In The Kitchen: Crock Pot Chicken Curry

I’ve been loving my crockpot, you guys! I don’t make something in it every week, but when I do, it makes my week so much less stressful. When I get home from work, I already have a healthy meal prepped, and I can just throw it in the microwave and be done! It’s really been a great solution for me. I’ll continue to share which crockpot recipes I’ve tried and loved here on the blog, and please feel free to share some of your favorites with me! Here’s my Pinterest board featuring the recipes I’m hoping to make at some point.

A couple weeks ago, I made this chicken curry recipe, and I think it turned out pretty great! I even served it to my boyfriend, and he gave me a big thumbs up! I added bell peppers and kale to buff up the veggies in this recipe, and I think next time I’d add chopped up carrots, too. The bummer was, I didn’t cook the potatoes long enough, so they weren’t as soft as I’d have liked, but I’ll remember that for next time!

Easy Chicken Curry // Imperfect Chevron

This isn’t the BEST picture, but trust me, this curry is better than it looks. Try it out and let me know what you think of this recipe!

xo

Dairy-Free Favorites

*This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own*

I’ve been living the lactose-free (mostly…I will admit I eat pizza on occasion) for almost 4 years now, and it has helped my health so much. I’ve always had a very sensitive stomach, and even as a child I had difficulty eating ice cream. But I never connected the dots that lactose was the problem! For me, cutting out dairy products has helped me be less nauseous most of the time, and spend more time enjoying my life instead of feeling sick.

But after 4 years without dairy, I have tried so, SO many products and found which ones I prefer. I wanted to share my lactose-free favorite products with you all in case you’re newly lactose-intolerant or are looking to branch out!

Dairy-Free Favorites // Imperfect Chevron

 

Milk

So I’ll be honest, I don’t drink dairy-free milk straight from a glass. But I need something to put in my coffee and pour over my cereal, as well as make smoothies and cook with. Anyway, there are TONS of lactose and soy-free milk options out there, it can be a little intimidating the first few times. I prefer almond milk, cashew milk, and almond-coconut blends. I never buy soy milk, just my personal preference!

#1 Top Pick: Calafia Farms brand Toasted Coconut flavor. Honestly, I’ve tried several brands of almond milks and this brand is absolutely the best quality I’ve tried. It’s very smooth and not gritty at all, they have good tasting (not too sweet) flavors, and it comes in a gorgeous bottle. It’s a little steeper price than some of the options, but I prefer this brand to any other I’ve tried so it’s well worth it!

#2 Runner Up: Almond Breeze brand Unsweetened Vanilla or Almond-Coconut Blend. A good overall brand! Lots of flavors (plus they also have all the blends (almond-cashew, almond coconut), and has a good taste. I typically buy the unsweetened flavors, because I find the almond milk already has a slightly sweet taste.

“Cheese”

I don’t use fake cheese all that often, but sometimes I crave nachos or a grilled cheese sandwich, you know? It’s not something I typically eat very often, but I’ve tried several different brands and had to throw out many many bags…here are the brands I’ve found to be the best tasting.

#1 Top Shreddable: Daiya brand Mozzarella Shreds. While costly, this cheese melts really well and has a similar salty/savory flavor as real cheese. It’s perfect for nachos, lasagna or baked pasta dishes, pizza, and other casseroles.

#1 Top Sliced: GoVeggie! brand in American Slices. This is my go-to sliced cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s similar consistency to like Kraft singles, which sounds kind of gross unless you’re 10 years old, but it melts really great! I’ll use it if I want a cheeseburger or grilled cheese. And you really can’t beat the price, it’s very reasonable for a dairy-free product.

Ice Cream

I LOVE ice cream. To be honest, this has totally been the hardest part of being lactose intolerant for me, because I used to crave ice cream daily. There are many dairy products that I can actually still eat in small amounts, but ice cream is not one of them. It is just not worth how sick I get after eating it. Anyway. The frustrating thing about dairy-free ice creams is that they are A) very expensive, and B) typically come in pint-sized containers. It’s very annoying. Plus, it’s difficult to find ice creams that mimic the wonderful consistency of real ice cream. Here are my top picks.

#1 Top Ice Cream: Lactaid brand (any flavor!). This brand comes in a quart size, and is actually real ice cream (they just remove the lactose!), so it solves both of my quandaries. Plus, it comes in several flavors (salted caramel, cookies and cream!?) which is a total bonus. All in all, an amazing product.

#2 Top Ice Cream: Trader Joe’s Soy Creamy in Cherry Chocolate Trip. If there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, get there immediately and pick up some of their Soy Creamy ice cream! It’s got a great consistency and flavor, and I love that the Cherry flavor has those tasty cherry bits in it. It’s very reasonably priced, too, and you get a quart!

Yogurt

I’ve tried several brands of lactose-free yogurt, and there is only one brand I’ve found that tastes the best to me.

#1 Top Yogurt: So Delicious Yogurt in Plain or Strawberry Banana. Yes, this yogurt is not cheap. But it tastes wonderful and has a great consistency. It isn’t tangy or watery, and the flavors are fresh tasting. So if you’ve gotta have some yogurt in your life, this is the way to go for sure.

So there you go! A quick list of some of my favorites. Found any other brands of lactose-free foods you love? Let me know! I’m always looking for new good ones. Again, this post is not sponsored in any way, I just like to share the products I love and use in my daily life.

xo.

In the Kitchen

*This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own*

I was flipping through a magazine last month when I came upon this recipe, and I immediately tore the page out to save it. It just looked like the perfect fall meal–comforting, easy, and hearty. I’ve just been waiting for the perfect opportunity to try it out.

In the Kitchen via Imperfect Chevron

Luckily, this weekend was my mom’s birthday! So I pulled out the dutch oven and made this one-pot, amazingly easy, delicious stew. It turned out so good! Definitely better than I expected. Everyone in my family was impressed with the stew, and presented me with the “Cooking Genius” award (Ok, they didn’t. But they did really love this meal!).

In the Kitchen via Imperfect Chevron

Anyway, add this awesome chicken stew to your fall/winter meals! It is easily dairy free (just don’t add the optional parmesan cheese over your individual serving), so it gets bonus points for that. Your family and friends will love it! If you’re serving a big group, I’d definitely double the recipe.

In the Kitchen via Imperfect Chevron

For her birthday, my mom requested this lemon bundt, which was SO GOOD AND LEMONY. I used this glaze (And had a total emergency because it was so liquidy and instantly rolled off the cake and spilled all over the floor and table. Frosting everywhere, frosting flood. But we’ll just ignore that doofy part!) and it was the perfect frosting to compliment the cake. Let us eat cake! (:

xo

In the Kitchen

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love food. Pretty much my whole grid is made up of food (and my pets, of course!). But I don’t share my love of eating and cooking on the blog very often, and I want to change that. So today I’m introducing a little mini-series called “In the Kitchen,” where I’ll share some of the recipes I’ve been making lately.

This year, I’ve really gotten back into trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, and this first “In the Kitchen” is going to be a fun mix of different things!

  1. First up, a lemon orzo salad! I went to lunch with my grandma early in the summer and ordered the most delicious, light but filling, lemon-y orzo salad served over spinach. I couldn’t stop thinking about the salad for days…literally, I dreamed about it. So I searched the internet for recipes and ended up with this one, which is the recipe that orzo dreams are made of. Seriously, my entire family loved it, and it’s my new go-to recipe for parties or having friends over. It’s really easy to make, and it’s also easy to just cut back on the amount of cheese for my fellow lactose-intolerant friends out there (the recipe calls for feta, but I actually used a bit of parmesan instead). Plus, it makes a TON, so it’s perfect for a large group of people, or you can have leftovers for days (which is my jam). I like to serve it over fresh spinach or lettuce! In the Kitchen via Imperfect Chevron
  2. To make my brother’s birthday extra special, I decided to make chicken coconut curry — a task that seemed a little ambitious considering I’ve never made curry before, but luckily it turned out great! I made this recipe, and made a few alterations. The recipe calls for poppy seeds, but I used a little extra thick coconut milk instead. I also added cooked potato chunks, salt, and a little curry powder to make it a little more flavorful. All in all, I felt like this recipe is a winner, and kind of a no-fail way to make a really impressive dish to wow your relatives into thinking you’re a cooking genius. Side note, this recipe is not spicy *as is* so if you want a little heat, add some of your favorite spicy spices (cayanne, red chili powder, etc.). Next time I make it, I’m going to add some spicier chili peppers.
  3. The team at A Beautiful Mess always has inspiring and creative vegetarian meal ideas, and when I saw their recipe for Polenta Pizza Bites I was salivating. I finally got around to making them this fall, and they were both easy and tasty. I liked them as a meal, but they’d make excellent appetizers as well. The polenta gets nice and crispy on the outside, and stays soft inside. I didn’t need to cook my polenta for as long as the recipe stated, but I sliced it fairly thin…just keep an eye on your polenta while baking so you don’t accidentally burn it.
  4. I’d been wanting to make this Spaghetti Squash Bake for a long time, and a few weeks back I went for it (even though 2 members of my family don’t care for spaghetti squash and have made their opinions loudly heard). Everybody tried it, and ended up really liking it, which was a major “I told you so!” moment. The biggest thing with this recipe is it takes a little prep work (you have to cook the squash in advance, which is really easy but takes upward of 40 mins usually). But it’s the perfect casserole to cook while you’re watching football or hanging around the house this fall. And, it’s a recipe that you can customize for your eating needs, i.e. you can add mozzarella or parmesan cheese, you can use lactose-free cheese, or you could skip the cheese altogether. Up to you!

So, that wraps up the first “In the Kitchen” with 4 tried and true recipes to add to your arsenal. Now go forth and cook well. (:

xo

Build the Perfect Green Smoothie

I’ve been on a green-smoothie kick this summer, and why not? They’re a healthy breakfast option that keeps me full until lunch, and isn’t hard on my stomach early in the morning (I’m one of those people who doesn’t wake up hungry, and my stomach can’t tolerate a lot of protein right away). Plus, I love that I can get another serving of veggies in, which is kind of hard to do at breakfast!

Anyway, after a few days of trying different combinations, I’ve finally perfected the perfect smoothie. The cool thing, is that you can substitute any greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.) and fruits (berries, apple, melon, pineapple, etc.) with the base. So you can make your smoothie just how you like it!

Now all of you out there who just scoffed and muttered, “Psh, ain’t nobody got time for that!” I feel you. Mornings are pretty much a hot mess for me as I’m scrambling to get my day started or rush out the door, so I get that you don’t have time to blend up the perfect smoothie in the morning. Here’s the magic of the green smoothie: I make mine at night, with 2 large servings. So in one 5 minute blending session, I have 2 smoothies for the next 2 mornings. Magic! I find that my smoothies seem to last well in the fridge for a couple of days, but you could even freeze one for later if that works better for you!

Perfect Green Smoothies via Imperfect Chevron

Ok, here’s my perfect green smoothie recipe (makes 2 large smoothies):

  • 2 cups liquid – I combine 1 cup coconut or almond milk with 1 cup water, but you could come up with any combination!
  • 1-2 cups greens – it depends on what you use and your preferences. I usually go with about 2 cups of kale, spinach, or lettuce when I’m in a pinch and don’t have time to get to the store
  • 1-2 cups frozen banana – I don’t usually measure, I just eyeball it. Also, it makes it easier to slice up bananas and freeze them in advance!
  • 2 cups frozen berries (or whatever fruit you want!) – right now I’m using Costco’s Triple Berry Blend bag with blackberries, rasberries, and blueberries. You could use any fruit, fresh or frozen!
  • Optional: 2-3 Tbsp chia seeds

Instructions: Put the liquids in the bottom of your blender, then the greens, then the fruits. If you’re adding chia seeds, throw them in there! And blend until all ingredients are combined. You can pour your smoothie mixture into 2 large glasses and keep them in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to eat them.

Perfect Green Smoothies via Imperfect Chevron

Do you have a perfect smoothie recipe? Let me know if you try this recipe, and if it works for you! Happy eating!

xo

Weekly Grocery Prep

To be perfectly honest, even though I love fruits and veggies, taking the time and effort to eat healthy foods during my busy weeks isn’t easy. By the time I get home from my long days at my internship, the last thing I want to do is spend time chopping veggies for dinner (or to pack my lunch for the next day!). But I’m always trying to be conscious of what I put in my body, and I know that getting enough fruits and veggies is super important.

This year, I started a new habit that’s really been helping me save time during the week and stay healthy. Every weekend after my grocery haul, I spend an hour or so washing and chopping up veggies and fruits for the long week. And you guys, the habit has stuck. In today’s post, I’m going to share a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I set myself up for a successful week of snacking!

One: buy produce that your family likes

Weekly Grocery Prep via Imperfect Chevron

I’ve been buying lots of grapefruit (so cheap here in NC!), these sweet baby peppers, and lots of seasonal fruit.

Two: wash and chop

Weekly Grocery Prep via Imperfect Chevron

Weekly Grocery Prep via Imperfect Chevron

I always make sure to wash all my fruits and veggies really well before cutting them up. Look at this gorgeous grapefruit!

Three: store for easy snacking

Weekly Grocery Prep via Imperfect Chevron

Weekly Grocery Prep via Imperfect Chevron

Weekly Grocery Prep via Imperfect Chevron

Weekly Grocery Prep via Imperfect Chevron

Tada! Now I have lots of healthy snacks already prepped and ready to eat. This helps me stay on track, and I love that I can just pop some fruits and veggies into a smaller tupperware and toss them in my lunch bag for the next day. If you have any tips for making healthy eating easier that works for you, let me know!

xo

 

 

Chocolate-Dipped Bananas

Have you guys tried chocolate-dipped bananas yet? I’ve seen them lots of times at Costco but never bought them…my grandma told me a few weeks ago that she makes hers at home using chocolate bars, and I decided I’d try making some.

Oh, my gosh, you guys. So good!

It’s super easy, too, and it feels like you’re eating ice cream or some yummy frozen treat. It’s a great way to eat dessert and still feel satisfied while you’re dieting or trying to eat healthier.

chocolate bananas

All you do is slice your bananas and freeze them in a single layer on a cookie/baking sheet for a couple of hours (or until they’re frozen enough). Then, I chopped up my chocolate bar (I used a 72% dark chocolate bar) and melted it in the microwave using this video. And then, you dip the bottoms of the bananas in the melted chocolate and pop them back in the freezer for a few minutes before putting them in a zip-lock bag to store. See, really easy? And even my mom, who isn’t the world’s biggest banana fan, loves them!

I’ve already made a second batch, since we ate them so quickly. It’s a fun and easy summer treat that you won’t feel too guilty about eating! I hope you’ll try making these, you won’t regret it.

(mmm, chocolate)

chocolate