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Fast & Fabulous: White Chicken Chili

fastandfabulous

I adore Lisa Leake’s cookbooks.

I always get a little nervous when I review new books  (in this case 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous)  What if I hate it?  What if I find it just so-so?  I’m of course always 100% honest in my reviews, and as a writer myself, skewering someone’s work of art is not my favorite thing to do.  But thankfully that’s not an issue here.

I love this cookbook.

From a purely physical and aesthetic standpoint, it is big and substantial, with a sturdy hardback cover, and nice thick pages.  There is a gorgeous photo on every page.  (Am I the only one who gets sad when cookbooks don’t have pictures?  I need pictures.)  The recipes are clear and easy to follow, and use simple, whole food ingredients that you can find at a regular grocery store.

Last night, I made the white chicken chili, which is perfect for fall-like sweater weather – if you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the country where the end of October actually is fall-like sweater weather.   It was easy to make, and Oh. So. Delicious.  Comfort food at its finest.  I doubled the recipe to feed my crew of six, and there weren’t any leftovers when we were done.  Twelve enthusiastic thumbs up, and multiple requests to add it to our weekly repertoire.

whitechickenchili

White Chicken Chili

Difficulty: Easy
Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook time: Less than 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings
GLUTEN-FREE
NUT-FREE
FREEZER-FRIENDLY

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw)
Two 15-ounce cans white beans (such as Great Northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth, store bought or homemade (page 103)
1/4 cup heavy cream

TOPPINGS: Chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado, and/or corn tortilla strips

Whether you call this dish a chili or hearty chicken and bean stew, it’s definitely a winner. The first time I made it for my kids, they asked me so many times what it was called, but by the end of the meal they cared much more about getting second helpings than remembering the name! If you have time be sure to double the recipe and store in the fridge or freezer, because, like most soups and stews, the leftovers are amazing.

1. In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until the onion has softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside (add more olive oil if the pot starts to dry out), 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Toss the minced garlic and spices into the pot and turn a few times to coat the chicken evenly. Add the corn, beans, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, about 20 minutes.

4. Break up some of the beans with the back of a wooden spoon to help thicken the chili. Stir in the cream, garnish with the desired toppings, and serve!

100 Days of Real Food:  Fast and Fabulous is available TODAY, and you can grab your copy here.

This is Lisa Leake’s second cookbook, and her first – 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love – is just as wonderful, so check that one out while you’re at it!

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DIY: Homemade Face Wash

I LOVE a project.  Few things make me happier in life than creating something with my hands.  I love that moment of inspiration when I think of, or read about, an interesting idea.  I love gathering up my supplies.  Love the trial and error.  Love the feeling of pride in a finished product.

Lately I’ve been able to get in touch with that side of myself again.  For a long time, I’d deliberately put it on a back burner. Now that the kids are a bit older (at seven, Tegan of course still wants and needs me to play with her, but she also wants and needs her time away to Skype with Friends or play Minecraft with her brothers) I’m finding myself with a little bit of new time. And it’s lovely.

This past weekend’s quick little project was homemade face wash, and I love it so much that I had to share.  I’d been looking for something new – I can only use the same thing for so long before my skin freaks out on me – and I didn’t feel like researching and shopping and spending the money on something only to find out that I didn’t like it.  So… I Googled.   I was looking for an oil-based recipe, because I’ve heard great things about them, and there were a LOT to choose from.  I ultimately ended up going with this one because it 1) got great reviews 2) was super simple, and 3) contained ingredients I already had around the house.  It took about 5 minutes to make.

facewash

Homemade Face Wash (recipe by Dr Axe)

1 cup coconut oil

1 TB baking soda

5 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops frankincense essential oil

5 drops lemon essential oil

Melt the coconut oil in a pan over low heat.  Let it cool for a minute or two, and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Store it in a glass container.  The baking soda settles at the bottom, so you do need to give it a stir before you use it.  I started keeping a spoon for that purpose in my bathroom vanity.  🙂  A little bit goes a long, so you can just put some on your fingertips, massage it all over your face, and remove with a warm washcloth.

I LOVE this face wash!  I’ve been using it for five nights now (usually ample time for me to know if my skin is going to get angry at me for trying something new, and/or even break out in a rash of some variety), and it is just wonderful.  No skin freak-outs.  It feels clean and smooth and super soft and moisturized.  Love it.  The original recipe said that you may need to adjust your ingredients a bit to make it right for your skin…. but for me it was perfect as written.

Try it, you’ll love it.


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