Dinner Last Night: Crockpot Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Jeweled Rice

Another win for Half Baked Harvest. This crockpot harissa chicken delicious, albeit much spicier than I anticipated, as I'm new to using the ingredient harissa in my cooking.  That said, given the spice, it ended up being a mom and dad-only dinner and the kids ate leftovers, not that they complained at all.  Served over saffron coconut rice, with a pinch of cilantro and chopped pistachios , this made for one tasty meal.  Bookmarking for a future date night until our kids palates can handle the heat.

Dinner Last Night: Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken Pozole

Smitten Kitchen, move aside, Half Baked Harvest might officially be my new favorite food blog. Thus far, everything made from this site has been a huge hit!  Another plus is the enormous archives of crockpot recipes they boast!  Including this one, crockpot salsa verde chicken pozole.

I modified a few things to cut down the prep time including baking poblanos instead of sautéing in order to loosen skins for peeling.  I also used canned tomatillos and pureed without sautéing which recipe recommends. However, I feel it still turned out superb for a healthy, hearty dinner.

Our garnishes were not nearly as fancy as this beautiful photograph, we opted for a few tortilla chips and avocado slices on top and dug right in.  Wasn't sure if this would be a hit with the kiddos, but my son loved it too, he kept digging his spoon into his baby bowl for more (always a sign of a good dinner!).

image/halfbakedharvest

Happy Birthday Blog

Happy birthday little blog of mine.  Today you are 9 years old.  NINE!  How did that happen?  One day back in 2008 I decided it was a good day for you to be born, and my how you've grown.

What has happened in those nine years, soooo much.  
Recovered from the break up of a long relationship.
Was supported, loved, and lifted up by my friends.
Enjoyed being single.
Shared many memorable LOST nights and unforgettable nights out with my friends.
Met a nice boy at a dive bar, had a magical summer together.
Fell in love.
Bought a house!  Moved in together.
Got engaged.  Planned a wedding.  Got married!
Honeymooned.  Vacationed with friends.  Drank lots of wine.
Got pregnant! Had our darling girl.
Learned how to balance motherhood and work.
Sold our house.  Moved into a condo while searching for a new house.
Stars aligned and bought our new house.
Continued learning how to balance parenting and work.
Watched our friends marry friends. Traveled the world.
Became an aunt.  Twice!
Got pregnant again! Had our darling son.
Became a stay-at-home mom.
And so much more...

A few of you have been around for a while, and I'm grateful for you.  Many of you might be new or just dropping by.  I know my posts have diminished, and I've steered away from putting my kids on social media into more safe territory like recipes, home decor, and favorite things.  But thanks for being here.  

And cheers to the lovely little things in your life.  Happy 9th my dear!

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2016 Goals Recap

Here were my goals for 2016.  Here's how I did...

upgrading our guest bathroom
Well, started this upgrade.  Accomplished tasks: painted cabinets. Painted walls. Removed paneling and old fixtures.  Refreshed with new rug and shower curtain. Unaccomplished tasks: Upgrading countertops and backsplash.  Some progress, but would've loved to have finished the job.

+ be healthier
I feel like this one is a victory.  I've cut out a lot of sugar in my daily life, including but not limited to switching from flavored yogurts to plain whole milk yogurt, making homemade pasta sauce (instead of buying jarred), making homemade soups.  We no longer buy gallons of ice cream and instead treat ourselves to air popped popcorn with coconut oil and salt or a few squares of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine after dinner.  I haven't given up everything processed, but I feel like as a whole my family is eating much less sugar, sodium, and more veggies and greens than ever before.  Yay!

+ fasting
Well...I thought about it.  I've decided to make some hard and fast rules about drive-thru coffee and social media for myself for 2017.  Stay tuned...

+ focus on gratitude
I began the 5 minute journal in late 2015 and love the concept, but I needed something quicker and more concise.  Instead I bought a blank notebook and write down one thing I'm thankful for every night.  Often times it's the obvious; my kids, my health, my husband, friends, etc. but sometimes it's random things like "AAA" which also is fun to reread, giving me some context of that day in my life. Focusing on the good upon going to sleep up adds a sense of purpose, closure and reminds me to focus on what's really important day to day.

How did you do on your resolutions/goals for 2016?

Past goals for 20162015201420132012201120102009

image/sweetiepie

December Favorites (a few days late)

+ tula skincare products with probiotic technology, currently loving the eye cream and moisturizer

+ reusable New Zealand wool dryer balls (no more dryer sheets ever again!)

+ my new desk calendar for 2017

+ this powerful young adult novel (think The Fault in Our Stars meets The Art of Racing in the Rain)

+ a new (to me) podcast I'm enjoying about preserving humanity in the digital age

+ pretty excited about my new 2017 life planner (no e-notepad for me, I can't escape the satisfaction of actually writing things down)

+ the new Ina Garten cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey

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Dinner Last Night: Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

On the shortest day of the year, it seemed only fitting to have the ultimate comfort food for early darkening skies and falling temperatures, sweet potato shepherd's pie.  I ended up using yams so my topping was a bit more orangey than this picture, but delicious nonetheless.  Try this at home, it'll be worth your while, a big heaping spoonful of yum!

Storyworth Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Marissa H., Heather T., and Katie U., the three winners of my Storyworth giveaway!  You will each receive a 1-year subscription to Storyworth for 1 storyteller and 1 book, valued at $79!  Thanks again to all who entered.

In case you didn't win this time around - don't fret, it's definitely not too late to partake in the magic of Storyworth.  No shipping and handling necessary, deliver this e-gift today to your loved one of choice, who will assist you in in scribing and preserving your family's stories for years to come.

image via storyworth