Monday, August 3, 2015

Greek Stuffed Peppers with Tzatziki Sauce

This is a really easy and quick recipe for Greek stuffed peppers.  I love combination of flavors in this dish, especially the cinnamon.  Tzatziki sauce goes with all things Greek and I love the tang it brings to the dish.  These are so filling they can stand alone or you can serve them with a salad.  The stuffing is also great leftover.  I used mine to make a frittata the next day.  Here's how to make them:

Friday, June 5, 2015

Foolproof Crispy Chicken Thighs - Whole30 Approved

I don't know anyone who doesn't love fried chicken.  It's satisfying but leaves you feeling guilty afterwards!  One way to cut the guilt is to bake chicken instead.  Sometime I have trouble getting the skin really crispy, especially if it's a whole bird.  With chicken breasts, I find that once the skin is crispy the meat is dry!  So I gave chicken thighs a try.  They are cheap, juicy and delicious and I've come up with a foolproof method of getting crispy skin and keeping the meat juicy.  Here's how to make them:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Whole30 Approved German Potato Salad

It has been so long since my last post!  Even longer since I've posted a recipe.  I got pretty carried away doing the Whole30.  I wasn't really making any "recipes" so I took a little break from blogging.  I would just roast a lot of vegetables and meats and eat things that weren't very pretty.  So why bother posting?  But here is my first Whole30 approved recipe!  I know German Potato Salad doesn't sound like something that would be approved to eat on Whole30, but it is!  It's probably not the healthiest choice because of the bacon, but nonetheless it is indeed Whole30 compliant.  This is a great recipe that will make you feel like you aren't on a diet.  Even though Whole30 isn't a "diet"!!  Here's how to make it:


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Whole30 - Week 1

I am officially into week 2 of Whole30 and I'm feeling pretty good.  I haven't had any major changes but I am definitely starting to feel a difference.  I'm still reading "It Starts with Food" by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.

I haven't been having any kind of cravings for the most part.  Fruit tastes incredibly sweet right now, so eating some grapes or strawberries keeps my sweet tooth at bay.  I bought some local strawberries and they literally tasted like candy.  I couldn't stop eating them.  Grapes have been extra sweet too, and sour.  I felt like I was eating Warheads rather than grapes!

After the first few days, I noticed that the tiny bumps I've had on the backs of my arms since I was about 12 have almost disappeared.  It's something I've always been really self conscious about.  I've ready that having those little bumps is a sign of gluten intolerance, so perhaps I'm sensitive to gluten.  Time will tell.

I feel lighter every day when I wake up.  I haven't had any bloating at all, I haven't felt gassy or had any heartburn at all.  I've noticed that I have more energy every morning when I go into work.  Someone asked me "what's wrong with you?". Hah.  Overall I just feel really light and alert.

I'm still going to the gym 3-4 times a week doing cardio and weights, but if I skip a day I don't feel guilty about it.  Before Whole30 I would feel extremely guilty if I skipped a day at the gym.  Now if I skip, I don't feel as bad about it because I know what I'm eating is good for me.  I don't feel like I need to spend an hour at the gym to burn off what I had for dinner.

I've been eating meals that aren't so pretty, so I haven't been sharing recipes.  Every time I have a day off work I prep big batches of sweet potatoes, baby potatoes, brussel sprouts, roasted carrots, hard boiled eggs, meatballs, and stock up on fruits.  The only way I have been successful so far is having things in the refrigerator to heat up when I'm hungry and don't feel like cooking.  In the mornings, I pack a little plastic container of eggs, a meatball and some veggies to take to work.  I've also been making big pictures of cucumber-lemon water.  It's so refreshing and really quenches my thirst.

I even survived a Friday night at our friends' house.  There was plenty of beer, cheese, dips and chips to snack on.  It was tempting but I explained what I was doing and they were both very understanding.  It was hard but I got through it and felt great about myself.

I've noticed in about the past 3 days that I feel really full after a meal, especially breakfast, and can barely finish what's on my plate.  I continue to feel full well into the afternoon.  I usually have to make myself eat lunch because I'm just not that hungry.

I'm excited to see what the next few weeks have to offer.  If I'm feeling this good after 1 week, I can't wait to see how I feel after the full 30 days.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My First Whole30

Things are going to be a little different here for a while.  I've been doing my first Whole30.  If you aren't familiar with Whole30, you can read about it here.  Long story short, for 30 days you can only eat meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts and certain oils.  No dairy, grains, gluten, sugar, alcohol, and a few others.  The purpose is to reboot your system and to take notice of what changes come to your body.  After 30 days, you slowly add back the things you cut out of your diet one at a time.  It makes it easier to notice how these foods affect your body.  I'm a week in and it hasn't been too challenging so far.  Most of the things I have been eating haven't really been recipes, just a lot of fruit, roasted vegetables and meats.  Although while I'm doing Whole30, I'm still going to try and come up with some tasty and easy meals that I can share here on my blog.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crab Stuffed Shells with Bechamel

It has been quite some time since my last post!  I have been busy with work and was visiting my best friend in Charleston (hey, Hillary!) last weekend, so I haven't had much time to get in the kitchen and cook.  Being at the beach had me in the mood for some seafood, so I whipped up some crab stuffed shells shortly after coming home!  Here's how to make them:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spicy Garlic Shrimp

This is a really quick and easy recipe that's great for a last minute meal.  It takes about 10 minutes to cook and all of the ingredients are things that are easily kept on hand. Also, check out my recipe for General Tso Chicken which has similar flavors and is just as easy to make.  Here's how to make it:

General Tso Chicken

Who doesn't love General Tso Chicken?  It's that classic Chinese take out dish that is sweet, tangy and sticky.  It's so easy to make at home and much better for you than take out.  Almost all of the ingredients are things that I always have in my fridge and pantry, so it's great for a last minute meal.  Also, check out my recipe for Spicy Garlic Shrimp which has similar flavors, but no breading! Here's how to make it:

Monday, March 23, 2015

DIY Game of Thrones Coasters

A few years ago I made coasters as Christmas gifts for my friends and family.  They are so fun and easy to make and people really enjoyed them.  I love going over to their homes and seeing that they still have the coasters on their coffee tables.  I had a great Game of Thrones poster,but sadly the cats got to it and chewed the bottom of it.  It wasn't damaged that bad but it looked tacky on the wall.  I didn't want to throw it away because it was still in pretty good condition, so I made coasters out of it!  Here's how to make them:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

Okay, so these cupcakes aren't actually made with key limes.  They're made with regular limes but the flavors of a key lime pie are all there!  I used my pound cake recipe for these cupcakes, so if you prefer you can easily make this recipe using a bundt pan, just adjust the cooking time.  These are very dense, moist and filling.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin Tacos

Pork tenderloin is tender, cheap and delicious!  It's a great cut of meat to cook in a slow cooker.  It'll last for days and is great for leftovers.  This recipe has a little Asian twist to it and I chose to make tacos with it.  It would also be great with just a big bowl of sticky rice.  Here's how to make it:


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Linguine with Clams, Mussels and Bacon

Sometimes you just get a craving for some really good pasta that's super flavorful but not too complicated to make.  Here's the recipe for my last craving: 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lobster Risotto with Roasted Asparagus

On Valentine's Day we kind of forgot to make reservations at the restaurant we had picked out... so we ended up at home cooking dinner instead.  That's always fine by me though, it's cheaper and just as fun and delicious.  Making lobster seemed like a very cliche thing to make on Valentine's Day, so off to the store we went.  Lobster Risotto is what we decided on.  I am a huge fan of risotto for several different reasons.  It's relatively cheap to make, it's filling and it can feed a lot of people.   It turned out great!  Here's how to make it:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nutella Palmiers

Palmiers are a really easy cookie to make with very few ingredients.  You can easily switch around the ingredients to make any variety, even savory palmiers.  I made these for our Valentine's Day dessert along with some Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting that I made earlier in the week, hehe.  Palmiers are supposed to look like elephant ears, and they do!  Here's how to make them:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Valentine's Day!  Here's a great recipe for chewy red velvet cookies with tangy cream cheese frosting.  They're addictive!  I made these for Drew this year. :)  Here's how to make them:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ghostbusters - Salted Caramel Candy Bars with Ghost Pepper SpicedChocolate and a Pretzel Crust

When Drew and I first started dating, one of the first things he ever gave me was a bag of spices from a local spice shop in Charlotte.  He picked out unique spices and blends so we could get creative in the kitchen together.  Knowing I love all things spicy, he got some ghost pepper salt.  Ghost peppers are one of the hottest peppers in the world.  It's really spicy and I couldn't think of a lot to use it in.  Unique flavor combinations are all the rage nowadays.  Sweet and salty, sweet and savory, sweet and spicy.. you get it.  I had recently had chocolate covered bacon with cayenne pepper and it inspired me to use the ghost salt with chocolate in some way.  So here's what we came up with.  Homemade candy bars with salted caramel and ghost pepper spiced chocolate.  They're hot but not too hot.  It sneaks up on you and shocks you for a minute but then it fades quickly.  They're so good!  I love the rustic look of them.  We jokingly called the Ghostbusters and the name stuck.  Here's how to make them:


Sunday, February 1, 2015

French Toast Crunch French Toast

Nostalgia in a box.  This was my favorite cereal in the 90s and it's back!  I heard it was coming back to stores but I didn't believe it until I saw it.  We looked for it every time we were in the grocery store but never found it.  Then one day strolling through Target, there it was.  A miracle on the cereal isle.  Two boxes in my cart!  I don't even eat cereal anymore, but I had to get some!  Tastes like memories.  I knew right away I wanted to make French toast and crust it with this cereal.  Hello.. the name is French Toast Crunch after all.  Here's how to make it:


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Creamy Chicken and Veggie Stew

Another lazy Sunday stew!  I've really been enjoying my dutch oven and have been thinking of all kinds of recipes.  The first time I used it I made a Root Vegetable Beef Stew, so this time around I decided to try a chicken stew.  This stew is full of vegetables and packed with flavor.  Here's how to make it:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad

I have been trying to make more salads at home rather than just grabbing one from a restaurant.  This one is really flavorful, fresh and delicious and the colors are beautiful!  Here's how to make it:

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cloves of garlic, grated 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk well. Store in the refrigerator. 

I used this dressing for my Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Shrimp

Here's an easy recipe for a light and refreshing quinoa salad with sauteed shrimp.  This can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature.  Here's how to make it:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sushi Bowls with Marinated Tuna

Delicious, marinated tuna on top of a bed of sticky rice.  Sushi bowls!  So easy to make with barely any cooking required.  Here's how to make them:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Asian Cucumber Salad

Easy and refreshing Asian style cucumber salad. It takes no time to put together and is so delicious!


Monday, January 5, 2015

Plain, Basic Risotto

This is my recipe for a very plain and basic risotto.  Once you've made this, you can turn it into any kind of risotto you want.  Just prepare your preferred ingredients in a separate pan, and when the risotto is done, stir them in.  Simple!  Here's how to make it:

What you'll need:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, small dice
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
8 cups chicken stock, heated
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Salt, as needed

Start by heating your chicken stock in a small pot.  You probably won't use all of it but it's better to have too much than too little.  When it's warm, set aside on low.

Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and season generously with salt.  Cook until the onion become translucent and tender.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Add the Arborio rice and stir until all the rice is coated in oil.  Season once again with salt.  Add the white wine and stir until wine has been absorbed.

Start slowly adding the chicken stock to the rice, about a cup at a time.  Stir until the stock is absorbed and repeat this process until the rice is creamy and tender, stirring constantly.  Make sure you taste the rice to check its tenderness.  

When it is to your liking, add the butter and stir vigorously until melted.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese, taste for seasoning, and it's done!  Now you can add your choice of ingredients.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Root Vegetable Beef Stew

For Christmas my parents gave me a Le Creuset dutch oven.  I've been wanting one for years!  Thanks Mom and Dad!  I wanted to "break it in" with something really special.  I love beef stew and never have been able to make it at home because I didn't have the proper dish to use.  I woke up this Sunday and it was really gloomy and cold outside so I knew a big pot of beef stew would be perfect.  I really enjoy root vegetables like parsnips and celery root but never get to use them often, so I came up with a recipe for a beef stew that includes all of my favorite root vegetables.  I served this with my Mix & Match Herb and Cheese Biscuits.  Perfect for dunking!  Here's how to make it: