Thai Chicken Kabobs

Thai Chicken Kabobs

Is there anything more fun than food on a stick? I mean, sure, eating it can be tricky and you run the risk of stabbing your husband while playing swords with your food (because that’s a totally normal and acceptable thing to do, yes?), but really, how many foods can you make into a sword anyway?

Thai Chicken Kabobs

I’ve actually never made kabobs before this one, and let me tell you, I am in love. I loved having my chicken on my veggies all on one stick. I loved how fun they were to eat and dip in the peanut sauce, and I also loved how food on a stick meant there were next to no dishes to clean up. Seriously, I hate cleaning almost as much as I love cooking.

Thai Chicken Kabobs

The chicken marinates in the peanut sauce to soak up all that delicious Thai peanut flavor, then gets grilled up with your veggies and dunked in lots more peanut-y deliciousness as you eat. You end up eating a lot less of the calorie-dense peanut sauce than if you were to eat traditional Pad Thai. Not to mention getting rid of the noodles and adding a bunch of veggies gives you all the flavors of classic Pad Thai with a fraction of the calories, and sticking it all on kabob skewers to grill up gives them an awesome summery touch!

Thai Chicken Kabobs

They are topped off with fresh cilantro (my favorite food–I don’t care if you say it’s an “herb”, it’s still my favorite) and drizzles with sriracha for an extra spicy kick. Of course, those are option if you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t like spicy food, or worse, you have that genetic “mutation” where you don’t like cilantro. Have you heard about that? Apparently it’s a genetic thing where to some people it tastes like soap. So glad I pulled the long straw on that one. ;)

Thai Chicken Kabobs

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 9 kabobs

Serving Size: 3 kabobs

Thai Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha + extra for drizzling
  • approx 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1" chunks
  • approx 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 1" chunks
  • fresh cilantro, optional

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, coconut aminos, sriracha and 1/4 cup water. Remove half the mixture (eyeball it), cover and set aside.
  2. Add 1/4 cup water to remaining mixture. Whisk to combine. Continue to slowly add water until it has reached the consistency of a marinade. I used about 1/4-1/3 cup. Place chicken and marinade in a large freezer bag or medium tupperware and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour (alternately, feel free to do this step up to 24 hours ahead of time).
  3. If using wooden skewers, soak skewers for 30 minutes before cooking (if you use metal, this is not necessary). Alternately place chicken, bell pepper, onion, and snap peas onto your skewers (you will most likely have room for about 2 of each) close together, but not crowding.
  4. Grill on medium-high heat until chicken is cooked throughout, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and drizzle with srirach. Serve immediately with remaining peanut dipping sauce.

Notes

You may wish to heat the peanut sauce before serving. It can get quite thick while it sits, so microwaving for about 15 seconds and adding a tablespoon of water should get it back to your ideal consistency.

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Happy Things

Hi friends! I missed you! I know I was only away for less than a week, but I’ve been way less present to blogging the last 6 weeks as I’ve been way more present to my summer job and soaking up the amazing people I only get to see a few weeks out of the year, but now I’m back home (wahhh, it’s hot) and ready to reunite with my kitchen and you lovely people! So to jump back in, I wanted to share with you some happy things I came home to.

1. A jar of this deliciousness. While I was away, NuttZo sent me a jar of their crunchy chocolate flavor to try, and it is absolutely amazing. One of the first things I did when I got home was open it up, and it is drippy, crunchy, just the right amount of sweet, and totally addictive. I already have to monitor myself to make sure I don’t go through the entire jar in two days. It includes peanuts, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and hazelnuts. It is better than any chocolate nut spread that I have ever tasted, and I am obsessed with the crunchiness. I must find a way to recreate in my kitchen!

NuttZo

2. A super sweet card from Heather about my upcoming speaking engagement at the Healthy Living Summit! I am beyond excited to be speaking, and really looking forward to meeting some of my favorite people from around the internet. Because that’s a totally normal thing to look forward to, right?

3. These faces. ‘Nuff said.

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photo (26)

Also finally having the sound of puppy nails on the tile again! I missed that!

4. A RUNNER HUSBAND!!! Without a doubt the happiest thing that happened while I was away is that Steve started the couch to 5k program! He’s on week 5, and hasn’t missed a beat since he started. I am unbelievably proud, and it means I need to get my butt in gear with some swim lessons so I can actually announce some exciting future plans. ;)

5. MEAN GREEN!!

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Isn’t she beaaaauuutiful? She needs a new seat because this one is, um, not working for me, but she is everything I dreamed she would be. Also, ┬ároad bikes are super sensitive to your movements. No more off in la la land while I ride my bike for me. I actually have to pay attention now. Crap.

6. I was in the Arizona Republic today along with one of my besties! Check it out!

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7. The months of February, March and April, I ran zero miles. In May I ran 24, in June I ran 38, and in July I ran 56. I was feeling a little down on myself that I still haven’t run longer than 5 miles and I am supposed to run a marathon in November, but I know Coach Susan is, like, a billion times smarter than me, and I know she has a plan, but seeing the numbers build up and actually being able to see my progress really lifted my spirits. Slowly, but surely I will get back to where I was last November and December, and really I have my whole life to get faster, so what’s the rush?

8. I really love my bed and my couch. I’m glad to be back to “real life”. Still totally missing Portland and my girls up there, but happy to be in my home with my kitchen and my Kitchenaid and my Vitamix. ;)

Disclosure: The NuttZo was sent to me to review for blog purposes. All opinions are my own.

Bourbon Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies

Bourbon Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies

Do you know how many years of my life I wasted believing I didn’t like bourbon? It’s a damn shame.

Bourbon Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies

I promise, I didn’t mean to put alcohol in my brownies. They started out as just regular chocolate brownies with cherries and dark chocolate for my dad’s birthday. He loves a black forrest cake, but he loves brownies more than cake, and so I wanted a similar flavor profile in brownie form.

Bourbon Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies

But then I remembered these cookies, and made a game time decision to soak the cherries in bourbon. Of course, if you don’t like bourbon (who are you????), you can totally skip this step and still have some rich and gooey cherry and dark chocolate brownies, but I really feel like the bourbon takes them to the next level.

Bourbon Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies

One of the secrets to perfect brownies is to just ever so slightly under-bake them. They will continue to bake when you let them cool in your pan. My problem is that I am impatient and I never wait long enough to cut into them. Oh and also that I often over estimate the amount of unbaked that is ideal and end up eating brownie batter because I pulled them from the oven a good 10 minutes too early. These were totally still hot and gooey when I photographed them, but I just couldn’t wait. They firm up a bit as they cool making them easier to serve, but still soft and fudgy.

Bourbon Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies

I love the crisp brownie top (my favorite thing about brownies and sometimes hard to achieve with no butter!) and the extra melty chunks of dark chocolate with the bold flavor of the bourbon soaked cherries. These were a huge hit, and the entire pan was gone in one evening!

Bourbon Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 9 large or 16 small brownies

Serving Size: 1 brownie

Bourbon Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cherries, pitted
  • Approx 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 5.5 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup nonfat coffee yogurt*
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate covered cherries**

Instructions

  1. Place cherries in a wide shallow bowl. Cover with bourbon and soak for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9" square pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, slowly stir yogurt into melted chocolate. Whisk in sugar, then whisk in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Gently fold in flour until just combined. Strain soaked cherries (save the extra liquid and make yourself a drink!) and fold in soaked cherries and dark chocolate covered cherries.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking tin and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan then serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

*Vanilla yogurt may be substituted. The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor. I suggest adding 1 tsp espresso powder if you use vanilla yogurt. **I found dark chocolate covered cherries at Trader Joe's. You can always use dark chocolate chunks instead, or add more fresh cherries.

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Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter

Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter

So, if it weren’t for other blogs, I wouldn’t even know coconut butter was a thing. Coconut is, like, the next big thing in the food world it seems. Coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter, COCONUT EVERYTHING!

Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter

I didn’t even have an idea what it would actually taste like, but one day I just threw some coconut in my food processor, and decided to give it a try. I do love anything with the word ‘butter’ in the name, so I figured there was no way it could be bad…

Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter

In fact, you could tell me that broccoli butter is a thing, and I’d probably be convinced I needed to get in the kitchen and make it rightthatsecond.

Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter

Turns out, coconut butter is good. Like, really good. It’s like a combination of creamy, drippy homemade peanut butter with chewy coconut flavor and texture. It’s great on toast, bananas, and especially smoothies. It’s actually kind of magical in smoothies.

Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter

The coconut is already slightly sweet, so you don’t need a lot of sugar. I used 1/2 tbsp, and I probably would have REALLY loved it with 1-2 tbsp, but I wouldn’t use more than 2. Also, if you don’t like to add sugar, you can totally leave it out. Either way, you are in for a creamy, drippy jar of deliciousness.

Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Scant 1/2 pint

Serving Size: 2 tbsp

Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter

Creamy, simple and delicious coconut butter with bold vanilla bean and lightly sweetened with brown sugar.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar*

Instructions

  1. Blend coconut in your food processor until a creamy, peanut-butter-like texture forms, about 5-7 minutes. Split vanilla bean length wise and scrape seeds into coconut mixture. Add brown sugar and continue to pulse until well combined, about an other 1-2 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or in the refrigerator. Stir before serving.

Notes

*You can omit the brown sugar if you wish, or if you like things sweeter, add up to 2 tbsp. I would add it 1/2 tbsp at a time, and taste as you go.

I've had my jar for over 2 weeks and it is still going strong. If it will last you longer than that, you may wish to keep refrigerated.

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Banana Cream Pie Shake

Banana Cream Pie Shake #vegan #glutenfree

Do you guys remember the banana cream pie shake at Sonic?? OMG, I was obsessssssed with it. I would go through the Sonic drive through multiple times a week for that little gem. Creamy banana shake with crushed graham cracker? That is speaking my language. Although I always thought their whipped cream tasted a little weird. Anyone else? I am a whipped cream lover, but theirs always tasted slightly like plastic to me.

Banana Cream Pie Shake #vegan #glutenfree

Anyway, I was obsessed with the shake, and lately my girl Sally has been making a bunch of frozen banana shake recipes. I’d been dying to try the banana soft serve craze anyway, and I was inspired to try my own so I jumped on board to recreate one of my favorite treats.

Banana Cream Pie Shake #vegan #glutenfree

You see, I secretly thought it would never be as good as everyone says. Bananas as ice cream? The ice cream lover in me wanted to be stubborn, and I thought it was like when everyone said mashed cauliflower was like mashed potatoes. I still don’t get that one…

Banana Cream Pie Shake #vegan #glutenfree

But the thing is, this EXCEEDED all of my expectations! In fact, it was so thick at first that I had to use that little stick for my Vitamix to press the banana pieces down and even get it to blend, and the results were so rich and creamy that I added way more milk than I originally planned. Also, I used 3 bananas because I thought I would need that many for one photo. Ummm, nope! It definitely made 3 servings that were nearly impossible to not eat all at once in one sitting (I know bananas are good for me, but somehow I believe 3 at once may be what they call “too much of a good thing”). Then if this dreamy shake wasn’t enough, the combo of the crushed graham cracker and the honey…uuugggghhhh… You guys, I just wanted to put honey and graham cracker crumbs on a huge spoon and eat it along side my shake. I loved it so much that after the first time I made it, I made it about 3 more times that week. It’s so quick, easy and will totally cure your sweet tooth!

Banana Cream Pie Shake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: About 1 cup

Banana Cream Pie Shake

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe bananas, chopped and frozen
  • 2/3-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • Optional for topping:
  • Honey or agave for lining the glass
  • 3-4 tbsp crushed graham cracker crumbs (use vegan and/or gluten-free graham crackers if desired)
  • Light whipped cream or whipped coconut cream

Instructions

  1. In a high quality blender, blend bananas, 2/3 cup almond milk, and vanilla. If desired, add more milk until milkshake has reached your desired creaminess. This will depend on the size of your bananas and how thick you want your shake.
  2. To prepare the glass, drizzle honey or agave on a small plate. Place graham cracker crumbs on a separate small plate. Roll the top of your glass to just coat it in honey/agave then graham cracker crumbs. Add prepared milkshake, then top with whipped cream or whipped coconut cream if desired. Serve immediately.
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