Barefoot by the Sea

Friday, September 23, 2016

al fresco and Minute® Rice $1000 Sweepstakes and a Recipe!

If you're like me, you're often pressed for time. I've talked about the importance of planning your meals to save time and the importance of simple, weeknight dinners. When al fresco and Minute® Rice wanted to partner and share a recipe, I couldn't refuse. Chicken and rice is a staple for so many families, why not keep it as easy as possible with these kitchen must haves? 

What I love about alfresco is that they have a variety of chicken sausages so they are a great, versatile protein to include with your meals. From Sweet and Smokey BBQ, Classic Italian, Buffalo and Spicy JalapeƱo, these are flavorful, all natural, gluten free and delicious. Minute Rice is a classic and a great item to keep in your pantry. Also all natural and gluten free, I love the variety that they offer, including classic white, brown, jasmine, multi-grain medley and more. The possibilities are endless!

Mediterranean Chicken and Rice

  • 1 12oz package al fresco Spinach Feta Chicken Sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 cups Minute® Rice, uncooked
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute kalamata olives, red onion and garlic for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add sausage, tomato and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Combine sausage mixture, rice and lemon juice, top with oregano.
Ready to be inspired? Head over here to see more amazing recipes and vote for your favorite! The al fresco and Minute Rice $1000 sweepstakes gives you a chance to win $1000! 
Please note, I did receive products to facilitate this review and feature. All opinions, as always, are my own. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall Hodgepodge: Come Join the Fun!

Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Here are this week's questions...answer on your own blog, then hop back over to From This Side of the Pond tomorrow to share answers with the whole wide world. Thank you Joyce! This is a fun, introspective way to share and learn about some of our friends! I think (maybe) I'm actually getting the hang of it! Here we go-

1. Thursday (September 22) is the first official day of autumn in this part of the will you welcome the season? I know some of you have been celebrating way too early, but it's official now so permission granted. House Beautiful recently listed ten ways to make your home smell like fall (you can read the list here) What's a scent you love this time of year and how will you add it to your home?  We will head out to go apple picking this weekend. We've had a really dry spell this summer and I'm told it will affect our apple picking season. We want to head out while we can still get Macs, which are a favorite! The theme keeps going with the scents of the season for me, I love the smell of apple this time of year. 

2. Apple pie or pumpkin pie? Apple cake or pumpkin bread? Warm apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte? I'd say apple pie, pumpkin bread and a pumpkin spice latte. My kids love warm apple cider though! 

3. Do you suffer from what is sometimes referred to as an afternoon slump? What helps ward it off before it hits and/or tell us what helps you shake it off once it's here? I love to walk my dog when the mid afternoon slump hits. I think a little burst of activity, and perhaps some caffeine keeps me going that time of day. 
4. Ladies-how have your friendships with women inspired you or made you a better person? For the men here today- how have your friendships with men inspired you or made you a better person? I think through my friendships, I've become a better listener. A true friendship involves give and take, it shouldn't be one sided. It's great to share but it's also important to listen and help your friends through good times and bad. "Good friends show their love in times of trouble, not just happiness." 
5. Are you a people pleaser? If you said yes, do you think that's a good or bad thing? If you said no, do you wish you were more of a people pleaser?  As the years have rolled on, I've become less of a people pleaser, more concerned with regards to what makes me the best person I can be. Sometimes it's okay to ruffle feathers or disappoint if it means you're doing what makes you (and your loved ones happiest). I was a "yes girl" for too many years and said yes when I wanted to say no. That never works, you simply end up feeling resentful and bitter. At the same time, I still people please when absolutely necessary and say yes at the appropriate times. 

6. The seasons are a-changin'...share a favorite song relating in some way to change (not necessarily seasonal change, it could be change of any kind). ChChChChChanges David by Bowie
7. What do you wish would never change?  I wish that ALL children would feel the love that they all deserve and that none would ever be victimized, abused or suffer at the hands of hateful people. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. "Autumn paints in colors that Summer has never seen".

Monday, September 19, 2016

Chicken Chili (Easy Recipes)

I hope you all had a great weekend! It was busy here, the kids were committed to field hockey practice, school projects and a 5k yesterday morning. At the end of the week, we always look forward to a break from the routine but this weekend was filled and had that busy feeling as well. It seems only fitting that yesterday afternoon would be reserved for some downtime, getting ready for the new week and a nice family dinner. 

This chicken chili verde couldn't be easier! It came together so simply, first thing in the morning before we headed out for the day. The house smelled amazing when we returned! This hearty meal is protein packed and healthy, and can be as indulgent as you'd like. We served ours with a few blue corn tortilla chips and topped with cilantro. My hubby topped his with cotija cheese. 

2 pounds boneless, chicken breasts 
1 jar Frontera Tomatillo Salsa
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 can great northern white beans, rinsed
  • Directions
  • Place chicken in slow cooker, top with peppers and add beans. and pour jar of salsa over and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Around hour 4-5, pull chicken apart and continue to cook in slower cooker. Top with cilantro, cheese and serve with tortilla chips if desired.

    • I think this would also be a delicious burrito or taco filling. Next time I'm planning to make a double batch! This makes a super quick and easy weekday meal! 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fast and Easy - Five Ingredient Recipes Cookbook Feature

As we're a solid two weeks into the new school year and routine, I'm feeling a bit pressed for time. Time. It's one thing I can safety say I could use more of. It seems like these days are super busy with school, work, sports and extra activities. Add social time in and a squeeze of family time and 24 hours a day simply isn't enough. That's part of why I love batch cooking, my slow cooker and Fast and Easy Five-Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook for Busy People by Philia Kelnhofer. Seriously, is this the cookbook of my dreams? Well, it just might be! 
This cookbook has over 100 recipes that utilize five ingredients or less, using simple ingredients in easy ways. Let's face it, it's easy to get in a cookbook rut and make the same things over and over again (sorry family). Tacos are great but when you have them every week, it gets old! I love that there are inspiring, creative and new ideas here that won't have me slaving in the kitchen for hours on end. I was excited when I received this cookbook and spent a while just looking at the yummy options in this book. From healthy, to comfort food and indulging, there's something in here for everyone. Even the most inexperienced cook can look like a pro with these recipes. As a side note, my daughter enjoyed selecting some recipes to make in here. Simple, less mess and giving her more experience in the kitchen! A yummy meal to boot? Win-win! 
I decided to give her Trail Mix Granola a try this week. Simple and yummy, my husband loves this stuff - admittedly, it's a bit addictive! I love that you can make it as indulgent or healthy as you'd like, depending on your preferences!
We also tried the Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches. These are so much healthier and less expensive than the usual suspects. Super convenient and perfect for a busy morning! 
These couldn't be simpler to assemble and you can customize them anyway you'd like. Plus, I love that she gives us extra freezing techniques to make sure they stay fresh and yummy. 

I'm looking forward to trying Lemon-Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Broccoli Apricot Pecan Salad and Banana Coconut Muffins soon, Did I mention the Honey Biscuits? Perfectly paired with Pasta E Fagiole Soup! I'm also excited to use this when I'm baking for the upcoming holiday season (which, you laugh - they will be here before we know it!) Who wouldn't love to receive Jam Crumb Bars or Toffee Bars and let's face it, we can all use extra time that time of year! 

Lastly, can I give a shout out to Sweet Phi's blog? Here, she shares more recipes, inspiration and faves. I've become a reader and appreciate her weekly 5 ingredient recipe shares. THIS 5 Ingredient Magic Green Sauce? Life changing...

Follow Sweet Phi on her social media channels (twitter, pinterest, instagram and more) to stay connected and for goodness sakes, grab a copy of her cookbook! It makes a great gift and for under $12 is so affordable! 

Happy Friday my friends! 
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