We’re enjoying a little beach and sunshine in Florida this week and it’s come to my attention I’ve neglected to share a few amazing things out here on the blog. Several of them have been put to good use on our way here or during our stay so they are top of mind and just couldn’t wait. Here’s the quick gist of what I’m loving this month:
- We’ve been patiently waiting for Netflix to start streaming The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story since I heard about it constantly on my favorite podcasts (Popculture Happy Hour is obsessed with this show, I’ve felt very left out) and from friends. We are cable-less and missed it the first go-round but OMG are we loving it now!! I was a freshman in high school when this all went down so I a) didn’t understand most of it and b) was more consumed with being in high school. So this is like a giant refresh at which Stu and I are in awe. Seeing the details of the case unfold blows our minds, plus the acting is incredible. I’ve cried over Marcia Clark’s storyline…it’s heartbreaking and empowering at the same time. This should be your new binge-worth show!
- I got this adorable Evereve Racerback Dress on sale a couple weeks ago and couldn’t wait to try it out here in Florida. It’s SO comfortable and can be dressed up or down. It’s the perfect length, cut, and looks very summery with a jean jacket and sandals. It comes in several colors and is still on sale, but there aren’t many left. So hurry!
- There’s a published chef in our neck of the woods, specializing in small batch recipes and kind of blowing my mind with her skills. Christina from Dessert for Two has been in my Instagram feed making my hungry every day and her recipes do not disappoint. I love that we can make super simple yet delicious Monster Cookies in a batch of 12, which is so much more manageable when you’re trying to keep things healthy around the house without totally denying treats. I’m pretty sure she and I should be friends but am currently kind of star-struck since she just released her third cookbook last week.
- We only give the boys iPads on car and plane trips—holding them back makes the binge so much more fun—and therefore have tried several headrest holder solutions. All have been returned, they just didn’t work. That is, until I found these by TFY. Not only do these work fabulously in a car, they work on a plane too! We took them on our holiday trip to California and couldn’t stop talking about how amazing they are. I have people stop my on every flight asking where we found them. They come with a case to fit your device (so make sure to order the right one!) and a stretchy, velcro-clad band that wraps around headrests, airplane seat trays, and I’m sure many other things. You stick the device to the band and boom, hands-free. Very easy to remove when you’re in the front seat and kiddos need help, which is often in Finn’s case. Bonus, they are under $20 a piece.
- No doubt you’ve tried or heard of personal shopping services. Stitch Fix, Trendsend (my personal favorite), Wantable (awesome for workout clothes), and LeTote. They’ve becoming increasingly popular because seriously, who likes trying on clothes in a store? Ones you have to pick out yourself? So when I heard about Rockets of Awesome, a personal styling service for kids, I was sold. For a $20 styling fee, you get an adorable suitcase-like box stuffed full of cute clothes based on your child’s preferences (or the preferences you choose for them, let’s be real here). I got one for each of my boys and was thrilled to find several items we could’t live without. They loved opening the boxes and even let me try the clothes on them…something they typically HATE. Your styling fee goes toward the clothes you keep, everything is very reasonably priced and great quality. Customer service is awesome too. Send back whatever you don’t want in a pre-paid bag. Your kid’s wardrobe is instantly infused with some style you won’t see anywhere else. Worth a try, right?
Ok what are you loving this month? Also, I’m just now finishing this and realizing I neglected to talk about any new (to me) music, a topic I’m usually anxious to rave about. What have you been listening to lately?
In winter I crave fuzzy sweaters and soup around the clock. One quick look at my recipes page and it’s clear soup is made in our house often, it never seems like too much trouble to tend to a bubble pot of something delicious on the stove a couple evenings a week. But sometimes I’m alone on a week night, Stu’s traveling, and I don’t feel like cooking something for just me. Big salads are a staple, but usually cold stuff doesn’t cut it when the evenings are freezing cold. I do my best to plan ahead for these moments of cooking for one, which is why the pantry is always stocked for my “Dad’s Travelin” Crock-Pot Chicken Posole soup.
If posole is on a menu at an authentic (AKA divey) Mexican restaurant, I order it. Taking one bite reminds me of how much I love hominy yet never cook with it. The best is when a plate of toppings is served next to the big bowl of soup; limes, cilantro, radishes, avocado, shredded cabbage. With just the right about of spice to clear winter sinuses without making my ears smoke, posole is like food for the soul.
Yet it never occurred to me to make Posole at home.
So when the new year hit and my gluttony over the holidays was starting to catch up with me, I rooted around for some new healthy recipes and found one for crock-pot posole. It looked incredibly easy and really flavorful. Problem was, I couldn’t find half the ingredients the recipe called for. Does your grocery store typically stock diced tomatoes with chipotle peppers? My beloved Schnucks on the Hill does not. So I came up with substitutes for that and a few other things, mussed with the spices (no recipe ever calls for enough cumin!), gathered some toppings (which were totally absent from the recipe, a travesty I tell you) and created what’s become a weekly staple in our house.
I can throw everything in my cock-pot before we leave for school drop-off—very little chopping is involved—so the house is filled with delicious smells all day. Once the teeth have been brushed, stories are read, songs are sung, and kids are tucked in for the night, all I have to do is prep some toppings and dig in.
No work, just heart-warming goodness.
So for the recipe, I call for a chipotle chili and a little adobo sauce. This adds quite a bit of heat, so beware, but I find that after the soup has cooked all day and I’ve put some toppings on it, the heat is just right. Also, since you can only buy chipotle chilis in a can of about 12, I use one for the soup, then portion the rest out in an ice cube tray, one chili and a little sauce per cube, and stick it in the freezer. Once frozen, I pop them into a zip lock back for future use. One can of chilis lasts me forever.
You may notice one weird ingredient in my recipe below, the frozen chopped onions. I use them because I don’t like the flavor of fresh onions boiled in a crock pot. If you can’t find the frozen (it took me a while, I’ve never bought them before) go ahead and chop fresh. But take it from me frozen onions turned out to be kind of a revelation because who wants to chop onions at 8am? These can just be thrown in with everything else, no chopping involved. I’ve used them in several other crock-pot recipes and they work great.
Healthy Chicken Crock-Pot Posole
adapted from weightwatchers.com
1 lb Chicken thigh(s), boneless skinless, cut into bite-size pieces
1 clove Garlic clove, minced
3 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen chopped onions OR pepper, onion and celery mix (both in frozen section)
14 1/2 oz can hominy, drained
4 oz can chopped green chilis
14 1/2 oz Fire roasted diced tomatoes, canned
1 chipotle pepper with a little adobo sauce (optional…this makes it kick!)
2 tsp ground cumin (less if you aren’t a big cumin fan)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
Lime, cut into wedges
tortilla chips (my fav are the Tostitos Multigrain Scoops!)
Throw all the posole ingredients into the crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8. I stir mine a couple times throughout the day (though not necessary) and taste for seasoning. Add more chicken stock if you like yours with more broth. Serve in big bowls with toppings on the side so everyone can create their own perfect meal.
Without toppings, this comes out to about 245 calories per serving. Pretty incredible, especially when it’s a really filling and satisfying dinner. I usually pack on a few extra calories with a half an avocado, diced, on top and a couple handfuls of chips.
I won’t sit here and tell you my kids eat this, because I honestly haven’t tried. Ethan tends to be sensitive about spicy foods and usually voices his opinion in front of Finn, who then does whatever big brother is doing, in this case stops eating the food I’ve made for them. Therefore I make this for Stu and I or just myself and let the leftovers meld in the fridge so they taste even better the next day.
It’s the perfect plan over meal.