Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mexican Chicken Lime Soup

I think a miracle is about to happen. The forecast for Wednesday in Wilmington is predicting 72 glorious degrees!  I just can't believe it.  It has been such a cold, bitter winter.  Granted, I shouldn't complain because it's not like i'm in Boston or anything, but man, I need spring in my life.  I think the weather has bothered me more than usual since I have a little pup to walk 10 times a day now!

Sadly, the frigid air and rain will be creeping back in Thursday, so make yourself a comforting bowl of this spicy Mexican Chicken Lime Soup, and I promise you'll be warmed from the inside out. 

I just love the combination of tangy lime with the spicy adobo, along with the cool hit of Greek yogurt (which I use in place of sour cream) and a bite of creamy avocado. Feel free to adjust the spice level by adding more or less adobo sauce or chipotles.  

*3 tbsp. olive oil
*1 small onion, diced
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*4 chicken boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.75-2 lb.)
*6 c. chicken stock
*1-2 chipotles, chopped, from a can of chipotles in adobo
*1-2 tsp. adobo sauce 
*3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
*1 avocado, sliced
*1 lime
*sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
*tortilla chips, for serving (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium high.  Add garlic and onion and sauté until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes.  Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the chicken.  Brown chicken on both sides, then add the chipotle and adobo sauce (one to two, depending on spice preference; you can always add more at the end).  Add chicken stock and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pot, shred it, and return it to the soup.  Stir in cilantro and juice of one lime.  Serve with crushed tortilla strips, avocado slices, and sour cream.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Happy Monday all!  I'm feeling rested and rejuvenated after a beautiful weekend with two of my best friends at Figure 8 Island.  While I was staying at my BFF Magen's house, she told me about these amazing energy balls she makes. 

I typically eat very healthy throughout the day during the work week, but lately there has been so much temptation everywhere I turn.  Whether it's someone's birthday, or bagels, or donuts, there is always something in my office and I find it really hard to resist when I get a craving for an afternoon sweet. 

As Magen promised, these Energy Balls are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, and feel like an indulgent treat.  I often reach for a spoonful of peanut butter as soon as I get home from work, but these Energy Balls are a great alternative with added fiber and healthy sweetness. 

Have one or two for breakfast, or like me, as a quick afternoon snack.  They take all of five minutes to stir together and keep well in the refrigerator.  

*1 c. oats
* 1/2. c. peanut butter (I used reduced fat)
*2/3 c. shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
*1/3 c. honey
*2 tbsp. mini chocolate chips
*1 tsp. vanilla
*1 tsp. cinnamon

Stir together all ingredients.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then roll into 12 equal balls.  Store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Plated Review

No new recipe this week, but that's because I've spent the week taking Plated for a test run. If you haven't heard of Plated, it's one of the food delivery services that have become so popular these days (similar to Blue Apron and Home Fresh).  After three meals, I must admit that my official review is a resounding "Meh…".  

There are many pros and cons to using a service like this.  

1) Pro: Pre portioned ingredients delivered right to your door. No guess work! And no grocery shopping. 
2) Con: Too much waste.  The food is delivered in a cooled box, and you can potentially reuse the ice packs.  There's no way I would be able to keep the ice packs if I used this as a weekly service though.  On top of that, the amount of trash that is produced when you have individual baggies for things like a garlic clove and a small piece of ginger is significant.  I probably threw out a grocery bag worth of packaging with each meal. 

Mushroom Pappardelle.  I ended up adding cream cheese to the sauce because I was under the impression that it was a creamy pasta - not so much!

3) Pro: You know what you're spending up front. 
4) Con: Cost. The standard fee for 3 meals for 2 is $75.  It seems that no matter what buy, I always spend $100 on my weekly grocery run.  That always includes breakfast and lunch, and typically one or two random household expense items, like shampoo, vitamins, or a cleaning product. 

Stir-Fry Quinoa - with Chicken! 

4) Pro: Opportunity to experiment with recipes or ingredients you wouldn't normally think to use. 
5) Con: Selection.  Most weeks have 6 to 7 options for recipes to choose from.   I really struggled with choosing because there were things I wanted from different weeks.  I settled for two vegetarian options, even though it's incredibly rare that we don't eat a protein for dinner.  I ended up supplementing our Quinoa Stir-Fry with grilled chicken.

Beef Rendang

6) Pro: Portion control
7) Con: No leftovers! Mike and I must be little piggies, because none of the recipes above were quite enough for us.  I ended up adding a salad and we usually had dessert as well. 

8) Pro: All of the ingredients arrived super fresh on Saturday, and remained fresh until I cooked my last recipe Thursday night.
9) Con: The ingredient's weren't prepped!  For weeknight cooking, I typically go for quick and easy recipes.  I understood that I would need to chop onions, sure, but I was under the assumption that the ingredients would be cleaned prior to being sent.  Let me tell you, cleaning 12 oz. of wild mushrooms on a Monday night was no fun.  And the Quinoa required so many vegetables be washed and chopped.

All in all, I'd say this is the first and last time i'll be trying one of these services.  Props to Plated for providing quality ingredients and creative recipes, but I'm not sure i'd be able to justify the cost.  If you're new to cooking, or like experimenting with unique and international recipes, this might be worth a try from time to time.  

I'll be back with a new recipe next week! 

Happy Weekend! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Target Giveaway!

Hi All!  I'm teaming up with some great bloggers this week offering a $175 gift card giveaway to Target!  Check out my last post which includes some of my favorite products (all ones that I use regularly) available at Target, and discover some really fun blogs along the way.  Good luck!

Brittany // Magen
Christina // Angie
Helen // Amy
Lindsay // Kippy
Jamie // Sarah
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Book Club: Camille Styles Entertaining

For Christmas, I treated myself to this beautiful book, Camille Styles Entertaining, penned by the author of the wildly popular Camille Styles blog.  When I get a new coffee table book or cook book, I like to devote enough time to reading it so I can devour every page.  I finally had time to sit down and enjoy CSE this weekend and I must say, it did not disappoint. 

Entertaining is about so much more than the food.  It's about personal touches that make something memorable, whether it's fresh flowers in a comfy guest room for your weekend visitors, a special menu for a holiday celebration, or a simple family dinner.  Camille Styles has a true talent for creative an elegant touches that make a lasting impression and enhance her simple but irresistible recipes. 

The aesthetic of the book was very inviting but I also enjoyed the forward to each chapter. The chapters and recipes are divided into seasons, and each season begins with inspiration by texture, scent, color, and taste.  Using that formula, you can easily design menus and palettes based on your own inspired senses. 

While some of the table settings and themes are a bit far fetched, it's all about choosing the details that excite you the most and executing them in your own way. 

I'm most inspired by the spring and summer menus and party themes.  Now if only the weather would cooperate... Happy reading!