Valentine’s Day Recap

I am sorry it’s taken so long for me to update this blog. I have a few recipes I want to post, but for the last couple of days I’ve been prepping for and celebrating Valentine’s Day! I hope everyone had an amazing day yesterday and got to celebrate with the one they love most (whether it’s a partner, a family member, a friend, or a beloved pet).

Hubby and I had an amazing day. As previously mentioned we don’t usually celebrate, but this year we decided to. I wasn’t expecting anything but a romantic dinner, but when I came home from work Robert had bought me flowers and two Valentine’s Day cards. He has only bought me flowers once throughout our entire relationship and this time he put so much thought into surprising me. He hid the flowers and the cards, so that when I got upstairs, I didn’t know he’d gotten me anything. Then when he asked me to turn around, there they were! In all their beautiful glory.

After being indecisive for weeks, I finally chose something to make for dinner. Robert and I both like chicken pot pie, and lately, I’ve been longing for some. Since I didn’t have time to make a gluten-free pie crust, I took my mum’s suggestion and made a chicken pot pie shepherd’s pie. Essentially, chicken pot pie with a mashed potato top.

Now, I should let you know I cheated a little. As I get home from work at 6pm, my mum was my sous chef for the day . She had already prepped the mashed potatoes and made the chicken soup. Since Campbell’s has wheat in it, my mum hand-made the chicken soup for me.

Chicken Pot Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

2 pieces of chicken

3/4 of a bag of mixed frozen vegetables

Twenty diced mushrooms

1 can of cream of chicken soup

Three big potatoes

3 tablespoons of low-fat milk

1 oz of butter

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil the potatoes until they are soft. Once cooked, remove from stove and drain water. Add the milk and the butter and mash potatoes to desired consistency.  Put to the side.

Now, cook your chicken. Half way through cooking the chicken, add the mushrooms. When the chicken is almost done, add the mixed vegetables and the soup. Cook until heated through. It’s okay if the chicken isn’t fully cooked because you are putting it in the oven, too. You do want it to be mostly cooked though.

Next, pour the chicken mixture into an 11 x 9 casserole dish. Pour the mashed potatoes on top of the chicken mixture. Cover the potatoes with butter to help them brown in the oven.

Cook the dish in the oven for at least thirty minutes. My potatoes didn’t brown on top, but I knew they were done when the mixture started bubbling. If after thirty minutes your mixture isn’t bubbling, continue cooking until it does.

 

Voila! You are now ready to serve. I really enjoyed it and so did Robert (of course, I can tell he liked the cheesecake more). I do wish I’d found a way to add a little more seasoning, but there was a lot of seasoning in the soup. I have a tendency to pour salt on top of everything so I think that’s just me. Robert loved it as is.

I’m so excited I got to serve it on our Mikasa Love Story plates, too. They were a wedding present from a good family friend and I absolutely love them. They’ve been sitting in their boxes since the wedding though, so I’m so pleased we finally got to use them!

Look out for the cheesecake recipe! I’ll be posting that soon, too!

 

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The ultimate weekend comfort

It felt so good to be back in the kitchen and cooking. While it’s only been two weeks, that’s enough to drive a girl like me crazy! I enjoy experimenting with different recipes and I love it even more when people actually enjoy what I make. I love taking pictures of my culinary creations and I love blogging about it, too. Basically, I’ve just really gotten into cooking and baking since I became a wife. . .  too bad I can’t get into doing other domestic-type stuff, too.

Tonight while I was cooking we watched. . . oh boy, I’m ashamed to even admit it. . . we watched. . . “Twilight Breaking Dawn.” I only share this with you readers because I don’t feel like I need to hide it. See the thing is, I’m truthfully not a “Twilight” fan. I’ve seen most of the movies, but I honestly don’t get the attraction. I can admit that many of the things he says are pretty sweet, like “no measure of time with you will ever be long enough, let’s start with forever.” If Robert said that. . .  I’d probably melt into a puddle of absolute mush. Otherwise, I think there’s far more powerful love stories out there, like “The Notebook” or “Pride and Prejudice”. I watched the third film because they got married and, my goodness, that wedding looked gorgeous! So I can admit I’ve watched the movies, I can admit there’s a few sweet parts, but I’m still not a fan. Not to say there’s anything wrong with liking “Twilight”, it’s just that I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan.

But, now that I’ve completely digressed from my story, I’ll come back to my actual point. These last few weeks I’ve learned there’s nothing as relaxing as watching movies all weekend. I particularly love a marathon of Disney movies followed by me cooking dinner.  It’s become that little bit of comfort I look forward to at the end of the week. I think it’s become the only way I truly relax, and if I’m doing anything else, I feel rushed and like there’s not enough time in the day. . .  which, on weekends there never is! Two days goes by so quickly.

Well tonight I made a chicken dish with mango salsa, coconut rice, and avocado! I’ve never had coconut rice, but someone suggested it at work and like the mango/avocado quesadillas, it had to be tried. I find myself gravitating towards fruity chicken dishes. I love chicken with some kind of citrus dressing. Even if it’s just a marinade, I’m hooked! Plus, chicken is still on my list of okay items to eat. So works out for me!

Chicken with warm mango salsa

Source: “Good Morning America”

Ingredients:

Chicken

1 avocado

1 mango

1 tomato

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (I used this instead of the jalapeno)

1 lime juice

The zest of 1 lime

1 red pepper (I don’t think this was on there, but it made for a nice extra)

Side note: I didn’t use all of the ingredients that “Good Morning America” used. For one thing I hate onions and my throat always gets scratchy and sore when I have pepper. So I do recommend looking at those ingredients as well.

Method:

Chop your mango, tomato, and pepper into cubes. Toss them on a plate and leave for now.

Start cooking the chicken on a medium heat. Once you’re about halfway done with the chicken, start cooking the mango mix. Since I didn’t use jalapeno, this is when I added my red pepper flakes.

Once your mango mix has cooked a little, add the lime zest and the lime juice. Continue cooking.

When the chicken is fully cooked and the salsa is warmed, put the chicken on a plate and add the salsa on top.

Use the avocado to garnish or as a side item on the plate.

Coconut Rice:

Source: a work colleague

Ingredients:

Jasmine rice

1 can of low fat coconut milk

Method:

Place desired rice in pot with entire can of coconut milk. Add a little water just to give it enough to boil with. Once the rice has boiled, turn off the stove and leave until soft and ready to serve.

Five things that made me smile

Other than getting a sudden ear infection, I’ve had a pretty good week. I’ve had a lot of accomplishments that have really left me smiling. Inspired by an idea I found from “Mr. and Meatless“, I figured I’d share the five things that have made me smile this week.

1. I actually have another blog which details my life as a newlywed. Honestly, that’s how my blogging adventures started. I had a blog on Blogger called “The Making of a Mrs” and I pitched the idea to my favourite wedding magazine. I feel truly blessed because they took me on, and the other day, my post received an amazing number of viewers. Unfortunately, I can’t share that number, but it was definitely the highest hits I’ve ever gotten and I was so excited. By the way, if you haven’t seen my other blog, you should definitely check it out.  This is what I’m doing when I don’t post for a few days on this blog.

2. I work in customer service, so obviously I have numbers I have to meet. Well, being a newbie I’m only hitting the average mark, but the amount of responses I’m giving are increasing every day! Today I FINALLY reached the daily goal I set for myself and I couldn’t be more excited. Now the goal is to beat that number tomorrow!

3. My husband and I have been hanging out all week. Usually it’s impossible to get him off of his video game, but this week we’ve had some great quality time together. If he’s not sitting down watching T.V. with me, I’m helping him with his game. It’s been wonderful.

4. I get to cook this weekend. I didn’t get in the kitchen last weekend because we were out of town, but this weekend. . . oh I just can’t wait.

5. I’ve actually managed to sort of keep up with the blog this week. While I know I’m still not posting a lot, I’ve picked up the pace a little. That makes me happy because I love writing and I don’t want to fall behind on this blog.

Prepping for Valentine’s Day take 2

I’ll be completely honest. I have NO idea what to make for dinner on Valentine’s Day. While there are so many gluten-free options out there, I feel like I’m struggling to find recipes. Even when I search Pinterest for gluten-free meals, the list comes up short.

If hubby had his way, dinner would already be solved. Heat up a pepperoni pizza and dinner is served! I have to admit, this picture from Pinterest did tempt me a little:

Found on Pinterest originally from Pillsbury.com

But obviously pizza dough has wheat in it. Even though there are ways to make gluten-free dough, I don’t feel like it’s right for Valentine’s Day. I want to do something out of the ordinary, and I think that’s why I’m struggling to choose something.

I did find a recipe for chicken parmesan. This is one of Robert’s favourite meals, and with gluten-free pasta and a few other gluten-free switches, it could work out pretty well.  We had spaghetti on our first Valentine’s Day, so it might be a nice reference to that day. Plus, there’s cute little pepperoni hearts on it.

 

Found on Pinterest, originally from mynameissnickerdoodle.com

The chicken parmesan is a strong possibility, but I’m not excited about it. I could definitely eat it, but I’m just not thinking “YES that’s the meal.”

I keep searching Pinterest and only finding more desserts (which completely distracts me from the task at hand). Casseroles are definitely high on my list of favourite recipes. Maybe a chicken and broccoli casserole?

Oh dear, I just don’t know. Do you have any suggestions? What’s a good meal for Valentine’s Day?

 

Prepping for Valentines Day

Robert and I don’t usually celebrate Valentines Day. The only time we made plans was our first year. I’d never had a date for Valentine’s before, so I wanted to know what it was like. We’d been together for a little over a month and I had no idea how to cook. So I dressed the table with rose petals and candles and made the simplest meal I could – spaghetti and meatballs. Of course, my mum had to help me otherwise we would have had crunchy pasta for dinner.

There it is! The table from our first Valentine's Day!

We haven’t celebrated since our first year together. While I always get drawn in by the aisles and aisles of heart shaped goodies, I don’t see the point in designating one day for love. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, so I want to be mushy every day. Like I said though, the heart shaped sprinkles and cookie pans get me every time. I have visions of making whoopie pies, cookies, and puddings all in the shape of hearts! It’s particularly bad this year since we’re newlyweds. So we’ve decided to semi-celebrate. We’re not going out for dinner and a movie, but I am making a special meal and dessert for us. After all, I can cook now and I love preparing dinner for us.

So here comes the fun part- deciding what to make!  I want this meal to be special, so I turned to Pinterest for all the fun ideas. Here’s a few recipes I have in mind. Today I’m just posting the desserts, but next blog I’ll share my dinner ideas!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

This picture makes me drool!

Found on Pinterest, originally from loveveggiesandyoga.com

Carrot Cake Donuts

Robert has been pointing out donut recipes for a while and I’ve always been too intimidated to try them. As if they are somehow out of my league because I’m still a baking newbie; however, I do love a challenge and I definitely want to try them.

Found on Pinterest, originally from abeautifulmess.typepad.com

Cheesecake

One of Robert’s favourite desserts and one of the items on my foods to conquer this year.

Found on Pinterest, originally from marthastewart.com

The last idea I don’t have a picture for, but I’m thinking heart shaped Peanut Butter and Jelly Whoopie Pies. I have no idea how I’m going to decide, but I suppose it will be whatever I feel like eating on the day of. I know Robert won’t mind what I make, as long as it’s something he enjoys.

What do you have in mind for Valentine’s Day? Have you searched through Pinterest as much as I have?

My Pinspiration: The home edition part two

Somewhere between working all day and falling asleep on the couch, I’ve still been daydreaming about our future place. We’re just a few months away and I can’t wait to start decorating. The one room I’ve had the least trouble envisioning is the kitchen. It all started when I saw a picture of a bright, red KitchenAid in a registry catalog. That one picture was all it took and I’ve never looked back on my decision to have a red kitchen. My amazing hubby kept the dream going for me when he actually bought me the red KitchenAid for my birthday one year. Now I find myself buying everything to match it.

Although not all of my inspiration pictures are red, when I use the ideas in my own kitchen they will be. I’ll have to post some pictures when I actually bring all these ideas to life.

Found on Pinterest.com originally from Flickr.com

Through gifts from my mum, and my own purchases, I bought a collection of Mickey Mouse cooking utensils. I probably won’t use them because they are so cute, but I want something like this in my kitchen so I can display them.

I bought the canisters, card, and frame from Target (I now actually have a third, taller canister, too). The picture has a multitude of kitchen appliances on it and says “you can never have too many new appliances.” Since my entire registry was pretty much kitchen appliances, I knew I had to have it and frame it for the kitchen.

Found on Pinterest originally from Unclutterer.com

 

I am obsessive compulsive, which means having everything neatly organized is a must for me. I absolutely hate how cluttered pans can get in a cabinet, so I’m hoping to find something like this. Maybe at Ikea? Notice how the pans are red haha?

Found on Pinterest originally from Ikea

 

Speaking of Ikea, I’m considering making a little baking center for myself. We’re going to be in an apartment at first, so I’m not sure if space will allow it. If it does, this little cupboard from Ikea will definitely be what I use. Not only is it red, it’s just super cute!

 

From Worldmarket.com

 

Last but not least, I kinda had to tie in my British roots and the colour red with this adorable kitchen mat. I haven’t bought it yet, but if it’s still around when I have the extra cash, it’s coming to my kitchen!

Food wish list: Blue Bayou

So I’ve decided to wait until next year to hit Disney World (when all their new attractions open). This year I’m doing everything I can to save for a trip to Disneyland instead. I’ve been once before, but they’ve opened new attractions since then. I really want to go on “The Little Mermaid” and the “Alice in Wonderland” rides. Then of course there are the classics, like “The Haunted Mansion,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”

Yet, the one feature of Disneyland that keeps pulling me in is the Blue Bayou restaurant. I’ve never been before, but from the pictures the inside looks so fabulous. It’s designed to look like a bayou (naturally), but they also have all these whimsical lights that look like fireflies. It just looks magical. You can sorta get an idea from this picture.

Originally found on fandisney.com

Then of course there is the scrummy Cajun food. There’s one sandwich in the slideshow that makes my mouth water every time I see it! Let’s hope they offer gluten-free options! If not, this may be my one exception (on our last night of course- don’t want to be sick at Disney).