Category Archives: Recipes

Chicken Veggie Barley Bake

A few weeks ago, Brittany sent me this recipe from Layers of Happiness (she and I love sending each other recipes – especially those involving baby cabbages). I knew immediately I wanted to use some leftover uncooked barley I had to make my own version! So this past Sunday during my weekly meal prep, I did just that. Monday night dinner was the moment of truth. How would it turn out? The verdict was…GREAT! So I’m here to share my take…

Chicken Veggie Barley Bake

(Adapted from Layers of Happiness Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Quinoa Bake)

Makes 4 servings

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The Better Chip Crusted Chicken & Buffalo Brussels

The Better Chip provided me with product and/or compensation for this post, however the opinions I shared are my own.


I recently joined The Better Chip Blogger Program and received a kit with samples of many different chip flavors, plus some fun “accessories”.

How awesome is that headband? I already promised Becki the gluten-free button!

How awesome is that headband? I already promised Becki the gluten-free button!

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WIAW: Cheddar Chicken-Veggie-Potato Chowder

A very special happy birthday to my darling blend Kaitlin of For Love of Carrots! I will be visiting her this weekend so we can celebrate in person and I just can’t wait!

I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds it helpful to focus on goals that don’t have to do with food/fitness! Though I have to admit I was a bit of a fail with some of my goals the day I set them – blah.

  • Appreciate More: I certainly kept my head up despite snow changing my gym plans and being a general nuisance. After all I got to go home to hang with my dad, who’d just returned from our FL condo (bad timing Dad!), and my boss was nice enough to let me leave work a bit early to try to beat snowy rush hour (I didn’t, but it was a nice thought!). I had plenty to appreciate, and I certainly did so.
  • Cook At Home More: More on that later in this post!
  • Separate From My Phone More: I was definitely on my phone less yesterday than usual, most likely due to writing my blog post, but I still didn’t want to leave it downstairs at all during dinner. I was watching SNL on the DVR with my dad and kept finding so many tweet worthy things to comment on – not things Drake said, but #shitmydadsays!
  • Go Outside More: Another fail. I knew that a polar vortex and a storm was coming so I just did not go outside during the work day, not even to take one breath of fresh air. However I was feeling a lot more upbeat yesterday and didn’t really find a need to go outside to “center myself”. I had lots of paperwork to do and that is always nice for me, to just plug away at my desk with my music going.

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Pacific Foods: Man-Friendly Casserole

Interrupting my Thanksgiving long weekend recapping to bring you this sponsored post for Pacific Foods. You can read the full-version over on their blog!

I recently started doing some cooking on my own, but with other peoples’ recipes. So imagine my excitement when I created my OWN recipe! Casseroles are a great “first recipe creation” because they seriously are just a bunch of ingredients mixed together in a pan and then heated in the oven. Have pan and oven, will casserole!

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Right before the star ingredient – the beans – was added!

I dub this the Man-Friendly Casserole because I made it with my main man – my dad – in mind. My mom was still down in Florida at our condo but he came home to go back to work. So on a Sunday afternoon, I put together this casserole for the two of us to share the next night. It was super easy to throw in the oven and heat up after we both got home from long days at work and the gym. The size was perfect for two. Also the only green in it came from peas, which bros just adore because you can’t taste them.

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WIAW: I Cooked!

Whenever I do a What I Ate Wednesday post (thanks Jenn!) that features at-home meals, it shows off my mom’s amazing healthy dishes. Truth (though I’ve never been secretive about this): pretty much every one of my recipes was created by her. Well today I’ve got something new cooking…two dishes THAT I MADE. They may not be recipes I created (I’ll be sharing one of those later!) but they are recipes I took from my Recipes I’d Actually Make Pinterest board. And now I’m able to take a cue from Sam and move those two recipes to a board titled I MADE THIS. Yes in all caps, because I”m that excited about it.

The reason I don’t have much experience with cooking is because I live at home to save money (I always feel the need to throw the reasoning in there…I’m not a 30 year old living it up in my parent’s basement – although my room IS in the basement). My mom is an awesome cook and she always makes super-healthy dinners for me. Believe me it’s come in handy especially given the fact that I do the gym after work, and when I get home I am just hungry and ready to chow down after my shower. But I won’t be living at home forever and I definitely have been fearing getting too content with my mom’s cooking and too dependent upon restaurants, take-out, and the Whole Foods salad bar. My parents have been spending more time than ever in our FL condo so I decided it was the perfect time to practice my cooking!

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Mom’s White Bean Chicken Chili

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for a personal wine cellar from Staples – don’t miss out! And remember to check out my post about New Britain Museum of American Art events…they announced yesterday on their Facebook page the winner of their giveaway for a pair of tickets to tonight’s Scotch vs Bourbon event. Tickets are still available – hope to see you there!

This past Tuesday night I settled in no the couch with a perfect fall dinner (especially given the cold temperatures that evening)…a steaming bowl of white chicken chili with added turkey sausage and roasted zucchini. My Instagram of the meal got lots of positive feedback, and a few recipe requests. (This is also the same chili I enjoyed after my night out on Wednesday).

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From Left to Write Book Club: The Funeral Dress

No one has ever entrusted impoverished Emmalee with anything important, but she takes it upon herself to sew her mentor’s resting garment in The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore. Join From Left to Write on October 15 as we discuss The Funeral Dress.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

My mom actually read this October From Left to Write book club novel before I did, and I went into it a bit wary because she wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. She did though, because The Funeral Dress takes place in the South around the same time she grew up in the same region. I ended up enjoying it too! My parents’ Southern heritage, my fond memories of visits to relatives in the South and to the University of Tennessee, and my fondness for most people I meet from the area may have biased me slightly toward that enjoyment. But no matter where the novel took place, I am confident in saying that I think Susan Gregg Gilmore succeeded in telling a story that had me invested in its characters and glued to each chapter.

From Left to Write is all about inspiring members to publish not a review, but a blog post on any topic the novel inspired within us. I actually drafted an entire post about fond memories of visiting my relatives in the South, but I really didn’t like it. I felt forced while writing it and I hate hitting “Publish” if I’m not happy with what I wrote. SO I just deleted it all and am starting over right now. I’m actually going to take a totally different turn (think a turn that the GPS told you to make, and so you did, but then you end up crashed into a lake) and write about a completely silly topic – tater tots.

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Three Things Thursday: Weekend Faves

I’ve been behind on my weekend recaps because those weekends have been quite epic, and require multiple posts when I blog about them. That’s a good problem to have! But we are headed into another weekend soon (YAY) that will need recapping next week, and I haven’t even talked about this past weekend. I thought some alliteration was in order to do just that.

I already blogged about Friday night’s cooking class at Pond House Grille, so that won’t be included in this post about my top three favorite things about this past weekend, but believe me when I say it was up there.

1. Spending Saturday by myself.

I have been travelling almost every weekend in the last month or so and it felt so amazing this weekend to have no drives that lasted longer than an hour. The highlight of my chill weekend at home was sleeping until 9:30AM on Saturday, going to the gym for a nice not-rushed StepMill + abs workout, and then taking myself, a packed lunch, magazines, and Daybreak iced coffee to the pool club. I stayed there for several hours and just read, took occasional dips, and soaked up the sun. It was amazing, serene, and exactly what I needed.

View from my chair :D

View from my chair :D

I followed that up with a visit to my favorite nail salon, Ceci’s, for a mani/pedi (well, toe/hand polish change, AKA the cheaper option). I did my first mani in forever with no disco nail (gasp) but I just love the color I picked out for my hands – OPI A-Piers To Be Tan, from the new San Francisco collection.

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Cocktails with Home Wet Bar!

This post is brought to you by HomeWetBar.com! I received a complimentary product to review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I can’t say I was surprised when HomeWetBar.com contacted me to tell me about their site. I feel like my blog has given away the fact that I am a major cocktail enthusiast. I’ve been known to rank drinks and judge mixology competitions. So a product review for an online retailer of alcoholic beverage accessories seemed like a great fit! No, I am not a lush.

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HLS 2012 represent!

I am very into tasting cocktails and observing how they are made, but haven’t had much personal experience in the art of mixology. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try out my own drink recipe, with the help of the Pro Shaker 10-Piece Bar Set.

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Grilled Whole Foods Wild Sockeye Salmon

I received wild sockeye salmon from Whole Foods Market free of charge. This is not a compensated post and all opinions are my own.

Firstly I must address the supportive comments and tweets I received in response to yesterday’s post. THANK YOU! It felt good to get it all off my chest and put my fears out in the open. After my post went up, Maria tweeted me a link to a Kris Carr article containing a nifty acronym…FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real. LOVE that! Fear is so often based on what is false and I’m feeling totally inspired to keep the acronym in mind today and beyond. Let’s get on with today’s blogging!

I worked with the three Hartford area Whole Foods stores (Glastonbury, West Hartford center, and Bishops Corner) previously during a one-day sale on shrimp. We teamed up again to promote the latest one-day sale, which took place last Friday 6/21 – wild sockeye salmon for just $11.99/lb!

Now that’s a LOT of salmon!

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