Saturday, July 5, 2014

Southwestern Salad

Hey People! Here's another recipe. It's for a salad I made the other day. I really don't know what to call it- it kinda has a Southwestern or Tex-mex, or Mexican flair. I think you will really enjoy it. 

For the Chicken Marinade:
3 skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ancho chili powder
2 limes, juiced 

Mix all listed ingredients together and marinate chicken for at least one hour. 
Heat a skillet on high and sear your chicken. Lower the heat to medium and cook chicken until no pink remains. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and then slice on a diagonal. 

Avocado Marinade:
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp hot mexican chili powder
1/4 tsp coriander
1 lime, juiced

Combine all spices and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss cubed avocado in marinade and let sit for for 15 minutes. 

Salad Ingredients:
Lettuce of your choice
Grape Tomatoes 
Red, yellow, orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
Jalapeno, thinly sliced, optional
Sliced olives, optional

Toss all salad ingredients together and top with as much sliced chicken and avocado as you want. Oh, don't forget to top it with my Southwestern Vinaigrette.

Southwestern Vinaigrette Dressing

Hey Ladies and Gents!

I am really enjoying experimenting with salad dressings as of late and so I am bringing you all another recipe. This one is really delicious and has a southwestern kick. 

You'll need:
2 Tbsp Smoky Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 Tbsp honey flavored Agave
1-2 limes, juiced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix spices and sauces together and salt and pepper to taste. 
I am telling you, you will love it. It's zingy, tangy, zesty, tad spicy and is great on salads. 

Lemon and Rosemary Roasted Chicken

Hey People! So I've allowed a serious lapse in time to occur between postings. I am so sorry. Our family went on vacation to Hilton Head because Joe promised Ellie we would take her to the beach. We had tons of fun but I should've posted before we left so the blog wouldn't seem so neglected. The good news is I am back with a few delicious recipes.

To start us off I have a seriously yummy roasted chicken recipe. I roast two at a time because that it what works for my family. There are only three of us but this chicken is addictive and if I don't make two then I kinda feel like I have wasted an opportunity to ensure we have leftovers. Let me tell you, you will want leftovers.

This recipe can take a little bit of time and effort so roasting two means you can enjoy the fruit of your labor. I hope that last sentence didn't scare you. If it did, I take it back. I know a few people who are totally frightened or grossed out by the idea of roasting their own chicken. In both of those situations I encourage folks who really want to try it put on their big girl or boy pants and get to work. You will not regret it.

Okay, enough talking, let's get to it.

Rosemary and Lemon Roasted ChickenYou'll Need
Two 5 lb chickens
6 carrots, rinsed and peeled
1 lemon, washed and 2 tbsps of zest gathered
2 onions
4 stalks celery
1/2 lb rinsed small potatoes (I used red and gold)
4 sprigs fresh Thyme
4 sprigs fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Sage
4 garlic cloves
1/2 stick butter, soft at room temp
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon pepper
Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Okay. Now that you have your ingredients, let's break up the steps. First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Herb Butter
Take the 1/2 stick butter and pour your olive oil over it. Take 2 springs each of your fresh herbs, removing them from their stems and chop finely. Sprinkle them over your oil and butter along with the lemon zest. Now, take a fork and push the zest and herbs into the butter. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix and fold  until everything is incorporated into the butter.
If you make this really far ahead you can roll the mixture into a log with parchment paper and store in the 'fridge, otherwise just cover and leave in a cool place. You want it to be soft for spreading all over and in your chicken.

1. Cut your carrots, onion, celery and lemon into 4 equal parts.
2. Finely mince the remaining herbs and garlic and set everything aside.

1. Remove the giblets and any loose parts from inside the chicken.

2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Oh, you'll want to get rid of those paper towels asap. They'll be kinda' sticky icky after patting dry the chicken.

Rosemary and Lemon Roasted Chicken

3. Sprinkle the inside cavity of the chicken with 1 heaping tbsp of Kosher salt. Also season the outside with heaping tbsps of kosher salt, pepper and lemon pepper. Just get it seasoned and rubbed in. Let this sit for around 30 minutes. That's right- I cover my chicken with foil and let that salt and pepper absorb into that skin. Do it! It also allows your chicken to come to room temp which is the best way to get a juicy chicken.

4. Once the 30 minutes passes, stuff the cavity of each bird with two quarter chunks of the lemon, celery, carrot and onion. Toss the remaining veggies, herbs and garlic together and place in the bottom of the pan, surrounding the chicken.

How to truss a chicken without twine

How to Truss a chicken without twine

5. Take your herb butter and rub it between the skin and the meat of the chicken as well as on the skin. If you have some butter left over just put it on your veggies.

6. Truss your chicken if you want-
  • Bend the wings back behind the chicken's body. They should stay put. It will look just like if you put your arms behind your head relaxing. 
  • Cut two small slits in the loose flappy skin near the cavity of the bird and cross each leg over and insert it into the small slit. The bird will have crisscross legs and the legs will stay crossed for most of the cooking time. Mine tend to pop open near the end but I've never had a dry bird so it doesn't bother me.
  •  get some kitchen twine and get ta' tying. 
Lemon and Rosemary roasted chicken

7. Pour just enough chicken stock into the bottom of your roaster so that it coats the the bottom area of the pan. You don't want it to rise up the sides but you do want enough to cover the bottom.

8. Cook your chickens uncovered 30 minutes at 425 degrees. After the 30 minute mark lower the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for the remaining time. My chickens took about an hour and a half. The best way to know when a roasted chicken is done is to have a meat thermometer. Most resources say 165 degrees is the temperature chicken must reach to be safe.
  • Side note: Have you heard of carry over cooking? That is when you meat continues to cook even after you remove it from the heat. Since carry over cooking is very real I take my chicken out the oven when it is around 155 degrees and allow it to reach 165 while resting on top of the oven. 
9. Let your chicken rest for around 10 minutes, check the temperature to make sure it has reached 165 and then serve it with the veggies from the bottom of pan.

(P.S.  I got the idea to cook my chicken at two temps from Julia Child. Totally was not my original idea but lemme' tell ya' it works wonderfully. She was a food genius.)

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

Roasted chicken with vegetables

Roasted chicken with Vegetables

roast chicken

roast chicken with vegetables

roasted chicken recipe

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spiced Turkey, Mustard Greens and Cheese

Hi Folks!

No long stories today, just food. I hadn't made stuffed chicken breast since my husband and I first started dating and while I was at the grocery store I saw the frozen, packaged kind and decided to make my own. The stuffing of this dish was inspired by brunch at Bonefish Grill where I had an omelette with spicy turkey chorizo. I really liked it and decided to try to make my own. I actually think next time I will add more spice so feel free to do so if you want more intense spiciness.

(Oh, a side note about mustard greens if you have never tried them- they can be very peppery and can clear your sinuses similar to horseradish or wasabi. If you don't think that flavor experience is for you, try kale or collards instead.)

I hope you enjoy.

For the Stuffing you'll need:
Olive Oil
8 oz. Ground Turkey
1/8 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Hot Mexican Chili Powder
1/4 tsp  Ancho Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Lemon Lime Paprika
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 Poblano Pepper, chopped
4 oz Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
2/3 medium sized Onion, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 bunch Mustards, cleaned and torn into small sections

For the Chicken Breast:
4 Chicken Breasts
3 tsps Ancho Chili Powder
2 tsps Mexican Chili Powder
2 tsps Cumin
2 tsps Paprika
2 tsps Salt
2 tsps Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Season your turkey with all spices except salt and pepper and add your lime juice. Mix and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Add olive oil to your pan and cook your onion, pepper and garlic on medium until onion and garlic are translucent.
4. Add your turkey to the pan, turning to break up the meat and cook until browned.
5. Fold in the mustards, slightly wilting them and mixing all the ingredients together, add salt and pepper, then add cheese. Taste to adjust seasonings and set aside. SN: You don't want to wilt your greens too much because they are going to be cooked in the oven as well.
6. When slicing your opening for the stuffing, start at the thickest part of the chicken and make a cut through the length of the breast, slicing until you reach the center of the meat. Do not cut all the way through the chicken to the other side. When you reach the thin portion of the breast, instead of continuing to make a cut along the length of the chicken, make pocket so that the stuffing can fit in the thinner portion of the chicken.
7. Season each side of the chicken with the listed spices.
8. Stuff each breast with the turkey and mustard mixture.
9. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 18-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remember food continues to cook with residual heat and you don't want your chicken to dry out. Dry chicken is gross.
10. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes before eating.

That's it Folks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fun, Fabulous, Ferocious Clutches

Hey Peeps!!

Okay, since I have recently been focusing on accessories I decided to keep that theme going with this post. I told you guys I was at a wedding last weekend. Well, what I didn't tell you was that I was forced to carry a wallet instead of a purse because I have all of 3 clutches. Black, Silver, and Black and Silver. How did that happen? Not totally sure but I think it has something to do with the fact that up until recently I needed to be able to carry cups and coloring books and bags of grapes in my purse.

Welp, those days are pretty much behind me (maybe not the bag of grapes), and I need to up my clutch game. Here are some that recently caught my attention. There is something here for everyone and every occasion -causal, chichi and citified. Yes, those last two are words.

Check them out and let me know what you think. Have you been crushing on any purses lately?  Leave me a link so I can check it out.

Summer Handbags

Monday, June 16, 2014

DegThai Food Truck Nashville

As of late when considering eating out I have only wanted food that offers serious punch. My mindset has been one where I do not want to pay for sandwiches and salads and such. I want to pay for something I don't have the time to make or have not learned to do myself.

That's where my obsession with Thai food comes in. I have gone out of my way to eat Thai food like 4 times in the past three weeks. That's a lot for me. My favorite place is Lemongrass in Murfreesboro but I can't get good pictures there. The curries and spices and seasonings of Thai food just have spoken to my taste buds lately and they have demanded that I eat them. I found myself wanting Thai yet again on Friday but the restaurants near my job have extremely mixed reviews and I do not like to waste my money. So in steps DegThai

I'd seen the brightly colored green and yellow DegThai truck around town, but for some reason just never took time out to try their offerings. Well, I finally visited their food truck and I do not regret it one bit or bite. They were parked on 19th street not far from my job and on this cloudy day there was no line. I was able to walk straight up to the window and order. I was glad to see they used Square because when I tried to stop at the ATM earlier there was a guy who seemed to be having extreme difficulty getting whatever it was he needed accomplished. I waited and waited and after about 5 minutes of waiting for one man who walked up to a drive through ATM I had to go. I'm working on my patience.

Anyway, I got the Spring Rolls with Plum sauce and Green Curry. Big order and I guess I should explain why. I hate going to food trucks and leaving food trucks hungry. None of them are particularly cheap and it grinds my gears when I leave an eatery still hungry. I am not going to name names but it has happened twice and that leaves me pretty perturbed. I'd also gone out with the husband and some friends the night before, consumed adult beverages, stayed out until 2 am and had a voracious appetite by noon. Paying for food to still be hungry was just not going to work on this day. I also have been cutting back on eating carbs like rice, pasta, and bread (I know I ordered fried spring rolls, sue me) and I knew I wasn't going to eat all the rice served with the dish.

Anyway, again, the nice dude at the window took my order and told me it would be ready in about 4 minutes. 4 MINUTES! That peaked my interest. Fresh food, really fast- I was getting giddy. So about 4-6 minutes later my food was ready and I was heading to the car. I was pretty hungry so I tried the spring rolls while cranking up the car. Well, that was a good and a bad idea. Good because those spring rolls and the sticky sweet plum sauce they serve them with are really good. Bad because they give you three and I ate them all before I reached my parking lot, and got sticky sauce on my steering wheel, and slightly burned the roof of my mouth because they serve the food piping hot. Man, those rolls were good.

At work I was able to dig into the green curry chicken I ordered. I literally mean dig into. The dish was packed full of rice and chicken and veggies. The rice was perfectly cooked and the dish was still steaming! My only complaint would be that the sauce was a little too thick for my liking. I really even hate to say that because it was really good but I just prefer my green curry to be a little looser than the way it was served. It was still good and I wouldn't hesitate to return for another meal. I just would ask for a little extra curry sauce. Some people don't like it saucy. It's really a matter of preference because the food was good. So I got really good spring rolls and Thai green chicken curry for around 11 bucks before tip. I was full and happy.

So  DegThai gets a 4 outta' 5 stars from me. You should check them out.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chicken Tostadas with Baked Tortillas

Hey people! I am so sorry and feel really bad about leaving the blog untouched for such a long period of time. I went home for a wedding on last Thursday. I actually cooked on two separate occasions while there but my mom's kitchen is darker than mine so I have no good pics to share. We got back Sunday night so I didn't have a chance to cook at home over the weekend therefore I had an absence in posting. The weekend is when I get the best light and can take the best pictures after cooking. They are the days when I can sort of take my time and plan things out. Otherwise, I am in my super, super, super dark kitchen, rushing after work and/or school, making something that tastes good but I can't get a good picture of.

That's another thing. I have been reading up on food photography so that I can better convey the tastiness of my food. I am still really working at it and trying to become better as you can probably tell by the picture of the baked tostada shells below. I just have nowhere near grasped the ability to take a decent picture inside. Stick with me, I'll get it.

On to the food- This is a simple recipe. You will not feel one ounce of guilt for eating it. Baked shells and black beans step in for the standards of fried shells and refried beans and the hardest part is waiting for the chicken to cook. After that, it's basically an assembly line production of delicious ingredients that stir up a flavor party in your mouth. Yay!

You'll need:
Chicken (Marinade recipe below)
Black Beans (Preparation below)
Baked Tortillas (Directions below)
Lettuce (I used baby kale)
Fresh or Store bought Salsa (Wholly Salsa on my part)
Guacamole (Spicy Wholly Guacamole for us)
Shredded Cheese (Had "Mexican blend" in the fridge)
Corn Tortillas

Chicken Marinade:
1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 Limes)
1 Lemon
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Hot Mexican Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lbs boneless chicken (I used thighs)

Add your seasonings to your fresh squeezed citrus juices and mix well. Then slowly add olive oil,  stirring as you pour to incorporate. Pour over chicken and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

When finished marinating, cover chicken with aluminum foil and cook on 375 until juices run clear, maybe around 45 mins.

Black Beans:
1/4 cup Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tbsp Cilantro
Juice from 1/2 a Lime
1 16 oz can black beans with 1/2 of liquid poured off

While the chicken is in the oven, saute' your onion and garlic for about 1 minute then add beans. Bring to a boil for around 2-3 minutes and then reduce to medium. Add cumin, salt and pepper to taste and stir to incorporate. Let simmer for five minutes then mash some of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken the dish. Add lime juice and cilantro and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. I have found how much or little I have to season my black beans really depends on which brand I use. From the brands I have tried I like Goya or La Preferida the best.

Baked Tortillas:
Olive Oil

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Put your tortillas down on the sheet and add a small drizzle of olive oil to each and rub it around the tortilla making sure the entire thing is LIGHTLY covered with olive oil.  Repeat on the other side.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes then flip and check after 3 minutes. You want them to be crispy and slightly brown. I could've actually left mine in the oven a little longer but I was afraid of running out of time.

To assemble:
Place your beans on your baked tortillas then top with cheese and sit under the broiler until cheese it melted. Then add your chicken, salsa, lettuce, guacamole and maybe tomatoes or more salsa.
Eat. Enjoy.

Possible Additions:
Fresh, Cooked or Canned Jalapenos
Sour Cream

Baked Tortilla shells

Chicken and Cheese Tostadas

Chicken and Cheese Tostadas

Chicken and Cheese Tostadas
Baked Tortillas Recipe

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Hair Accessory: The Headband Trend

I absolutely love these headbands. These statement pieces scream confidence. The headbands of today are a far cry from the thick plastic middle school bands that were light on style and heavy on teeth.

The updated version can be worn anywhere from Bonnaroo to an outdoor wedding, be dressed up with heels or down with t-straps and they look good with maxi's or jeans. Next time you're in Macy's or Urban Outfitters swing by the accessories section and try one on. I'm sure you'll love the look.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Black Bean and Chickpea Salad

This recipe comes from a bean salad I had for lunch one day at Trader Joe's. I read the ingredient list when I bought it but the memory is kind of fuzzy since that was a while ago. The one thing I remember was mint because I never have it and I rolled my eyes at the thought of wanting to recreate the salad with a herb I never use. I don't have an herb garden and buying fresh herbs is something I reserve for when they are on sale or for holidays. I really must start growing them inside my kitchen. Somehow, someway but that is for another post.

Well, mint never went on sale so I finally just said forget it and bought it because I really did like the salad. It is extremely fresh, light and refreshing. The bright colors, zesty flavors and ease in which it is prepared makes it a winner.

You will need:

4 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
10 grape tomatoes
2 tbsp mint
2 tbsp cilantro
1/2 cup onion
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lime, juiced
Kosher Salt
Fresh Pepper


1. Mince all your herbs, garlic and onion.
2. Chop tomatoes and jalapeno
3. Add all ingredients to a bowl, add seasonings and mix.

Black bean,Chickpea Salad

Black bean, Chickpea Salad

Black bean, Chickpea Salad

Monday, June 2, 2014

Women's Summer Sandals

I have a confession....I'm a shoe girl. Just ask my Husband.

Sample conversation:
Him: Babe, what would you like for (insert any holiday, anniversary, celebration or just cause event here)?
Me: "Shoes, Check my Pinterest for examples."

When he helped me move from my second apartment he actually got pretty upset with me because we spent 1/2 a day moving shoes. #Firstworldproblems

I kinda feel bad about having so many shoes when there are real problems in the world that don't include knowing which black pump out of the 12 I own to wear.  But everyone has their vices right?

Anyway, enough depressing stuff. Everyone can have an indulgence so here is a collage of some brightly colored sandals that I am digging for this month. I have listed the designer and the shoe title if you are digging them too so that you can find them if you like. These shoes hit all the marks for this year's sandal. We have t-straps, wedges, straps, heeled, caged, neon, patterned and more. Have you found a shoe that you cannot live without? Leave a link below so I can check them out.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidopedish: Mint and Lime Green Beans

I'm starting a new series and this will be the first entry. The name of this series will be Supercalifragilisticexpialidopedish. This dish was just a random thought and it turned out so well that I actually was kind of impressed with myself. You have really got to try it.

mint lime green beans
It all started because I have mint in my house which I never have. I need to start a herb garden because herbs are expensive to buy where I am and I get frustrated when they are not on sale. Anyhoo, I bought some mint because I was trying to recreate this bean salad I had from Trader Joe's months ago and remembered that it had mint in it. So, since I had mint and paid a pretty penny for it, I was not going to let it go to waste. (Btw, Mint is about to go in everything so get ready.)

I started thinking, hmmmm, "I've got green beans in there and I am certainly tired of the same ol', same ol' green beans." (That's my southern speaking.)  "Wonder if I put mint in them would that be nasty? I bet it won't. I gotta try it."

So I did, and I now present the bestest green beans you'll have ever tasted from me.

Yield: 5 servings
You will need:

1 lb Green beans / Haricot Vert
Olive Oil
Zest of 1 Lime
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp mint, chopped fine
1/4 cup onion (I used red)
1/4 cup vegetable stock
Kosher salt
Fresh juice from 1 lime

lime mint green beans


  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat
  2. Mince your garlic and onion as fine as you can.
  3. Zest your lime and chop your mint into very thin strips.
  4. Place your garlic and onion in the pan, stirring for about 1 -2 minutes until softened. 
  5. Pour in your 1/4 cup of veggie stock and then add your lime zest. Continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Add your green beans and mix thoroughly so that the onions, garlic and zest are coating your green beans. Really get them coated. It's important.
  7. Cover and let cook on medium for about 12 minutes. That's how long mine took to get tender, not crispy, but not overcooked either. I think it had something to do with my stock being cold. Your time might be different but just make sure to watch them. These green beans should be bright green, not that canned green bean color. 
  8. When they are just about ready, remove the lid and let the extra juice in the bottom of the pan evaporate and continue to stir so that the onion mixture really coats the beans. 
  9. Once the cooking liquid is nearly evaporated add a good pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Then add the squeezed lime juice and stir one last time.
  10. Be done and happy!

 lime garlic mint green beans

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mighty Green Kale Asparagus and Leek Salad

Hey People,
This is the special salad I mentioned earlier when giving you the recipe to my Lemon Vinaigrette. I wanted to make a healthy salad but one different from the standard romaine, tomato, cucumber salad we all know. This was definitely what I was looking for. Very healthy and very filling. The addition of egg rounded everything out perfectly. I actually think next time instead of boiling it I may make it runny and let the yolk coat the lettuce along with the dressing. Ohhhhh, now I'm salivating. Enjoy!!

1/2 bunch Kale, rinsed well and spun dry
1/2 fresh bunch spinach or 1/3 bag
1 Leek, cut down the center and rinsed thoroughly
1 bunch thin Asparagus, tough bottoms removed
1/2 bunch Parsley, rinsed and dried
1 cucumber, sliced
1 egg per person

  1. Boil a large pot of water.
  2. Rinse leek. Seriously, get in there and rinse out that leek. They are full of dirt in between the layers and dirt salad just is not appetizing.
  3. Rinse your asparagus and cut off the tough bottoms. A nice way to know where to cut is to take one asparagus, hold it at both ends and start to bend. Where it breaks is where you should cut.
  4. Place you asparagus in the boiling water and boil for around 2-4 minutes. Asparagus should be right on the edge between crisp and tender. They will still be bright green if blanched correctly. Once blanched, run under really cold water to stop the cooking. Dry them and place in a dish to rest. Sprinkle with a little salt.
  5. Repeat the process for the split leeks. Submerge them in the boiling water, let them boil for around 2-4 minutes and remove. Run them under cold water to stop the cooking, dry them and then slice them into 1 inch, half moon shaped, slices.
  6. Boil your eggs, cool, then peel.
  7. Rinse your cucumber. Peel the skin if so desired and slice into thin rounds.
  8. Assemble kale, spinach, leeks, asparagus and cucumbers together in a bowl. Tear parsley off stems and add.
  9. Add salt and pepper to each individual serving along with one egg. Serve with Lemon Vinaigrette.