Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Salad Kit

I have been kind of a salad-aholic lately. I can’t seem to get enough of all of the awesome produce available right now and love creating my own “salad art” for lunch. I might even dare to say that I find chopping up my fruits and veggies somewhat therapeutic — mind you, this is the only ‘cooking’ that I do…

I am in love with this little contraption from Rubbermaid that allows me to compartmentalize my salad ingredients so that they remain seperate until that glorious moment at lunch when they combine for yummy awesome delightful “salad art”.

The Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Salad Kit is the bee’s knees, people.
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This handy dandy salad kit is designed to build and transport your salad, your dressing and your toppings all in one kit! The base is the perfect portion size for lunch salad and the top tray allows you to hold toppings like cheese, nuts, fruit, etc… There is even a small dressing container with lid to keep your dressing seperate to make sure your salad remains fresh. The kit comes with a snap on Blue Ice Block that keeps you salad cold for up to four hours in a lunch bag (however, I have had this salad kit for over a year and have NO IDEA where I put that ice block).

All of the pieces fit together and keep your favorite lunch ingredients fresh, without awkwardly touching one another, until the are supposed to. The containers are super durable and leak-proof, as well as microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.

Honestly, this little salad savior is the best. If you like to pack salads for lunch, I highly recommend grabbing one. It will make your life so much easier!

A compartmental freak like me? Check out this triple kit from Rubbermaid that gives you 2 sandwich blox and one salad blox…I might have to invest in one of these sets next!61sPBnHl2UL._SL1500_

Chicken Lettuce Cups

My friend, Lindsey Bliss, is back with another delicious recipe perfect for summer! As the Digital Communications Manager for Residential and Hospitality Services at Michigan State University, Lindsey gets to spend her days tweeting about food trucks, chefs, and lots of great recipes. Follow her on Twitter at @lindseybliss and check out her new blog, Five Promises: A Blog for Mindful Living!

Chicken Lettuce Cups
serves 4 – 6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 pound ground chicken breast
4 oz water chestnutsIOA_MAY
3 small cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
3 scallions, chopped

Directions
Start by heating the peanut oil in a large skillet.
Add the ground chicken, cooking until browned and no longer pink.
Add the water chestnuts, ginger and garlic and continue cooking a few minutes more, careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, stir, and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through.
Top with chopped scallions and spoon into lettuce cups.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt (only 80 calories!)

I go through phases where I will enjoy a yogurt for breakfast each morning. I mean like religiously…and then all of a sudden I kind of ‘max out’ and swear off yogurt for about a month.

Right now, I am back on the yogurt train and have discovered Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt — it’s only 80 calories per 5.3 oz serving!

I know there are about a million Greek yogurts out there, but what made me try this one was the low caloric content…and that awesome flavor options:

Nature Valley Granola Thins

I am always looking for quick, tasty (and healthy) snack options. With a super busy schedule, sometimes I have to rely on a granola bar in my purse, desk drawer, or car glove box to power me through to my next meal.

Nature_Valley_Granola_Thins_Dark_Chocolate-101Recently, I have become rather fond of Nature Valley Granola Thins. They are only 80 calories and curb my craving for something sweet without having to reach for the candy bowl.

My go-to flavor is Dark Chocolate, but they also have Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter (which will obviously be my next box to purchase…yum!)

They are crunchy, crumbly, sweet enough and are just the right bite to keep you moving.

Grab a box and leave some in a drawer at work. A quick 80 calorie snack that will be appreciated by your taste buds AND your waistline!

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Egg and Spinach Bake

My friend, Lindsey Bliss, is back with another delicious recipe…and this time, she called upon a culinary master for assistance! (LUCKY YOU!) As the Digital Communications Manager for Residential and Hospitality Services at Michigan State University, Lindsey gets to spend her days tweeting about food trucks, chefs, and lots of great recipes. Follow her on Twitter at @lindseybliss and check out her new blog, Five Promises: A Blog for Mindful Living!

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I’m taking a little help from my friend Chef Kurt this week and sharing his recipe for a Egg and Spinach Bake.

Despite their former reputation, eggs are incredibly good for you. They contain key nutrients that support brain function and keep our eyes healthy. Eggs are inexpensive, nutrient-dense and extremely versatile. Besides, who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner (or lunch?)

Egg and Spinach Bake by Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski
makes six servings

• 8 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère cheese
• 1 1/2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
• 3 Tablespoons chopped chives
• 10 large eggs
• 1 1/4 cups milk
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Lightly mist 6 (4oz.) ramekin dishes or a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add Gruyère cheese, spinach and chives. Blend eggs, milk, salt and pepper until smooth.

Add egg mixture. Bake until puffed, set and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl

You may remember my previous post about Speculoos — the magical cookie butter sold at Trader Joe’s.speculoos cocoa swirl

But seriously…check out that post if you haven’t…

On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s I spotted a new variation of my favorite little treat — Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl. Now, I am not a huge chocolate person, but this little jar of happiness looked like it would be worth a try.

Speculoos, itself, reminds me of sugar cookie dough, plus cinnamon, plus graham cracker. Throw in some
cocoa swirl action and you have a game-changer my friends. It isn’t SUPER chocolatey, so if you are a chocoholic, you might be disappointed. I say might because, I really doubt you will not appreciate the goodness living in the jar, regardless.

Is it better than the original Speculoos Cookie Butter, or even the Crunchy Speculoos? Hmmm, I would have to say no, it isn’t…but again, I am not a chocolate person. However, I can’t say I wouldn’t steal a spoonful if it were in my pantry.

Perk Up with Gevalia

I am always on the hunt for new coffee brands to brew at home. I stumbled across Gevalia last week at Target and decided to snag a bag to try. I was pleasantly surprised at the rich, smooth flavor. I purchased a bag of the whole beans to grind myself (which is totally the way to go,people). The aroma was perfection and I could already tell that I was going to have a great day thanks to this little pick me up. I also picked up the K-cup version for my mom to try at home. I will definitely keep Gevalia in my at-home coffee rotation and highly recommend you give it a try, too!
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Here is a little about Gevalia:
Since 1853, Gevalia coffee has been the premier coffee of Sweden. Only recently has it been introduced to American supermarkets by Kraft. Although the Gevalia brands have been available in 8 oz. packages through mail-order in the U.S. since 1983, this is the first time that they have been made readily available to consumers. Long ago selected as the “Official Coffee Purveyor of the Royal Court of Sweden,” Gevalia is the top-selling brand of coffee in Sweden.

Rich But Never Bitter
From intense dark roasts to exotic varietals, Gevalia offers over 40 premium coffees. Carrying on the legacy of Gevalia founder Victor Theodor Engwall, our coffee buyers travel the globe in search of the best beans available. When they journey to the slopes of Mount Hualalai, Hawaii, you can be certain our buyers won’t settle for anything less than the perfect velvety-smooth, mildly acidic Kona bean. And when our buyers visit the Malabar Coast of India, we guarantee they won’t be coming home until they’ve purchased the finest crop of full-bodied Indian Malabar tempered with slight accents of honey and clove flavoring.

All that effort comes together with every cup of Gevalia that you brew. From the alluring aroma that greets your nose as you open the package to each cup’s full-bodied flavor, we’re confident you’ll agree that Gevalia is a genuine premium coffee lover’s delight.

Black Bean Chicken Chili

Time for another awesome recipe from my foodie friend, Lindsey Bliss! This one is perfect for this polar vortex, snowmaggedeon or whatever you want to call the scary cold temps and mountains of snow out there. Whip up a pot of this Black Bean Chicken Chili and cozy up for some quality indoor time.

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I attended a chili cook off last weekend, and was inspired to give it a go at my own creation. My grandpa Leo always made the best chili. His chili was pretty traditional, using ground beef, onions, green peppers and kidney beans. I use chicken and black beans instead, and a bit of one of my favorite beers. I think he would approve.

Stay warm and enjoy!

Black Bean Chicken Chili

Ingredients
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – a couple of swirls in a Dutch oven
1 Green Pepper, seeded and diced
1 Jalapeno, seeds and veins removed, diced small
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
½ Bottle Amber Ale
2 Cans of Crushed Tomatoes, 28 oz. each
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed, 15 oz.
2 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Breasts, roasted (or you can use a rotisserie chicken)

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the chicken breast with salt, pepper and onion powder. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Roast the chicken in the oven until cooked to an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Set aside to cool.

While the chicken is roasting, heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil to the pan (approximately a tablespoon).

Add the diced green pepper and jalapeno to the pot. Allow the peppers to cook for a minute and add the minced garlic. After about two minutes more (careful to not burn the garlic), add half a bottle of beer. I used Michigan-based Dragonmead Erik the Red, but you can use any amber ale that you like.

Allow the alcohol to cook out and the beer to reduce by about half. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir. Add the onion powder, salt and chili powder. Bring the mixture to a boil for a couple minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the drained and rinsed beans and continue to simmer. Once the cooked chicken has cooled, remove the skin and shred the chicken meat. Add to the chili pot. Stir well to combine all ingredients.

Serve with shredded cheddar and crackers or cornbread.

Lindsey Bliss is a food hobbyist working in digital communications. Visit her blog at www.lindseybliss.wordpress.com.

Keep It Fresh

7j93-largeI was in my kitchen the other day cleaning up and putting things away, and a friend noticed that some of my reusable containers looked different than the others. I was excited to share that what she had noticed was my Rubbermaid Produce Saver containers!

They are super affordable – set of 8 on Amazon for $25 – and really do their job.

Here is what Rubbermaid says about these unique containers:
Keeps fruits and vegetables fresh and crisp up to 33 percent longer. The Fresh Vent allows produce to breathe while the Crisp Tray separates produce from moisture helping it to stay fresh and crisp longer. The Easy Find Lids system keeps lids and trays organized by snapping them to the base and together for easy storage.

  • Keeps fruits and vegetables fresh and crisp up to 33% longer*
  • Fresh Vent™ allows produce to breathe
  • Crisp Tray™ separates produce from moisture
  • Easy Find Lids™ system keeps lids and trays organized. Lids and trays snap together and to the base for easy storage
  • Graduated sized containers nest for compact storage. Available in 3 sizes: 2 cup, 5 cup, 14 cup
  • Microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe
  • View a Produce Saver video with Carole O’Connell
  • Bases and Lids are BPA FREE

I have been using these produce savers for over a year and have enjoyed fresh produce longer. Isn’t it frustrating after you stock up on delicious fruits and vegetable, but don’t have time to enjoy all of them before they spoil? Trust me, invest in these containers and you will throw away less food, enjoy fresher produce and save some money!

Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s that time of year again — when the temp drops, all I want to do is wear jeans and sweaters and eat comfort food. My friend and foodie, Lindsey Bliss spent last weekend making this chicken noodle soup that is so good and so easy she swears it will make you want to curl up with a soup mug and a book. Nothing but warm fuzzies all over!

soup

If I have one thing to say about homemade chicken noodle soup, it is make your own stock. It is really, really easy. I won’t judge on the noodles, but you gotta make your own stock. You don’t even have to cook a chicken. Here’s what I did:

For the stock:

1 cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, cooled
Carrot peelings from approximately 1 pound of carrots
Celery leafs and ends from approximately 1 pound of celery
1 medium onion (any kind) cut into quarters
3-4 peeled whole garlic cloves
2-3 dried bay leaves
1 bunch of fresh rosemary and thyme, on stems
Any other vegetable you want to use up

Using a sharp chef’s knife, remove the chicken legs, wings, and breast meat. Set aside the meat for the soup (and any meat from legs/wings if you desire).

Break apart the remaining carcass, leg, and wing bones and put into a large stock pot. Add vegetable peelings, onion, garlic, and herbs. Add enough water to cover the contents. Bring to a rapid boil, cover and then simmer for approximately four hours. Strain broth into a large bowl, discard solids, and set the stock aside.

For the soup:

2 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 carrots, peeled, medium diced
5-6 celery stalks, medium diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Reserved chicken meat, chopped
Reserved chicken stock
Approximately 1/2 pound of your favorite dried noodle (I used these – http://www.amishkitchennoodles.com)
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven. Sauté the carrots and celery for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic. Stir and cook for about a minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the cooked chicken and chicken stock. (You will probably find you have extra stock, this is OK, it freezes nicely). Bring the stock back up to a boil and add the dried noodles. Continue to boil until the noodles are al dente. Stir in the chopped parsley and serve with warm crusty bread.

As the Digital Communications Manager for Residential and Hospitality Services at Michigan State University, Lindsey gets to spend her days tweeting about food trucks, chefs, and lots of great recipes. Follow her on Twitter at @lindseybliss.