Monday, April 13, 2015

Best Chicken Tortilla Soup


This Chicken Tortilla Soup was the answer to my desperate attempt to find a flavorful recipe that didn't taste like the bland versions I'd tried in restaurants.  Paying for soup that just didn't quite do it for me was enough to send me running to the kitchen to make my own that I really loved.  This soup makes me happy!  It's simple to throw together, and has the husband (and sister...who has been over twice when I've made it!) seal of approval!  I've linked this recipe up here!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced (we like it with 2 jalapenos, but it will be spicier!)
  • 6 cups chicken broth/stock (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups shredded Honey & Lime Chicken chicken
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup) cilantro, divided and rough chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste
Toppings & Garnishes:
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced avocados
  • sour cream
  • crispy tortilla strips/crushed tortilla chips
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • sliced green onions

Directions:
  1. In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat the avocado oil.  Saute onions until fragrant and translucent, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for about 1 more minute.  
  2. Add in remaining ingredients, except for half of the cilantro.  Combine all ingredients, and heat until soup is at a simmer.  
  3. When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls.  Divide remaining chopped cilantro among the bowls (it retains its fresh green color because it's not cooked into the soup).  Add desired toppings and garnishes and serve!
*I like to divide the cilantro and sprinkle some on top because it will lose its fresh, green color as it cooks.  Feel free to add it all in the soup, if desired.

Adapted from FoodNetwork

Monday, April 6, 2015

How to Whip Coconut Cream

Whipped Coconut Cream is the perfect solution for a wholesome dairy-free topping!  It's no harder to make than regular whipped cream, and it's fluffy and rich, just like you'd expect.


We aren't a dairy-free family, but we still like to incorporate other foods into our diet that work in place of conventional ingredients.  This one is easy enough to make that my kids helped me whip it up!  Use it anywhere you would use regular whipped cream.  And then check out this link party, where I added this recipe!


Whipped Coconut Cream

Ingredients:
  • 1 (14 oz) can coconut cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Directions:
  1. Refrigerate coconut cream overnight, or until cream is solid.
  2. Chill mixing bowl in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Open coconut cream and scoop the solid cream out into the mixing bowl.  If there is liquid in the bottom of the can, do NOT pour it into the cream.  You want only the solid white cream from the can.
  4. Beat the cream with a hand mixer for several minutes until fluffy and soft peaks form.
  5. Add sugar and vanilla and whip until incorporated.  The vanilla will make the whipped cream softer, but it adds a great flavor, so I never skip it!
  6. Refrigerate tightly covered up to 10 days, just re-whip when you're ready to use it. 

Notes About Coconut Cream

* Coconut cream can be found in stores like Trader Joe's, Asian markets, the Asian section of some grocery stores, or the mixers (as in margaritas) section of some grocery stores.

* If you can't find coconut cream, use full-fat coconut milk (canned).  Look for milk withOUT guar gum as an ingredient.  This is added to emulsify the cream...which means the cream won't separate from the liquid, even when chilled.  Cream content will vary from brand to brand.

* The liquid left in the can may be used in other recipes, including smoothies!

For a wholesome, refreshing treat, use this Whipped Coconut Cream in my Pineapple Mango Pops!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pineapple Mango Pops

Pineapple Mango Pops are a fun and refreshing way to take advantage of the best tasting mangoes, available right now!  The Ataulfo mango is only available for a limited time at Whole Foods (where you can get an awesome selection of really cool fruits like Sumo oranges), so don't miss out!  When they're gone, you'll have to wait a long time before they come back.  Which is sad.  So just get some.  I promise.


Mangoes have such a delicious, tropical flavor that goes well with so many other fruits.  When I ended up with a mango and a pineapple in my cart, I couldn't get popsicles out of my head, and ended up with this dairy-free treat!  As if that wasn't enough, mangoes are full of good things like phytochemicals, antioxidants, Vitamin C & A, beta-carotene and fiber.  My kids helped me make them into these yummy popsicles, which are perfect for the warm Spring weather we've been having here in Utah!  Check out the link party where I added these popsicles!

 To make it easier to get the slush into the molds, I put it in a large measuring cup and poured it right in!

Pineapple Mango Pops

Ingredients:
  • 1 pineapple, cut into chunks (drain juice, if any)
  • 1 mango, peeled & cubed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Directions:
  1. Place pineapple, mango & lime juice in blender.  Blend until frothy, should make approximately 3 cups.
  2. Place cold coconut cream in a mixing bowl.  Beat for 3-5 minutes.  Add in vanilla and sugar and whip to incorporate.  
  3. Fold the whipped coconut cream into the fruit slush.
  4. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes about Coconut Cream:

* Coconut cream can be found in stores like Trader Joe's, Asian markets, the Asian section of some grocery stores, or the mixers (as in margaritas) section of some grocery stores.

* If you can't find coconut cream, use full-fat coconut milk (canned).  Look for milk withOUT guar gum as an ingredient.  This is added to emulsify the cream...which means the cream won't separate from the liquid, even when chilled.  Cream content will vary from brand to brand.

For more simple and delicious mango recipes, check out these Whole Foods Market creations!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

This post was originally shared on Or So She Says.  These Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels are a game changer!  Simple to put together and highly addicting...the perfect treat!

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

I have a slight obsession with coating things in chocolate, so it only made sense to come up with today's treat...Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels! The combination of sweet and salty and crunchy and chewy is my new favorite thing. These are dangerously addicting and hard to put down! They're also easy peasy to put together and can be made ahead of time. So basically, this is perfection. I hope you love them as much as we do!

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels
You only need four simple ingredients to make these treats! I always have pretzels, chocolate chips and peanut butter in my pantry, and I have Rolos most of the time (I buy them whenever they go on sale for holidays).

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels
Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels Collage 3
These are so simple to put together. Put half of your pretzels on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet, put a Rolo on top of each pretzel and put in the oven for a minute or two. When the Rolos are soft and melted, place another pretzel on top of it and press down on the pretzel to sandwich the Rolo in between. When the Rolo has hardened, spread some peanut butter on top and dip in chocolate. Be sure to gently tap the fork against the side of bowl or measuring cup to remove excess chocolate and air bubbles.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels


Just put the chocolatey pretzels back on your parchment or silicone mat, decorate (or leave plain), and let harden. You can put them in the fridge to harden them more quickly, but the chocolate *may* bloom a little (that's the white stuff that you sometimes see on chocolate, which essentially means the fat or sugar has come out of emulsion). It's totally safe to eat, but if it's not the look you're going for, you'll be sad to see it on your beautiful treats. This doesn't always happen, but it can, so just be aware.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

Chocolate Covered {Caramel Stuffed) Pretzels
Ingredients:
  • 48 pretzels
  • 24 Rolos, unwrapped
  • about 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
Optional:
  • 1 oz white chocolate for drizzling
  • sprinkles
  • small candies
  • crushed pretzels
  • sea salt
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place 24 pretzels on a baking sheet.  Place an unwrapped Rolo on each pretzel, and put in the oven for 1.5-2 minutes (or until chocolate is glossy and soft).  
  2. Place a pretzel on top of each Rolo, and push down until chocolate is evenly spread between pretzels.  Let chocolate harden, place in the fridge for 15 minutes if necessary.
  3. Spread a small amount of peanut butter on top of each pretzel sandwich.
  4. Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave*. 
  5. Dip each pretzel sandwich in the melted chocolate, and place on parchment or a silicone mat to cool.  If decorating with sprinkles, add them before the chocolate hardens.  If drizzling with white chocolate, let harden first.
  6. Enjoy!
*To melt chocolate in the microwave, place the chips in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Heat for 1 minute, then stir. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until chips are mostly melted. Stir to finish melting any remaining lumps. Be careful not to overheat.


For some of my other favorite thing to dip in chocolate, check out these recipes:
Thin Mints/Twix Cookies

Monday, March 16, 2015

Houseplant Care

I started contributing to the blog Or So She Says back in January, and I have loved working with the talented people over there!  I even got to meet a couple of ladies on the team last month at a blogging conference, and it was like getting together with old friends.  We went to lunch and talked for nearly four hours!  Such a blast.  Below is the first post I wrote for OSSS, but instead of a recipe, it's all about houseplant care!  It may seem random, but since I also write for Western Gardens, this seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Houseplant Appreciation Day.  With Spring gearing up here in Utah, we can all use some pointers on taking care of plants! 

*******************************

Hi Or So She Says readers! I'm Becky from Bite of Delight, and I'm so thrilled to be a new contributor here! I'm a Utah girl married to my best friend, and together we have four little buddies. I love to cook and I spend most of my time in the kitchen. We don't eat elaborate meals every night, but we do eat together as a family every night. I love reading and Sunday afternoon naps and a clean house. Things that I miss since having 4 kids, but they're all slowly coming back into my life!
BOD fam_optNormally you'll find me in my kitchen elbow-deep in bread dough or chocolate, but for my first post here, I want to talk to you about houseplant care because...it's Houseplant Appreciation Day! When I found out about this fun day, I talked to the nice folks at Western Gardens and they agreed to help me out with a giveaway just for you! (Giveaway is closed)

houseplants 11 main_opt

Houseplant Care Basics

With a little TLC, your houseplants can stay beautiful and healthy all year long. There are just a few basic things to keep in mind.

Water: Most people water their plants on a schedule (or when they remember!). Your plants have different water needs throughout the year, however, based on temperature and sunlight exposure. So just putting yourself on a watering schedule and sticking to it all year isn't the best way to care for your plants. Your houseplants will usually need more water in the summer and less water in the winter. So how do you figure out how much water to give them? houseplants 5_optA moisture meter is an inexpensive but valuable tool for watering plants. Moisture meters are numbered from 1-10 (1-3 is dry, 4-7 is moist, 8-10 is wet). You want the soil wet (8-10) when you water it, then water again when it's in the moist range (4-5). Never let your soil dry out, and don't keep it wet all the time! Roots will die from too little water, but they will also start to decay if they are too wet. If you don't have a moisture meter and you need to figure out your plant's watering needs, use your finger! Scratch down into the soil at least 2 inches to feel for moisture. It's time to water again if the soil is just barely moist.

Light: Most people don't have as much light as they think they do in their homes, so consider plants that have colorful and large foliage instead of a flower that blooms. houseplants 4_optBlooming plants require more sunlight, and it can be a long time (like 6-12 months) between blooming cycles. Plants will drop leaves in the Winter when there is less light, in order to conserve energy. It doesn't mean your plant is dying! It's just trying to shed unnecessary foliage in order to better utilize the light it's receiving. Different areas of your home will receive different amounts of light (depending on which direction the windows face), so check your particular plants to see what their lighting needs are.

Houseplant Collage_opt

Fertilizer: Try to avoid chemical fertilizers in houseplants. They release their nutrients quickly and don't stay in the soil as long as an organic fertilizer. They also leave a salt residue, and when that salt residue builds up it can change the pH of your soil (not good!). Organic fertilizers are slow-releasing (good!), and they don't leave a salt residue, so your soil will stay healthier longer.

Cleaning: A popular Pinterest method for cleaning houseplants is to put them in the shower. While this is fine, you do have to be careful not to let dirt go down your drain, as it can quickly clog your pipes. A safer method would be to use a spray bottle of water and a clean cloth to gently wipe each leaf. There is also a product called Leaf Shine that will repel dust and keep your plant cleaner longer. Do NOT use household cleaners on your plants. The leaves are porous and will absorb the chemicals, which can harm or kill your plant. Harsh cleaners can also strip the protective layer of oils on the leaves.

**********GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED**********

For our Utah readers, to make your National Houseplant Day a little happier, we are excited to give away a $25 gift certificate to Western Gardens! (This is for local Utah readers because it must be redeemed in-store). Just follow the SUPER easy instructions for 3 quick entries!

Western Gardens Gift Certificate Giveaway

houseplants landscapeI can't wait to see you again soon! Happy Houseplant Day!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mini Apple Pizzas

These mini apple pizzas are a fun new snack that my kids and I love!  They're yummy, simple to prepare, and easy to customize to any taste!  You can add any toppings that you like, and kids love to help with these.  One of the best tips to getting kids to try new foods is to have them alongside you in the kitchen...they are more likely to eat something they made themselves! 
 This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market.  All opinions are my own.

Start out with just three basic ingredients, and then add your toppings.  So simple!  I used Pink Lady apples (use your favorite snacking apple), cookie butter (a nut butter would be a healthier choice, but we are loving the cookie butter we picked up at Whole Foods last week!  It's delicious.  And addicting.), and unsweetened shredded coconut as the "cheese."

Slice your apple crosswise into 1/4" thick rounds.  Apples have pretty stars in them when you cut them this way!  Remove the core if needed (the slices near the top may have nothing to remove).

Spread with cookie or nut butter, sprinkle with shredded coconut, and top with your favorite fruit slices or dried fruit!  We also sprinkled on some granola, and even chopped nuts would be delicious.  That's it!  It's so simple, your kids can definitely help with this one.

Mini Apple Pizzas

Ingredients:
  • 1 snacking apple (Pink Lady or Honeycrisp are our faves)
  •  nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut) or cookie butter
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
Toppings:
  • craisins
  • raisins
  • dried fruit pieces
  • banana slices
  • strawberry slices
  • granola
  • chopped nuts
Directions:
  1. Wash apple and slice crosswise into 1/4" thick rounds.  Remove the core where needed. 
  2. Spread with cookie or nut butter.
  3. Sprinkle on the coconut.
  4. Top with your favorite toppings.  The strawberries and bananas were my personal favorites!
  5. Enjoy a great snack with your kids that they can help make!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Honey & Lime Chicken Tostadas

Honey & Lime Chicken Tostadas are a quick and easy dinner that everyone will love!  This recipe first appeared on Somewhat Simple, and since then we make these at least once a week.  They are fresh and delicious, and perfect for a busy weeknight!

Tostadas 1
I was going to make tacos for an easy weeknight dinner, and halfway through the process I realized I was out of flour tortillas. I dug around my fridge a little more and found corn tortillas, so tostadas it was! We loved how these turned out. I'm a sucker for any chicken that has honey and lime, so I added them & threw in a couple of spices and bam! Honey and Lime Chicken Tostadas- an easy, quick dinner.
Tostadas 3
Honey and Lime Chicken Tostadas
Ingredients (for the chicken):
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • juice of 1/2 - 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 heaping cups of cooked and shredded chicken
Additional Ingredients:
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 can refried beans, warmed
  • lettuce, shredded
  • cheese, shredded
  • tomatoes, diced
  • red onion, diced
  • bell pepper, diced
  • avocado, sliced
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients for chicken in a medium bowl and let marinate while you prep everything else.
  3. Add the chipotle chili powder to the sour cream and thoroughly combine. Set aside.
  4. Place tortillas on a baking sheet and place in oven for 3-5 minutes. You want them crispy...if they are rubbery they will be harder to eat.
  5. Spread tortillas with refried beans (or if you have a few more minutes, definitely make Spicy Refried Beans). If desired, top with some shredded cheese and place under a broiler for about 30 seconds.
  6. Layer each tortilla with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, cheese, avocado and a dollop of chipotle sour cream.
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tostadas 2
Here are a few more of my favorite Mexican-inspired recipes!

Mexican Food Collage

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mini Red Velvet Brownies & Ice Cream

This is another Somewhat Simple post I whipped up with only three ingredients!  Well, plus ice cream, but since it goes on top, I guess I don't have to count it.  These were super easy to put together, and they're really fun to serve to kids.  Mine loved them!  They're just the right size for little hands, and they can eat the ice cream before it melts all over them (and every nearby surface).
3 Ingredient Red Velvet Brownies

We are brownie lovers at our house (brownie edges are coveted over here), so I thought it was only fitting that Valentine's Day should include red velvet brownies! These red velvet brownies are super easy and fast to make. Just stir three (that's right, only three!) ingredients together and you're ready to bake!
Red Velvet Brownies Collage

I made an indentation in my mini brownies so they would hold more ice cream. I used the narrow end of my pestle (from my mortar and pestle) but you can use whatever you have...or leave the brownie as is. It will come out of the oven with a slight indentation (as shown in the picture above), so it's up to you how pronounced you want it to be.

Mini Red Velvet Brownies & Ice Cream

Ingredients:
  • 1 red velvet cake mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla ice cream
  • desired toppings (sprinkles, drizzled chocolate, hot fudge, etc)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine the cake mix, butter and egg until well combined. Scoop into a mini muffin tin, about 1 tbsp for each brownie (I used my cookie scoop). Batter will be very thick.
  2. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Remove from oven, and using the blunt end of a kitchen utensil or a spoon, make a large indentation in each brownie. This will make more room for ice cream in your brownie. If you would rather have your ice cream sit on top instead of in the brownie, omit this step.
  3. Using your cookie scoop, place 2 or 3 scoops of ice cream on each brownie. Add any desired toppings.
  4. Enjoy!
Red Velvet Brownies slider image
My kids loved having their own little brownie cup to hold their ice cream- little servings are just cuter and more fun for kids!
For two more of my favorite sweets that I like to make for my sweethearts, don't miss:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Orange Dream Fruit Dip

This Orange Dream Fruit Dip is my new favorite thing to serve with fresh fruit!  I found it when I was at a neighborhood book discussion.  I tracked down the person who made it (my amazing cook of a neighbor Patti), and begged for the recipe (and permission to post it here).  Thanks Patti!!  This dip is light and sweet, but not overly sweet.  Perfect for book club or a baby shower!  I actually made this for my sister's baby shower...and I now I have a beautiful little nephew. 

Orange Dream Fruit Dip

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz marshmallow cream
  • zest of 1 orange
  • up to 3 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
  • 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the whipped topping.  Mix thoroughly, adding the orange juice concentrate to taste.  
  2. Fold in whipped topping.  
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  
  4. Serve with an assortment of fruits.  I especially love it with strawberries!
 And please notice how cute my sister Jennifer is, she made rainbow fruit skewers! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Our Night Out at Station Park and a GIVEAWAY!

 Station Park is Farmington's hidden gem and I am so excited to give you a little sneak peek into some of my favorite things there. Be sure to enter to win the $300+ prize package from Station Park's amazing businesses below! If you need a date night with the hubby (hello couples massage!) or you are looking for something fun to do with the kids (ice skating and yummy cobbler!), Station Park is your place.

We did a little shopping after we stuffed ourselves with cobbler and hot chocolate, and I snagged this jacket at DownEast Basics for 25% off!  I've been looking for a jacket like this for a looong time, so I was pretty stoked.  Clearly, Hubs was too.  

With upscale retail, dining and entertainment, a children's play area (SO awesome when the kids need a break from shopping!), an outdoor winter skating rink, and a world-class show fountain - there is definitely something for everyone. Station Park expertly combines luxe surroundings with family friendly amenities. You will want to stop, stay, and play at this beautiful shopping and entertainment destination right off of I-15 with easy access to Front Runner.

Whether you are checking out the latest in fashion at DownEast Basics, dining at the ParkStone wood-fire grill, grabbing groceries at Harmon's, working out with lululemon on Saturday morning, or having a spa day at Sanctuary Aveda, you are going to want to cap off your fun with fresh-baked cobbler from Station Park's newest dessert restaurant Cobbler Cove! You are going to want to cozy up by their fireplace and enjoy America's favorite dessert.

One lucky reader is going to be spoiled with some of our favorite things from Station Park!

Station Park Valentines Giveaway




$30 gift card to Cobbler Cove


Cooking Class from Harmon's




A $25 Gift Certificate from ParkStone Restaurant


A Couples Massage with Stress Fix Soak from Sanctuary Aveda


A $50 Gift Card from DownEast Basics


Six ice skating passes from The Salt Project


Enter on the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thank you to these amazing businesses for donating our prizes!


Shop at Station Park

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