Taco Flatbread Pizza

I am starting my second round of p90x.  And this time my focus is on nutrition.  Which is particularly challenging during this holiday season.  But so far so good!  Especially with delicious meals like this taco flatbread pizza!

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For me, the hardest part of eating healthy is not living alone.  When I lived by myself in law school, healthy eating was never an issue.  I controlled what food was in my fridge and what cluttered my cupboards.  Now as husband and wife, grocery shopping is a team sport.  Since Matt is a woodworker, he is all about the snack food that’s easy and fast to eat–which basically means unhealthy (but delicious) food that is rather hard to resist.

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So finding meals that are healthy but still have that snack-like taste can be difficult.  This taco flatbread pizza was an excellent compromise–full of protein, little bit of veggies, and still falls into the pizza family so both Matt and I were happy.  This has definitely made it into our recipe rotation.

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Chinese Take-Out Beef and Broccoli

I grew up in a small town with a Kozy Kitchen and two American fast food burger joints.  Any food that isn’t served in a diner is not served in my hometown.  So when I got my driver’s license, my best friend and I drove to the “big town” a half hour away and ate at a Chinese restaurant.  It tasted of freedom.  Salty freedom followed by a fortune cookie.  After three plates of chow mein, chicken, beef, and veggie dishes, we shoved 10 crab ragoons in our purses and munched on them on our parentless drive home.  Ever since, Chinese food has always had a special meaning to me.

easy beef and broccoli

This beef and broccoli dish is easy to make and easy to prep in your crockpot to enjoy after a long day of work.  The joy of a warm dinner with the freedom of no cooking.

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Skinny Taco Dip

Ok. Truth time.  I do not like the movie Elf.  I find no redeeming qualities in the movie, irrespective of the reality that I love Zooey Dechanell.  The movie is just not funny.  There. It’s out there.  Just had to get that off my chest.  BUT even though I will not spend my Christmas season watching Elf doesn’t mean I’m not excited for winter because…

It’s party season!! And this girl LOVES parties.  Eggnog. Christmas cookies. Ugly Sweaters. Love Actually (now that’s a movie!).  Wow, my heart is fluttering as I type this.

With all these parties, it’s likely that you’ll get an invite to a party where you need to bring something.  Here is a great taco dip recipe that is SUPER easy and CRAZY delicious.  Million gustas.

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Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Breasts

Christmas time is here! Wow, that was fast.  Wasn’t I just picking out costumes for Halloween and picking fresh veggies from our garden? Gah, life has a way of catching up with me!  So I spent the past weekend going to Kohl’s and stocking up on new Christmas decorations.  My living room, kitchen, and tv room are slowly becoming decked with jiggle bells and mistletoe.

Christmas Dining Room.

And in that spirit of giving, my husband bought me a new purse, wallet, and clutch for winter.  I’m a big believer in having a summer purse, a fall purse, a spring purse, and a winter purse.  I blame my mother.  Her purses were always inspired by the weather.

so spoiled.

I wanted to show my gratitude by making something special for Matt.  Matt loves wings.  Whenever I find a recipe that has some spin on buffalo wings, I bookmark it. Of course, I also have a wing tooth–I love the salty, spicy flavor of a good batch of wings.  Unfortunately, so do my thighs.  Hence, looking for the same tasty flavors minus the hefty calories.  This stuffed chicken is exactly that! A low-calorie option to deep fried wings.

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Kopanisti (Whipped Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip)

It’s been a while! I have so many new recipes to share and so many pictures to edit.  Hence the lack of new recipes.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for Thanksgiving.  Now that I have a full-time job, long vacations are far and few between.  No more month winter vacation or no class Fridays.  Eh.  The growing pains of becoming an adult.  So a 5-day weekend–it felt like winning the lottery!

This long weekend has been a great opportunity to make new, fun side dishes.  Honestly, with working every day, making multiple dishes each night is a bit of a handful.  So in my effort to learn to cook, my focus has been on main dishes.  Thanksgiving was a great chance to master some appetizers.

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Matt has always been a dip-guy.  He loves chips.  So when I found this kopanisti recipe, I had to try it.  This dip is great for pita chips, carrots, celery, and other finger veggies.  A great change from the usual french onion dip Matt has been devouring.

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Berry Baked Oatmeal Bites

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal.  Every morning, I wake up with my stomach grumbling and really can’t get much accomplished without having a good breakfast.  And one of the many things I love about the law firm I work at is Friday breakfast.  Every Friday, someone brings in breakfast for the entire office.  Last week it was my turn.  I used it as an opportunity to try a new recipe.  I got good feedback from everyone and will definitely be making this again!

One fun thing about this recipe is you can switch up the ingredients.  Toss in raspberries, blueberries, apples, strawberries.  Whichever you prefer or whatever you have on hand.  Also this recipe can easily be made with or without chocolate chips.  So play around with this recipe and make it your own.

I’ve also joined the world of smartphones.  Which means I’ve been talking pictures of everything!  I was at a restaurant with a great friend last weekend and had to take a picture of this amazing soup–a tomato pesto.  New goal: figure out how to recreate my own tomato pesto soup.  Hopefully soon I’ll be posting my first recreation recipe!

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Caprese Pizza

I PASSED THE BAR!! You have no idea how good it feels to write that.  After months of waiting, worrying, and some more waiting, I got the coveted letter from the Bar of Law Examiners Friday morning at 11:00 and screamed in excitement.  So loud that one of my co-workers came into my office to see if I was ok.  Ha.  I was shaking with excitement for a good hour. The final hurdle standing in the way of my legal career has finally been conquered.

Now that I’ve lawyered the bar exam, my next feat will be working with yeast.  I have a long list of recipes I want to try that work with active yeast that I have putting on the back burner to try “someday.”

Well, that someday wasn’t today.  (hey, I passed the bar.  I figured I earned myself a break)  But next week I am going to overcome my fear of yeast and give it a good college try.  This pizza was so delicious that it will probably be one of my first recipes I’ll make using yeast.  Figure even if I fumble a bit, the powerful basil and mozzarella flavors will overpower any mistake I may make.

 

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Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Boats

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  Well, at least in Canada.  And since I married a Canadian, it meant it was Thanksgiving in our house.  We invited some of our favorite friends over for a full-out Thanksgiving meal.  As expected, we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for.

It made me realize something.  I have the greatest life. I grew up in this quinessential small town where when you go to the grocery store, you know every single person there.  I was raised by a mom and a dad and a brother and a sister–a family who doesn’t always agree but always believes in the importance of standing up for what you believe in.

Forced family fun required special glasses–my mom, sis, and me
my brother and dad on vacation in mexico. ps. happy birthday brother!

I married a man who loves me just as much as I love him.  Who honestly would do anything to make me happy-including toying with the idea of buying me a french bulldog despite his so-so feeling about owning a puppy.  I married into a family that is extremely loving and welcoming.

sisters

My cellphone is filled with numbers of friends from across the states. Sure, some numbers haven’t been dialed in months, but the voices at the end of line are comprised of friendships that allow us to pick up right where we left off. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s what it means to have a solid friendship.  And all  of that, equals the greatest life.  Sure, there are things that could make my life easier, better, less of a hassle.  But I’ve never wished for a perfect life.  Just a happy one. And there is nothing greater than that.

five years and counting!

And just as Minnesota is notorious for, we skipped straight from summer to a cold fall. Because of the early morning frosts, our garden had it’s last harvest.  I completely stripped my plants from any and all usable ingredients.  It was overwhelming how fruitful my hall was!  I felt so lucky to have so many fresh veggies to work with at this late in the season.

 

Per usual, my jalapenos grew out of control!  I wanted to figure out something fun to make with them!  And that’s how my bacon-wrapped jalapeno boats were born!

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Sesame Encrusted Baked Chicken

I finally have joined the rest of the world–I own a smart phone!  After years of free phones that can hardly text, my phone is fully functional, complete with GPS and Words with Friends.  But the best part of having a smartphone is the camera!  For the past couple of years, I’ve had to bug Matt for his phone whenever the urge for a photoshoot struck.  Now I can whip out my own phone without the hassle of convincing Matt to fork over his.

My last recipe required so much prep work and cooking time.  This recipe is much more worker-friendly.  The ingredients are all ones that you can normally find in your cupboard.  It was a simple, yummy meal that I recommend on those busy nights.

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Twice-Baked Butternut Squash

How do people do it?  Hold a full-time job.  Work out.  Make dinner.  Spend time with a significant other.  Practice a hobby.  And still go to bed at a decent hour.  After one month of working full-time, it has definitely readjusted the way I look at the working world.  Much respect.  I have no idea how everyone does it.  It’s clear that I am still acquiring my sea legs.  Hence the lack of posts in the past month.

This recipe is not tailored for the working-folk.  Today, I came home from work at 7:15. I had called Matt at 6:30 asking him to start this recipe.  Yet we didn’t eat until 9:15!!  I haven’t had dinner this late since I lived in Spain. As my roommates in Spain quickly learned, I fucking hate cena (late dinner).  So save this recipe for the weekend.  A day when you come home early.  Not a day when you have to work all day.

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