Un-Boring Salads

thefreshexchange-camillestyles-156Yesterday I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Things Cooks Know, and the topic was “Un-Boring Salads.” I was so excited to dive into the episode – I eat salad for lunch several times per week because it’s easy, cheap and healthy to throw something together and store it in our office fridge, but if I don’t mix things up a bit, eating salad can get old really fast. Over the summer, I found three heavenly recipes for salad that you just must try. They have been in heavy rotation since I discovered them, and they’ve awakened a creativity in the cooking compartment of my brain, encouraging me to try out equally yummy and interesting veg + fruit combinations. Check out the recipe links below, and let me know if you have any delicious salad recipes that I need to try!

Raw Broccoli Chopped Salad via Camille Styles

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Strawberry, Quinoa, Spinach & Cashew Salad via Julia’s Album

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Tomato, Nectarine & Mozzarella Salad via Camille Styles

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P.S. Need something sweet for dessert after eating a healthy salad? On a whim I made these four-ingredient Nutella brownies last night and they are insanely delicious. They are my new favorite fast & satisfying treat!

Photo at top via Camille Styles, showcasing another salad I need to try: Kale & Sweet Potato Salad with Ginger Dressing

Favorite Podcasts

c4829bf99a19d1e1e9647d08e5785949After reading The Fringe Hours, I knew that one aspect of my life that needed to change was my commute to work. I was finding myself frustrated at the time that felt wasted while I was driving to and from work, and since public transportation wasn’t a viable option, I needed a way to occupy my time that felt productive. I’ve started praying more while driving, which has made a big difference, and I’ve also queued up a great selection of podcasts to listen to while on the road. These podcasts are so good, in fact, that sometimes I find myself circling the block so I can finish up a story before I get home. Here is a list of some of my favorites, in case you’re looking for something good to listen to:

This American Life

Like most of the country, I was obsessed with Serial last year (and I admit that I still listen to episodes from time to time, just for nostalgia’s sake). After the show ended, I started listening to This American Life, the podcast that hosted the series. Instantly, I was hooked. Each episode has a theme, and from that theme stems a variety of different stories, most that are true and based on real-life people and situations, though some are not. The topics explore cultural conversations and ideas, and they open the eyes of listeners to so many new ways of thinking. If I had to choose my very favorite podcast, This American Life would be it.

Happier

I love Gretchen Rubin’s books, so I was thrilled to learn that the author was starting a podcast based on her writings and research. She hosts Happier with her sister, Elizabeth, and they provide so many good nuggets of information along with ways to make daily life more joyful. Listening to Happier is an instant pick-me-up.

After the Jump

This podcast is hosted by design blogger Grace Bonney, who uses this platform to interview creatives of all kinds – designers, store-owners, entrepreneurs of all sorts – and discuss the inner-workings of the world of present-day artists. I love how the podcast’s website sums it up: “From exploring the day-to-day lives of contemporary makers to discussing the challenges they face, After the Jump will take the conversation off the screen and into real life.”

Bon Appétit

A podcast produced by one of my favorite magazines about one of my favorite topics: food! In a word, this series is delicious. BA Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport covers a variety of food-related topics, sometimes interviewing celebrity chefs, restaurant owners, and cookbook authors, while other times sharing conversation and ideas with staffers from the magazine. My all-time favorite podcast in this series featured interviews with Ina Garten and Gordon Ramsay but I also loved this one about Waffle House and this one about the best new restaurants of 2015. Thanks to Bon Appétit, I’m now going to check out a few of their recommended food-focused podcasts, including Radio Cherry Bombe, Burnt Toast, and The Dinner Party Download.

Real Simple

Another podcast produced by one of my favorite magazines, bravo! The two series that I listen to are Things Cooks Know and Adulthood Made Easy, both of which are entertaining, informative, and super easy to listen to.

Good Food

Korena recommended this podcast to me (along with After the Jump, actually) because she knew I would adore all of the food-centric conversations and stories. Which, of course, I do (hence the obsession with the Bon Appétit podcast). The episodes are longer, rounding out an hour or so each, and they make for great marathon listening sessions.

Do you have any podcasts to share? I’d love to add them to my list!

Image via p.s. remember this

Week & End

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Happy weekend! How was your week? Mine was full of lots of goodness, including a fabulous dinner with the Viegers & Bakers on Tuesday evening (restaurant recap to come!), our book club’s movie outing to see The Fault in Our Stars on Wednesday, and Thursday night’s Bites, Sips & 31 Bits soirée, which was a total blast. This weekend is going to be low-key again, with just a pool party at Heather’s house and margaritas on a sun-filled patio with girlfriends on the books.

Now onto some fun links from around the web! But first, I leave you with a great summery quote I read in this month’s issue of Real Simple magazine:

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – Sir John Lubbock, The Use of Life

I’m copying Shauna Niequist and making it my life goal to ensure that people feel loved, known, welcome, and enough. Shauna and her poignant blog posts, man – she gets me every time.

Lauren & I made a super cute coffee filter garland for our 31 Bits party on Thursday (photos to come!) but for my next party I think I’d like to make this neon bead party garland. So pretty and definitely versatile enough to keep on the wall after the fiesta ends, don’t you think?

Speaking of DIYs, I am adding this midcentury-style plant stand to my crafting list. Love!

Fish tacos are amongst my most favorite meals on the planet (especially enjoyable during summertime), so I think that I need to make this spicy version of the dish (with cabbage slaw & lime crema) very, very soon.

If you haven’t already, register for AmazonSmile – 0.5% of your purchases will go to the nonprofit of your choice. Touch A Life is on the list of non-profits to support, so sign up and choose the organization in Irving, Texas. Your contributions will head our way the next time you buy something online. So easy!

Image via Pinterest

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Happy Tuesday! Thank you so much for your kind feedback about the launch of Coffee & Tacos – I’m so grateful that you’re along for the ride.

I’m going to test out a series idea every Tuesday called Taste & Try. Each week I’ll alternate between featuring a recipe and a restaurant, all of which I’ve tasted and tried myself. I love food oh-so-much  that, when dreaming up this new blog format, I knew that I’d need to schedule a weekly post dedicated to two of my very favorite pastimes – tasting food at delicious restaurants (both Dallas-based and beyond) and trying out new recipes (typically with a glass of wine or a fun cocktail in hand).

So, in the spirit of yesterday’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations, the first recipe features a Tex-Mex show-stopper – Chicken Enchiladas Verdes. Mom sent me this recipe, which she tore out of Real Simple Magazine, and already it’s become a Brown family favorite. These aren’t the healthiest treats on the block but James and I made these last week and, despite my constant cravings for them, I resisted sneaking bites straight out of the fridge and we had these for dinner for four whole nights, reducing the suggested number of servings and spreading out our sour cream intake just a bit. We skipped the rice, as the original recipe suggests, and opted for an arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette. I think you could use a rotisserie chicken instead of the bone-in breasts, but I just a little more proud of the dish when I cooked the chicken myself. The enchiladas pair deliciously with margaritas, of course.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Recipe & photo via Real Simple Magazine

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts (2 to 3)
  • 1 16-ounce jar salsa verde (we used a spicy salsa because that’s what we enjoy but any kind will do)
  • 1 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 pound Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 2 cups) (we used Monterey Jack and loved the result)
  • Kosher salt & black pepper
  • 8 6-inch flour tortillas

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken in a medium saucepan, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to a plate and let cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Place the meat in a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the salsa and 1/2 cup of the sour cream until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and simmer until slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of sour cream.
  3. Add the corn, 1 cup of cheese, 1/2 cup of the sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to the chicken and combine.
  4. Spread 1 cup of the remaining sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roll up the chicken in the tortillas and place seam-side down in the dish. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Bake until bubbling and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions. Serve with the enchiladas and sour cream. (And margaritas! On the rocks, with salt.)