Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

Sometimes, the best kinds of dinners come from a kitchen scavenger hunt and a little outside the box thinking. Almost a year ago, a can of enchilada sauce appeared in my grocery bags mysteriously and has been sitting in my pantry ever since. It became a joke every time I opened the pantry because I never buy this stuff and I just didn't have any use for it. Fast forward to last week when I had the idea to make a new spin on stuffed peppers- enchilada style. I always see creative new stuffing combos and decided to make my own creation, and something to finally use up my funny little can of sauce. Next time, I'll make my own enchilada sauce, which I know will be even better. I was just happy to get that pesky can out of my kitchen!

This meal was tasty, healthy and a super easy weeknight dinner. 

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

3 large bell peppers, halved
3 cups shredded chicken breast (A rotisserie chicken from the grocery store would work great!)
1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa, cooked
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt + pepper to taste
olive oil for drizzling
Shredded mozzarella
Enchilada sauce 

To prepare the pepper stuffing, sautee garlic, onions and black beans until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cook quinoa according to the instructions on the bag/box. Combine chicken, black bean mixture and some salt and pepper to taste. 

Cut peppers in half vertically and scoop out the seeds. Stuff generously and top with fresh cilantro and cheese. Finish with a tsp. or so of enchilada sauce on each pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Little Will- 4 Months!

These monthly posts seem to creep up on my every month! Wasn't it just June!? I want to press pause on 2013 for a few moments. It's truly been the best year. 

Our little peanut turned FOUR MONTHS OLD on October 9. Every month and milestone is so bittersweet and we are loving it all. At his 4 month appointment, Will was 13 pounds, 1 ounce and 25 inches tall! Month four was another one full of milestones for baby Will. He's becoming less of a tiny, tired baby and more his own person!

His head control has really changed drastically. He is less wobbly and his little neck is so very strong! This makes him less frustrated during tummy time and also while he's being held. He likes to look around and take it all in. My mom likes to say that he just "doesn't miss a trick!"

Our voices are definitely recognizable to Will. He perks up when he hears either one of us, even if we're in separate rooms.

He's also more aware of Wrigley these days which is so funny. He tries to reach out for him, feel his fur and doesn't even mind a giant lick when Wrigs swipes his tongue across his face. I think our doodle child is starting to adjust better to the human child as well.

Will is still the best little sleeper and continues to sleep all night, every night. When he wakes up in the mornings, he talks and plays, kicking his entire legs and little body in the air, making for funny entertainment on the baby monitor. When he is unwrapped from his MIracle Blanket, his little arms stretch out so far like the cutest little baby birdie you ever saw. 

Will loves Justin Timberlake and no, I am not making that up. When I was pregnant, he would go crazy in my belly when Suit and Tie came on and now when I turn it on, he gets a giant smile on his face! We enjoy dance parties multiple times daily. 

In mid-September, we took a trip to Boone for a wedding! Will's first trip to the mountains was a giant success and he especially enjoyed a day with his Aunt Nat who babysat him while we were out celebrating. He also enjoyed his first trip to Melanie's! A true lovie experience.

Little laughs have started to come out and it is just the sweetest noise we have ever heard. 

We're looking forward to what month number 5 holds!

We love you sweet little buddy. Happy 4 months, little one!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Little Ghosts & Goblins Halloween Pajama Party {link up!}

Aside from Will's morning smiles, bathtime and getting him ready for bed is my FAVORITE time of day. I absolutely LOVE getting him all warm and snuggly in his footed pajamas and enjoying the last few snuggles of the day. There really is nothing better. 

Holiday pajamas are just the cutest and I am so excited that I have my own tiny person to dress this year. We are so excited that we can link up with Darci and Meredith for this year's virtual pajama party!!! It's one giant #HalloweenPJPartyLinkup!

With fear that Will would grow out of them too quickly, he started sporting his pumpkin pjs in mid-September. Luckily, my little pumpkin is still pretty little and has been having sweet candy corn dreams in his festive pajamas all season long. 

I just love this franken-baby!!!

And this little striped Mummy!

I could have gone overboard and made sure to have enough Halloween pajamas for ever night of the week, but Christmas is coming...and we need Christmas pajamas. And we all know my little elf will be in his red and green ALL SEASON LONG.

Sweet Halloween dreams to all the little ghosts, goblins and pumpkins out there and thank you Darci and Meredith for hosting this fun linkup!

Trick-or-Treat from my not so scary tiny green monster!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin Arugula Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Goat Cheese + Blood Orange Cinnamon Pear Vinaigrette

I can't let the month of October pass without sharing a pumpkin recipe and since I have yet to purchase a roasting pumpkin, I'm re-posting this delicious Autumn salad that I made last year. This recipe was also featured last October on Jillian Harris's website as her very first Recipe of the Month Feature. If you know me, you know that this was very exciting!!

I just love the way that all of these flavors work together to create a warm, earthy salad. 

This recipe was originally created for my dear friend's olive oil shop, Pour Olive, located here in Charlotte! If you are local to Charlotte, I highly recommend taking a little trip down to East Boulevard for some Pour Olive goodies! Sophie has an apple balsamic and a walnut oil that are both heavenly!

The original post and recipe can be found in my blog archives, HERE. I also think dried cherries or cranberries would be a great addition to this salad.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Will's Newborn Photos {by Jim Trice Photography}

When little Will was just 10 days old, we had a photographer come to our house to take some newborn photos of the little prince. I contacted Jim back in December so that I could be sure that we were on the books! 

If you are local to Charlotte, I HIGHLY recommend Jim Trice. He is extremely talented and we are so thankful for these first images of our little family. Photographing a newborn is hard work and Jim was so patient and understanding during our shoot. 

He spent three hours at our home and took so much time and care in getting the perfect shots.  I'm in awe of all of the details he was able to capture!

I cannot stress enough how wonderful Jim was to work with!

Looking through these pictures now, I cannot believe how tiny he was. What a difference four months makes in these tiny humans. 

Thank you, Jim, for these precious images of our family! We will treasure them forever.

*All photos by Jim Trice Photography

For more pictures from Will's newborn shoot, you can visit Jim's blog post here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Flatbread Pizza

Flatbread pizzas seem to be a popular menu item at restaurants these days. They are a great tapas item for sharing and paired with a salad, can be enough for a meal. That's exactly what Mark and I did a few weeks ago, only we recreated this popular menu item at home. I had Trader Joe's naan bread in my freezer and a few other toppings that made for a tasty homemade flatbread pizza! This meal is perfect when you are short on time during a weeknight and it sure beats unhealthy takeout pizza. 

Trader Joe's frozen chicken breast tenderloins are becoming one of my favorite freezer items to have on hand. With a sprinkle of McCormick's Grillmates and drizzle of olive oil, these lean pieces of chicken need no thawing and bake to perfection in 20-25 minutes in the oven. While these are baking, you can assemble your pizzas. Scour your fridge and add whatever your tastebuds may fancy! 

This particular one included roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, kalamata olives, prosciutto and mozzarella. I like to "filet" my naan bread (like you would a chicken breast) to make for a thinner flatbread pizza.

Flatbread Pizza

Chicken tenderloins (grilled or baked)
sundried tomatoes, chopped
red onion, slivered
kalamata olives
shredded mozzarella
olive oil for drizzling
salt and pepper, to season

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange flatbreads on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Top with desired toppings, finishing with a layer of shredded mozzarella. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is nice and bubbly. Serve with a baby greens salad.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Weekly Eats: Back on the Paleo Train

Our menu for this week is completed and a trip to the grocery store is in the works for later today. When I stick to Paleo, I don't totally omit dairy since I like Greek yogurt, but as long as we get 80-90% of our day right, we are doing great. As far as dinner planning goes, we focus on lean protein and fresh salads and vegetables. Dinner leftovers make for great lunch options the next few days. As promised, I'm posting this week's menu in case you need some healthy inspiration, too! 

{If you're in the need of a great meal planning printable, you can download this one from The Polka Dot Posie, like the one shown above, HERE. }

Turkey Meatloaf and roasted balsamic green beans

Flank Steak Salad

Zucchini "Pasta" with sausage, peppers and onions

Stuffed Peppers (inspiration found here)

Bunless Caprese Burgers and salad

Seared Fish with Garlicky Kale (inspiration from Real Simple)

I mixed up a batch of Paleo Snack Bites yesterday to have on hand for the week. I was out of vanilla extract and subbed in almond extract instead. I LOVE the way these turned out- the almond flavor is fantastic! 

Make it a tasty (and healthy) week!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Health and Fitness Friday: Body After Baby

I need to get back on the Health & Fitness Friday train in a big way. Health and fitness are two things I am very passionate about and they are so important in my life. I love Jen, and I love this linkup! 

Believe it or not, it has been SO HARD for me to get back into my normal workout routine since Will was born. I had grand plans of not wasting a single second once my doctor gave me the okay at my 6 week appointment to go about life as normal. But now, here we are 16 weeks later, and I have yet to really kick my workouts up to where they used to be. I lost my baby pounds super fast and was back to my pre-pregnancy weight and wardrobe within 3-4 weeks, but I still feel flabby and am ready to tone my body up! 

Walks are a part of our daily routine, but I am ready to be diligent about strength training again with the main focus of getting my tummy tightened back up!  Lugging a baby around all day is a pretty hefty arm workout, but that doesn't mean I don't want to tone those up, too. The Fall weather is so beautiful here in Charlotte, making for fantastic outdoor runs. My goal is to run 3-4 days a week and filling in with other cardio in between. If I make a schedule, I am more likely to stick with it. Even if it means squeezing in a home workout while the baby naps, I just need to make it a priority and get it done.

In addition to fitness, healthy eating is huge. We do well for the most part, but we really need to buckle down and focus even more. Mark and I both feel so much better when we stick to mostly Paleo eating and as a cook, I love the creativity that comes with it! Meal planning, keeping our kitchen stocked with whole, fresh foods and limiting meals out. These are all things that work for us. A flat belly really does start in the kitchen.

It is my hope that within the next month to share more weekly menu posts and workout recaps, in order to hold myself accountable. I'm also looking forward to a few fall races, including my family's absolute favorite, The Turkey Trot!! (and this year, with our tiny turkey in tow!) 

So, this coming week, it is my hope to get my groove back and get out of this slump! Wishing you all a delightful October weekend!