Whole30

So I realize that I kind of abandoned this after the holidays (6 months ago…).  Life just got busy and while Matt and I were still cooking delicious things, I just didn’t have time to type up the recipes and remember to take pictures of my food.  But we’re back, because we’re doing a whole30 and if the two of us, who love eating good food, can do this I really do believe anyone can.  We’re on day 6 of our adventure, so stay tuned for how it all pans out.  So far, so good!

I decided the one way to make this work for me is that we have to be cooking delicious meals.  And since I’m spending SO much time searching for recipes, I might as well share the goodness with everyone!  I also have a whole30 pinterest board where I’ve been trying to save ideas.  I think there’s a way for you to find and follow that, I just don’t know how….

Well, here’s what we’ve been doing so far:

Breakfasts have been pretty basic – eggs.  I’ve had to figure out how to drink my coffee black (no dairy or added sweeteners allowed), and I did find the ones way to make bulletproof coffee so it’s more foamy.  You just mix your coffee with 1-2 tsp coconut oil and some cinnamon (if desired) in a magic bullet for a few minutes and it’s magical.

Lunches are just leftovers from dinner.

Dinners (and therefore lunches) have been great, some pics are below:

  • Zoodles with meat sauce.  We had made this recipe before, with ground beef added to it, so we made it again and we just don’t put parm on it anymore
  • Chicken with pineapple salsa (too bad the salad in the post isn’t compliant!)
  • A salad bar (we have dinner with our small group every Tuesday so this was an easy way to feed several people)
  • A modified version of a Turkey Chorizo Soup (recipe below)
  • A modified version of pork chops with peach salsa
  • Grilled salmon

Snacks – bananas, cherries, almonds, pistacchios, lara bars (they have a list of approved ones here), apples with almond butter, and Matt made some beef jerky this weekend so that’ll be nice for next week!

So on day 6 we’re still doing great.  I hear the second week is the hardest, because it’s no longer this new thing and you realize you have weeks to go, and your body starts craving the things you now haven’t had in over a week.  Stay tuned for that.  I will say that this is defintely not cheap.  But we’re basically not going to eat out this month – it’s too much of a hassle with wondering how things were prepared, what kind of oil it was cooked in, what’s in a marinade, etc – so our overall food spending should still be pretty even with what it was before.  They opened a new Whole Foods near us on Wednesday and had a ton of grand opening deals and coupons so we went there today and saved a lot of money, and it was the first time that I have genuinely enjoyed my time at a Whole Foods.

Here are some pics of this week’s meals, keep scrolling for the soup recipe 🙂

IMG_6123Zoodles with Meat Sauce

IMG_5751Turkey Chorizo Soup (the non-modified version we made earlier this year)

IMG_6324Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

IMG_6316Our Salad Bar

IMG_6345.JPGGrilled Salmon and Asparagus

Turkey Chorizo Soup Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Ground turkey, lean (sub other ground meat) – 1 lb
  • Chili powder – 2 Tbsp
  • Paprika – 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin – 2 tsp
  • Garlic powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander – 2 tsp
  • Oregano, dried – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Adobo sauce or seasoning – 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic – 4 cloves
  • Onions – 1, chopped
  • Kale (1 bunch = ~6 leaves) – 1 bunch, leaves torn, stems chopped
  • Potatoes, any type – 1 lb, chopped
  • Oil, cooking – 2 tsp (we used olive oil because of the whole30)
  • Tomato paste – 4 Tbsp
  • Chicken stock – 4 cups (check your labels if making the whole30 version)
  • Limes – 1/2, sliced into wedges
  • Corn kernels, frozen or canned – 1 cup (leave out for whole30 version)
  • Sour cream – 6 Tbsp (leave out for whole30 version)

Directions:

  1. Prep: Prep garlic, onions, and kale as directed. Mix together chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, oregano, salt, and adobo. Prep potatoes as directed.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil and then onions, garlic, chopped kale stems, and tomato paste to heated oil. Saute until tender, ~3 minutes.
  3. Fold in ground turkey and seasonings and break up with a wooden spoon. Brown meat for 4 to 6 minutes. (If you couldn’t find lean ground turkey and a lot of fat has cooked out, drain out as much fat as possible before starting next step)
  4. Add potatoes and chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  5. While soup cooks, slice lime into wedges.
  6. Once potatoes are tender, fold in kale leaves and corn (optional). Turn off heat and season to taste with salt, pepper, other spices, or even hot sauce.
  7. Ladle into bowls and serve with sour cream (optional) and lime wedges.

 

Week 8 – Chicken Riggies and Chicken Fried Rice

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Another week, already?  Work is picking up so the time seems to fly by now.  But luckily we’ve been able to keep cooking! Highlights of the week:

1. On Wednesday we brought dinner to our friends from church.  They had a baby a couple weeks ago, how did i forget to mention this before now!  We went and saw Joshua (the baby) when he was just 8 days old and I held him! so did Matt.  But that definitely broke my record for little baby I’ve ever held.  He’s the sweetest little guy.  So yeah we actually brought them our Feta, Chicken, and Mango Tacos from week 5.  We joined them for dinner and I had mine with corn tortillas this time – delicious!  We’ll for sure be making that again and again.  It’s a solid week night recipe too because you can chop up everything but the avocado in advance so then after work it just a quick mixing together of stuff and reheating the chicken.  If you haven’t tried it, do it.

2. Not waking up to an alarm on Saturday.  Seriously, this is big during busy season.  I did have an alarm set because I was signed up for Pure Barre at 8:30, but I woke up on my own 15 min before the alarm after almost 9 blissful hours of sleep.  All you other CPAs out there know what I’m talking about when I make this a highlight of my week.

3.  The Seersucker Soiree!  Someone from our church started an organization called DC127 a year or two back.  The organization’s mission is to reverse the foster care list in DC – to have more families waiting to foster a kid than kids waiting for a family.  There are similar organizations in other cities that have made this happen and DC 127 is working to make it in DC.  So every year they have this sweet fundraiser that was described as ‘like a wedding reception, but without the wedding.’  I went last year too, but this year Matt came with me (last yr he had friends in town) and some other friends went so it was way more fun.  

picstitch

4. Nats Game!  We went to the Nationals game with our small group after church today.  Baseball is great and all, but I love me some Summer Shandy on tap and Shake Shack.  Which is what I got.  The best.

5. Our recipes!  The fried rice was good, nothing to rave about, but a solid use for leftover rice from last weekend’s pork chops meal.  We’ll definitely make it again in some form.  I liked that I could prep pretty much everything the night before and then Matt just put it all together while I was at barre.  Original recipe is here. But then we made chicken riggies.  YUM.  Those of you form Syracuse/upstate NY know what I’m talking about, and everyone else, well they’re delicious.  We had our small group over for dinner on Thursday and made this as the main dish (and everyone else brought the rest.  So much delicious food!).  I did most of the sous chef-ing and Matt made the sauce and stuff.  It all turned out so good.  The recipe was adapted from here.  The pictures could be better, we got caught up in making it and then eating that we forgot to take the finished picture until after the meal (yes, those are the leftovers).  Anyway, the riggies recipe is a must try.  Just beware that the recipe below made enough for 12 or more servings, so maybe cut it in half.

 Chicken Fried Rice

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked + chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas + carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pouches of Uncle Ben’s® Brown Ready Rice – Whole Grain Brown (4 cups total)
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 20 scallion stalks, chopped + divided (about 1 cup)

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, add chicken stock, water and chicken– if necessary, add more water to cover the chicken. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Cover and lower heat to medium-low. Allow chicken breasts to simmer for 12 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle. 
  2. Remove chicken breast from stock and set on plate to slightly cool. When chicken is cool enough to touch, dice into ½-inch cubes and set aside.
  3. Prepare rice so you have 3-4 cups cooked.  Set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion, peas and carrots, garlic, ½ cup of the scallions and “stir fry” until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Push mixture to outside of skillet to open up the center. Crack eggs into skillet and scramble. When cooked through, mix with vegetables.
  5. Add the stir fry mixture, chicken and soy sauce to the bowl of brown rice. Mix well. Top with remaining ½ cup of scallions.

photo 2 (3)photo 1 (2) 

 Chicken Riggies

Servings: 12+ 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 (16 ounce) packages rigatoni pasta
  • 1/4 cup(ish) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cubanelle peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 red and/or peppers, chopped
  • 4 hot cherry peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream (you can use half and half too)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and keep warm.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the hot oil until lightly browned on all sides, and no longer pink in the center, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, and keep warm.
  3. Stir the onion, garlic, and cubanelle peppers. Cook and stir until the onion has softened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the red peppers, hot cherry peppers, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the heavy cream and cooked chicken.
  5. Simmer 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in the pasta.
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.

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Pre-Week 8 Post: Our Apartment!!

I’m super excited to be able to share some pictures of our apartment (finally!).  We had our small group over for dinner on Thursday so the place was nice and put together, so I took some pictures to post on here.  That’s all for this post, I’ll put up our new recipes tomorrow (so come back!).

 The Kitchen:

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And this is taken looking out from the Kitchen:

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Our dining area and bar cabinet:

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(we need to have a party so we can start emptying the cabinet…)

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The sunroom/my home office:

photo 2 photo 1 

The Balcony (I’ve posted this pic to facebook before, those flowers are no longer with us):

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And the bathroom, because I love these colors and how soft the mats are:photo 1 (3) 

Week 5 – Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken, Baked Parmesan Zucchini, Feta Chicken Mango Tacos, and Peach Margs

The weather in DC was beautiful this week!  None of that super muggy, I feel like I’m going to suffocate business.  It was cool enough that I went running on Tuesday night!  I am a VERY fair weather runner.  If it’s too hot or too cold, I say ‘no thank you’ and do something else.  Because of this, I haven’t been running since MAY.  So this was a big deal.  I powered through for 3 miles, which was rough, but at the end was an ice cream date with my old roommate so I kept going, I couldn’t be late for ice cream!

Also, THE SILVER LINE OPENED!! I have been waiting for this moment since I moved here, 14 months ago.  Good bye 1 hour 10 minute commute!  This wonderful train saves me about 30 min each way, so I have a whole extra hour every day.  This is huge.  Especially when I’m focusing on soaking up every last moment before busy season and cooking delicious meals for me and this husband of mine.  Being married is great, have we talked about that?  Because it is.  I’d give examples but I’d get all sappy and feel like I’m bragging about how great Matt is.  Just know that we’re loving it.

I also now have photo ID that identifies me as Danielle LeStrange.  How weird is that?  It’s also a Virginia license, no more New York residency.  Danielle LeStrange is officially a resident and registered voter in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Gosh that’s weird.  Oh, fun fact: Virginia is one of only four commonwealths in the US.  Can you name the other three without using google?

Friday brought my first working Friday since last busy season.  Which is crazy.  I took off every Friday between 4/15 and my wedding to wedding plan and move, and then July it just happened that I had to take off every Friday for one reason or another – 4th of July, Syracuse trip, Belize, a friend’s wedding.  But I didn’t even use as much vacation as I meant to because most of those weeks I worked at least 40 hrs before Friday so I just flexed it.  I’m in no way complaining about this, but this Friday was rough for me.  I’m already looking forward to October 17 (the first Friday after this coming busy season, and coincidentally my 25th birthday) when I can start the vacation every Friday trend again.  And that time it’ll be actual vacation every Friday since we slow way down at work in the fall. It’s my goal to get my vacation balance down to 0.

Nothing else too eventful happened this week, which is good.  We need time to just relax and be before work gets too crazy again.  We’re still slowly getting our place together and it’s almost ready to have a dinner party or something.  So close.  I can’t wait until we can have people over.  We also need to work on more of a routine.  I think being home on the weekends will help, the past month it feels like I’m always playing catch up and I am not a fan of it.  I was telling my friend that my goal is to actually plan meals and stuff on the weekend so grocery shopping is more purposeful, and then food doesn’t get wasted as much, and then we hopefully have more time in the evenings.  If I get really good, I’ll plan meals with weirder ingredients in the same week as other meals with the same ingredient.  And by “weird” I mean things like fresh herbs that only come in large quantities that I can never use all of them up before they rot.

So this week’s recipes…We tried out three new ones – two main dishes and one veggies side dish.  The side dish (zucchini) is great because the recipe is basically parmesan and a bunch of herbs and then you sprinkle it on zucchini before baking, and it makes enough topping for 4 zucchini.  Since there are only two of us, I just topped 2 zucchini and then saved the rest in the fridge for another time, so it’ll be readily available.  Next time I’ll probably double the recipe and do the same thing.  I’m all about saving time but still having solid week night dinners.  The taco recipe is PERFECT for a weeknight.  The longest part of it was cooking the chicken, but if you had chicken already cooked and shredded (like future Danielle with her meal planning) it would be ready super fast.  The roasted chicken recipe was solid too.  We didn’t have (or need) as much chicken as the recipe called for, but I still made the full sauce recipe.  Making it took a little longer than I’d like (45ish min) but traffic was bad that night so Matt got home later anyway.  The most thyme-consuming part felt like taking the thyme off the stems (see what I did there…?).  It made me wish I had given in to this completely unnecessary wedding registry item (Matt talked me out of it)  And its nice because once the chicken is in the over you can get everything together for the sauce and clean up the first part’s stuff, and (in my case) make a pre-dinner app.  Tomato, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil (from our only plant that’s still alive) is a go-to summer appetizer for us.  The sauce requires blending at the end to make it smooth, thank goodness for this handy thing that we didn’t know we needed until Matt’s Aunt Elaine bought it for us as a wedding shower gift.  This recipe was the prefect example of how great that thing is.  If you don’t have one, do yourself a favor and look into it.  We also used the hand blender when trying out a new marg recipe (included below too).  Saturday was fajita ‘rita night and I saw the recipe on pinterest earlier that day.  And we had several nectarines (I know, not the same thing as peaches) to use up so that worked perfectly, the recipe probably works for any fruit flavored margarita you want, I’m going to try pineapple next time!

Enough of my babbling, here are the recipes:

Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken Over Pasta (recipe taken from here)

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

For the Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I used this lovely product)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce,
  • 2 chicken flavored bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pound spaghetti pasta, cooked

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl mix the thyme, zest, salt and pepper.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it with non-stick spray.
  4. Place the chicken breasts on the baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil.
  5. Season both sides of chicken with the lemon seasoning.
  6. Bake the chicken in the oven for 30-40 minutes until done.  Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the chicken.
  7. Take the chicken out of the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
  8. As the chicken rests, prepare the lemon sauce.
  9. In a medium sauce pan cook the butter and garlic on medium or one minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  10. Add all but ½ cup of stock to the pan.  With the remaining stock, mix in the cornstarch until it has dissolved, then add it to the pan as well.
  11. Add the apple sauce, bouillon cubes, and lemon juice to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor and blend for 20 seconds until the sauce is smooth, season the sauce with salt and pepper if needed.
  13. Pour enough sauce over the chicken to generously each piece, reserve the remaining sauce to be poured over the pasta.
  14. Top each dish of pasta off with sliced chicken and an optional sprig of fresh thyme for garnish.

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Baked Parmesan Zucchini (recipe taken from here)

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the crisp and golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

photo 3 (3)

Feta, Chicken, and Mango Tacos (recipe taken from here)

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 3  cups  shredded cooked chicken
  • 3/4  cup tomatillo salsa
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2  cup  chopped tomatoes (I just chopped up 1 whole tomato)
  • 1  Tbsp.  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 12 tortillas (6 inch), warmed
  • 1  pkg.  (6 oz.)  Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese

Directions:

  1. Toss chicken with salsa.
  2. Combine Mango, Avocado, Tomatoes, and Cilantro.
  3. Spoon chicken mixture onto tortillas; top with mango mixture, then feta.

photo 1 (3) photo 2 (3) photo 4 (2)

 

Fresh Peach Margarita

 Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup fresh peach puree*
  • 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1.5 ounces lime juice
  • 1 ounce Triple Sec (or freshly-squeeze orange juice to make it lighter)
  • .5 ounce Simple Syrup (you could use honey or agave too, we just had this)
  • optional garish: rim salt and fresh peach slice

Directions:

*To make fresh peach puree, simply peel and pit a fresh peach and puree it in a blender until smooth. 1 medium peach = approximately 1/2 cup puree (but measure to be sure).

Add all ingredients together in a shaker. Shake for 15 seconds until combined. Serve over ice in a glass that has been rimmed with salt and garnished with a fresh peach slice.

photo (1)

 

recipe modified from here

Week 4 – Mexican Tortilla Casserole

photo 4

Another great and eventful week.  This weekend we were in Chicago for a friend’s wedding.  It was pretty cool because I had know both of them before they started dating and got to see the relationship develop from the beginning.  It was the first wedding I’ve been to that I didn’t know if I should go to the bride or groom’s side, but thankfully another friend was an usher and picked for us when he led us to our seats.  We had SO much fun.  The wedding ceremony was Friday at the church I went to in Chicago and then the reception was at a restaurant downtown and on the river.  It was a gorgeous day and it was so fun to catch up with old friends from my gospel community (small group) in Chicago.  And it was our first wedding attending where I couldn’t catch the bouquet and introduced Matt to people as “my husband, Matt.”  Weird.  In a good way.

We also had the chance to catch up with a bunch of other friends.  On Friday we had lunch with a few of my old coworkers.  I haven’t seen a lot of them since moving so that was fun.  Also, a friend from high school is living in Chicago for the summer so we had dinner with her on Saturday.  And there were a couple other people from my GC who had also moved away, but also happened to be in Chicago this weekend so we got to catch up with them at church.  We did a lot of eating our Chicago favorite foods and spent a lot of time walking through my old neighborhood and favorite places.  It’s crazy how much changes in a year.  I kept saying “that place wasn’t here before” and “That’s new!”  We finished the weekend with a cubs game after church, grabbed some DQ with my old roommate (an old Sunday tradition) and saw another friends new condo.  So much fun, I love Chicago so much.

Now we’re at the airport waiting for our late flight out.  Waking up tomorrow is not going to be fun, but I get to take the silver line to work for the first time ever (it opened yesterday) so I’m pretty sure that excitement will carry me through.

Our new recipe for this week was another keeper.  I’d do a couple things differently when we make it again, it was a little more watery than expected.  But that also could be because I have extra tomatoes that I chopped up and added in addition to the can of tomatoes the recipe calls for.  We were going out of town and I didn’t want them to go to waste!  And I might not have drained the diced tomatoes.  We also tried a couple other recipes that came in the newsletter from fresh stop – scalloped potatoes and pear crisp.  They were fine but nothing remarkable so recipes are not included, just pictures!

Skinny Mexican Tortilla Casserole (recipe adapted from here)

Ingredients

  • ½ lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained + rinsed
  • 10 oz can Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • ½ cup yellow corn, if canned, drain + rinse
  • ¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 4 – 9″ Tortillas
  • 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
  • ½ – 1 cup reduced-fat, shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a 9 inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large nonstick pan, cook the ground turkey, onions, garlic, chili powder and cumin over medium-high heat until onions are tender and turkey is no longer pink.
  4. Stir in black beans and Rotel® and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, corn, cottage cheese and garlic powder.
  6. Place 2 tortillas overlapping on the bottom of pan.
  7. Top with half the turkey mixture, half the sour cream mixture and half the enchilada sauce. Repeat layers.
  8. Bake covered for 30-35 minutes until heated through.
  9. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  10. Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  11. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes to set.

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Potatoes and Cobbler:

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Mid-Week 4 Bonus Recipes – Ice Cream!!

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It’s national ice cream month, in case you hadn’t heard.  And if you know me, you know that I LOVE ice cream.  It’s really a problem how much I love it.  Our favorite Ice Cream place ins DC (Thomas Sweet) is a mile and a half away, so we justify the trips by walking there and back.  The 3 mile walk totally cancels out the two scoops of ice cream, right? Right.

Anyway, Sunday was National Ice Cream day, and we decided to celebrate by putting our ice cream maker to work!  We tried two different recipes.  They are both amazing and we will for sure be making them again.  The chocolate decadence was fussier – involved cooking on the stove, a lot of constant stirring, and then it had to sit in the fridge for 16 or more hours.  But all the fuss was SO worth it.  The Mocha Madness is also delicious, and wayyyy easier.  The taste reminds me of the starbucks java chip ice cream that they use to sell at grocery stores but discontinued because apparently they like breaking hearts.  My heart is sad but my waistline thanks them.  We had a little issue with the mocha madness this first time.  It was still delicious, but we got impatient with our ice cream maker and the fact that the container has to be fully frozen before making ice cream.  So the texture didn’t turn out as great as we’d like.  I don’t even care, it’s still amazing.

James came over on Sunday to help us eat the first batches of ice cream, but we still have a bunch left and have had it every day.  Except Monday, we were too busy sitting at the PwC VIP Dream Suite table at the Washington Kastles match.  The Kastles are DC’s tennis team.  Yes, it’s a real thing but their season is super short so a lot of people don’t know about it.  But they’ve won the title 4 of the past 5 years and hold the record for the longest winning streak in sports (34 matches, no the streak isn’t still going).  One of the partners in my office buys season tickets at a fancy table and when he can’t go he puts the tickets up for grabs.  Matt and I were lucky enough to get a pair for this week.  However we weren’t lucky enough to be attending the same night as the Obamas.  Apparently they sit at the VIP dream suite tables too.  Obamas or no Obamas, it was pretty cool, and we’re not tennis people so that should mean something.  If you live in DC check them out next summer (this season’s championship matches start tomorrow).  They play in foggy bottom, so get on it.

Anyway, the recipes…

Chocolate Decadence link to source

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons Instant ClearJel or cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1 tablespoon vanilla/1 tablespoon espresso powder/1 teaspoon cinnamon, all optional

2 cups (1 pint) whole milk

1 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

1/4 cup coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlua) or the liqueur of your choice, optional

Directions:

1) In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, ClearJel or cornstarch, and salt.

2) Slowly whisk in the water, then the flavor of your choice and the milk or cream.

3) Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently as the mixture warms, then almost constantly as it becomes hot; you don’t want the mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan.

4) Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, whisking until chocolate melts.

5) Pour into a bowl, and stir occasionally as it cools, to prevent a skin from forming.

6) Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the chocolate, again to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until it’s well chilled; overnight is good. Make sure the canister for your ice cream maker is in the freezer, too; it needs to be as cold as it can be.

7) Next day, pour the chocolate into the ice cream maker, and freeze for 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s quite stiff.

8) Scoop the ice cream into a bowl. For best texture, stir in 1/4 cup coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlua), or the liqueur of your choice. This will keep the ice cream soft and scoopable indefinitely in the freezer.

9) Serve the ice cream immediately, if desired; it will be very soft. For harder ice cream, store in the freezer. Ice cream without liqueur will become nicely hard in 3 hours. With the addition of liqueur, it will take 6 hours or more to become quite solid. Ice cream without liqueur will become unpleasantly hard within 5 hours or so; to soften, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before serving.

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Mocha Madness (recipe from here)

Ingredients:

1 cup cold whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons espresso powder

2 tablespoons cocoa powder, Dutch-process preferred

2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream or whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 Oreo cookies, broken into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Whisk or mix together the milk, sugar, espresso powder, and cocoa till the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  3. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
  4. Stir cookie bits into soft ice cream, and serve immediately.

For firmer ice cream, place in a covered container. Place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, until ice cream is as hard as you like it. We also added so Kahlua to this one to make it not as rock hard.  It works nicely.  Note: Freezing longer than 2-3 hours without Kahlua will make the ice cream rock hard; plan on softening at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or so before serving if the ice cream has been in the freezer longer than a few hours.

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Also, shout out to my Uncle David for the sweet wood cutting board – he made it!

Week Three – Creamy Chicken Pasta

Wow, the craziness continued this week!  One more trip next weekend and then we’re home for good for a few months.  Travelling is wonderful but I can’t wait to just stay put and finish settling in.

But anyway, for those who don’t know – I was in Belize this past week for work.  PwC has this amazing corporate responsibility initiative called ‘Project Belize.’  Since 2008 they have been sending teams down to teach financial literacy in the Belizean schools.  They’re been sending their people down for 6 years and after going down there it is clear that we are making a sustainable impact.  This is not the type of ‘voluntourism’ that has been getting a lot of crap lately.  It’s PwC sending their people who have this expertise (like me!) to teach the students and educators in Belize.  It’s really quite amazing and beyond the amount of words I could type on this page.  If you want to hear more, let’s get coffee.  And in the meantime, visit PwC’s website or watch this video.

After an almost week of being in the blazing Belizean heat and teaching kids in a classroom all day, I decided to take Friday off.  After being gone for so long, getting home late, and having my luggage lost, I needed the day to recoup.  Which also left me time to make this week’s new recipe!!  It ended up being delicious after we made a couple tweaks to the original recipe.  We will definitely be making this again and were super excited for the leftovers!

Shout out to one last cool thing we did this weekend – Mosaic Church’s Fresh Stop.  This program is seriously cool – you order your share of locally grown produce for pick up on a Saturday (they do the 3rd Sat of every month) and the price for your share is based on family size and income.  Price ranges from $12-30 depending on family size and income level, but the cool thing is that it allows lower income families to enjoy fresh produce, while still providing the higher income families reasonably priced goods.  Watch this video for more info if you live in DC and are interested!  And if all that isn’t enough to convince you, this picture is all the stuff that Matt and I got for our $30 share!!

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Creamy Chicken Pasta

Makes about 4 servings, if having as a main dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 grilled chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 8oz fettuccine
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 small carrot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 rib celery, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 small shallot or 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 3-6 Garlic Cloves, depending on how you like it (I LOVE garlic!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • ¼-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Directions: 

  1. Break fettuccine into sixths (I broke chunks of noodles in half then each half into thirds.) Cook pasta in a big pot of salted, boiling water until just under al dente – it will continue cooking in the sauce. Drain then set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat then add carrot, celery, shallot/onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper then saute until tender, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle in flour then whisk and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add in parmesan cheese and continue whisking to avoid chunks. Turn heat up to medium-high until bubbling then turn heat back down to medium, add parsley and more salt and pepper then cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and bubbly, 5ish minutes.
  3. Add pasta to the sauce then stir to combine and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
  4. Top with grilled Chicken and enjoy!

 

Recipe was adapted from here , she didn’t have garlic or parm in the original recipe.  Glad that I love garlic and Matt loves cheese or this dish would not be in the ‘let’s have this again sometime’ pile.  But we added garlic and parm and I can’t wait to make this again!  It was pretty easy and the chicken broth makes is healthier than a lot of the other cream sauce recipes I’ve seen.  Here are some pictures, I failed at taking a bunch while cooking, woops!

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