White Chicken Enchilada Casserole

August 1, 2014 by Ali

I’m home!!! I’m home, I’m home, I’m home! And after a fun few weeks traipsing around Europe, a 9.5 hour plane ride with a 1-year-old kicking the back of my seat and crying half of the ride, and a nearly lost luggage fiasco, boy did it feel good to walk in the door to my loft last night. And I had three things on my must-happen-immediately list:

1. a big ol’ glass of ice water
2. a full night to catch up on some zzzz’s in my own bed

Oh man. I rarely go 3 days without eating Mexican food, so 3 weeks without my chips and salsa felt like an eternity! We did pass by a few “Mexican” restaurants in Germany and Austria and even considered stopping in one evening. But one peek at their menus full of BBQ wings and New York steaks and shrimp scampi (true story) suggested we might be better waiting until we got home. So we did. And now I fully intend to make up for lost time…beginning with this white chicken enchilada casserole recipe!

It’s kind of a riff on my (red) Chicken Enchilada Casserole recipe, which has become a bit of a hit on the blog. But as you can tell, this is the “white”, creamy, green-chile-y, total comfort-food-y version. Although this version is even slightly healthier than traditional white enchiladas, and easy to make by “stacking” the enchiladas into a casserole instead of rolling them all up. Interested? I think you will be… :)

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Ginger Peach Crumble

July 30, 2014 by Ali

Let me start out by saying that this is an absolutely beautiful recipe that I love. And I think you will adore it too.

But something about baking it up this time caught my emotions a little off guard.

Because, quite simply, this is one of those desserts that’s meant to be shared.

And on the day that I had the idea for this crumble, and went to the market to eagerly gather some peaches, and layered them up with a delicious ginger and almond topping to create this crumble, and pulled the hot pan out of the oven, I realized that there was no one waiting to share it with. No 4-yr-old peeking in the oven to see if it was “done yet”. No baby on my hip babbling away and hoping for a little spoonful of ice cream. No husband getting bowls and spoons ready so that we could eat the crumble out on the back deck together after dinner.

If you would have asked me 10 years ago what I thought serving up a summer dessert would look like, it would have been just that. Me + husband + kids running everywhere + a small little home with a big back deck + sweet crumble topped with generous scoops of ice cream + warm summer nights + an imperfectly happy little life.

But on the day that this delicious crumble came out of the oven, it was just me + myself + I. And it was just one of those moments when I felt it. And it made me a little sad. Because there’s something about making a fresh-out-of-the-oven bubbling peach crumble — or really, any good moment in life — that makes you just want to turn around and share it with people. And see their faces light up when they taste that first bite. And enjoy that small delicious moment together.

I’ll admit, on that day in that moment, that was all I wanted. But once the moment passed and I looked down in my hands at this pan full of summer’s best, I was reminded again at what life has given me. I don’t have the picket fence and husband and 2.5 kids. But I have a life I love made all the better by an extraordinary community filled with thoughtful awesome friends, who are especially good at coming over in a heartbeat if one of “those” moments hit…or when peach crumble is mentioned. And once again, they proved to be exactly what I needed that day, and helped make history of this peach crumble. :)

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Grape, Avocado and Arugula Salad

July 28, 2014 by Ali

Somehow, I kind of forgot about grapes.

Like, I basically spaced off that they existed for about a year. I just kind of forgot about them. They never crossed my mind when planning ingredients for a big salad. They never made it into my shopping bag. I’m pretty sure they never made it into my mouth for nearly a year, save for (ahem) a few glasses of wine.

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4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken

July 25, 2014 by Ali

I absolutely love food blogging. But I have to confess, there’s one thing about my pre-recipe-developing days that I really miss sometimes about cooking – not measuring stuff.

Before I started sharing recipes with you, I was totally “that cook” who prided herself on rarely pulling out a measuring cup or spoon. Sure, I usually had to do so for baking. But for cooking? I loved tossing in a “glug” of this here, a “pinch” of that there, a “handful” of that here, and a “sprinkle” of that there….you know, “eyeing it”. It’s definitely my favorite way to cook. And arguably, it’s the way that people have cooked for most of history and still continue to cook today in most countries around the world.

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German Potato Salad

July 23, 2014 by Ali

Guten tag, meine freune!

Ok, I had to look up the “my friends” part of that on Google translate. Clearly my German is not quite on par with my Spanish. But hey, on the day that this post goes live, I will have already spent a week in Austria and Germany during my European adventure. So hopefully my vocab will have at least improved a little by then. One thing’s for sure, though — I know that I will have already consumed lots of potatoes by then!

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Blueberry Cake

July 21, 2014 by Ali

Hey friends! Ali, here. I’m really excited to introduce you to one of the coolest 15-year-olds I know, who collaborated with me as the baker/writer/photographer behind today’s post. Her name is Maya, and we have gone to church together for years. But I only recently found out that — in addition to being a delightful, smart, kind, and super-talented teenager – she is also a major foodie and talented cook who dreams of being a chef. So I had her come over a few weeks ago, and we spent the day cooking and baking and learning about photography and food blogging and chatting about life. And along the way, we also happened to bake this seriously stellar blueberry cake. So here to tell you about it today, please welcome guest-blogger…Maya!

Hey all, I’m Maya! I had the amazing opportunity to shadow Ali for a day and cook with her. I love to cook. It all started back in preschool when the teachers asked the famous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. While all the boys had their hearts set on being professional athletes and the girls were playing veterinarian and teacher, I proudly announced I would like to be a “cooker.” My love for mixing flavors and sharing good food with people was kindled at a young age. I would be found perched up on a stool with an oversized apron and a paper chef hat, mixing up salads or flipping grilled cheese. As the years went on my cook book collection grew and so did my knowledge of cooking.

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Fresh Peach Margarita

July 18, 2014 by Ali

I had every intention of turning these peaches into a fresh white sangria.

But then chips and salsa snacking happened during happy hour. (What’s new?)

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10-Minute Spinach Lasagna

July 16, 2014 by Ali

Since becoming a food blogger, my cell number has basically morphed into the cooking hotline for my friends.

Probably at least once a day, I get a text from someone asking whether a ____ can be cooked in the crock pot, or how to tell if _____ is ripe, or what side would go well with _____ entree, or a photo asking whether _____ is a cucumber or a zucchini. Or most often, asking to taste-test whatever I posted on Instagram that day. ;)

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