2T of cheese at the end of the tortilla (more or less depending on taste and size of tortilla). Spoon a small amount of chicken/bean mixture over the top. Fold the sides of tortilla in and roll the tortilla up. Place seam-side down onto baking sheet. Continue with remaining tortillas – I would give amounts for the chicken-bean mixture, but I think trial & error is the best route.
Once all tortillas are filled and rolled, spritz them lightly with no-stick spray. Bake for about 20 minutes, until crispy.
While the burritos are baking, make the sauce. Char poblanos by placing directly over gas burner or under the broiler. Turn until all sides are blackened. Place charred/hot peppers in a paper bag and fold the top of the bag to seal. Allow peppers to steam for a few minutes, until they are cool enough to handle. Once cooled, peel charred skins off peppers, remove stems, and seed peppers. Dice peppers.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Whisk in chicken broth and diced poblano. Continue whisking until thickened. Stir in sour cream and warm through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with burritos.

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