Reality Check

Winter is coming.

Its August.

But in Alaska it’s fall. That’s right.. Leaves be a changin

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I know that the rest of the country is currently blazing in crazy heat or hunkering down preparing for a hurricane… But up here we’re sitting in the 60s and beginning to feel that crisp air that comes with fall.

So guess what I did? I caved. I busted out the fall/winter work horse…

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Yup I did it. I brought out the big guns and used my crock pot. And I even went a step further…

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I made white chicken chili.

Boy do I feel weird about making chili in August… But it was yummy and hit the spot on a rainy, cold “autumn” day.

Give it a try if you’re in the same weather boat as me…. Or save the recipe for when the rest of the country catches up with our lower temps 🙂

1c fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1c chopped onion (1med onion)
2T all-purpose flour
2t chili powder (I used 3)
1t ground cumin (I used 2)
1/2t salt
1/2t hot sauce (I used almost 2-3t, spiced it up!)
1/8t black pepper
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3(19oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1(15.5oz) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1(4.5oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced

Sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, and tortilla chips for garnishes if you like.

Combine the ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Then reduce to LOW for 4 hours.

Then add your toppings and dig in.

Makes 6 bowls clocking in at a lovely 232 calories, with a fab 22.3G of protein!

Enjoy!!

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Friday Facts

Happy Friday all! I feel like it was a regular old week, nothing too crazy, but good overall! My classes at the gym went well and I was happy to have a new work out gear addition to end the week with….

I ordered a three pack of these Bondi Bands and they are awesome! I trimmed mine down so that it didn’t cover from forehead to ponytail, but they are so light and comfy. Major bonus points because my band didn’t budge during my spin class… and I was a sweaty mess, so it must have been holding on for dear life. Plus who can beat a headband as honest as “Will Run for Wine”. Done and Done.

Also this week I tried my first quinoa dish. I had no idea what to expect texture wise from this… gritty? grainy? soft? chewy?

I was very happy with the end product! Its a slightly nuttier (ha) version of brown rice. No crunchiness, which was what I really expected. Here’s the recipe I used for losing my quinoa virginity:

Quinoa Taco Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 Red Onion, Chopped
  • 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbs taco seasoning
  • 1/2 Zucchini, chopped
  • 15 oz. Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Can of yellow corn, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 whole Avocado, diced
  • Sour Cream

DIRECTIONS
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions and add taco seasoning to water.
Meanwhile, swirl a bit of olive oil in a saute pan. Heat oil over medium high heat.
Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, until translucent and tender.
Add zucchini, peppers and saute for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the black beans, tomatoes, and corn. Stir in the quinoa.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Top each plate with a scoop of the quinoa salad. Top each salad with your choice of cheese, sour cream and diced avocado.

Note: it was excellent even as leftovers!

Finally my week will end with an 8k race tomorrow morning. Trevor and I judged a book by its cover on this one….

I want that Beaver-wearing-a-viking-hat-while-running t-shirt. Gimme. Now!

Have a beautiful, relaxing, mellow, well deserved weekend! See ya Monday!

Intermediate Quesadilla

For whatever reason group get-togethers involve Mexican food. Want to have people over? Have a taco night. Want to have a game night? Have guac, salsa, and chips. Want to have a cocktail night? Entice people with margaritas.

See you all want to come up to North Pole, Alaska and visit me right now huh? I knew it.

But seriously, for whatever reason food that involves avocados, salsa, tortillas, and cheese, people are in, they want to hang out with YOU. So I would like to offer you this recipe from the lady herself, Martha Stewart, that is a serious crowd pleaser. Very easy, very delicious, and it reduces in beer. Now you’re hooked:

Here are my results:

Mouth watering right?

Ingredients

  • 4 flour tortillas (10 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno chile, minced (remove seeds and ribs for less heat)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 ounces beer, or 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (2 1/2 cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a paring knife, trim tortillas to fit a 9-inch springform pan. Use the bottom of the pan as a guide. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add beans and beer, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in corn and scallions, and remove from heat. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
  4. Fit a trimmed tortilla in bottom of springform pan; layer with 1/4 of the beans and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat three times, using 1 cup cheese on top layer. Bake until cheese melts, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove side of pan; sprinkle pie with scallions. To serve, slice into wedges.
Here’s what I did:
I bought the wrong tortillas and they were small enough for really any pan (pie dishes work great). I also doubled the recipe which made the reducing part take quite a bit longer. And finally I added chicken and chili powder. I like heat. If you do not, you’re a pansy. Sorry no you’re not (kinda), you don’t have to add heat.
Cumin is esssseeeennntttiiaall for this recipe. Just buy it. Please. Its good in about every Mexican dish, and its time everyone get on board with using more spices.
Oh and here is what Martha’s looks like. Because well she does it better than anyone.
Hope you like it!

Ode to Chipotle

I live in Alaska. I live in a place that has over 20hrs of sunlight in the summer, and less than 2 hrs in the winter. This place is brutal and rugged. The idea of fresh fruit is rather comical. I am a lover of grapes, however, my love for them has diminished in Alaska because they go bad in about 2.5 seconds. Maybe its because everything ends up frozen when it makes its mighty little way up here. Just about everything gets an Alaskan injection of freezing cold and withers into a wrinkly mess. I combat this with moisturizers and anti-aging eye serum. Yes, anti-aging. However drug store remedies don’t seem to have the same rejuvenating effects on fruits and veggies. Tragically this brings me to very saddening announcement: Alaska does not have Chipotle. Not one. Zero. Zilch. If you want a burrito you can go to Taco Bell; a place that had a lawsuit filed against them for their rather loose definition of what constitutes meat. Voommm.

Now for all you Lower 48-ers, you can frolic along to your local Chipotle and sink your teeth into an outrageously large burrito and look like a 16 yr boy as you wolf down the chicken-black beans-pico de gallo-cheese-guac-sour cream- lettuce burrito of ecstasy. I however have to plan a one thousand dollar plus vacation to even start dreaming of the bliss that this Colorado born chain offers. Sooo here’s where things get good… I waste vast amounts of time tooling around the internet searching for the “satisfy me now” dish. Enter Iowa Girl… oh how I love thee. ( I am myself grew up in MN and treasure the true gems of Midwestern people.)

Oh God... Chipotle memories are flooding me

The Rice

Cook 1/2 cup brown rice according to package directions. When done, finish with:

  • Small pat of butter (I skipped the butter and didn’t miss it!)
  • Salt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Sprinkle of chopped cilantro

The Beans

In a microwave safe bowl, heat up 1 can drained and rinsed black beans with:

  • Splash of chicken broth
  • Dashes of chili powder, cumin, oregano & cayenne pepper

The Chicken

Cook two chicken breasts in a skillet seasoned with:

  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic Salt
  • Onion Powder
  • Cumin
  • Oregano

The Pico

Whip up this easy Pico De Gallo with:

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • Sprinkle of chopped cilantro
  • S&P
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Tomatillos (I added these, and thought it added a nice crunch)
  • 1/2 can yellow corn (I had a left over can and they were a delicious addition)

Thank you Ms. Iowa… you seriously made this Colorado Girl (turned Alaskan 😦 sadly) a happy happy lady