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04 January 2014

Boudin Stuffed Red Peppers



I have enjoyed every blissful moment of this holiday vacation. I always knew graduate school would be hard. I mean, I did get my masters degree in 2 years while working full time. So I thought, naively, that I could handle a doctoral program. But I had no idea how different it would be. The never ending hours, how it takes over your life, constantly working, always feeling tired, constantly thinking your behind and never ever catching up. And let me tell you, feeling like that all the time can really wear on a person. And it has definitely worn me down. So this break was definitely a needed mental health break. A time for me to get back to things I love: spending time with the hubby, Ninja and my family. Sleeping in, sleeping late and taking naps. Watching endless hours of TV on Netflix :) Hey, my desires are simple but it has been SO NICE!


You are probably wondering why in the world would a person continue with school if this is how it feels. Well, I think that all doctoral programs are hard and if you don't feel like you are going to break, then you probably are not doing it right (i.e., working hard enough). Plus, I am sooo close, just one more year. Also, I have a wonderful hubby and adorable Ninja face to come home to....two boys that make every bad day so much better! Most of all, I LOVE working and helping children. I started off thinking that the only way I wanted to do this was to become a clinical psychologist and do not get me wrong...I so plan on pursing it. But I have learned so many facets of that job -- therapy, assessment, teaching, research ... and I have come to love all of it...so it helps...and keeps me going!

I know I have said this several times but the hubby is Cajun and he introduced me to boudin. My favorite Cajun food (though I pretty much love it all). I always try to find cool ways to incorporate boudin into food. Like my Boudin Pizza. I wanted to do another stuffed pepper recipe since my Sante Fe peppers were a big hit. How did I get to boudin + stuffed peppers. Well I randomly like to Google food ideas to see what inspires me. And I saw these pepper bowls vs. how I did stuffed peppers before (slicing them in half) and I had just bought some boudin....viola...and there hatched my devious plan ;)







BOUDIN STUFFED PEPPERS
Adapted from Boudin Link

INGREDIENTS

Preheat Oven to 325F Degrees

4 large bell peppers
6-8 links of Boudin
10 oz. can of Rotel w/ green chiles 
3/4 c. of grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning to taste

DIRECTIONS 

To prepare peppers, wash and cut off tops. Remove the ribs and seeds of peppers with a knife or spoon. If the peppers do not sit up on their own, cut the bottom slightly so it sits flat. Place each pepper in a greased muffin pan. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese into the bottom of each pepper. Set aside.

In  a skillet over medium heat, cook boudin (removed from casing) until cooked through and warm. Season with salt, pepper and cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's). Fold in Rotel (serving 1/4 of the can to sprinkle on top).  Fill each peppers with boudin mixture. Sprinkle remaining tomatoes over peppers and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Enjoy,
Chika

03 January 2014

Chicken Poblano Cream Cheese Empanadas




Happy New Year :) To start off the New Year, I have a confession. I am jumping on the bandwagon and sprinkling a little cliche on that by making a New Year's resolution to loose some weight.  I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 22 years old (nothing life threatening). And ever since then, I've been on a weight roller coaster. Add post-wedding fun to that...you know that lovely wedded bliss when you stop being super duper conscious of your weight like you were pre-wedding bridezilla, weight mode...you know...the weight you blame on your hubby (okay, maybe I just do that...) until suddenly you notice your in your "fat clothes." I'm there...


I've always been pretty good about the food I eat. Funny, yes, I am a food blogger who does cupcakery reviews. BUT I enjoy food. I am all about portion size. I love baking and cooking, but I barely eat what I make. And I love fruits and veggies. But I also believe in indulgence on vacations and holidays, as long as you get back to your routine. I also know myself and what works with my hypothyroidism. I work well with exercise. My sister, cousin and I are using this Make Me app on the iPhone, in which we pick weekly goals (we picked exercise related goals) and consequences. And to prove we did the exercise we have to take pictures of us doing it. Well, my sister and I are doing a combination of the 30 day ab-, plank-, and squat challenge. :) It's no cardio but it gets the blood flowing, you feeling good about yourself and you get to be loyal to that little lazy part of you that still exists ;)


Also, since I have been doing a lot of desserts, I thought a nice savory recipe would be great! Although For the Love of Dessert, obviously started with desserts, I have noticed that it's my savory dinner ideas that tend to me more popular. So I hope you like this easy way to make a puff pastry version of an empanada. I have never made an empanada, so I thought making my own dough right out the door would be tricky plus, being a busy, working wife -- that is not always possible. This is delicious and easy! And you get to say you made "empanadas" --it's a fun word, try it ;) The hubby and I really enjoyed these!







CHICKEN POBLANO CREAM CHEESE EMPANADAS 
Adapted from Food.com

INGREDIENTS

Preheat Oven to 350F Degrees

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 large chicken breast, shredded (about 1/2 c.)
1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese 
4 oz. of chopped poblano peppers
1-pound frozen puff pastry, thawed
Flour for dusting
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

optional: 1 tbsp. garlic

*To shred chicken, place chicken breast and 1 tbsp. chicken broth in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours. Using two forks, shred apart the chicken and allow to sit for an additional 15-20 minutes to soak up liquid.

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, shredded chicken, mozzarella and poblano peppers (and garlic, if desired). Season the mixture with salt and pepper. 

Lightly flour a flat surface. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Then using a 5-inch diameter circle-cookie cutter, cut out circles. Spoon 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp. of cream cheese mixture into the center of each circle. Brush the edge of the circle with beaten egg, and fold empanada in half. Crease and crimp edges using a fork. Repeat with remaining circles.

Transfer empanadas to a lined baking sheet and lightly brush the top of empanadas with egg. Bake for 30 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown (it's okay if a little of the filling leaks out).

Enjoy,
Chika