Every now and then I love a little real-talk blogging. Today is one of those days.
The past year has been full of life-altering changes for me. I’ve shed many layers from my life…. and can I just admit that it’s all been incredibly difficult?! I’ve started my own business, traveled at least a week out of every month, lived in three states, and have literally been pulling my hair out trying to figure out where this is all leading to!
So what does this translate into? Basically working insane hours and jeopardizing A LOT. Honestly it’s been a complete struggle. I’m sure it’s something you might be able to relate to: failure, disappointments, and well… whatever life throws at you. Of course, I’m a huge believer that everything happens for a reason. My passion for success and a career in food pushes me every single day to keep pursuing my dream no matter how many times I fail. And trust me, I fail more than you know! My list of unsuccessful ventures will always be longer anything I accomplish; it will be for all of us. However, these failures push you to become better and to learn.
In a sense, I feel as though I’m in the middle of a transformation. I’m trusting my intuition and regardless of how difficult it becomes or what disappointments I find myself in, I’m both blessed and thankful to be on this journey.
So my question to you, is what pushes you to be the best you can be? What drives you to be better than you were yesterday?
I’m just a twenty-four year old girl who is literally obsessed with food, styling, photography and the inspiration I find in every day life. I’m not here to pretend I’m perfect in any way, because I’m not. I’m just explicitly in love with sharing my passion with you.
Oh sorry, that’s a bit obvious and this is getting preachy. Excuse me, let’s get to the FOOD!
I am having a love affair with Zac Efron. Not like an actual affair, just one that lives in my mind. He’s just SO ridiculously good-looking! I feel like if I baked him chicken he’d feel the same way about me.
Anyway this whole Zac Efron thing stemmed from watching The Lucky One for the second time. I know, poor movie choice. The only excuse I can come up with is that Valentine’s Day is around the corner and I just so happen to be a sucker for anything romantic. So sue me!
Besides good-looking men, my other obsessions this week include peanut butter and jelly chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s, lentil soup, and green beans with garlic. Yum, yum, yummmmmm. Seriously I could write a book about the intricacies of garlic and how I slather it in and on just about anything you can imagine.
I was just thinking about how much has changed this past year. I mean isn’t it a bit exhilarating how fast life happens? We’re learning tough truths, letting go of the things that are out of our control, and heck, we’re growing and changing!
Last year I was working on the east coast. I barely had any time to blog and was struggling with what I wanted to do with my life. I referred to it as my early quarter life crisis. It was like when Felicity had to choose Ben or Noah, and decided to become an artist (seriously, go buy all the seasons of Felicity). Anyway, it wasn’t until I was completely lost did I discover my passion that I absolutely had to pursue. It was so obvious at that point: food is the recipe to my heart and happiness! I love creating it, photographing it, and eating it.
I know I talk a lot about following your dreams and living your passion, but that’s because I completely believe in it! Helping you, whether it’s in your kitchen or in your life is essentially apart of my success.
Today’s success comes in the form of soup. A soup that I’m completely in love with. Of course, I’m in love with a lot of things, but simple soup fills me up with contentment. Adding crispy lime and salt studded corn tortilla chips on top just makes it that much better.
Hi! It’s been a while and I apologize for not blogging as frequent. My site has been having issues lately, but just know that we’re working hard to get all of the kinks fixed, so hopefully it will be running faster soon!
Besides that I think we should catch up. You know, just chat about life and such.
Lately I’ve been trying to get back into eating oatmeal for breakfast (I act like it takes effort to eat healthy?), working up to a faster mile, teaching myself new cooking techniques, baking fall goodies, and of course, organizing my life. I’ve been really wanting to get better at blogging more and I have a million recipes written down; it’s just that writing and editing tends to always take up more time then I expect it to.
Anyway this recipe has been just waiting for you, begging to be cooked. Like for an entire week! I mean, now that it’s October, I feel like I can really break out the pumpkin recipes, comfort food, and oh my goodness… all of the delicious treats involving brown butter just scribbled on my chocolate-stained notebook.
Last week I was craving comfort; warm; ooey-gooey goodness that would make me sink into a food coma in a very good way. But what was it going to be?
I searched around the kitchen. There was a roasted chicken in the fridge, canned pumpkin that was begging to be used, and those million dollar mexican spices (garlic, cumin, chili powder, etc).
It’s a bit obvious what happened, right?
I shredded the chicken to bits and pieces.
During college I was in love with a salad from a local restaurant. It was always refreshing, consistent, and filling! My best girlfriends and I ate it at least once a week — it was our favorite! I swear the waiters began to know us by name, but that MIGHT have been because we always took at least 10 of the free lollipops they set out in a large bucket. I don’t know why we thought free meant endless supply?
Anyway ordering dirty martinis and a chopped salad with no bacon and dressing on the side was our tradition.
I do have a little advice for you: always eat food before martinis. Seriously remember that.
So, what’s a chopped salad anyway?
It’s simply a salad that includes fresh produce and ingredients that have been ‘chopped’ (or just cut up to fairly equal size), then the salad is typically tossed together. Flavors can be adjusted and dressing may be used. Chopped salads are very popular in restaurants as they make the perfect lighter meal.
I know the question you want to ask me. And the answer is YES, you will look like Heidi Klum if you eat salads like this for dinner… every night… for the rest of your life.
To make the salad I started with fresh romaine hearts then I added protein: pulled chicken breast and chickpeas. The rest? Grilled sweet corn (or whatever you have on hand), fresh grape tomatoes, avocado, crumbled goat cheese, and fresh chopped cilantro. Then tossed (or drizzled) with any dressing you desire. I drizzled mine with my favorite BBQ sauce; it was heavenly.
Seriously this salad is just GOOD. It makes you feel good. In fact I’m starting to think it even makes good things happen. Just the other day I found $20 I never knew I had. Yesterday I made the best banana bread I have EVER made in my life. Today I had an amazing meeting! Oh, and I’ll be traveling again soon!
In any case, I need to eat more chopped salads. That way I can eat more cake.
You see how my brain thinks? It a vicious cycle.
There’s something about pizza that’s irresistible.
Who can just stop at one slice? Especially kids! Seriously, put a large pizza in front of two kids and it will be gone in approximately 5 minutes… then they’ll want cupcakes immediately after. How do they do it?! Bottomless stomachs.
I’d love to go back to that carefree world and eat a whole pizza for breakfast.
I’m being serious here.
I ate bagel bites alllll the time when I was a kid. Cute, delicious little pizza bagels is what they were. And let’s not forget about stuffed crust pizza! Too good. But please NEVER eat a pizza crust stuffed with hot dogs… that’s just disturbing.
As perfect as pizza can be, in any shape or form, I’ve never been a huge fan pepperoni; however, I made a spicy pepperoni tomato sauce, spooned it on top of skillet chicken, and topped it with mozzarella cheese. MIND BLOWING is what it is.
WHAT? The sauce is DAMN good. Quite possibly now the love of my life. No big deal though, I’ll walk you through the deliciousness so you can experience it for yourself in less than 30 minutes!
First we start with the best ingredients for the best sauce: roasted garlic pasta sauce (any type of tomato sauce would work such as marinara), fresh minced garlic, pepperoni, oregano, and fresh basil.
Saute pepperoni and fresh garlic for a few minutes. Savor the smells.
Note: I used turkey pepperoni; it tastes the same but has half the fat and calories of regular pepperoni. You can usually find it at your local grocery store.
Next, add your pasta sauce to the pan and add oregano.
Look at that steam rising!
Add red pepper flakes if you desire to make the sauce spicy, otherwise you can leave them out.
But please do add them. My motto: Spice up your food, spice up your life!
Now we add in the million dollar basil. Stir, and get a little obsessed.
Set the sauce aside. Sprinkle chicken with black pepper and cook in a skillet until golden brown and juices run clear.
Once chicken is cooked, spoon the pepperoni sauce on top. Resist the urge to just eat the sauce by the spoonful. I have no willpower sometimes.
Add cheese and place the skillet under the broiler for two minutes.
Remove and garnish fresh basil leaves, extra cheese, and/or extra red pepper flakes!
Even though I’m not a parent, I know that it can be difficult to find healthy meals that kids will enjoy. Just trust me on this: put something in front of them that tastes like pizza, and you’re golden. Using reduced-fat cheese and turkey pepperoni makes it even better for them and you!
Of course there are endless possibilities with this: Throw it on top of pasta or stuff it in a whole wheat pita (pita pizza)!
It’s a truly simple, healthy weeknight dinner that can be whipped together in a flash. I’m all about that.
Something else I’m all about? That Magic Mike movie. Drool.
Skillet Chicken with Spicy Pepperoni-Tomato Sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
20 slices pepperoni (I used turkey), coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups healthy tomato pasta sauce*
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
Ahhhhhhhh! I’ve been so completely busy lately.
Today I competed in a Chinese take-out cook-off. It was amazing to see the turn out and all of the creative dishes.
We were required to make 250 samples. I know… that’s a lot of freakin’ samples! I spent my Saturday night chopping, dicing, and listening to Bon Iver. I was totally in the zone. There is something about the combination of music and food that leaves me feeling completely content. I mean, I LOVE creating dishes more than anything in the world. Music tunes out everything else. I end up being happiest in my brain thinking about flavor combinations.