Bu Bye BBQ

My office has been rocking the Taco Tuesdays lately!

***Thought I had a picture to attach here with our awesome potluck spread, but apparently I do not : )


Work is way more fun when you like your coworkers, so I am sad to say that this was our last week together.  My bosses offered to throw a potluck in my honor for my last week, and they let me pick the theme, so I went with a summer BBQ.  Yesterday, everyone brought something delicious to share, and I signed up for a Corn Spoonbread.


It was super easy to make and went perfectly with the BBQ chicken sandwiches!


I was a little nervous about serving a new recipe, but how can you go wrong with Jiffy mix and creamed corn?!


Luckily, it turned out great (and everyone agreed)!  We had more than enough fantastic food to eat, including these incredible desserts made by one of my coworkers!


My second to last day went well, and I had mixed emotions about my last day today.  All day, my patients (and even some of my coworkers patients) have been so sweet and wonderful!  My coworkers are awesome and I know come Tuesday, I will miss them even more!


After a long last day of work with tough goodbyes, I swung by Target for some wine, and the BOY and I decided B Wubs would be an easy dinner.  I sipped a beer while I waited for our take out order to be ready.


One of my coworkers’ patient’s brought in the most sweet and beautiful cake today, so I attempted to bring home the leftovers for dessert.  Sadly, its current state is a reflection on my driving : )


Cooper found the frosting before I even noticed and was happily tasting away.  After wings, the BOY and I dug right in too!


We then cuddled up for the night with some wine and a movie.  Not gonna like…we are watching one of my old school favorites Adventures in Babysitting!  It’s a fun way to kick off the holiday weekend, which for me is not only the start of summer, but also a whole new adventure ahead!!!


How are you celebrating Memorial Day weekend?

I highly recommend that you include this cornbread!!!


Sweet Corn Spoonbread

From Southern Bite


  • 1 (8.5-ounce) package JIFFY Corn Muffin Mix
  • 1 (14.75-ounce) can cream style corn
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the spoonbread is set.

Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wow, I’ve been blogging up a storm recently.  Are you sick of me yet?


We had the most gorgeous 70 degree fall day here!  It felt wonderful to be getting back into my no work Monday routine.  First stop was the gym for a session with my trainer. 


Afterwards, I dropped off a car load of household stuff at GoodWill (from our weekend of cleaning) and then went to the grocery store.  I made a quick stop at home for a shower and to unload my groceries.  Then I was out and about for a few more errands and returns.  I ended up at Whole Foods for tasty salad bar lunch.


When I got home, I opened all the windows to let in the clean, fresh air, threw in some laundry, and dove into this week’s recipes.  We brought a whole bunch of stuff back from Door County including a huge bag of apples.

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For this reason, my interest was peaked when I found a chili recipe that uses apples.  I got all the ingredients at the store and had some fresh cider in the fridge (also from the farm).


This is a stove top recipe and really quite easy.  The flavors are odd but seem to blend together beautifully!


Once my chili was simmering, I was ready to make M&M Cookie Bars.  I was super sad to discover that I did not read the recipe carefully enough to realize that I needed more oats and two different types of oats.  But, I moved on quickly with my softened butter to corn muffins.


Only to discover that I bought too small of a package : (  I was having so much fun in the kitchen, between the sun light, clean cabinets, and new wedding gifts that I still wanted to make something.  So I cut the recipe in half and turned it into a bread.  I left the original recipe for muffins as written below.  Just know that you can half it if you buy the tinny 55 cent Jiffy package on accident.


I have never made a pumpkin cornbread before, but I loved the idea and the smell.


And again as odd as the combinations sound, both worked together to create a delicious meal…for tomorrow night.  But I had to try it for a pre dinner snack tonight.


The BOY came home to grill, one last time it seems, as the grill ran out of juice.  He was able to make dinner in the oven.  We’re planning to have the chili tomorrow since we both work later and the rest of the week, I planned out on our newish chalkboard.  I’m hoping to have the M&M Cookie Bars made (and shared) sooner rather than later!



Meal Planning 11/02/15

Monday: Steak and Tilapia

Tuesday: Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread

Wednesday: Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers

Thursday: BBQ Pork tenderloin and Veggies

Friday: TBD!


What are you cooking this week?

What’s the oddest ingredient you ever added to your chili?



Chipotle Apple Turkey Chili

From Pass the Sushi*

*Recipe is mostly the same…I just rewrote it a bit to make it easier to follow!


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green apples, (1 peeled and diced; 1 sliced) NOTE: I used a red apple
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cider
  • Shredded super sharp white cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or honey corn bread, for serving


Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook until brown,  breaking it into chunks while cooking.

Meanwhile, using a food processor, puree the chipotles and 2 tbs of the adobo sauce.

Once turkey is browned, drain liquid.  Then stir 2 tbs of the chipotle puree into the ground turkey; season with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining puree to adjust the heat at the end of cooking.  Stir in the coriander, cumin, paprika,  onion, and garlic.

Peel and dice one apple into 1/2″ chunks, add it to the chili. Slice the remaining apple and toss with the lemon juice; Set aside.

Add the cinnamon and bay leaves to the chili, cover and cook, stirring and lowering the heat, for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then the stock and cider; bring to a boil.  Then lower to a simmer for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.

Top the chili with the cheese, reserved apple and the toasted pumpkin seeds if desired.


Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins

From Together as Family


  • 1 package (15 oz) Cornbread Baking Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup milk, 2% or higher is best (I used coconut almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. (can also use 8×8 pan for cornbread and bake 15-20 minutes)
  2. In a large bowl combine the cornbread baking mix, cinnamon, nutmeg and whisk together.
  3. Add in canned pumpkin, milk, softened butter, and the egg. Whisk together gently just until combined.
  4. Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop batter and divide evenly into the muffin cups. They will about 2/3-3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 14-16 minutes.

Sore Sunday + Tamale Pie

It was a week on the go that ended with a full Friday.  The BOY and I played tennis at 8pm, which was really fun and  a great way to get in a workout on Friday, my usual day off.  I was up early Saturday morning debating if I had time to fit in some exercise.  I ended up taking a Core Twist class at the yoga studio.  It turned out to be less yoga and more twisting : )  We did maybe 30 minutes of standing ab work holding a large exercise ball (it was brutal) before transitioning to some floor work.  On my way home, I picked up Mediterranean for lunch and a HUGE cupcake for that night’s birthday celebration.  I had just enough time to eat lunch and change my clothes before the BOY and I were back in the car for our official last tennis lesson.



I finally wore my new Happy Socks….so cute!


After tennis, it was another quick transition before heading off to the casino with my family to celebrate my parent’s birthdays.  There was more tennis, in the form of Wii tournaments all throughout Saturday night.  As of Sunday evening, everything is sore!  My abs hurt every time I breath and especially when I twist.  My legs are sore, my shoulders are sore, and my wrists are sore.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling of a good sore!  But it did play a role in my decision to take the day off of exercise.  That combined with all the new snow and the fact that I fell asleep on the couch with Cooper instead of going to the gym : )  Tomorrow is my weekly training session, so I know more soreness is coming my way.  And, the BOY and I have decided to keep Monday as tennis day (even though our lessons are over), so we rented the ball machine again on Monday afternoon.




Having nothing to do with soreness, I made a Tamale Pie for dinner tonight which we ate while watching the Oscar’s and then finished off the rest of my Dad’s ice cream birthday cake with forks on the couch (also while watching the Oscars).


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This recipe was suggested by my brother’s finance before our grocery store outing this morning.  It looked easy enough to pull together on this lazy Sunday without looking (or tasting) like a lazy meal!




What I ended up doing was making my favorite 2 Ingredient Crockpot Chicken when I got back from the grocery store and used that as the shredded chicken in the pie.  My thought regarding future meal plans…this is the perfect opportunity to make a huge batch of chicken to eat day one and then use the leftovers in this amazing pie day two.




Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t picture nearly as good as it tastes.  Although that could also be due to my lack of food photography skill and the fact that I was just really excited to dig into dinner!




There is a great kick in the corn bread and I’m pretty sure it will be just as tasty, if not more so, for lunch tomorrow before tennis.



#Leftovers Rock!


Do you like to be sore?

Are you watching the Oscars?




Meal Planning 3/02/14

Sunday: Chicken Tamale Pie


Monday: Honey Sesame Chicken


Tuesday: Baked Shells with Winter Squash


Wednesday: Salmon with Veggies


Thursday: Leftovers




Chicken Tamale Pie

From Pinch of Yum, adapted from Cooking Light



⅓ cup fat free milk

¼ cup egg substitute

1½ tablespoon taco seasoning, divided

1 (14¾ ounce) can cream-style corn

1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)

1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained

1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (I used 2 Ingredient Chicken)

1-2 cups shredded cheese.



Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chiles), using just ½ tablespoon of the taco seasoning, in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a round pie plate (mine was glass) coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400° for 25 minutes. While corn is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning.  Or just use the salsa chicken.  When corn is done – it will be just barely set and golden brown – pierce entire surface liberally with a fork (it might stick a little bit to the fork). Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces.

Hooray for Winter Running!

To begin I must admit that we still have NO food in our house.  Not one trip to the grocery store this week!  I was lucky that we had a chili Valentine’s Day party at work with leftovers on Friday for lunch.  So before I even had water boiling for tea this morning, I was making a grocery list.  I have been itching to get outdoors and run all week.  Mostly because the weather has been a little warmer than usual, and I have seen the sun shining from inside my office.  So despite the 20 degree announcement on my cell phone this morning, I layered up for an outdoor run.




Trail shoes and all!




The sun was shining this morning, but failed to show up when I exited the front door.  I ran the long way through the neighborhood towards the forest preserve path.  It was definitely colder than I would have liked but tolerable.




The path was quiet and peaceful!  I ran a little under 5 miles at a slow and steady pace with a few walking breaks over the icy concrete.




I had to laugh that the only time I almost fell was when I slipped while walking, not running.  The benefit of all of my layers is that I had room to stash my phone to snap a few pictures.  Between the cold and my bulky shoes, I felt much slower than my recent speed intervals around the track, but I was happy for the longer run.




Recently, my runs have been much shorter (30-35 minutes) due to some changes in my work schedule.  I was feeling much better about this after reading an article in Women’s Running Magazine last night about speed training.  New research is supporting that shorter runs can burn calories and improve your fitness just as well as longer runs when you increase your intensity.  One of the treadmill workouts, which surprised me, suggested sprinting for 8 seconds, followed by a 12 second recovery.  That is one that I have never heard of, but looking forward to trying.




I have been doing most of my winter running along the track alternating between 90/90 second intervals, 60/120 second intervals, and tempo runs in preparation for a few middle distance runs I am signed up for this spring.  I am hoping to add in a spring half marathon, which will hopefully motivate me out of the house again for longer, cold weekend runs.  Post run, I have been refueling with multiple variations of the Green Smoothie.




After this morning’s run, I drove out to Whole Foods to meet my Mom for lunch.  We both LOVE collecting our favorites from the hot bar and salad bar and sharing them tapas style with a big bottle of water.  She had to spend the rest of her Saturday working, so I got to wander the aisles of Whole Foods tasting samples and scooping up groceries.  Then moved on to Costco to do the same thing.




I walked in the door with my arms full.  The BOY was involved with the Indiana v Perdue game…no surprise there.  After unloading my groceries, I baked up an amazing smelling cornbread for a get together with friends tomorrow.  I typically make more of a sweet cornbread, so this easy recipe from Paula Deen was a nice change of pace.




I caught the second half of the basketball game while sipping some warm tea that we picked up in Sarasota.  I now have the perfect amount of time for a quick afternoon nap before the BOY and I head out for dinner tonight.


What kind of winter running have you been doing?

What is your favorite interval training workout?

Slow Cooker Turkey and Bean Chili

We haven’t made chili in a few weeks, so it was time to grease up the crockpot and chop up some veggies.




I found a wonderful looking chili recipe in Clean Eating Magazine.  I picked up all my ingredients at the store last week, so that I could get right to work Saturday morning.




Unfortunately, I didn’t have white beans (kind of a big deal since it is in the title of the original recipe), but I knew that black beans would be a fair substitution.  I was able to find tomato puree (I’ve never used that in chili before), and decided to use sweet potato instead of white potatoes for taste and nutritional value.




I like to slow cook on low heat.  I don’t know much about slow cookers of the past but I think that my crockpot is super strong and therefore I can cook something on low (8-10 hours) for only 6 hours and have a thick bowl of chili.



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After a few hours, my chili was smelling good but not as thick as I would have expected.  I added in the roasted corn.  Yes, it appears that microwaving a premade bag of roasted corn could be considered cheating, but when I saw this in the frozen section, I knew it would make life this recipe MUCH easier.


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A few more hours back in the crockpot with some additional seasonings, and I had a THICK and smoky chili!




I was even more surprised to see how much thicker my chili was when I poured myself a bowl for lunch today.  Although I shouldn’t be too surprised as soups and chilies usually taste even better the second day.  I think some of my substitutions changed the flavor of the recipe as written, but I am totally digging this colorful chili.  The sweet potatoes add the right amount of sweetness that compliment the smoky corn.  Covered in avocado, this was a filling lunch after this morning’s challenging Hot Yoga class.




Meanwhile, the BOY grilled up some burgers for our Dad’s who came over to watch the Indiana v Northwestern basketball game today.  It took a little convincing but the BOY braved the cold (it was in the 30’s) to make juicy burgers for the guys’ lunch.  He even took the time to make roasted mushrooms and caramelized onions to go with the burgers.




We had a wonderful afternoon relaxing in the living room, devouring our lunches, chatting about sports, and telling stories.  This was the first time that just our Dads came over and it was an awesome way to spend the afternoon.  The boys were more than happy to save room for dessert, Peanut Butter Bon Bons.




And the Dad’s even took a few to go home.  FYI, the BOY has decided that the vanilla coated bonbons taste even better than the chocolate ones in case you are already making your Valentine treat list!


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I know it sounds crazy, but I could totally go for another bowl of chili for dinner.  Maybe that’s because we are watching the football playoffs and chili just seems appropriate : )


Have you made any new recipes in your crockpot?




Turkey and Bean Chili with Roasted Corn

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine



1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey breast

4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (can sub in min red skin potatoes halved per original recipe)

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie broth

1 can black beans, rinsed (original recipe calls for navy beans but any white bean will work)

1 cup tomato puree

3 tbsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

salt to taste

3 medium cobs of corn or 2 cups frozen and thawed corn kernels



In a large skillet, heat oil or cooking spray over medium heat.  Add turkey and cook, stirring frequently until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and onion, stir and cook for 5 minutes until soft and well cooked.

Transfer turkey mixture to slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray.  Add potato, pepper, broth, beans, tomato puree, and all seasonings.  Stir and cook on low (6-8 hour setting) or high for closer to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, if using corn cobs, char on grill or over grill pan.  When cool, shave kernels from cob.  About 1 hour before finished, stir in fresh or microwaved corn and cook until potatoes are soft and chili has thickened.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freezer.

Quick and Easy Empanadas?!

When I knew that we were having a Memorial Day fiesta, I got to work on my menu.  Because I knew this weekend would be busy with the Soldier Field 10 Miler and Bike the Drive, I wanted some easy and tasty foods that went along with our Mexican theme.  However, the BOY had a different idea.  On Thursday night, he decided that we needed to have empanadas at our BBQ.  Empanadas???


I don’t typically eat them and I have NO IDEA how to make them.  When I mentioned this to a coworker on Friday, she found me this recipe for Quick and Easy Empanadas.  After an exciting and exhausting morning of biking and shopping, I finally made it back to our house at 2PM.  This left me 2 hours to get cleaned up and finish prepping for the BBQ.  This would have been fine except that I had these crazy empanadas to make. 


The outside breading is easy enough if you use premade refrigerated biscuits.




I initially tried to flatten them out with my hands, but ended up pulling out my rolling pin.


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I used the recipe as a guide, but adapted some of the measurements based on what was available in our house and what I had the patience to go searching for.  I ended up stirring together the corn, cheese, salsa, onion, and garlic in a big bowl.




I made the first batch of empanadas without meat.  Immediately, I was having trouble closing the biscuit!




With time running out, I was slightly frustrated, but I kept moving along until I had 8 empanadas.  I baked them for about 15 minutes until the edges were brown and toasty.


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Yikes!  These do not look like empanadas!  Although the warm, gooey inside tasted fantastic!




I stirred in some browned fajita meat for batch #2.  I was able to learn a few things from my first attempt to help this second round go more smoothly.  I rolled out my dough much thinner and used less filling.  This made it easier for me to pinch the sides together sealing in the filling.  The dough was still too thick (note to the reader…dough will expand when baking so roll it extremely thin…even thinner than you think you should).  But, they looked much better than the first try.





I don’t know that my empanadas were exactly what the BOY had in mind, especially when I saw these beautiful pastries at Whole Foods the next day.




I have a little ways to go when it comes to the looks of my final product.





When guests arrived, I told them that they would have to just pull some of the extra dough off of the empanadas because there was not enough filling inside.  When everyone started raving about the filling, I pulled the leftovers out of the tupperware that I had stashed in the fridge.  Everyone loved it as a dip and dug right in.  My plan was to use the leftovers with cream cheese as a warm appetizer, but when it was time to clean up, there was barely any left.  I guess that is a success!


For dinner the next night, we pulled out a variety of delicious leftovers.  I created this salad complete with everything that we had leftover in one bowl. It was incredible.  The BOY used the empanada filling as a salsa on his fajitas.  Yummy! 




I’m sharing this recipe because I think with a little more time and TLC, these empanadas can be great. But if you don’t have time and patience to make them, you can use this filling as a dip or salsa.  Or…spread a layer of softened cream cheese (and refried beans if you want) on the bottom of an oven proof dish, top with the filling (recipe below), and biscuits if desired.  Then bake until the top is brown and the inside is warm and bubbly.




Quick and Easy Empanadas (or cheese, tomato and corn dip)

From Food.com


1 lb ground beef (optional)

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 (15 ounce) can fresh cut corn, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chopped onion

8 ounces grated cheddar cheese

1 cup salsa (I recommend a black bean salsa)

2 (16 ounce) cans large refrigerated biscuits



    Brown the ground beef in a frying pan adding the salt and pepper just before done.

    Let the beef cool.

    In a large bowl mix the corn, onions, cheese, and salsa, then add the cooled beef mixing carefully so not to break up all the cheese.

    Roll the biscuits out flat to about 2-1/2 times their size.  (I found it easier to make more of an oval shape).

    Place approximately 1/3 cup filling on one side of the center of the circle lengthwise.

    Fold the dough over the filling like a turn over and crimp the edges like a pie crust. Be careful not to tear the dough, and to seal the edges completely or your filling will come out! depending on how much filling is used will determine how many biscuits you will use.

    Place on slightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 till lightly browned (about 15 minutes).



    ***Note: I would suggest layering cream cheese, filling, and pastry as described above and making it into a dip!

    OPTIONS: These turnovers would be easy to fill with sauce and cheese for pizza puffs or fruit, cinnamon and sugar for dessert empanadas.

    2 Miler

    With a weekend as active as this one, it would have been okay to take the day off from exercise today and sleep in.  However, these shoes were calling my name. 




    Not literally calling my name, but these beautiful new runners were just quietly hanging out in their box waiting to get outside and hit the pavement. 




    The salesman at the running store suggested breaking into this shoes lightly, starting with low miles and alternating them with another pair of shoes.  With the 10 Miler on Saturday, I didn’t have time this past week for low miles, so this morning was my first chance. 




    Plus, it was a gorgeous spring day (the kind that makes you want to call in sick and play outside all day).




    So, I worked out an compromise…I would do an Active Recovery!  This way I could sleep in before getting up and running a short 2 mile run in my new shoes.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect from a light weight shoe as I have been wearing the same Brooks Adrenaline style for 8 years!  I definitely felt a difference wearing a lighter shoe (this is 8.3 oz compared with the Adrenaline which is 9.4 oz).  Although my legs were tired and not so fast, I could tell that they shoes were fast.  They had a strong spring to them, which made them feel like they’d be more efficient on a longer run.  The Pure Cadence is the more supportive of the Brooks Pure Project line and therefore a great place to start.  I took a little time to stretch out my tight calves after my run and enjoy the beautiful day.




    And then headed inside for breakfast.  In honor of our Fiesta weekend, I made a simple egg wrap with avocado.  Crazy though…we are all out of salsa which I LOVE on my eggs.  If I had more time, I thought about making a Mexican style breakfast pizza, but this wrap totally hit the spot!




    We still have a few things leftover from this weekend’s BBQ which I took for lunch today.  One thing was this salad from Allyson Kramer’s book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. 




    I thought that Wendi’s Black Eyed Pea Salad (picture on the cover) would be a healthy salad to support our Mexican themed BBQ.  Per the book, this salad is potluck friendly and I was able to throw together the salad ingredients on Saturday.  I used canned corn and black eyed peas along with a frozen bag of steamed rice for ease, but you could always use fresher ingredients if you wanted.  I also omitted the jalapeno.  Why…you ask?  Because I forgot that I had two in the fridge. 





    On Saturday, I was able to whisk together my salad dressing, add it to the salad to chill a few hours before serving.





    I will tell you that I LOVED this combination of textures and flavors even before adding the dressing.  The celery adds the right amount of crunch and the corn creates a little bit of sweetness.  With whole grain brown rice, this salad is very filling and can be eaten as a side or a meal of its own.  Today, I had it atop leafy greens with a few multigrain tortilla chips sprinkled across the top.




    I did feel that there was a little too much dressing for this fresh tasting salad.  Now, this could have been because of my lack of detail when measuring out salad ingredients, but the next time I make this, I will go lighter on the dressing. 


    On another note, I find this cookbook to be jam packed with bright and colorful pictures.  The recipes are creative and many of them are practical.  They give you measurements in cups and in grams which I always like for easy measuring on my food scale.  You don’t have to eat gluten-free or vegan to appreciate the recipes!  However, if you are baking gluten-free (like with any gluten-free cookbook), you will need to have some unique and different flours on hand. 


    This salad recipe is a good find and a compliment to any BBQ!



    Wendi’s Zesty Black Eyed Pea Salad

    From Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats by Allyson Kramer


    For Salad:

    2 1/2 cups cooked black eyed peas (I used one can rinsed and drained)

    2 cups cooked brown rice

    2 cups thinly sliced celery

    1 3/4 cups cooked sweet corn (I used one can rinsed and drained)

    1 cup diced red bell pepper

    1/2 cup chopped cliantro

    1 tbsp minced jalapeno (remove seeds if you want less heat)

    1/2 cup chopped scallions


    For Dressing:

    1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

    1 tsp cumin

    1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    2 tbs sugar or agave nectar

    1 tsp black pepper

    1/2 cup olive oil

    1 1/2 tsp sea salt


    To Make the Salad:

    Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and chill until cold, at least 1 hour.


    To Make the Dressing:

    In separate smaller bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.


    Toss salad with dressing until well combined.  Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors meld.  Serve cold or at room temperature.



    ***Note: I would consider using half of the agave and less olive oil for a lighter dressing.

    You can prepare the salad up to two days in advance and store in the fridge.  Just toss before serving.

    Chili and Sweet Cornbread Muffins

    A year ago, I made cornbread and taco soup for a friend.  When she recently mentioned that her boyfriend loved the cornbread, I decided to make him another batch.  I like this recipe for Sweet Corn Bread from All Recipes.com.  I figured that I couldn’t just give him some cornbread, so I made a simple beef crockpot chili to go with it.  The BOY loves chili, but he isn’t great about eating leftovers after 2-3 days, so it was a double bonus.  Dinner for the BOY and a side for my cornbread.




    I haven’t found an easy crockpot beef chili recipe that I liked, so I just made up my own, with some input from the BOY of course.  The result was a HUGE success!

    Into the Crockpot:

    1 lb ground beef

    1 can dark red beans

    1 can black beans

    1 can pinto beans in chili sauce

    1 steam bag of corn



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    Your chili seasonings:

    Chili powder



    Red pepper flakes

    Salt and pepper




    Giving everything a stir when I remembered…








    Can you even make chili without it???


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    Cook according to crockpot directions. 

    Meanwhile, get started on your corn muffins.







    So that when your chili is ready…




    You’ll have something sweet to eat with it!


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    With some leftovers and extras to share with your friends.






    Cutest ToGo box EVER!





    Basic Beef Crockpot Chili

    Trust me, if I can figure out beef chili, it is pretty simple

    Plus, this recipe has the BOY’s seal of approval on taste!



    1 lb 85/15 ground beef

    1 onion, diced

    1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

    1 bag steamed or 1 can corn

    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

    1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

    1 can pinto beans in chili sauce

    1 cup water

    Optional: chili or adobo peppers for heat.

    Chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper



    Cook beef on a heated skillet, sprayed with cooking spray until browned.  Drain and place beef in crockpot.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, adjusting seasonings to taste.  Set per crockpot instructions. 

    Tastes even better Day 2.  Freezes well.



    Sweet Corn Bread (or Muffins)

    From All Recipes.com


      • 1 cup all-purpose flour

      • 1 cup cornmeal

      • 1/4 cup sugar

      • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

      • 1/2 teaspoon salt

      • 1 egg, lightly beaten

      • 1 cup sour cream

      • 1/3 cup milk

      • 1/4 cup butter, melted


            • In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

            • Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

            NOTE: When making muffins, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins!

            Easy Taco Soup

            Another rainy Sunday…perfect for soup!  This recipe is really easy and takes no time at all.  I wrote out the whole recipe below, but you can totally make this your own.  This time around,  I didn’t have any white beans and certainly wasn’t heading out of the house, so I doubled the black beans.  I also had a request for a spicier soup, so I added some jalapeno peppers.

            I decided to let my chopper do the work on my onion.

            Then I sautéed my onion for about 5 minutes until soft and fragrant.  I added the other ingredients on top and then the chicken broth (I recommend low sodium).

            The BOY helped me pick out some stronger peppers at the store.  I decided to cut them and add them to the soup.  I only used a few, and the soup was much spicier.  I am happy I channeled my inner food network star and remembered to taste the soup as I went.

            I don’t like refried beans, so I have never added them to the soup.  I also shared this recipe with a friend who added turkey meat and made it more of a chili.  Delish!  Don’t be afraid to get creative!


            Taco Soup



            1 large onion, chopped
            1 package of taco seasoning
            2 cups whole kernel corn (use frozen or canned)
            1 container fat free chicken broth

            1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
            1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
            1 can fat free refried beans
            1 can diced tomatoes
            1 can spicy seasoned tomatoes, like tomatoes with jalapeno



            Sauté onion until soft in a large pot sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Add the other ingredients to pot and simmer 30 – 40 minutes.  Freezes well!

            Game Day

            Da’ Bears!  I am dressed and ready for the game.  I’ve got my jersey on and Chicken Tortilla Soup in the crock pot.

            As you might have noticed, I don’t have many original recipes.  I went looking for a healthy and low-sodium recipe one day and instead put a few ideas together to create this soup.  Luckily, I wrote it down and added it to my recipe book for the next time.  So here is my version of a healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup.

            Start by gathering ingredients.

            Start by chopping 1 onion and 1 green pepper.  Saute with garlic until soft and fragrant 5-7 minutes.  Stir in chili powder (about 1 tablespoon).

            Meanwhile, season 1 pound of chicken breast with salt and pepper.  Heat in pan over medium heat until both sides are cooked (about 5 minutes on each side) before placing the chicken in the crock pot sprayed with Pam.

            Add ingredients to crock pot…

            4 cups low sodium chicken broth

            1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

            Onion and pepper mixture

            1 bag of steamed corn

            1 can of low sodium diced tomatoes

            1 can diced mild green chilis (can substitute spicier chilis per taste)

            1 jar of salsa

            Taco seasoning

            Stir everything together and set per crock pot instructions.

            Dinner will be ready in just a few hours.  I like to serve my soup with cheese, chips, and avocado.  Hopefully, we’ll be celebrating a BEARS victory.  Enjoy!


            PS. I got so excited about my football game that I totally forgot to add…about an hour before the soup is done, shred the chicken with two forks, return to crock pot, and cook another hour or so!  Now you can enjoy!