Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It's (officially) Official

A couple of months back, I prematurely announced that I would be moving this blog to a new one, The Holland House. I should have waited until I had ample time to learn about Wordpress and get it looking exactly like I wanted it to. Well, that time has come and gone, and I still know almost nothing about Wordpress, nor do I like working with it. Everyone says it's the best blogging platform, but I guess I'm just so used to Blogger and how it works. Trying to do anything on Wordpress just made me an angry person. Lucky for me, Hank is a genius and was able to transfer the domain, or direct traffic, or whatever, so that now I can post on the new blog using Blogger.

I've honestly struggled with my path in blogging. What originally started as a dating blog turned into a lifestyle blog, and now my life has taken an even bigger next step. I still feel like I have plenty of things to share and say, but I would like for that focus to be more on my life that now (permanently) includes someone else. This blog has started to take off, which has been great. And I know that starting all over again is not that great for momentum, but I can live with that. The compromise for me is that I will still keep my identity as Amy in Austin- because that's really who I am.  But I will be sharing my blogging space with my adorable husband, who also has some interesting things to say as well.

We spruced the new place up a bit, and will probably make a few more tweaks as we go along. But I do hope that you will follow us. All of my new posts will be on our new blog- The Holland House. Please add us to your Bloglovin' (or other RSS) feed. I'm going to wait a week or so before I start importing my favorite posts from this blog to the new one, but hope to have the most popular content organized and in place in the next few weeks.

This is certainly not a goodbye, rather a see you soon. Very soon! Our first post is up, with another one planned tomorrow. So don't be shy- pay a visit to our house when you get the chance. We like to kick back with a craft beer (his) or a glass of wine (hers) and share fun stories. We'd love for you to join us.

The Holland House

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lunch in a Box: Almond Flour Chicken Bites

I'm on a serious roll with healthy lunches this week, but this one is probably my favorite of all my recent lunches. The best part about it is that it doesn't necessarily "feel" healthy, if that makes any sense. The chicken bites and dipping sauce almost made me feel like I splurged and went to Chick-Fil-A (not that I ever would these days).

As I was working on this recipe in my head, I decided I needed to do some research on the health benefits of almond flour. I read some good and some bad things, but decided it was worth a shot. Because it's ground up almonds, you do have to watch the fat content (which is why I paired it with fruit and veggies). And it's also not very heat tolerant, so I used a lower temp in my oven when I baked these. But the end result is absolutely delicious, and this is one chicken dish that I don't mind eating at all. Plus, you can add whatever dipping sauce you happen to like. I made my own honey mustard because it's my favorite, but anything would work.

For this lunch, I added leftover asparagus from dinner, Garlicky Zucchini Ribbons, and mixed berries for dessert.

Amy in Austin: Almond Flour Chicken Bites

Almond Flour Chicken Bites
(6 servings)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
1 cup almond flour (I found this in the bulk section at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T chili powder
1 tsp turmeric (I swear I use this in everything these days)
1 tsp season salt

1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup rice milk (or some other liquid)

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Brine chicken bites in salt water while you get the rest of your ingredients assembled. (You can skip this step if you want, but I do it when I have time because I feel like it results in a more moist chicken.)

3. Combine almond flour, flax seed and seasonings in a large bowl or plastic bag. I ended up coating several batches in a large bowl.

4. Drain chicken if brining, then pour the egg and milk mixture on top of chicken to coat.

5. In batches, coat chicken pieces in almond mix. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled.

6. Bake for 15 minutes on each side. Check to make sure they are done before letting cool.

Honey Mustard
(6 servings)

3/4 cup dijon mustard
1 T honey

1. Mix and portion out. I love the Easy Lunch Box Mini Dippers because they fit in my lunch container.

Per my trusty Lose It app, below is a best guest of nutritional information for the chicken bites:

Calories: 253
Fat: 16.7g
Cholesterol: 36mg
Sodium: 31.3mg
Carb: 6.7g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 0.7g
Protein: 20.4g

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lunch in a Box: Thai Beef and Mango Salad

Yesterday I hosted our latest Cookbook Club gathering, where we enjoyed a great meal and reviewed dishes we made from two different blogs- Post Punk Kitchen and Eating Well. I wanted to serve something light, fresh and "summery". I knew a salad would be great, but I didn't want it to be a boring salad. Luckily I came across a recipe for Thai Beef and Melon Salad. With a few adjustments, I was confident that it would be perfect for our meal. It tasted great yesterday, and even better today, and of course I was excited to have leftovers to make my lunch.

I did make a few tweaks to their recipe (like replacing the melon with mango), and was really pleased with the results. You can check out the original on the link above if you want to compare. I added cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and some fresh berries to round out the meal.

Amy in Austin: Thai Beef and Mango Salad

Thai Beef and Mango Salad
(serves 3-6)

12 ounces of beef sirloin, about 1 inch thick
salt and pepper to season the meat
1 tsp oil

1/4 cup lime juice
3 T low-sodium soy sauce (I can't stand the taste of fish sauce, so I subbed soy sauce and Hoison)
1 tsp Hoison
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper (less if you don't want the heat)

6 cups of mixed greens
3 mangoes, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 cup thin cucumber slices, halved
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped

1. Heat a pan over medium, and place the seasoned steak in when it's hot. Cook about 5 minutes on each side for medium pink. (Alternative would be to grill the steak.)

2. Meanwhile, whisk the lime juice, soy sauce, Hoison, garlic and red pepper together.

3. When steak is done cooking, let it rest about 5 minutes before slicing it into thin strips.

4. Assemble the lettuce and remaining ingredients, toss with dressing, and then serve steak on top.

Song of the Day: Michael Kiwanuka- Home Again

Since Hank has spruced up our back porch and made it a much more inviting place, we enjoy rocking in the chairs, drinking wine, and listening to some music. I'm always on the hunt for good "porch" music, and Michael Kiwanuka's acoustic/retro soul sound is a perfect fit. It just so happens that he's taping an Austin City Limits show next week, and that is how I found out about him. I have a calendar reminder to check the ACL website every Monday to sign up to win tickets, and saw him listed as the next performer. (Wish me luck that we actually win tickets- it's never happened.)

I already have one of his songs on iTunes, but it's not really my favorite. But the song Home Again (from his album released last year) is a winner. I plan on downloading the rest of the album, and trying it out on our back porch soon.