Charcuterie Board On A Budget

Charcuterie Board On A Budget

Charcuterie Board; those two words are music to my ears. One of my favorite things in the world is a nice cured meat with a soft cheese and a cold glass of Marlborough Valley Sauvignon Blanc. If this trio was a bit healthier, I would have this combination every single day.

I find my favorite nights are the ones where we stay home, put together a fun Charcuterie or grazing board and play a little game of dominoes. The main issue I have with creating a charcuterie board is the price tag adds up so fast! I wanted to challenge myself to put together a Charcuterie Board on a budget and I was pretty pleased with the results.

For this board, I stuck to a strict budget of $30. With that budget, I wasn’t able to get as much variety as I normally would but I am still pretty proud of how the board turned out. With the exception of the strawberries and meat, I did the all of my shopping at Trader Joe’s.

My board shown in this post is from Target, I linked it below with additional reasonable boards that I love.

Now let’s make this Charcuterie Board!

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Charcuterie Board

To begin, start with the ingredient(s) that belong in a bowl. For this board, I am only putting olives in a bowl but this would also be the time to include any dips like a hummus or tapenade.

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Charcuterie Board Ideas

Next: add cheese. Sticking to a budget was most difficult when it came to cheese selection because your girl LOVES a fancy cheese. On the board: the three smaller slivers come from the Trader Joe’s tapas pack and are the perfect amount of cheese for a charcuterie board. The larger bit of cheese is triple cream brie with mushrooms, its to die for! SO DELICIOUS.

Side Note: If you are ever in the Palm Springs area there is a great cheese and charcuterie board shop called On The Mark. It’s a must visit.

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How To Make a Charcuterie Board

Next up: Add Meat, for this board I used pepperoni and salami but my favorite is a hard Spanish chorizo. I normally would purchase my cured meats for a board from Whole Foods, but the budget did not allow for that. There is a great selection of cured meats at Whole Foods!. On this board, the pepperoni is prepackaged from the refrigerated section at Ralph’s and the salami is boars head from the Ralph’s deli.

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Charcuterie board from Trader Joes

Add tomatoes or any easy to enjoy vegetable. Another option for non-tomato lovers is bell pepper or carrots. I like to separate my fruits and vegetables with the cheese in case there are any non-strict vegetarians in attendance, in that case, they would be able to enjoy the board’s ingredients as well.

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Charcuterie Board on a budget

Add fresh and dried fruit. for this board I used strawberries and the chili spiced dried mango from Trader Joes. If you have not tried the chili spiced dried mango, its such a must!

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Charcuterie Board Display

Finally, add nuts and crackers and enjoy!

What are your favorite charcuterie board items that I am missing?  I really love a spreadable cheese, sad the budget didn’t allow me to include that.

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Trader Joes Staples For The Keto Diet

Trader Joes Staples For The Keto Diet

I’m finally back in Palm Springs from a very long trip to Birmingham, AL, I had the best time in the deep south, where I enjoyed fried pickles, IPA beer, and crunch wrap supremes. I wish all those things were in my normal diet but, they are not.

I’m so excited to be back home where I’m able to go to the grocery store and get all my favorite foods. One of my favorite things to do when I get home from a long trip is to fill my pantry and fridge with all of my favorite, delicious and healthy foods. I am not a person who gets homesick but I do miss the ability to be able to cook and control all of the food I consume.

To keep my diet clean and mainly grain free I have to keep my home full of delicious and easy grain-free options.  My favorite items below also follow the Keto diet, I am so intrigued by the Keto diet but don’t currently follow because of my deep love for beans.

When I got home from my trip to Birmingham, my fridge was cleaned out, all that was left was chicken, string cheese, and bacon. I guess those items must be the necessities for my husband. There is something exciting about an empty fridge, it means I get to fill the fridge with WHATEVER I want.

Now, let’s get to these Trader Joe’s Staples.

Refrigerated Items

Carne Asada
Trader Joe’s preseasoned carne asada is SO good and easy.

 

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Easy and Delicious Carne Asada

 

Pork Chops
If you follow my Instagram stories tonight you will see my delicious one pan pork chops, yum! I’ll add the recipe to my Instagram highlights because this recipe is so delicious and easy!

Vegetables

Shaved Brussel Sprouts
Super easy to cook up real quick for a delicious side dish.

Cherry Tomatoes
Tomatoes are my favorite food, it’s that easy.

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Sugar Plum Tomatoes

Canned Red & Yellow Roasted Peppers
So great to cut up and throw on a salad.

Steamed Baby Beets
Beets mixed with goat cheese, obsessed!

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Steamed & Peeled Baby Beets

Persian Cucumbers
Okay, quick recipe, mix sour cream and everything but the bagel seasoning and use that as a base to dip the Persian cucumbers, SO GOOD!

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Trader Joes Persian Cucum

Broccoli Slaw
The base for my husband’s favorite side dish.

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Cauliflower Rice/ Broccoli Rice
I love to use this product to make rice for burrito bowls, yum!

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Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower

Frozen Green Beans

 

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Trader Joes Frozen Vegetables

Shelled Edamame

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I also always stock up on lettuce, spinach, kale, and broccoli but how boring.

 

Snacks

Coconut Chips
My absolute favorite snack for airplanes.

 

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Roasted Coconut Chips

 

Raw Almonds
My husband takes raw almonds to work everyday so its a must have.

Pantry

Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
This stuff is the real deal!! I use it on everything. It’s great in greek yogurt as a dip or as a sprinkle on top of the salad. It’s so multifunctional and amazing, must purchase. I get a lot of my seasonings from Trader Joe’s, the prices are so good!

 

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Everything But The Bagel Seasoning

 

Almond Flour
I use this to make the best Keto Muffins! I love almond flour, its such a great high protein, low carb substitute for traditional wheat flour.

Olive Oil
The best prices on olive oil!

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Not Keto Friendly

Gone Bananas
I love these, I wanted something sweet so chocolate covered bananas because DUH!

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Dark Chocolate Covered Banana Slices

Coming Soon

Spaghetti Squash, once fall comes around I always have a spaghetti squash in my home. Trader Joe’s is my favorite place to purchase Spaghetti Squash because their price can’t be beaten.

Some might find grocery shopping horrible and daunting but I’ll be honest there is something about it that is so fun.

What are some Grain-Free and Keto Friendly Trader Joe’s items that I am missing? I know most people will notice the absence of Almond Butter, the truth is, I really hate all nut butters.

Happy Shopping.

-Heather

 

The Best Chicken Enchiliadas; Easy and Delicious

The Best Chicken Enchiliadas; Easy and Delicious

This past week I have been in Birmingham, AL visiting our closest friends in our old hometown. We have a VERY tight knit group of friends and before we moved we spent most nights together. We ate dinner together, we played board games together, we enjoyed social excursions together, you name it and we were probably doing it together. With all that said, leaving Birmingham to move back to California was very, very difficult.

One of my favorite parts about visiting Birmingham is the food! I ate out quite a bit but one of my favorite meals that I enjoyed in Birmingham was made by my old neighbor and friend, Michele. She is constantly cooking delicious meals for our friend group and these Chicken Enchiladas is a favorite of all of ours. She makes some enchiladas with no dairy and some with no jalapenos, she is always very accommodating of everyone’s preferences.

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Easy Chicken Enchiladas

I feel like I talk about this nonstop but when I am home and preparing the meals for my husband and myself,  we eat predominately a grain-free diet. Keeping a grain-free diet is what makes me feel my best but a grain-free diet can be very hard to keep when you are feeding a large group or hosting a party. I preface this recipe with all of that because this is not even slightly a grain-free meal, I might as well be giving a recipe for Pizza because this recipe has all the grains.

Now let’s get to this delicious recipe.

Chicken Enchiladas 

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 pint sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ½ green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8-10 tortillas, burrito size
  • Big can enchilada sauce
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top
  • 2 chopped jalapenos (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Boil chicken in water.  Shred the chicken and set aside.

In a skillet add the green pepper, jalapeno, and onion, cook until softened about 3 minutes, add sour cream, tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano and ground black pepper. Heat until cheese melts, stirring continuously. Once the cheese has melted add chicken back to the pan and stir until chicken is completely coated.

Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce to just cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, warm the tortillas in microwave about 45 seconds so easier to handle.  Scoop even amounts of the mixture in the tortillas and arrange in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover with taco/enchilada sauce and Cheddar cheese. Bake covered in the preheated oven 20 minutes.

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Chicken Enchilada Recipe

16 servings

These enchiladas are:

Delicious
Crowd-Pleasing
Easy

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Delicious Chicken Enchiladas

These enchiladas are so good to feed a crowd, they are comforting and delicious to enjoy with a margarita. Something I really love about this recipe is you can prepare everything in the morning, put it in the fridge and then cook it when everyone is ready for dinner.

Happy Cooking!

-Heather

The Best Grain Free Banana Bread

The Best Grain Free Banana Bread
When we started getting ready for our wedding last year we decided to adopt a grain-free and sugar-free diet, very similar to the paleo diet. For six weeks we basically just ate meat, vegetables and Lara bars; it was boring but the results were great and I felt amazing! Well since our September wedding we have incorporated grains and sugars somewhat back into our diet. When we eat out we will eat grains and sugar but when I am cooking at home we eat 90% grain-free/ sugar-free.
My nephew stayed with us for a week this summer and when that nine-year-old is with me all he wants to do is cook, bake and watch the cooking channel! We decided that we wanted to take the rotting bananas and make some delicious banana bread for breakfast.
I looked through a hundred grain free banana bread recipes and couldn’t find one that didn’t have a ton of weird and hard to find ingredients in the recipe so I kind of adapted my own. Let me tell you the results were so moist and delicious, 10 out of 10 would recommend. This makes a relatively healthy banana bread but tastes like a delicious treat.
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Delicious, Moist, Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 cups mashed banana)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (If Paleo this can be substituted for Almond Butter)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • (Optional) dark chocolate chips- about 1/2 cup
  • (Optional) 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine bananas, vanilla, and peanut butter; mix until well combined, will look creamy with a thick consistency. Add in eggs, one at a time and mix on medium speed until combined. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add in coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; mix again until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and to cool for 20 minutes, then carefully invert, remove bread from pan and place back on wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 12 slices.

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Paleo Banana Bread

I hope you enjoy this banana bread as much as my husband did! It’s a great thing to enjoy with your coffee in the morning or after dinner as a delicious dessert.

Happy Baking!

-Heather

A Visitors Guide to Birmingham, AL: Eat and Drink your way through the Magic City

A Visitors Guide to Birmingham, AL: Eat and Drink your way through the Magic City

As you can tell by my Instagram, I am back in Birmingham, AL visiting for the week and I am SO EXCITED! like, cannot express my excitement to be back in The Magic City. We loved living in Birmingham and I am so excited to be back and spending time here with some of my favorite people, and dogs.

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This picture is taken from the corner of my old office building, how cute is the Alabama theatre?

Any Birmingham native will tell you the best thing about Birmingham is the food! The south, in general, is known for its really heavy, fatty, fried, foods but you don’t have to look far in Birmingham to find options that aren’t traditional southern foods.

So you are in Birmingham for a conference, maybe staying in Birmingham with plans to drive to Tuscaloosa for a football game. This foolproof dining plan will have you falling IN LOVE with the Magic City.

Breakfast

Start your morning at a new local favorite, The essential. This eatery was started by two locals who aspire to give you the perfect meal with all local ingredients. It’s not your traditional southern breakfast but obviously, you will be able to get the staple sausage biscuit just make sure you don’t leave without their homemade pop tarts, YUM!

If breakfast is not your thing and you just need to start your day with a great cup of coffee then off to Woodlawn cafe you go. They have small bites and really great, strong coffee.

Lunch

Hattie B’s

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Hattie B’s in Birmingham

The famous Nashville hot chicken restaurant holds true to their roots in their Birmingham location, it’s so good. Anytime, we would have any visitors stay with us in Birmingham we would immediately take them to Hattie B’s.

My ideal meal:

  • Medium grilled tenders
  • Pimento cheese mac & cheese
  • French fries
  • Diet Coke

PERFECTION! (honestly, if I had to choose any meal, it would be this)

Jack Browns

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Jack Brown’s in Birmingham

If hot chicken isn’t your cup of tea across the street is an excellent hamburger joint, Jack Browns. Their hamburgers are small but mighty and they have the best beer selection to accompany a burger and fries. Anytime I see cream cheese and jalapenos on a hamburger, SIGN. ME. UP.

Dinner

Birmingham has some wonderful fine dining establishments including James Beard’s 2018 Outstanding Restaurant winner: Highlands Bar and Grill. While fine dining is wonderful, I am going to stick to my moderately priced suggestions to complete the day of great eating.

El Bario

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El Barrio – Downtown Birmingham

This delicious restaurant is mainly marketed as a Mexican restaurant but I would say its much more of Mexican/ Southern fusion. Needless to say, their grapefruit margaritas are EVERYTHING! They also have my favorite Saturday brunch in Birmingham. When we first moved to Birmingham I was immediately drawn to this place because the interiors remind me so much of restaurants in California.

Bamboo on 2nd

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Bamboo on 2nd – Asian Fusion, Birmingham, AL

Who knew Birmingham could deliver such awesome Asian fusion? Everything from their ramen bowls to their sushi is perfect, accompanied by a fun, energetic atmosphere. A wonderful downtown eatery.

Fancys on Fifth

Looking for a nice southern-inspired dinner? Look no further than Fancy’s on Fifth. Start with a dozen oysters, shoot, you can start and finish there. After Fancy’s go across the street and do yourself a favor and enjoy a sour beer at Avondale’s’ sour room.

Late Night Eats

If you are ready to end your night with a bang, the corndog at Carrigans will complete your food excursion in Birmingham. It’s the deep fried goodness that dreams are made of complete with hipster ranch you won’t regret this calorie binge.

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Corndog at Carrigans – Birmingham, AL

I have such a special spot in my heart for Birmingham, I mean shoot, my kitty Penny was born just south of the Magic City. This dining guide was so easy to make because its all the places I will be eating at this week while visiting Birmingham.