Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm back! + Chicken Chile Verde, too!

I know, I know... "Good Night, Tiffiny! Where have you been? And what on Earth have you been doing?"

Well, I'm back, and I've had a great summer break! lol...I know it's practically winter; my summer was long this year ;) I didn't get all the projects done that I thought I would (with all my free time, right?), but it's been great anyway. Here are some pictures of the highlights:

June: I made my shoe-crazy daughter a cake for her 4th birthday:

Oh my gosh, the shoes are my favorite part!

June/July: We took a two-week trip to California.
On the way there we stopped at the Hoover Dam:

Standing on the Arizona side of the dam. Mercy, it was hot out there on the concrete. Blech!

I was blazing hot, 109-deg hot. We've never been in temperatures like that and we were all melting. Good thing the gift shop had water for sale. For $2.50 a bottle. Man, when they've got you, they've got you.

This is what a 4 year-old looks like when in the process of melting.

And what the same 4 year-old looks like back on the road in an air-conditioned van. Poor thing!

I had to document the insane temperature as we drive through Nevada and into California. You couldn't pay me to live in a place where it gets this hot.

In California: We stayed for a few days with my bestie from high school and her cute family.

One of the days we hiked the Pinnacles (Watsonville/Hollister area):

My three cuties :)

The cutest thing, ever!

How did they get up there! I didn't want to know. And I didn't want to watch them climb down, either.

The view was amazing.

And it all made you feel very small...see my daughter on the right?

Big sisters who will get you off a rock you can't climb down yourself are AweSoMe!

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Yeah, like I said...made you feel very small.

Awww.....Hiking all day is hard work, no matter how old you are :)

Me and my bestie :) So glad our freshman English teacher had to make us share a desk for the first couple weeks of school :)

Then we drove to Cambria, CA, and stayed in a beach house with my brother and his family. What an amazing week!

Watching a glass blower at work in Harmony, CA (just outside of Cambria), pop. 18 (no joke).

Me and my sweetheart at Morrow Bay, CA.

My girls were in love with this mermaid sculpture. They would have stayed here all day...if we hadn't been on our way to the Pillow Pet store ;)

Ice cream break in Morrow Bay with my super cute sis-in-law and all the cousins.

Tide pools in Cambria. It was so fun to show my girls the ocean and all that comes with it.

Beach across from Hearst Castle: AweSoMe big sisters carry you on their back so you can go out far and not get wet.

Awww.....For me and my sweetheart :)

Cambria: I took all the kids for a horse-back ride. My girls take riding lessons, but it was the first time for my niece and nephew. My nephew had a smile permanently fixed to his face the whole time :)

I grew up going to the ocean, but never actually swam in it. The water here was freezing, but my husband and teenage daughter went in, anyway. Watching them body-surf was really, really cool.

My nephew showing my girls how to catch sand shrimp in a puddle.

Resting under the umbrella...playing at the beach is hard work!

Our trip out to California was so fantastic. I wish we didn't live so far away from family, friends, and the ocean!

July, back in Utah: I made these cupcakes--Chocolate with Peanut Butter Frosting.

Oooo! It's so mean of me to put this picture here with no recipe! Soon, I promise :)

July: My oldest sister comes to Utah from Texas for three weeks every summer with her four kids. We fill almost every minute of time with fun stuff like visiting Bridal Veil Falls up Provo Canyon:

Cousins playing in the freezing water (snow-melt water). I put my feet in. For about two seconds. Oh, and in case you didn't already know, water shoes are worth their weight in gold.

My oldest with one of her cousin.

More cousins. With frozen feet.

Two of my sweet girls :)

Self-portrait. You know, to prove I was there.

Bridal Veil Falls is so beautiful!

August: Against my will (lol), I trained for, ended up in physical therapy because of, and ran my first 5k:

It took me a long time, but I finished with a smile on my face :) I'm still running...I discovered I actually like it. Insanity.

September: My husband and I had our 10th anniversary, and to celebrate we spent a weekend hiking up in Logan Canyon, UT.

It was so, so pretty.

And beautiful.

The weather was perfect. The company was perfect. Our room service pizza was fabulous (if you can believe it). It was a great weekend.

This was our goal on one of our hikes: The Wind Cave.

It was as impressive as it looked from below.

Me, striking a sassy pose ;)

September: And, we got a pony!!

My little girls with Flicka. We've wanted a pony for a long time, and finally had our dream come true.

Flicka is 15 years old, and is sweet beyond anything. We just love, love, love her!

OK! Now on to the recipe!

This Chicken Chile Verde has been one of our family favorites for a long time. It started out it's life as a restaurant recipe I found online, and had an ingredient list in restaurant proportions (12 pounds of tomatillos, anyone?) I love chile verde, so I scaled it down and started working on it. It took a couple years, but I finally had a chile verde that was super tasty, super easy to make, and super heathly. We've used both chicken and pork, and both are equally delicious. I like to add white beans to the rice for a little extra boost of fiber and protein. When picking your tomatillos at the store, take a few extra seconds to peel back the papery husk and peek inside to check for bruises, wrinkled skin, or mushy spots, and I've found that the greener the tomatillo the better. Also, if you want more heat, leave the seeds and ribs in your jalapeno peppers.

Note: If you use a regular blender to puree the chile verde, make sure you take the center stopper out of the lid and hold a clean, folded kitchen towel over the hole. If you don't do this, as soon as you push the button the heat from the mixture will force the lid off and you'll have green stuff all over your kitchen. Believe me. I know.

Chicken Chile Verde

Makes 8 servings (1 cup Chile Verde, 1/2 cup rice, 3 tbl beans; 7 Weight Watchers Point+ points)

1 32-oz carton (4 cups) chicken broth, divided
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large poblano peppers, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
2-3 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and membranes removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed, cut into 8 pieces each
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
4 cups hot cooked rice
1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
Shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, optional

1. In a large pot, combine 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, onion, poblano and jalapeno peppers, tomatillos, garlic, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup flour together until smooth; set aside. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender--see note above) puree the vegetable mixture directly in the pot until smooth. Add the flour mixture and cilantro, and blend until well incorporated.

3. Put the pot back on medium heat and cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the chicken and heat through. Serve over hot rice and white beads, and top with shredded white cheddar. Enjoy!
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