Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

The other day I was surprised when one of my friends said she had recently been anxious.

It’s not that I have the exclusive rights to anxiety.  Trust me, I don’t want them.  It’s that she always seemed rather unflappable.

It made me realize that we all have anxiety about some things.  They might all be different but one of the universal truths of human existence is that we are all scared of something.  It might make our hearts race or keep us up at night or ruin our appetites.  Like the things that cause our anxiety our reaction to it is equally as unique to us.

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

It provided me comfort, not because I want everyone to be anxious, even if misery does love company sometimes, but because it was reassuring that I am not alone.  In this way I am not special.  She could understand part, even a small part, of how I feel a lot of the time.

While it may seem like we are all so different, there are a few things here and there that connect us.  Fear.  Joy.  Laughter.  We all have our ups and downs, even if some of us hide the downs better than others.  No one is immune.

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

When I need comfort, I turn to this Brisket Sweet Potato Chili.  It is healthy, gluten free, and Whole30 approved, and supremely comforting with a warm spice that hits you just enough in the back of the throat.

The Whole30 made me fall madly in love with sweet potatoes and they add a creamy richness here with some vegetable help from kale, fennel, onion, peppers, and carrots.

Take comfort in the fact that we are not alone and this chili is here to save the day.

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

Brisket Sweet Potato Chili

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

¼ cup olive oil
3 pounds brisket, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
2 2 inch pieces brisket fat
2 large onions, diced, divided
2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 small or 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
32 ounces Whole30 approved stock (I used Imagine Organic low sodium)
16 ounces water
1 bulb fennel, sliced
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced
1 bunch kale, stems removed

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil. Add the brisket, fat, jalapeno and poblano peppers, and 1 onion. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, and pepper flakes. Flip meat and cook for about 3 minutes more until browned.
  2. Add stock and water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Place a lid on the pot and cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed.
  3. Add the remaining onion, fennel, potatoes, and carrots and cook for an additional hour with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the lid and taste for seasoning. Add more spice, pepper, or some salt as suits your taste. Add the kale. Cook for an additional 20 minutes with the lid off to allow the liquid to reduce. Serve immediately. Chili may also be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until piping hot.

Notes

Cooking time is not all active - just occasional stirring.

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Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad #SundaySupper

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

There would be hurricane force winds, they said.

And sporadic power outages, they said.

Despite one local station’s promo that declares how accurate their meteorologist was, no one saw this coming.

The high wind warning began at 10 am Wednesday and our power couldn’t even hold out until then.  At about 9:40, the lights fought and flickered and then turned off.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

I finished breakfast, trying to play it cool with restoration estimates at noon, but as time wore on and the estimates switched to 4 pm, I began to panic.  I kind of became unhinged.

Losing power is a big deal for me.  There’s tons of food in my refrigerator and freezer that I don’t want to have to throw away.  It was getting cold in the house despite the fact that it was 55 and sunny.  Prospects for warmth didn’t look good either with terribly cold temperatures the rest of the week.  And let’s face it, I am a TV addict.

Mom and I turned on our trusty battery powered radio to learn that a record breaking wind gust of 68 miles per hour was recorded at our local airport and by the end of the day this had become the largest power outage the area has ever seen with just about one million people out.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

In the middle of the day we did get a call from an automated energy company lady reassuring us there was “good news.”  A crew had been dispatched to our outage and it would be restored by 11:30 pm THE NEXT DAY.

Apparently I sounded like a dying animal, worried I’d have to go to a hotel, which is about the last thing I wanted to do, but it did come right before freezing to death.  We would have to act fast, by nightfall, there were no hotel rooms in the area.  None.

Four pm came and went as we headed for round three of Monopoly Empire, a surprisingly fast and relatively boring version of the classic.  I picked up a coloring book I’ve been meaning to use for a year and Mom called Dad, in the light and heat of work.

Then it happened.  I saw the light.  Well, the lights.  They came on.  And I cried happy tears for the second time in my life.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Being one of the first outages benefitted us greatly with the energy company reporting thousands of downed wires, we would have otherwise been out for a long time.  They hope to have 90% of customers restored by Sunday night.  At least I found the silver lining in this wild week.

Comcast was out for an additional 18 or so hours, and that didn’t make me too happy.  But we are all back up and running and I hope everyone else in the area is soon as well xoxo

After the drama, I needed a quick and easy, healthy, restoring, satisfying meal.  So I made Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad.  Kale is my comfort food – it always makes me feel good!

This salad is full of nutritious green ingredients for a heathy St. Patrick’s Day.  The kale drinks up the light vinaigrette, the onion provides crunch, the pear adds sweetness and a burst of juice, and the cucumber is supremely refreshing.  The Brussels sprouts are added to the salad while warm so they soak up some of the dressing and wilt the kale ever so slightly.

Gluten free, healthy, vegan, and Whole30 approved, I could happily eat this by itself, but I paired it with some Tonnino Tuna which I am currently obsessed with.  Here’s to salads, St. Patrick’s Day, and having the lights on.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 19 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
2 cups kale leaves, roughly torn
½ large white onion, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together lemon juice, oil, pepper, and salt. Add kale, onion, cucumber, and pear. Stir until well coated.
  2. In a medium microwave safe bowl, place the Brussels sprouts. Add about ¼ cup water to the bowl and microwave on high about 3 ½ minutes, until tender.
  3. Half the large Brussels sprouts, leave the small ones whole and add to the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting.

Best Breakfasts

Must Make Main Dishes

Scrumptious Salads

Stunning Sides

Dreamy Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice Soup

I have these distinct memories that come to me now and then.  They are nothing remarkable, not life changing events, but there they are like they happened yesterday, my very own movie playing on the screen in my brain.

One of these memories that has been on my mind recently is of Christmas break my freshman or sophomore year of high school, I can’t be sure which.  My dad was working the afternoon shift, so it was just Mom and me at home each evening.

Wild Rice Soup

This particular week, relieved to not have to go to school (I hated school if you don’t know that about me), I remember being happy.  And even happier to be watching the premiere of a new show NBC had probably been promoting forever: Deal or No Deal.

That’s right, the memory that has been on my mind and bringing me an unreasonable amount of joy is primarily about a TV show.

If you’ve never seen Deal or No Deal you are probably even more confused.  Yes, it was a game show, but like most game shows it wasn’t just about the game.  Though it really was fun to play along, choosing one of the briefcases that could contain a million dollars.

Wild Rice Soup

It was about the people playing.  Their stories.  Their friends and families.  Cheering them on.  Wishing the best for them even though we didn’t know them and likely would never hear about them again.

And the memory is about more than wasting my break watching TV and being crazy excited about it.  It’s about spending that time with Mom, relaxing, having fun during a time in which that was incredibly difficult for me.  It was one of those moments it felt like the whole world stopped and we were all watching this new game show.

Sometimes I miss days like that.

Wild Rice Soup

And that’s when I make soup.  I love homemade soup so much, and it’s really not that difficult to make.  I had a bag of wild rice in my pantry just begging to be used and so I turned it into a healthy, gluten free, vegan if you use vegetable stock, vegetable filled soup because that’s what we do with things that need to be used up.

While the vegetables are interchangeable, mushrooms add a great meatiness, carrots a slight sweetness, and fennel and onions provide that flavor base.  Kale is always my go to green for soups since it holds up to cooking, and even freezing and reheating.  Oh, and the addition of fresh dill is such a pop of flavor and a sign that spring is on its way.

Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
1 large onion, diced
1 bulb fennel, diced
12 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, broken into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup wild rice
32 ounces low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
16 ounces water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
½ bunch fresh dill, stems removed

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil followed by the carrots, onion, fennel, and mushrooms. Add the coriander and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until starting to brown.
  2. Add the wild rice and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and cover. Cook according to package instructions on the rice. Mine took about 40 minutes to become tender and plump.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, add salt and kale. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until the kale is wilted. Serve immediately with dill. Soup may also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring in between, until warmed through.
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Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee #SundaySupper

Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee

When I made this Mom asked if I was going to flame it.  I told her of course not.  I don’t even have a way to flame it if I wanted.  And fire freaks me out.  How did she not know me better than this?

She never knows with me, she said.

Wait, what?

Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee

We spend the vast majority of our time together; I would like to think we know each other pretty well by now.  While I might be more culinarily adventurous than her, I haven’t lost my mind yet.

Yes, I push us to do things like cook leg of lamb and a giant prime brisket from Costco (because prime and Costco), and I want to try uni more than just about anything on earth (bonus, uni is definitely on the Whole30!).  But I try to keep the effort in most recipes to a minimum and it is never my goal in life to harm the house, myself, or anyone else.

Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee

Am I going to light something on fire, she wondered, unsure.  Um … no.

Really, though, do we ever know someone completely?  She really wasn’t sure if I would want to go all Food Network on the stainless steel skillet with a match or something.  While we’re all constantly changing and evolving, I’d like to think I am pretty even keeled and level headed.

Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe all the concert going and watching Santa Clarita Diet has Mom seeing a side of me that she didn’t expect and so she doesn’t know what’s coming next.  But really, that’s both the good and bad of life.  we never know what’s coming next, so sometimes it’s nice to let loose and get a little wild and crazy, break out of whatever rut or routine we might be in.

But, no, I’m still not going to flame my Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee, and I don’t recommend you do either.

Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee

Flame or no flame, it is delicious.  With a syrupy, sweet sauce, that unmistakable hit of bourbon, and tons of juicy cherries, this is good straight from the pan, though it’s real soul mate is vanilla ice cream.  I imagine pancakes, waffles, pound cake, and more would make fine accompaniments.  I also added some peanut brittle to my sundae for a sweet and salty crunch.

Get a little wild and crazy and discover what you like best!

Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee

Bourbon Vanilla Cherries Jubilee

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

½ vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved
2 cups Bing cherries, pitted, fresh or frozen and thawed
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the coconut oil, followed by the brown sugar. Cook until a sauce forms, add more oil or sugar as necessary to achieve a sauce like consistency. Add the vanilla bean seeds and pod and the cherries and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until the cherries are soft and the sauce is reducing.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the bourbon and stir to combine. Place the pan back over the heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Remove the vanilla bean pod. Serve immediately over ice cream. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat in a pot on the stove until warmed through.
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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Marion of Life Tastes Good for hosting!

APPETIZERS

MAIN DISHES

SIDES

DESSERTS

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday!

We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?

It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops #SundaySupper

 

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops

I mentioned briefly the other day that I am doing a Whole30.  I am a little more than a week in now and loving it.  You are probably wondering why I chose to embark on this adventure.  It is really to reset my mind, body, and spirit.  You can probably tell by some of my posts that I am a bit down, and while what I eat doesn’t seem to have a correlation to getting an agent, you never know.

I hadn’t been feeling my best physically or mentally, and while I do not expect this to cure me, a pledge to only eat real food for a month can’t be a bad thing.

I eat this way a lot of the time.  I’ve had to adjust breakfast since oatmeal, muffins, and such are out of the question.  Lunch and dinner haven’t changed much and dessert is gone except for a few raisins, which are surprisingly tasty when you want something sweet.

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops

I’ll admit to a couple cheats.  I am a big believer in supplements, including Airborne.  I know, it’s probably junk that doesn’t work, but it makes me feel better just knowing I am taking it.  I’m not giving it up or my Omega-3 or biotin, which contain sugar and soy respectively.  I didn’t want to skip the Whole30 just because I wouldn’t give these things up, and I didn’t want to give them up to abide strictly and then worry.  Life is about compromise, people.

Also the program restricts certain foods even if they fit into the edible categories.  For example, potatoes are allowed, but potato chips are not.  Look, a potato is a potato, and I can eat just one.  Also, since I don’t eat chicken, eventually I just need a source of food.  I’m following the ingredient restrictions carefully, but an approved food is an approved food.  Period.

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops

While I do think I have a little more energy than normal and have been feeling pretty good, I really love the ways the Whole30 has pushed me culinarily.  I am eating more of the foods I crave but typically shy away from for fear they are unhealthy or will weigh me down, when it reality it is other foods that are doing this.

Beef, pork, sweet potatoes, potatoes are filling my diet in satisfying ways that really keep cravings at bay, though I would happily take a scoop of ice cream or a slice of pie right now.  Protein, fruits, and vegetables are really rather delightful and I appreciate that now more than ever.

These Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops are one of my favorite dinners I’ve made.  One, yes, they are easy.  Everything goes on a giant sheet pan and into the oven.  Those are the dinners of my dreams.  Two, this is healthy, gluten free, and crazy flavorful.  Three, the pork is tender and succulent, even if you overcook it a little.

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops

Feel free two swap out the vegetables for ones you love and have on hand, but the mushrooms really are a star here.  They create a savory umami bomb of a broth that keeps the pork moist and is great drizzled over the finished dish.

The Whole30 is one challenge I know I can conquer!

Easy One Pan Oven Roasted Pork Chops #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients

3 1 inch thick bone in pork chops
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
18 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
½ pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the pork chops, onion, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and use your hands to ensure everything is coated.
  2. Bake for about 30 minutes, until pork chops are cooked through and vegetables are tender. Serve immediately.
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Don’t forget to check out this week’s Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Shelby from Grumpy’s Honeybunch for hosting!

Pork Chops

Pork Chops

And More Pork Chops

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie + Blogiversary

Can you believe I started this blog five years ago?  I know I can’t.

It’s easy to look at all the things that haven’t changed in those five years.  Hi gross Michigan winters.  I feel like I’ve have 2,000 likes on Facebook for most of those years.  I get job intermittently and my traffic is steady.  I’m still the frustrated writer spending all my time with Mom and Dad.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie + Blogiversary

But when I really look beyond, I see the changes.  The progress.  I create more of my own recipes and like to think my photographs are better even if they aren’t going to make the cover of Bon Appetit anytime soon.

I have become more adventurous and flexible, trying new restaurants, going to concerts, sporting events, and more.  I drop everything on particularly nice days and go out because it’s not like things are getting better chaining myself to the computer when the sun is shining and it’s a perfect 75 out.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

I have accepted myself more and become comfortable in my own skin.  No one is going to stand up for me, to fight for me, except me, so I had to take a crash course in Laura and I like to think I at least got a B+.

Because I never know when I will get that one yes (that’s all it takes), or what will cause it, and I’m more than ready for it, I wanted and needed a reset for myself.  So I am doing a Whole30.  I’m not quite a week in and it has been great, even fun and exciting.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

The thing that I have loved most about the Whole30 is that while it took away a lot of foods, it gave me freedom to eat others.  I typically shy away from potatoes and sweet potatoes thinking they are heavy, but when I take out all the junk, I have found them to be a tasty, satisfying food that feels a little decadent.

I really can’t begin to tell you how good this Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is.  It’s one of my favorite meals I have made in a long time, was a hit with everyone, and reheated amazingly well.  The base is ground beef and vegetables.  I used carrots, onion, and fennel, but feel free to swap them out for vegetables you love and have on hand.  Don’t buy beef that is too lean – the fat is where all the flavor and unctuousness comes from.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

The top is sweet potatoes – pure and simple.  They don’t need much except a little salt and pepper.  When roasted for a long time they become soft and a little syrupy.  Major yum!

Here’s to the next five years and beyond!

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie + Blogiversary

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

3 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef, aim for an 80/20 blend
1 large onion, diced
1 bulb of fennel, diced
6 medium carrots, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Poke sweet potatoes with a fork or knife several times and place on aluminum foil. Bake for about 1 ½ hours.
  2. When the potatoes have about half an hour left, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and ground beef. Sauté the beef until it is fully cooked. Transfer the beef to a bowl, leaving the fat in the skillet and add the onion, fennel, and carrots. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beef back to the vegetables. Season with 1 teaspoon black pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Scoop the flesh out of the potatoes and into a bowl. Season with the remaining salt and pepper and mash with a fork or potato masher until mostly smooth. A few lumps are fine – this is a rustic dish.
  5. Spread the potatoes over the beef and vegetable mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes until very hot. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat covered in the oven for about 20 minutes or in the microwave for about 1 ½ minutes.
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Healthy Award Show Snacks

Healthy Award Show Snacks

The only thing that makes winter bearable are all the award shows that are on.  The Golden Globes, People’s Choice, and Screen Actors Guild shows are all past us, but we still have the Grammys and Oscars to look forward to!

The Grammys are actually this weekend. I never miss the show and have so many fond memories of the great performances.  It’s like watching the best concert of the year right from my home.  And with James Cordon hosting this year, I know it’s going to be better than ever.  I mean have you guys seen Carpool Karaoke?  OMG!  It’s the best.

Healthy Award Show Snacks

I have my favorites – Adele! Mike Posner! Lucas Graham! – that I will be cheering for all night long.  Luckily I have this handy ballot from SkinnyPop so I can keep track of all the awards I get right and many I will no doubt get wrong too.  Save the ballot and print it to play along while you watch the Grammys.

SkinnyPop Grammys Printable

I am not a huge snack person, but when I watch award shows and am in amped up party mode, seriously, award shows do something crazy to me, I enjoy a couple healthy snacks that I can feel good about eating and won’t leave me feeling stuffed and unable to sleep later.  I leave that to the songs stuck in my head.

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Snacks that are easy to prepare are paramount too.  I put together a vibrant spread full of colors and flavors that tons of nutrition.  I always have tons of fruit on hand, so it plays a prime role in my spread along with SkinnyPop Naturally Sweet popcorn which is always in my pantry, some crunchy walnuts and chewy, tart dried cherries.  Dried fruit is so underrated.

Of course you can mix up your snack platter with whatever fruit, nuts, and dried fruit you have on hand.  Whatever you choose, get excited for the Grammys with this fun ballot and your tasty, healthy snacks!

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps #SundaySupper

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps - healthy and gluten free

I have devoured movies over the holidays.  With all the TV shows on hiatus after their fall or winter finales (what is that about by the way???), there was nothing on TV.

While maybe I should have filled that time doing more productive things, I watched movies.  Lots of them.  Sure I read more than normal, played some games on my phone to keep the brain in tip top shape, and wrote.  Lots and lots of writing.  But I’m finding myself more movie obsessed than ever.

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

I have always loved movies from the VHS tapes I reportedly watched over and over again as a kid to the movies that now seemingly appear magically on the TV after pressing a few buttons.

We have all the movie channels, use OnDemand so frequently it’s scary, and have Netflix and Amazon Video ready and waiting at all times.  With Oscar season ramping up, I’m waiting for the movies to slowly pop up, begging me to watch them.

The problem is we watch a lot of bad movies.  More than we should.  More than should be made.  When I’m struggling to get anyone to give a damn about my scripts, it’s frustrating to find tons of crappy movies.  We try to watch clips, which sometimes are so laughably bad we stop, promising to never watch that movie.  Others lure us in just enough and then demonstrate that the best scenes were in said clip.

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

During this TV show hiatus, I was on the hunt for great or at least good movies to watch.  Oscar winners and nominees.  Blockbusters that topped the box office.  Little indies that might have not hit my radar.

And we watched pretty many good movies.  There were some odd ones (I’m looking at you Mulholland Drive) and some that could have been better (hi Sully) but some were downright good movies that I would watch again (hey Pete’s Dragon and Southpaw).

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

I’m about out of ideas now.  So before we get to the recipe, I want to know: what are your favorite movies?  My remote is ready and waiting!

Now, onto these Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps.  This is how I eat most nights.  Lots of vegetables and lean protein, maybe some fruit thrown in for balance and a bit of oil and vinegar.  It’s healthy and gluten free and flavorful and satisfying.

Lettuce wraps have become one of my go to meals because they are so versatile.  The lettuce is a must, but from there I add whatever fruits and vegetables sound good and I have on hand.  The protein is also super flexible; I’ve used everything from ground beef to salmon to steak to eggs.

Life is better with great movies and lettuce wraps!

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 head Bibb lettuce
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
3 clementines, segmented
¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot add about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil followed by the meat. Cook, stirring frequently, until fully cooked and browned.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cumin, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper. Add to the meat and stir to combine. Cook about 2 more minutes until incorporated.
  3. Combine the remaining oil and pepper with the vinegar in a small bowl for a dipping sauce.
  4. Serve immediately with lettuce, onion, fennel, celery, and clementines.
  5. Leftover beef may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute until hot.
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Thanks to Sarah from Chef Next Door for hosting this week’s event!  Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

APPETIZERS, SOUPS, AND SALADS

LEAN GROUND BEEF RECIPES

MAINS

SANDWICHES AND WRAPS

STEAKS

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Don’t drink your calories.  That’s kind of one of my mottos.  My aunt said she thought about it the other day when tempted to order a fancy drink at a coffee shop.

I used to drink my calories like a champion.  Gatorade, orange juice, milkshakes, Frappuccinos, soda.  And my body paid for it.  I stopped pretty much cold turkey and reaped the rewards.  Plus I didn’t really miss any of those things.

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

But every once in awhile rules are meant to be broken.  Especially around the holidays (and when you need a super easy blog post 🙂 ).  I made Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate and it is kind of the best thing since sliced bread or at least regular hot chocolate.  Because what’s better than peanut butter and marshmallow melted into drinkable heaven?

It is rich and rather sweet, so I swapped it for dessert instead of dessert and caloric drink like old me would have and really you definitely do not need dessert after this, nor do you need a large portion.

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

It’s easy to make, gluten free, and perfect for these super chilly winter days.  I’m thinking this is a must for Christmas morning present opening.

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Super warm and comforting, it is extra creamy from the marshmallow fluff melted right into the beverage.  the peanut butter flavor is prominent with a hint of vanilla.  My favorite might just be the topping of more fluff and peanut butter.  I loved to get the topping and the beverage all in one drink.

You will absolutely love the peanut butter and marshmallow drink!

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 4 drinks

Ingredients

4 cups milk (I used almond, use what you love!)
¾ cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup marshmallow fluff, plus more for serving
¼ cup creamy peanut butter, melted, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  1. In a small sauce pan, stir together milk, white chocolate chips, marshmallow fluff, and peanut butter that has been melted in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
  2. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until everything has melted together and the mixture is steaming hot. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste.
  3. Divide evenly among mugs. Tip: if your mugs are microwave safe, warm them for about 1 minute before filling with hot chocolate.
  4. Top each mug with a dollop of fluff and a drizzle of melted peanut butter. Serve immediately.
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Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark #SundaySupper

Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark

I like to challenge myself.  I mean clearly since I’ve chosen to be a writer and try to break into Hollywood.  Now that’s a challenge.

But sometimes I like challenges that I feel like I am much more able to accomplish.  Things that are under my control.  It keeps my brain and my body going to be challenged and it’s a very rewarding feeling to complete a challenge no matter how big or small.

Potato Chips and Pretzels

Like upping the speed or resistance on the elliptical or trying a new workout DVD.  Sure, there are moments when I think I won’t be able to finish, but then I do, and I feel ah-mazing!  I pushed through something I thought I might not be able to, and that shows me how strong I really am.

Then there are the batters I whip up by hand.  Unless I absolutely positively have to bring out the hand or stand mixer, it is by sheer force of will that I beat butter and sugar into shape.  I even whipped cream by hand recently.  There were definitely a few moments when it seemed unlikely the soupy cream would turn into fluffy, luscious whipped cream but it did and it was amazing.  What’s next?  Egg whites???

Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark

I have even challenged myself to write a screenplay in 30 days and done it.  I probably couldn’t write a novel in the same time span, but a screenplay is a bit easier for me to write.  Now selling it in 30 days, that is another story.

Do you like to challenge yourself?  How do you challenge yourself?

Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark

It is definitely a challenge not to eat all of this Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark because it is crazy addictively good.  And it’s so easy to make and gluten free since I used gluten free pretzels which are definitely as good as the real thing.

The goo of the toffee.  The crunch of the pretzels and potato chips.  The snap of the chocolate.  The pop of color from the sprinkles.  This is the ultimate snack or dessert.  It is perfect to whip up as a last minute gift or party treat because it makes a bunch.  This is one challenge you have to take on!

Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark

Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark

Sweet and Salty Toffee Bark

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

3 cups pretzels (gluten free, if necessary)
3 cups plain potato chips
1 ¼ cups packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (not the fake stuff)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces white chocolate chips
12 ounces dark chocolate or carob chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, divided
Brightly colored sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread pretzels and chips on foil.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring sugars, syrup, and butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Boil for 2 minutes while stirring. Immediately and carefully pour over pretzels and chips on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. After the tray comes out of the oven, allow to cool briefly while you melt the chocolate. Place white chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted. Set aside while you repeat the process with the dark chocolate or carob chips and the remaining tablespoon of shortening.
  4. Swirl both white and carob/dark chocolate on the pretzel and potato chip base, ensuring to leave streaks of both chocolates. Sprinkle with sprinkles of your choice and allow to set for at least two hours at room temperature. Break into pieces and serve. Toffee bark may be stored in an air tight container for up to 1 week.

Notes

Additional cooling time is necessary

Recipe adapted from The Cookies and Cups Cookbook via Brown Eyed Baker

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes! Thanks to Caroline from Caroline’s Cooking for hosting!

APPETIZERS

BEVERAGES

DESSERTS

FINGER FOODS

MAINS

 

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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