Jul 022014
 

We got our first wedding gift!

At first I didn’t realize what it was. It was a box delivered from Amazon and we have Amazon Prime (and use it way too much to order things) so I thought it was just another package. Then I saw it was addressed to me and ran through the list in my head of things I’d ordered…Wait, I didn’t order anything this big…Then I saw it said “gift” on the box. Michael and I debated for awhile on whether to open it or wait. The wedding is a few months away but why would we just have a box sitting in our living room for a few months? We decided to open it.

present

It was wrapped in a cute velvety bag and it was huge! It was so exciting! Bella and Fat Kitty were super excited and wanted to be in the middle of it all. I unwrapped it to find one of the things off our registry:

present2

Woohoo!! A nice, fancy new crockpot! I have an old crockpot that works fine, but I’ve always wished it was one that had a timer. I cannot wait to use this baby! Bella was investigating everything, sniffing and nudging it.

present1

Fat Kitty was more excited about the box it came in. He immediately jumped inside and started playing with the box. I love these goofy fur babies.

present3
The gift was from our friends Tiffany and Chris (she’s from the former blog “Carbzilla”–and I’m so glad we became friends in real life!) So we had received our first gift for the wedding. It felt really exciting. I know we’re adults and all, but it was kinda like Christmas morning. :)

I decided to test it out. I found this recipe awhile ago and wanted to try it but the weather changed and it was really warm and sunny out and the idea of soup didn’t appeal to me. Which was weird because I typically eat soup year round! Unfortunately the recipe wasn’t great and definitely wasn’t photogenic. So trying a different one! I LOVE the new crockpot. It’s so shiny and pretty. :) I like that it’s oval shaped; that makes it easier to store in the kitchen cabinet. The timer part worked great. I set the timer for 7.5 hours. After that time is up, it goes into “Warming Mode” for up to 4 hours. I love this feature!

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

Prep Time: 14 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 385

From: http://www.foodiecrush.com/2013/10/slow-cooker-thai-chicken-soup/

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 12 ounce cans of coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • cilantro for garnish
  • cooked white rice

Instructions

  1. Mix the curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and peanut butter in a 4-1/2 to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl.
  2. Place the chicken breast, red bell pepper, onion and ginger in the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
  3. Add in the peas and cook for 1/2 hour longer. Stir in lime juice and serve with cilantro and white rice.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=42831

If you use light coconut milk you save about 200 calories. If you use the regular the calories for this dish is closer to 600 per serving. I added some chopped carrots and also some mushrooms (for Michael). I like how versatile these types of dishes are. You can add pretty much any vegetable you want and you can easily make this vegetarian.

IMG_0449

I’m also glad I read through the comments on the blog post. Lots of readers had tested the recipe and had some alterations.The big one was not adding the coconut milk at the beginning. Lots of readers had curdled soup. Gross! So I followed their instructions and added the coconut milk about 30 minutes before it was going to be done. Also, I’ve never cooked chicken on high before and most crockpot chicken recipes cook around 4-6 hours tops on low so I put my crockpot on low and kept checking on it to make sure it was ok.

IMG_0451

I skipped the frozen peas and didn’t have cilantro but that’s ok. I don’t think cilantro makes or breaks a recipe (except maybe salsa). I added the coconut milk around 30 minutes before it was going to be ready. It didn’t curdle or separate like some of the readers complained about. I debated about adding the second can because the first added a lot of liquid and it seemed “soupy” enough but it had some kick to it so I figured the second can couldn’t hurt.

While the soup was finishing up, I soaked some Pad Thai noodles in warm water per the instructions. I know this recipe said to serve with rice but I didn’t really feel like rice. I wanted more of a soup and the pad thai noodles are rice noodles and gluten free so that worked perfectly!  Once the noodles were properly soaked and softened, I added them to the crockpot, added the lime juice, stirred it up and dinner was served!

IMG_0471

The flavors were so rich! I liked spice that it had. Because I added that second can of coconut milk, the original heat was diluted so I was going to add just a bit of sriracha sauce but I didn’t need to. It was still pretty spicy–but in a pleasant way, not super spicy. I let Michael have all my mushrooms. :) He said the mushrooms were fantastic in the dish. I’ll take his word for it.

One thing I didn’t like–the red peppers were annihilated. I added them around the 2 hour mark thinking that would be okay (the recipe called for them to be added at the beginning). They were too soft and squishy. Next time I would make this and add the red peppers when I add the coconut milk so they stay a little more firm. Also, the chicken was great so cooking it on low for 4 hours was the right move! I got 7 servings out of this recipe and I had plenty for lunches.

All in all I loved this recipe and would definitely make it again. I think it’s a delicious recipe, it’s low in calories, and I can see it being a hit at a dinner party. This will definitely become a regular in this house!

Share
Feb 052014
 

We LOVE our dog walker! She’s so awesome and came highly recommended from a friend who also used her when they were in Portland. Amy is the owner of FurEver Family Pet Sitting. Bella loves her! We are so happy to have found someone so great to come and walk Bella a few times a week while we are at work. It makes a huge difference. On days we don’t have Amy come over, I can tell a difference–Bella is a super spaz all evening after being cooped up. Bella’s behavior has also improved because Amy continues the training we are doing with her (i.e. not pulling on the leash on walks, not jumping on guests, etc). Another bonus: I get a mid-day text report of Bella and sometimes a cute picture. :) It brightens up my work day.

Amy posted this comment on another post I wrote and it was a great blog idea!

I’m struggling right now with finding things that I can eat in the car on the go. I’m ok with ‘ruts’ and eating the same thing day in and day out, but I just struggle with ideas that are healthy and I can keep in my car for up to 8-12 hours some days. I know I just need to PLAN and fix ahead so I can grab and go…but looking for new ideas!

While Amy’s situation is probably unique compared to a lot of my reader’s daily work lives, I think everyone can relate with running out of ideas for easy snack and on-the-go meal ideas.

Portable Healthy Snacking

If you work in a job where you spend a lot of time in the car, pop a small cooler in your trunk with some ice packs. That will open up a bigger list of options if you can keep the food cool. Here are some ideas for on-the-go snacks that won’t bust the calorie bank:

Hard-boiled eggs – Just one hard-boiled egg is so filling for me

Amazing Meal Shake - Add some protein powder to it to have some staying power

CHOCOMILK

Dried apricots – This is often a pre-workout snack for me because just a few dried apricots do the trick

Trail mix -This one is iffy because the calories can really add up!

String Cheese and crackers

Tuna salad with craisins and chopped walnuts – Top a green salad with this and you’ve got a great lunch

Pickles and beef jerky – No, I’m not pregnant, I’ve just been craving pickles lately! ;)

Apple slices with peanut butter

Apple Oatmeal Muffins  (this recipe looks so GOOD!)

Yogurt Fruit Dip

Dry-roasted and seasoned edamame – I’ve seen this at Trader Joe’s

Cottage cheese with fruit on the side – I love cottage cheese as a snack because it fills me up quickly

Single-serving chocolate Almond Milk – I love this stuff!

Almond-Breeze-thumb

V-8 juice (with or without the vodka :D )

Hummus with raw veggies and pita chips

A box of raisins with some peanuts

Chipotle Lime Chickpeas

5 Minute No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars (I’m totally going to make these!)

Almond Butter Stuffed Dates (this could be a really nice healthy dessert idea)

Practice What I Preach

I decided to give something a try I’ve vowed to do for a long time now–ever since I saw it on Pinterest. The egg “muffin” for breakfast. I’ve seen dozens of variations and you can really do whatever you want with it and make it your own. It’s something that you can make on a Sunday afternoon and have for the work week for a quick breakfast or a snack.

photo 4
photo 3

I used this recipe as a jumping off point. I made some alterations for my own personal preferences and also combined a neat idea I saw in another similar recipe–using some frozen hashbrowns as the base of the muffin.

Egg Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Calories per serving: 95 calories

From: http://thesweetspotblog.com/breakfast-to-go-egg-muffins/

Ingredients

  • 4 whole, large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets, cooked and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam or boil broccoli to desired tenderness and chop.
  2. Whisk together eggs, egg whites and milk. Season egg mixture with salt and pepper and stir in cheddar cheese.
  3. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Layer about a tablespoon of chopped broccoli into each muffin cup.
  4. Pour in egg mixture to about 3/4 full and top with remaining grated cheese. Bake until set in center about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Note: We also love them with baby spinach and roasted mushrooms. Use whatever cheese and veggies you enjoy to customize these for your taste buds.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=41655

With the alterations I made, my muffins came out at 145 calories each. I was okay with that number. My muffin had green onion, yellow and orange diced peppers, some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sliced grape tomatoes. I baked the egg muffins for around 30 minutes and tested them with a toothpick until I decided they were cooked through.

photo 1

How pretty do those look? Don’t mind the lone muffin that apparently got all the egg whites in one section. :P Despite that, they were tasty! I already have some ideas on different recipes–maybe artichoke hearts, tomatoes and feta cheese….yum!

I also made some chicken salad for lunches at work. I made some alterations and omitted the apple to reduce the calorie count slightly. I planned on topping some spinach and green leaf lettuce with the chicken salad mixture. I used 5 tablespoons mayo instead of 6, omitted the apple and the cooked chicken breasts came to 2.5 cups instead of 3 so that made the calories about 260 a serving.

Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 271

From: http://southernfood.about.com/od/chickensalads/r/r81002g.htm

Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the chicken, cranberries, celery, onion, apple, and walnuts, if using.
  2. In a cup or small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. the lemon juice, curry powder, if using, and salt and pepper.
  3. Stir into the chicken, adding more mayonnaise as needed and for taste.
  4. Line bread or rolls with lettuce and spread chicken salad on the bread or serve the chicken salad on lettuce-lined plates.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=41655

I had a few nibbles of my chicken salad before I put it in tupperware for lunches. It was really tasty! I like the crunch of the celery and walnut and the sweetness of the Craisins. I enjoyed the chicken salad lunches and I’m glad I finally gave it a try. I’m going to experiment with other recipes and see if substituting Greek yogurt for the mayo might work too.

photo 1

photo 2

In one afternoon I prepped my breakfast and lunch meals for the work week and it was a success! It was easy, didn’t take much time to prepare on Sunday and saved me a lot of time in the mornings before work.

What are your time-saving ideas for quickie meals?

Share