February 19, 2012

Green Drink

Do you know that feeling when you've worked really hard at something and when you're finished you just feel so good? Like you were made to work that hard? I always get that feeling after a long run, or even after cleaning my house, scrubbing the floods, dusting the tables, and making everything pretty again. There is just some kind of raw wholesome feeling from working hard and living how God intended you to live.

Recently, Ryan and I have really been into green drinks. They are raw and wholesome too. "God's candy" is what my aunt used to say about bananas. It's true! Who can go wrong with fruit that's so sweet? My friend Allie over here, just made this drink with so many fun fruits and vegetables that I can't wait to try it out.

Today I made our green drink with a banana, kiwi, pear, kale, spinach, ginger, blue agave and lemon juice. You can really experiment with all sorts of fruits and vegetables that you have on hand.

Green Drink
(makes apx. 16 liquid ounces)

One banana
One kiwi
1/2 pear
3-4 cups fresh spinach
1-2 cups fresh kale
1-2 tablespoons blue agave
a few dashes of ground ginger
1/4 lemonade
water as needed to thin it out

I start by adding my pear, kiwi and banana in the blender and pulse until liquefied. Then in batches I add my kale and spinach until liquefied along with the lemonade, ginger and blue agave.
I make my juice in a blender and I always end up adding some water to help thin it out. If you are using a juicer you won't need to do this.

Yum! Hope you enjoy!

February 16, 2012

Chicken Fajitas

My favorite part of every day are the times that I get to spend with my best friend, my husband Ryan. Just thinking about these times makes me smile (like right now). I look forward to these times so much. Just the two of us, sitting in our chairs in the wee hours of the morning reading our Bibles and sipping coffee (which by the way, Ryan makes for us each and every morning - he has the biggest servants heart!). Yes, these are the times that I look forward to.

Last night was one of those times. I had just gotten home from a run. Ryan got home just before me and started getting our dinner ready. Fajitas was on the menu for the evening. Ryan actually found this recipe a couple months ago and we have pulled it out a few times since because well, it's good, and colorful, and so tasty, and truth by told... Ryan makes this meal with me!!!!

To be honest, Ryan helps me with a lot of our meals. I am so blessed. I relished the moment last night as Ryan stood peering into the spice cabinet, searching for that perfect spice to add to our meal, with one hand resting gently on my back as I stirred the onions that were caramelizing on the stove. I love that shoulder-to-shoulder companionship shared between a husband and a wife as they go through life together, sharing all things, supporting each other, and having one mission as a couple. This type of living cultivates a healthy marriage and I'm so thankful to be walking through this with Ryan!

So, back to the Fajitas, which by the way you should definitely try. Like I said, Ryan found this recipe but has adapted it so much that I'm not really even sure it's anything like the original. I keep asking him to tell me what he puts in the chicken mixture, but I think it's kind of a secret. We have a lot of fun making this meal together and we hope that you enjoy it too!

Chicken Fajitas
(adapted from food network: Nigella Lawson)

Chicken Marinade
2 boneless skinless chicken breast cooked and cut into thin slices
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, or regular oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-3 tablespoons of salsa
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice

Vegateble Mixture
2 tablespoons peanut oil or regular olive oil (we just used regular olive oil)
1 onion, peeled, halved and cut into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into strips
1 orange bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into strips
kosher salt
soft flour tortillas

Optional Accompaniments:
Shredded Cheese
Avacado or guacamole
Sour cream

Combine all the merinade ingredites into a bowl along with the cooked chicken strips and give it a good shake. (Or, you can cook your chicken with all these ingredicants, either way is fine)Let the chicken sit on the counter soaking up all those good flavors while you start the onions and bells peppers.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high. Once the oil is warm, throw in your onion slices and let them start to carmalize. Season with kosher salt. Once the onions are part way done, toss in all the bell peppers and let them cook. Sometimes I add a little water to the mixture, just a tablespoon or two while it simmers.
Once the onions and the bell peppers have cooked, add the chicken mixture and let everything heat through for another few mintures.
Serve with warm tortillas and desired accompaniments.

February 15, 2012

BBQ Chicken salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing

How do you feel about Valentines Day? Do you love it, hate it, care less about it? Let me know your thoughts? I'm completely curious and intrigued now about this holiday in a way that I never have been in the past - more on that another time. For now, I'll just share this new recipe that I made for our valentines dinner last night.

I had been wanting to try this salad recipe I recently found on Pinterst from mel's kitchen cafe. I know, salad, it's nothing romantic, you can give me a hard time. But I had all these ingredients in the fridge that I didn't want to waste. Let me tell you, we were not disappointed! In fact the salad is even better the second day, I'm eating the left overs for lunch right now! (don't tell Ryan, he thinks the left overs are waiting for him at home for his lunch... oops!)

You know that I just love a quick meal. One that tastes good and is also good for you is a prerequisite of mine as well. This salad is all that!

I will say this though, I have been cheating big time and buying the pre-cooked chicken at Trader Joes. It's probably loaded with preservatives but until I have 45 minutes to cook my chicken after I get home from work, this is what I'll be doing. I often have these lofty dreams of cooking whole chicken on a Saturday or Sunday, shredding or dicing them all up and then freezing them for such a time as this, but that never happens either. I'm making myself feel guilty right now so I think we all know what I'll be doing this weekend!

Anyway, back to the salad. Grad this recipe and put it in your go-to weeknight meal list! The salad is perfect for a light but protein rich meal with the black beans and chicken. What really does it for me is the creamy BBQ cilantro lime dressing and like I said, it's better the second day. I cut the recipe in half for Ryan and I and didn't use any iceberg lettuce, just romaine. Ryan and I both agreed that next time we make it we are going to add the tortilla strips for extra crunch and texture. That will be really fun!

Hope you enjoy!

BBQ Chicken salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing
(from mel's kitchen cafe)

Chicken and Salad:
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups BBQ sauce (I use Buster's Mild BBQ Sauce)
½ head iceberg lettuce, cored and chopped
2 romaine hearts, chopped
1/2 red onion diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed small or shredded
4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, cubed small or shredded

Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 cup BBQ sauce

For the salad, combine the cooked chicken and BBQ sauce in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl, toss together the iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, red onion, cilantro, corn, black beans and cheese. Toss the mixed salad with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the dressing, if desired. Otherwise, you can serve the dressing on the side. Place salad on plates and top with the prepared BBQ chicken and additional dressing.

For the dressing, combine all the ingredients together and whisk (or shake, if using a jar) vigorously to combine. You could also run this through a blender to make it even more smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.