Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Thai Chicken Tea Sandwiches

Some of you may remember my recipe for Maple Sriracha Chicken Satay.  Well, I thought that would be an awesome tea sandwich so I decided to do a little tweaking and make a new staple in my afternoon tea repertoire.  

Here's what you'll need:

8 oz Trader Joe's chicken breast tenderloins
3 tbsp Trader Joe's low sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
2 tbsp Real Maple Syrup
1 1/2 tsp Smoky Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
1/4 cup scallions, diced
1 tsp curry spice
10 slices Nickels 35 Calorie Wheat Bread

Boil the chicken until cooked thoroughly.  (Feel free to remove any grody chunks o' fat from the batch.  I did after I took this picture)

While the chicken is cooking, gather your ingredients for the sauce.

In a bowl, add your broth, Tabasco sauce and peanut butter and microwave for 30 seconds.

Give it a stir and heat in 15 second intervals, stirring until it's smooth.

Add the scallions and combine.

Add the maple syrup and stir.

When the chicken is done, shred it.

Add your curry spice to the chicken.

Give it a toss to combine.

Time to add the sauce and give it all a stir.

Ready for action.

Cut off the crusts of your bread and using a small cookie scoop, scoop some of the chicken onto the bread.

Spread it edge to edge.

Top with the other slice of bread and cut the sandwich in half for your tea sandwich triangles.

You can make the chicken the day before as the flavor intensifies the longer it has to marinate.

Nutritional info is per two triangles for a total of 5 servings.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Zucchini Tea Sandwiches

Afternoon teas usually consist of tea sandwiches and the most popular, traditional is the cucumber sandwich.  I'm all for tradition but I don't like cucumbers.  So I modified mine to still have that same cucumber crunch without the taste and belchy side effects of actual cucumber.  I hope you'll love them as much as we do!

Zucchini Tea Sandwiches (Five servings of 2 triangles)

Here's what you'll need:

1 large zucchini, washed and sliced
1 box 33% less fat cream cheese
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/4 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
1 tsp garlic powder (or 2-3 cloves minced garlic)
10 slices Nickels 35 calorie wheat bread

I like to use fresh herbs in the summer and fall when my herb garden is in full bloom.

(Dried is fine if it's what you have on hand.)

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave.  I will use the defrost setting on 3 until it's able to easily be stirred.

Add the herbs and garlic powder and combine well.

Wash the zucchini and cut off the ends.

Some places will peel a strip or two or three down the sides to give it a fancy appearance.

Slice the zucchini in 1/4 to 1/2" slices depending on the amount of crunch you want.

Time to grab the bread.

Place one slice on top of the other and cut the crusts off so the bread left is the same size.

Time to put on the cream cheese!  Spread about 1 tbsp on each side of the bread.

Like so.

Add the zucchini slices and if any hang over the sides, cut them so it's nice and neat.

Top it...

Then cut it in half for dainty little tea sammies that'll make you want to extend your pinky!

Nutritional info for 2 sandwich triangles

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Afternoon Tea Week!

After posting about my afternoon tea a few months back, several of you commented and messaged asking what kind of things you'd need to throw one of your own.  With Mothers Day coming up this weekend, having an afternoon tea with your mom, daughter or best girlfriend would be a perfect way to get in on the fun!

This post will be about the items I bought to have on hand for my afternoon teas and recipes will be coming this week! is a great resource for your tea party from tea pots to tea cups to tea and biscuits.  (I'm not affiliated with them, they just have great prices, have good customer service and pretty quick delivery and if you sign up for their emails, you can get 10% off of your order.)  Here are a few things I got from them.

Personal Sized Teapots

At the time of publishing, the price for this 2 cup teapot is about $6.  I got four of them so that each person at our afternoon teas would be able to enjoy the tea of their choice with a refill or two, and not be forced to pour from the same flavored larger pot.  Plus it just feels really personalized and decadent to be able to have a little pot all to yourself.  These teapots are available in various colors if you want something more snazzy than white.  If you're willing to spend a little (or a lot) more, they have some beautiful patterns too.

3 Tiered Cake Stand

This 3 tiered cake stand is my go to for the savories like tea sandwiches, petite salads and lettuce cups.  The top tier is really small so probably only 2 mini tarts with a raspberry garnish would fit on there for reference.   This stand makes all of your wee bites look super fancy.

2 Tiered Cake Stand

This is the same stand as the 3 tiered but without the smallest top plate.  I use this one for my sweets.  It's perfect for mini tarts, phyllo cups, sweet sandwiches, tea biscuits, cookies and fruits.

Tea Set for Four

If you'd prefer to have one matching tea set, they offer lots of color options for this set.  The pot is a 6 cup capacity and all attendees will have to like the same tea or you can let everyone have their own bags and just fill the pot with hot water.

You can browse their store to see all kinds of teacup options and dinnerware in a myriad of patterns and colors.  It can be fun just to window shop.

Here are some of my other favorites I use:

Vintage Tea Cups

I personally love the look of mix and match vintage tea cups.  This was one of four different floral patterns I picked up at an antique shop.  Typically a cup and saucer are between $8-12 and you'll have them for a long time to be passed down if you want.  If you find that you don't have enough teas to warrant them taking up space, they make great gifts with little succulent plants or to be made into candles.  Win, win!

Teapot Mini Spoons

I wanted some spoons to use for honey but didn't want regular sized teaspoons.  I wanted something closer to an infant sized spoon and these were not only the perfect size but look at those adorable teapots on the top!  You can refer to the teacup picture above to get a size reference.  It's perfect for adding a little honey and giving your tea a stir...pinkies out, of course.

Cake Stand for condiments

I already had several cake stands but I like to use them for extras that may not fit on the tiered stands (like popovers) and a whole smaller stand filled with various honeys and sweeteners like stevia packets.

Speaking of honey, these are my favorite honeys to use:

My holy grail is Beekman 1802 Cinnamon Honey

Seriously...every single person who has ever tried this has had their eyes bug out of their head, sink back in the chair and figure out how they're going to distract me to dip their finger in the jar.  It is ridiculously amazing.  The cinnamon is so finely ground that it doesn't float like it would if you added regular ground cinnamon.  Whatever doesn't infuse into the tea, sinks into a dainty swirl on the bottom.  It's not only great in tea but on toast, between some flapjacks or I hear straight out of the jar.

Sweet Beekman 1802 Honeys

Really, you can't go wrong with any of the honeys from Beekman 1802 but the ones above are the most complimentary with teas.  Lemon, Autumn Harvest (it has a great underlying spice), ginger, chai and vanilla.  If you sign up for their newsletter, you can get 15% off of your first order and the newsletters are actually really cool!  Baby goats...need I say more?

As far as the teas, I love traditional ones and my favorite black tea is PG Tips

It may or may not have to originally have been because my English crush, Tom Mison, drinks it with a splash of milk but then once I tried it, I knew why he loved it.  A nice, robust flavor and you can add a splash of regular or almond milk to feel more English.  You can find it at Target or most local grocery stores.  I always have a ton of teas on hand including English Breakfast, Green, Roasted Green, Sleepytime for the Mr, Earl Grey, Chai Pumpkin Spice, Chamomile and others.

Of course all you really need for an afternoon tea is some tea, mugs and plates to serve food.  But if you want to get fancy pants and make a ritual out of it, these things more than pay for themselves the first time you use it when you see the delight on people's faces.

Beekman 1802

(This post contains a few affiliate links)
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Friday, April 29, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week 2016 #17

The last Friday of April, y'all!

So much to do and not enough time to do it, so let's just get right to...

The 8 Activities That Have the Most Benefits for Your Brain  (Count me in!)

Common Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them  (For my runner friends)

A Bodyweight Workout You Can Do Anywhere  (Love this!)

Turns Out These Bathroom Hand Dryers Detonate a Blast of Germs  (OMG, so gross!  Never using one of those again)

How to Turn Off Your Weight Gain Hormones  (Yes please)

What It's Like To Become Your Mother's Caregiver  (Sigh)

Common over-the-counter drugs can hurt your brain  ( this)

Keurig’s New K-Cup Coffee Is Recyclable, but Hardly Green  (Really, 10 years and this is the best you could do?)

12 Unexpected Ways to Fit Cardio Into Your Routine  (Good stuff to incorporate)

How Insulin and Cortisol Affect Your Body Composition  (Interesting information)

LIVESTRONG Success Story: David Mugovero  (Giving the guys some props)

Why I'm Happy I Grew Up Poor  (We weren't quite as bad off but not far.  I agree)

I Posed Nude for Money & Saw How Beautiful My Body Really Is  (Takes some guts!  I envy her)

How to Behave at the Airport   (So the tuna kimchee sandwich is a no go?)

This Hilarious "Aunt Flo" Video About Periods Should Be Required Viewing For Women and Girls Alike  (Such a crack up!)

9 Period Delivery Services to Help 'Aunt Flo' Chill TF Out  (Did not know these existed)

32 Photos That Show The Difference Between Normal Food And Hipster Food  (If you serve my food on a dustpan or shovel head, prepare to get hit by both)

19 Slightly Odd Things All Dog Owners Have Done At Some Point  (2, 4, 5 and 10.  #2 was called the Princess Leia and I did it with both dogs)

We've got a poop load of stuff to get done this weekend and in the upcoming weeks so checking in may be sporadic.  I can't believe April is almost over!  Where the heck did the month go!?

What are you guys doing this weekend?

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pass the grass

We were never huge hamburger people during the week regardless of where we were in our weight loss adventure.  I was never picky about what kind of beef I got I just picked up 80/20 (or 90/10 if we were watching it) and went on with my life.  About 10 years ago, I remember hearing about this amazing grass fed beef on the Big Island of Hawaii.  It was back when grass fed was not common and we paid to have four steaks mailed to us.  You can imagine what we paid for the privilege.

We were both raised to believe that corn fed beef was the way to go.  We both agree that, to us, it does taste the best.  However, there is just too much evidence that much of the corn feed is GMO, chock full of hormones and antibiotics and Lord knows what else.  After reading about the benefits of grass fed beef, it got me wondering if we should give it another shot.

Here are some of the benefits of grass fed beef:

  • The way the animal is raised for grass fed is good for them and supports great farmers with ethical ranching practice.
  • It is leaner than grain fed and had a higher amount of omega fatty acids, which is good for everyone.
  • It contains conjugated linoleic acid that's believed reduce to cancer and heart disease risks as well as more antioxidants like vitamin E.
  • It's more environmentally friendly.  The U.S. produces 1.5 billion (with a B, y'all) bushels of yellow corn per year just to feed cows.  That corn takes chemical fertilizer added to the soil and the gases emitted by the machines used to harvest them which leaves a massive carbon footprint.  It takes half the fossil fuels to produce two pounds of grass fed beef vs. corn fed.  

When I saw it kept showing up in Trader Joe's both in the regular and frozen section, I figured that would be the time to try it again.  If you don't like anything at TJ's, you can return it no questions asked so what did I have to lose?  I've since used their organic grass fed beef but this was my first dabble to see if I was going to be able to make the switch for the rare times we had red meat in the house.

Here's a peek at the nutritional info

I thawed the beef in the fridge and slapped it in the skillet.

I gave it a goodly amount of seasoning while it cooked like ground chipotle powder, garlic powder, cumin and some ground black pepper.

One thing I noticed was despite being 85% lean, it cooked as though it was 80% and had a lot of extra grease that I'm not used to.

When it was done, I drained the beef so what I was going to add to it wasn't swimming in fat.

I grabbed my TJ's enchilada sauce...

...and my poblano salsa.

I added two servings of each to the meat.

I gave it a stir to combine.

Time for the taco shells!

I also cut up some red cabbage I had on hand as well as some black beans.

Here's how I stack my tacos so that we get more healthy filler over meat.  Layer the cabbage first.

Then the black beans.  (These are crock pot beans, not from the can)

Then add about 2 oz of meat to the shell and a little cabbage on top for color.  It fools you into thinking the entire taco is filled with meat.

I paired it with some roasted carrots and it was taco time!

The Verdict?

The Mr could barely tell the difference, he said it was very slight but nothing he didn't like.  I did notice that the meat was slightly more chewy due to the leanness of the meat and it was more greasy than I normally like.  For the rare times we have red meat in the house, I will likely go grass fed even though it's more expensive.  The reasons listed above are enough to change my mind and now, I just rinse it off slightly (not until it's bone dry though) so it gets that coating of grease off the top.  (It's still plenty juicy inside)

Do you eat grass fed beef?  How often do you have red meat?

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Sources for info:
The Scoop on Grass Fed Beef
Does grass-fed beef have any heart-health benefits that other types of beef don't?
Grass is Greener: Buy Healthy Meat

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