Chicken Chili with Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, and Black Beans

IMG_8223Sometimes in real estate you get the listing, sometimes you don’t. Last spring, I went on an a listing appointment and not only did I get the listing (and sell it in a day) but I also met am amazing family, was served an awesome lunch, and gained a go-to recipe that I know my family will be making for years to come.  Hope you will enjoy as well!!

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet potato, diced into small cubes (I leave skins on but you can peel if you prefer)

1 large onion

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspooon ground chipotle pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups of chicken broth

1 can diced tomatoes (I use Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with cilantro and lime)

1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed

2  boneless chicken breasts, uncooked

1/2 cup quinoa

I like to cook it all in my cast iron casserole “pot” on the stove top and then in the oven.  You could also definitely use your crockpot!

  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Heat oil and saute the sweet potato and onion until for about 5 minutes until the onion is softened.  Then add the garlic and cook for about another minute.
  3. Stir in the chili powder, chipotle, cumin, and salt.  Add the chicken broth, black beans, tomatoes, and chicken.  (I slice my chicken breast so they are a little thinner and then push down into pot so that veggies and broth cover them.)
  4. Put lid on and cook for 2 1/2-3  hours at 250 degrees.  After three hours, add in the quinoa.  I let it cook for another hour or so.  I know it is ready when the chicken just shreds apart with a wooden spoon.  Gently “pull” chicken into shreds and chunks.
  5. Garnish with whatever you enjoy… avocado, lime, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, rice… it will all taste great!

This recipe is definitely a keeper!  Everyone in the family loves it both as a stew and oddly enough as a hearty “dip” with tortilla chips.  Great recipe for your favorite gluten-free eaters!!

Jen McMorran, RealtorJennifer McMorran, Realtor
New Construction & First Time Home Buyer Specialist
(and Antique lover & home owner)
508-930-5259
Jen.McMorran@gmail.com
www.jenmcmorran.realtor

www.BeHomeBeWell.com

Kensington - Jen McMorranServing clients throughout Massachusetts.
Attleboro to Boston and the communities in between.

 

It’s Crunchy Asian Coleslaw time!

This salad is a go-to favorite of ours all year long but the recent string of beautiful New England summer days is making me crave it even more!  Blue skies, warm sun, eating outside…. time to bring out some classic summer recipes and we still love our classic Asian coleslaw!!

Crunchy Asian Coleslaw

Crunchy Asian SlawOne of my favorite side dishes … great served with cod, haddock, salmon, chicken, pork, or my kids love it paired with potstickers 🙂 For a main dish, just add chicken and serve. I always make a double batch of dressing, toast up half a bag of almonds, and cut up the whole bunch of scallions then store them in the refrigerator. I can then whip this recipe up in just minutes!

1 3-ounce packet of chicken flavor ramen noodles broken into ½ inch piece
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 ½ cups cubed cooked chicken (optional)
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted (can do in fry pan with some butter)
¼ cup chopped green onion
1 10-ounce bag of broccoli, confetti, or coleslaw (I use half broccoli slaw/half cole slaw)

In small bowl, mix rice wine vinegar, canola oil, sesame oil, sugar, pepper, and I just use half of the chicken seasoning packet from the ramen noodles. Mix ramen noodles, chicken, almonds, green onion, and coleslaw together. Add dressing. Chill 30 minutes turning occasionally. Then enjoy!!!

Jen McMorran Head Shot (2)Jennifer McMorran, Realtor
New Construction & First Time Home Buyer Specialist
(and Antique lover & home owner!)
508-930-5259
Jen.McMorran@gmail.com
www.jenmcmorran.realtor

real estate for real people.

Kensington - Jen McMorranServing clients throughout Massachusetts.
Attleboro to Boston and the communities in between.

Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance to you. Or, if you know anyone who could use my assistance,  feel free to share my  contact information (Jen McMorran, Realtor ~ 508-930-5259 ~ jen.mcmorran@gmail.com)

 

Decide on Happiness

As I was clearing out files this morning, I came across this story I had saved to use as a blog years ago.  I am not sure who initially wrote it, but I wanted to share as it did give me a lift this morning as I planned out another busy day with buyers and hosting an Open House plus trying to get in some family-time, some me-time, and we definitely could use a solid trip to the grocery store 🙂

Enjoy…
Simple Steps to More HappinessThe 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t been to the room yet …. just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”

She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less

Jen McMorran Head Shot (2)Jennifer McMorran, Realtor
New Construction & First Time Home Buyer Specialist
(and Antique lover & home owner!)
508-930-5259
Jen.McMorran@gmail.com
www.jenmcmorran.realtor

real estate for real people.

Kensington - Jen McMorranServing clients throughout Massachusetts.
Attleboro to Boston and the communities in between.

THE BEST Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ariko’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSC01454I can not thank my good friend Ariko enough for this amazing cookie recipe!  Ariko and I met at San Jose State while both in Grad School way back in 1993 and I have been making these ever since.  (I often change it up too… white chocolate chips and Craisons or add raisons and a little cinnamon. These will always get rave reviews!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend-
1 egg                                       ¾ cup granulated sugar
2 sticks softened butter          ¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add –
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda    … and blend.

Add –
2 cups 1-minute quick quaker oats … and blend.

And finally add-
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-11 minutes (should look soft and “not quite done”, my oven takes 11 min). Then let cool for 12 minutes on cookie sheets. This gives you the perfect “still soft” cookie – yum!

 

This recipe never disappoints!  I have actually given these cookies to accompany my closing gifts for special clients and they are often better received than some of the best bottles of wine and gift cards I have given.   I think the trick is making sure your butter is softened before blending with the sugars and then only cooking them until the look “almost done”.  Letting the cookies  sit on the pan after removing them from oven absolutely does the trick to finish the cooking off and create a soft wonderful ooey gooey cookie! And, yes, it does make a difference using both semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips.  (Sometimes I even splurge and use Ghiradelli chips!)  Have fun and experiment… you are going to love them!
Jen McMorran Head Shot (2)Jennifer McMorran, Realtor
New Construction & First Time Home Buyer Specialist
(and Antique lover & home owner!)
508-930-5259
Jen.McMorran@gmail.com
www.jenmcmorran.realtor

real estate for real people.

Kensington - Jen McMorranServing clients throughout Massachusetts.
Attleboro to Boston and the communities in between.

Fun Spring and Easter Bouquets

Are you ready to put the thought of winter behind you? Me too! We are supposed to hit 70 degrees this week. Who would have thought after the crazy winter we had in Massachusetts last year… yay! I am packing up the snow gear, shovels, and sleds. Time to think spring and for my family start planning for Easter.

These flower bouquet ideas put me in such a pleasant mood this morning. They would be great as decoration for your Easter celebrations but also easily adaptable for anyone just wanting to welcome Spring into their home.

If you haven’t ever arranged a bouquet of flowers with fun accessories in the vase, don’t worry, it is easy. To keep the flowers watered but decorations dry, place a small vase inside of a larger one. The small vase will be for the water and flowers. You can then line your decorations up in the dry space created between the vases – use your imagination as truly anything can work and make for a fun visual display. (Too big of a space? Just wrap paper towels or tissue paper around the inside vase to lessen the room.)

easter-flower-arrangements-29The umbrella is such a cute alternative to a wreath on your front door. To keep flowers in place, use floral foam. Getting foam in the shape of a cone seems works great. I also found that hanging the umbrella on the door first and then adding decorations and flowers was easiest.

Easter Grass DIY Spring Decor

Not sure why I love the simplicity of grass, but I do!  And how cute are those little terra cotta pots arranged on a cupcake tree?  Or some fancy grass in a nice glass bowl with simple decorations.  So pretty without being distracting.

Have fun and Happy Spring!

Jen McMorran, RealtorJennifer McMorran, Realtor
New Construction & First Time Home Buyer Specialist
(and Antique lover & home owner!)
508-930-5259
Jen.McMorran@gmail.com
www.jenmcmorran.realtor

real estate for real people.
business earned through respect, reputation, & referrals.

Kensington - Jen McMorranServing clients throughout Massachusetts.
Attleboro to Boston and the communities in between.

Chicken Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

IMG_8223

This recipe is definitely a keeper!  Everyone in the family loves it both as a stew and oddly enough as a hearty “dip” with tortilla chips.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet potato, diced into small cubes (I leave skins on but you can peel if you prefer)

1 large onion

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspooon ground chipotle pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups of chicken broth

1 can diced tomatoes (I use Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with cilantro and lime)

1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed

2  boneless chicken breasts, uncooked

1/2 cup quinoa

I like to cook it all in my cast iron casserole “pot” on the stove top and then in the oven.  You could also definitely use your crockpot!

  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Heat oil and saute the sweet potato and onion until for about 5 minutes until the onion is softened.  Then add the garlic and cook for about another minute.
  3. Stir in the chili powder, chipotle, cumin, and salt.  Add the chicken broth, black beans, tomatoes, and chicken.  (I slice my chicken breast so they are a little thinner and then push down into pot so that veggies and broth cover them.)
  4. Put lid on and cook for 2 1/2-3  hours at 250 degrees.  After three hours, add in the quinoa.  I let it cook for another hour or so.  I know it is ready when the chicken just shreds apart with a wooden spoon.  Gently “pull” chicken into shreds and chunks.
  5. Garnish with whatever you enjoy… avocado, lime, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, rice… it will all taste great!

 

 

Classic Buffalo Wing recipe… can’t go wrong!

Warm things up on  chilly Super Bowl Weekend  with classic Buffalo wings!
Best Homemade WingsWe pretty much will eat anything that has been “Buffalo-ized” in our house. Chicken, shrimp, mac & cheese, pizza, egg rolls, dips, calamari, French fries, baked potatoes  … we’ve done it all but routinely come back to these classic wings  based on the original Anchor Bar recipe from Buffalo, NY. (It’s been a long time since I ate wings in Buffalo, NY , but we make these at least once a week and honestly prefer them to ordering out in our area!)

About 3 lbs of chicken wings (you can buy the wingettes already set to go, or buy whole wings cut them apart at the joint)
1 Tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (increase slightly for hotter wings)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (increase slightly for hotter wings)
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tablespoons Frank’s hot sauce
6 Tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

1. Toss wings in a bowl with oil and salt. In large zip lock bag, add flour. Add wings to ziplock with flour and shake until evenly coated.

2. Line cookie sheet with foil and oil (I usually use about 1 Tablespoon of peanut oil for added flavor and evenly coat the foil by spreading it around with my fingers. Make sure it is all covered so wings don’t stick.)

3. Take wings out of bag, shake off extra flour, and place on cookie sheets. Do not crowd them so they bake evenly. Place on bottom rack of oven and bake for 20 minutes at 425. Then flip and bake for another 20 minutes, or until wings are cooked through.

4. Time to make your sauce… in sauce pan combine white vinegar, cayenne, garlic powder, Worcestershire, tabasco, salt, Frank’s hot sauce, and butter. Cook on low heat until blended then let turn off heat and let sit (if you cook on too high, the butter separates so go “low and slow” with the sauce).

5. Once wings are done cooking, place in large mixing bowl. (I try to stack them up on the edges of the bowl so when I pour the sauce in, it is a little easier to evenly coat the wings.) Gently toss with wooden spoon or spatula (don’t get too “rough” with them, you don’t want them to lose any of their crispy coating).

6. Serve with blue cheese and celery. Enjoy!!

Jen McMorran, RealtorJennifer McMorran, Realtor
New Construction & First Time Home Buyer Specialist
(and Antique lover & home owner!)
508-930-5259
Jen.McMorran@gmail.com
www.jenmcmorran.realtor

real estate for real people.

Business earned through respect, reputation, & referrals.

Kensington - Jen McMorranServing clients throughout Massachusetts.
Attleboro to Boston and the communities in between.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Mini Muffins – gluten free AND delicious!!!

banana peanutbutter chocolate chip mini muffinsBanana

Chocolate Chip

Peanut Butter

Mini Muffins!!

If you haven’t tried these, tonight is the perfect time to give them a try.

Warm gooey chocolately goodness on a cold snowy night… perfect!

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana, peeled
1 large egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (some will get mixed into batter, some to sprinkle on top)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray  mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray (usually enough batter for almost 24 muffins)
2. Place banana, egg, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in blender (I LOVE my Vitamix for recipes like this!) Blend until smooth and uniform in color.  Pour batter into bowl or glass measuring cup (I use a large glass measuring cup as it is much easier to pour batter into muffin tins.)
3. Stir in the chocolate chips but save some of the mini chocolate chips for topping the muffins.
4. Pour tablespoonfuls of the batter into the mini-muffin tins.  Sprinkle a few chocolate chips onto each muffin.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, or until the muffins are brown around the edges and if you stick the middle of a muffin with a toothpick, no crumbs cling to the toothpick.  My oven actually takes 10 minutes but most recipes on-line say 7-9 so just keep an eye on them.  Let them cool a bit, then pop them out of the tins and enjoy!!

Makes 24 mini-muffins

(Looking for a new kitchen to create these muffins in?  Let me know, we have some gorgeous custom single family homes and townhomes with amazing kitchens in Attleboro!!  I love to show them off and get ideas from new buyers!)

Jen McMorran, RealtorJennifer McMorran, Realtor
New Construction & First Time Home Buyer Specialist
(and Antique lover & home owner!)
508-930-5259
Jen.McMorran@gmail.com
www.jenmcmorran.realtor

respect, reputation, & referrals.
real estate for real people.

Kensington - Jen McMorranServing clients throughout Massachusetts.
Attleboro to Boston and the communities in between

Belt Up your Decor!

Tired of seeing the fifty ways to repurpose a wood pallet?  Listen, I still love the look of those weathered wood planks but I agree, those posts are getting a little monotonous.   My friend Anne just shared this idea… so cool!  There is something about the warmth and richness of leather that is almost like a hearty glass of red wine at the end of the day 🙂  Now imagine a unique leather rug on the floor, you curled up on the couch sipping  your favorite tea  and reading a fabulous book by a fire crackling in the fireplace.  Ahh…

The designer Ting who created these masterpieces currently has design studios in London and Los Angeles.  Thinking she might be a little outside my budget.  Wonder what it would take to make something like this?

Maybe I could start with the seat of a chair or a placemat…Vintage Belt Place Mats.  Sketch, London, 2005.

Though this door is amazing- functional plus a design element.

Elevator Door.  Private Residence, Chicago, 2011.

I bet some of our more contemporary buyers at Ides Hill Commons or Flynn Terrace could go for this when customizing their new Townhomes. (We have one buyer who is now creating his own industrial looking curtain rods with plumbing fixtures – his window treatments are going to look incredible, I can’t wait to see how all of his finishes come together!)

So who is going to figure out how to do this and not have it look like a project from Trading Spaces?  (How is that for a throwback to the beginnings of DIY TV?!? Ahh… the good old days.)

Let me know and I will hit every thrift store in the area to create a stockpile of leather belts for you!

Jen McMorran, RealtorJennifer McMorran, Realtor
New Construction Specialist
508-930-5259
Jen.McMorran@gmail.com
www.jenmcmorran.realtor

respect, reputation, & referrals.
real estate for real people.

Kensington - Jen McMorranServing clients throughout Massachusetts.
Attleboro to Boston and the communities in between!