Recipes

Healthy Taco Lettuce Wraps

Welcome back to Living Purposefully and Happy Monday!

How was everyone’s weekend?  We had such gorgeous weather in Missouri last week and even though this weekend has been like a regression back into winter (*insert eye roll*), I’m actually still riding that good weather-high of last week. There were lots of long walks with my dog, windows rolled down, reading outside on my porch . . . the works.  My preschoolers also reaped the majority of the sunny weather last week and were behaving 10x less nutty than before so I left the week pretty darn content.  I am a sunshine girl through and through.

On Wednesday night after my easy peasy workout (it was deload week for me aka I’m craving a good sweat) and a walk with my dog, I cooked up some healthy taco lettuce wraps!  I have honestly never made lettuce wraps on my own before because I normally prefer a tortilla or shell, but summer is quickly approaching and I know that small food swaps here and there will get me closer to what I want my summer body to look like!  And before you think I’m one of those crazy people that doesn’t eat any carbs ever, I am a carb-loving girl and am practically a carb myself, but I found that I didn’t even miss a traditional shell/tortilla thanks to the strong flavor of the meat and the crunchiness of the lettuce.

I will preface this recipe saying that I do enjoy a spicier taste so if you are sensitive to spice at all, I would reduce each spice measurement just a bit and taste as you go to be safe.  I also am extremely bad at measuring recipes and tend to just eyeball it and taste as I go (years of watching Rachel Ray on the Food Network primed me for this), so if you add each spice and notice that you’re still wanting more flavor, add some more in!  This is actually my first time measuring out my own dinner recipe in awhile, so  you’re welcome 😉

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tbs of minced garlic
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef (I use 93/7)
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic  salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning (I like the extra punch of spice from adding this so feel free to omit if you don’t have!)
  • 1 head of lettuce (I just used plain iceberg but Blake suggested that butter lettuce would have been even better!)
  • Toppings (I used hot sauce and garlic hummus but think that plain greek yogurt and cheese would have been super yummy too)

Directions

Heat up your olive oil and minced garlic in a pan over medium heat just until warm.  Add your bell peppers and all of  your seasonings to the pan and sautee until close to being done to your liking (I like mine a bit softer than others).  I chose this blend of seasonings just because to me, it creates the flavor that I personally want in tacos but you can use just about any kind of combination of seasonings that you enjoy!

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Tony Chachere’s is my favorite brand of Creole seasoning (thanks, Dad) and always seems to add just the perfect amount of saltiness, spiciness, and flare to any dish I add it to.  (Side note: how adorable is that tablespoon from the Pioneer Woman line?! I want to be her.)

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Make sure to stir frequently so your peppers don’t get too charred on one side.  Add your ground beef just before the peppers are done because the beef should cook up quickly in your already-hot pan.  Cook the beef thoroughly (until all pink is gone) and set aside.

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Now pull a FULL leaf off of your head of lettuce and make sure it’s big enough for however much filling you’re wanting to use.

Now you get to assemble  your “tacos!”  I put a tablespoon of garlic hummus on the bottom of my lettuce leaf and then added my meat and pepper mixture on top and then finished with Frank’s Hot Sauce.  YUM.

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I seriously was skeptical how much I would miss a traditional shell, but I honestly didn’t notice it was gone at all.  This will become a staple in my diet for sure now and I only wish I had tried this sooner!  As a point of reference, a typical soft tortilla will run you about 140-200 calories and a hard shell has about 50 calories, so replacing the occasional home-cooked taco nights with lettuce leaves will help save me enough calories that I can even squeeze in a dessert if I want to 😉

I hope you guys love this recipe as much as I did and I’d love to know if you try it!

As always, thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a wonderful, successful week ❤

xoxo Jordan

Recipes

The End-All Be-All Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Hello, friends, and welcome back!

I hope everyone had a great weekend, whether it was packed full of fun activities or entirely restful.  My weekend started Friday at 5:30 pm and I was beyond ready to relax a little bit and let loose!  Something in the air had my preschoolers actin’ a fool allllll week.

I met up with Blake at the gym right after work on Friday and after we completed our respective workouts, I headed home to shower and get ready for a friend’s retirement party!  It was such a fun night with great company, great food, and great drinks.  Saturday was much more relaxed and it was spent with lots of reading, baking, and time with my nephew before heading to get a low-key barbecue dinner with Blake.

I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies with my nephew while my sister was at work and I just cannot get over how much I adore these cookies.  They are everything that a chocolate chip cookie should be.  Chewy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, choc(k) full of chocolate (pun intended 😉 ), and super thick.

If you’re a chocolate chip cookie aficionado like I am, then you too have probably tried a million and one different recipes for them.  I have been baking since high school and each time I tried a new recipe, I was left disappointed.  Either they were too thin, too flat, too flour-y, too sweet, not sweet enough, too cake-y . . . I could go on for hours.  Basically, they sucked compared to Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies and it griiiiiinded my gears.  Every time I found a new recipe, I would try it in hopes that I had finally found the holy grail, but to no avail.

And then, it happened.

I stumbled across a recipe from Modern Honey and I followed this phenomenal recipe, except for a few tweaks here and there to fit my personal tastes better.  I almost cried tears of joy after I taste-tested them and realized that this was it.  This was the chocolate chip cookie recipe to end all other chocolate chip cookie recipes.  I make these probably once a month because I seriously cannot be trusted having them just sitting in my kitchen, unless I’m making them for someone else.

You guys have to try these cookies out and when you do, immediately give them to someone else or you’ll end up like me, eating 3 massive cookies for dinner and feeling sick the rest of the night.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat your oven to 410 degrees.  This is a bit higher than other recipes because it’s going to create that irresistible chewy outside and gooey inside.  Cream together your cold butter, brown sugar, and white sugar for about 6-7 (or even more) minutes until it’s a uniform mixture.  This takes a bit of time because you’re starting with cold butter instead of room temperature or melted butter as some recipes call for, but I promise it’ll be worth it.  The picture below is what it will look like before it finally starts to break up all of that butter.

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Patience, my friends 😉

Add in your eggs and mix together again.  Slowly incorporate the flour, baking soda, and salt, mixing well each time you add more flour.  Now, this is the only slight caveat about the recipe; you’re going to notice that once you add in all of the flour, your dough is going to be pretty dry.  The first time I made this recipe, I was scared that I had somehow messed it up!

It will look like coarse crumbs and you’ll probably be wondering what the heck happened, but that just means it’s time to get your hands dirty.  I put the mixer away and then I mix everything up with my hands and after a couple of minutes of kneading, the dough finally gets wetter and looks/feels like normal cookie dough.  This is what it will look like after some kneadin’.

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After your dough gets to this stage, add in your chocolate chips!  I used a mixture of milk chocolate chips (I’m a Nestle Tollhouse girl to the core) and chopped up Hershey Kisses.  This is my favorite combination because you get plenty of big chocolate chips and then the chopped up Hershey Kisses evenly disperse throughout the cookie, leaving you with flecks of chocolate in every single bite.

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Now, it’s time to shape your cookie dough onto cookie sheets!  (Or eat it off a spoon watching reruns of The Office, I won’t judge.)  The bigger the better with your cookie dough balls because then they will stay taller and thicker.

Bake your cookies for 8-10 minutes (just depending on how big you made them) and WATCH CAREFULLY.  The higher oven temperature makes these brown quicker than normal and a little bit of brown on the edges is what you want, but if you let it brown too much it’ll ruin the gooeyness that we want on the inside.

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Once you take them out of the oven, let cool slightly and then admire the beauties that you have just baked up.

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These pictures make me absolutely elated after knowing how many botched batches of cookies I have tested over the years!

Clearly, these cookies are not a healthy recipe nor do they offer any nutritional value (besides a happy stomach), but I am a firm believer that a delicious chocolate chip cookie can always be squeezed into almost everyone’s diet 🙂

Try these cookies out and I promise you will never want to try another recipe again!

 

xoxo Jordan

 

 

 

Recipes

Saturday Scenes-Cinnamon Crumble Coffee Cake & Introducing Bella to the Blog

Hello, friends!

It is now Sunday and in order to delay the inevitable Sunday Scaries before going back to work tomorrow, I wanted to share a new recipe that will now become a weekend favorite!  It is an incredibly easy coffee cake recipe that will be perfect for entertaining your friends at brunch on Sunday after a fun night out orrrrr it can be eaten all by yourself with a cup of coffee while relishing in a slow morning.

I truly do enjoy the process of baking but having a full pan of dessert in a mostly empty household=trouble. So when I woke up Saturday and wanted something quick and fresh before a hike with my dog, I knew I was going to have to take most of it to my family.  I tend to put off baking until the weekends so I can really appreciate it and Saturday mornings are the perfect day for a slow morning with a cup of coffee and a little somethin’ sweet!

Enter: Cinnamon Crumble Coffee Cake!

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I halved this recipe and made them more into bars, but it was kind of annoying halving certain ingredients so I am going to give you the full recipe.  I found the bulk of this recipe from Allrecipes.com and made a few tweaks.

Cake Ingredients

-2 cups of flour

-3/4 cup of sugar (brown or white)

-2 tsp of baking powder

-1/2 tsp of salt

-1/2 cup of butter (I used Kerry Gold butter)

-1 egg

-3/4 cup of milk

-1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Crumble Topping Ingredients

-1/4 cup of flour

-2/3 cup sugar (brown or white)

-2 tsp of cinnamon

-1/4 cup of butter (I used Kerry Gold brand as well)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.  In a medium-sized bowl for your cake, combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in your butter (I slightly softened mine in the microwave) until the mixture looks like coarse, dry crumbs.  Add in your egg, milk, and vanilla and mix just until combined (may be slightly lumpy) and pour into your pan.

Now it’s time to prepare your topping!  In a small bowl, combine your flour, sugar, and cinnamon until combined.  Cut in your butter until the mixture is crumbly and can be easily sprinkled.  Sprinkle over the top of your cake mixture and press down slightly so it stays put and then place pan in the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick put in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Enjoy!

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The crumbly topping on any dessert is ALWAYS the best part

I loved this recipe and I honestly think the Kerry Gold brand made it just slightly more butterier than normal, but any brand of stick butter will work just fine!  After letting my carb-y breakfast settle, I put on my hiking shoes, leashed up my dog, and headed out to Knob Noster State Park!

If you live in the Warrensburg/Knob Noster/Whiteman area, I cannot recommend this state park enough.  Easily navigable, campsites abound, and clean trails all make this park perfect for anyone who wants to spend some time outdoors.

The weather on Saturday was perrrrrfect (sunny and 60) and made our time hiking fly by!  My dog, Bella, is probably the member of my family (yes, I consider her a member) that I spend the most time with and she has a serious love for basically anything outside that lets her sniff where other dogs may have walked.  She practically pulls me on our walks & never runs out of energy.  (As you may be able to tell from her crazy eyes in the pictures.)  Here are a few pictures I took from our hike & the hike summary that I get from my RunKeeper App.  <— This app is wonderful and free on any iPhone if you’re looking for a high quality tracking app 🙂

 

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Isn’t she just the cutest?!  I swear, dogs are one of God’s greatest gifts to this world.

 

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I clearly enjoy my hikes to be a bit more of a leisurely pace 😉

 

Aaaand that about wraps up this blog post!  I hope everyone had a great weekend & if you end up trying the recipe, let me know how you like it!

xoxo Jordan