Thursday, March 31, 2016

Quick Tasty Stir Fry

I have had chicken and the veggies in the freezer for this meal since before I got sick with this evil cold. I finally had the energy and time to make this last night. It takes less than 30 minutes to do and all you have to do it cut up the chicken to prep. I did not even have to do that because our local butcher shop sells (stir fry cut chicken) already!

I asked Ryan if he thought this was better than store bought chinese and he looked at me like I was crazy and said it was sooo much better. Thanks for the props hunny. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

What you will need~
2- 16 ounce bags of frozen stir fry veggies (I used 1 with just veggies and the other bag had lo mein added)
1 pound of cut up chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of garlic or 2 minced cloves
Chinese five spice powder
Mrs. Dash seasoning
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Hot sauce

Start by coating your chicken in Chinese five spice powder.

You need to go buy this if you do not have it. TRUST me you need it to make great Asian food.

Once your chicken is coated heat a pan to HIGH and add about a tablespoon of oil to your pan. I ran out of olive oil the other day which I know is insane so I used avocado oil which has a high burn point anyway which was useful. Once the oil is almost smoking add the chicken and fry it up fast and hot. Once done add to a bowl and cover.
Once you remove chicken from pan add the garlic to the hot pan and once it has sweated for a minute add your two bags of frozen veggies. This is when you want to add a little soy/sesame oil to the veggies to help them fry up quickly. Keep moving the veggies around the pan and season with the oils/seasonings as you go.

I like to add the hot sauce a little here and there to taste to get it to the heat level I want. As I always state you need to taste as you cook it is the only way you will know if your food is seasoned the way you like.

Here the veggies are getting all tasty and warm in the pan. I actually find that the frozen works better for stir fry over fresh. They stay crisp but heat within 5-6 minutes which is perfect for a quick meal. 

Now it is time to add that chicken back into the party for the last 2 minutes or so. Add some more hot sauce too.

It was a big hit with us as always and it takes hardly any work. Only 1 dirty pan and a bowl and that was it. I highly recommend you try this on a night when you are busy but still want a home cooked meal. The biggest part of this that is awesome is you can buy this stuff frozen and it can sit in the freezer for when you need it.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Springtime Snacks

It is spring finally. Not that it feels like it in my part of the world. I have been indulging in some yummy spring snacks and I thought I would share a few of my favorites along with some other healthy snacks I have on the regular. I am one that snacks a lot but my hubby is so I know I need stuff in the house for him. Here is what I am into recently.

1. Greek Yogurt.
I started eating Greek yogurt about 2 years ago. I am not a person that can eat a huge breakfast at 6am. Therefore, I needed something to eat that was low calorie but still tasty. This hit the spot head on and I have one for breakfast everyday. I prefer this exact brand by Dannon. It is only 80 calories so it is perfect to be paired with number 2 on this list below for a healthy and tasty breakfast.

2. Fruit. 
This is a no brainer. Fruit can be filling and is of course a healthy snack in moderation. For breakfast
today I paired a handful of strawberries with my yogurt. It is almost strawberry season after all. Another fruit favorite of mine is banana's. I cannot get enough of those little 100 calorie treats. I like to put them in a shake before the gym or with peanut butter. Which brings us to number 3 on the list peanut butter!

3. Peanut Butter or PB2. 

 Peanut butter is high calorie but in small quantity it is still a good filling snack paired with a banana or in a shake. This time of year it is great to pair with spring veggies too. PB2 is something recently I have gotten into due to the fact that it is much lower calorie than peanut butter and makes better shakes.It even comes in a chocolate flavor that I have yet to try but looks really tasty.

4. Triscuits.

I may have an addiction problem with these little healthy crackers. I literally have to have a box at
my desk at work at all times. They are perfect for an afternoon snack or to pair with a sandwich at lunch. Varies in calories but I found 1 serving is always less than 200 calories. I like the rice ones because 6 crackers is super filling. They also come in so many fun flavors I always find myself at the store unable to decide what kind I want.

5. Almonds. 
A hand full of almonds is the BEST snack. They also come in a huge selection of flavors.These honey roasted flavors are my latest favorites. One of my favorites of all time is the wasabi almond flavored ones. You can eat 28 nuts for 160 calories and they are super filling!

Now that I got you and I both hungry for a snack reach for one of these tasty little treats. I promise your waist line and your appetite will be happy.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, March 28, 2016


A book/movie review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I was really sick this Friday-Sunday. I am still honestly not completely up to snuff as you will. Due to having a ton of time on the couch I finished reading Wild and even watched the movie which was  on HBO. As many people in my life know my husband and I got into day hiking last year. I bought myself a great pair of Keen hiking boots and off we went into the woods. Something about roaming in the wilderness is therapeutic. It is just the smell of pine and the sound of animals that soothes one's soul. Therefore reading this book touched a part of my soul that I could totally relate to.

The Book-

The book follows the story of Cheryl Strayed and how she is much like a stray. She has limited contact with her remaining family member's and struggles to find herself and not drown in the sorrow of losing a close loved one. She almost on a whim decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with no hiking experience what so ever. The way that Strayed writes is captivating she draws you in with her detailed description of pain in her soul and on her body and she struggles through this extremely long hike. Her resilience and ability to handle all of her problems really was amazing. As someone that hikes I respect this woman as I could never do what she did or could I? That is the best part of this book it motivates you to strive to do somethings in your life that maybe you would not do. I highly recommend this book.

The Movie-
Meh was my final reaction. Reese Witherspoon plays a good Cheryl she physically matches what I image her to look like. The depth of the characters is lacking though. I am not expecting them to cram all of this book into this 2 hour movie but none of the characters are developed at all. It is more the story of struggle for Cheryl and the movie does not touch on how the people on the trail helped shape her journey at all. The did not even mention Doug who was a big part of her journey in the book and they barely showed the "three young bucks".  This is to be expected from a movie adaptation though and overall of you never read the book you may still love this movie. It will at least sum up her journey in a neat little package for you to enjoy.

I love reading and I hope to talk you all into reading more books in the future.

Until next time, happy trails~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

We are in the middle of a snowstorm or (blizzard) if you want to call it that. Last night it started and I am sort of glad that Ryan requested some scalloped potatoes this week because they were the perfect comfort food for this blustery weather. I was blown away by how easy it really is to make these and I for sure will make it again. I am warning you they are not healthy and are super addicting. I would recommend making them for when people are over so you are not tempted like us to eat the entire pan in one sitting.

What you need~
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (mild)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Dash of paprika

I started with using my food processor to slice up the potatoes needed. Man I love my food processor. If you do not have one a mandolin works great or use a knife to cut them as thin as possible.

Melt your butter down and get it boiling. Add in your flour and let that all thicken for a minute or two. It should get thick rather quickly. Add all of your cold milk to this mix and whisk together. Season with your salt and cayenne pepper. Let this cook on low until smooth and boiling. Make sure to whisk it frequently.

Reduce heat and add in 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix with the whisk until it thickens and is smooth.

Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish.

Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.

Repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Top with some paprika for color.

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350°F.

Make sure to let it rest for about 5 minutes so you do not burn your mouth.

 This was so cheesy, creamy and good. I do not have enough descriptive words to talk about how good this turned out. It was a struggle to not eat the whole pan.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, March 21, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

 Sometimes you get a craving to bake cookies. So you go through all your really old cook books to find a new receipt. This one I altered a lot because it had crazy ingredients I did not own nor did I want to buy. The receipt was from the 70's so times were for sure different back then. Anyway the final product after all the changes was fantastic. We had friends over for a game/movie night and they were a huge hit. I kinda think I need to work cherries into more receipts because they make these cookies really special.

What you need~
2 cups (4 sticks of butter) softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups of  all purpose flour
1 12 oz package of mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
1 cup maraschino cherries (chopped) (HINT: Use a clean scissors to cut up the cherries saves on time and mess)

Using your mixer (stand or hand) cream butter (slice up sticks of butter to go faster).  

Chop up those nuts and cherries!

 Mix in powdered sugar and beat in vanilla/salt. Gradually add flour mixing until well blended (this gets really hard because the dough is stiff). Using your hands for the next part mix in the chocolate chips, walnuts and cherries.

Dough is going to be extremely stiff. Drop by the tablespoon onto parchment paper covered (or greased) cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. It make about 2-3 dozen cookies. They were small and did not spread much on the pan.

I mean look at these tiny little beauties. I bet you cannot eat just one. I mean I cannot that is for sure.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, March 17, 2016

20 Minute Miracle Pasta

You have to work late and when you get home you have like zero time to make dinner before you need to be at a neighborhood association meeting what do you do for dinner!?

You get creative and you make this. No one said you cannot make a semi-healthy and tasty meal in 20 minutes. I felt like Rachel Ray making a 30 minute meal but better because I managed to use up leftover's too.

What you need~
1 pound of meat (I had 1 pound of left over vension taco meat)
2 cups of tortellinis
1 can of pasta sauce
1 tablespoon of garlic paste
Some frozen basil (or fresh if you have it)

 Here is the left over taco meat that was chilling in the fridge from tacos the other night. It added a nice heat to the sauce.
Please notice my addiction to Trader Joe's.
The seasonings you need. Garlic, onion powder, oregano, fennel, thyme, Mrs. Dash and salt. 

Once again notice the Trader Joe's addiction.

1. Preheat you oven to 400 degrees. Cut up broccoli, lightly coat in olive oil and season. Throw in the oven on a cookie sheet.

2. While your oven is preheating put about 5 quarts of water in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Add torellini when it is boiling. The pasta will take about 15-18 minutes.

3. While your noodles/broccoli is cooking get a sauce pan on the stove set to medium heat. Add a little olive oil to the pan. Add your tablespoon of garlic paste. Let this heat up until you can really smell the garlic. Add your frozen basil or whatever you have to the pan. Slowly add in the meat mixture.

 4. Once the meat is added to the pan let that heat up for about 5 minutes and then add in the pasta sauce.
5. Season with you spices. Let this simmer down and taste your pasta.

I promise that you can do this in under 20 minutes I did it and honestly it turned out great. We had plenty of time to eat and go to our meeting after cleaning up a bit.


It was really really good.
I hope when you are strapped for time you get creative and make something instead of giving into the temptation of fast food. You can do it!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily