PINTEREST IS FOR REAL: clean green chicken salad!

i'm starting a new series called PINTEREST IS FOR REAL. because let's be honest -- we can pin things all day long and, as inspired as we are, never actually do anything about it. i've got a plethora of DIY-crafts to attempt, styles to try on for size, and oh so many recipes to make.

so this week i decided to try a few of those recipes out (remember "braking for breakfast"? both pinterest-inspired yummy treats!). i also did these zucchini boats - YUM!

here's the first one i'm going through step-by-step for you. i'm calling it "clean green chicken salad" because everything in it is good for you (and mostly green!). {first pinned here linking to this site.}

ingredients include everything in the photo to the right:
- green onion
- cilantro
- limes
- avocados
- plus 1 tbsp organic mayo and salt & pepper to taste.
**i used about 1/2 package of cilantro & 3 stalks of green onion & chopped them up. i used 3 limes, and actually added 1 more avocado than the picture, so had 3 avocados, too -- but would probably go back to 2 next time. it's all a matter of preference/taste!! so experiment with what you like.

next up -- get your chicken! i bought trader joe's already-cooked rotisserie chicken & shredded it up (about 1 pound).

then you just mix it all together, and voila! a delicious and not overly mayonaise-y chicken salad! i served mine on a bed of lettuce with some multigrain tortilla chips on the side. you could put it in a salad, as a sandwich, or whatever you want! great as leftovers, too.

(makes about 4 cups.)


tuesday tunes - gotye.

gotye. (pronounced “gore-ti-yeah”) is belgian-born & australian-raised. (australia is where he first found fame in 2006 with his 2nd record, like drawing blood). his latest album making mirrors is a pop-electronic-soul-synth-folk sound masterpiece that has made him a name known around the world.
he spent 2 years in a barn on his parents remote land in australia, in the isolation that allows sonic experimentation & recording at any moment.. creating an album that is varied in both style and sound. (just listen to "state of art" with its spooky, pitch-shifted, sci-fi vocals -- an ode to the lowrey cotillion organ, with lyrics that mention its keys and functions) compared with the first single "somebody that i used to know" -- with a melody i love that gets stuck in my head!!
if you've got some time to kill -- here's a little 10 minute documentary on the making of the album...

here are a couple of videos from the first singles (warning: both are a little weird!)

"somebody that i used to know"

"easy way out"...


braking for breakfast...

if you're anything like me, finding time in the mornings to make a healthy breakfast seems to mostly be a battle i do not win. i always think i'm gonna have time, but next thing i know i'm grabbing my coffee and a piece of toast and running out the door to work. (let alone helping my husband fix something!)
so today i decided to take some time and prepare a few things that i can just zap in the microwave real quick and have an instantly wonderful healthy breakfast this week!

i've got 2 recipes (pinterest-inspired of course!) -- one protein and one carb, because i love to have a little of both in the mornings!

chicken sausage + broccoli egg "muffin"
(altered from this recipe -- they call it an omelet muffin!)

- 3 links chicken sausage (i did sundried tomato - trader joe's of course) - chopped.
- 1 cup broccoli florets (i did baby broccoli -- you could use any vegetable!)
- 8 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- shredded cheese of choice

1. preheat oven to 375
2. in a large saute pan, over medium high heat, brown sausage, then remove from heat and stir in broccoli.
3. whisk together eggs, milk, oil and baking powder. season with salt and pepper.
4. lightly spray a 12-cupcake pan with oil (i use coconut oil) then spoon out sausage and broccoli mixture evenly into each cupcake.
5. ladle the egg mixture over sausage and broccoli (about 3/4 full)
6. sprinkle with cheese.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

oatmeal-banana-applesauce "cookies"
(i kinda made it up after looking at a bunch of recipes online!)

- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1.25 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp stevia
- 1 banana mashed
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 tsp ground flax seed
- 2 tbsp water

1. in a small bowl combine the flaxseed with the water and let it set while combining the other ingredients.
2. preheat oven to 350
3. mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl
4. add flaxseed mixture to wet ingredients and stir to combine.
5. mix the wet ingredients into dry ingredients
6. scoop 2 tbsp sized cookies onto cookie sheet (you can press down to flatten them - i forgot to do this!)
7. bake 10-12 minutes (til bottom browns)

so now both of these little treats are in my fridge ready for the week!!
would love to hear if you guys have any pre-made-breakfasts you enjoy, too...


tuesday tunes - the fray.

there's been so much new music coming out lately it's been hard to keep up! and i'm so glad that the fray is included in that group. their last album, scars & stories, was released 2 weeks ago, and is the band's third album (the first two being how to save a life (2005) and a self-titled album in 2009). i've been a fan of theirs since the beginning (you gotta love isaac's unique voice!) & have been waiting a long time for some new music!! and this album does not disappoint -- it's been on repeat for me the last couple of weeks. and i love how they describe getting the name...
"we've been through a lot of stuff personally, and as a band we're still together, and I think we like the idea of scars you know, because they're healed... they are not like wounds necessarily, but they're still kind of a road map of where you've been, and sometimes kinda point to where you want to go..."
so, here's the first single "heartbeat".... are you a fray fan? have you missed them?


tuesday tunes - NEW audrey assad.

i mentioned audrey assad's last record in the winter of 2010. the Lord really used that album to speak to my soul in that season. no kidding, i listened to that thing on repeat for weeks. what i said about that album is true for this next one as well...:
"...i feel like her song lyrics are just ripped right out of my journal. they're so raw and genuine and full of every emotion we experience, cries of joy and pain and confusion and wonder. and the melodies are beautiful and unique. and did i mention she has the voice of an angel?"
this new album, heart, is out today, and is full of little gems. here audrey explains why it's called heart (kinda nice for valentine's day today!) -- a look into the honesty & courage from her own heart and the story behind some of the songs.
and here are some favs...


dear dillon.

dear dillon: an ode to friday night lights*.

dear dillon, you have won my heart.
but now the time has come to part.
we spent many a night, in laughter & tears.
watching you evolve over five years.
lyla & tyra, and becky too,
we'd be good friends, i know it's true.
julie & matt-- so happy for you guys,
but you getting married is really no surprise.
and tim riggins? you steal hearts like it's your job,
(a better reason for jail than the cars you "robbed")
smash, luke, & vince, there's no doubt,
you guys showed us what teamwork's about.
high school football's more than just skills on the field,
we saw the character, strength, & hope it yields.
how it redeemed your stories, it's hard to describe,
but for those who've seen it, they know why...
coach taylor, you turned those boys into men,
no matter where you go, you'll do it again.
while you give to your program your self, your life,
you keep your priorities, fiercely loving your wife.
and mrs. t -- oh, where to even begin,
i'd love my marriage to look like y'all's from within.
your lives radiate grace, whether you know it or not,
(the taylors are my favorite part of the plot)
dear dillon, let's meet up at the alamo freeze,
because our only other choice is the applebee's (barf)
the week is over, we've only one more fight,
and it's gonna happen under those friday night lights.
so go panthers, go lions, i don't wanna choose,
it's always clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

*jeff and i watched the entire series (5 seasons!) in just a few months, and never before has a show affected my emotions so deeply. i highly recommend it to anybody (streaming on netflix right now!), football fan or not. you'll fall in love with the characters and the authenticity of their lives played out on screen.

texas forever.


reading list.

i thought i'd share a little bit about my favorite books as of late...

the 2 books i've just finished:

1. the hunger games trilogy - suzanne collins
oh. em. gee. have you guys read this series? i'll admit i was a little skeptical of a story about kids battling to the death in an arena, but i fell in love with those characters. i even convinced my husband to read them and now he's almost done with them all, too. and don't even get me started about how excited i am for THE MOVIE!!

2. the meaning of marriage - tim keller.
jeff and i read this in the months leading up to our marriage and could not be bigger fans of this book. i highly recommend it for anybody who is married, wants to be married, knows somebody who is married, or wants to love & be loved well in general. (aka: everybody should read this book).

the 2 books i've just ordered off amazon*:

1. when helping hurts - brian fikkert
pretty much everybody i know in the international development world had told me i should read this book (i think i'm the last one at work who hasn't) and now i'm a part of a community development class at church that is discussing similar issues, so i decided it's beyond time to dive in. i'm looking forward to some continued education in a field i love!

i have a really good feeling about this one. you know mindy from the office. but what you may not know is that she is pretty hilarious (she's responsible for writing a lot of the office episodes!) and just look at the back cover photo... you know it's gonna be good. i'm thinking this will be along the same lines as tina fey's bossypants (which i LOVED), so needless to say... i'm stoked.

what's on your reading list?

* i accidentely signed-up for amazon prime. and now i have free 2-day shipping for a year. so i may or may not be ordering an extraordinarily large amount of books this year.


tuesday tunes - madi diaz.

so a couple tuesdays back was a big day for new albums from girls with killer pipes. we had kari jobe, ingrid michaelson, and now madi diaz. if y'all don't know madi yet, you are in for a treat! this nashville lady has such a fun, unique vibe. i've been loving her tunes since i first heard her as part of the ten out of tenn crew in 2009, and i'm stuper pumped for this first full-length album for her. plastic moon is full of catchy, melodic, strong songs she's written herself, that you just want to play on repeat.

not convinced? you can stream a few songs from the album on her website, or here's one of my favorites, "let's go"...


HONEYMOON stuff with my HUSBAND.

those are 2 "H" words that still feel kinda weird to own!
i'm so grateful to whoever invented the idea that you should take a week vacation after your wedding... for so many reasons that week is vital to the health of you as individuals and your marriage. it is by far the most quality time you get to spend together - nobody else, no other distractions, just learning more about each other in every way... becoming one.

we decided to go the simpler route for this trip, and save up for a big europe vacation when we have a little more money, time, & energy (aka not post wedding!) and chose the sunny southern california city of san diego! we did 3 nights at a precious bed & breakfast in the hillcrest neighborhood (hillcrest house) and then 2 nights downtown at the hotel indigo -- so a little bit of quaint and a little bit of swanky!

we toured a lighthouse, visited museums (balboa park!), & drove up the coast... went to brunch, a brewery (stone - we wish we could have spent more time here!), and cozy cafes. it was perfect. here's a little snapshot:

morning coffee at the bed & breakfast

the view from our hotel room downtown

yummy brunch at hash house

whale watching on point loma

some say that the term honeymoon comes from "the idea that the first month of marriage is the sweetest" ... we're about to see, as we near rounding out our first month! but i have hope that it's only going to get sweeter from here :)


trader joe's top 10 - part FIVE.

it's true. i have FOUR OTHER installments of my trader joe's top 10 -- one. two. three. four. (i need to start getting commission.)
also -- i told y'all about my I HEART TJ's cookbook -- i've been LOVING cooking from that thing. so fun!

ok, so i've got my next top 10 for ya (i can't believe it's been almost a year!) here we go...

10. salmon burgers // frozen pack of 4 -- you can bake 'em, grill 'em, or pan fry 'em. a super easy way to get in those omega-3's!

9. fresh hard-cooked peeled eggs // yup, just how it sounds. they take out all of the hard work of hard-boiled eggs for you -- already cooked, already peeled. just add salt & pepper and enjoy!

8. sugar grinder // it's sugar, chocolate, & coffee beans -- grind it over ice cream, berries, whatever you want! the perfect sweet topper.

7. greek yogurt // get the TJ's brand (i get the nonfat plain) -- comes in a big value tub, too! have you hopped on the greek train yet? yes, it's more tart, but just add a little agave or stevia and you are good to go. (i like mine with granola & berries, too!)

6. cocoa drizzle kettle corn // self-explanatory. i bought this around the holidays and it was heaven. sweet & salty just how i like it. warning: you'll want to eat the whole bag.

5. multigrain croissants // in the frozen section -- let the dough sit out while you pre-heat your oven & then they bake to fluffy flaky yumminess in 20 minutes. perfect compliment to a dinner party. (note: i used the toaster oven! and they will stick to your pan - definitely use a little oil!)

4. almond milk // we're trying to cut out excessive dairy where we can (don't worry - i'm not giving up my cheese just yet).. TJ's brand of almond milk comes in a big container & lasts longer than those other brands. (we like the vanilla unsweetened one) -- great for cereal and coffee!

3. mandarin orange chicken // people have been talking about this stuff for a long time, but i was afraid to try it because i knew i'd love it and it's not exactly the most healthy. true and true. but it sure is tasty with some brown rice & steamed broccoli. a special treat :)

2. pressed coconut oil // yay! one less grocery trip for me (i used to get this at whole foods) -- i use coconut oil to cook everything on the stove (meat, vegetables, eggs) -- it's the best cooking oil!! fyi: keep this one in the fridge once it's opened.

1. TJ's packaged pasta // find them refrigerated near the hummus and salsa -- our favorites are butternut squash stuffed triangle pasta & goat cheese/sundried tomato ravioli. just boil for 5ish minutes and then add your favorites (we like grilled chicken and steamed veggies). instant amazing meal.

oh man, now i'm hungry.

what am i missing? do you have any trader joe's favorites lately?