Trying

I haven’t written on this blog in almost 4 years, but I am really wanting to get back to writing and putting my thoughts down on paper. I am sincerely hoping this serves a reminder one day of how God … Continue reading

Snacks on Deck

Hey everyone! Now that I am back at work full time and football season has started, I have been making lots of easy, healthy, only- a- few ingredient recipes for snacks and munchies during the day. I thought you might like to try them, and since there are quite a few, I’ll most likely end up splitting them into two blogs 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

Skinny Pimiento Cheese

Pimiento Cheese

 

You will need:

-8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, hand grated

-4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, hand grated

-4 oz. pimientos, drained

-3-4 tbsp nonfat plain Greek Yogurt

-1-2 tbsp Light Mayonnaise

-1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

-1 tsp lemon juice

-1/4 tsp garlic powder

-1/4 tsp onion powder

-fresh ground black peppercorn

Mix all ingredients together, except for cheese and place in food processor. Add cheese and process until desired tendency. You can adjust amount of Greek yogurt and mayo based on your tastes. I prefer mine to be cheesier so I stay on the lighter side with the mayo and Greek yogurt. This tastes great served with any type of  wheat cracker, pita chips, on a sandwich, or even on top of a burger!

DIY Greek Yogurt

Homemade Greek Yogurt

If you guys haven’t noticed, I am obsessed with plain Greek Yogurt. I pretty much use it as a substitute in almost everything I make, and always keep it on hand in the refrigerator. I have found that rather than buying pre-mixed flavors of Chobani, it is much more fun and affordable to purchase large containers of their plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and then mix in my favorite things. It is so easy and great to separate into small containers to take for lunch or snack on before the gym.

You will need:

-2 cups Chobani (or any other plain nonfat Greek yogurt)

-1/4 cup of your fruit of choice (I typically use strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries)

-1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

-2 tbsp peanut butter

-2 tbsp honey

-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

-2 tbsp sliced almonds

Combine all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. I typically add the fruit, choc. chips, and almonds last to be sure everything mixes well. If the plain Greek yogurt is too tart for your tastes (which the add-ins help decrease), vanilla Greek yogurt works great as well. It’s a great, filling snack with lots of protein and just enough chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth for the day!

 

 

 

His time, Not mine

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for it’s own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Pawley's Sunset

The verse above has become one of my favorite verses in life. Over the past few weeks, especially being in the middle of job hunting and unemployment after our move to Charlotte, I have truly been reminded that life is not on my terms nor my own time schedule. It took a little over 6 weeks for me to receive a final offer on the job I interviewed for in the middle of June this year. It was really hard for me to not want to be in control of the situation but made me lean on God and trust in his perfect provision. I began to apply for other jobs and schedule interviews in the meantime, when the Lord knew what he was doing all along. It has been tough not having an income or the ability to be self-sufficient, but through this time the Lord used it to teach me and help me grow. In a world where we are constantly surrounded by social media with reminders of what “everyone else” or all of our friends are doing, it is hard to trust God’s perfect plan sometimes and to not want to create a plan for ourselves. I remember seeing a lot of my close friends find love and get married before me and always wondering when my turn would come, but when it did it couldn’t have been a better season in my life. Looking back, I probably didn’t feel that way when I was always “the bridesmaid”, but now I can see the Lord’s hand through it all. I think it’s the same with career choices, furthering education, having children, etc. We always want to set a time-line for those things..i.e. I want to be married by 24…own my own home by 26..complete my doctorate by 28..have kids by 30..and so forth, when truly we should be living in the now, in the time that the Lord has given us, knowing his plan is best. We can’t base our lives on what everyone else is doing, but need to realize that we are uniquely and wonderfully made, making the most of that given moment in our lives. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us that “We can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” I have found that the best moments are those where I let the Lord lead and he reveals to me that he is in control and has my best interests in mind. I always thought I would have already gone back to school and be well on my way to becoming a nurse practitioner, but the Lord had other things in mind, aka meeting Darren, getting married, and moving to Charlotte, and I sure am glad that through seeking him, his provisions far exceeded my expectations. I may be at a different place in life that I had imagined right now, but it couldn’t be more perfect. Every time we look into someone else’s life and are covetous or wish we were in the same place as them, we have to remember that God has a unique plan for every person, none of them are ever the same, and that is the beauty of a God who knows us individually!

Skinny Chicken Salad, Ya’ll!

Hey everyone! It’s been a little while since my first blog, but don’t worry, I have lots of good things I’ve been working on for posts here lately, so hopefully they will become a little more regular! This past Monday, I made probably the best Skinny Chicken Salad I’ve ever made. I was inspired to do so as Darren and I are looking for other dishes to take to work for lunch outside the usual sandwich. This chicken salad is very filling and a great source of protein to get you through a long day. Of course, most recipes I make are found on Pinterest and adapted  to my (or Darren’s) tastes. That is the case with this chicken salad.

chicken salad

First things first, I tried a new approach for cooking the chicken. Typically, I would boil the chicken first until it reached 160 degrees and then shred or chop it. However, I started researching on a few chef websites through the great resource, Google, and discovered that rather than boiling chicken, it is much better to “poach” it. At first, I thought boiling and poaching were essentially the same, however, poaching helps to preserve the moisture in the chicken rather than pulling the juices out as boiling does.

So, to start out, the recipe called for 1 lb of chicken breast, but since I had 2 lbs on hand, I decided, upon Darren’s request, to just cook all of it 🙂 I placed the chicken breasts in a medium sized pot so that they spread out evenly but were still touching the sides taking up most of the room in the bottom of the pot. I then barely covered the chicken with about 2 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth. It is best to start out with a smaller amount and then just add more broth or even water until the chicken is slightly covered by the liquid. I then seasoned the broth with lemon-pepper seasoning and topped with bay leaves. I also think you could add some oregano, basil, or really any spice that you prefer the taste of.  Turn the stove to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once  boiling, I reduced the heat to simmer and covered for 15-20 minutes while making sure the chicken had safely reached 160 degrees. After it has simmered and reached appropriate temperature, turn the heat off and allow chicken to sit in broth for another 10-15 minutes.

After taking the chicken out of the pot, I then shredded the chicken, which is what I prefer with my chicken salad. I will say, the chicken had a LOT more flavor and moisture as compared to chicken that I have boiled in the past. It was definitely worth the extra time and effort. Once the chicken is shredded (or chopped), the rest of the recipe is super easy. I mixed in 1 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt (Chobani is my favorite), 2 tbsp light Mayo, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 cup diced sweet red onion,  about 1 1/2 cups of halved green grapes, 1 diced pink lady apple, 2/3 cup of dried cranberries, 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, and  fresh ground peppercorn (I added a good bit because I love pepper but you can really add to your taste).  I will say that the onion in this recipe was a bit overpowering, however, and depending on your tastes, perhaps 1/4 cup would be better instead. I think 1/2 tsp onion powder would be a fair substitute, as well to give it some flavor without overpowering the chicken salad.

I served the chicken salad on a piece of flatbread toasted with a slice of provolone cheese, but I also think it would be great in a lettuce wrap, on a sandwich, or even by itself 🙂 Something to keep in mind, however, is I think we will end up getting at least 8-10 servings with the portions in this chicken salad, so if you choose to use just 1 lb of chicken so that you are not stuck with chicken salad for days,  the add-ins can easily be cut in half. Hope you enjoy and if you have any recommendations feel free to share! Be blessed!