Thursday, May 23, 2013

Recipe Of The Week: Chicken Fajita 'Nachos'



I love Mexican food.  So when I discovered that I could no longer eat corn, or dairy, or beef (and I've only just now gotten back pintos and avocados), I was pretty upset.  Going out to dinner suddenly became much less fun.

But then I started getting creative.  A local Mexican restaurant served Fajita Nachos.  As per my request, the put all the toppings over rice instead of the usual corn chips.  Oh. my. word was it good.  Since we can't afford to eat out all the time, I made an effort at approximating the recipe at home.  Once again - super good!  Here it is:

Chicken Fajita Nachos

2 cups brown rice, uncooked (or 1.5 cups brown rice, .5 cups quinoa)
4 cups water

2 large chicken breasts, diced
1 large onion, sliced
2 sweet red peppers, sliced
2 sweet green peppers, sliced
1 tsp olive oil

1 15 oz can refried beans
1 15 oz can black beans
liberal dash each cilantro, chili powder, cumin

5 ripe avocados
1 large tomato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
juice of 1/2 lime
liberal dash each cilantro, chili powder, cumin
(optional) 1 tbsp mayo

(optional) fresh cilantro to garnish


Combine rice and water in large pot.  Bring to boil, then simmer 20 minutes (or until all water is absorbed).

Heat olive oil in large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling.  Add onions and peppers, stirring constantly until just softened and slightly blackened.  Remove veggies to serving bowl.  Add chicken to hot skillet and stir until cooked through and slightly blackened.  Remove to bowl with veggies.

Meanwhile, heat refried beans, black beans, cilantro, chili powder and cumin in medium pot over low heat.

In another bowl, mash avocados, diced red onion, diced tomato, lime juice, cilantro, chili powder and cumin until smooth.  (If avocados are slightly under-ripe add 1 tbsp mayo to improve texture).

When all foods are finished, layer on plate.  Or, if you're picky like my kiddos, serve separately.



Optional toppings include: shredded cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa or swap the chicken for beef or pork.  You could also substitute chips for the rice and make real nachos instead!

Easy and yummy and much cheaper than dining out.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stuff I Love: Rockin' Socks

I am hard on socks.  Really hard on socks.  I don't know if it's because I wear them with heeled boots, or if I walk funny, but after no time at all (it seems), my toes are peeking through, or I've worn clean through the ball of the foot.  I pretty much have to replace my entire sock wardrobe every single season. 

Then I realized, as I was folding laundry, that I have a few pairs that have lasted me ages.  I first wrote about them here when a friend of mine sent them to me as a birthday gift.  She works for the company and saw my request for comfy socks that year.  Well guess what - those socks are still intact.  Not only that, but they practically look new.  Aside from a little fading and pilling, there isn't a worn spot on any of them.  These are the only socks I have in my drawer that were there when I made my original post.

The lesson?  Go check out Defeet.  (I've got these cute pink ones and this pair, too).  They're not the cheapest up front, but they'll last forever.  I'm proof of that!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Old Navy Fits Me To A Tee

By now you guys probably know that I'm a huge fan of Crowdtap.  I love giving my opinions on products, and in exchange for a few minutes a day I get amazing rewards.  I can trade accrued points in for gift cards, host fun product house parties and, occasionally, sample amazing products for free!

I just completed my fifth Old Navy sampling thanks to Crowdtap.  I'd fallen out of love with Old Navy over the years, but after my first sample experience I realized how much the brand has changed recently and I'm totally hooked.  If my wardrobe needs freshening up, I hit their clearance section and stock up.  They are constantly having great sales (and you can get more bang for your buck with cash back from ebates), and they add great new collections every couple of months.

This time around, Old Navy offered my friend and me a chance to try out their comfy basic Tees.  I was just lamenting to myself that I could use a few new t-shirts in my closet (I haven't bought any new shirts since my pre-baby days, and mommy-pooch is definitely not en vogue).   It seemed to me, however, that all the shirts I've tried on lately are meant for tall, skinny supermodel types.  Too long in the torso, too tight in the hips.  My friend, on the other hand, is a tall, thin supermodel shape, so I knew that we'd really be putting these shirts to the test. 

There were so many shirts to choose from I had to take stacks back to the dressing room!

Here's what I wore to the store.  Yup, that's an Old Navy top, too!
 I've finally lost enough weight that last summer's shorts are too big!  So I snagged a cute pair from the rack to try on with my shirts.  I love all the bold colors this season!  This purple shirt was a lot of fun and SO soft and comfy.
 No more mommy pooch! (that's the waistband, I promise)
 I loved this light heathered gray shirt so much.  Which is good because I apparently already had one on my shelf at home!  Oops.  See how the shirt has shape but doesn't cling to my hips. 
 And some days I like to look a little slouchy, so I went up a size in the darker grey.  Still a great fit and so snuggly I'd wear one every day if I could. 
I loved all the colors so much that I sucked it up and paid for the extra shirt - and at $7.50 I didn't mind the splurge!
 My friend had great success as well.  She chose a slightly different style (and scored a few other amazing finds), but we both left with some great new items for our summer wardrobe.  I'll be back to try on some of those adorable dresses before the season is out as well :)

Want to earn free clothes of your own?  Sign up for Crowdtap and start accruing points now!  Before you know it you could be sporting some new Old Navy gear, too! 

Stuff I Love: Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Babyfood Maker

I may have a new favorite product. 

As you all know, I've been on a path to healthier eating lately. Due to a sudden discovery of a TON of food sensitivities, I've been forced to start eating a much fresher, more paleo-inspired diet. But not only that, it's opened my eyes to just how fake and processed the food we're accustomed to eating is.  I don't want to put that stuff in my body and I certainly don't want to feed it to my kids.  (I will confess to an occasional McDonalds cop-out, but it's hardly the norm). 

The problem?  While not picky in the sense that most kids are, my kids are pretty set in their dietary ways.  Try new fruits and veggies?  No way!!  I have to get pretty sneaky to fill them up with all the nutritious produce I want them to be eating.

Thank goodness Moms Meet offered me the opportunity to review the Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Babyfood Maker.  Clearly, I don't have any babies in my family anymore (can you believe baby girl is 2 and a half!?) - but that's what's so amazing about this product.  Sure, it can make healthy, tasty baby food - but it's a super useful tool even if your babies are all grown up.


Not only does this machine steam your fruits and veggies to lock in nutrients, but you can steam multiple foods at once.  You can make smooth or chunky purees, and it even comes with a smoothie blade!  Now I don't have to haul out my heavy blender each time I want to whip up a healthy breakfast smoothie or toss together a batch of apple-pear sauce for the kids.  

I'm a big fan of the 'hide pureed foods in meatloaf' trend - get my kids to eat better by sticking healthy stuff in the dishes they love.  But grated veggies are too chunky (and therefore easily detected) and I never have the energy to cook up a big batch of veggies, run them through the food processor, stick them in little containers to freeze for later.  Too much work, too many dishes.  This little tool does all that work for you, cleans up in a breeze, and makes just enough for one meal (for 3 kids).  

Ordinarily this babyfood maker retails for $99 (still a pretty great deal), but my lucky readers can save $20 off retail price by using this coupon!  There's also a $1 coupon to use on any of the great Freshfoods accessories - such as the Mash & Serve Bowl, Food Mill, Freezer Tray, Stackable Cubes or Fill & Freeze Pops.
 

I can't wait to try out all the recipes in the included cookbook, but since we just moved and we were low on produce, I stuck to my kids' all-time-favorite - applesauce!


 All of the pieces that came in the box
 Chop the apple into cubes
 Put cubes in strainer basket (here is where you can use the divider for 2 different foods)
 Put basket in container
 Add water
 Plug it in and steam (my outlets are finicky so I had to use a power-strip)
 All cooked!
 Blend it up
Mmmm - Mommy that's good!

It took me literally 1 minute to wash the bowl and put the product neatly back on my shelf and my kids had a fast, healthy, delicious snack.  Next  up - sneaking veggie puree into our pizza!

Want to learn more?  Check out Nuk/Freshfoods on Facebook!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May
Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinions on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Recipe: Gluten-Free, Vegan Mac'n'Cheese

When I learned that I could no longer eat dairy, I panicked.  No more creamy comfort foods?  No more mac'n'cheese?!  What was I going to do?  Fortunately, there are some pretty awesome (corn free) cheese substitutes out there and with a little help from the internet, I was able to hobble together a pretty amazing Mac'n'faux-cheese.





Gluten-Free, Vegan Mac'n'Cheese

4 cups dry gf pasta (such as Tinkyada shells)
drizzle olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 tbsp rice flour
2 cups rice milk
7 oz follow your heart cheddar, shredded
5 oz follow your heart mozzarella, shredded
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1) In large sauce pan, cover pasta with water, bring to a boil, then simmer until al dente.
2) Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large pan.  Add onion and sautee until tender.  
3) Add rice flour and stir until well combined.
4) Add rice milk one cup at a time and stir continually, simmering until thickened.
5) Add shredded cheeses and stir until cheeses have melted completely. 
6) Stir in mustard and nutritional yeast.
7) Place pasta in 2 qt casserole dish.
8) Pour sauce on top of pasta and toss until well combined.  
9)  Bake for 30-35 minutes until bubbly and slightly browned on top.  

*optional: before baking, top with crushed rice crackers or rice breadcrumbs for extra crunch if desired













Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chicken Pot Pie

One of my absolute favorite cold-weather comfort foods is chicken pot pie.  It's quick and easy to assemble and chock full of healthy foods.  I've had to modify my recipe to meet my new dietary restrictions but I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  It was incredibly yummy without any wheat or dairy!  Here's how it's done:

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chicken Pot Pie

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2 large stalks celery, diced (I'm allergic so I swapped in a big handful of spinach in the photographs below)
2 large carrots, diced
4-5 small potatoes, diced
1/4 cup rice flour
1 cup Basic Onion Broth
1 cup rice or coconut milk (coconut will make a creamier sauce)
Liberal dash each Rosemary, Majoram, Savory, Parsley, salt and pepper (thyme and sage also work well)

1 cup flour (I use 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/2 cup tapioca starch)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder
cold water

1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Cut up potatoes and carrots


2) Put potatoes and carrots in large pot, fill with water, bring to boil, then simmer 10-15 minutes, until just tender
 3) Cut onion and celery
 4) In large skillet, heat olive oil, then sautee onion, celery (or spinach), peas and herbs/spices until tender
 5) Add flour to veggies in skillet.  Slowly stir in rice or coconut milk and broth and cook on low, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

6) Meanwhile add flour, baking power and coconut oil to large bowl.  Mash until mixture forms consistency of small peas.  Add cold water 1 tbsp at a time until dough forms smooth ball.
 7) Drain potatoes and carrots and add to creamed veggie mixture.  Pour into 2 qt casserole dish.


8) Roll out dough on sheet of parchment paper and invert on top of casserole.  Gluten-free dough may be fragile, so you may have to patch it.  For a more 'artistic' look, cut dough with cookie cutters and arrange on top of pie.
 9) Bake for 35 minutes, remove from oven, and let stand another 15-20 minutes.  Enjoy!!





Monday, January 21, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Anywayup 360 Cup!

My kids are messy. Really messy. I'm pretty sure we have at least one spilled cup of water at a meal every single day.  However, my kids hate sippy cups.  In their opinion, sippy cups are for babies.  They have sport-top bottles for bedtime, but they won't use those at the table - they want a 'real' cup like Mommy and Daddy have.  Unfortunately, one overly enthusiastic elbow can soak the whole table.  

 Thank goodness for the Anywayup Cup.  These cups look like a big-boy open-top cup, but they include a special valve in the middle to minimize spills.  A child can drink from any part of the rim, but the stopper in the middle prevents water from gushing out if the cup is tipped.  My kids literally have to turn the cup upside down and shake as hard as they can if they want to make a mess.


And thanks to the bright colors and fun designs my picky kids were literally fighting over who got to use the new cup. Our kids preferred not to use the handle, but for smaller children a convenient snap-on handle is included.  And, the cup has a lid to prevent spills and messes while on the go!  


Want to win one of your very own?  Anywayup has generously offered to give away 3 of their 360 cups to Stuff I Love readers!  Just enter on the punchtab form below!

Disclaimer:  Anywayup did provide me with a free cup to review, but I never recommend products I don't personally love.  All opinions are my own.  

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