Grilled Chicken and Corn Summer Salad

salad and artichoke

Good afternoon and Happy Friday everyone!!! I have been so darn busy and have neglected my blog as of late and I apologize for that. With summer just around the corner, we are all wanting those bikini bod’s 😉 so I am posting a delicious, filling, and healthy salad that I made. Skinnytaste is one of my favorite places to pull recipes from because they are delicious yet healthy. I followed this recipe pretty closely, but decided to grill the corn to make it a little more ‘summer-esque’ if you will. I grilled the corn about 15 minutes (until it was charred on all sides) and then cut it off the cob into the salad. You could really make this recipe your own- whether you sub black beans for chick peas, add cucumber, scrap the onion if you have a hot date- the skies the limit on this salad!

I paired our salad with an artichoke because how can you not? They are in season, at the farmers market every Saturday, healthy, and delicious 🙂 Maybe enjoy it with a nice glass of white wine? I didn’t have any on hand so yes, that is a cider beer in a wine glass.

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo,

Jamie

Quinoa Chicken Enchilada Bake- DO NOT HIT BACK

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Good afternoon all! If I saw the words ‘Quinoa Bake’ a month ago, I most likely would have just exited and moved on, but I am TELLING YOU this is the most delicious quinoa bake I have ever had. My husband, who absolutely despises quinoa loved this recipe, so you should definitely give it a go. There are many different recipes out there for this type of bake, but I followed a recipe (thanks Betty Crocker) that I personally think is full of flavor and easy. If you are cooking for 2-4 people you are sure to have leftovers, and lots of them!

I will say this- I substituted the shredded chicken for grilled chicken that I chopped. I marinaded the chicken for two hours, then just grilled it, chopped it, and added it to the recipe above. I think it helped this recipe drastically texturally. The red enchilada sauce is probably good too, however, I put in the Hatch Green Chili enchilada sauce for a bit extra spice and tang. You can find it in a can in any grocery store- pictured below so you know what to look for 😉

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The best enchilada sauce you will ever have

This recipe is too tasty and too easy to pass up- I hope you like it!

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo,

Jamie

Chicken Tikka Masala

Hello everyone- for those that follow my Instagram you saw that I made Chicken Tikka Masala for the first time on Sunday evening. I wanted to let you all know it was a huge success and I will definitely be making the recipe again!

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I followed this recipe exactly and it turned out great! I have heard of people substituting the cream for yogurt for a little healthier version (which I might try next time). If you like it a little more spicy, I added Cayenne pepper to mine to add that extra kick.

What I think helped allow my dish to have more of that true Tikka Masala flavor and to also find Basmati Rice, I shopped at a local Middle Eastern market to get my ingredients and spices- which it was also very inexpensive. If you can shop locally, I would- I think it will make for a much better tasting dish.

I did Basmati rice in place of Naan, but either would be delicious. Just as a heads up, you need to soak the Basmati rice for 30 minutes before cooking it so take that into account! Fairly easy dish, lots of flavor, and a happy household 🙂

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo,

Jamie

Casual Friyay Look

casual friday

I just put together a very basic and casual look that anyone can achieve for this somewhat chilly Friday in Denver. I just paired black leggings with a simple pink tee from Express and a scarf that I found at Nordstrom Rack. I wore it with Cheetah print Sperry’s but you could easily wear it with Converse, Vans, or any other cute shoes you may have in your closet!

If you are looking for a new cute pair of gold hoop earrings, you should definitely get the pair below for only $7.78!

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Love these earrings, on sale now!!

28 in a Nutshell

“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”

Hello everyone, I can’t believe we have almost made it to Friday- yahoo! Yesterday was my 29th birthday, and I felt like I needed to do a little reflection on the past year of my life. I truly am still in shock that this is my last year of my 20’s, AH! 

28 was one of my most memorable years yet. The biggest highlight being that this was the year I became a mom for the first time to little miss Brooklyn Ann. This year there was a lot that was out of my control and put into the hands of God. Through faith and prayers we were blessed with a healthy baby girl in September. I overcame numerous trials and came to realize the amount of strength I have within me. I have never been tested as much as I have over the last year, and am truly stronger than I ever thought imaginable. After being home with Brookyln for three months, I had the courage to quit my corporate job so I could take on one of the most important jobs in my opinion- raising my daughter. My birthday last year I was four months pregnant with no clue how much my life was going to change in the coming months. My birthday this year, I have a seven month old daughter who brings me more joy than I have ever experienced or thought possible. 

The word ‘blessed,’ to me, is an over-used phrase and as I sat up in bed last night after what was a hands-down perfect and special day, I couldn’t come up with a better word for how I feel about my life. I am so very beyond blessed- with incredible family, friendships, job, health, and happiness.

In a previous post I wrote about how good friends are hard to find, and with a precious few, you should hold on. This last year I have been blessed with the best friends I could have ever asked for (near and far). I am surrounded by the most thoughtful, loving, and caring friends who have been with me through thick and thin. Even my friends without kiddos of their own, love and care so much not only for me, but for little B as well. The amount of love I felt yesterday was unlike any other year- the pictures that were shared, calls, texts, one of my best friends from middle school took me to breakfast, face-times, walks with neighbors etc. were enough to fill my love bucket for years to come. Thank you to everyone who reached out- I feel extremely fortunate to have you in my life.

For my family, I can’t thank you enough for all that you do for me. I have an extremely loving and caring husband, daughter, fur baby, parents, sister, brother,  in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. They have been there for me through the biggest trials from the past year and I can always count on them. I was overjoyed to spend the afternoon with my parents, sister, nephews, and daughter sharing laughs and love around the lunch table. I then came home to be spoiled and pampered by my husband and daughter with a fun family pizza night, cheesecake, singing, laughing, dancing, and a big celebration to top off the night. 

I can’t thank everyone enough for their love and support over the last year. 28 is a year for the books and will be a huge milestone for me forevermore. I love you all so much and can’t wait to see what this next year will bring- Bring it on 29!!! You have a lot to live up to 😉

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo,

Jamie

5 Ingredient Lo Mein Recipe- Quick and Easy

TGIF everyone! I wanted to share a VERY easy and quick recipe that I have been making a few times over the past week 🙂

Lo Mein

Tasty beef lo mein- can be made with chicken too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle Makoto Ginger dressing
  • 3-4 cups frozen stir-fry vegetable mix
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken or beef
  • 2 packages ramen noodles (no seasoning packets)
  • 1.5 cups chicken or beef broth
  • Scallions and Sriracha for topping
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This is the dressing I use- found at Safeway or King Soopers

Instructions:

  1. Cut chicken or steak into bite-sized cubes
  2. Marinade chicken or beef with ginger dressing (at least one hour, up to overnight).
  3. Heat skillet over medium-high heat and add in meat and marinade and cook thoroughly.
  4. Remove meat to plate once cooked.
  5. Add frozen veggies to the skillet with the leftover marinade- add more if need be.
  6. Cook veggies until fully thawed.
  7. Add in two ramen noodle packages (no seasoning) and cover them with cooked veggies.
  8. Add 1.5 cups chicken or beef broth. Cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  9. Add back in meat and combine until everything is hot.
  10. Top with scallions and Sriracha and enjoy!

What’s your fit?

Fitness

I think that weight and self-image are a constant battle for many people, myself included. We are always striving to ‘lose weight’ or get ‘skinny’ or get in shape for that ‘summer bod.’ I think that the media has skewed our vision of what the average person can and should look like. We are bombarded with the image of these tiny models and we all think we need to look the same in order to be pretty.

News flash- these models might look ‘skinny’ but at what cost? They aren’t ever allowed a french fry, or ranch dressing, a burger, pizza, dessert, a cocktail, and the list goes on. I’m not sure about you, but having the ability to eat what I want brings me a lot of happiness 🙂 I think that there should be a happy medium between eating healthy majority of the time but not necessarily ALL the time. It’s following the 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time, but save up for that 20% where you can eat those delicious (not so healthy) foods. This allows you to live a life worth living. These models and celebrities are society’s example of ‘skinny’ but how is that word even defined? People are constantly trying to achieve this ideal weight they see in magazines or on TV and it just isn’t realistic.

In addition to eating right (majority of the time), I think that fitness plays an important role in staying healthy (notice I didn’t say skinny). Since having a baby seven months ago, I have fought hard to get back into my pre-pregnancy shape. I have been eating healthier foods more often, and I have since gotten back into a gym routine where I workout 3-5 days per week. Now that I have a little girl looking up to me as her mama, I need to make sure that I give her the confidence and positive body image that she should have through my own actions and lead by example. I have made a conscious effort not to talk about getting ‘skinny’ or ‘losing weight’ but rather to be healthy and a strong woman. I think it is important as we become role models for our kids to be positive about our bodies no matter the shape or size. We need to build confidence in ourselves which then shows them to be confident and love the body they have.

Fit to me is getting strong so that I can tote around my little girl everywhere I go. To show her the strength and confidence I have about my own body so that hopefully that same strength and confidence is passed through to her as she gets older and feels pressure to be ‘skinny’ or look like her favorite celebrity. My daughter has been the biggest reason I have changed the way I treat and talk about my body- she will follow my example, not my advice.

You’re only given one body, and your job is to love the one you’re in. What is your fit?

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo,

Jamie

Disney World Vacation

For those that follow me, you know my last family travel day was a disaster with the baby and delays 🙂 whereas this one, was a breeze! We went to Disney World to celebrate my in-laws 60th birthdays and had such a great trip!

It was filled with busy days in the park, dining out in Epcot, delicious drinks from ‘around the world’, firework shows, and a whole lot of fun.

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We traveled with less baggage this time, but were way more prepared 🙂

You live and you learn and last trip I checked a stroller rather than bringing it through security and had the 5 hour delay. This time I brought a light-weight stroller and gate checked it and it made it very easy to transport Brooklyn through the airport.

The first day in Disney we toured Magic Kingdom and rode all of the fun rides in the park like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and more of the Disney favorites. We dined out in Epcot for dinner, saw the Gin Blossoms concert (which was incredible) and a firework show.

The second day we did Epcot where Brooklyn was able to go on lots of different rides, watch her daddy scuba dive in the Seas with Nemo and friends, lots of fun places to walk around and see, dined out in Epcot again, and we got to see a fun firework show.

The third day we went to Hollywood Studios and got to ride all of the crazy roller coasters like Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and go on some fun rides about famous films. It was Easter Sunday and they had lots of fun scavenger hunts for the kids, the Easter bunny delivering Easter baskets in the hotel, and was really a fun day for the families there. We had such a fun trip to Disney and lucked out with great weather in the 80’s and one big (7-month-old) trooper

A couple of Tips for WDW if you are planning a trip:

It was a very happy 60th birthday celebration for my mother-in-law and father-in-law with lots of fun family time in Disney World. I enjoyed getting a day to spend in each of the three parks we chose and would highly recommend doing it that way for anyone contemplating going to Disney World. It gave us enough time to ride the rides we wanted, but also didn’t make us feel like we needed to stay there all afternoon into the evening every night. If you are booking a trip to Disney anytime soon, make sure to make dinner reservations for each night you are there if you are dining in the parks as they get super busy and crowded! Fast passes were a huge help and you can start organizing which rides you want to use the fast pass on once you buy your tickets. The popular rides with long wait times I would definitely get a fast pass for- ie: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, the new Frozen ride, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror. Make sure to bring lots of sunscreen, a couple hats, and sunglasses. If you are 21+ years of age, you cannot miss the frozen coconut pineapple Sake drink in Japan in Epcot- it was by far, my favorite drink I think I have ever had! This trip was much more fun because of the planning that took place ahead of time- get your tickets, start deciding on fast passes, and make those dinner reservations!

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo

Jamie

Hearty Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew

Tuscan Stew

Delicious and rich tuscan stew for a chilly evening

Happy mid-week! With the chillier temperatures rolling in and out this week I wanted to provide a hearty stew to enjoy before we get to summer and all the grilling weather. I learned how to make this recipe in a cooking class with my mom and sister 🙂

It is a super rich stew so you definitely would want a salad or some side to break up the richness.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 lbs boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces, tossed in flour
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 large celery ribs, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (1 tablespoon if you do dried)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bottle fruity, dry red wine, Chianti or Merlot
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth (more as needed)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced Italian plum tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons minced fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Place pancetta in a large dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and pancetta is crispy (6-8 minutes). Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. oil to dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Season beef generously on all sides with salt and pepper and add some flour to the beef. Place in Dutch oven and cook until beef is well browned on all sides (7-9 minutes). Transfer beef to mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. oil to dutch oven. Add onion, carrot, and celery, cooking and stirring occasionally until golden brown (8-10 minutes).
  4. Add garlic and rosemary and cook stirring often for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook stirring often for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste, stir often for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add wine, beef broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, 3 tbsp. parsley, and meat stirring well to combine.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover Dutch oven and simmer until meat is tender (about 2.5-3 hours adding 1/4 cups of additional beef broth if stew becomes dry.
  8. Divide stew into bowls, top with reserved pancetta, and parsley. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I really enjoyed the wine I used as it made a great tasting soup, but is also a nice sipping wine 😉

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Fattoria il Palagio wine for the stew

Friendships- When to Let Go

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. The older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

I know we’ve all been there- wondering how or why you lost a friend. As I’ve gotten older, I have found that there are always people put in your life for what you need at that time. Growing up, you have a few best friends and as you mature through high school and college you have lots of acquaintances, but fewer and fewer close friends. This quote rings true on so many levels. I have made some incredible friendships over the past couple of years, and I have also lost some friends over these years. The friendships I have held onto from college, high school, and middle school are some of my strongest friendships I have. These are the friends who have known me almost my entire life! They know the young girl who poured her heart into sports, stressed about every test in school, dealt with heartbreaks as they came, laughed uncontrollably, loved slumber parties, had way too much fun throughout college, they know me at my absolute worst and my best, and yet they still love me (this includes family- my parents, my siblings, my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents). I am always so thankful to have these precious few friendships that date all the way back to those young, stress-free years. I have reconnected with several of my wonderful friends from middle and high school and it is always like no time has passed and we pick up where we left off. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful friends who have touched and changed my life for the better. You come to realize that “sometimes your circle decreases in size, but increases in value”. I’m always stumped as to why some friendships come to an end, but honestly, you don’t have the time to sit and dwell or wonder. I have come to realize that my life is no different without that person in it. I need people in my life that make a difference. Not many of my friends are moms yet, but they understand my life has a changed a little with having a baby and still want to be a part of it. They love my daughter, but they also know that I can leave her with daddy and have a fun night out. Friendship is a two-way street, and as we get older and mature, we don’t have time for the friendships that aren’t bringing us happiness or take too much to nurture. We all have our own lives to live and life changes, and its important to “understand that people change and sometimes they are no longer compatible with our lives. We just have to learn to accept it and move on”. Friends are such an important piece of our lives and as we get older, it is important that you know people from when you were young. Throughout the trials in life and the deck of cards you have been dealt, these friends remain constant- and know the you in which you were raised and haven’t wavered too far. They help keep you in check 🙂

As a person who has wondered why some friendships haven’t lasted, don’t waste too much of your time or energy wondering why. Keep on moving and put the time and effort into the relationships you love and care for. “God puts people in your life for a reason, and removes them from your life for a better reason.” I have been told that friends are the family you get to choose, or the ‘siblings God forgot to give you”. Be picky of these friendships- and know how important these friendships are throughout your life. ❤

Chat with you all soon!

xoxo

Jamie