Wednesday, May 29, 2013

fruit salad with orange vanilla glaze

Did you have the best weekend ever?

Because I sure did.

It looks like we've finally gotten through the solid month of rain we were having {knock on wood}, so this weekend I took advantage of the beautiful weather the only way I know how.

At the pool with a good book, of course.
{ps - I finished that book in three days...could not put it down}

J and I had a little get together at our apartment Saturday afternoon, complete with all the grilling out necessities and lots of drinks by the pool.
Hosting people at our place is one of my favorite things to do, hands down.

I made two gallons of my favorite summer sangria.
I, personally, can never get enough of this stuff.
So it was nice having leftovers after the party and getting to sip on it all weekend.

I also whipped together a non-alcoholic punch for my pregnant friend.
Everyone deserves to have a fruity drink by the pool, pregnant or not.
In my opinion.
FYI - this punch turned out delish and was a total hit.
{one can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, one 2 liter of gingerale, and a handful of raspberries - so easy!}

Our friends also brought over their sweet pup to visit AJ.
He could not stop giving her kisses.

Keeping with the spirit of summer and beautiful pool weather, today I have something delicious to share that is perfect to eat outside in the high temps.

recipe adapted via
Things you'll need:

For glaze:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
zest of one orange
juice of one orange
2 tsp vanilla extract

For salad:

3-4 pints strawberries, halved
2 cups green grapes, halved
2 cups red grapes, halved
1 cup raspberries {or blueberries/blackberries/etc - anything will do!}

Bring sugar, water, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla extract to a boil.
Remove from heat and set aside until completely cool.
I did this step the night before so that my syrup could sit in the fridge overnight.
You can totally do this 30+ minutes before you're ready to serve though, so don't fret if you don't have an extra eight hours!

Slice up fruit and put into a large bowl.
Pour half the syrup over the fruit.
Stir carefully to coat all the fruit.
Pour the rest of the syrup in the bowl, and toss to coat.

Serve immediately!

This would be delicious alongside some eggs benny or on top of some homemade waffles.
Clearly I have brunch on the brain.

I made this as a side to go with the burgers and homemade potato skins that graced our party table.
When I'm sitting out in the sun for an extended period of time, it's tough for me to eat really filling, carb-y things, so it was great having this salad as an alternative!
{Although, lets be honest, we all know I loaded up on carbs that day - holiday weekend, folks, holiday weekend.}

Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend as much as I did!

Is it Friday again yet?

Friday, May 24, 2013

catching up + a very simple stirfry!


I have been M.I.A. something serious these days.
My sincerest apologies.

It's definitely not from lack of cooking - I've been cooking up a storm in my new kitchen!

But I've also been crazy busy at work with all of the recent storms in our area.
And what have I learned from this?
If you own a home, for the love of all things good get flood insurance.

Please and thank you.

We've also been exploring our new city and getting more acquainted with the area, which has been super fun so far!
And of course, continuing to slowly pull everything together in the apartment.
It's getting there, and I couldn't be more excited about it.

Let's catch up.

Food Truck Alley in downtown Alpharetta - Joe and I have gone two out of the three weeks we've lived here.
Went out for Mexican with friends and discovered the best frozen drink of my life.
I will be recreating this drink at home ASAP - for blogging purposes, of course.
My favorite meal last week - this steak salad will make an appearance on the blog as soon as I can perfect a dressing to pair it with.
All in good time.
I discovered a new dessert, and I am totally in love.
Go. Buy this. Now.
Last but not least, we finally got our king-sized bed set up!
A few more finishing touches, and we'll be done!
I don't think I can even begin to explain how pumped I am about that bed.
We've only slept in it once, and I'm already majorly in love.
It's amazing how much more space you get with a king than a queen.

So, since I've been seriously lacking in the recipe-sharing department, I do have a quick and simple one for you today.

I don't know why, but every time it gets warm out I get intense cravings for seafood.
Tilapia, crab, name it, I'll eat it.
Last week I was really in the mood for some shrimp, and coincidentally I was also in the mood to be lazy.

Shocking, I know.

So I decided to make one of my favorite 15-minute dinners.

Things you'll need:

1 cup organic quinoa (or brown rice)
2 cups water (or low-sodium chicken broth)
1 lb organic broccoli florets
20-25 medium, uncooked, detailed/deveined shrimp
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce


1. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and liquid of choice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, until liquid is evaporated.

2. While quinoa is cooking, lightly spray a skillet with olive oil cooking spray and saute broccoli florets until warm and tender. Mine were frozen, so I sauteed them about 10-12 minutes.

3. Remove broccoli from skillet and set aside. Lightly spray pan with cooking spray again, and add shrimp. Cook for 3-5 minutes, being careful to flip often and keep an eye on the color. They're done with they're pink and cooked through!

4. Add broccoli back to skillet, and pour in Soyaki sauce. I don't really measure it out when I do it...I just put enough to cover the bottom of the pan and coat everything.

Serve on top of quinoa with extra Soyaki, if necessary!

According to MyFitnessPal:

Servings: 3 bowls
Serving size: 1 bowl
Cals/serving: 353
Fat/serving: 7g
Carbs/serving: 55g
Protein/serving: 18g

Joe and I each had one bowl {the quinoa is so filling!} and had some leftovers for the next day.
All in 15 minutes.
Not too bad if you ask me!

What are your plans for the weekend?

We're having a little get together at our place, which means I'll be in the kitchen tonight prepping some goodies for everyone!
Including my favorite sangria.

It wouldn't be a holiday weekend at the pool without sangria, am I right, friends?

Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

crockpot chicken fajitas with red and green bell peppers

Before I tell you about the dinner I made tonight, I have to share with you that I'm laying here on my couch watching Matilda for probably the 100th time {because I'm 12 years old at heart} and my favorite part is happening right now.

You know, the part where Bruce Bogtrotter has to eat the entire chocolate cake?

{excuse the subtitles...I couldn't find a better video!}

I don't know why, but I've always loved that scene.
Maybe it's because they make the cake look so darn delicious.
Or because they all look so genuinely thrilled when he finishes it.

Who knows.
Regardless, it's awesome.
I love children's movies.

Anyway, I'm proud to announce that yesterday I went grocery shopping and bought ingredients to make actual meals.


And what better way to kick off cooking in my brand new kitchen than with my beloved crockpot.
It's a miracle this thing still works considering how often I use it.

I haven't made crockpot fajitas in a hot minute, and I'm not exactly sure why because they turn out amazing every single time.
They're just so easy!
I mean honestly, who doesn't want to eat fajitas that only take about five minutes to prep?

I came home from work for lunch today, threw everything in the crockpot, and they were done when I got home.


Things you'll need:

1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 1/2-2 cups organic low sodium chicken broth
1 packet McCormick's fajita seasoning {feel free to mix up your own set of spices instead - I went the easy route to save time today!}
3 regular or thin sliced chicken breast {I chose thin sliced to save cals!}
olive oil cooking spray
toppings of choice

Slice up two bell peppers of your choice.
I chose red and green, but yellow or orange would also work!
Also, feel free to roughly chop some onion too.
My picky boyfriend always protests against the onion, so this time I decided to be nice and leave it out.

Lightly coat inside of crockpot with cooking spray.
Add bell pepper slices {and onion}.
Top with chicken breast.
The best part about this is that if you're crunched for time, you can totally use frozen chicken.
I pulled these directly out of the freezer!

Add chicken broth {enough to cover all the veggies on the bottom of the crockpot}.
Sprinkle in fajita seasoning, cover, and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

Before serving, shred chicken and cover again for about 20 minutes.
Serve with freshly grated pepper jack cheese, chopped lettuce, and salsa!

We ate these with spicy jalapeno refried beans and organic corn chips.
So delish.

According to MyFitnessPal:

Serving size: 1/2 cup of filling
Cals/serving: 55
Fat/serving: 0.9g
Carbs/serving: 3.1g
Protein/serving: 10.2g

Grab yourself some low carb tortillas, and you're all set for a dinner that's undoubtedly more calorie-friendly than going out to a Mexican restaurant!

How was your weekend?

I watched my sweet friend, Ashley, join the ranks of us UGA alumni, and then we celebrated the whole weekend with copious amounts of wine and BBQ.
Welcome to the club, Ash!
It's good to be a dawg.

My former roomies {Andrea and Ashley} and I at graduation.
Apartment 1632 are now all officially alumni!
It was also warm enough to lay out in an actual bikini and get sunburnt!
It hurts so good, I tell ya.

Pup joined me for awhile after being forced to swim in the pool with Joe.
He was such a trooper!

Tell me about your weekend.
And about what you're making for dinner this week!

Monday, May 6, 2013

my favorite easy breakfast + our new home!

Welp, the big move is over.


It was a long weekend of packing, unpacking, and dealing with the horrible weather, but we made it.
And I think I'm speaking for both of us when I say it's a relief.

The old apartment was feeling super cramped lately and, quite frankly, like a total mess.
So it feels really good to be in a new space, organize all of our things, and start fresh!

Living area with our brand new couch and a big shout out to Atlanta on the wall.

View of the dining area from the couch.

And the most important place, in my opinion at least.
Check out those beautiful countertops!

Obviously I unpacked the important stuff first.

I'll have more pictures to share soon, as we begin piecing together our bedroom.

But for now, I'll leave you with the first meal I made in my new kitchen {and quite possibly the most simple recipe I'll ever share on here}.

Joe's traveling for work this week, so the next few days will be filled with simple lunches and dinners to tide me over until he's back and the serious meal planning can begin.

I realize Egg in a Basket is not the most exciting thing you can read about, but I swear you'd be surprised at just how many people don't know what it is.
And it's for you poor souls that I have decided to share the wealth.

Egg in a Basket has been one of my favorite go-to breakfast meals for as long as I can remember.
It's the best way to eat eggs and toast, if you ask me.

Things you'll need:

2 slices bread of your choice {I use Healthfull Oroweat Nutty Grain Bread at 80 cals per slice}
1 tbsp light butter
2 large eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
drizzle of Sriracha {optional}


Cut a hole in the middle of both slices of bread.  I use a shot glass to cut my holes because I think it makes the hole just the right size.
Lightly butter both sides of bread. In the meantime, heat a skillet to medium heat and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.
Carefully place bread on skillet for a few seconds, just long enough to melt the butter. Flip bread and melt butter on opposite side.
Crack an egg in each hole, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook for 3-5 minutes, until egg is just firm enough to flip with a spatula.
Flip, sprinkle with more salt and pepper, and cook until egg is the way you like it. I do mine for about two more minutes, until the egg is firm enough to move but still runny in the middle.
Drizzle with hot sauce of choice, and enjoy!

*Note: Feel free to trash this up a bit and sprinkle other things besides salt and pepper into your egg! I've tried shredded cheese and crushed red pepper flakes, and both have been delish.

With this particular recipe, you're looking at a tad bit over 300 calories {150 cals per slice}.
Not too shabby, if you ask me!

Did ya'll do anything fun this weekend?

I watched Django Unchained and absolutely loved it.
Now I get why it was nominated for so many awards during award season!

However, I did not get to properly celebrate Cinco de Mayo due to all of the moving.
So I'm refusing to acknowledge it has passed until I have at least one glass of sangria.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

foodie penpal reveal day!

FPP post Foodie Penpals

Okay, so I'm a little late.

To my defense, I finally started packing and quickly became overwhelmed with the ridiculous amount of pots/pans/kitchen items in general that I have.

Literally two hours into the kitchen, and I'm still not done.

Where did all of this stuff come from?!

Before I get back to packing for the rest of my life, though, I wanted to stop in and share with you what a great package I got this month from my fellow foodie, Sarah.
Seriously, it was amazing!

  • Coconut Almond KIND bar - Sarah must have read my mind, because I have been searching everywhere for this particular granola bar! They gave them out for free after the Color Run, and I was instantly in love. Perfect timing!
  • Organic chewy granola bar - The square bar in the front was from an organic outpost shop and was super tasty!
  • Dark Chocolate Almonds from TJ's - I make the trek over to Trader Joe's sometimes specifically for these...we love them, and usually Joe eats them all before I even get a handful {I wish I was kidding, ha}.
  • Tazo tea assortment - I can't wait to sit outside on our new balcony with some tea while Joe grills me dinner for once!
  • TJ's Breakfast Trek Mix - I absolutely love these. Seriously, these have been added to my list of favorites from Trader Joe's.  Pre-portioned breakfast mix consisting of granola, dried cranberries, almonds, and greek yogurt chips?  Please.  Easiest breakfast ever.
  • TJ's Cookie Butter - I also just recently discovered this {and am in love with it}, so I donated this jar to my dear coworker, Tiffany.  She may or may not dip things into it periodically throughout the day, including her finger.  That's why she's my friend.
  • A jar of "Angel Dust" from Chicago - Sarah's mom bought some spice from a restaurant called Heaven on Seven in Chicago, and since they love it so much she sent me a good sized jar of it. I'm saving it for Memorial Day when we cook out!

  • As a bonus, there was also a spice catalog included with all kinds of spices and recipes inside!

Are you interested in joining us for Foodie Penpals next month? Here are some more details:
  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
  • Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for April, please CLICK HERE  to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on April 5th!
*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE to signup.
Thank you, Sarah, for my amazing package this month!