Crockpot Tortilla Soup

While I’m sitting here hoping the winter weather is gone for good, I’m also making sure I stay prepared.  Yesterday, I pulled out my good friend, the crockpot.  Still maintaining the dairy-free/paleo mind set, I browsed through a few recipes to figure out one for my own {a.k.a. what’s going to be my easiest and cheapest option based on what I already have at home}.  This recipe is great because it’s flexible.  Notice how I didn’t put any “meat” in the title?  While I used chicken for this recipe, you can also sub ground beef or turkey.  In terms of what makes soup “soupy”, I also noticed that there was essentially a 2:1 ratio between any tomato-based ingredient {salsa, diced tomatoes, tomato paste} and water or chicken broth/stock.  You’ll get more of an idea of what I mean when you see the ingredients.

Aaaaaaand because I already knew that it tasted good, I based most of the ingredients off of my Paleo Stuffed Pepper Recipe !!!

Ingredients:: {4-6 Servings}

1 lb of frozen chicken {***I add the chicken in frozen and it’s easily shreddable once you’re ready to eat.  You can also sub this with 1 lb of ground turkey or ground beef, just make sure you brown the ground meat in a skillet first***}
3 Bell Peppers, diced and sliced {any color you want!}
1 onion {red or yellow will work}
1 jalapeno, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced {I’m a garlic freak, I like to add 3}
2 cups of salsa {I used the original salsa from Trader Joe’s…remember, here you can also used diced tomatoes, etc…have fun with it!}
1 cup of water {**check the 2:1 ratio here as well, remember you can sub any of the options I listed above, just keep the ratio}
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp of oregano {dried and crushed}
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes

Plus diced avocado for topping.  This can get slightly spicy depending on what you decide to use, the avocado does a great job cooling it off {a little}.

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients above in a crockpot {minus the avocado} on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Viola!

Now, like I said, you can get pretty creative with this.  Just imagine using a fruity salsa instead!  Some kind of peachy, pineappley, mango-ey {not sure about the spelling here}, instead of a basic tomato based salsa.  As I’m typing this, I’m already coming up with a new crockpot idea…and I’m getting hungry.  That’s what cooking is all about, aside from being healthy, it’s also all about having fun and being creative!

This is also a very freezable recipe, so it’s perfect all around!

What are some of your favorite crockpot recipes?  What are some of your favorite salsas?

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#FiveThingsSF {February 27, 2015}

It’s Friday, people! Unfortunately for most snow day hopeful’s, pretty much all of the anticipated 7-10 inches is no more {only ended up getting about 2 Wednesday night into Thursday morning}.  No matter…time to talk/think about what your Five Things for the week are!

Deez are mine:

Not Being on My Death Bed

Although I had a tragically scary 48 hours to kick off the week, I am so thankful at how quickly I have recovered…

Now, what to do with all that jello and ginger ale…

You’re lying if you say that alcohol related activities didn’t immediately spring to your mind.


Almond Milk Dirty Chai @ Smellycat

The Smellycat Coffeehouse in NODA has quickly become my go-to coffee shops in Charlotte.  Partly because of location, but also because of how awesome it is.  My favorite bev is easily their Dirty Chai, made instead with almond milk.  If you’re ever in the area, I suggest giving it a try!  Also, don’t be afraid to ask the coffee shop that you’re visiting for their dairy-free alternatives.  They should be up with the times at this point!

If you’re just at home, don’t forget to give my dairy-free chai tea “latte” a try either.

P.S.- Dirty Chai = Chai Tea Latte + shot of espresso

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

This will always and forever be my favorite lipstick of all time.  It’s literally perfect.  The application is easy, it stays all day {no matter how much you eat or drink}, and you’ll get many a compliment while it’s worn.  Trust me, I know.

I recently wore my “Beso Red #10” while in Huntington and quickly remembered why I love it so much.

I’ll be honest, I’m a huge make-up girl in the sense that I appreciate quality in my products over quantity.  For my day to day, the main reason why I wear any make up at all is to cover up my stupid pre-teen skin and to look like I’m awake.  {Like we’ve covered…body of 25 year old, skin of a 13 year old}.  However, I do love a good excuse to get all glammed up and go do fun things.  My favorite go-to “fun” makeup?  Lipstick.

My favorite lipstick line used to be anything MAC, but this Stila definitely takes the cake.  The Stay All Day line doesn’t have as many color options as MAC, but for what I try to go for, I prefer the Stila.  Expect a full write up soon.

House of Cards

Need I say more?  House of Cards is here, people!!!  Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.  I watched the most recent season finale last night just as refresher, and I am so excited this is back!  If you’re worried you’re going to ruin your life and binge watch it all over the weekend then feel empty and depressed until the next season comes out {because let’s be honest, Netflix releasing something like this all at once totally feeds into our glutonous “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie” culture, and we all buy into it}, do what I do.  Exhibit an ounce of self control, stay off spoiler alert blogs, and limit yourself to one to two episodes a day.  I have to do this with Orange Is The New Black.  As long as YOU can control YOURSELF, it’s a much healthier way to indulge in this quite tantalizing masterpiece.

Source

Kevin Spacey is the man.  In life, and in this show.


Reusable Wine Tote

I’ve had this baby for awhile but I have just recently been using it again and remembered why I love it.  I’m all about reusable bags when grocery shopping, so why not take it to other aspects of life?  This is a  Scout reusable wine tote.  So, when you’re going to a friend’s/picnic/whatever, just slip your bottle of wine into this sturdy, fashionable tote and you’re good to go!

I last used this tote when I went over to my friend, Emily’s, for Valentine’s Dinner.  It’s cute and cheap.  This rings in at only $7.50, and there are a variety of patterns and colors to choose from.  They even have insulated bags, as well as bags that are built to hold more than one bottle!

You would never know that there’s a bottle of wine in here, would you?  Though, if I’m the one carrying it, that’s safe to assume…

Okay now your turn, list your Five Things for the week by commenting below or using the hashtag #FiveThingsSF on any social media platform!

What are your Five Things for the week?  Happy Friday, all!

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I was not compensated for any product recommendations on this page, all thoughts are my own.

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Homemade Salmon Burger How-To

Like I promised last week on Insta, today I’m going to share my Salmon Burger recipe with you!

It’s surprisingly super easy, and amazingly delicious!  I was so proud of myself when I was done.  This recipe was actually inspired by my most recent “Durham Costco trip” with my Mom when I was home the other week.  I love cooking salmon as a dish {Alaskan salmon only!}, with a side of veggies and maybe some cauliflower rice.  However, I’ve never really experimented with canned salmon.  Canned tuna?  Yes.  Canned salmon?  No.  But could they really be much different?  While we were at Costco, I stumbled upon a super pack of canned salmon {of course, it’s Costco}.  Jumping at any chance to be creative, I decided to get it and go from there.

It’s that “buy now ask questions later” mentality that can get me in trouble at the grocery store…or the mall…or when impulsively buying heels.  Which, I would like to point out I haven’t done in a long time.  No worries here, Mom and Dad.

So, I have a couple of “canned salmon uses” on the docket, that I will share in due time.  For now, let’s go over the Salmon Burger!

Note:  I don’t see why this recipe couldn’t be used with raw/smoked salmon, as long as you have 16 oz. worth.

Ingredients: {makes 2 salmon burgers}

1 16oz can of salmon
1 egg
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp of dill
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of parsley {can be dried or fresh}
2 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
A pinch each of salt and black pepper
Cooking oil of choice, here I used olive oil spray on my grill pan

Directions:

1.  Drain the can of salmon, and empty the meaty contents into a mixing bowl.  Heat skillet or grill pan over medium heat with oil.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients into the same bowl and mix well {hands can be used here}.

3.  Once the ingredients are mixed well, divide evenly and shape into two patties.  Place on heated pan.

4.  Cook on each side until cooked through to your preference.  With my grill pan I ended up flipping a few times since this was my first try, but I spent about 5-7 minutes on each side.  Keep and eye on them though!

5.  Once they’re cooked, decorate it however you like!  Add it to a bun with some lettuce and tomato, or garnish it with some arugala like I did here!

I love arugala, especially with fish.  It’s such a “peppery” little addition.  With this arugala I added a Tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice {so, pretty much the juice from a slice of lemon} some crushed black pepper, and a drop of olive oil.  Then I mixed it together and used it as the bed for my burger.

NIGHT NIGHT SALMON BURGER…welcome to ma belly.

Next time you have a burger craving, give this recipe a try {with the canned salmon, it really doesn’t even taste “fishy”, if that’s your main concern}.  It’s a great substitution for any greasy, beefy burger!

Have you guys ever made salmon burgers before?  What do you like to top your burgers with?

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Dairy Free Chai Tea Latte

Like we’ve covered on so many posts before, for health purposes I avoid dairy when I can.  It’s not an allergy per say, but I was finding it was doing some funky things with my body, so I cut it out.  {{I’m sure I sound like a broken record about this at this point}}.

Anywho, I LOVE Chai Tea Lattes.  I even like a Dirty Chai every now and then when I need an extra pick-me-up {Chai Tea Latte + shot of espresso}.  Before my non-dairy ways, I was all about that Starbucks Nonfat Chai Tea Latte.  Recently I’ve had to change my ways.  There are a lot of awesome coffee shops around Charlotte that offer alternatives like soy and almond milk for that CTL {and it’s way cheaper that Sbux}, but what about when I want one at home?  For years I’ve tried and failed to master this creation.  Then one day while grocery shopping, I had an epiphany.

Keep in mind, this is a similar, homemade alternative to the Chai Tea Latte.  I don’t have an espresso machine or one of those handheld latte foamers…yet {<—–gift idea, anyone?}.  However, when you want to make one for yourself in the comfort of your own home, this is an excellent alternative.  It also cuts down on the amount of sugars and sweeteners you would normally come across at your run of the mill coffee shop.

You’ll surprisingly just need a few simple ingredients…

Black Spiced Chai Tea Bags, Coconut Creamer, Organic Sweetened Agave Nectar, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and boiling water.

Yes, that’s really it!  I clearly have a Trader Joe’s problem, but any of these ingredients could be found at your local grocery store.  I’ve tried almond milk and other milk alternatives in the past, but it never dawned on me to use alternative dairy creamer.

Here are the quantities:

1 Black Spiced Chai Tea Bag
8oz/1 mug of boiling water {I never actually measure this out to be honest, just leave room for cream}
1/2-1 Tbsp of Organic Agave Nectar {depends on how sweet you want it, I prefer 3/4 Tbsp but I know that’s being difficult}
2-3 Tbsp of Coconut Creamer {again, up to you on the exact measurements}
1 tsp of ground cinnamon to top
1/4-1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg to top

I’m all about finding what works for you.  I like to give approximations on recipes like this to let you know that you can hit anywhere within these numbers and not “mess it up”.

And now for the steps:

1.  Steep tea bag in boiling water for 5 minutes/according to packaging instructions

2.  Remove and strain the tea bag.

3.  Add the agave nectar and coconut creamer.

4.  Top it off with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and you’re all set!

Don’t you just love the mug?  I found it at IKEA.

So, next time you’re at home and you’re craving a Chai Tea Latte sans-dairy, give this a shot!

Let me know what you think!  How do you make dairy free Chai Tea Latte’s?

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Afternoon Snack– Acai Bowls

Hola mis amigos!  A little later in the day than usual, but I wanted to pop in to share my new favorite afternoon snack with you— Acai Bowls!

The Acai {pronounced ah-sigh-EE} Berry has gained it’s popularity over the years for being one of the “superfoods”.  Taken as a supplement, juice, or in a smoothie, I’m sure many of you have at least heard of it before.  Today’s snack takes the acai berry benefits, turns them into a custard like substance, and allows you to enjoy sans-guilt {depending on what you decide to top it off with, of course}.  From what I’ve seen the most popular meal time for this baby is breakfast.  I on the other hand, don’t really like to consume that much sugar at the beginning of the day.  I’ve been really good this past year to focus on lean proteins and greens for breakfast, as a better way to start my day.  Now, aside from any fruit as a side, when I consume sugars in the morning it doesn’t seem to agree with me.  Quite honestly, it leaves me feeling a little funky.  So I eat my breakfast how I eat my breakfast and then I save this for a snack!

Making the acai bowls is easy, getting ahold of acai {frozen or powder} can prove to be a little more difficult.  Luckily, when I was home and at Costco with my mom, I found this frozen superpack!

You can use the individual frozen packs, or the powder for the bowl.  If you’re using the powder, make sure you’re adding ice cubes to get the fro-yo-like substance!

Here’s how you make it:

In a blender combine the following ingredients:

1 packet of frozen acai
1/2 banana
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup of berries {can be frozen}, for this I used strawberries
1 packed cup of organic spinach leaves {<—not NECESSARY, but why not add this?  Full of great added health benefits and you can’t even tell that it’s there!}

Blend until smooth, and pour in bowl or oversized mug.

See?  It looks almost identical to fro-yo!  Then all you have to do is add the toppings of your choice.

Here I added fresh blueberries, the other 1/2 of the banana, a Tbsp of ground Flax Seed, and the remaining little bits I had left over of my Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seeds from Trader Joe’s {yes, those do exist, and yes, I am basic}.

So there ya have it, my new favorite afternoon snack.  Even though it is freezing outside I still enjoy it, so I guarantee this will be more than refreshing once the warm weather kicks in!

Hope you all have had a great day so far!

Have you ever had acai bowls?  What do you like to add for your toppings?

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Easy-A Omelet How-To

Another round of 5:30 AM Bodypump in the books {can I get a woop-woop}.  It’s a busy day in Christine-land, so I still wanted to make sure I got some form of a workout in before the day started. This morning when I got back from the gym I was STARVING with a capital S-TARVING.  I decided to make an omelet.

There are a variety of ways to make an omelet.  When I do it, I follow the basic steps that I’m about to list below.  In terms of what I put in the omelet, I just include whatever’s in my fridge.  For this omelet I added red onion, sweet peppers, spinach, and mushrooms.  To be honest, exact measurements don’t really matter with me- it’s just a great way to make sure you’re using all of the produce that you’ve purchased.  Grab a small skillet, and I just add the veggies with whatever cooking oil {I used ghee here} until I fill the bottom of the pan.

So ingredients are as listed:

The amount of veggies you need to fill a pan {add a little more spinach than you would think because this will cook down considerably}
Cooking oil of choice
1 egg & 2 egg whites, whisked
A splash of almond milk {with the eggs}
Seasoning {I go with either a little old fashioned S&P or Creole Seasoning}

No matter what kind of omelet you make, always try to include organic baby spinach leaves.  They cook down so easily, and are full of amazing nutritional benefits.  Like I’ve said numerous times before- “they are the Houdini of veggies”.  You can’t taste them, but you know they’re there.

Once the veggies have cooked down over medium heat, add the mixture of egg//egg whites//almond milk to the skillet, top it off with the seasoning.

Cover the pan and allow to cook until the edges are crisp and the top of the omelet looks slightly cooked through.  At this point, use a spatula to flip one half of the “omelet mixture” on to the other.

Continuing to keep the pan covered, flip the omelet over on both sides for about 1-2 minutes.  Until the omelet appears to be cooked through.

Once it’s cooked…enjoy!  I also sauteed up some chicken sausage and toasted some “paleo bread” that I made last week.  The bread is pretty amazing and I will share that will you all later as well.  Right now I don’t have the right sized pan, so my bread slices are looking a little more like bread sticks.

Aaaaand angle numero dos.

Oh yea, and don’t forget the avacad-iiiii!!!

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!  What did you have for breakfast this morning?

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Paleo-Stuffed Bell Peppers w// Citrus Avocado Salad

Yoo-hoo, hi everyone!

As promised on Tuesday, I’ve decided to share the Stuffed Pepper recipe that I created on Monday.  It was scrum-diddily-umptious, and this thing will be forever bookmarked in the invisible, but totally real “Christine’s Go-To Cookbook”.  The cookbook is invisible because it’s not a real thing.  Some recipes memorized, some here on this blog, some oldies on the Rec’s blog. some on Pinterest, some in actual cookbooks, some modified off of ideas I’ve screenshot while perusing the internet/social media {hey, ideas can come from anywhere, why limit yourself?!}  I’ll organize it and put it all together someday.  For now, the invisible go-to cookbook works.

Let’s jump right in!  Enough chit-chat for this week so far {y’all saw my top drawer for cryin’ out loud}…

Ingredients: {Makes 4 Stuffed Peppers}

For the Peppers:

1 lb of ground turkey {or lean beef, your choice}
4 Bell Peppers, any color, with the tops off and seeded
1 15oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 jalapeno, diced {seeds and all}
1/2 cup of red onion, chopped
1/2 cup of mushrooms, chopped {I used organic white button mushrooms, but’s it up to you.  These can also be omitted for allergies or overall dissatisfaction of said fungi}
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp of oregano {dried and crushed}
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes

Additional-  oil of your choice for cooking {I just used olive}, and cheese to top the peppers if you’re feeding someone who’s not into the whole “no-dairy” thing

For the Avocado Salad:

2 avocados, cubed and scooped from the skin
1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lime juice
1/8 cup of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp of diced red onion
Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.  In a large skillet, with preferred oil, saute onion, mushrooms, and jalapeno’s with a pinch of salt.  While these are cooking, take the tops off of the peppers and take out the innards.

If you have time, go ahead and separate the spices into a bowl.

 

2.  Once the onions are translucent and the peppers seem cooked through, add the ground meat and the remaining amount of salt.  After the meat is browned remove everything from pan and drain any excess oil and grease.  Then put back in the skillet.

3.  Add the can of tomato sauce and spices to the skillet and cook down to a thick paste.

4.  While this cooks down, go ahead and line the baking pan with aluminum foil.  It will be hard to get the peppers to stand up on their own, so I used additional foil to make little bottoms for the peppers.

Pepper pants

5.  After about 5 minutes of cooking, evenly spoon the mixture between the four peppers, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

6.  As I mentioned earlier, if you’re cooking for someone that wants cheese on their stuffed pepper {i.e. the frat bros}, then remove peppers from the oven, cover with desired amount of cheese and stick back in the oven for 10 more minutes.  If you’re not adding cheese to any of them, keep the peppers in the oven for 40 minutes total.

Man, even though I don’t eat it that much anymore, there are few things more beautiful than some melted cheese…am I right??

7.  In these remaining 10 minutes, whip together the avocado citrus salad by mixing all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Then use it to top the peppers.

At this point you’re all done.  So clean up, and enjoy!!

Make these tonight.

Remember, if you have extra, you can always eat them for breakfast.

Have you guys ever made stuffed peppers before?  What modifications do you have?

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