Recipe Wednesday: Quick + Easy Chicken Salad

Summertime should be all about light cooking and grilling.  Since I’m a teacher I have a bit more time to focus on the little things during the summer…like…making lunch!  My boyfriend & I ordered our favorite Peruvian chicken one day last week, lo and behold, they actually gave us two, yes, two, whole chickens instead of one.  Needless to say, we had a lot left over.

I decided to get creative and whip up a quick chicken salad for lunch one day, using all Trader Joe’s ingredients…minus the chicken, of course.  Although, it would be super easy to use the precooked Grilled Chicken Strips (hint: in the green packaging).

My secret weapon in this chicken salad is the Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce, which is, let me tell you, the best sauce ever.  You can put it on anything, and it serves up the best mustard realness.  I put this on grilled salmon, use it as a dipping sauce, you really can’t go wrong.

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Recipe Wednesday: Cooking Slump Edition

It’s about that time in 2018 when you come down from your new year, new you high, amirite??!! Scary thing is, we’re only two and a half months in!!!  I haven’t been feeling motivated in the kitchen recently, & I’ve been dreading needing to cook.  Although, I have an awesome new kitchen, so I’m not sure what my problem is.  Anyway,  I haven’t enjoyed being in this slump, and I felt like I needed some major inspiration to get me through the rest of March cooking our new kitchen!

March’s East Seasonal infographic is below, what do you think?!  I’ve used it as my inspiration for ingredients for the rest of this month.

AHealthyLifeForMe.com

First of all, we’re huge Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushroom, and avocado lovers in our home.  I cook with these veggies all of the time but I find I’m always doing the same recipes…using a bunch of garlic & herbs, or using my favorite Trader Joe’s Soyaki Sauce.  These are always, of course, great options- but I’m looking to add more, and new, flavors and ideas into my routine.

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Recipe Wednesday: Gifts for the Chef in Your Life

If you’re anything like me, you love to cook!  I’m much more of a chef than a baker, so I’m always looking for new kitchen gadgets to add to my collection.  The best part about most cooking & baking things is that you can find them at a reasonable price point!
Check out some of the helpful kitchen tools I think any chef would love this holiday season!
PS: Don’t forget to shop through Ebates for cash-back from tons of stores!
Kitchen Gadget Gift Ideas

 

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Recipe Wednesday: Taco Tuesday Chicken + Avo-Corn Salsa

Okay, okay, I know, I’m sharing a Taco Tuesday recipe on a Wednesday…
…but really this recipe could work any day of the week, obviously, & I think it would be particularly spectacular on Football Sunday while watching your team.

This recipe is originally from Chelsea’s Messy Apron, but I put my own flair on it…and literally just used what I already had in my fridge.  I didn’t go shopping for anything in this delicious recipe, I was honestly just trying to use some things up and remembered the original recipe I had seen.  That avocado- corn salsa…omg yum.

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Recipe Wednesday: Reykjavik, Iceland Nomz

Happy Wednesday!! My teacher life is back in full swing, we just moved back into our renovated building, setting up our classrooms, etc…there’s a lot going on.
I’ll be sharing my European travel adventures in a Travel Tuesday series, but since there are so many pictures of well, food, I figured I’d separate my nom-ing pics from the actual sightseeing.
So, for the next few weeks, Recipe Wednesday will be recipes someone else did a fine job creating, that I enjoyed while abroad!
My first stop was Reykjavik, Iceland…I think we can all agree Iceland is having a moment..amirite??  I feel like everyone is talking about it, and it’s so trendy to like…go to Iceland. The city of Reykjavik is so beautiful, but let me tell you, the food is not cheap.  At all.  It’s so expensive, but also, as I quickly learned, so worth it. 
After walking around the city for a few hours the day I arrived, I was looking for a quiet place to have some lunch and read, and I stumbled upon Bryggan Brugghus Bistro & Brewery, located on the water.  First of all, the location of this restaurant is top notch, they have a great outdoor patio, and the inside had a rustic chic feel.
This seems like a great place to gather friends and enjoy drinks on the patio, the picnic table set up made it friendly for larger groups, and the overall vibe of Bryggan Brugghus is chill and fun.  It’s a brewery, and they offer tours, which was awesome too.  Even though I’m not a beer drinker, I still took a tour, the man who took me around was so nice and answered all my silly questions…I know nothing about beer, so I’m sure I sounded ridiculous to him, but whatever.
I enjoyed some Chardonnay and had the fish soup for lunch.  It had the taste of a bisque, filled with shrimp, and other local, Nordic, fish…i.e. mussels.  Perfect first meal in Iceland after traveling!!
Later that night, after so much more exploring, I stopped by Sjavargrillid Seafood Grill, which was on my possible list of restaurants to try.  This restaurant is definitely not a cheap eat, it was quite expensive for one person, but it was so worth it.  I mean, so so so worth it.  If you’re visiting Reykjavik any time soon, you need to put this restaurant at the top of your list, I’m 99.9% sure it was the best dinner of my whole trip!  Also, make a reservation, it was a Monday when I went & I was thankful they could fit me in, but it got packed quickly.
I was exhausted from walking everywhere, so I was really looking to a relaxing, slow, dinner.  Luckily, I got just that at Sjavargrillid, my server was excellent, and I was truly able to relax and just chill out after a long day of sightseeing. 
I opted for Sjavargrillid’s 3 course summer menu, which had great choices.  As a first course I had fried Brie cheese, I learned in Iceland they love their Brie, which is awesome because I too love my Brie.  It was so delicious and had a rhubarb jam, honey, and toasted bread.  I cannot remember the name of the delicious cocktail, I should’ve written it down, ugh!  It was so fresh, pretty sure it was vodka based, and according to my server, their most popular original cocktail.

The second course was langoustine tacos with figs, but I ordered it sans figs.  In case you’re wondering what langoustine is, it’s the Nordic lobster…I honestly didn’t know that beforehand, but apparently most people know what it is…I didn’t. Ha.  THESE TACOS WERE SO GOOD I WISH I HAD THEM RIGHT NOW.  They were garnished with garlic, red onion, and an aioli, my mouth is watering thinking about them they were so delish. 
Lastly, for dessert, the second food dish from Iceland I can’t stop thinking about, I had a deconstructed creme brûlée with cocoa pieces, strawberry, caramel, and sorrel, which is a more bitter herb that balanced out the super sweetness of the dessert perfectly.  I loved the presentation of the creme brûlée too, it was so funky, and I wish I had been able to finish it because I’m not sure where I’ll find a dessert so impeccable again.  Le sigh.    
The next day I went to the Blue Lagoon and with my ticket I was able to get a reservation at their restaurant, Lava.  Since I was booking the reservation that day I was only able to get an 11am by the time I got there, which was fine since I hadn’t eaten breakfast.  I did the two course set menu, and had langoustine soup and then creme brûlée, again.  They love their creme brûlée in Iceland just as much as they love their Brie, which totally works for me.  The langoustine soup was not as filling as the fish soup at Bryggan, and the creme brûlée was also quite light with main flavors of vanilla & orange.  Yum.  
Side note, loving how the Iceland versions of creme brûlée look so much different than ours!
I had a great lunch at Lava, everything was yummy, but nowhere near as jaw dropping as the night before.  My ticket into the Blue Lagoon included a complimentary glass of sparkling wine with my meal which was a nice touch.  If you visit the lagoon, try out the restaurant, it’s worth it!  Make sure to make a reservation when you arrive, it’s not so easy to just walk in and get a table.
When I got back from the Blue Lagoon I took a nap and then went walking around the city again.  I really wanted to try the hot dog stand, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, everyone told me to go to.  I mean, even Conde Nast Traveler wrote about it back in 2014!  I’ve also had a few friends go, so I knew I needed to stop by and get a dog.
BTW this translates to “best hot dogs in town”.
It was about a 25 minute walk from my hotel, so I was ready for a hot dog by the time I got there, but didn’t really know what to expect.  I ordered it with all the traditional condiments, ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, and raw onion, but passed on the sweet relish mayo.  If you know me, you know I’m terrified of pickles.
Okay so, I feel really weird saying this, but…I didn’t love the hotdog.  It was okay, but I was prepared to be in love, and I…wasn’t.  I’m a grilled hotdog type of girl, and this was not grilled, so I’m thinking that was part of my issue?  Also it’s a bit crunchy, without being grilled, which I found a little weird.  I waited so long in line for it, and while I’m happy I tried it out, I guess I’m just confused about the crazy hype around it all.  Or, I don’t know what I’m talking about & I’m not hotdog cultured.  Not sure which it is.
After my famous, yet slightly underwhelming dog, I continued to bop around Reykajavik while I listed to my favorite Podcast, Casefile True Crime, and eventually I started to head back to the hotel.  I heard a lot of noise & what I thought was a concert in the main square, so I walked on over to see what was going on.  It’s an amphitheater-esque set up, and they were showing the Iceland women’s soccer game.  There were tons of people gathering around to watch, and locals leading chants.  So, I grabbed a seat outside at the super cute Uno Bistro, ordered some wine and baked Brie, watched the game, & read some of my book!
 My Icelandic food adventure ended a couple of hours later at Eldur & Is, an ice cream & crepe shop close to my hotel, apparently the best in the city.  I should’ve ordered a crepe, not sure what I was thinking, but I opted for a mint chocolate chip sundae instead.  Um, it was so yummy and the perfect ending to a great 2 days in Reykjavik!! 

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s post, where I go in-depth on my trip to Reykjavik, and give some helpful hints, tips, and must sees for the city!
XO.
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Recipe Wednesday: Easy Summertime Hummus

This is my first summer as a teacher where I’m not working an extra job…I literally don’t know what to do with myself, in the best ways ever.  Our condo has an amazing clubhouse right in front of my home, so why not mosey on over to the pool every day…amirite?!  
If I’m going to be lounging poolside all day reading, I’m probably going to get hungry…obviously.  In an effort to keep the snacking like and weather appropriate, I think hummus with a side of carrots seems perfect.  I’d never made my own hummus before, and I have no idea why it took me so long to finally make some, it’s so incredibly easy and took less than 15m to whip it all together.
Also, when you think about costs, it will save you so much money to make your own hummus!  I was shocked at the amount one can of chickpeas made, and it pains me to think people pay $3+ dollars for Sabra, even though it’s great, it’s so much more worthwhile to make your own.
Ingredients

 + 1 can of chickpeas 
+ Tahini — I used Trader Joe’s Organic Tahini
+ Juice of 1 lemon 
+ Garlic cloves — Again, I used Trader Joe’s, I’m obsessed with their peeled garlic cloves!! 
+ Salt 
+ Pepper
+ 1 red bell pepper
+ Red pepper flakes – if you like your hummus to have a kick to it! 
+ Fresh (or dried) parsley 

I started by taking about 4 tablespoons of the chickpea liquid and putting into the food processor…I drained the rest and then put all the chickpeas in the processor.  After that, just add in all the rest of the ingredients…super easy!  I chopped up the red bell pepper before, but put the garlic cloves in whole.  Juiced the lemon, added the black pepper,  parsley, and a bit of salt.  I started with 4 tablespoons of tahini but ended up using about 7 to get the perfect consistency.

After I blended it all in the food processor I added the red pepper flakes to taste, I wanted it to have a kick but not too much so I added it in small amounts.  I also added more parsley because…I love parsley.  
Homemade hummus is an easy summer time snack that you can bring to the pool or beach.  Pair it with some carrots or celery, pita chips, or pretzels…and…dare I say…wine…and you have the perfect healthy and most important, filling, snack!! 

XO.
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Recipe Wednesday: Delicious Easter Sunday Beverages

Easter is on Sunday, finally!  I love this time of year, especially decorating for the Easter holiday, and eating delicious things on Easter Sunday.  I know a lot of families do Easter brunch, my family does a traditional early Eater ham dinner.  No Sunday Funday, no matter what holiday it is, is complete without some fabulous cocktails.  
Today I’m sharing some spring beverages that could be perfect for this upcoming Sunday, whether you’re celebrating Easter, or any other holiday, with your family…or not! 
If you’re doing a Sunday brunch, welcome the warm weather with these Frozen Mimosas from How Sweet Eats!  Jessica is my absolute favorite food blogger and aside from regularly using her cookbook, I’m always pinning her new recipes from my inbox each day.  I love the idea of taking something so incredible as a mimosa and adding a twist by making it frozen.  It’s such a pretty drink and adding the orange slice for garnish makes the presentation that much better!
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For a more cocktail hour appropriate drink, I think this bright and sunny looking Spicy Pineapple Margarita, created by The Noshery, is a fun and different drink to enjoy on a special day.  If spice isn’t your thing, then leave out the jalapeños and you’ll still be enjoying a refreshing pineapple margarita!  
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Another delightful drink from How Sweet Eats, this time taking a turn toward vodka with this Clementine Vodka Soda.  Vodka soda is my favorite drink…ever…and I loveeeee clementines, so seeing this drink made me so excited!  The though of making my own clementine juice and simple syrup makes the drink sound that much better.  Not to mention, it’s super easy to throw together and adding the mint takes the presentation up a notch.
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If you’re more of the sangria type I think this White Strawberry Lemon Sangria created by The Kitchen Treaty is a great choice if you like things on the sweeter side.  The color is gorgeous, and it’s very easy to make a large pitcher of this for the day.  I think this drink is perfect for a brunch or early afternoon gathering.  Sitting outside with friends & family, passing around a pitcher of this sangria sounds like the most perfect Easter Sunday to me!
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I can’t necessarily say I would drink a few glasses of this next drink, since Bourbon really isn’t my thing- but I know how trendy it is nowadays, so I thought I should add it in to this list!  Also, I think the twist of a Bourbon “Arnold Palmer”, by Bon Bon Break, sounds fun and exciting for those of you that enjoy Bourbon!  I love a good Arnold Palmer and while I’m still trying to strengthen my Bourbon tastebuds, this drink seems like it would be tasty!
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 Tweet me, @elizabethmayce, any fun drinks you’ll be making this Easter Sunday, or on your next Sunday Funday! 

XO.
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Recipe Wednesday: Zucchini- Parm Sticks

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m sharing a quick snack that’s easy to make for a cocktail hour, dinner side dish, or for a snack on a lazy weekend afternoon.  Zucchini is my favorite veggie, there are just so many options from soups, to casseroles and hibachi type dishes, you can do so much with one vegetable!! This is the first time I’ve made something like this, and it was such a success, not to mention incredibly easy and quick.

I bought a 3 pack of zucchini from Trader Joe’s and grabbed some ingredients I always keep in the apartment to whip up this quick delicious snack.
First, after setting the oven to 350 degrees, I cut the zucchini long ways.  You can do this however many times you’d like, it depends on how thick you want each piece to be.  Next, I brushed the zucchini sticks with the olive oil and garlic marinade I made.
I started the marinade by mincing fresh garlic, I love using my OXO Vegetable Chopper for this, it was inexpensive and works great.  My suggestion, always have a 20% off Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon in your glove compartment, they come in handy!  I buy my garlic from Trader Joe’s, it’s pre-cut from the bulb in individual packets of about four or five cloves- so convenient.

After mincing the garlic and adding into a dish of olive oil I added salt, juice from two lemons, and a few pinches of the Chef’s Blend pepper from my Salts of the 7 Seas Peppercorns of the World set.  The Chef’s Blend is a mix of black and roasted garlic sea salt, which I thought was perfect for this dish. 
After mixing up these simple ingredients I brushed the zucchini sticks, topped them with the Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio Shredded Cheese Blend, and then popped them in the oven for 15 minutes, 1 minute with the broiler on.

When they came out of the oven, as seen above, they were super flavorful and a perfect snack type food during dinner!

  

XO.
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Recipe Wednesday: Current Need to Make Dish List

I feel like February came and went so quickly, it’s been insane!  Life is been so busy lately…work has been stressful, I haven’t been cooking & blogging as much as I would like.  Since March is right around the corner, and can be so long and drab, I wanted to get together a list of new recipes to try out.  I think this list is pretty decent, all of these recipes give me room to add in my own elements, they’re great starting points for me, and look so delicious.
Baked Tilapia with Garlic Breadcrumbs by Cooktoria 
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Tilapia is basically my favorite fish, it’s so easy to cook & you can always switch up how you serve it.  I usually just make a sauce to accompany it, but I’m liking the sound of garlic breadcrumbs.  I’ll def be making this in the near future.


Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Pesto by Eat Yourself Skinny
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Rob has gotten me hooked on zucchini noodles, and I just love using the spiralizer we have.  We’re huge pesto fans, and while I’ve heard of avocado pesto, I’ve never tried it, let alone make it.  Seems easy enough though, so I’m looking forward to trying it out!

Skillet Tuscan Tortellini by Chew Out Loud 

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Doesn’t this look so good?!  A one pan dish is perfect for a weeknight meal, and the variety of flavors in this dish sound great.  This recipe calls for already made pasta sauce, so it’s even easier to make, and switch up with either vodka sauce, or Alfredo.

Sheet Pan Steak & Veggies by Damn Delicious

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Um, I love steak…I love steak SO MUCH!  This one sheet meal, just like a one skillet, meal, is too ideal for a busy weeknight.  I would opt to marinate the steak overnight to really maximize all the flavors, and cook it slowly in the oven.  Ah, I need this right now!

Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken Stew by The Recipe Rebel

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Is it blatantly obvious I love garlic things?? This stew looks so hearty, perfect for dinner after a fun filled Sunday Funday.  Seriously, I can only imagine how incredible the apartment will smell while this slow cooks all day…AH, so exciting!! I think I’m going to make this this upcoming Sunday, so I will be sure to feature it on an upcoming Recipe Wednesday!

XO.
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Recipe Wednesday: Chicken Thighs in a Creamy Dill Sauce

It took Rob & I all of about 2 minutes to decide to make this after searching through some similar Pinterest recipes on Sunday evening.  This dish was so easy to put together and clean up was a breeze too.  The leftovers the next day tasted great too…I must say, this is a new favorite of mine!

Ingredients

Chicken Thighs
Chicken Broth 
I like to use the low sodium version. I probably used about 2 cups of broth, but it depends on how much sauce you want 
Sour Cream
Use the light sour cream, it tastes the exact same…I used 3 tablespoons
Pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
To season the chicken thighs 
Minced Garlic & Fresh Dill
Mushrooms
Whichever are your favorite!
Lemon
Fresh lemon or juice, it doesn’t really matter but I personally like to keep an endless supply of lemons on the counter 
Corn Starch or Flour
Whichever you prefer to thicken the sauce with, I used about 2 teaspoons of corn starch 
I started out by seasoning the chicken thighs with pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Do you notice what I left out?  Salt. You don’t really need it since the chicken will be baking in the chicken broth and even the less sodium broth has enough sodium.
After I seasoned the chicken I turned the oven to 375, which gave me the perfect amount of time to whip up the sauce.  I heated up about 2 cups of chicken broth and heavily seasoned it with minced garlic, the fresh dill, pepper, and onion powder.  
I let it simmer for a minute and added in juice from an entire lemon, and then 3 tablespoons of sour cream.  It began to thicken the slightest bit, but not as much as we like it, so I slowly added in corn starch and whisked.  I used about two teaspoons, probably a little less.  It really just depends on how you like your sauces.
After a quick taste-test the sauce was perfect, so I topped the chicken with fresh mushrooms in the baking dish, and then poured the sauce all over it.  I popped it in the over for 25 minutes, I was so careful not to overcook it…so I did check on it a lot while I cleaned around the kitchen.  
Wild rice & a side salad make this easy meal complete.
When I took it out, the smell was amazing, the scent of the lemon and the dill was so great through the apartment.  Not only was this dish super yummy, the clean up was ridiculously easy and quick, and making such a large serving allowed us both to take leftovers to work the next day.  Also, overall it’s not an unhealthy dish as long as your substituting certain ingredients for their slightly healthier counterparts. 
I hope you’re enjoying your Wednesday! 

XO.
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