White Chicken Enchiladas {Meals For a New Mom}

One of my dear friends just had her second baby, a precious little boy.  I can’t describe how special it was to go visit them in the hospital and how anxious it made me to meet and hold our little guy soon!

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about meals I could bring her after her baby arrived as well as recipes to make in August and freeze for when life gets a little more hectic this fall.  I did some googling to get ideas of what kinds of meals are most welcome to new parents (12 Super-Foods for New MomsWhat To Bring A New Mom (And Some Other Rules) and Feeding New Moms) to come up with this spread that I’m sharing in the hopes that you’ll send me some of your favorite “make and take” recipes.

The logistics: I packed everything in aluminum trays and plastic bags that I could leave with my friend so she wouldn’t have to worry about doing the dishes or returning anything.  I labelled the contents and noted how long things needed to be heated and at what temperature. I decided to freeze mostly everything ahead of time so they could enjoy the meals on their schedule.

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What I made:

Breakfast:

Lunch/Dinner:

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Dessert:

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So, what’s your go-to make and take meal or what was the best thing someone ever brought you?

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Food Touring in Durham with Taste Carolina

We had a great time on a walking food tour of Asheville during our honeymoon so Joe had the smart idea that we should do another food tour for my birthday.  Last weekend, we finally used the tickets from February and embarked on an afternoon tasting tour of Durham with Taste Carolina.  Like our Asheville tour, this one offered food tastings at five different locally owned restaurants with splashes of wine and tastes of beer.

As we toured downtown we realized that though we’ve been Durham residents for almost five months, there are still plenty of places we haven’t tried or even knew existed.

Where we went and what we ate:

We started at Daisy Cakesheader-1

2014-02-24-21.46.281where the owner gave a nice history of the bakery’s origins as a food truck years ago and their ongoing dedication to producing delicious savory and sweet treats daily.  Here we sampled a ham and cheese omelet and a raspberry cake with toasted meringue.  Both were very good and I’d return for the sunny atmosphere and to try their afternoon tea service (reservations required.)  

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Our next stop was my favorite (and one that my sister has been raving about for months): Pompieri Pizza

Pompieri Flamewhere the pizza is Neapolitan style, hand tossed, wood-fired and cut table side with scissors.  It was delicious and we’re planning a return trip soon.

IMG_1462Here we sampled the Margherita and the Pompieri pizzas.  I don’t think you can go wrong with any of their pizza!

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Following Pompieri, we were escorted around the corner to the owner’s sister restaurant Bull City Burger and Brewery for half a burger, pickle chips and a taste of their Bryant Bridge Gateway Golden Ale.

Bull_City_Logo_webHere the owner proudly shared that they make everything in house from the mayonnaise to the buns except the ketchup (apparently it takes a staggering amount of tomatoes to make 1 gallon of ketchup.)  Joe and I have dined at Bull City twice before and my only complaint is that both times my food has come out cold and once my burger was so pink I had to send it back to be reheated.  Additionally, the owner of Bull City was a bit long winded on his “pasture raised beef” lecture, but gave other good information and is without a doubt passionate about his restaurants and the food they serve.  Joe gives the beer a thumbs-up and you can only taste it at the restaurant as they don’t distribute.

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Our next stop was Toastimages

a paninoteca, or Italian sandwich shop, and the most underwhelming restaurant on our tour.  Here we were served a chicken and rice soup, (pretty much the last thing anyone wanted after walking five minutes in the scorching 90 degree heat to get to the restaurant,) and a crostini with pesto, red pepper and cheese.

IMG_1470Following Toast we were led to The Parlour, an ice-cream shop on Market St., right by the Bull statue downtown.diptych-450x291

 We sampled some delicious Girl Scout Mint Chip ice-cream with fudge sauce.   Without a doubt, ice cream definitely tastes better when you’re pregnant and when the temperature is in the 90s. We rarely if ever go out for ice-cream but if we were downtown for dinner this would be a great place to get a special dessert.  Their current flavors range from summer corn and salted butter caramel to traditional vanilla and chocolate offerings.

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Our tour concluded with Joe’s favorite stop: Tyler’s Taproom.  The bartenders here couldn’t be friendlier, there was a rousing beer trivia game (Joe cleaned up) and Joe bravely took on the task of drinking craft beer for two.  tylers-logoIMG_1475

In addition to tastes and sips of Durham’s best food and drink offerings, the tour also promised to provide background on Durham’s history but this was definitely a bit surface.  If you knew going in that Durham used to have a bustling tobacco-centered economy and boasted a thriving “Black Wall Street” in the early twentieth century you wouldn’t take much away from their history lesson.

All in all, the food was great, our guide was friendly and it was a nice way to spend an afternoon in one of my favorite cities.  I’d definitely recommend a Taste Carolina food tour if you love food, have visiting houseguests, are planning a foodie bachelorette party or are looking to have a fun afternoon date.

Life Lately {in pictures} and Dog Friendly Durham

Lately I’ve been working on a photo album for this year (I’m trying to accomplish things like this before the baby comes and chaos reigns) and have spent lots of time looking back at old pictures. It’s hard to believe how small our dogs were just six months ago; Bengal is now seven months and 40 pounds, Red is nine months, 53 pounds and I’m smack in the middle at eight months pregnant (I won’t tell you how much I weigh!).   Needless to say, we’ve all gotten a lot bigger since February!

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with my sister, soon to be Aunt Abigail and baby M

  A little look back: 
sally and bingoBengal in February & July

red and joeRed in December, May

IMG_1390and both in July

This summer we’ve had the luxury of quite a few quiet weekends in town which has allowed us to explore Durham and to find some great dog-friendly places.  I love to walk the three mile, mostly shaded Washington Duke trail on Saturday or Sunday mornings before it gets too hot.  While you have to leash your dogs, there are plenty of woods for them to explore, dogs and people to meet.

IMG_1131We’ve also been loving Fullsteam, a brewery where everyone seems to bring a dog or a baby.  Come September I expect we’ll bring both!  There is plenty of room to sit outside or inside with your dogs and food trucks parked outside in case you get hungry.  Last Saturday, one of the bartenders kindly brought the girls treats and a bowl of water.

Other places we’ve had success bringing the dogs:  The Durham Farmers’ Market (plenty of green space for dogs to play around the market), Eno River State ParkDuke Gardens (be forewarned if you have dogs who love water that there are several ponds that aren’t dog-friendly), and  the outside patios at The Federal, Tyler’s, Geer Street Garden and Fosters.  If you’re in Durham what places are we missing? Any recommendations for a safe, clean dog park?

Thirty Recipes for the Fourth of July!

Thank you for following along with my Thirty for the Fourth of July project! I’ve had fun experimenting with traditional cookout dishes and hope I’ve shared some recipes you want to make for your friends and family this Independence Day.fourth

My favorites from the last month are Baked Smores Bars, Spicy Baked BeansSpicy Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Mango Guacamole, Spicy Buffalo Potato Salad and Buffalo Chicken Burgers. Here is the round-up, in pictures and separated into side dishes and salads, mains and desserts, of my June cooking project Thirty for the Fourth of July!!

Side dishes and Salads:

Spicy Baked Beans, Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad, Grilled Vegetable Kabobs with Firecracker SauceGrilled Corn with Basil Butter, Grilled Pineapple, Spicy Buffalo Potato Salad and Mustard Vinaigrette Potato Salad, Pasta Salad with Peas and Broccoli Pesto, Purple NC BBQ Style Coleslaw, Refreshing Lime and Mint Fruit Salad

Mains:

Buffalo Chicken BurgersGrilled Steak with Blueberry Balsamic Reduction and Blue Cheese, Turkey Burgers with Spicy Pickle SauceSpicy Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Mango Guacamole 

Desserts: 

Black and Blue Pie Crisp, Baked Smores Bars, Apple Crumble Pie, Strawberry/Raspberry GranitasGreen Apple/Mint Granitas, Frozen Biscoff Pie, Peach and Plum Crumble Sundae, Smores Brownie Pie , Red White and Blue Cookies , Coconut Banana MilkshakeFrozen Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade, Frozen Oreo Truffles, Morello Cherry Pie 

Morello Cherry Pie

This recipe for a juicy, easy-to-throw-together cherry pie concludes my countdown of thirty recipes for July Fourth! I couldn’t resist the jar of dark Morello cherries at Trader Joe’s and they were delicious baked into a pie.  Add some vanilla ice-cream and some blueberries and you’ve got the perfect American, red, white and blue Fourth of July dessert.  I used pre-made pie crusts and cut the top into a lattice design based on the instructions here.
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  You can find all of my cookout inspired July Fourth recipes here.

What to buy:

  • 2 pie crusts
  • 2 cups drained cherries, juice reserved (I used Morello from Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup juice (reserved from cherries)

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • mix together cherries, sugar, cornstarch, salt and juice
  • pour into the pie shell and over with top crust
  • bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling and serve warm

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Frozen Oreo Truffles

DSC_0131It’s the first day of July so I’m doubling up on sweet frozen recipe! These decadent frozen Oreo truffles are the perfect cold treat for your 4th of July barbecue.  I couldn’t find any patriotic sprinkles at my local Target or grocery store so I went with these edible gold stars but by all means, if you have a better sprinkle selection at your disposal, go red, white and blue! I made these pretty big and they’re very rich so I’d recommend making smaller truffles – maybe 25-30 instead of 12-15 monsters.  Here is the just-bit-into-one shot!DSC_0148These delicious treats are number twenty-nine in my countdown of thirty recipes perfect for your Fourth of July cookout.  One more to go! You can find all of the recipes here.

What to buy (makes 12-15 truffles):

  • 12-15 Oreos
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4-5 ounces white baking chocolate
  • red and blue sprinkles (if you can find) or gold stars

What to do:

  • combine cream cheese and Oreos in food processor, mix well
  • roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or wax paper, freeze for an hour or two
  • melt white chocolate and dip balls until covered or drizzle chocolate over balls (whatever you prefer, I did a little of both)
  • dust truffles with sprinkles and freeze for another hour or two before serving, keep in the freezer for best results

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Frozen Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade

DSC_0164Watermelon season is in full swing and I’m all about it (see yesterday’s recipe for a watermelon salad.) I’m also having a very sober summer as I’m almost eight months pregnant so I’ve been making a lot of mock-tails like this Frozen Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade.  It’s a delicious combination of sweet and tart, naturally sweetened and perfect for a hot July 4th day.  This recipe is number twenty-eight in my countdown of thirty recipes to make for your Fourth of July cookout. All of my cookout ready recipes are tagged here.

What to buy (makes 6-7 glasses):

  • 1 small to medium seedless watermelon, cubed and frozen
  • 1 cup raspberries (I used fresh, frozen would work)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

What to do:

  • in a blender or food processor, purée watermelon, raspberries, ice and lemon juice in until smooth
  • finish each glass with a sprig or two of mint and enjoy!

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Refreshing Lime and Mint Fruit Salad

DSC_0162Some friends invited us to a cookout yesterday which was the perfect opportunity to bring one of my favorite fruit salads, a bright combination of berries, watermelon, lime juice and fresh mint.  I like this one because it is pretty easy to put together, the only hands-on time required is to cut the strawberries and watermelonl.  The combination of mint and lime is so refreshing in the heat, reminiscent of one of my favorites summer cocktails: the mojito. In fact, adding some rum to the lime juice before pouring over the salad would be great if you’re having a grown-up BBQ this July 4.  This recipe is number twenty-seven in my countdown of thirty recipes to make for your Fourth of July cookout. Only three more to go and you can find all the previous ones here.

What to buy (serves a crowd):

  • 4 cups watermelon, chopped into bite-size pieces (1 small to medium size seedless watermelon)
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 6 ounces raspberries  (1 small clamshell)
  • 6 ounces blueberries (1 small clamshell)
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped if the leaves are large (my plant is producing really small leaves so I left as is)
  • juice from 1-2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

What to do:

  • add watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and mint to a large bowl
  • stir together lime juice and sugar in a small bowl then pour over fruit
  • lightly toss and keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve

Coconut Banana Milkshake

Happy Friday and I hope you’ve got some good weekend plans ahead!  I’ve got a simple recipe today that you’ll want to make again and again.  I made this Tuesday night when I was craving a milkshake but wanted something a touch healthier than the Oreo variety from Cookout  (which is dangerously less than a mile away from our house.) The combo of coconut milk, bananas and vanilla ice-cream was delicious and the consistency was perfect thanks to the frozen bananas.  It would be great with some rum for a frosty dessert on the Fourth of July, even better with a slice of Smores Brownie Pie.

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What to buy (serves 1):

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to do:

  • blend coconut milk, ice cream, bananas and vanilla in a blender or food processor until smooth

DSC_0135This is number twenty-six in my countdown of thirty recipes to make for your Fourth of July cookout. You can find them all here.

Purple NC BBQ Style Coleslaw

When I went to the grocery to get my ingredients to make a BBQ slaw, they only had purple cabbages I decided to give it a try.  It was good but I think I’d recommend using 1/2 a head of green cabbage and 1/2 a head of purple if you can find it.  This recipe follows the traditional North Carolina coleslaw recipe that uses cider vinegar, and ketchup as a flavorful base.   It goes great with pork, chicken or a burger.  This is number twenty-five in my countdown of cookout friendly recipes for the Fourth of JulyDSC_0149

What to buy (serves 8-10):

  • 1 head purple cabbage, chopped (check out this website for an easy way to shred cabbage)
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds

What to do:

  • mix sugar with cider vinegar until dissolved
  • add other ingredients except the cabbage and mix well
  • toss with cabbage until well mixed and serve immediately or allow to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to let the flavors develop