Healthy Mexican Chicken Soup 1 | Espresso and CreamI know it’s August, and I’m supposed to be posting all about summer produce and salads and using up the last of what summer has to give us. But here in Minnesota, we’re experiencing a bit of a cool down that has me convinced fall weather is just around the corner, which means we’ve got football and sweaters and comfort food to look forward to, along with about 10,000 different ways to eat pumpkin. Believe me, I’m excited.

Today, in honor of cooler temps and the start of college football season I’m kicking things off with a soup recipe that’s healthy, easy and incredibly filling. Every time I make soup, I wonder why I don’t make soup more often. I think somewhere deep down inside I have this idea that soup has to be difficult, when in reality it’s just a matter of throwing whatever you have on hand together into a single dish.

One of my biggest requirements when it comes to soup is that it has to be thick, not watery. I don’t mind the flavor of broth-based soups, but when it comes to eating soup for dinner, I believe soup has to be thick and hearty in order to really satisfy. Instead of adding cream to this soup, I blended up a can of white beans into the base to give the soup thickness and body without adding a lot of fat. An added bonus? The beans provide fiber and extra protein, in addition to the chicken.

I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend and watch more football than humanly possible! Also, don’t forget to enter the Food Should Taste Good giveaway before time runs out!

Healthy Mexican Chicken Soup | Espresso and Cream

 

Healthy Mexican Chicken Soup for Two
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Juice from ½ of a lime
  • Additional fresh cilantro, shredded Mexican blend cheese and tortilla chips, if desired
Instructions
  1. In a medium stockpot over medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add onion to pot and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne to the soup and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently.
  2. Pour chicken broth into pot along with the beans. Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture until nearly smooth but some texture still remains. (Alternately, you could use a blender, just make sure the liquid isn't hot.)
  3. Add the chicken, cilantro and lime juice to the soup and bring mixture to a simmer. Spoon into bowls. Top with additional cilantro, shredded cheese and tortilla chips, if desired.

 

 

Food Should Taste Good Intro | Espresso and Cream

Today I’m hosting one amazing giveaway on E&C that includes a $100 Visa Gift card and a bunch of other amazing goodies! Keep reading to find out how to enter below!

With football season right around the corner (!) I’m gearing up football entertaining season. Joe and I are both huge football fans, and I feel as if our house is always open to people who want to watch the games. Of course there’s no way I would have people over and not serve food to eat. Sometimes we go all-out with burgers and dips and some type of dessert, but more often than not we keep things simple with chips and dip. I find I’m much more likely to entertain if it doesn’t become a stressful affair.

So when Food Should Taste Good asked me if I would be interested in working with them to promote their products, I jumped at the chance. Joe and I eat a lot of Food Should Taste Good chips year round because you can feel good about what goes into making their chips. Plus, their tortilla chips are all gluten-free; and while Joe and I don’t eat gluten-free, it’s nice knowing we are providing friends and family with a g-free option when we entertain.

In my sampling box, I received the olive, guacamole and blue corn tortilla chips. I guess it goes without saying that we loved them all, considering I didn’t even have a chance to snap a photo of the bags before Joe insisted on opening them all and sampling each variety. Thankfully, I had a chance to steal a few of the olive chips for the recipe below!

Greek Salad Cups | Espresso and Cream

This fall I’ll be sharing a handful of recipes with you that incorporate Food Should Taste Good products that are perfect for game day or casual entertaining. I’m super excited about today’s recipe because it’s cute, portable and a bit on the lighter side. I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate when there is a veggie option to break up all the heavier dips and spreads.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, but salad cups are a great way to get veggies into the mix. Serving the salad in individual cups makes it easier to eat and looks a lot cuter than a big bowl of salad. I served these little cups to friends last week and they were so easy to make that you better believe they will be making another appearance sometime soon!

Now, if you’re still with me, there’s an amazing giveaway below! Trust me, you don’t want to miss out. There are a handful of ways to enter, so make sure to get your name in the hat for this prize package that includes a $100 Visa Gift card and a selection of Food Should Taste Good chips, among other things:

Giveaway Package Includes:
(1) $100 Visa Gift card
(1) 9-Piece Square Dipping Set
(1) Nostalgia Electric Fondue Pot, including 6 forks
(1) Stainless Steel Snack Bowl
A variety of Food Should Taste Good products

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Greek Salad Cups
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • ½ medium English (seedless) cucumber, cut into small cubes
  • ¾ cup quartered grape tomatoes
  • 2 oz pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup Greek-style salad dressing
  • 1 heart of Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Food Should Taste Good olive tortilla chips for serving
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cucumber, grape tomatoes and olives. Add dressing and toss until evenly coated.
  2. Place some of the lettuce into 8 small plastic drinking cups. Top with some of the cucumber mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon crumbled feta on top of the cucumber mixture. Serve cups with Food Should Taste Good olive tortilla chips.

 

This post is brought to you in partnership with Food Should Taste Good. All thoughts and opinions are my own

Summer Bounty Rigatoni Bake 3 | Espresso and Cream
As I’ve grown in my faith over the years, I’ve learned more and more that what we get in this life (both good and bad) is so rarely directly related to how many good works we do or how many times we stumble and make mistakes along the way. Of course that’s not to say that when we make mistakes there aren’t consequences, but I think that subconsciously I’ve lived with the mentality that if I do enough good in this world, then good things would happen to me.

Along the way I’ve realized that this simply isn’t true and that God doesn’t work on a system of tallies and check marks on a to-do chart. Our stories are mapped out by Him with purpose and intention, specifically designed to grow us in different ways.

This past year has been difficult, filled with lots of tears and more than my fair share of fearful moments. Many times along the way I asked God, “Why not us? Why don’t we get a baby like so many other people? Why do we have to lose our little ones?” But now that we’ve been blessed with this little miracle baby, I’ve been overwhelmed with feelings I didn’t expect. More than a couple times I’ve broken down in tears asking God, “Why me? Why do we get this miracle?” I feel so incredibly undeserving of this gift God’s given us and of the prayers people have prayed on our behalf.

Summer Bounty Rigatoni Bake 1 | Espresso and Cream
I guess my garden is an appropriate example of how you don’t always get what you “deserve” in life. We’ve given our little garden everything it needs to grow and be fruitful, including plenty of water and weeding and the like, and yet our harvest has been completely disappointing. Just a handful of zucchini and yellow squash, no peppers, the rabbits ate our green beans and our spaghetti squash never came up.

Thankfully our tomato plants have done relatively well and we’ve just started experiencing the overflow of tomatoes from our garden. I can’t tell you how many batches of this homemade tomato-basil sauce I’ve made (maybe 4 or 5 in the last handful of weeks?) but it’s quickly become a staple in our house, transforming even the most basic pasta dish into something special.

When I served this baked rigatoni pasta to Joe last week, his eyes lit up and he quickly declared this one of the best things I’ve ever made. Considering how much I’ve cooked for him over the years, that’s saying something, friends. An added bonus? It’s easy to prep this dish in advance, cover and then cook it up when you get home from work at the end of the day!

Summer Bounty Pasta Bake with Fresh Homemade Tomato-Basil Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups seeded and chopped Roma tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (my cloves were on the larger side)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • ¾ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Pasta Bake
  • 2 cups rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 oz feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken)
  • ½ cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add in the tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and herbs. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are completely broken up and the sauce begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the cream.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, tomato sauce, zucchini, feta cheese and chicken. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Top with the Italian cheese blend and grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until cheese is melted and zucchini is tender. Spoon into bowls to serve.

 

 

Summer Beauty Faves | Espresso and Cream

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done a beauty product round-up. Since I’ve discovered a few new favorite products in the last couple of months, I thought I would share a few of my favorite products that are keeping me feeling fresh-faced (and good smelling) this summer.

1. Bare Minerals BareSkin liquid foundation 
I am in love with this foundation. I’m not typically one to wear foundation because it feels too heavy for my skin, but I love the coverage of this concealer and the smooth, even way it goes on. Plus, it doesn’t feel heavy.

2. Lush Cosmetics Tea Tree Toner Water
Since I’ve become pregnant, I’ve been trying to find natural alternatives to fight acne and keep my skin looking even. This tea tree water has been a favorite of mine for months. It’s gentle on my skin and helps fight breakouts and uneven skin.

3. LaVanila Natural Deodorant (in Pure Vanilla scent)
I’ve been searching for a good, natural deodorant for what seems like ages with very poor results. But when I saw this deodorant reviewed on Cup of Jo, I just had to give it a try. I’m so glad I did, because it works like a charm and smells divine. I swear I feel pretty just putting this deodorant on, and that’s saying something for a deodorant!

4. L’Oreal Voluminous Original mascara (in brown)
Hardly a new or revolutionary product, but I’ve recently started using this mascara again and am kicking myself for not doing so sooner. What a great drugstore buy.

5. One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm 
One Love Organics products are always a bit of a splurge, but I love that they’re made of ingredients you can feel good about and all the products work like a charm. This balm is great for night because it’s ultra moisturizing; I also use it for under my eyes almost daily.

Madison

Vanilla Scone | Espresso and Cream
My sister-in-law, Ali, is one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. She married into the Hofmeyer family two years ago when she married Joe’s brother, Jason, and I think I can speak for the whole family when I say that Jason found a fantastic wife in Ali.

Some of you may also remember that when we were pregnant with baby #2 Ali and I were supposed to be due only 6 days apart from one another. We spent a lot of time texting back and forth that first trimester and I think I can speak for both of us when I say that our miscarriage was devastating and difficult knowing how to navigate the waters while she was still pregnant and I no longer was. To Ali’s credit, she was so gracious and compassionate in those months following, always careful of what she posted on social media while our wounds were still fresh and sharing just enough with us but not too much so that it would hurt even more.

In the months following our miscarriage I desperately wanted to figure out how to be happy for both of my sister-in-laws and their pregnancies while also mourning and grieving our own loss. Joe and I have clung to the verse, “Laugh with those who laugh, mourn with those who mourn,” and I wanted nothing more than to be able to do just that with our family. I found that doing things in spite of my pain was the most healing; I think the phrase I actually used was, “Every time I can be happy for someone despite my sadness, it’s like I’m saying a big ‘Screw you!’ to the devil, who wants to steal my ability to be joyful for others and make me bitter”.

BabyShowerPhoto
Part of that process included sending the maternity clothes I had purchased to Ali and planning to throw her a baby shower in Minnesota later in the summer. Of course, at the time I would have never imagined we would be pregnant again by the time the shower rolled around, but there was something remarkably sweet about throwing a shower this weekend, celebrating Ali and Jason’s baby girl, remembering our own lost little one and feeling so thankful and joyful for the life that God has blessed us with in His own timing.

The spread at the shower included scones with an assortment of toppers such as jam and butter. Of all the breakfast pastries I suggested making, Ali’s vote went to scones. Her only request? They needed to be dense and slightly crumbly and crisp around the edges, not fluffy and cakey like some bakery-style scones in the states.

I tested a lot of recipes in the weeks leading up to the shower and realized that there are a lot of people who have no idea how to make a proper scone. Finally, when I was totally frustrated with scone recipe testing I consulted Desserts by the Yard, one of my favorite baking books. Sherry Yard never fails to come through for me, and this time her scone recipe totally knocked it out of the park. If you’re looking for a truly lovely scone, I would highly recommend this recipe. They soften a bit the next day, so make them the day of for best results!

Vanilla Scones 1 | Espresso and Cream

Perfect Vanilla Scones
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir until well-combined. Add the butter to the flour mixture and use your hands to break the butter up into small pieces. Then, once the butter has been broken up into small pieces, use your fingers to flatter the pieces of butter into thin discs.
  3. In a small bow, stir together the heavy cream, milk, egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Use your hand to knead the dough gently 2 to 3 times or just until dough comes together.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured countertop and shape into a rectangle 1-inch thick. Cut into 12 small squares (about 1½ by 1½ inches or so) and place on baking sheet. Dust with additional sugar, if desired.
  5. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until scones are rich golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

 

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