Friday, May 30, 2014

havarti stuffed chicken, olive tapenade, brussels and my love for food.

Almost 6 months after deciding to live "clean", 
food that is,
(I'm still convinced) I'm living life to the fullest with the right foods.
Occasionally, I choose terrible foods, and let's be honest, it's totally intentional. 
For 26 years of my life, I've understood that if you like it, you eat it.
I love grabbing the whole container of ice cream from the freezer and a spoon. And making a meal.
I love sushi, I love Mexican food, I love Italian food.
I love chips and dip, I love junk food, and I love healthy food.

I just love food.
Mostly, I love to eat.

So, the decision was made for me, my own fault I left myself feeling horrible for too long…
I decided I still loved food. That's never going to change.
No choice but to make what I eat beneficial to my body.
Of course this isn't every meal... but most of the time.
And after buying clean foods, 
life is still delicious, friends.
And it's more fun actually, because I've learned so much in the kitchen!
The kiddos watch me cook, they love to help, and they're even eating their greens.
I'm a proud mama.

-havarti stuffed chicken breast with 
olive tapenade and brussels sprouts-

This meal was the kind after you wake up, you sail through your day with 
this on your mind as the prize. 
Crazy or not, that's me.

The chicken I cut a 2" pocket in the thickest part of the breast, and stuffed them with sliced havarti. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, baked in a sprayed glass pan,
 in a 350 degree oven for one hour. 
Half way through, I added (real) butter on top of the chicken…

Brussels sprouts, I trimmed ends and sliced each into three pieces, threw them in a pan heated on medium/low heat, with a little olive oil to coat, and salt and pepper to taste. 
(I'm sure butter would be fantastic here too!)
Keep them moving around with your spoon here and there, not to get too done…
Sometimes I cover the pan to almost steam the brussels sprouts to soften them.

and the best part...

A few years ago, I found a recipe. It was one of those recipes that you just don't forget.
It's amazing. It's versatile, it's unforgettable! 
It's olive tapenade.

-olive tapenade-
1 can (average can size, I can't remember ounces) whole pitted black olives, chopped
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (I use more, thyme is my favorite!)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries, (I cut these in small pieces)
Olive oil

Drain the can of olives and pour olives into a food processor. (Or you can chop by hand) Pulse until the  olives are chopped enough to mix well.  In a bowl, combine first four ingredients, and drizzle enough olive oil in the mixture to lightly coat the mix. Not too much olive oil. That's it. (Of course you can add more/different ingredients to make it yours!) I've served this on crostini and goat cheese (OMG.), in pastry wrapped brie, and …on chicken! 

So, that's that. That was the recipe of the 
week that made me so entirely happy!
Please cut me some slack on the direction description, I've always been terrible at explaining things…

Enjoy this recipe!!! It's colorful and delicious and it's wonderful as leftovers too!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Family Days and Water Food.

I spent yesterday with my babies on the lake. 
With family that is wonderful enough to have us over for the day to enjoy the sunshine and laughter and food and missed time together. This time I have missed with my family, 
and I'm so very thankful to share that with my kids.

No doubt, a day around water is 
definitely a day full of snackin'. 
I mean, all day long.
You know, water food. Call me crazy, but there's the type of food you're supposed to eat on the lake. My favorite from yesterday was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a Dr. Pepper. 
You know, that kind of food.

We also snacked on this, which is my
 favorite summer "throw-together" recipe...
My favorite salsa. I first found a recipe in Southern Living as a spring salsa recipe a couple years back, and I've changed it so much, 
that it just is what it is. 
But it's good, I promise.

 here's what you need…

one can petite diced tomatoes (28oz)
one can white shoepeg corn, drained (11oz)
one can blackbeans, drained and rinsed (15oz)
half red onion, diced
fresh cilantro (I chopped half a bundle store bought)
1 tsp/tbsp (how much do you looove garlic..) minced garlic 
1 tbsp (or more!) diced jalapeƱo
juice of half a lime
sea salt to taste
adding a little taco seasoning to the mix is great too!

I love it with chips, on top of my burger, on top of grilled fish, on top of my omelette, 
in a crockpot with chicken... 
Make a triple batch of salsa and throw it in gallon sized freezer bags with chicken breasts, and freeze for an EASY make ahead crockpot meal. Salsa chicken is another favorite of mine!!
(I could talk forever about food…)

This is just my favorite. 
I make it a million times during the summer!

I hope you all enjoy your beautiful memorial weekend relaxing and loving on friends and family. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life and Good Food.

Life's been a 100mph with little sassy pants and my best buddy.
It's truly amazing.
 God's blessed me tremendously on a daily basis. 
These children shine beautiful moments of His Light on my life!
I'm living my dream, this is all I've ever wanted to be.
A wife and a mother.  
And a cook every now and then.

Y'all, I love to cook. But more importantly, I love food.
More than the average person loves food. 
More than the food lover loves food.
I love good lookin' food. 
I love lots of taste. 
I love easy. 
I love healthy. (Sometimes not so much.)
And because of babies screaming for my attention at 6pm, I love quick.
I try new recipes so often, then forget where I found them…
Here's a favorite from an old Real Simple Cookbook.

Ravioli with Grape Tomatoes and Wine

hands on time: 25 minutes/ total time: 25 minutes 
serves 4 (unless you love it like i do...)

16 to 18 oz cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup dry white wine
salt & pepper
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

-Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

-Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and simmer until the tomatoes begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.

-Add the pasta, butter, and parsley to the skillet and toss to combine.

This is exactly how the recipe was written in my book, although everyone has their own way to change it up! I hardly ever use heat as high as the recipe calls for and I used dried parsley. I also added a little spaghetti sauce over my pasta.

The asparagus was trimmed, tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. I sprinkled it with mozzarella (had no parmesan!) a couple minutes before cooking time was finished! 

Super easy dinner. I had leftovers for lunch today, they were even better. 

The wine and the tomatoes… oh my goooooodness. 

About Me

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Living with intention. Life in the south as a wife, mama, hairstylist, and food lover.