SUP-ing!

I’ve mentioned it in the “River Rats” post but I tried stand up paddle boarding for the first time at the river a couple weeks ago!

The paddle board is massive; it took my husband and I to carry that thing down to the river. At first I was nervous – I should state for the record that I am not a swimmer. I never learned how to swim and never cared to get in large bodies of water. But after seeing how big the paddle board is, it really calmed my nerves. That thing couldn’t flip over, except if you’re my husband, then it would flip over for you haha!

I didn’t paddle that far up and down the river but it was relaxing out there on the board. It’s quiet and peaceful; at the same time though, it’s definitely a core workout! I felt it in my core, arms, and thighs soon after I was done.

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Garden restart

It’s a little late in summer to be sowing seeds and planting but the plants in my containers were looking ultra sad lately. Thus, instead of seeing their sad, dying leaves every morning, I decided to just rip everything out and start over. It tough – a decision I didn’t take lightly because I really wanted the plants to make it! I wanted my so-called green thumb to save them but atlas, that didn’t happen. My tomato plants no longer produced and the pepper plants were stunted.

A trip to Home Depot and $$$ later, I have myself a fresh looking balcony. Yes, it’s mostly containers filled with soil right now but soon! Soon, there will be radish, thyme, and parsley. Not to mention, I put in a new heirloom tomato plant that I trust will do nicely in this space.

The one redeeming factor is my basil plant. It’s growing nicely and thriving (almost). I even used several stalks in my Roasted Tomato Basil soup this week – recipe to come!

I’ll keep you guys posted on how the new plants are coming in the upcoming weeks. Hopeful that things will be better this time!

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River rats

…well, my husband and I are more like beach bums but for last weekend, we were totally digging being river rats!

My sister-in-law and her husband have a vacation home in Parker, AZ right next to the Colorado River. They have been going nearly once a month for the past several years and this past weekend was the first time we were able to join them. So much fun!

We spent the weekend lounging around on the boat, making rustic foods, and drinking beer. They took us up and down the river to see the different landscapes and homes. We went to a couple of bars to hang out and also relaxed at the sand bar. I got to try SUP-ing  (stand up paddle boarding) for the first time while my husband got his first time experience with wake surfing. Both of us really enjoyed those sports!

What an amazing place. Sure it was 100+ degrees every day but while we were on the water, it was refreshing. The best part was taking a few days to reconnect with family, the most important people in our lives.

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The Best Pizzas in NYC

We recently got back from a vacation in New York City. I basically flew 2800 miles to eat pizza. Sure there were other foods I enjoyed tremendously during our time in the Big Apple but nothing quite came close to their perfect pie. It seems that every corner we turned there was a pizza parlor of sort serving NY’s famous thin crust pie.

Here are a handful of my favorite joints serving up my favorite food.

  1. Di Fara Pizza (in Brooklyn)
  2. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza
  3. Bleecker Street Pizza
  4. Joe’s Pizza
  5. Patzeria Perfect Pizza
  6. NY Pizza Suprema

Next time you’re in NYC, be sure to stop by and enjoy a glorious slice of this cheesy, crispy goodness!

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Chicken Enchiladas

I just got back from a 4-day business trip in San Diego when I made this dish. When in San Diego, one must eat copious amounts of Mexican food – that’s the rule of thumb. Once I got home, I still had Mexican food on my mind when I decided to make this Tyler Florence’s Chicken Enchiladas recipe.

This dish was everything I wanted – smokey, cheesy, and meaty! By simply seasoning the chicken and browning it before I shredded it, it provided the sauce so much flavor. I opted to make my own Mexican seasoning since I couldn’t find it in my local market. With the leftover spice mix, I saved it in airtight container to be used for my next Taco Night!

Enchiladas always take more time than you originally planned, just like lasagna in that respect. But this end product was glorious. My husband raved about it for days!

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Mexican Spice Blend

recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen

  • 4 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned diced green chiles
4 canned chipotle chiles, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
16 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with 1 tablespoon Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn,chiles, and 1 tablespoon Mexican spices. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.
  3. Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables.
  4. Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable.
  5. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce.
  6. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat.
  7. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving.

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