Lemon chicken stew

Unfortunately, kids have germs. And now that I’m teaching again, I’m surrounded by kids. Welcome to my first upset stomach of the school year.

Whenever I’m having tummy troubles, I eat chicken soup for lunch and dinner. But I HATE most canned soups – they have practically no flavor and barely any chicken. I prefer to make my own in the crock pot – it’s relatively little prep, I can add a substantial amount of protein, and I can season it the way I want to.

My favorite type of chicken soup is Greek Avgolemono. There’s something about lemon and chicken that pairs so well together. I love that the soup is thick, almost like a stew.

I decided to make this lemony chicken stew as a spinoff of standard chicken noodle soup and greek avgolemono soup. I kick it up a notch with some Italian dressing seasoning, two different kinds of pepper, and some protein pasta. It’s soothing enough to heal a troubled tummy but tasty enough to eat when you’re feeling great.

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No-bake nutella pie

It’s technically still summer, and still pretty warm. And I still don’t feel like turning my oven on.

When my mom found a recipe for a Nutella cream cheese pie that was no-bake, I was all over that. With a few tweaks like incorporating Oreos, adding some vanilla extract, substituting full-fat cream cheese for some lighter Neufchatel, and using Cool Whip Free instead of regular Cool Whip, I was ready to dominate this pie. Each bite is a piece of pure, chocolatey, creamy, heaven.

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PB&J greek yogurt parfaits

This is the second day of school with my kiddos and the hectic bustle of the school year has officially hit me. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s exhausting – So I’m keeping this brief and cutting to the chase.

Who doesn’t love a peanut butter & jelly sandwich?! This epic dessert takes the delicious nostalgia of a PB&J and turns it into a sweet, creamy, & crunchy treat. The best part is that it contains 18g of protein and is only 280 calories per serving (this recipe makes 2) – so it will keep you feeling full without destroying your diet. And it’s totally giving me a much-needed energy boost right now. #winning

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Recent eats: BEST of SUMMER Pt. 1

So this shirt basically sums up my mood for this summer:

yup, that’s my favorite shirt.

For me, summer is officially over. I know it technically isn’t, but as far as I’m concerned it is. My first day back at school was on Thursday (even though it was just meetings – it still counts) and I meet my kiddos for the first time this Tuesday. Hello teaching, goodbye free time.

As you may have noticed, I do the majority of my cooking and eating in my own home… but I do like going out for food as well. Here are a few restaurant highlights from this summer. These aren’t all of the places I’ve eaten, but these are definitely the best places.

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Dark cherry wheat bread

This time of year is the end of cherry season – so I’ve been trying to load up on them before I can’t find them at the grocery store anymore. This summer’s harvest has been as fresh and delicious as ever. I usually just eat mine as is, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach when I bought quite a few pounds of them recently. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to snack on my cherries before they started to go bad, so I had to start incorporating them into some pies, tarts, and breads.

This was the perfect opportunity to have fun with my bread machine (some of you know how obsessed I am with my bread machine). This bread has a wonderful balance of components and flavors – a bit of fruity sweetness from the cherries, a bit of dense chewiness from the whole wheat flour, and just a tad of spice from the cinnamon and nutmeg. This loaf is perfect sliced up and eaten as toast with butter and jam, in the bread basket at dinnertime, or as a killer PB&J.

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Italian sausage & pepper burgers

I love a good hamburger from the grill, but lately I’ve been getting bored by the standard burger. I’ve been switching things up a bit – occasionally I’ll make chicken burgers instead of beef, I’ll experiment with different cheeses, and I’ve done pretty well with trying a variety of toppings. I’ve gone from the staples of lettuce, tomato, and pickles to pulled pork, hot peppers, and fried eggs.

The other day I found sweet Italian sausage patties in the grocery store and I just had to grab them. It’s been a long time since I’ve had sausage & peppers (one of my favorite comfort foods), and I was determined to turn one of my favorites into a burger. I decided to kick things up a notch by giving my burgers some classic garlic bread buns.

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Banana strawberry ice cream

There’s no doubt that the ultimate summer dessert is ice cream – and though I love store-bought ice cream or something from Mr. Softee, nothing beats homemade ice cream.

Strawberries have been so perfect and delicious this summer, and I have been buying tons of them. I’m not the biggest fan of strawberry ice cream, but I definitely wanted to incorporate some of them into the ice cream without overpowering it.

I was trying to come up with ideas for the base flavor, and I narrowed it down to three – chocolate, peanut butter, and banana. All three pair very well with strawberry, but I decided on banana because it has the mildest flavor and I felt it would truly let the fresh strawberries shine.

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Backyard BBQ coleslaw

As the month of August approaches its end, I’ve been trying to squeeze in as much outdoor time and BBQ fun as I possibly can.

A typical American BBQ usually has the same side salads over and over again – potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, etc. – all of which are dressed in mayonnaise. Unfortunately, mayo is one of the only foods that I really hate. So when I go to BBQ’s, I end up eating burgers and wings with no side dish, except for maybe corn on the cob. Lame!

I love those classic BBQ sides when they are dressed in a vinaigrette rather than all that mayonnaise goop. It’s just so much lighter and more refreshing – not to mention much healthier and fewer calories. This coleslaw recipe is definitely one of my go-to’s when I’m having a BBQ.

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Semi-homemade peanut butter & chocolate “sliders”

Sometimes we all need something sweet in a pinch.

For those times, I always keep baking mixes and cans of frosting on hand.

Yeah, yeah. It’s “cheating” if you truly like to bake, like myself. But it’s fast and easy – and still satisfies an immediate sweet tooth. Don’t hate.

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