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Monday, September 29, 2014

Bison Chili Recipes- a Whole Foods Recipe

The weather out here in Salt Lake City is bizarre.   

After a week of 90 degree hot sunny days (at the end of September) the weekend came with a vengeance.  The scariest thunderstorm's Friday night and non stop rain all the way through Sunday.  

Like non stop rain from Friday evening until mid-day Sunday.  There was something about the rain, and being away from family and friends in this foreign city that really made me homesick.  And it took me a little bit to get out of this pity party (a run wine and champagne helped!)  It took reminding myself that my family and friends (and the ocean and horses) will always be there, just waiting to come back.  
Suck it up buttercup,
and enjoy this opportunity. 

Well, it was a little harder to enjoy in the rain as Saturday was a complete wash.  
So what is a homesick girl to do? 


Earlier in the week, Thatcher and I went to Whole Foods for a few things.  Olive got to hang out in the "Barking Lot" while I grabbed a few random things (pumpkin beer and ground bison included).  

(Another reason to love Whole Foods)

I saw the bison and immediately thought Chili. A friend had made chili earlier that week that started the craving.  Pair that with rainy weather and fall and I was sold on bison chili.  Saturday evening I googled "Bison Chili" and found this wholefoods recipe.  I mainly followed the recipe but made a few modifications. 

 Wholefoods Bison Chili Recipe Original recipe in this link

Here is my modified recipe- 
I added more cumin, black beans, salt pepper and hot sauce
 and used the full 1 lb package of ground bison.

If you follow the Whole Foods recipe exactly it is 4-6 servings and:
Per Serving:250 calories (25 from fat)2.5g total fat0g saturated fat35mg cholesterol180mg sodium36g carbohydrate (13g dietary fiber12g sugar)24g protein

If you follow mine there are more servings and more calories.  
But it is still a delicious lighter chili with a lean meat.  

  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt-added chili powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce 
  • Sour cream and shredded cheese to garnish!
So I looked at my package and read... wait a minute. 
 I remember hearing when I went to Jackson Hole
 that there are no buffalo in North America.  

Only Bison. 
 So I googled Bison vs. Buffalo did a little "research".

Tomato "Tomahto", Bison Buffalo... 
we just throw the names around a bit here.  
It is "Bison"
 Now moving on!

Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat. When the pot is very hot, add bison and brown it, stirring often for 5 minutes. Add onion and carrot, and cook, until both begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pan, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the water evaporates. 

Add cauliflower, bell pepper and garlic and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, vinegar, tomatoes and beans along with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fork tender, about 45 minutes. 
Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

Look cool and enjoy!

I had a bowl of chili, Thatcher had two bowls, and we still had a lot of chili leftover.

Two containers went in the fridge (for leftover chili and chili dogs) while one went in the freezer for a cold winter night.  Labeling the containers with the name and date also ensure leftovers are used and in time!

I really enjoyed this chili. It was tasty filling and a little different which I loved. 
 If you can't find bison, feel free to throw in ground beef. 
 If you want to keep it lean, try ground chicken or turkey.

Happy Fall Friends!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blue Apron's Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce & Marinated Green Tomatoes

Grad school life can be tough. 

 Trying to juggle classes and homework, while still maintaining some hours at your job, and then a side job. Then there is trying to clean, cook meals, find some time to exercise, walk the dog, enjoy your hobbies, and relax. Today was my "day off from school" but I still was up early doing a few hours of work, then an hour at the dog park, and then a few hours at the barn. By the time I sat down to write this post, I had made a huge glass of Iced Coffee and had a 5 minute dialogue with myself on if I had time to take a nap.

The "Katie Do List" said no. 
 No nap time allowed. 

 Thankfully while this little blog of mine can be some work, it is also a great stress release and something I enjoy doing.  It's also a great way to share my new adventures with all my friends and family back home. Well instead of a nap and in the tradition of staying true to this healthy lifestyle blog, I wanted to share this Blue Apron recipe with you guys.

 It is really basic, really simple, and really delicious. 
 And yes, thank you Blue Apron, this time there were sides ;) 
Blue Apron's Chicken Sate

with Peanut Sauce & Marinated Green Tomatoes


12 Ounces Boneless, Skinless Chicken 

Breast, Sliced

2 Green Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

1 Bunch Cilantro

1 Red Onion 

¾ Cup Jasmine Rice

2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Sesame Oi.
**(Was not a huge fan of the sesame oil in the dish.  
It was a little overpowering 
Next time I will sub this out for a different oil)

2 Tablespoons Mirin

¼ Cup Peanut Butter

12 Wooden Skewers

Makes 2 Servings

About 700 Calories Per Serving

Prepare the ingredients: 

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut the green tomatoes into 
wedges. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems 
and roughly chop the leaves. Peel and thinly slice the red onion. 
Place the chicken in a bowl with half of the soy sauce and toss 
to thoroughly coat; set aside to marinate.

(I just love how everything comes with the exact amount in these little bottles!)

(Easiest marinade ever)

Cook the rice:

In a small pot, combine the rice, a pinch of salt and 1½ cups of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer 18 to 22 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Fluff the finished rice with a fork. * Or just throw it in your rice maker :) 

Marinate the tomatoes:
While the rice cooks, in a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, rice vinegar as much of the red onion as you’d like (you may have extra onion), and half of both the cilantro and sesame oil. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to marinate.

While the rice continues to cook, thread the marinated chicken onto the skewers. (You may have extra skewers.) In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium-high until hot. Add the skewered chicken and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.

Make the peanut sauce:
While the chicken cooks, in a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, mirin andthe remaining soy sauce and sesame oil. Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons of waterto achieve your desired consistency for dipping.

Plate your dish:
Divide the cooked rice and marinated tomatoes between 2 plates. 
Place thefinished chicken skewers on top of the rice. Garnish with the remaining cilantro. 
Serve with the peanut sauce on the side for dipping. 


Click here for the Blue Apron PDF!

Want more?
Check out all my Blue Apron posts in one spot.
On my Pinterest board!
Click Here!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What I learned so far- New England Native in SLC

Salt Lake City, Utah is a wonderful place.
But when you are from New England... it is such a different place. 

When you pack up your life in a little UHaul and move 2,300 miles across the country, away from the water and to a land locked state up in the mountains, life gets a little... different. I have been keeping little mental notes of all the little things I have learned here, and I finally have a good enough list to share with all of you.  To all of you who haven't been to SLC, 
Sit back and enjoy my little list of what a certain New England native learned so far.

Head phones are a must unless you want to have extensive conversations with the drunk homeless population riding the Trax (light rail, train, what ever you want to call it).  On that note - the homeless are harmless, but it breaks my heart every time I see them (especially with the dogs!).  Certainly something that takes a while to get used to. 

Liberty park is amazing: dogs, biking, roller blading, roller skating, scooters, dodgeball, frisbee volleyball, acro yoga, aviary, pool, tennis, free concerts, and even LARPING.

The parks.  There are so many parks and they are all so beautiful and well kept.  A lot of them have running trails so you can avoid running traffic light to traffic light.  Running is SO HARD HERE.  The air is so dry, the altitude is tough at first, and there are no hills, just mountains with insane and constant inclines.  And the decline is tough too!

The rail is PACKED at 7am (and even worst on game days).  Traveling 3.5 miles in a city takes 3x as long to bike walk or even drive compared to living in a small town- waiting for stoplights and pedestrians takes forever.  Biking to campus is a nightmare getting there- massive hill- and slightly suicidal heading home going down those hills

Utah has a lot of lakes and amazing hiking, but some of it does not allow dogs because it is a public water supply.  This can be very frustrating when trying to figure out dog friendly hikes. 

Mountain lions, moose, rattle snakes, and bears live in this area.  And rattle snakes are common.  And the babies are the worst because they don't know when to "let go".  And now I have rattle snake nightmares and jump at any sound while hiking.  Air is not free- $2 to fill up your bike tire at the gas station (what?)  A lot of people in the state of Utah "carry" (weapons) and it is odd to see "No Weapons Allowed" signs on certain buildings.....

This city is all about Festivals.  And there is a large Greek population here and the Greek festival is a big deal 

Everyone runs and bikes and is in impeccable shape.  Running a marathon seems to be a normal thing... and I even saw a kid on campus who had a tattoo tally of how many marathons he has run.  He was up to 7. According to my new Utah friend being active and hiking is called being "granola" a new Utah term for the books.

Free stuff and events everywhere Tuesday and Thursday concerts at the Gallivan Center are absolutely amazing- and free!  There is even a stage!  You can bring your own chairs, your own snacks and enjoy a free concert on a beautiful evening.  Did I mention free enough?

Bring a rain coat everywhere - and a bikini and a winter coat and sunscreen- because the weather is crazy and changes fast.

Sunscreen is a must- sometimes the sun can feel like you are under a broiler-  Bring your own shade everywhere in this state. Like EVERYWHERE.   We need more trees.

The University of Utah is GIGANTIC.   One of my classes is almost a mile walk from the Trax stop on campus.   Many days I walk a half a mile to the trax stop, ride the trax 3 miles to school, and then walk another .5 to a mile to class.  And I do this once in the morning and once at night. 

Fry sauce is a thing- and it's amazing.  Why doesn't CT have fry sauce? From Scratch has the best burger (and that amazing fry sauce).  But I will have to try all the burgers in this city to be sure.. you know... research. Oh and every single thing on this plate was made from scratch. Get it?

The malls here are gorgeous.  They are also outside with cute little rivers running through them, amazing restaurants, and the most adorable little places to sit and relax while shopping.  Did I mention they are all outdoors? Liquor stores sell ONLY warm beer wine and liquor- no fridges of cold beer, no ice, no mixers. BUT you can buy cold beer basically anywhere.  Even at Rite Aid (any beer up to 4%).

Rice Eccles football stadium is not allowed to serve beer, or any alcohol for that matter.
The amount of people that attend football games and how into the games they get is a CULTURE SHOCK to the 1999th degree.   It is so weird to be somewhere where winter is the highlight.  I no longer have to dread winter because the snow is useful here!

It is so nice to not depend on a car.  I walk and take the Trax to school, and drive my car about once a week, usually to drive to a park because Olive isn't allowed on the Trax. 

This city is stunning.  The most beautiful buildings, the most perfect parks, mountains, streams, and oh all the flowers!  Temple Square is simply beautiful and I now refer to it as the castle. The gardens, the square, the fountains.. all so beautiful!

You can run in to the most random things because there is always something going on.
  Like The Piano Guys filming a music video with the Batmobile at the Capital Building and a fog machine. And yes that is a little helicopter drone. 

Dogs who have never lived in an apartment are terrified of the elevator, and of the people that live above you. But there are a lot of great dog friendly events and locations in the city.  

I love having a balcony to sit on and enjoy a drink in the afternoons.  I just wish we had a better view.  Luckily we do get to see some lovely sunsets. 

It is really fun to be in a city with so much to do and actually have a reason to get dressed.  Living in your running clothes is not as popular as it was back at home for me! 

Utah is very on board with Adopt Dont Shop and has a big rescue scene (amazing!).  They host amazing events that support rescues, and even have some of their adoptable pups on billboards.  I attended this amazing "Yappy Hour" event at Pioneer Park that was a huge dog park with music, food, and beer. 

There are so many food trucks around the city and they are all so so SOO good.  
Elk slider and homemade potato chips good. 

While everyone automatically associates Salt Lake City to Mormons and no drinking-- it is such a myth.  Salt Lake City has some amazing bars (Phil dunfy owns one!).  They do have some funky draft beer rules I will admit, but they do have so many amazing local beers and bottled beer has no special percent rules. Beer Hive even had this amazing chiller on the bar to keep your drink cold.  BUT while we are talking about booze- their liquor laws are really annoying.  Every single bar has a special contraption they have to use on all their liquor bottles for evenly measured one shot pours. 

I guess all around... Salt Lake City is a pretty amazing place.  It is the perfect combination of clean safe city life and outdoor adventure.  

But don't get me wrong.   I miss the water, and diving, and the horses, and of course,
 I miss you friends and family so very much! I will keep updating my "What I Have Learned So Far" list  because I am fairly certain the best is yet to come :) 

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dog Lake - Wasatch Mountains

Let me start by saying Utah's dog rules can be a little confusing. 
Why? Because of their watersheds. 

Dogs are not allowed in any of the Utah forests/canyons/mountains etc that drain to a watershed. This was a foreign concept coming from the East Coast but once you figure out there "Can and Can Not's" it isn't too bad.

Dog Lake is between Millcreek Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon. The hike can be accessed by either canyon. BUT..if you have a dog, you have to stay on the Millcreek Canyon side. Big Cottonwood Canyon is a watershed canyon that supplies drinking water to the Wasatch Front, therefore no pets are allowed in this canyon. 

We did our research, and headed into the Millcreek Canyon to start our hike. We knew the hike was about 2.5 miles each way and there were two different trails to get to Dog Lake. 

The trail head is located at the end of the road leading into Millcreek Canyon (From the Mill Creek fee station at the park entrance, it is 8.5 miles to the end of the road. Look for the Big Water Trail signs to start your hike). There is a fee once you leave the park, and the parking can be limited so get there early!
Elevation:  1,200'

NOTE:  This hike can only be done when the gate is open (it closes from November to May!)

As you can see, we started at the green arrow, climbed up to Dog Lake, and then went back to the red arrow.  We took the short steeper trail up and the longer more gradual trail down.   The elevation was quiet intense for this road runner, so these glutes were a little sore the next day. 

The trail up was a little rockier and ledgey, but the trail down was b e a u t i f u l.  Trees were just starting to change colors, and the path was nice packed dirt, wider, and had lots of dogs, hikers and bikers along the way. 

Once again, the GoPro caught some beautiful pictures of Utah. 

(Top of Dog Lake). 

(Oops-  self timer did not work out so well- mid sit!)

We took a 30 minute break at dog lake to eat a few snacks, drink a beer, and watch Olive play in the water with the other dogs. 

All GoPro pictures! 

Dog Lake was such a beautiful hike.  The Lake wasn't the most impressive Lake you ever did see, but it was a perfect spot to rest, and a perfect swimming spot (for dogs, and that allowed dogs!).  Be warned that this is a popular trail, especially for mountain bikers, so leave your headphones at home and be aware!

And now... an honorable mention that that evening... which probably needs it's own post. 

After that nice 5.5 mile hike, I balanced it out with some lovely fair food.
Specifically, with Fried Chicken and Waffles on a Stick from the Utah State Fair.

Yes- it was DELICIOUS.  
Fried Chicken put on a stick and in a waffle maker with waffle mix,
 and then jalapeno maple syrup dipping sauce on the side. 

It's all about balance....right?