Well, I Tried: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

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Well folks, it’s the weekend, and you know what that means! After a long week of some very non-clean eating, it’s time for another installation of “Well, I tried”. This week’s recipe is for slow cooker honey garlic chicken, from the blog Just a Taste. Here’s what I thought:

The Ingredients: For the most part, very easy to find grocery items. Once again, I tried to get everything at Target, and was successful EXCEPT for soy sauce, if you can believe it. The only thing I blinked an eye at was the hoisin sauce, but I figured it’d be a worthwhile investment if I was sure to use it again.

The gang [minus onion] is all here!

The Prep: Not too bad, actually. You whisk the main ingredients together, pour them over the chicken breasts, and voila! It’s ready to cook. The only thing that took some time for me was dicing the onion, but that’s because I don’t know how to properly do so.

** Note: I took some liberties with the recipe. Firstly, I used boneless breasts, simply because Target didn’t have any with bones. Secondly, I used coconut oil instead of olive oil – it was convenient, because I already had it. Third, I stacked some pieces of chicken on top of each other, even the recipe says this is a no-no. I had to because my crock pot is tiny, and I wanted enough to last me. Next (yikes, I didn’t think I made this many changes), I cooked it for two hours on high, rather than four hours on low. This is because I don’t know proper time management skills and wanted to eat at a decent hour. Lastly, I skipped the toppings because I ran out of money at the store.

Simmering the sauce with the slurry.

How’d It Come Out? Wow. Hands down a really delicious, flavorful recipe that yielded more than I expected it to. The chicken came out moist and tender and had really absorbed the marinade without having sat in it for too long. I promptly devoured it with some rather unhealthy potatoes from a box but hey, this is a step in the right direction!

I took this photo and then promptly inhaled the food.

The Verdict: SO DELICIOUS! A huge recommend for everyone except my poor mother, who is allergic to chicken.

Stay tuned for more recipe adventures!

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Table for one: A Pintrest Dinner

I have finally taken the leap into the adult world by moving into my own place-well, room. I am realizing the level of freedom that comes with living alone is quickly overshadowed by all the responsibilities that comes with it. From budgeting to taxes, the copious amounts of adult related responsibilities pile up quick. More importantly, the responsibility of feeding myself is the most challenging.

I am no stranger to cooking. It has been a love since my toy kitchen days. I am also a lover of food shopping. Yes, I enjoy the days of clipping coupons and shuffling carts around Coca Cola displays. However, these fun activities quickly lose their kick when it is done for only one. Balancing a budget and cooking for one is difficult and a little boring. On one hand, it makes sense to get the chicken that is on sale. But,does it make sense to get 10 lbs. of chicken to get the sale? And if I did buy 10 lbs of said chicken, what can I do with it?

If you can guess, I can never pass up a sale. I turn to Pinterest to help solve my dinner woes. Specifically, last night I needed a little help. Here is what I had to work with: 5 lbs of drumsticks (.99/lb you can’t beat that!), 1.5 lbs of carrots, and 1.5 lbs of sweet potatoes. Here are the recipes I found:

Yet again, Pinterest saves the day. This $6 dinner held my budget in tact and allowed this solo diner lunch and dinner for a few days.

Jess (2)

Back to the grind

UntitledI am back-back to my normal schedule! (who knew I would long for it as much as I did)  On the road, I am was deprived of all my wonderful de-stressers: family, friends, boyfriend, and creative time. While I was away, I made a list of things to catch up on. Most of these things included bills, chores, etc. But the most important was to see my lovely, long-distant boyfriend.

Being long distance can be extremely tough, but it forces us to get creative. We love doing things together especially cooking. We are privileged by the fact that he still lives at home and gets home cooked meals every day. However, this really limits the opportunity to cook together, since most of the cooking has already been done. My solution: Pintrest. 

Cutest cooks in the kitchen!

Cutest cooks in the kitchen!

Yes, this magical portal holds all the inspiration for a quick and easy cooking extravaganza. It is also, as expressed tirelessly before, is my addiction; which is comparable to the boyfriends Clash of Clans addiction. Scrolling through the pins, we had so many options. Pumpkin cheesecake, piña colada cupcakes, Christmas bark, these pins could go on forever. We were looking for something specific, something that could be done at 7 pm after a long day of working, and something that the boyfriend could do on his own. (he can get flustered with complicated activities)

Untitled design (5)After pinning some prime contenders, we found the perfect recipe: Oreo balls! This recipe is found on the blog Pip & Ebby which is a cute foodie blog with extremely easy to follow instructions. For us, this was required just the right amount of focus and energy. The ingredient list was simple: Oreos, cream cheese, and white chocolate. The recipe called for something different, but we were hankerin’ for some white chocolate.

Let me tell ya, these are AMAZING. They are extremely decadent but gives you that right amount of sweet you were looking for. The best part? This required zero cook time! Just smush it all together and throw it in the fridge. These will forever be on my list of quick go-to’s!

Jess (2)

What’s for Lunch?

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For what may be the first time in my life, I passed up free lunch today. Actually, I’ve been passing it up for the past four days. I know, scary stuff. Usually, I’m the first person with their hand raised to consume the leftovers/freebies of others. You brought in cupcakes for someone’s birthday? Couldn’t finish your sushi? Ordered too much of something? I’m in!

The company I work for is amazing in many ways, including how they buy everyone in the office lunch every day. Every day! As an assistant in operations, it’s also my job to pick the restaurant that we’ll be ordering from each day. It’s a dream come true.

Lately, though, I’ve been experiencing some tough gastro issues. I’m no stranger to upset stomachs, but it seems like no matter what I ate or how much I exercised or drank water or went to the bathroom, something remained off kilter. After eating lunch, I would get so painfully bloated that I’d sometimes have to unbutton my pants and conceal it under a long shirt for any sense of relief.

At first I chided myself for eating too much. I come from a family that places value on finishing what’s on your plate, and so I’m really terrible at portion control when it comes to buffet-style catering. Eating less, though, didn’t seem to help too much, and just left me hungry. As a result, I’d plow through the snack cabinet and end up gorging myself on Wheat Thins and trail mix.

Then I realized that I never had these awful stomach pains on the weekends. What was I doing differently? Well, I was cooking for myself in more controlled portions. And I wasn’t eating restaurant food. At least, not as much.

My Tex-Mex Bowl - rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, a veggie patty, taco seasoning, and homemade cornbread

My Tex-Mex Bowl – rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, a veggie patty, taco seasoning, and homemade cornbread

Curious, I started to Google a search about whether or not too much restaurant food could, potentially, be bad for you over time. Obviously, a lot of hamburgers and fries will clog your arteries, but I was eating kale salads and quinoa, how could that be causing so many digestive problems?

The truth is, unless you’re ordering plain (and I mean plain) chicken breast, or just straight up untouched greens, your food is going to come out slightly modified. A little seasoning here, some cheese crumbles there, etc. Restaurants want their food to be good and tasty, and truth is that a lot of the time it comes out with high calorie or saturated fat counts.

I decided to do a test. Starting Monday of this week, I packed my lunches. My coworkers thought I was nuts, and often asked if I was dieting. “Not dieting,” I’d say, “just changing my diet a little.”

Monday was pumpkin ravioli, and Tuesday and Wednesday were this delicious Tex-Mex bowl I found the recipe for online. Thursday was cold noodle salad. I also packed healthy snacks so that if I got hungry during the day, I wouldn’t turn to goods lurking in the kitchen.

So far, I haven’t had to unbutton my pants whatsoever. My appetite has come back, and my intestines seem to be functioning again. And – I don’t know if this was a coincidence or not – I ran my best time on the treadmill this week. Maybe it’s a placebo, maybe my body is actually benefiting from taking a restaurant break. Whatever the case, I think my co-workers are going to see me brown bagging it a whole lot more this winter.

 

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