COOKING DETAILS: CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

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Soup is good for the soul.

The moment the weather dropped below 70 degrees, I pulled out a cookbook to make my favorite Tortilla Soup recipe. We started a little tradition on Sundays at our house.  We start by sleeping in (really late), then head to the grocery store to get fixings for a new slow cooker recipe.  After the store, we head home, I start the soup while Patrick watches football.  This little routine fills my heart with love and stomach with yummy soup.

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Mexican Tortilla Soup)

What you’ll need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes with liquid (from a 15-ounce can)
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Martha makes the soup in a pot. I opted for the simple route, by using a slow cooker.  Place all of the ingredients in the crock pot and simmer on low for 4-6 hours.  The chicken should shred very easily when finished.

Meanwhile, while the soup is cooking, cut tortillas into strips.  Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, toss tortilla strips with 2 teaspoons olive oil and chili powder. Bake until crisp and golden, 8 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

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COOKING AT HOME: AN UPDATE

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So remember this post from a few weeks ago? Well I thought I would share a quick update which involves a lot of cooking highs and lows.

Since my post, we decided to we would make an effort to make dinner at home at least three days a week and supplement with either a quick trip to Whole Foods or date night.

Here are a few of our favorite dinner recipes that have been added to our weekly rotation:

Deb’s Kale Salad ( thanks Merritt for introducing me to the best salad I have ever had!)

Chicken Stir Fry with Quinoa

Roasted Cauliflower with Turkey Bolognese

Broccoli and Cheese Quinoa Bake 

Spinach Salad with Strawberries

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I SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM (OR GELATO)

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We all have a guilty pleasure, and for me it’s ice cream, gelato, or  sorbet.  I am not much of a candy or baked goods fan, but give me a scoop of  ice cream and I am in heaven. It is definitely a special treat when I have ice cream (since I am supposed to stay away from dairy) but I can never let this special treat go.  Like most, ice cream coincide with so many of my good childhood memories, but one in particular was just a few years ago when I lived in Italy. We lived in a small town north of Venice and made nightly stops at the neighborhood Gelateria for a scoop or two of Straccciatella, Strawberry, or my favorite, Pistachio.  We found our favorite spots when traveling and mine was on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence (seriously it was Heaven on Earth). So, when Haagen Dazs reached out to me and asked if I would try their new Gelato flavors I immediately jumped at the opportunity.  Patrick and I decided to splurge with an afternoon treat and tried 3 of the new Haagen Dazs gelato flavors in between some homemade sugar cookies. My favorite was the Pomegranate Swirl and his was the classic Stracciatella.  It brought us right back to Italy!

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photography by PRS for  A Dash of Details

* This post is sponsored by Haagen Dazs, a brand of ice cream I truly love and of course, all opinions are my own. 

MORNING DETAILS WITH NESPRESSO

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Morning are kinda my thing.

It’s my time of the day where the house is still quiet, the dogs are running around in our backyard and I can enjoy my coffee without interruption.  Without fail, my morning routine is consistent to say the least. I wake up between 6:30-7:00, depending on if I hit the snooze a few times, hop in the shower, and head straight to the kitchen to make my first cup of coffee.  I head to my desk to press publish on my post for the day (or let’s be honest: I sit on the couch with the TODAY show in the background), check social media, and sip my coffee while I check out my favorite sites and respond to emails.  After cup number one, I continue to get ready for the rest of my day.

I would say I am somewhat of a coffee snob, I always have been, because life’s too short to drink bad coffee, right? So when my friends at Nespresso sent me over their new Nespresso VertuoLine, I couldn’t wait to try their new American full cup of coffee + authentic espresso maker. I am normally a latte kind of girl, but sometimes I just want to be able to sip on a cup of regular coffee, so needless to say I am completely obsessed.  Did I mention I am on my 2nd cup already? It is perfect for a little extra energy at about 2pm (or 10am if you are like me), especially because you can make a single cup in an instant.

What’s your morning routine look like?

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J.Crew Chambray Shirt / 7 For All Mankind Skinny Jeans / Cleo Suede Loafers (on sale!) / Catbird Rings / Anthropologie Initial Mug / Rebecca Atwood ‘Wave’ Pillow / Buffalo Check Pillows (custom from Nell Hills in Kansas City) / Restoration Hardware Sofa / Gold Flatware / West Elm White Bowl / Nespresso VetuoLine (c/o) / Peakaboo Clear Coffee Table

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photography by PRS for  A Dash of Details

IN THE KITCHEN: FUNFETTI CUPCAKES

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Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should. – Julia Child

One of my favorite things to do is bake. For me it is therapeutic, and there is something exciting when your masterpiece turns out just right.  I have not been baking lately because 1. I eat everything I make, and 2. I am trying to live a healthy lifestyle. This means 2 sticks of butter in the frosting alone, is probably not the best way to go about eating clean.

Since it was Valentine’s weekend, I decided to make an exception and found a recipe for some homemade Funfetti cupcakes.

Funfetti Cupcakes (modified from How Sweet Treats)

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup 2% milk (I used Almond milk instead)

1/3 cup assorted brightly colored sprinkles + more for top of frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients. Fold in assorted sprinkles. Pour into cupcake tins. Bake for 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Let cool, then frost.

Vanilla Buttercream

2 sticks of butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoon of milk, if needed (again, I used almond milk)

Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixture until completely smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar slowly. Gradually increase mixer speed and add vanilla, then beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl. Add milk, if frosting is too thick, if the frosting gets too thin add powdered sugar gradually until it thickens. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

Then enjoy!

xox- a dash of details

photography by ALB for A Dash of Details 

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NEW YEAR, NEW YOU: GARDEN OF FLAVOR JUICE CLEANSE GIVEAWAY

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Day 4 of New Year, New You comes in the form of juice. I am all about jumpstarting a healthy habit and a juice cleanse, for me, is the perfect way to start eating healthy. This year one of my goals is to eat CLEAN foods, I am not saying I am never going to have a slice of pizza but I am trying to change the way I approach eating those types of food.  Side note: I am allergic to dairy but I LOVE cheese, ice cream, and pretty much everything else I am not supposed to eat. For some reason I cannot kick this habit.  I also have other issues that doctors suggested I stay away from gluten, but guys, pasta is my thing.  I would rather have a plain bowl of noodles than just about anything else in the world.  I know there are gluten-free alternatives out there and they have become substantially better than in the beginning, but I just can’t get passed the fact that I shouldn’t eat bread or pasta on a regular basis.

This is where the juice cleanse comes into play. A few months ago Garden of Flavor reached out to me and asked if I would like to try their juice cleanse.  I thought to myself  “3-days of only drinking juice,” is that worth it? After contemplating, I decided to try it. I really hate to fail, so I knew I was going to need some major will power in order to get through these three days. Long story short, it was not all that bad and the result, I felt light and energized at the end. It was a great kick-start to a healthy eating routine.

So for you lovelies, Garden of Nature is offering one lucky winner their very own One Day Juice Cleanse (6 juices).  Unlike some juice cleanses, Garden of Nature juices taste great. My favorites are the Gogi Pineapple, Appleade and the White Night.  Follow the Rafflecopter instructions below for your chance to win.  

Don’t forget to enter the Fusion Fitness Dream Body DVD Set Giveaway and Tata Harper Winter Essential Set Giveaway, there is one more day left!
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* Garden of Nature can be found a participating Whole Foods markets and you can purchase from their website too.  

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Photography by ALB for A Dash of Details

Day 24- A Dash of Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas eve everyone! I hope you are having a lovely night with loved ones, family, and friends.

We will be going to candlelight service, watching Home Alone, making warm cookies for Santa, drinking hot cocoa by the fire and putting Elfie, the magical elf on the tree.

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images via tumblr

Treat Day: Apple Cider Inspired

This weekend P and I are going to the cider mill in Louisburg.  It is the cutest little place where you can pick your pumpkin from the vines, eat apple cider donuts, drink warm apple cider, and ride around the corn maze on a tractor full of hay.  (I grew up in the desert- hence, I was like a kid in a candy store last year when I got to a REAL pumpkin patch for the first time).  

Here is a recipe for homeade Apple Cider Donuts from Smitten Kitchen 

1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil or shortening (see my explanation in the post) for frying

Make the doughnuts: In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch or 3 1/2-inchdoughnut cutter — or a 3 1/2-inch round cutter for the outer shape and a 1-inch round cutter for the hole from a set like this, as I did — cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)

Add enough oil or shortening to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F*. Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.

Fry and top the doughnuts: Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels for a minute after the doughnuts are fried. Dip the top of the warm doughnuts into the glaze or cinnamon sugar mixture (if using) and serve immediately.

Happy Friday!

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images via smitten kitchen and sequins and stripes

Treat Day: Football Style

I am so excited that it is finally football season. I think you all know by now I have an obsession with tailgate food and I can’t wait to find some new chip and dip recipies for the Fall.  Here are a few sweet treats to kick off the season! 

Happy First Football Game Friday! 

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images via 1, 2, 3 

Lemonade Day

On a hot, summer day the best thing to me is a nice glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. Well, today is National Lemonade Day! I hope I drive by one those cute lemonade stands. They bring back some many great memories.

xox- a dash of details

images via google