Chicken with Olive & Tomato Dressing

I posted this photo to my instagram several weeks ago and lots of people commented on how good it looked.

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I promised I would share the recipe, and finally I am getting around to it. Sorry for the delay! But just in time for a summer night on the deck/patio/backyard 🙂

Serves 4

For the chicken:

4 large skinless chicken breasts, de-boned (or pre-cut chicken tenders)

1 cup flour, seasoned with salt & pepper

for the dressing:

1 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and roughly chopped

2 tbsp capers (optional)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Start by pounding the chicken between two layers of cling film until approximately 1/3″ inches thick.
  2. Coat the chicken in the seasoned flour and fry in a hot pan until browned on either side and cooked through (approximately 1-2 minutes per side).
  3. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. Play with the ratio of tomatoes to olives. Calder thought it was a little too salty, but I also had capers in mine. Next time I would use a few less olives and no capers.
  4. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and serve topped with the dressing.

Original recipe found here.

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Panzanella Salad

I originally shared this recipe about a year ago, but it is so good I’m posting it again! With better pictures this time 🙂

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Panzanella Salad

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 of a medium red onion, cut in thin wedges (1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (plus an extra splash if you like things vinegar-y) red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 8 oz. fresh bakery or focaccia bread, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Several small fresh basil leaves

1. In large serving bowl combine veggies. In screw-top jar combine 1/4 cup olive oil, the red wine vinegar, mustard, Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Cover; shake well to combine. Add to veggie mixture and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight (up to 24 hours).

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a shallow baking pan, toss bread cubes with 1 Tbsp. olive oil to coat. Bake about 10-13 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Remove and cool on pan.

3. Add basil leaves and croutons to individual bowls of salad (to avoid soggy leftover croutons); toss to coat. Top with shaved white cheddar cheese (optional). Makes a lot.

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Yes, we have a wood stump as a table on our patio. And it’s awesome!

But back to the salad—MAKE IT! You won’t be disappointed. Keep the croutons separate when storing leftovers and it will be even better then next day. Just think, you’ll get plenty of veggies without having to eat lots of lettuce (bonus!).

Oh and if you saw my instagram post the other day of some delish looking chicken, that recipe is coming soon too. I promise this is not turning into a food blog. 😉

Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Caprese

AKA the perfect summer grilling dish!

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If you’re planning on breaking out the grill this weekend, I highly recommend you make this dish. It is really simple and there is very little clean-up (major plus in my book!). And if you just throw on some veggies with it, you got yourself an entire meal!

I found the recipe on Pinterest, which I pretty much use as my cookbook. You can find the original recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat grill. Salt and pepper each side of chicken and place on hot grill. Grill chicken for about 7 to 9 minutes on each side or until no longer pink and cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile heat balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Vinegar will reduce and become thickened. Be careful not to cook it too long or it will be too thick to pour.
  3. Lightly brush sliced tomatoes with olive oil and place directly on the hot grill. Grill for about 1-2 minutes on each side.
  4. Once chicken is cooked leave on the grill and place 1 slice of fresh mozzarella on top. Then add grilled tomato and basil.
  5. Place on serving platter and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

The balsamic reduction really does it for me. I love the stuff. Make this for yourself or your guests and no one will be disappointed!

PS- Another simple summery addition to this meal can be found here!

Just to Keep this Blog from Dying

I haven’t posted in forever! I started slowing down on my posting because I didn’t want anything to feel forced and needed a break from putting pressure on myself. I really enjoy posting about our house and what we’re doing to it, but our energy and bank account can’t support enough projects to keep that as my only content. But I don’t want this blog to die completely because I can see myself getting more into it again in the future.

That being said, I may start posting more about different topics. And I may start sharing some of the designs I’m doing at work!

For today, I’ll share some recent life happenings from my instagram (I just upgraded to a smart phone a couple months ago and have been thoroughly enjoying the app 🙂 )

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IMG_0166My best friend from my childhood came to visit me from NYC (check out the fun blog by her and her sisters http://threetwists.squarespace.com/ ), Some of our closest friends here in Denver got married, and I went to the Hospitality Design Conference in Vegas with my boss and coworker!

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IMG_0216Calder and I went to Miami! It was sooo nice. I was sad to see the short vacation end.

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IMG_0246We added some front landscaping (can’t wait to see it grow in!) with the help of my in-laws and we spent Memorial Day hiking a beautiful landscape (the same place we hiked over a year ago).

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And we’ve been enjoying lots of time on our patio with this warmer weather! PS- the chicken pictured above is the perfect summer grilling meal. I’ll share the recipe soon!

Welcome 2013 + Chocolate Rugelach Recipe

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View of Gray’s & Torrey’s Peaks, Frisco, CO earlier today.

I hope your holidays and start to the year has been a good one! We had a great time seeing family and friends in Kansas and enjoying all the holiday festivities. The break was soo nice! But I am definitely ready for things to slow down a bit and get back in a regular routine.

It’s been almost a year since I started this blog before we went to Europe. Hard to believe! It’s been fun to share all the new experiences we had in 2012, but at times it has felt like an obligation and at times I was not fully present in real life moments because I was thinking about what to post on the blog! I don’t want it to be like that, at least not at this point in life, so I will continue to post every so often with house updates or a really great recipe  or any fun adventures:) . But probably not so many times a week like I had been last year.

Today, I’m going to share a recipe for cookies I made before Christmas that were AMAZING! The original recipe is posted on one of my favorite food blogs, Crepes of Wrath (where they have much better photography than I do, so be sure to check it out!).

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Ingredients
  • For the Dough:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized cubes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound regular cream cheese (on average, this is 16 ounces or 2 of those blocks you can buy at the store), chilled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup regular sour cream
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • raw sugar, for decorating

For the Chocolate Filling:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 to 1.5 cups semi-sweet baking chocolate, finely chopped (do not use chocolate chips for this, or if you do, you’ve gotta chop them!)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

For the Dough:
  1. It’s best to use a food processor to get a more even dough (but can be done by hand). Add your cubed butter and flour to your food processor and process for about 30 seconds or so, until the butter is broken up well and the mixture looks like wet sand. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt. Transfer the butter and flour mixture to a large mixing bowl (the biggest one you’ve got) and add in the salt, cream cheese, and sour cream. Mix everything together quickly, breaking up the cream cheese with your hands and working it well into the flour, until the mixture is crumbly and only pea-sized amounts of cream cheese remain visible. Again, work quickly so that the cream cheese doesn’t warm up too much.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of foil (I was wary of this, too – don’t we all usually use plastic wrap? Just go for the foil, trust me…I think it may help to dry the dough out a bit and make it less sticky), press down on it slightly, and form the dough into a thick disk. Wrap the disk tightly in the foil, and chill in the refrigerator for as little as 20 minutes or as long as overnight (I left mine in overnight). While your dough chills (or just before taking it out of the fridge), make your filling (see below).
  3. When your dough has chilled, you are ready to fill ‘em and bake ‘em. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a few baking trays with parchment paper and sprinkle the paper with some raw sugar. Unwrap the dough, divide it into 2 parts, and put one part back in the fridge so it stays cold. Flour your work surface extremely well, then knead the dough a bit to make it less sticky and more maleable. Roll the dough into a ball, then press it down until it’s about 3/4-inch thick. The sides may crack a bit at first, but just keep working it until you have a smooth sided disk, adding more flour as needed to keep your hands from sticking to the dough.
  4. Roll the dough out into a 10 to 12-inch circle of even thickness and trim off any uneveness on the edges.
  5. Lightly brush the dough with your butter, then sprinkle the chocolate evenly over everything, pressing down a bit to make the chocolate stick. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the circle into 16 equal-sized wedges.
  6. Roll the dough up, starting with the bigger side, tightly and carefully, to make the classic rugelach shape. Place the rugelach seam side down onto your parchment. Continue with the rest of your dough, then brush each rugelach with your egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through baking, until the cookies are a light, golden brown. Allow to cool before moving and serving. These will store well in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature, and will freeze well for up to 3 months.
For the Chocolate Filling:
  1. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and chop your chocolate. Melt your butter and let it cool. When you are ready to use, brush the butter over the rolled out rugelach, sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then press the chocolate down evenly over the dough. Roll up and bake.

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Christmas Butter Cookies

I know this time of year we are all baking a ton and receiving lots of baked goods as well (50+% of my diet has been cookies for the past couple of weeks..). Here is a yummy recipe that I have made a couple of times! I made them this year for a cookie exchange and they were made with whole wheat flour, hence the brownish color. They can be made with regular flour too and I must admit, they taste better that way. Still good with the whole wheat, but not quite as addicting (maybe that’s a good thing). Anyway, I thought I’d still share the pictures and recipe!

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Ingredients:

2 cups Butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

4 egg yolks

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

4.5 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the Yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

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Combine the flour and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Shape dough into logs about 2 inches in diameter.

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Roll the log in nuts or sprinkles if desired. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate of freeze until firm. (You can also freeze this at this point to use later).

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When ready to use, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap rolls and slice into about 3/8″ wide slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheet (they can be placed pretty close together as they do not spread out much). Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cool completely.

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Enjoy and share! I’m sure you have a good amount of cookies to munch on yourself 🙂

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Thanksgiving!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was my first time hosting and I have to say I had a blast. Fortunately, I had work off Wednesday so I was able to prepare most of the meal in advance which made for a stress-free Turkey day. I so enjoyed time with family. We spent the day watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade & of course football, eating lots of food, and playing games.

It was the first time our little house had that many people in it at once and the first time we had overnight guests. It was definitely cozy but still comfortable. It makes me exciting for hosting future events!

One the menu was lots and lots of sides, and perhaps sacreligiously, rotisserie chicken instead of Turkey. Maybe next time I’ll try it, but I didn’t want to have the bird cooking all day when I needed my oven to finish the sides (which are the best part in my opinion 🙂 )

I made corn pudding, roasted green beans, rolls, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, a salad, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie, and I bought apple pie. My sister made rainbow jello, my other sister made deviled eggs, and a friend who joined us brought mashed potatoes. Not that you wanted to our exact menu, but it was quite the feast and I’m thankful for leftovers. 😉

 

Friday we got to go skiing and it was a seriously gorgeous day. One of the perks of Colorado living!

Now onto Christmas season 🙂

Pumpkin Apple Soup

Last night Calder and I made this yummy soup! And I got to use my newest kitchen tool (thanks to my realtor for the housewarming gift!)

Recipe and image from The Family Kitchen on babble.com (click image to go to the page).

Apple Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Ingredients
2 – 15 oz cans pumpkin puree
6 cups  chicken or vegetable stock
2/3 cups applesauce
2 granny smith, or other tart apples, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
kosher salt
olive oil

Instructions
1. Preheat large soup pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Add diced onion, apples and a little kosher salt. Saute until onions are translucent. Add chicken or vegetable stock, apple sauce, and spices. Bring to a boil and cook until apples are very tender.

2. Add pumpkin and brown sugar and cook for 10 – 15 minutes over medium heat. Use a submersible blender to blend soup until it is smooth. You can also use your blender to blend the soup in batches. Add cream to soup and heat through, but do not boil. Add more cream or water if desired to thin out more. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried apple slices or hazelnuts.

Here’s me using the submersible blender!! New favorite tool!

Really great flavor combinations. Next time we’ll probably leave out the thyme as neither of us are huge fans, but Calder especially. Enjoy another fall themed recipe!

PS- the brick guy is coming today and tomorrow to fill in our wall! So hopefully next week I’ll have more update pictures!!

7 Minute Soup

My father-in-law made this recipe from Food & Wine magazine and passed it on to me. Both the hubby and I agreed it is absolutely delicious. And super easy and quick (about 7 minutes if you have all the pre-made ingredients).

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Chickpea Soup with Chicken
4 hearty servings
1 cup roasted red peppers (reserve 1/4 cup cut into thin strips for garnish)
1 cup hummus
3 cups chicken broth
2 tbs olive oil
1 small onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 cup precooked rice (I used instant brown rice)
1.5 cups shredded roasted chicken (any rotisserie chicken would work)
1/4 cup chopped fresh, flat-leafed parsley,
olive oil and balsamic vinegar for garnish
Sweat the onions and garlic in olive oil to soften.
Combine onions and garlic with first 3 ingredients in blender, Puree and transfer to small stock pot.
Add rice and chicken to puree in stock pot  (check for desired consistency. add broth if too thick), bring to temperature…(don’t over ‘boil’).
To serve, ladle into bowls, garnish with strips of pepper, parsley, light drizzle of olive oil and several drops of balsamic vinegar.
Soup weather is here! Make this recipe and enjoy!

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Another fall-themed post today for you…this time of the food variety! Who doesn’t like food? I got this idea from this recipe (pumpkin banana muffins from Ring Around the Rosies) but decided to convert it to a loaf instead of muffins. I love regular pumpkin bread, but this recipe helped me use up some of the mountain of bananas in my freezer 🙂

Banana and pumpkin may sound like an interesting combo, but trust me this stuff is GOOD! Everyone who tried it raved. It’s very moist. Just make sure if you do the full size loaf, it will need to bake 1 to 1.5 hrs instead of the 20 mins for the muffins.

Anyone have a favorite fall recipe to share?