Crockpot Roommate Dinner

Being college students, Maria and I are always looking for easy healthy meals to make at home so we aren’t always eating out. I bought a crockpot a little while ago because my friend Alex is always telling me about her delicious crockpot meals, but I hadn’t gotten around to using it until last night. I worked a double yesterday so I knew I wasn’t going to want to go home and cook and that meant I would probably end up eating dinner from Tijuana Flats. On my break Maria and I were talking about how we’d probably be home at the same time that evening and I had the brilliant idea to do a crockpot dinner! We wouldn’t have to cook after getting home late because it would just cook while we were out! Maria found a recipe from Food Network for Slow Cooker Chicken with Rosemary, Apples and Onions, we made a few modifications and boy was it good!

Here’s the recipe! *the pictures don’t do it justice, but it’s so good!!! *

Slow Cooker Chicken with Rosemary, Apples and Onions:

2 cups Onions, sliced
2 Apples, peeled and cored
(we used 1 Granny Smith and 1 Red Delicious and left the skins on)
2 lbs Boneless Chicken Breast, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 cup Chicken Broth
(I usually go for reduced sodium)
1/2 cup Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cups Rice
(we used a lentils packaged meal from Feeding Children Everywhere! It helps feed children and its delicious)
You can buy the Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE) meal here!! http://www.store.feedingchildreneverywhere.com/products/808408-fce-lentil-casserole

To cook:

Arrange onion and apple slices in bottom of slow cooker. Place chicken pieces on top and season all over with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle rosemary over chicken.

In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken broth and soup. Pour mixture over chicken.

20130828-140914.jpg

Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

20130828-140945.jpg

Serve chicken, sauce, apples, and onions over rice (or your FCE meal if you buy one)

20130828-141019.jpg

20130828-141025.jpg

Do you have any delicious crockpot recipes?

– K

WordPress Tips & Networking

August’s Association of Bridal Consultants networking event was held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. Guest speaker Heather Canada gave us a handout and presentation on using WordPress. Most of the stuff she spoke about if pretty generic and self explanatory but what I took away from the presentation was some pretty useful plugins.

To install any of these you can go through the plugin sidebar or search by name:
🔻Jetpack
🔻All in one SEO Pack or Headspace 2
🔻Login Lockdown
🔻WP-DB-BackupWordpress
🔻Editorial Calendar
🔻WP Touch
🔻Contact Form 7 (this one is great for if you have a lot of questions for people to fill out)
🔻Akismet

Lee Forrest provided the floral arrangements (love their work)

20130828-130328.jpg

20130828-130342.jpg

Anna Cakes provided the delicious cake/cupcakes!

20130828-130441.jpg

20130828-130447.jpg

The Rosen Plaza did a beautiful job transforming this room with the drape!

20130828-130529.jpg

20130828-130535.jpg

20130828-130542.jpg

20130828-130554.jpg

20130828-130559.jpg

Next months event is September 26th and is all about presenting the best possible you! It is being held at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park. I really want to go but I’m planning a trip to Boston in which I would be leaving that day so it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to make it to that one. 😦

Luckily I will be able to attend my first ABC student organization meeting September 5th! I love ABC, their networking events are great and they are always so informative and beautifully put together. I am very excited that they have extended their association to include their first student organization at UCF Rosen!

What is your favorite wedding association or networking group?

– K

Artichokes & An Aioli Lover

Today was my second day of my first week of class, my classes are still off to a good start, except for finance. It’s not that it went bad that quickly, it’s just already boring and I don’t enjoy the subject. Today was the first day of my history and culture of wine class as well and although we don’t start wine tasting until next week, I am very excited to learn more about wine! Today my class ended around 5:30, which normal schedule wouldn’t get me out of class until 7:20 but first class of the semester is usually just spent on the syllabus. I decided to make an artichoke for dinner! It’s quick, easy, and healthy which is my theme for dinners this week. Growing up my mom always served our artichokes with melted butter and breadcrumbs which is wonderful but I found recipe for a lemon garlic aioli and I can’t resist a good aioli (which is healthier than just eating butter). I cooked a single artichoke but the aioli recipe makes about 2 or 3 servings, depending on how much each person uses.

Artichokes with Lemon & Garlic Aioli:

To prepare the artichokes, cut off most of the stem and prune away the bottom leaves. I like to snip the pointy thorns off the leaves and chop off the upper quarter of the artichoke, this is optional since the thorns soften with cooking. I like how it looks but it’s by no means crucial.

In a large pot, bring water to a gentle simmer. Add 1 clove of Garlic, a Lemon slice, and a Bay leaf. Put the artichokes in, stem up, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until a leaf easily pulls away from the stem. Time will vary by size of the artichoke.

20130822-144704.jpg

20130822-144710.jpg

While the artichokes are cooking, make the aioli.

1 large Egg yolk
1 Garlic clove
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
pinch of Cayenne
2-3 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice (or to taste)
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
fresh black pepper

Whisk the egg yolk, garlic, salt and 2 tsp. water in a metal bowl.

20130822-144724.jpg

When it starts to get a bit foamy, slowly add the oil while constantly whisking, about a teaspoon at a time, until the sauce is thickened.

20130822-144731.jpg

Whisk in the cayenne, lemon juice, dijon, and few pinches of pepper. Taste and alter as you prefer.

20130822-144736.jpg

20130822-144744.jpg

20130822-144753.jpg
20130822-145247.jpg

Serve the aioli on the side for dipping! Voila! Enjoy!

20130822-145253.jpg

And here are some pictures of Hen enjoying licking the lemon peel!

20130822-145236.jpg

20130822-145242.jpg
This aioli would go very well with calamari or some fish as well! That is on my to try list!

What do you use aioli with?

-K

Back to school dinner

Today was the first day of my last year in school! It’s off to a good start so far. I was done with class around 3 so I had a nice relaxing night and plenty of time to make a quick and easy first night of school dinner, Chicken Avocado Soup. I even had the perfect cooking companion, Michael Bublé (he’s my go to for music when I cook).

20130819-204420.jpg

Chicken Avocado Soup:

2 Boneless Chicken Breast
2 tsp Olive oil
1 cup Green onions
1 clove Garlic minced
1 Tomato diced
(I used 2/3 a tomato because tomatoes and I have a love hate relationship, I only like them sometimes)
32 oz Chicken broth (not stock)
11 1/2 oz Water
(seasoned with garlic powder, ground black pepper, and old bay. Use your judgement on the amount)
1/8 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
2 Avocados diced
1 Lime cut into wedges

Boil water in a large pot. You only need enough water to just barely cover the chicken breasts once they are dropped in the pot. I added garlic powder, ground black pepper, and old bay seasoning to the water pre-boiling (this is not the water mentioned above). This is not necessary, but it does add a little bit of flavor.

20130819-204829.jpg

Add the chicken to the water and let boil for about 20 minutes (make sure the chicken is fully cooked).

20130819-204915.jpg

After confirming that chicken is no longer pink, carefully take it out of the boiling water and place on on a cutting board. Then hold the chicken breast with one fork and use a second fork to pull at the chicken and it will shred apart easily. Put the chicken aside.

20130819-205034.jpg

20130819-205039.jpg

In another pot heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the green onions and garlic, sauté about 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and sauté another minute until soft. Add the chicken broth, seasoned water, cumin, and salt, then bring to a boil.

20130819-205118.jpg

20130819-205123.jpg

20130819-205130.jpg

Cover the pot and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, fill each bowl with chicken and avocado, then ladle the soup onto the chicken in each bowl. Serve with a lime wedge, or just squeeze the juice then serve.

20130819-205229.jpg

20130819-205237.jpg

Do you have a usual soundtrack when you cook?

– K

It’s in my blood

While I am not a world traveler, I would like to be one someday. I love traveling but I have yet to go anywhere outside of the U.S. My heritage is German, Irish, and Penobscot Indian, so naturally one of my top destinations is Germany! My plan is to try to go to Germany for Oktoberfest 2014 as a graduation present to myself! As a Florida (Orlando specifically) resident and professional in the hospitality industry one of my biggest pet peeves is when tourists come here and don’t bother to learn enough english to communicate efficient. No one is perfect and I understand learning a new language is hard and time consuming but learning enough english to let me know what you want without me having to guess everything, it is a sign of respect. Now that my minor rant is over, I am excitedly in the process of learning the German language! I want to learn German because it’s part of my heritage but also because of the respect factor for when I visit and I want to absorb as much of the culture as possible while I am there and in order to do so I must learn. I was trying to figure out the easiest way to learn a new language and came across an app for iPads called Learn German – MindSnacks.

20130815-171836.jpg

It’s full of kids games but it’s a fun easy way to learn! The free version of the app only gives you one lesson but the full $4.99 version gives you 50. I usually hate to pay for apps, especially $4.99 but this app is so worth it! Each lesson gives you about 20 new words, you start off with two games but as you reach various levels the other games unlock. The first two games are where you match the German word with the English partner or the picture provided. Two of the other games include spelling. So far I have learned to count, colours, days, months, and greetings and am currently on learning the family. If anyone is looking to learn a mew language, or have you kids learn (I had to take 2 years of French in high school and this would have helped me study if I had it) I definitely recommend this app! I’ll keep you updated on my progress and I hope to have a full German post in the future so stay tuned!

Have you learned a new language? How did you learn?

– K

Maria Maria!

Yesterday was my roommate Maria’s birthday! Since I love baking and I’m good at it, I asked Maria if she wanted a birthday cake/cupcakes. She told me funfetti is her favourite, and while funfetti is super delicious, I told her…… Maria you know I don’t bake out of a box (I’d do it for her but it’s not really my style). I remembered a recipe she had posted on my Facebook a little while back for churro cupcakes so we settled on those! The recipe I used wasn’t the exact one she posted on my Facebook but here is the recipe I used:

Churro cupcakes with cream cheese frosting:
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 egg yolks + 1 egg at room temp
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the frosting:
5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and then add in the butter, sour cream and vanilla. (I added the brown sugar in here as well)

20130815-201037.jpg

20130815-201045.jpg

20130815-201051.jpg

In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, stir until fully mixed. Slowly add in the wet ingredients until well incorporated. Mix ingredients until smooth.

Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 16-20 minutes (mine took 20, but ovens vary), or until a tooth pick comes clean. Do not over bake!

20130815-201228.jpg

Allow cupcakes to cool fully. While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the frosting.

For the frosting, combine cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. Beat with mixers until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time mixing after each addition until smooth. Add in vanilla and cinnamon and continue to mix until smooth.

20130815-201317.jpg

20130815-201323.jpg

Once you frost the cupcakes you can top them with a little cinnamon sugar. I just poured some cinnamon and sugar in a bowl without measuring it but about 1/3 c sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon should work.

20130815-201337.jpg

20130815-201343.jpg

The birthday girl was happy and LOVED the cupcakes!

20130815-232042.jpg

Enjoy & happy baking!

What is your favourite flavor cake? Or a flavor you’ve been dying to try?

– K

An Eye For Design

With all of the happenings I hadn’t gotten to posting about June’s ABC/NACE networking event. The event was held at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee. We had breakfast for dinner! The focus of the event was the design process of guest speaker Bill Hamelton. The designs were put together in three ways budget, moderate, and high end.

Here are some of the designs and some variations.

20130728-192125.jpg

20130728-192227.jpg

20130728-192346.jpg

20130728-192246.jpg

20130728-192300.jpg

20130728-192436.jpg

The ballroom itself was citrus themed with really great centerpieces! The back of the ballroom started with high centerpieces and as you moved towards the front of the ballroom the centerpieces became lower.

20130728-192910.jpg

20130728-192921.jpg

20130728-192936.jpg

20130728-193151.jpg

20130728-193208.jpg

20130728-193226.jpg

20130728-193236.jpg

20130728-193348.jpg

I loved the citrus theme! The centerpieces were provided by Raining Roses. This event inspired me with a lot of ideas for an upcoming showcase with a Florida theme that Mobella is coordinating!

Did you find any inspiration from this events photos?

– K