Tomato, Beet and Burrata Salad

Tomato, Beet and Burrata Salad

Okay, so I have been seeing people post about spirit animals for the last couple of weeks. Personally, I have no idea what my spirit animal would be. I draw a blank even thinking about the topic. But if a meal could be a spirit animal, I hit the nail on the head. Seriously, this salad is light yet filling, complete with savory and sweet, and who can resist creamy burrata cheese? Am I right or am I right? It’s got all my favorite Italian inspired elements – cheese and pesto – plus, a sweet surprise with the beets and balsamic. I could probably eat this salad every single day and not get sick of it. Although, I’m sure my waist line wouldn’t appreciate a daily dose of burrata, my taste buds certainly would ;]

Tomato, Beet and Burrata Salad

ingredients:
1 tomatoe on the vine
3 beets, cooked, skins removed
1 ball of Burrata cheese
1/2 cup arugula
pinch flaked salt
¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 tsp pesto
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Tomato, Beet and Burrata Salad

directions:
Combine pesto and olive oil, and set aside. Slice the burrata cheese into ½ inch this slices, and arrange on a platter. Drizzle half of the pesto oil over the burrata slices.

Slice the beets into wedges and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Arrange on the platter.Cut tomatoes into wedges, arrange on the platter with a pinch of flaked salt. Toss the greens in the remaining pesto oil and top the salad. Sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper.

Tomato, Beet and Burrata Salad

Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato, Kale and Corn

Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato, Kale and Corn

I am constantly on the hunt for simple recipes that are chock full of flavor using natural ingredients. While, I love all of these ingredients separately, I wasn’t sure this recipe was going to have enough punch to satisfy my taste buds, but I’m not as bad as Bill he’s constantly dousing all of his food with hot sauce. However, I was pleasantly surprised, all the flavors really worked together to create one amazing dish that packs loads of fresh flavor into one bite. Everything is so simple, yet goes together perfectly. You even have an amazing combination of texture, from soft yet crispy sweet potatoes to the gently sauteed kale, this dish leaves nothing to be desired.

Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato, Kale and Corn

ingredients:
4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
2 sweet potato, peeled and cut in cubes
2 cup corn kernels
4 cups kale, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato, Kale and Corn

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Rinse chicken thighs in water and pat dry.  Season both sides with salt and pepper. In a medium size skillet heat the coconut oil and melt the butter together. Add chicken thighs to skillet and cook on both sides until golden.  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside, we will continue cooking it in the oven.

Drain all but a tbsp of the fat from the skillet, and add onion, cooking until translucent. Add sweet potatoes and cook for three to four minutes, until slightly browned.  Add corn and cook for 2 more minutes. Add chopped kale, toss everything together and cook for another minute. Add the wine and season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked vegetables to the prepared baking dish. Place the chicken thighs over the vegetables and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until chicken cooks through and sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Serves 4 // 287 calories

Recipe from Jo Cooks.

Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato, Kale and Corn

Bridesmaid Proposal Boxes

Bridesmaid Proposal Boxes

Almost immediately after I got engaged, I knew I wanted to do something just as special for my bridesmaids as Bill had done for me with our picture perfect proposal. I began by searching high and low for ideas of what kind of goodies to include in bridesmaid proposal boxes and let me tell you there are LOTS of ideas out there of how to compile the perfect bridesmaid box. But none seemed perfect for my gals… I mean mini champagne bottles are super cute, but are you really going to sip on that by yourself?

Bridesmaid Proposal Boxes

I decided full size bottles of sparkling wine were the way to go! That way they could choose to save it for a special occasion and break it out for themselves when the timing was just right. Next, I knew I wanted to add something unique and fun. Originally, I thought of including flower crowns, but once I started researching, nothing seemed high enough quality for what I was willing to spend. That’s when I stumbled upon Compartes Chocolatier and OMG, I am glad that I did. All their chocolate bar flavors are super interesting and everything I tried was beyond this world, yum! Some of my picks were Apple Pie, Cereal Bowl, and Donuts & Coffee!

Bridesmaid Proposal Boxes

To finish the whole package off, I went over to my local Whole Foods to use their floral geniuses to create individual mini bouquets for each of my fabulous ladies. For less than $50 in flowers, they created six gorgeous arrangements that really took my box proposals from cute to FAB! If you’ve never gone to Whole Foods to buy flowers before, you’re doing it all wrong. They are my dirty little secret for any and all floral gifts. Not only are the flowers super fresh, but they will always rewrap your picks in kraft paper and tie it all up with twine for that picture perfect Instagram.

Bridesmaid Proposal Boxes

Once the boxes were complete I hand delivered them to my six besties, complete with adorable Super Paper LA cards and lucky for me they all accepted my proposal.

Bridesmaid Proposal Boxes

Chicken Parmesan over Zucchini Noodles

Chicken Parmesan over Zucchini Noodles

I am beyond words obsessed with zoodles – not only are the veggie swirls super cute and photogenic, but they are healthy to boot! I love pairing them with meatballs and marinara sauce for a quick and easy dinner, so when I saw a lightened up version of chicken parm featuring these bad boys, I knew I had to try it out. And don’t worry this recipe doesn’t disappoint. The flavor packed heirloom tomato sauce paired with the crunchy panko baked chicken, all on top of fresh zoodles is an easy way to get a few servings of veggies and end the day with a full belly. Sometimes healthy options are always the most filling, but this recipe not only fills me up, but the flavor profile puts a smile on my face. How can you a resist a meal like that?

Chicken Parmesan over Zucchini Noodles

ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped
fresh thyme
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced and divided
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about ¼ cup), divided
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
½ cup whole-wheat panko
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Cooking spray
4 medium zucchini
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, very thinly sliced

Chicken Parmesan over Zucchini Noodles

directions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add thyme, 4 garlic cloves, and shallot; cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 8 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Combine yogurt and Parmesan; spread over both sides of cutlets. Combine panko and garlic powder. Dredge cutlets in panko mixture. Place cutlets on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until done.

Using a julienne peeler, peel zucchini lengthwise into strips, stopping at the inside part containing the seeds; discard seeds.

Preheat broiler to high. Top each cutlet with 2 tablespoons sauce; top sauce evenly with mozzarella. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add remaining 2 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute. Add zucchini; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Toss with remaining sauce, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and half of basil.

Arrange ¾ cup zucchini noodles on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 chicken portion; sprinkle servings evenly with remaining half of basil.

Serves 4 // 400 calories

Recipe from Cooking Light.

Chicken Parmesan over Zucchini Noodles

#TBT Snapshots

Today’s post is a little more personal than my typical recipe posts.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been a little slow to post over the past month and it’s for a good reason I promise!  So let’s get right to it, shall we?

Long story short, Bill and I are engaged!

Now onto the deets – Bill has always been very interested in nature and landscape photography, so when he proposed a trip to Yosemite to take some photographs of the park with the snow covered trees, I didn’t think anything of it.  I’ve only been to Yosemite one other time in January two years ago but there was no snow, so I was excited to see what exactly the park looks like with a dusting of white fluffy snow.

Well we definitely got a little less than we bargained for when it came to the snow.  We ended up driving up Saturday afternoon and got to the park by 5pm, with only a tiny base layer of ice on the ground.  Needless to say we were mildly disappointed with the existing snowfall, but it was supposed to snow overnight, so we kept our hopes high.  We ended up going to a delicious dinner at the Ahwahnee Lodge – if you ever find yourself in Yosemite, do yourself a favor and get the onion soup – seriously it’s the bomb.com and then some!  The short rib wasn’t too bad either.

We returned back to our lodge after our dinner and overnight the weather did a serious 180.  We woke up to a gorgeous scene of picturesque landscape covered in snow.  And it was still coming down!  We hiked around a bit after grabbing a quick bite to eat and got a couple of beautiful pictures of Yosemite Falls and the valley covered in white.  The whole time we were hiking through the valley, the snow was falling and it was definitely under 30 degrees !  It was truly an amazing view but as a southern California girl, it was a wee bit cold.  So when Bill suggested we drive around a bit, I jumped at the thought of sitting in a warm car.

We drove around the park for another 45 minutes looking for a scenic spot to take a few more pictures, but the snowfall was definitely making things more difficult.  We ended up back at our first picture taking site, Yosemite Falls and Bill set up his tripod with the perfect angle to capture the entire falls.  The lighting had improved and the snowfall had lessened, so we decided to get a picture of the two of us.  BUT of course, the remote was out of range, so Bill wasn’t able to get our picture the first time around.

Luckily, there was one man hanging out near the falls, Bill approached him and ask if he could take our picture.  Bill made sure I was perfectly positioned on an invisible mark and then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  And of course I said yes!  Luckily, our new found friend was able to capture the most beautiful image of Bill’s proposal.

Some people say they blackout during proposals, luckily I didn’t blackout, but I felt like time was passing soo slowly, like I was outside of my body watching everything happen in front of me.  Whether it actually lasted 10 minutes or just 60 seconds, it was a beautiful moment between Bill and I, and I am so glad that we have an image to remember it by.

The best part of where the proposal happened was that we couldn’t call anyone for at least an hour after it happened, since cell service is almost nonexistent in Yosemite National Park.  We were able to enjoy the moment together, knowing that we were the only two people in the world {plus our photog} who knew what happened just minutes before.

Proposal at Yosemite Falls