Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas

I'm not a big fan of Mexican food because I don't eat too many cheeses, or beans, or rice as you can imagine, that tends to limit my options to quesadillas  for the most part.  Recently, we went to a local Mexican restaurant in Buckhead  called Taxco (I would definitely recommend it!) and was feeling adventurous and ordered an enchilada.  I was so pleasantly surprised with it that I was determined to find a recipe I loved to make at home.  After much searching, I found the perfect recipe, and I must say it is one of my favorite recipes I have made.  I think the best part for me was the use of avocado because it is my latest obsession when it comes to food!  It is a great "comfort food" but surprisingly healthy!  With the use of a ton of avocados, switching the sour cream with Greek yogurt, and cutting the original recipes cheese measurement in half, while also using whole wheat tortillas made it full of flavor but quite healthy!  I promise you that there was plenty of cheese to go around, because the Greek yogurt and avocados make the sauce so creamy!  It makes 8 enchiladas so as you can imagine it is A LOT of food!  Hopefully the left overs are just as amazing as the meal was because we will be eating round two for lunch!  Enjoy!

Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas with Creamy Avocado Sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 7 oz. salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 (7 inch) tortillas
  1. Puree the chicken broth, salsa verde, Greek yogurt, avocados, garlic, salt and pepper, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor.
  2. Meanwhile, saute onion until soft.
  3. Mix the half of the sauce with the shredded chicken, diced avocado, red onion onions and half of the cheese.
  4. Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with some of the sauce, wrap the chicken and avocado mixture in the tortillas and place them in the dish.
  5. Top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese and bake in a preheated 350F oven until the cheese has melted and the sides are bubbling, about 20-30 minutes (I like my tortilla crispy on the ends so I tend to bake on the longer side).  

Original recipe adapted from here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Let the Details Begin...

As you can imagine...the closer we get to the big day, the more things there are to do.  With that, I have been a little behind on the blog and the wonderful stories of life.  Bachelorette weekend was 4 weeks ago and somehow it seems like just yesterday!  I have been traveling for work quite a lot recently so it seems like the weeks just fly by!

Right after the Bachelorette weekend I headed to the north east with a coworker of mine that wanted to see the wonderful world of sales.  We traveled up to Rochester and then to Vermont before heading down to Boston for a day.  It was such a successful trip that I finally started to think that maybe I am getting the hand of this sales thing.  That weekend was going to be filled with SCUBA class.  Joe and I had signed up for it and bought all of our gear so we were excited to spend the next two days in the pool learning the skills of diving.  We had taken the online class, which took about 5 hours or so to complete, and passed, so we were ready to take what we learned in the classroom and use it in the water!  We spent a lot of Saturday and Sunday learning to go up and down in the pool, assist people, put together your gear, swim properly, and so much more.  It was so much fun but we were also exhausted after a long weekend!  We did it through Diver Supply in Marietta, GA and would recommend it to anyone!  The staff goes above and beyond to make sure you are comfortable with your gear and that you learn all of the water skills!  We are ready for our open water dives in a couple weeks to complete the certification!
Vermont Snow :)
One of my sales calls!!!
The following week I had a coworker with me again which was a nice change of pace. We started the week in Detriot, then headed to Cedar Rapids, then took a lengthy car ride to Michigan City, and finished the trip in Chicago.  I stayed in Chicago Friday night and got to spend a wonderful evening with Agatha.  We had the most romantic date night in the city, sipping on wine, splitting appetizers and entrees, and listening to a live piano player.  Although Chicago got hit by snow again that Saturday, I left just early enough to get out!  Love my old home in Chicago with a "dusting" of snow!

After landing in Atlanta, we headed to Red Brick to relax and enjoy the nice weather outside and great company.  After Red Brick we headed to our date night, which was at Horseradish Grill in Buckhead.  This restaurant is located about a mile from our house right near Chastain Park.  It was probably one of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta.  It is southern cooking with an upscale twist, and we loved every single thing we ordered.  Joe got the veal meatloaf while I got the lamb shank and we were so full after we finished!  It is also a beautiful little restaurant and I cannot wait to go back!  Sunday was filled with tennis since it was the first round of the playoffs.  The following week I hit the road to New York to meet a new account of mine for a portion of the week.  I was not there all week, but I got to spend two wonderful evenings enjoying dinner with a good friend of mine after full days of meetings.  The first night we stayed in Hoboken where he lives after I finished up with a client dinner while the second night we ventured into NYC for restaurant week.  We went to a place called Alta and it was the cutest restaurant ever!  It is hidden in a side street and literally located in a house.  The fire place was burning and the food was great!  As much as I liked NYC, I was excited to head home and not spend a full week up there.
Ping Pong at Red Brick!
Softball Practice for Joe!
Carlos Bakery!!! The CAKE BOSS!!!!
That week when I got home we met with Deacon Nick for our final meeting.  We picked our readings and discussed how the actual day would work.  After doing engaged encounter and quite a few meetings with the Deacon, we really do think we are prepared, and realistic about what marriage is for us. I would recommend some sort of counseling to anyone that is getting ready to take that step in their lives.  It's not like we learned anything new, but it really gave us confidence that we are meant to be together for the rest of our lives, and go into the day with no reservations.  Since that Thursday had been our 4 year anniversary, but we had a meeting with Deacon Nick, we had our anniversary dinner Friday night.  Joe also brought me home 4 dozen roses which were absolutely beautiful!  After dinner we met up with some friends for drinks and then called it an early night.

4 year anniversary!
Sunday morning we got up early to meet with the wedding coordinator at the church to plan how the wedding would go and get all of the information for the rehersal.  It was nice knowing the schedule of the day for the ceremony and getting the readings and everything set.  After the meeting we spent some time at Joe's parent's house before heading to the ALTA finals, and although I did not make the final cut (I mean I am glad I didn't :)) I was excited to spectate!  We spent the beautiful day watching a whole lot of really close tennis.  Joe was the first to finish on line two and after losing the match point in the second match, brought it home in a very close third set.  Line 1s lost in their third set which was also a very close game, and then line 3 brought home the second win in their 3rd set.  It came down to needing to win either 4s or 5s, and after quite a battle, the 4s pulled off a win in their 3rd set!  We were the last ones there but it was quite a celebration after a great season!  We also had quite the creative table set up and enjoyed great food throughout the day. After tennis we had some friends over for dinner on the grill because it was such a beautiful day before going out to the bars.
Tennis Time!
Winter Wonderland Table!
Olive Penguins :)
Joe being a Stud :)
We Won (me by default because I played two matches :) ) City Champions!
This past week I headed to Texas, starting in Dallas and Ft. Worth, then making it down to Austin.  Once again, I am lucky to have a friend living in the area, so it was a lot of fun getting to see him, and going to the Stars game on Monday night.  Although it was cut short due to a player injury,  I can now say i had box seats at a Stars game (although I didn't know the team existed before we went to the game).  In Austin I got to catch up with my long lost college twin, Katherine, as well as see my brother who was in town for SXSW.  He was there for work, and his team was renting out a 10Millino+ dollar house with amazing views of downtown Austin and a beautiful pool!  I wish I got to spend some time in the hot tub but I had an early morning meeting, so spending some time downtown Austin at the bars and then seeing the house and my brother really made my trip!
SXSW in Downtown Austin
Stars Game :)
Downtown Dallas!
This past weekend was FILLED with wedding planning.  Friday evening Joe had some good friends over but I was tired from all the travel, so after dropping them off at the bar I headed to bed.  Saturday morning I got the day going by hitting a Pilates class with Eleanor heading up to Roswell to meet Joe's mom at Costco to pick up stuff for hotel goody bags for the wedding.  We wanted to get the majority of that set as well as our wedding favors ordered so that we could check one more thing off the list.  After getting all of that, Joe and I spent about an hour practicing tennis before getting ready for birthday dinner.  Joe's mom, brother, and Joe all have birthdays close in March so we headed to downtown Roswell to celebrate.  The dinner was amazing and I am always amazed at home many great places there are in Roswell.  After dinner we had birthday cake, spend some time with Joe's family, and talk a little bit about the logistics of the rehearsal dinner and wedding day,  before heading home.  After a busy weekend, we headed to bed early so that we could catch up on some sleep and continue wedding stuff Sunday.

On Sunday we had the first moment of panic (for 30 seconds).  After opening the fabric for the table runners, I realized that it was WAY off of the original coral color.  After figuring out a way around it, we headed to Kristina's house.  She has gone out of her way and above and beyond with her mother to help us keep the cost of our wedding down and provide much needed help.  She will not only be doing all of our flowers, but also all of our centerpieces.  They had gone to the flower shop to look at flowers and found beautiful flowers to put into the centerpieces and arrangements.  I cannot believe how talented they are and am so lucky to have them helping!  They have given up their whole dining room, kitchen sinks, driveway, and garage for this project and I really don't know how Joe and I will repay them!  After talking with them, we have now hopefully figured out the fabric situation and will be returning the wrong color! After meeting with them, we headed to Biscuits and More (Joe's favorite biscuit place in Roswell) and then church with Joe's mom.  After getting home, we went through the information that the DJ was asking for and picked out all of our dance music for significant dances.  We also picked up some stuff for our escort cards so that I can make them this weekend, as well as some Easter decoration (we finally took the snowmen down!).  After a great workout, we headed home and made BBQ pulled pork before doing some more details for the wedding, ordering Joe's wedding band (I ordered mine a couple weeks ago off Blue Nile and already have it!!!!!), working on the hotel gift bags, etc.  For anyone that is looking to by jewelry, Blue Nile is the way to go :)  Before I knew it, the weekend has passed, and it is another week.  Luckily, this one is a full week at home (much needed), but Joe just said his goodbyes and headed off to Birmingham.  Maybe someday we will see each other for more than two days...if nothing else, we have the HONEYMOON!!!!  Happy Week Everyone!!!

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

It has been quite some time since I have been home for a full week, so needless to say, I am excited to try some new recipes this week because I have a FULL week at home!!!  It is getting to be spring time but I love making soup, so I took advantage of a colder day today and found a new soup recipe to make.  I got an immersion blender off of our wedding registry during a wedding shower but had not found the opportunity to use it.  I was incredibly excited to put it to use for a very healthy soup recipe!  We have been trying to eat healthy since we are just 40 days away from the wedding, so hopefully you see a trend of helthy(ish) eating!  A change that I will make in the future now that I know the taste is adding shrimp or a mussel type seafood.  I think it will compliment the flavor very well! Enjoy!!!

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup with Goat Cheese

  • 4 red bell pepper, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (do not overdo because a little goes a long way!)
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Place the red peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down, broil until the skins are blackened, about 10 minutes, place in a sealable container (i.e. Tupperware) and let 'steam' for 20 minutes before pinching the skins off and dicing.  If all of the skin does not come off do not fret!  It will still make a very smooth soup.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower in the oil, place it in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400F oven until tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the onion until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  5. Add the roasted red peppers, cauliflower, broth, and goat cheese and simmer for 10 minutes before pureeing to the desired consistency with a hand blender.  I make it a very creamy consistency because I do not like chunky textures!
  6. Season with salt and pepper (I did not add any because the flavor was already great) and serve garnished with goat cheese.

Recipe and Image changed slightly from here