One Pot Cookbook – Book Review

Book review - One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More

Time for another book review courtesy of Blogging For Books. Since most of my post are sharing delicious recipe ideas, it made sense that I review a cookbook. One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More, is a great addition to your cookbook collection.

As I mentioned in one of my previous post, one of the first things that I look at is whether the cookbook includes lots of colorful pictures and the next is the number of ingredients in each recipe. I have to admit I’m less likely to try a recipe if it appears that it would be difficult to find an ingredient. 

one pot cookbook - Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

So far I have tried two recipes from One Pot bookbook. I’ve tried the Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy. They both have few ingredients and they are simple and easy to make but most importantly they taste amazing. 

one pot cookbook - Stir-fried chicken with bok choy

The Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy is something that I could added to my meal plan every week. Since the first two recipes that I tried were a hit, I’m excited to try more recipes. This collection of recipes is from the editors of Martha Stewart Living. It features different one pot recipes from an array of kitchen gadgets. 

Usually when we think of one pot, a crockpot comes to mind. This cookbook is divided into sections depending on the kitchen tool you need to use such as; skillet and saute pan, slow cooker, roasting pan, and pressure cooker, just to name a few. No worries, as you can see from the chocolate chip cookie , desserts were not left out.

The only thing that I wish was included would have been the nutritional labels for each recipe. I’m sure I can plug it into a tool online but it would have be nice if it was available. Overall I think this would be a great addtion to add to your cookbook collection. Next on the list to make is the Texas Red Chili. Nothing more warming than a hearty bowl of chili on a cold winters night!

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Easy Skillet Chocolate Chip cookie

 Look away if you are looking for something healthy! The good news, this is quick and easy to make. If you need an easy recipe for a pot luck or cookie swap, you’ve come to the right place. This recipe is brought to you by One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More from The Editors of Martha Stewart Living
 

 
One Pot cookbook - Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

When I was searching for photo shoot ideas for this recipe I did see other skillet cookie recipes. Some were a lot thicker than this one. Just a note that this is not a deep dish chocolate chip cookie but you can always double the recipe if you have a larger skillet or if you want a thicker cookie. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk or add a scoop of ice cream like we did. Most importantly enjoy it!
 
Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars with a wooden spoon. Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chips. Transfer to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; smooth top.
Bake until cookie is golden brown and just set in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.

 One Pot Cookbook - Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
Print the recipe and get baking!

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
Serves 8
Quick and easy chocolate chip cookie.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  9. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars with a wooden spoon. Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chips. Transfer to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; smooth top.
  2. Bake until cookie is golden brown and just set in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. The chocolate chip cookies in the mini cast iron pans I used milk chocolate chips. Also use water or baking spray on your hands when smoothing out the batter before putting it in the oven.
Adapted from One Pot
Adapted from One Pot
http://www.ditchingdiets.com/

Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy

One Pot - Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy

We have a keeper! Not only is it quick and easy to make but having so few ingredients, it packs a big punch. This recipe is included in the One Pot cookbook from the editors of Martha Stewart Living. One of the first things that I look at when searching for whether or not I’m going to purchase a cookbook is, does it contain pictures and the number of ingredients.

Making a recipe, your results might not come out exactly shown but it’s always good to have a reference. The One Pot cookbook is filled with great pictures for sure. Since I mainly eat fish and chicken, I’m always on the lookout for flavorful chicken recipes.

One Pot Cookbook - Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy

This Stir-Fried Chicken recipe provides great flavor and an added kick with the red  chile pepper. If you like a little spice stick to the one red chile pepper and add more if you can handle the heat. I accidentally grabbed baby bok choy but it worked well. This was my first time cooking bok choy but it won’t be my last. I’ll be adding this recipe to my weekly meal prep in the future. Try it and let me know what you think.

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used bragg’s amino)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (unseasoned)
2 teaspoons water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound total), sliced into strips
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 cups sliced bok choy (from 1 head)
1 small red chile or jalapeno, seeded and sliced

Directions:
In a bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until coated, In a large sauce pan or wok, heat oil, garlic, and ginger over medium-high until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken in a single layer, pressing against pan to sear. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add bok choy and chile; cook, stirring, until bok choy wilts slightly, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until sauce thickens slightly, 2 minutes.

one pot cookbook - Stir-fried chicken with bok choy

 

Print out recipe below and ENJOY!

XO Selena

Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used bragg's amino)
  2. 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  3. 2 teaspoons water
  4. 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound total), sliced into strips
  5. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  6. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  7. 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  8. 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  9. 4 cups sliced bok choy (from 1 head)
  10. 1 small red chile or jalapeno, seeded and sliced
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until coated, In a large sauce pan or wok, heat oil, garlic, and ginger over medium-high until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken in a single layer, pressing against pan to sear. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add bok choy and chile; cook, stirring, until bok choy wilts slightly, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until sauce thickens slightly, 2 minutes.
Adapted from One Pot
Adapted from One Pot
http://www.ditchingdiets.com/

Meal Prep Ideas

DitchingDiets.com - Meal Prep
One of the best ways to free up time during the week is to take some time on Sunday (or which ever day fits your schedule) and prepare your meals for the week. You might spend an hour and a half to two hours in the kitchen depending on the complexity of your meals.

Think of all the time that you’ll save during the week and not to mention the money you’ll save from not having to grab something for dinner because it’s late. The trade off is well worth it and what helps me is setting up my iPad in the kitchen while I’m cooking and washing dishes to pass the time.

DitchingDiets.com - Meal Prep Containers

I recently ordered these Reditainer Food Storage Containers to help make meal prep even easier. My suggestion is that you get the 38oz containers if you plan to order them. The 28oz and the 38oz containers are both 6×8 but the 38oz containers are 0.5″ taller. These containers are microwaveable and dishwasther safe.

This weeks meals are:

Meal 1 – Egg white veggie scramble

Meal 2 – Fruit and spinach smoothies w/3 boiled egg whites

Meal 3 – Turkey Meatball Spaghetti w/ zoodles (zucchini noodles)

Meal 4 - Buffalo Chicken Soup & Broccoli

Meal 5 – (not shown) Chicken Pita Pizza

 

I highly recomend meal prep so that you have time to do other things during the week, like working out! :)

 

XO Selena

Buffalo Chicken Soup

 Ditching Diets - Buffalo Chicken Soup

I love this time of year because I get to eat soup! Nothing like enjoying a warm bowl of chili on a cold winter day. I picked up a magazine full of soups and stews so I’ll be sharing the ones that I try and approve. The first soup included caught my eye immediately so we are off to a great start. I have to say that this soup is delicious. Depending on the type and how much hot sauce you add it will have a nice kick to it.

Ditching Diets Buffalo Chicken Soup

Can’t take credit for this entire post, I had a little help today. I picked up a new camera, the Nikon d7000 so Amiyah has claimed my old point and shoot Nikon Coolpix p510. I’ve upgraded and feel all professional now but at the same time I feel so lost. I’ve watched several youtube videos on shooting with a dslr camera yet I still am lost. I heard the best way to learn is to shoot in manual mode and not automatic. It might take me a while and I’m trying not to get discouraged but it’s safe to say that my Nikon Coolpix might make it in my luggage for the cruise next month.

Ditching Diets - Buffalo Chicken Soup

Now on to the Buffalo Chicken recipe. Just a few notes on some of the changes I made, I used 2% milk instead of whole milk. I boiled 3 chicken breast in water and added seasoning and squeezed lemon juice and then shredded the chicken. I divided the soup into 6 containers to have as a 4th meal for this weeks meal prep. That’s everything that needs to be noted so enjoy and let me know what you think.

 

Makes 4 servings (8 cups)
Total time: 30 minutes

 

Melt:
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Add:
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 Tbsp. minced garlic

Stir in:
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
2 cups shredded chicken
Salt and black pepper to taste
Crumbled blue cheese
Chopped celery leaves

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.
Add celery, onion, carrot, and garlic; sweat, covered, until carrot begins to soften, 8 minutes.
Stir in flour to coat vegetables, and cook 1 minute. Whisk in broth and milk, increase heat to medium-high, and bring soup to a simmer. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in hot sauce and chicken; cook until chicken is heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper.
Garnish each serving with blue cheese, celery leaves, and additional hot sauce. *note – The vinegar in the hot sauce can curdle the milk while the soup is cooking, so add it at the very end.

Per serving: 327 cal; 14g total fat (8g sat); 92mg chol; 909mg sodium; 19g carb; 2g fiber; 29g proteins
Adapted from: Cuisine – Splendid Soups & Stews

XO Selena

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

easy sweet potato casserole

My contribution this year to our Thanksgiving meal was this super easy and delicious Sweet Potato Casserole found on Pinch of Yum. We had our Thanksgiving pot luck at work the week prior and my coworker brought in this dish. I didn’t put any on my plate but another coworker insisted that I tried it. I’m glad she did because it was delicious! Sweet Potatoes are not my go to carb but if I could eat it prepared this way, then I would eat this everyday. I’m sure it’s not the healthiest so I’ll stick to red potatoes.

easy sweet potato casserole

You won’t be disappointed if you give this recipe a try. Now that Thanksgiving is over you may want to give it a try for Christmas dinner or a work pot luck. I did use the sweet potatoes in the can like the recipe called for but I’m sure you can use the real thing. When I first opened the can and mashed the sweet potatoes I didn’t think it was going to make enough but once you add all the other ingredients it will expand. I also baked it a little longer then what it called for because I wanted the pecan crumble to be extra crunchy. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

Ingredients
For the sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups (1 29-ounce can) sweet potatoes, drained
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • salt to taste
For the topping
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup flour
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash the sweet potatoes and add the melted butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, beaten eggs, and a pinch of salt. Stir until incorporated. Pour into a shallow baking dish or a cast iron skillet.
  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and pecan pieces in a small bowl, using your fingers to create moist crumbs. Sprinkle generously over the casserole. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden brown. Let stand for the mixture to cool and solidify a little bit before serving.

Adapted from: Pinch of Yum

 

XO Selena

Am I Getting Fat?

Ditching Diets

One of the things that I noticed every time I have been on a big exercise and healthy eating kick was that people were more likely to say to me, “Please don’t get too skinny” or “Are you planning to loose more weight?”.

I’ve wondered, why didn’t anyone say anything to me when I was putting on a few exta pounds. It appears that we feel more comfortable expressing our feelings to someone when we percieve them as being too thin, yet we shy away from telling someone they appear to be gaining weight.

Why is expressing that someone appears to be too thin, ok? Could it be that deep down inside we haven’t committed to leading a healthy lifestyle and we don’t want our friend to change. Maybe that would cause us to have to take a look at ourselves.

DitchingDiets.com

 

A great deal of women have body image issues, myself included, so rather than invoke our opinion of how we think they should look we should be more encouraging. No matter what side of the coin you are on, we all need support.

As long as what they are doing is not harmful to themselves or  others then we should be supportive of their journey. Who are we to judge someone else to say that they are too thin?

I say all this because I can feel my body changing since my bikini competition and I’m starting to add a few extra pounds since my show but nobody has said anything to me. Grant it it’s not noticeable compared to last year. Yet, at soon as my show was over I heard often, “are you going to gain a few pounds back?”. It’s all perception and we know our bodies and have to make adjustments based on how we feel.

XO Selena

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I’ve struggled over the past year to write more blog post. The main reason is because I was training for my first fitness competition and the other is because I felt that I wasn’t being who I really am. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE trying new healthy recipes but I also love a ooey gooey brownie every now and then.

So in order for me to be true to who I am I will be sharing a sweet balance of healthy and not so healthy recipes because after all this blog is not about following a “diet”. So what better recipe to start with then a chocolate cake that is infused with red wine. After all red wine is heart healthy. :)

 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I have to say that this cake is AMAZING! Besides the fact that it has red wine in it, it’s a very moist cake. I saw this recipe in a cookbook that I was browsing while waiting to check out…they seem to get me every time. The magazine included that the recipe was from the blog Pretty Simple Sweet so I pulled up the blog and searched for the recipe and found it, which saved me about $9.99. I’m notorious for buying a magazine and only wanting to make a few recipes.

 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

The picture shown on Shiran’s blog shows a chocolate ganache frosting but she mentions just dusting the cake with powdered sugar. I opted for the powdered sugar so that I could save a little on the calories from the topping. I did try it with whip topping as well just to add a little something extra with it and it was great both ways. I seriously could have eaten the entire cake but I’ll take it to work and share the calories. ;)

 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

If after Thanksgiving you have a little extra red wine left over then I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. Shiran recommended using dark brown sugar to moisten the cake and give it more flavor.

You can REALLY taste and smell the red wine in the recipe so if you want more of a chocolate taste add more cocoa powder. Just a word of precaution, the red wine does not bake out so this might not be the recipe to share with your kiddos.

Otherwise ENJOY!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g/7.4 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 g/2.7 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/227 g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g/8.8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) brown sugar (preferably dark)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) dry red wine

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F/180C degrees. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in (or fold by hand) the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with the wine in 2 additions (starting and ending with the flour). Do not overmix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted (mine was ready in 40 mins) into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then turn it out and let it cool completely. Dust the cake with powdered sugar.

Store cake at room temperature in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cake can be frozen for up to 2 months.

 Adapted from: Pretty Simple Sweet

 

 

Bikini Competition Journey

First Time Bikini Competitor

Hey!! Its been way too long since I’ve created a blog post but that will change. My goal is to start posting on a regular basis and really grow this blog.  But on another note this post is to share a little about my journey to compete in my first fitness competition. Competing was not something I saw someone do one day and just decide I wanted to do it. Its been something that I’ve been wanting to do for over 4 years and I’m finally glad I buckled down and was disciplined enough to follow through with it.

It was a tough 9 months to end up on stage but it was well worth it. There were plenty of mornings where I had to get up at 5:30AM to train and then be right back at the gym at 11:45AM for a lunch workout and then right back at the gym at 5:30PM. See the reason I was in the gym so much is because I had let myself go. I let life, being a mom and stress take over and I used that as an excuse and I didn’t make the best choices when it came to food. I seem to make time to exercise but even that wasn’t on a consistent basis. So on December 18, 2013 when I decided to make the change this is where I started…

Bikini Competitor Before Pictures

Over the next few weeks I’ll share with you the things that I learned from competing and at the end I’ll share my decision on whether or not I’ll compete again.

XO Selena

Furry Logic – A Guide to Life’s Little Challenges [Book Review]

Furry Logic Reviewby: Jane Seabrook

I was sent a copy of Furry Logic, 10th Anniversary Edition by Jane Seabrook to review. When I selected this book to review, from looking at the outside, I thought it would be a great book for Amiyah and I to read together. After I received the book and began reading through the pages, I realized that this book is not necessarily for kids. Honestly I think adults would get more out of this than kids. Some of the humor the kids might not understand.

Furry Logic - Ditchingdiets.com

This book brings a sense of humor to life’s little challenges. I’d recommend keeping this book at work if you’re having one of those days and you just need to add a smile to your face. It’s not a book filled with only cat pictures. It has an array of animals throughout the book to paint the picture of handling life’s challenges.

 

Here are a few of my favorites:

“Smile first thing in the morning. Get it over with.”

“If you can keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs –

it’s quite possible you haven’t grasped the situation.”

“Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.”

You need to pick up the book to get the full effect of the quotes listed above. This book is a very quick read and the illustrations to go along with each challenge are a perfect fit!Personally I think it would be great if these were included in a desk calendar or maybe screensavers for your computer.

20141124_103245

Until that happens you’ll just have to settle for the book. So go pick up a copy and I can guarantee you’ll be smiling and laughing from page one.

 

20141124_103050

More Info

Author Bio

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”