Meal Prep: Carrot Pesto with Roasted Vegetables

My (other) best friend from high school is an amazing cook from a family of chefs. Last time I went to visit her in SF, I suggested we make dinner instead of going out and was NOT disappointed. She also put me onto Bon Appetit’s Rent Week series (aka inexpensive, simple food for when cash is low), which I’m now obsessed with. We followed this recipe and ate it over white rice, with red wine on the side ;). We also added a few additional vegetables other than carrots. We roasted the carrots, broccoli, golden beets, onions and broccoli with a little olive oil and red pepper flakes. Simple and amazing. You will want to make it again, trust me.

xoxo,

Truett

Travel TBT: Ashley’s Wedding Weekend

As of today I have officially been married for 20 days, and I am still dreaming about my magical wedding weekend in California’s beautiful Central Coast. I know everyone says their wedding was the best they’ve ever been to, but you can ask anyone…my wedding was THE BEST wedding EVER. And it didn’t just stop there…the entire long weekend from start to finish was filled with so much fun, love, and laughter that I still can’t stop thinking about it. My husband (so weird to say) and I keep reliving it in our minds and are seriously considering renewing our vows every year just to have a reason to get everyone together.

We had our wedding on a Friday in Monterey, California. I was initially against Friday weddings because I thought it was tacky and would be annoying for our guests who would normally have to work that day. But I quickly got over it because 1. Friday weddings are cheaper, and 2. Although I’m from California, our wedding was technically considered a destination wedding because so many of our guests had to travel from out of town, so having it on a Friday allowed everyone to enjoy the entire weekend without having to wake up the next day and immediately have to travel home.

I would not have changed a thing about the entire weekend, and regardless if you’re getting married in the area or you’re simply just traveling there, I think you’ll find the below information really useful!

Porta Bella Restaurant – We had our rehearsal dinner at this adorable Italian restaurant in Carmel. The food was fantastic and the owners were incredibly accommodating. We had close to 50 people and pretty much took over a large portion of the restaurant. The space was perfect for our party and everyone had a great time. At one point we even started dancing! The food, atmosphere, and location all make for a perfect night out and I 100% recommend Porta Bella if you’re in Carmel-by-the-sea.

Hyatt Regency – We had our room block at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa and had a great experience. I initially chose this hotel based on their room block attrition rate and how it compared to other local hotel hotels. In addition to that, the size of the hotel and location in terms of distance from our wedding venue and other fun activities in Monterey and Carmel were hard to beat. Some of the highlights for both us and our guests were the pool, outdoor activities, fantastic buffet breakfast, and the fact that the property was pet friendly.

Nicklaus Club – Our wedding was held at the beautiful Nicklaus Club in Monterey. Even if this wasn’t my wedding and I was just a guest, this would have been the best night of my life because everything was just so perfect. The venue is beyond gorgeous, the food is incredible, and the party was on another level. If you’re looking for a venue in the Monterey area, look no further. Or if you’re just looking for a place to golf or stop by for lunch, do yourself a favor and make a stop at Nicklaus Club. You will not regret it!

Downtown Monterey – Like I said earlier, having our wedding on a Friday turned out to be the best decision we could have made because we had the whole weekend to hang out with our friends and family. The day after the wedding we hopped around different bars and restaurants in Downtown Monterey with a group of our friends and had the best time. Make sure to bring a sweater any time you’re in Monterey or Carmel because the weather is super unpredictable. We got lucky and had sunny skies on Friday, but it was pretty cold and windy on Saturday so always be prepared!

Casanova Restaurant – This Carmel-by-the-sea gem has always been one of my favorite restaurants. They serve a mix of Italian and French cuisine and the restaurant itself is as adorable as they come. I hadn’t been in a few years with all my moving around from Southern California to the East Coast, so I told my husband (WEIRD!) that we absolutely HAD to eat here before we left. Once all of our friends and family made their way home on Sunday, we checked out of the Hyatt and started our “Mini Moon” off by having lunch at Casanova. We ordered mussels and gnocchi as appetizers, my hubby had the Cannelloni for his main, and I had the Croque Monsieur. Everything was to die for. The wedding diet was obviously over and we really went in on this meal, but there are plenty of lighter options on the menu. If you don’t go anywhere else while you’re in Carmel, you HAVE to go to Casanova.

Carmel-by-the-Sea – After lunch at Casanova we made our way to the shops closer to the beach. We spent about an hour or so walking around the cute streets popping in an out of the little shops. After getting back in the car we made our way to Ocean Ave, which borders the beautiful Carmel Beach, and drove south admiring the beaches and out of this world real estate. If you’re like us and enjoy window shopping homes you’ll never be able to afford, this is the place to do it!

Ventana Big Sur – We eventually made our way to the famous Highway 1 and drove south to Big Sur where my husband surprised me with reservations at gorgeous Ventana. I had always wanted to stay there, and now having done so I can officially say it is worth the hype. When checking in they made it a point to let us know that it is encouraged to wear the provided robes everywhere on property (I was sold right then and there), so that’s exactly what we did. As soon as we dropped our bags off in our room we changed into our bathing suits and robes and took advantage of *most* of the available amenities – the beautiful pool overlooking the Pacific, infinity hot tub nestled between the pool and forest, barrel sauna, and lounge area.  I emphasized *most* because there happens to be a clothing optional section of the property that we gladly opted out of. lol.

That night we had dinner at Ventana’s restaurant, The Sur House, which boasts the freshest of ingredients, some of which come from their very own garden. My husband said his octopus appetizer was the best octopus he’s ever had. The next day we ordered room service for breakfast (my pancakes were so.damn.good.) and enjoyed it on our private balcony that was practically in the trees.

After breakfast we had an incredible couples massage that took place within canopies that were enclosed on all sides but one that faced the forest, which was so beautiful and dreamy. Between the tranquil setting, perfect temperature, and amazing massage, I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed in my life.

Everything about our stay at Ventana was incredible and my only regret was not staying longer. Although it definitely breaks the bank a bit, it was beyond worth it and I can’t wait until we get to go back.

 

California is one of the most beautiful places in the world for a reason, and that is largely in part to the incredible Central Coast. If you ever get the chance to travel to Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur, you better take it. I am so lucky to have been raised so close to this magical place and I really hope everyone else is lucky enough to experience this part of the Mother Earth at least once in their lives.

Thank you for reliving my dream of a wedding weekend with me!

xo,

Ashley

 

 

 

Full Body Cadillac Workout

Having my own Reformer has been amazing, but I have seriously missed all of the other incredible Pilates apparatuses. I work at a studio that has a Cadillac, but I almost never get to use it because I’m always in and out of the studio and I only teach Mat and Reformer classes there. I subbed a group class this past Sunday morning and when I was done I looked at the Cadillac like it was an old friend and decided it was time we hung out again. I had the best time and I literally felt the physical difference in my body instantly.

As you may know, there’s a difference in springs between different manufacturers. This workout was done on a Stott Cadillac, but the same principles pretty much apply universally so for the sake of this post I’m going to use “Heavy” or “Light” to reference my spring load for each exercises.

*Adjust spring height to a resistance that makes sense for you. Everyone has different levels of strength so you may want to play around with the springs before you begin!

START

Light Springs – Rolldown Bar

Rolldown x10

Supine Pulldown x10

Supine Rows x10

Round Back Pulldown x10

Round Back Rows x10

Flat Back Narrow Rows x10

Flat Back Bicep Curls x10

Side Bends

-Bend Elbow x10

-Straight Elbow x10

-Pulses x10

-Repeat other side

Kneeling Armwork

-Shoulder Lifts x10

-Tricep Extensions x10

-Shoulder Lifts + Tricep Extensions Combo x10

-Salute x10

-Pushups x10

*Lower Rolldown Bar to Heavy Spring height

Heavy Springs – Straps

Feet in Straps

-Feet Together & Parallel x10

-Pilates V x10

-Frogs x10

-Open & Close x10

-Breaststroke x10

-Reverse Breaststroke x10

-Scissors x10/leg

-Bicycles x10/leg

-Reverse Bicycles x10/leg

-Walking x10

Light Springs – Rolldown Bar

Single Leg Pulldown

-Right Leg x10

-Left Leg x10

-Both Legs x10

The Hundred

Mat

Double Leg Stretch x10

Single Leg Stretch x10/leg

Bicycles x10/leg

Hamstring Pull x10/leg

*Adjust Rolldown Bar to original height

Light Springs – Rolldown Bar

Rolling In & Out x5

Heavy Springs – Handles

Squats

-Feet Parallel x12

-Hold Squat

-Single Arm Rows x10/arm

-Pulses x10

Sumo Squats

-Feet Turned Out/Second Position x12

-Hold Squat

-Double Arm Rows x10

-Heel Lifts x10

-Pulses w/ Heel Lift x10

Spinal Rotation

-Facing Left x10

-Facing Right x10

Single Leg Squats

-Right Leg x10

-Left Leg x10

Chest Expansion x10

DONE!

This is one of my favorite routines on the Cadillac so I really hope you enjoyed it! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments in the comments!

xo,

Ashley

Travel TBT: Sutro Baths + San Francisco Brunch

I was up in Northern California for two week’s this month for Ashley’s wedding and my birthday. I didn’t feel particularly inspired to throw myself a big celebration for my 29th; my only wish was to do a little hike outdoors and have a great brunch. Here’s how the day went:

Sutro Baths

After some research into hikes near San Francisco, I ended up choosing more of a scenic walk because I wanted to be able to go straight to brunch after without changing. Priorities, haha. I have done the “Lands End” hike around the northern coast of San Francisco before, but never went down to the Sutro Baths. You get to the baths with a quick downhill walk and a series of stairs. What you end up seeing are the ruins of what used to be a public bath facility, which is actually very cool to imagine (you can read about the history here). This is by no means a hike, but a great little scenic walk… shall we say, for the gram?

Brunch at Aina

After scouring a few foodie websites (my go-to are Infatuation and Thrillist) and asking an old co-worker from my days at Tasting Table, I landed on brunch at Aina in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. They do not take reservations, so we went straight from our walk to put our names in. We arrived at around 11am on Saturday and were told the wait would be about an hour…not too terrible for a new restaurant! We took a quick little walk of the neighborhood and got a snack of fresh beignets to-go at Just For You Cafe on the next block over. The beignets ended up being VERY good. Plus, what is more in theme with celebrating your birthday than having dessert before brunch?! Aina called us about an hour and 10 minutes after we put our name down.

Service was super friendly and the food was AMAZING. I’m not sure I’ve ever truly had Hawaiian food, but this place makes me want to eat it constantly. The flavors were absolutely incredible. We shared the (homemade) spam bao to start, which I was scared of. However, do not be scared of the word spam, this musubi was INCREDIBLE. We also had the kalbi loco moco (their most popular dish), trout and smoked mushroom entrees. All 3 were fantastic! We drank their white wine and red wine lemonades, both were very tasty.

 

All around, an excellent birthday morning.

Xoxo,
Truett

Ashley’s Favorite Chocolate Protein Shake

When I lived in California, I taught Pilates at Equinox in Palo Alto. Equinox’s cafe, Earth Bar, makes THE best smoothies, and I have been dying for one ever since I moved away. My favorite smoothie was the Chocolate Supreme, and although I haven’t been able to replicate it exactly, this recipe comes pretty darn close. The ingredients aren’t exactly cheap, but I promise they’re worth it because this shake is power packed full of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and *obviously* protein.

Ingredients

*follow links for the exact products I use!

1 banana

1 scoop EarthBar Organics Earth Fusion Chocolate (plant based) Protein

1 teaspoon Organic Maca Powder

1.5 tablespoons Organic Cacao Powder

1 tablespoon Almond Butter

1 cup Unsweetened Hemp Milk

Ice for desired texture (I use very little)

 

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

xo,

Ashley

Mat Pilates Fusion Workout

As far as classical Pilates instruction goes, I’m on the wayyyy other end of the spectrum. I respect classical exercises and teach them often, but my favorite part about being an instructor is having the creative freedom to come up with new and exciting exercises for both my clients and myself. I believe it’s incredibly important to constantly switch up your workouts and introduce new exercises into your repertoire so as to “shock” your body and get the maximum benefit from all of your workouts (and almost more importantly to keep you on your toes and ensure you never get bored!). In keeping with this mindset, I have created a workout that fuses a few classical Pilates exercises and principles with other body weight moves that give you a great, comprehensive full body workout.

What You’ll Need:

*click each link to find the exact equipment I use 

Mat

Hand Weights

Magic Circle – can be replaced with mini exercise ball!

Mini Exercise Ball

START

Abs

Rollover x10 + Arm Adduction w/ Magic Circle

Double Arm Lift x10 + Arm Adduction w/ Magic Circle

Oblique Twists x5/side

-Hold on right, squeeze & release circle x10

-Center, squeeze & release circle x10

-Left, squeeze & release circle x10

-Center, torso pulses x10

Glutes

Bridge x10 w/ circle between inner thighs

-Squeeze & release circle x10

-Hip pulses x10

-Hold for 10 seconds

Single Leg Bridge + Arm Adduction x10/leg

-Single Leg Pulses x10 – left

-Single Leg Pulses x10 – right

-Hold bridge, squeeze & release ring w/ arms x10

Arms & Abs

*w/ Mini Exercise Ball beneath Sacrum

Chest Press x10

Shoulder Lifts x10

Flys x10

Tricep Extensions x10

*w/ Magic Circle between ankles

Double Leg Stretch x10

Bicycles x10

Double Leg Lift x10

The Hundred

Arms & Abs

Tricep Dips x10

Russian Twist w/ ball x20/side

Back & Glutes

Baby Cobra x5

Slow Swimming x6/side

Swimming 10 seconds

*w/ Magic Circle between ankles

Double Leg Donkey Kick x10

Hamstring Curl x10

Double Leg Kick x10

-Hold for 5 seconds

Core

4 Point Plank

-Knee Lifts x10

-Scapula Depressions x10

-Slow Mountain Climbers x5/leg

-Single Leg Kick x5 – right

-Single Leg Kick x5 – left

Glutes, Abs, & Arms

*w/ Magic Circle

Kneeling Glute Work – right leg

-Knee to Chest x10

-Heel to Bum x10

-Foot Circles – forward x10

-Foot Circles – backward x10

-Pulses x10

Side Plank Pulses – 30 seconds – right side

Side Lying Arm Work – right arm

-Lateral Raises x10

-Shoulder Lifts x10

-Semi Circle x5

-Semi Circle Reverse Direction x5

-Tricep Extensions x10

Teaser x10

Leg Lifts x10

Repeat Kneeling Glute Work – left leg

Repeat Pulsing Side Plank – left side

Repeat Side Lying Arm Work – left arm

Core

High Plank

-Hover left leg 10 seconds

-Left knee to left elbow x10

Repeat with right leg

Arms & Legs

Pilates Pushups

-2 pushups + 1 lunge per leg

-*repeat x5

Squats x12

-Pulses x10

-Hold 10 seconds

Sumo Squats x12

-Heel Lifts x10

-Pulses w/ heels lifted x10

-Hold w/ heels lifted 10 seconds

Core

60 second forearm plank

 

Done!

xo, Ashley

Mealprep: Shawarma Chicken Salad

If you hadn’t already noticed, I have a little love affair going with Trader Joes. I love their staples (their oil sprays and everyday seasoning are my LIFE), but I also enjoy shopping there because I often have no idea what I want to eat and there are always new things to try. This time I found their Chicken Shawarma first, which comes pre-marinated (I have tried several of their pre-marinated meats, they change the flavors out pretty regularly, all have been excellent). From there, I got a bunch of veggies I felt would go well with it and voila–meals prepped! This meal prep makes 4 salads.

INGREDIENTS:

COOK:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Lightly spread/spray a foil lined baking sheet with olive oil. Add your potatoes and drizzle/spray with olive oil. Cover them with as much Everyday Seasoning as your heart desires, then toss them on the foil to make sure the seasoning and oil are spread around. Bake 18 minutes or until golden brown. Store in tupperware.

Cook the chicken to the package instructions, I made mine using coconut oil spray for the pan. Store in tupperware.

To make the salad, fill a large bowl with the cruciferous crunch salad mix (roughly 1/4 the bag). Then, heat your dressing about 30 seconds so that it is warm. Cover the salad mix with your warm dressing and stir. This will help the kale to soften slightly, trust me it’s worth it. Then, heat 1/4 of your chicken and 1/4 of your potatoes 1 minute in the microwave, or until warm. Add to your salad. Add onion and either 1 teeny avocado or half a regular avocado. Mix it all together and enjoy!

XOXO,
Truett

Travel TBT: Weekend in Phoenix

Last week I went to Phoenix to visit my boyfriend. It was my first time in the city and I must say it looks exactly like Cars Land at Disneyland. Yes, that is the reference I am going with, deal with it. Having never truly been in the desert, I just could not get over how desert it really was: cactus, every building painted in a tan color scheme and not a yard with grass in sight. But, by the end of my time there, I found myself thinking it is actually pretty beautiful in it’s own way. The people are all very friendly. The food is solid. The bar scene is legit. There is a ton of nature to explore. We were a bit all over the place this weekend, so here is what we did separated by neighborhood:

Old Town Scottsdale

I could not believe how adorable Old Town Scottsdale is, it looks like some mayor years ago was bet that he couldn’t make the most Cowboy Western looking town by his worst enemy and had to win. The trash cans are barrels. The bus stops have wagon wheels. It is truly something you have to see to feel the full impact.

Food

Morning Squeeze: This spot is a chain and a local (and visitor) favorite for breakfast. I think I saw 3 separate bachelorette parties waiting for tables. The food was good and the staff was all super nice. I got huevos rancheros and added turkey sausage. The sausage was a bit overdone, but the huevos had two different salsas (chipotle and verde) were great!

Bars

Holy moly, bars in Old Town (also called the Entertainment District), I was not expecting you. Think Vegas, but the clubs are all outdoor patios, within a few blocks of each other. The bartenders are in lingerie. The bottle girls have sparklers and different outfits to bring out different bottles. They’re all pretty similar, this is where we went:

Bottled Blonde
Casa Amigos
The District
Bevvy
Maya Day & Nightclub
Mr Mesquite Tacos: This is actually a taco place we went to after the bars. Not authentic at all, but very good. 10/10 recommend eating as a drunken snack.

Downtown

Food

 Salted Caramel Pudding
Breakfast Club: If you haven’t already noticed, my favorite breakfast is huevos rancheros. If it is on a menu, I will almost always order it. This one was high on the list of most-white huevos I’ve ever had. I mean, the “bowl” was a cold red pepper tortilla. I said to my boyfriend, “These should probably just be called Ranch Eggs”… which I thought was a hilarious joke. However, they were still a solid breakfast and the portions here are ENORMOUS. We got a pancake to share and the maple syrup was amazing. Plus, this area of downtown is really cute. We went to get an amazing salted caramel pudding at Arrogant Butcher after. Yes, we had dessert after breakfast…

Squid Ink Sushi Bar: We went here after Happy Hour, so my judgement may not have been at it’s highest– but the sushi here was great. We sat at an open air bar by the patio, it was lovely.

Bars

Bitter & Twisted: This is a somewhat upscale cocktail bar. We only went in briefly because they serve a ramen burger (where the bun is made from ramen) that my boyfriend was fiercely craving and I had a vodka soda. I plan to go back, because the drinks are supposed to be great.

Valley Bar: This bar has several different vibes in one. There is a game room, a room for performances, a room with hanging mobiles, etc… basically something for everyone. It was fun.

Chico Malo: We went here for happy hour. Beer, wine, wells and shots are all $5 or $6. Like most places in Phoenix, the bar is essentially outdoors.

Cave Creek

Our original plan was to go out to Sedona and hike, but I twisted my ankle the week before the trip and was worried I wouldn’t make it. My lovely boyfriend has the idea of riding horses instead so we went about a 45 minutes outside of the main part of the city to Cave Creek.

Spur Cross Stable Spur Cross Stable: We were hunting on Groupon to find a good deal on horseback riding and Spur Cross was the only place with availability same day. The team was super nice in squeezing us in, even holding the ride a few minutes when we were delayed by traffic. For $68, we got an hour guided trail ride on horseback. I technically rode a horse when I was 3 years old, but don’t remember so this was really my first time. It was super fun and awesome to see the vast desert outside of the city.

 

Oregano's Pizza Oregano's Pizza
Oregano’s:
By this meal, I was already thinking I would need to do a major detox (next section) after this trip, so I figured YOLO LET’S EAT PIZZA. We passed by this place on the way out to Spur Cross Stable and it had a big sign outside that said “The only joint you don’t want to pass”. I mean, weed jokes AND pizza… does it get better? We had an amazing buffalo wings, the Italian salad, a deep dish pizza and cheesecake. Basically we ate enough for a family of 4. It was amazing.

Detox

Did I eat anything healthy in Phoenix? Hardly. Does it seem like I drank every night I was there? Yes. Did I feel absolutely gross by the time it was my last day there? Also yes. So I had to do something about it…

 Hot Yoga University: I saw this place driving one day and noticed the giant sign in the window that read $10 Drop-ins Daily. Having lived in two of the most expensive cities for fitness in the US (NYC and LA) this blew my mind so I made a mental note of it. Then, when the vacation diet grossness kicked in, I thought to myself, COME ON BITCH—LET’S SWEAT THIS SHIT OUT. I went to a noon hot yoga class with Veronica. The studio is very cute (I think they have every motivational quote painting on earth on the walls) and the yoga room is very large. I particularly liked the flooring, which is a sort of woven rubber that was not too harsh on your knees in certain poses. The class was called Cardio Flow and challenging, but in the way that could easily work for all levels. I looked like a smashed tomato by the end, but it was very worth it. I will definitely be back.

Nekter JuiceNekter: Are you even detoxing if you don’t do a juice cleanse? Now, I’m not a believer that a juice cleanse is going to make you lose weight or change your life. I do not believe in starving yourself (spoil alert: you will just gain all your weight back as soon as you start eating) but I do find that doing a 1-day cleanse with limited food added helps to reset my metabolism and get me back on track. I got the 1-day Advanced Cleanse at Nekter, which includes added probiotics, prebiotics and _____, which is a cool addition to the usual juices. I also ate a vegan greek salad around lunch and had some cashews as a snack in the afternoon. By the end of the day, I started to feel like a real fitness blogger again (haha)… but let’s not lie, a few weeks of cardio will be needed to reverse the impact of this trip.

Moisturizer: If you didn’t know, ARIZONA IS IN THE DESERT (lol)… 24 hours after getting there, my face starting falling off. Not joking. My spoiled California coastal skin didn’t know what to do without humidity. My usual moisturizer with sunscreen was NOT cutting it, so I took my frugal ass to Marshall’s and got an intense coconut moisturizer called CocoKind. I actually first heard about it from this IG account I am obsessed with called @ShutTheKaleUp, it is all natural, organic, lalala, you normally buy it at Whole Foods, if you fancy. Anyway, I bring this all up to say, PACK MOISTURIZER when you visit Phoenix. Your skin will thank me later.

I will definitely be back in Phoenix for the boy, so this is far from my last post about it. There is so much I want to go see across the entire West Coast in terms of National Parks, but Arizona has quite a few on my list. Please leave your suggestions!!

XOXO,
Truett

Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

I know chocolate chip cookies are generally pretty basic, but lately they’re the one dessert I’ve really been craving. I very much believe in eating healthy and working out regularly, but even more than that I believe in balance. I give myself one cheat meal (sometimes cheat DAY, shhh) per week, and these chocolate chip chunks of love hit the spot every time. They are super quick and easy to make, which makes me wonder why people even bother with store bought dough because home made cookies are soooo much better!

Funny story about this week’s batch…I was making my cookies to take to a friend’s house for dinner last night when my night got completely ruined. After I set my first tray aside to cool, I went upstairs to shower quickly while my second set baked in the oven. When I came downstairs I saw my dog licking his lips like he just had the treat of a lifetime. I ran to the kitchen, and lo and behold 5 of the 8 cookies from the first batch were missing. I immediately went into panic mode because chocolate is poisonous to dogs. After spending 30 minutes on the phone with poison control, I had no choice but to stay in to monitor my dog in case he got sick. Luckily he ended up being fine, probably because he’s almost 100 pounds, but I had to miss dinner with friends…which resulted in me eating my feelings with way more cookies than I’m willing to admit. Moral of the story: don’t put your fresh baked cookies on the counter where your furry friends can reach them.

These babies have just the right amount of crunch on the outside and the perfect chew on the inside so give them a go this weekend and I guarantee you’ll never NOT make them from scratch ever again.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup room temperature unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

10-12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (depends how chocolate-y you want your cookies). My favorite are Ghirardelli.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter with both sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add salt, vanilla, and eggs until mixed. Add flour mixture slowly until fully combined. Stir in chocolate chips with a spoon or spatula.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoon size chunks of dough two inches a part onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake until cookies are light golden brown, 10-15 minutes (depending how large your chunks are). Remove from oven, let cool 1-2 minutes on baking sheet and transfer to wire rack or serving dish to finish cooling. Yields 20-25 cookies.

***The dough freezes really well, so if you’re like me and only want a few cookies at a time, freeze portions of your dough in sandwich bags to save for whenever you’re craving something sweet!

Enjoy!

xo, Ashley

Tinga Tostadas

This is one of my favorite recipes to make, with the added bonus that it is very easy. The recipe for the chicken tinga comes from one of my best friend’s moms, who is Mexican. Since it is a family recipe, none of the measurements were ever truly written down. The recipe is made to taste, so while this is my best attempt at writing it down,  you will want to taste as you go and edit as you like!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb chicken breast, cut into large strips
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce, ideally no salt added
  • 1 can adobo (chipotle) peppers
  • 1/2 large white onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 head of lettuce, shredded
  • 1 package corn tostada shells
  • 1 cube, packet or spoonful chicken bouillon powder
  • Sour cream and hot sauce (ideally Valentina or Cholula), optional

COOK:

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add your onion, 3 cloves garlic and chicken strips to the water (make sure they are not too small, you are only cutting them so that it cooks slightly faster). Boil until the chicken is cooked all the way through (around 10-12 minutes, cut a piece to test). Remove chicken from water and set aside to cool. Save the boiled water for your sauce.

While the chicken cools, make your sauce. In a blender, combine tomato sauce, one adobo pepper, chicken bouillon. Fill half the tomato sauce can with your reserved boiled water and add to your sauce. Blend until smooth. Taste. This is where the recipe gets a little tough. Personally, I usually add another adobo pepper (I love spicy!!), a lot of salt and/or more chicken bouillon. This is really to your taste, so you will just want to add things slowly to the sauce until it tastes perfect to you! Set sauce aside.

Now you will need to shred your chicken. I was taught to do this by hand, which is why the chicken needs to cool and why you want the chicken in strips so that when you peel it into shreds, they are long. Once your chicken is all shredded, combine it with your sauce. Everything will be too cold to serve at this point, so heat it for a few minutes back on the stove.

To make your tostadas: layer chicken, lettuce, sour cream and hot sauce on your tostada shell. You can also go a little outside the original family recipe (like I did in the photo) and add a layer of beans below the chicken. I used canned refried black beans heated with some fresh squeezed lime.

Buen provecho!
xoxo, Truett