Cooking: My Creation

There have been many things about pregnancy that have changed my life but surprisingly the list of ‘do not eat’ foods hasn’t really been one. A lot of the things that they say I can’t have were either 1) not hard for me to give up (alcohol) or, 2) foods I didn’t eat anyways so it was a moot point (I’m looking at you, fish). And yet, here I am 7 months pregnant, dying over every Subway commercial/sign I see. Do I like deli meat? Not in particular, but holy freaking cow do I need it. So after almost a month of debating going to Subway (just for a veggie sandwich), but always deciding against because it really wouldn’t make life any easier, and after scouring Pinterest for a recipe, I decided I would just create my own panini. And…WOW! Let’s just say I could start my own restaurant based solely on this sandwich…. almost. Lucky for you, I’m going to teach you how to make it 😉

I started off with plain old wheat bread (because why spend $4 on a loaf of nicer bread for just 1 meal??) and spread Private Selection Sriracha Aioli on both pieces (so good even by itself; I used it as a dip for a snack the next day). Next I took Kroger brand black forest shredded turkey (heated because, well, pregnancy) and topped that with shredded pepper jack cheese (anything for more heat). My sandwich also included a layer of avocado slices while Greg’s was finished with crispy bacon. Don’t have a panini maker? Us either, so after assembling both sandwiches I tossed them on the George Foreman grill for a few minutes to toast together. That simple and easy sandwich not only helped with my craving but might become a staple in our house. (Pictured below, Greg’s is the one with the small piece of bacon on top. Oh and don’t judge the paper plates, I had forgotten to run the dishwasher that night. Oops!) I will call it cheap-ish because the aioli was around $4, but with just being used as a spread there is so much left over that it can be used for many different things. All the different flavors and textures, the heat and the crunch, I would have paid upwards of $10 to get that in a restaurant.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! Or send me your own hot deli sandwich recipes and I will for sure make and post about them!

Enjoy!

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Cooking: Taco Tuesday

Every week Tuesday rolls around and, like clockwork, the second we’re finished with dinner I see someone comment on social media with the hashtag  TacoTuesday, and every week, like clockwork, I roll my eyes at another missed opportunity! Not this week everyone! Mexican food is an absolute staple in our house and I am always looking for new recipes!

Here is a new recipe I can’t wait to eat again. I only deviated a few times from the recipe. I used water instead of chicken broth, I also added both a can of black beans and some frozen corn at the very end of the cooking time just long enough to heat up. Topped with shredded lettuce, jalapeños, avocado, sour cream and cheese… I actually have been looking forward to these leftovers (which if you know me says a lot!).

Will I make these again tomorrow? Don’t judge!

😉

Go Team!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you should be aware that Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday.

(It’s the Eagles vs.  the Patriots)

(You’re welcome)

Anyway, I understand I may not be ‘typical’ because I do enjoy football, and this year – due 99.99% to the fact I have a Fantasy Team – I have been even more invested than normal. YET, this is not the main reason I am excited. It’s not about the game (per se), it’s not about the teams (although I am rooting for the Eagles), it’s not even about the commercials (or how many times I will cry watching the puppies/horses on the Budweiser reruns)…..

It’s. All. About. The. FOOD.

I am treating Sunday as a re-do of New Year’s Eve. I can not make this up. I’ve made a complete list of snack foods I’m excited to make throughout the day, because there are too many to remember. New recipes, old recipes, recipes I am making up in my head.

Best part? We don’t plan on having company.

No one to share it with, my dear.

So excuse me as I go salivate over my list and my ingredient shopping, and eat myself into a wonderful carb-filled coma. Unapologetically.

Cooking: Stuffed

As promised, I will continue to post ‘regular’ type content, including all things kitchen related. Food for life! Ummm, what? Anyways… for a few weeks months if I wasn’t in bed, I was in the restroom; now if you can’t find me, I guarantee you didn’t look in the kitchen.

This meal was important for me to gain a little bit of confidence in the kitchen. I know I can cook through a recipe but I often struggle with ‘whipping up a meal’ that is more than just tacos or spaghetti and meat sauce. But, if I don’t try, I can’t know. So I tried.

Cooked jalapeños? Yes please.

Jalapeño flavored popcorn? I’m in.

Chips with a jalapeño spice? Give me all of them.

Raw jalapeño? Oh.Yeah.

That’s right, lately it has been everything spicy for me. I’m usually the one craving anything chocolatey, iced, or sour, but of late, if it makes my mouth burn and my stomach feel as though it’s engulfed in flames I want more.

Online I have seen a lot of stuffed chicken recipes, which seemed fairly easy. Really anything you want to stuff it with is allowed. Cheese, other meats, pickles, vegetables, sky’s the limit; so I made my own.

I butterflied a plain chicken breast, seasoning it with only salt and pepper. I stuffed the inside with diced raw jalapeño pieces and sharp cheddar cheese, pinched the sides of the chicken slightly back together and grilled that sucker on the George Foreman Grill. After it was completely cooked through, I added a little more cheese on top.

This could be made every week and I would be a happy girl.

It was simple and easy: 3 ingredients (not including spices) and yet very flavorful!

Love your own stuffed chicken? Hook me up!

What the Turkey Taught Me (Thanksgiving Lessons)

We laughed, hard.

We ate, a lot.

We enjoyed, everything.

Friends, while I will say Thanksgiving wasn’t the easiest (or cheapest) thing to complete I am so incredibly happy with how it turned out.

Things I learned:

  • Hitting the grocery on the Tuesday before turkey day is the time to go
  • Prepping food (like pies) on Wednesday was a life saver
  • Enjoy the morning, drink the coffee, watch the parade, relax for just a little while
  • Prioritize things that can be completed early, reheated, or things that are okay to be made and left out
  • Little details matter; anything you can get done ahead of time should be (i.e. things like cutting the butter and putting it on the table early enough to not be forgotten but late enough to not melt)
  • No matter how much you attempt to coordinate timing, once the turkey is ready to come out of the oven everything else is bound to be done at exactly the same moment as well.
  • Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. It really is okay to ask your brother-in-law to get the water out of the fridge and fill the cups.
  • Stress is a waste of time.
  • It will all turn out. It won’t be perfect, but it will be your kind of wonderful.

I hope everyone had a glorious Thanksgiving, an insane Black Friday, and a crazy Cyber Monday.

Now, bring on Christmas!

Cooking:Kroger Style

Please note I am not paid by Birds Eye or Kroger brands, these are my words and my opinions.

Greg and I eat fairly healthy. We love our chips and our desserts but for the most part I’ll almost always choose a salad, and my sweet husband doesn’t complain when we have chicken for the fourth time in a given week. So it is that I’m always looking for healthier options.

To be completely fair if I am going to share with you all the recipes that I make at home, I feel I also need to share with you when (and from where) I find little cheats, shortcuts to healthy eating.

And right now I feel like I have found a diamond in the freaking rough.

While shopping at my neighborhood Kroger I came across a new product from Birds Eye (a company I already love, and just when I thought I couldn’t love them more): VEGETABLE MADE PASTA!!! While I was slightly nervous, Greg was completely doubtful. But even he became a believer! Kroger had all 4 flavors: Original, Marinara, Cheddar and Alfredo. While I have only tried the three latter ones, let me just tell you I’m sure you won’t go wrong with any!

We paired all of these with chicken and then one other side:

  • Chicken with the Marinara pasta, with salad and corn on the cob (wahhh I already miss summer vegetables)
  • Chicken with Cheddar paired with green beans
  • Chicken Alfredo (duh) going perfectly with steamed broccoli

For under $5 and at 2+ servings (if there are even any leftovers because there hasn’t been for us) I couldn’t beat it!

Now before I start getting the comments about this being ‘frozen and not fresh’ or ‘not as healthy because it isn’t homemade’ let me say: I know there are probably healthier ways but I have never made ‘zoodles’ (heck, I have never even made my own regular pasta) and for my life right now, this is much more feasible.

Never mind the fact that I am not a huge pasta eater, so my husband usually is the one missing it, making this the best of both worlds!

Side note, while also shopping there this past weekend I saw they have Cauliflower rice and now Cauliflower mashed potatoes. While I haven’t tried those yet, let me say if they are anything like the pasta it will be a party in your mouth!

If you try it and love it, let me know! If you try it and hate it, tell me another alternative that you do love!

Enjoy, friends!

Nash to the Ville

I was the tourist walking around the entire city attempting to take in every single second of this awesome city on my phone for you guys but it was just not feasible. If you haven’t been to this town do yourself a favor and go. It will be an unforgettable time.

We got to Nashville mid-Thursday evening, immediately checked into our hotel and headed out for the night. I dressed in jeans, gold jewelry, big hair, and red lips; I was ready to hit up the town. We were told we had to try The Taco Co., but they sadly were closed for the night so we ended up at Taco Mamacita and were not at all disappointed. The margaritas were good, the fresh salsa and tacos…my mouth is watering right now. Greg had heard of this free (what we thought would be low-key) concert downtown that we wanted to check out and then head to the bars…. boy were we wrong. We walked into this lawn covered with 5,000 of our closest (and drunkest) friends, listening to unknown artists trying to make it in Nashville. The atmosphere was insane, the smells were disgusting, people touching you was the worst, and yet I am so happy we went. It really felt like we stepped out of our comfort zone and embraced the chaos.

Friday morning we woke up early to go to a breakfast restaurant I had heard about from another blogger that was her ‘must eat.’ We drive up to this little part of the city, filled with boutiques and small restaurants completely untouched by tourists. We were total locals 😉 The reason we went to Biscuit Love? One word: Bonuts…. That’s right. Homemade biscuit donuts; oh.em.gee.

I now understand why this was a must, and trust me, I agree. Also, how stinking cute is that wall? Ignore the people, I had to show you all!

From there we went to Belle Meade which we accidentally snuck into. We were unaware that the path we followed would take us to the back of the mansion, but we might not have hated it…oops. In our defense there was a side house we wanted to go see and no gates or barriers. We were just suddenly on the plantation. Since we were still out of the city we drove to see the iconic Blue Bird.

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If you have heard of the TV show Nashville you are very familiar with this local bar. If you aren’t familiar with it, you might have heard of the country singer, Taylor Swift, otherwise known as my husband’s biggest crush? This was the bar she was ‘found’ in. Because it was a bar and in the middle of the day it was closed but just being outside was incredible. There is a sign above the door that states ‘The best songwriters in the world pass through this door.’ Just knowing artists walk in there every night hoping to sing in front of some of the biggest agents and maybe someday catch their big break.. that was pretty dang cool.

Insert traffic. Driving anywhere close to downtown will add traffic to your day. It doesn’t matter what time, it doesn’t matter what direction, you will be going under the speed limit into the city. We parked and headed to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum which in and of itself was incredibly neat. Seeing outfits worn by celebrities, Elvis’ car, and Greg even saw one of Taylor’s microphones! Then we decided to walk… in the heat, in a town we didn’t know, to the next restaurant I had heard about, Hattie B’s. We turned the corner at 12:05 and the line was already around the corner. So after walking over a mile, we stood in line, in the sun/heat for over an hour for this chicken. And oh man, I would do it all over again. This place is a super tiny, hole-in-the-wall joint with amazing hot chicken. Trust me, Nashville knows it’s comfort food.

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I was hoping to go down to the famers market and go to Jeni’s Ice Cream but we ran out of time, besides after a day of walking around town, we were both in desperate need of a shower. As I mentioned before, we came to town for Greg to be in a wedding and this was the rehearsal dinner night. All day Saturday was filled with him doing the groomsman things and me just hanging out around the hotel/pool.

Before leaving Sunday my best friend (who would live in this city if she could) told me there was one more thing I just had to do….Grand Ole Opry. We took a backstage tour, which I would for sure recommend. You see a totally different side of this miracle place that you wouldn’t be able to see during a show. Besides at the end you go on stage and stand on ‘the wood circle’ which is such an iconic piece of wood originally from the old Grand Ole Opry location, restored after the flood and still refurbished for all singers to stand on.

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The air in this space is different; it is special. Hard to convey but you know you are in the same location as incredible people… you can just feel something different being there. It is almost unbelievable.

We walked, we ate, we stood in the same place as many famous people; we loved this town! Can not wait to go back!