Friday, March 29, 2013

friday things - what i've been up to

Congratulations, everybody.
We made it through another week!

I don't know about ya'll, but I am exhausted.
I had a real issue with going to bed early this week.
My body just didn't want to do it.
Straight up refused.

But that's okay, because now the weekend has arrived!
That always makes everything okay.

Since I've been posting more sporadically lately, I thought I'd give you a little run down of what I've been up to the last two weeks - as uninteresting as it may be, ha.

Pup and I spent some time at Joe's parents house visiting with Ashley.
I didn't realize how huge he's gotten until Ashley put together this comparison.
My baby is all grown up!

I finally got around to trying Eggs Benedict.
I've been wanting to try it forever, but somehow there's always something on the menu that catches my eye quicker.
This time I was determined and just went for it.
And oh my god.
Best decision ever.
Eggs Benny is totally where it's at ya'll.
My brunching experience has been changed forever.

Tulips are popping up all over Alpharetta, and I am totally loving it.
I started noticing them the day after Joe and I were approved for our new apartment.
Coincidentally on the same street as the tulips pictured above.
I love me a city with some pretty landscaping.

I am still absolutely obsessed with avocado toast {I had it for dinner twice this week and am having it for lunch today - when I love something, I commit}, but last night I added some wine and cheese to my toast diet.
Joe had dinner plans, okay?

FYI, Costco-brand Cabernet kind of tastes like water...
Tart, red water.
But those mini light Babybels...amazing.
I'm thinking next we'll try Yancey's Champagne Cheddar, hopefully with the fancy wine from Napa we've been saving!
I can't bring myself to drink a wine that expensive without a special occasion to be celebrating.
Am I right?

This weekend will be spent visiting Joe's parents in Peachtree City and making a trip to see my dad in the rehabilitation center he was recently transferred to for his hip injury.

And hopefully a few Reese's peanut butter eggs will be thrown in there too.

I'll enter those into MyFitnessPal with pride, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

honey soy chicken thighs

Hi strangers!

Sorry about the little lapse in posting there.
I've been dealing with a family emergency that has taken all of my attention for the last week.
Thankfully, things are slowly but surely getting handled, and I was able to come home and cook an actual homemade meal - first one in a week!

My body was thankful for that, also.

While I was away, I kept myself busy doing hundreds of crossword puzzles and researching new recipes to share here with you.

The first one I've chosen is some honey soy chicken, adapted from the honey tamarind chicken in the March issue of my new favorite magazine, Clean Eating.
If you haven't flipped through a Clean Eating mag before, you are totally missing out.
I found enough recipes for a whole month's worth of dinners!

And the best part is they're all super easy and don't contain any crazy ingredients that my live-in picky eater won't touch.


heavily adapted from Clean Eating Magazine, March 2013 edition
Things you'll need:
5-8 chicken thighs {I used organic, vegetarian fed chicken thighs from Costco, 5 to a pack}
4 tsp soy sauce, divided
2 tbsp honey, divided
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tps freshly chopped ginger
1 tsp Sriracha

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together half of soy sauce, half of honey, sesame oil, and ginger.
{Original recipe called for tamarind, but of course my crappy Walmart doesn't carry it.}
This was my first time working with fresh ginger, and let me just tell you.
The smell is amazing.
I'll definitely be using that more often in my recipes from now on.

After trimming fat from the chicken thighs, add them to the bowl of marinade and toss to coat.
I only let them sit for about five minutes, but if you have the time it couldn't hurt to let them marinate for awhile in the fridge.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet {or lightly spray baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray}, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.

With a fork, whisk together the remaining soy, honey, and Sriracha {optional}, and drizzle over chicken for a sweet and tangy sauce.
Be sure to taste test the sauce!
I just played around until I found the mixture I liked the best.

And that's literally it!
15 minutes and dinner is done.
Now you can't use the "I don't have time to cook" excuse.

According to MyFitnessPal:

Serving size: 1 chicken thigh
Cals/serving: 126
Carbs/serving: 4g
Fat/serving: 5g
Protein/serving: 21g

I served this with steamed organic broccoli florets, but I think it would also go well with quinoa and some stir fry veggies since it has a little Asian kick to it.
Opinions are always welcome on side dishes though!
Coming up with those are always a problem area for me.

Besides recipe searching and crosswords, I haven't been up to much.
Joe and I applied for a new apartment yesterday {and got approved - yay!}, so we are officially moving to Alpharetta on May 4th!
Exciting and bittersweet, all at once.
I'll miss Dunwoody...we have a lot of great memories there.
But with moving comes new furniture and decor, so I am pumped about that!

I also received my first Foodie Penpals package, and it is nothing short of awesome.
I'll be sharing what I got on April 1st, so stay tuned!

What have ya'll been up to?

Monday, March 11, 2013

spicy lime avocado toast and feta french bread pizza

I don't know if you guys have noticed, but avocado toast has really taken off in the food blog world.

And for good reason, apparently.

After reading fifteen million recipes {yes, there are that many different ways to make an avocado spread}, I decided to do some experimenting of my own and see what all the fuss was about.

Of course, just to be safe, I made a separate piece of toast that was pizza style.
Can't be too careful when you're experimenting on dinner and putting all your eggs in the avocado basket.

And thus was the birth of "fancy toast night."

Dinner is interesting when the boy is out of town.

Things you'll need:
1/2 loaf of Trader Joe's Demi French baguette, sliced longways
olive oil
1/2 avocado
1/2 fresh lime, squeezed
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, 1/4 tsp per slice
1/8 cup spaghetti sauce of your choice
1/8 cup part-skim mozzarella
1 oz. crumbled feta

Slice baguette in half, then slice in half the long way as shown above.
I like the TJ's demi baguette because it's small and calorie-friendly.
Feel free to use whatever bread you have on hand!

Drizzle a little olive oil on each half.
Put under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, until slightly golden and crispy.

When bread is toasted, assemble your mini pizza.
I used traditional tomato sauce, shredded mozz, and a sprinkle of feta.
The cheesier the better, if you ask me.
Pop back in the oven under the broiler for another 1-2 minutes, until cheese is melted.

While pizza is cooking, begin assembling your avocado toast.
In a bowl, mash together avocado, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Taste as you go and make sure the seasoning is right!
Spread on toasted bread and sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

And just like that, dinner is served!
Sprinkle some crushed red pepper on your feta pizza for some extra spice {we all know I did}
and enjoy!

This dinner took about ten minutes to throw together.
Perfect for nights like this when all I can think about is jumping into bed to watch more Scandal.
{Did I mention I watched like eight episodes yesterday? Obsessed.}

According to MyFitnessPal:

Serving: 1 slice avocado toast
Cals/serving: 194
Fat/serving: 11g
Carbs/serving: 25g
Protein/serving: 5g

Serving: 1 slice feta French bread pizza
Cals/serving: 194
Fat/serving: 8g
Carbs/serving: 19g
Protein/serving: 12g

Side note:
These came out to be the same amount of calories by complete accident.
How weird is that?

I'm going to be completely honest with ya'll.
I love pizza...
But this avocado toast was seriously delicious.
Like, I think I liked it better than the pizza.

I can't believe I just said that.
But it's true.

Go make it and tell me your thoughts!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

baked sriracha chicken nuggets

Let me apologize in advance for the minimal photos for this recipe.

To be honest, I wasn't even planning on writing about this because what respectable 25-year-old woman makes her boyfriend chicken nuggets for dinner?

But ya'll.
These turned out incredible.
They're like the healthier, spicier, adult version of chicken nuggets.

This was a last minute decision that I definitely do not regret making.

Chicken nuggets for everyone!

recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste
Things you'll need:
3 medium to large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp Sriracha {or hot sauce of your choice} - I used a little more because we love spice!
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup reduced fat grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
cooking spray, preferably olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix olive oil and Sriracha in one bowl, and breadcrumbs and reduced fat Parmesan in another bowl.
Add chicken pieces {in batches} to oil/sauce mixture and toss to completely cover.
Place chicken in breadcrumb/cheese mixture and turn to coat each side.
Lightly spray baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray and arrange finished pieces as seen above.
Sprinkle finished pieces with salt and pepper {or do this before you dip them in oil/sauce mix, whichever you prefer!}, and lightly spray the tops with cooking spray.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Flip all the nuggets over and bake for 4-5 more minutes to crisp them up a bit more.
Et voila!

That's literally it.
This dinner took about 20 minutes total to prepare.

According to MyFitnessPal:

Serving size:  11 pieces
Cals/serving: 202
Fat/serving:  9g
Carbs/serving:  14g
Protein/serving:  28g

If you aren't a huge fan of spicy food, feel free to leave out the Sriracha and follow the original recipe.
I just couldn't help myself.
And adding heat was a great way to fancy-up this dish and not feel so horrible about serving chicken nuggets to a grown man.

I also served them with a side of broccoli, so that alone totally makes this an adult meal.

Quick side note:
I pulled the trigger and signed myself up to be a part of Foodie Penpals, and I was assigned my first penpal yesterday!
I am super excited and can't wait to share with you guys what I receive in my first package!
So that's something to keep an eye out for at the end of the month!

And just like that, we're halfway through the week.


Monday, March 4, 2013

crockpot chicken tortilla soup

Welcome to another edition of the I-love-Mexican-food show.

I honestly can't believe I haven't shared this recipe with you sooner.
For awhile, particularly last summer, we were having this for dinner at least twice a month.
At least.

It's just so easy and delicious!
And on days like today when I've got work all day and an hour of spin class, going home to cook dinner is the last thing I want to do.

Oh, and did I mention it has all those Mexican spices I'm in love with?

Of course it does.

recipe slightly adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks

Things you'll need:
1-2 lbs shredded chicken {approximately 4 medium-sized chicken breasts, boiled and shredded}
1 15oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 can hot enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can chopped green chiles
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 can low-sodium chicken broth, or 2 1/2 cups
1 can whole kernel corn {or 1 cup frozen corn}
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
dash of cayenne
1/4 tsp. crushed bay leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 package Spanish rice

Lightly grease crockpot with olive oil cooking spray.
Add shredded chicken.

Toss in chopped onion {missing above because I ran out! :(}, zucchini, and garlic.

Add water, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and corn.

Add cilantro, spices, green chiles, and bay leaves.
Instead of crushed bay leaves, I just threw in a whole one and removed it before serving.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, prepare Spanish rice according to package.
Remove from heat and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
When rice is completely cool, stir into soup.
Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and tortilla chips!

You may be able to substitute the rice for quinoa...
I've yet to experiment with that, but I don't see any reason why not.
I'll keep you posted.

According to MyFitnessPal:

Servings: 9
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
Cals/serving: 157
Fat/serving: 1.4g
Carbs/serving: 24g
Protein/serving: 9g

This soup is definitely a favorite over here in the D-W household.
It also makes for amazing leftovers {oh hey lunch tomorrow!}.
And who doesn't like throwing a bunch of delicious things in the crockpot and coming home to a fully cooked dinner?

That's right, everyone likes that.

So get on it.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!
I've got some new cocktails to share soon with that delicious IZZE Fortified that I was talking about Friday.
Add that to the running list of new obsessions I have.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 1, 2013

friday things

It's Friday, it's Friday!

Time to jump and scream from the rooftops!

1. This week I have totally slacked on trying new recipes.  It's hard to get motivated when you're only cooking for one.  Joe comes home tonight from San Fran though (!!!!) so I fully plan on making up for my lack of experimenting this weekend.

2. First on the list of things I want to try are these doughnuts.

I've never attempted homemade doughnuts before, and I'm not gonna lie, they're intimidating.
And yes, I realize they're healthier baked than fried.
But I've eaten exceptionally well this week and kept up with my workouts, so I might splurge.
If my cheat meal every week is a homemade doughnut, I could die happy.

3. Another thing I want to try this weekend is creating a new cocktail!  I'm thinking maybe with IZZE sparkling soda?
Plain old vodka sodas just aren't cutting it anymore.
And, if I'm being honest, I'm not the biggest fan of club soda.
I've been wanting to try LaCroix for awhile now, but I'm still a little wary since it's basically flavored club soda.
Like, I put it in my cart at Costco, walked around for an hour, and then put it back on the shelf because I'm so indecisive.
So I'm thinking IZZE will be a good transition to the world of sparkling water without freaking me out too much.

Yes, I'm thinking this hard about my next alcohol mixer.

4. Since Joe and I haven't gotten to talk too much this week with him being in a different time zone and all, I thought a fun thing to do this weekend would be to have a brunch date.  I've only gone to an actual brunch once with my friend, Lisa, at Meehan's Public House, and it was absolutely amazing.

We're thinking of trying Cafe Intermezzo, since it's walking distance from our place and we haven't gone there in the entire two years we've lived here.
I've got my eye on some toffee french toast!

5. Have you guys ever heard of Foodie Penpals?  I came across it this week and am seriously considering doing it.  It sounds so fun!

6. Another cool thing I came across this week - GLOSSYBOX

Preface to this: I recently got a reward at Sephora for getting so many points on my Beauty Insider card.
So, I chose a little tube of Clinique mascara and have since fallen completely in love with it.
I've never been big on spending tons of money on makeup, but that mascara.

Enter GLOSSYBOX.  I am totally intrigued by the idea of getting five new beauty products to try every month. 
I almost signed up for BirchBox once but talked myself out of it because I've heard mixed reviews on the products people have received.
Anyone have any opinions on GLOSSYBOX?
I'd love to hear them!

7. One perk of having my boyfriend travel to San Francisco for work = he orders fancy wine from the wineries there for me to try!
We have some very special wine being shipped to our place, so I'm thinking about setting up a cute little tasting for us with some good cheeses and chocolates {Trader Joe's variety, more than likely. Their cheese...oh man}.

Anyone else have any fun plans they're looking forward to?
Or interesting sites they've come across?

Have a great weekend!