Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken Tacos with a Spicy, Honey Lime Slaw



The other night I was in a taco kind of mood. So instead of heading out to eat, I whipped up some fresh tacos at home. And boy did they ever hit the spot. Justin and I made and consumed a whole lot of tacos.
The taco recipe is easy, basically you pick your tortillas, you know, corn or flour. Either one works. I went with a white corn tortilla. I cooked our tortillas in a skillet with a little oil to make them crispy. Then I topped them with cheese, grilled and seasoned chicken, sour cream, and the most delicious Spicy Honey Lime Slaw.
Spicy Honey Lime Slaw
  • 1/2 or a whole head of a small purple cabbage
  • 1 small red onion
  • juice of 2-3 limes
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons of hot sauce (We use Tapatio)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cut the onion into thin slices. Shred the cabbage by cutting it up.Mix the lime juice, honey, hot sauce, and salt and pepper in a small bowl and pour over the onion and cabbage. Mix everything together.
 
We eat a lot of chicken around here though so I’ve only made the slaw to go with chicken tacos, and even chicken burritos. I love fresh veggies, salsas, or lettuce on my tacos, but I have to say this slaw is so great. It adds so much flavor, and texture to the mix. Plus, red cabbage is so much better for you than shredded Iceberg lettuce that most people put on their tacos. It’s full of health benefits. Pretty sure I read somewhere that it has cancer-preventative properties. Awesome, right?
So eat up friends, and enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Beer Bread

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My husband made this delicious Pumpkin Beer Bread last week. It was  so good I wanted to share the link to the recipe so you could make it yourself. You can find this recipe for Pumpkin Beer Bread on Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Morning Coffee to the rescue #PeetsCoffee

Remember how last week I told you that I was trying out a new blend of coffee from Peet’s Coffee? Café Domingo…
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Well it’s been a week and I am still enjoying my new morning and sometimes afternoon brew.  It’s definitely helped me get through this busy week, and given me a boost when I need it the most.  Bet my kids have noticed mommy having more energy during the day too.
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And because it’s been so incredibly hot this week (someone please tell mother nature it’s October not June!), I’ve been brewing up iced coffee to  drink in the afternoon. 
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Want to brew up a batch of iced coffee too? Just make a batch of double strength coffee, add some ice and you’ve got iced coffee! (So instead of using 2 tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water, use 4 tablespoons.)  You can keep the extra, if there is any, in the refrigerator. 
I added some cream to mine, and sweetened it with some raw sugar. I love watching the cream mix into the coffee.
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Nothing better than cold caffeine! (Seriously, cold is the way to go when you need a wake up.)  I have really been enjoying #PeetsCoffee, and I think I am going to check out a few other roasts when this bag runs out.  Winter will be coming, eventually, and I need to stock up.
If you guys have tried any other Peet’s Coffee roasts, let me know which ones I should check out.

*UPDATE*
Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  But the opinions and helpful tips are my own or have come from personal experience and knowledge.

Mediterranean Inspired Pizza-featuring #LaRomanella

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I recently received a wonderful basket of La Romanella products from Smart and Final and was given a small challenge to create a new recipe using their products.  I was really excited I was going to get to create a new recipe using some of their products and share it with you guys.  I love being in the kitchen, and cooking is one of my favorite creative outlets.

I decided I was going to make a Mediterranean inspired pizza, using the marinated artichokes, some parmesan cheese, and the extra virgin olive oil.
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This Mediterranean Pizza is loaded with flavor. I created a whole wheat focaccia crust, and topped the pizza with plenty of cheese, grilled chicken, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and of course the yummy marinated artichokes.
FOCACCIA BREAD CRUST
Ingredients:
  • 2-¾ cups Flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar (I used Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • ½ teaspoons Basil
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Water

Preparation Instructions

Combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil, and pepper. Then add oil and water. Mix just until dough has come together. Lay the dough out on a smooth lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and and looks elastic. (I usually only need it a few times)
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Then get a large bowl and oil the sides and bottom of the bowl with olive oil. Place dough inside and lay a damp towel over the top of the bowl. Sit the bowl in a warm place and let dough rise for 20-25 minutes.
After the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and punch it down. Then place it on a baking sheet or baking pan and flatten it out into a large rectangle. Brush olive oil on the top and sprinkle salt.
PIZZA TOPPINGS
Ingredients:
Chopped sun dried tomatoes
chopped red onion
chopped roasted garlic
artichokes (The La Romanella ones are perfect, they’re already marinated and have a great flavor.)
chopped or sliced grilled chicken
shredded mozzarella cheese
shredded or grated parmesan cheese

First sprinkle a light layer of mozzarella cheese on top of the pizza crust. Then layer the rest of your ingredients evenly over the top.
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Then add another layer of the mozzarella, and a layer of parmesan over all of the ingredients.
Pop it into the oven for 15 minutes if you’re making just the bread, or for about 16-18 minutes for the pizza.
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Seriously, it’s a pizza that you will want to devour. All those yummy flavors come together and make you want to grab another slice.

And as part of the #LaRomanella promotion, Smart & Final is giving one winner a trip to Sonoma's wine country!  To find out more about their giveaway, you can head over and “like” their Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/smartfinal  **(winner must live within a 20 mile radius of a Smart & Final)**

AND, because Smart and Final is just that cool, from October 5, 2011 through October 18, 2011, when customers purchase a Redwood Creek Wine they will get a FREE 16oz La Romanella pasta!
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Dis­clo­sure: This shop has been com­pen­sated as part of a social shop­per insights study for Col­lec­tive Bias. #cBias #LaRo­manella. The opinions and recipe shared in this post are completely my own.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Finds- Recipes

So October #unprocessed is still going really well. I have been feeling a bit better, have had more energy, and really loved getting back in the kitchen and making yummy food.

AND, not one time have I ate at a fast food place. Good, right?

I have found some great recipes through my new lovely friend Nicole (Pinch My Salt). She tweets about awesome recipes and I’m off to look at them, and before you know it they’re on my list of “must try” recipes! Nicole is an awesome food blogger so you definitely need to check out her site.

I made these Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies this afternoon, and they were so good. Who knew you could make cookies without any type of grain flour?

Tonight I made Crusted Butternut Squash using a recipe from Sprouted Kitchen.

And this weekend I am going to make Chicken and Dumplings from a recipe my grandma gave me. It was her mom’s. I am going to try to make it using whole wheat flour instead of white flour, since we’re still doing October #Unprocessed, and hopefully add some veggies into the mix as well. Let’s just pray it comes out good, my grandma is counting on it!

Anyone have any tips for me on making Chicken and Dumplings? Let me know if you do!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Café Domingo #PeetsCoffee

Tuesday morning I woke up feeling slightly panicky about my day. Both kids had been sick with nasty colds for almost a week now, and it was the first day I wouldn’t have any help since Justin had to work. I needed to be on top of things and couldn’t be dragging. Instead of pulling out my go to coffee, from that coffee chain with the green aprons (you know the one), I opened up the new package of Peet’s Coffee I bought when I was shopping at Target last week.

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I had bought a 12oz. bag of their already ground coffee, a medium roast called Café Domingo. On the bag they described Café Domingo as being “smooth and balanced, with hints of toffee sweetness and a clean crisp finish.” They had me at “hints of toffee sweetness.”

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Having spent a lot of time slinging coffee in a previous life, I feel like I appreciate good coffee. I enjoy medium roasts like Café Domingo, but I also like a lot of bold roasts and some mild or lighter roasts too.  Hint 1: If you’re looking for more caffeine, go for the more mild or lighter roasts.

 

While I was feeding my youngest breakfast, I decided to brew up some coffee, hoping I’d get some energy to carry me through the rest of the day.

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I am the only coffee drinker in the house (Justin gets his caffeine through downing energy drinks), so I only brew a small amount at a time. And most of the time, I actually prefer to use my French Press when I want a hot cup of coffee. It makes a perfect amount to have a cup or two and you have a more flavorful cup of coffee when you use a French Press. There’s no filter so you get all of the oils from the coffee beans.  But since the #PeetsCoffee was already ground for me, I went with our coffee maker.  Hint 2: For every six ounces of water use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee. Some people might find that too strong, so you can always use less coffee if you like.  Hint 3: If you do go with a French Press, make sure you buy whole beans and grind them on the French Press setting.

I poured myself a fresh cup as soon as it got done brewing, and had a few minutes to enjoy it while my daughter finished up her breakfast. My first impression is that it isn’t as bold as some of the roasts I am used to, but it does have a good smooth balance like they described on the bag.

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I only got to drink about half of my cup this morning before I had to clean my daughter up, and get breakfast for my son, but that half a cup kept me going all morning and afternoon. And I’ll be honest, it probably wasn’t just the coffee that gave me a boost of energy, taking the October Unprocessed challenge has helped a lot too. Good thing I can still enjoy coffee this month without feeling guilty!

I’m going to continue testing out Café Domingo from Peet’s Coffee and I’ll let you know how I’m liking it later on this week, okay?  But I’d love to know what some of your guys’ favorite coffees are…Brands? Roasts? Favorite way to drink coffee? Let me know in the comment section so we can chat about it.

 

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. The opinions and helpful hints are my own or have come from previous work experience/knowledge. #CBias #PeetsCoffee

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups- an unprocessed version

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Being at home with sick kids all week, the change in the weather, and trying to stay committed to October Unprocessed hasn’t left me much time to think about sweets. Until yesterday. Yesterday it seemed like all of Twitter was abuzz, with talking about sweets. Or maybe that’s just what I was focused in on. 
I really had a craving for a chocolate, and the other day my husband had made some unprocessed peanut butter that I knew would be perfect for Peanut Butter Cups. (Seriously, it tasted just like what they put inside the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Amazingly yummy.)

PEANUT BUTTER FILLING
3 Cups Dry Roasted Unsalted Peanuts
6 Tablespoons of Raw Honey
6 Tablespoons Almond Oil
1/2-1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
*Blend the Peanuts in a high powered blender or food process. We used our Blendtec blender. Once the peanuts have been blended up, add the honey, oil and sea salt. Blend so that it all comes together.

You can store the peanut butter in a jar or a container in your fridge.  It will be firmer than store bought peanut putter, but it tastes really good and it is the perfect consistency for the Peanut Butter Cups filling.  If you just wanted to make Peanut Butter and wanted a smoother, less firm version, I would say to add more oil or use unroasted peanuts. (But you can leave suggestions in the comment area if you have any.)

CHOCOLATE SHELL
4 Ounces of Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
1/4-1/2 cup of Organic Cane Sugar (this is just Evaporated Cane Juice so I am pretty sure it passes the #unprocessed guidelines. But you can also use, Raw Sugar or Turbinado Sugar, or Muscovado sugar)
1-2 tablespoons of Raw Honey
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
*Melt the chocolate on your stove top, using a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler you can fill a small sauce pan/pot with an inch of water, and place a glass bowl over the top of the pot. Allow the water to come to a low boil/simmer. Frequently stir the chocolate while it’s melting. Once the chocolate is melted add your sugar. You can control the amount of sweetness you want your chocolate to have by the amount of sugar you put in. I used almost a half of a cup since I like my chocolate a little on the semisweet side.  After stirring in the sugar, you will add the honey and the butter and mix together. Then add your cream. I only added enough to get the chocolate to look like a smooth consistency again.  I didn’t want to add too much cream because then the chocolate would turn into more of a sauce and wouldn’t harden in the freezer.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE:
I used cupcake liners and a muffin pan to form my Peanut Butter Cups. I placed the liners inside the muffin pan, filled each one with a spoonful or two of chocolate, then I added my layer of peanut butter (since the peanut putter is firmer, you can easily form little discs for this layer). Once they all had the middle layer of peanut butter I used the rest of the chocolate to pour over the tops of them.  Place saran wrap over the top of the muffin pan and then put it in the freezer so the chocolate can harden.
Fresh out of the freezer:
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Peel away the cupcake liner and enjoy.
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The chocolate is very rich, more like dark fudge, chocolate ganache. And it won’t be hard like you would expect frozen chocolate to be. But it will satisfy any sweet or chocolate craving you might have during the October Unprocessed challenge. 

I might continue working on the chocolate shell part of the recipe to see what changes I could do to make them firmer, but if any of you have any suggestions that would be great.  Linking up to:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Glam Rosette Necklace

Some of you know that I dabble in making jewelry sometimes. Just wanted to share a guest post I did over on Steph's blog, The Silly Pearl. Head on over to check out the full tutorial.

Easy Tomato Soup

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I am taking a little break from my camera, thanks to my kiddos breaking my memory card reader.  October #unprocessed is going good. I’ve been sticking to my commitment of not eating any fast foods, cooking more at home and reading labels.  And since it is finally cooling down here in our town (thank goodness) I am back to making SOUPS! 

I love soup, and this is soup weather.  First soup I made this past weekend was an easy Tomato Soup using ingredients I bought at one of the last farmer’s markets.  This soup is very easy and has a great flavor.

INGREDIENTS
6 good sized tomatoes (chop into  pieces)
1/2 to a whole pound of cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
1 red onion (diced or chopped)
2-3 cloves of garlic (minced or crushed)
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of whole milk or cream
1-2 teaspoons of basil
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil
freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
In a larger skillet, sauté the chopped onion in butter or oil for about 2 minutes on medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two longer. Add your chopped and sliced tomatoes to the pan.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes on medium heat, stirring often.  Turn the heat down to medium low or low and allow the ingredients to cook together on a low simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  Now you can add the chicken broth, and cream and stir together. When you can see that the soup is getting warm, add your basil, and your thyme. Allow the soup to cook for for another few minutes on a low simmer. Add some freshly grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October #Unprocessed- Can I do it?

Taken from EATING RULES:

“In October of 2009, I was struck by a simple idea:

What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?

This question would have been laughable (rather, nonsensical) just a few decades ago. Nowadays, it seems that almost every food that comes with an ingredients list on it is likely to be laden with extra sugar, fat, and salt.  And preservatives.  And flavorings.  And artificial colors.

I’m not okay with this.

So I tried it, along with a few good friends: A month of no processed foods.”

 

Craziness, right? No PROCESSED FOODS for a whole month? The idea was so crazy that Andrew from Eating Rules, decided to take on this challenge again last year, and had 415 people take the pledge too.

This year there are over 2,000 people joining in. And I am going to try my hardest to be one of those people.

 

I already know I probably can’t go the whole month without eating ANY processed foods, being honest here! (There are a hell of a lot of processed foods out there. Did you know that?) But I am going to pledge to try my hardest and make some definite changes for October, changes that will hopefully carry on into November, and December and so on.

 

Andrew pretty much has a simple definition for what he calls Processed Foods:

“Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients. 

I call it “The Kitchen Test.” If you pick up something with a label (and if it doesn’t have a label, it’s probably unprocessed), and find an ingredient you’d never use in your kitchen and couldn’t possibly make yourself from the whole form, it’s processed.

It doesn’t mean you actually have to make it yourself, it just means that for it to be considered “unprocessed” that you could, in theory, do so.”

 

Taking Andrews definition and keeping in mind what the October #Unprocessed Challenge is all about, my husband and I decided to commit to making some big changes here at home.

 

I am going to cook more meals using whole, unprocessed ingredients. I love that my taste buds have grown through out the years, and that I enjoy trying new recipes or foods (used to be so incredibly picky). 

Another change I am going to make is, to read labels on the foods that I buy.  Already I have been checking out the labels on some of the things in our fridge and pantry, and there are tons of foods with ingredients on the list that I can’t even tell you what they are, or pronounce their names correctly. So why the heck would I want to eat it? 

And the biggest change I am going to try and make is to stop eating fast food. I’ve been terrible these past few months, eating out more than ever, and allowing my kids to eat the same things. I will be the first person to say that I love me some processed foods, they are convenient, readily available, and often taste good in the moment.  (Hard to pass up peanut M&M’s, am I right?) But, it’s time for me to make changes in my diet.

 

If you’re interested in taking the October Unprocessed Challenge, you should head to Andrew’s blog, Eating Rules, and check out his post or even sign the pledge!

 

I hope to share some really good recipes this month, with little to no processed ingredients in them. And if you do decide take the challenge, I’d love to be an encouragement to you or read about your journey too.