Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowls

I love Tuesday dinners because I always make them Mexican food themed. My favorite!! We have been eating extra healthy lately and we have not been eating bread so I needed to come up with something for our Tuesday dinners that did not require tortillas. :)

Here is my solution. This meal is so delicious that you won't even miss the tortillas. Hope you like it!  

Ingredients For Chicken Burrito Bowl: 
1 1/2 Cup Cooked Quinoa
1 Batch Fajita Seasoning
1 Batch Fajita-Seasoned Chicken
1 Batch Sautéed Veggies
1 Batch Corn Salsa
1 Batch Guacamole
1 Can Black Beans
Greek Yogurt To Use In Place of Sour Cream; Optional, But Totally Delicious :)

Fajita Seasoning Ingredients :
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tbsp Salt
1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Cumin
1/8 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Fajita-Seasoned Chicken Ingredients:
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts; Pounded to Even Thickness
Fajita Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Sautéed Veggies Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Bell Pepper; Stem and Core Removed, And Thinly Sliced
Red Onion; Peeled, And Thinly Sliced

Corn Salsa Ingredients:

1 12oz Bag Frozen Corn; Thawed and Heated
1/4 Cup Finely-Diced Red Onion
2 Tablespoons Finely-Chopped Cilantro
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice

Guacamole Ingredients:
2 Ripe Avocados
1 1/2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Diced Red Onion
1/2 Garlic Clove, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Medium Tomato, Seeded, and Small-Diced


To Make Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowls:

Place quinoa in a bowl, spreading it out so that it covers the bottom of the bowls.

Place the chicken, peppers and onions, corn salsa, black beans and guacamole on top of the quinoa.

Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with a lime wedge if desired.

To Make Fajita Seasoning:
Simply mix all ingredients together.

To Make Fajita-Seasoned Chicken:

Rub fajita seasoning evenly over each chicken breast.

Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat.

Add chicken breasts and cook for about 5 minutes per side, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer translucent.

Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Then cut into bite-sized cubes.

To Make Sautéed Veggie:

Return the same saute pan to the heat and add the oil. Heat over medium-high heat, then add peppers and onions.

Saute for 4-5 minutes until the veggies are cooked and softened.

Remove from heat.

To Make Corn Salsa:

Toss all ingredients together until combined.

To Make Guacamole:
Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl.

Immediately add the lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well.

Using a spoon, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes.

Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Finishing Up The Devil in the White City & Starting Reconstructing Amelia


I absolutely loved this book. It has to be one of my all times favorite books that I have ever read. I cannot wait to read more of Eric Larson's book. Simply amazing!! What did you think about The Devil in the White City?

Did you know that this
book is going to be a movie and
Leonardo DiCaprio will be Dr. HH Holmes? WHAT! I can't even wait to see this movie. 

Here are a couple questions about The Devil in the White City. Let me know what you thought about this book. :) 

1. In what ways does the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 change America? What lasting inventions and ideas did it introduce into American culture? What important figures were critically influenced by the Fair?

2. At the end of the book, Larson suggests that "Exactly what motivated Holmes may never be known" [p. 395]. What possible motives are exposed in The Devil in the White City? Why is it important to try to understand the motives of a person like Holmes?

3. How was Holmes able to exert such power over his victims? What weaknesses did he prey upon? Why wasn't he caught earlier? In what ways does his story "illustrate the end of the century" [p. 370] as the Chicago Times-Herald wrote?

4. What satisfaction can be derived from a nonfiction book like The Devil in the White City that cannot be found in novels? In what ways is the book like a novel?

Our next book is Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. We will be starting it August 21st and ending on Sunday September 4th.

Synopsis From Goodreads: Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she'd done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of "spontaneous" suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn't jump.

Sifting through Amelia's emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day-and why she died.

Lets Get Reading! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Healthy Protein Cookie Dough For One

Here is a super simple treat that you can make with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Ingredients: 
1/2 Banana, Mashed
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/4 Cup Oat Flour
1 Tbsp Almond Butter or Peanut Butter
1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Honey 
1/2 Tbsp Milk
1 Tbsp Chocolate Chips (Optional)

Directions: 
In a bowl, combine the banana, protein powder,oat flour and maple syrup or honey and mix very well.

In a small bowl melt the nut butter with the maple syrup or honey.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

Add milk until desired consistency is reached. 

Top with chocolate chips if using.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grilled Lime Salmon with Avocado-Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

This is my ultimate favorite meal right now!! It is so good. You need to try it ASAP! :) This recipe is for two. But I will recommend to double the salsa if you really like salsa because it is delicious and you can never have enough salsa. ;) 

Try this recipe and let me know what you think. I hope you love it as much as I do! :) 

Ingredients:

Lime Salmon

2 Skinless Salmon Fillets
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
3 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Coconut Rice
1 1/2 Cups Coconut Water
1 Cups Brown Rice

Avocado-Mango Salsa
1 Large Mango, Peeled and Diced
1 Chopped Red Bell Pepper
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/3 Cup Chopped Red Onion
1 Large Avocado, Peeled and Diced
1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Coconut Water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

For Salmon:

Mix the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place salmon in baking dish, cover and allow to marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, then flip salmon to opposite side and allow to marinate 30 minutes longer. 

Preheat a grill over medium-high heat.

Brush grill grates with oil or place sliced limes on the grill to place salmon on. Sliced limes are a great way to prevent the salmon from sticking and also gives the salmon great flavor. 

Place salmon on grill and grill about 5 minutes per side or until just cooked through.

For Coconut Rice:
While the salmon is marinating prepare the coconut rice. 

Bring the coconut water to a full boil. 

Add rice and cover.

Turn heat down to a simmer and simmer until liquid has been absorbed. About 30 minutes. 

For Avocado-Mango Salsa:
I like to prepare the salsa while the salmon is grilling. 

Toss together mango, bell pepper, cilantro, red onion, avocado, lime juice, olive oil and coconut water. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve I like to put the coconut rice on top of my salmon and then top the rice with salsa.

Enjoy!!  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

Cookie dough is by far one of my favorite treats in the whole world besides puppy chow! One food that I do not like are beans. I have been making myself eat black beans when we have Mexican on Tuesdays and I have been getting use to them. ;) So, when I saw the idea today to use chickpeas to make cookie dough I just had to try it. 

I honestly try a lot of healthy homemade treats...and a lot of them are a giant failures. Last week I made a protein brownie and it smelled amazing but when I had my first bite it was awful..So I am always cautious when trying my new food inventions but always hopeful! 

So, when I tried this recipe I wasn't expecting much and assumed it would gross me out with the chickpeas. Well I presently surprised and they turned out AMAZING!!! You cannot taste the chickpeas at all. 

This is a healthy treat you need to try! :) 

Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients: 

1 can Chickpeas
2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats 
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
1/8 Tsp Baking Soda 
1 Cup Melted Dark Chocolate Chips 
Optional: Mini Dark Chocolate Chips For Cookie Dough 

Instructions:

Line a mini muffin pan with sixteen mini cupcake liners.

To make the cookie dough start by draining and rinsing beans beans extremely well, and pat dry.

Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate and mini chocolate chips in a strong food processor until completely smooth. Stir in a handful of mini chocolate chips if desired. 

Melt the chocolate. Add about 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate to the bottoms of mini cupcake liners. 

Freeze for about 5 minutes to set.

Next add 1-2 teaspoons of the cookie dough on top of the hardened chocolate.  

Top with 1-2 teaspoons more of the melted chocolate and immediately freeze till hardened. I froze mine for about thirty minutes.  

Store in the fridge. 

Enjoy! :) 


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Finishing Up The Husband's Secret & Starting The Devil in the White City

I thought this was a decent book. I was happy to find out that the secret was not what I was expecting. I do not think it lived up to all the hype behind it though. It was a nice read though. What did you think about The Husband's Secret

Here are a couple questions about The Husband's Secret. Let me know what you thought about this book. :) 

1. When Cecilia finds the letter addressed to her from her husband, “To be opened only in the event of my death,” she is tormented by the ethics of opening it. Do you agree with her ultimate decision? What would you have done?

2.Consider the title The Husband’s Secret. Several characters in the book have secrets they hold on to that they eventually reveal. Felicity and Will share the secret of their affair to Tess; John-Paul guards his secret from Cecilia until he is forced to admit it. What are the ramifications of their secrets? Is secrecy is ever warranted and justifiable.

3.Tess has suffered her whole life from crippling social anxiety. How has this made everyday situations a challenge for her? Why has she never confronted her problem? Why doesn’t she tell anyone about it?

4.The Berlin Wall is referred to throughout the novel as Esther works on her school project. And in fact, we learn that Cecilia met John-Paul on the day the Wall finally came down. What does the Wall signify in the book?


Our next book is The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. We will be starting it today Sunday August 7th and ending on Sunday August 21st.

Synopsis From Goodreads: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

Lets Get Reading!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Finishing Up The Silent Wife & Starting The Husband's Secret

I liked The Silent Wife but did not love it. I was happy with the way it ended though. What did you think about The Silent Wife?

Here are a couple questions about The Silent Wife. Let me know what you thought about this chilling book. :)

1. Describe Jodi and Todd—separately and together as a couple. How would you define the quality of their 20-year relationship? Why has Jodi looked the other way with Todd's occasional affairs? What does it say about her expectations for the relationship...and what does it say about Todd and his expectations?

2. Then there is Natasha—what do you make of her? Why is Jodi's reaction so powerful to this particular dalliance of Todd?

3. To what degree does Harrison's use of psychology elucidate the mental state of her characters? Did you find the author's information on psychotherapy helpful...interesting...overdone...distracting?

4. Harrison's novel switches back and forth between Jodi's and Todd's points of view. Why might the author have used this technique? What does it add to the story? Or would you have preferred a single point of view?

Our next book is The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. We will be starting it today Sunday July 31st and ending on Sunday August 7th. 
Synopsis From Goodreads: Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.
Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

Lets Get Reading!