Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weather and Banana Bread

The past week and a half has been really difficult on our beautiful Colorado and its residents.  Unless you have been somewhere without television or internet, you know that we have had historic flooding, thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and tragically human lives have been lost.  As always, the people of Colorado will rise above, lend a helping hand and rebuild stronger and better than ever.  But it has been hard for so many, and I feel so fortunate that our home stayed dry and didn't have any damage or loss. 

 While it rained here for days, I decided to do a little baking.  I am not sure why, but baking/cooking always calms my nerves and anxiety.  I think it must be because I am doing something I love and putting that love into everything I make.  It was the perfect fall weather-cool and cloudy with that crisp feeling in the air.....perfect for an afternoon of baking.  I had some really ripe bananas leftover from our two weeks of smoothie fun, so instead of tossing them out I decided to make Banana Bread.  I wanted to make a bread that was a little healthier than the ones in my cookbooks, so a few substitutions were made to my Betty Crocker recipe to achieve just that.

Banana Bread Recipe 
adapted from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook

1 1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup butter-softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 Cups mashed ripe bananas-about 3-4 medium bananas
1/2 Cup skim or 1% milk (substitution-original recipe called for buttermilk)
2 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour (subsitution-original reciped called for white flour)
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray 1 loaf pan (9x5x3 in) with cooking spray.  Make sure to place cooking rack in lower position in the oven. 
2. Mix sugar and butter together in your large bowl.  Add eggs and blend. Add bananas, milk and vanilla and mix thoroughly until smooth.  Stir in flour, baking soda and salt until moistened.  
3. Pour into pan and bake bread for about an hour and 15 minutes.
4. Let the bread cool for five minutes or so and then remove from pan.....The recipe suggests waiting until bread is cool to slice.......I just couldn't wait that long.  :)

This bread is delicious for breakfast with a cup of coffee, or for a little sweet treat after lunch or dinner. If you are like my hubby, you prefer the bread warm with a little butter on top.....oh the calories!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday Family Dinner: Savory Southwestern Chicken Chowder and Tasty Turkey Buffalo Balls!

I woke up this morning to the feeling of....

(I know, I know...shocking right? Everyone is chomping at the bit for September 21st to hit!)

 BUT...nevertheless, it's Sunday. It's September.  It's fall y'all!! Football will be on the TV all day, 100 degree days are finally behind us, and pumpkins are piled high at grocery stores.  
Everyone loves this time of year.  You can't help but see the childlike joy that comes over us when we think about hot apple cider, savory soups, changing leaves, and skinny jeans with boots:) I love it. 

 Sunday means... Family Dinner Day: a last minute invitation will go out to great friends, and whomever can make it over to our beach bungalow will.  There will be a tasty meal, some tasty wine…and of course….a tasty game (or 6) on TV.  I wasn't sure what menu I was going to come up with until I woke up.  And then I knew...  

It's not quite time for pasta (another fall family tradition), But it felt like time for soup! So I decided to dominate a fairly simple Southwestern Chicken Chowder, with delicious and healthy buffalo turkey balls to start.  It will hopefully be amazing…and of course…there will be some hot apple cider simmering on the stove as well.  
How can you not get excited for a Sunday like that?  Like I said….I love Fall:)

First thing's first, let's keep this easy people! It's technically a day of rest:), and I never want these impromptu dinners to be stressful in anyway.  An afternoon filled with husbands and football means the food better be hearty, simple to serve, and easy to eat while the cheering and jeering ensues in my living room.  It is also relatively impossible to pry them away from the a meal crowded around our coffee table was inevitable.  That, however, does NOT mean we can't spruce up said coffee table and add a little pizazz to go with this Sunday family dinner! A hodgepodge pile of 50 cent pumpkins and some pretty tea lights were just the ticket:)

Next I popped these delicious and GLUTEN FREE Buffalo Balls in the oven. This recipe is a fabulous Pinterest find for me, and honestly I haven't seen a need to alter it in any way.  So credit where credit due check out these

In all honesty I almost didn't get a picture taken, that's how fast they were being consumed!

super delish with some ranch dressing to dip!

And finally this very easy Chicken Chowder. 

1/2 cup chopped onion (I've been loving yellow ones)
4 bacon strips, diced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 package (32ish ounces) frozen cubed hash brown potatoes(Or chop up raw ones if you have time/energy!)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth
1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1/2 cup pearl onions (frozen or not...whatever you can find in store)
1 Rotisserie Chicken!
salt and pepper to taste!

1. In a Dutch oven (or soup pan), saute onion and bacon until onion is tender and bacon is crisp.  Stir in the flour, cumin, chili powders, and garlic powder.  Cook on high and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.

2.  Stir in the hash browns, broth, cream corn, Mexicorn, chilies and pearl onions.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until heated through. Add more broth if you like it less thick. While simmering, pull meat off the the rotisserie chicken in bite sized pieces.  Stir into soup. Add salt and pepper and more spices to taste. 

Yield: I would say 6-8 servings depending on what else you serve with it.  Rossi and I have a tendency to go back for seconds a lot!! This soup just gets better and better and thicker and thicker the longer you let it simmer...and it's AMAZING as leftovers!

SO...that was pretty much it for a fun, family filled Sunday!  No music playlist for this get ruled the speakers today.  But there was much love and much laughter...All around a wonderful Sorella Style event:)

Love and laughter!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bye Bye Baby (Weight) Update!

So, what is the worst thing that can happen when you are on a diet that consists mainly of smoothies? If you guessed my blender breaking down, you would be correct.  Total Fail.  Thankfully I am a proud member of Amazon Prime and our new blender was delivered the very next day at like 50% off.  Who doesn't love a deal? :)
Thankful for Amazon Prime :)

If any of you are wanting to kick start a healthy diet, or begin an exercise routine I would highly recommend Harley Pasternak's The Body Reset Diet.  It has truly been easy (I was only delirious with hunger once or twice-kidding) and I have loved all of the smoothies. I feel better, have more energy and the best part.....I have lost 12 pounds in 15 days! I think at least of a third of that was water weight, but it makes me feel like I am on the right track and they say if you do anything for 21 days it becomes a habit.  I only have 6 days left and then hopefully, fingers crossed, I will have formed some new, healthy habits!

In the book there are a bunch of delicious smoothie recipes with just the right balance of fats, calories and protein and there wasn't one that I didn't like. Once I got the hang of it, I started creating some of my own.  Here is my favorite creation.......

-1 and 1/2 cups of Mixed frozen berries ( I have been using a mix of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) You can also use fresh if you prefer
-3/4 cup non fat greek yogurt
-2 cups of spinach
-1 and 1/2 TBSP of coconut oil-there are so many amazing benefits to coconut oil there will be a post on that all it's own.

**Coconut oil comes in solid form, so you need to melt it before use.  They recommend that you do not microwave it, so I typically put it in a ziploc and run it under hot water and it instantly becomes a liquid-so cool!**

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy! I have been making smoothies the night before on the days I have to work and it has been great.  All ready to go bright and early the next day!

Colorful, healthy, delicious smoothies!
Hope you all have a fantastic day! The weather here in Denver today was rainy and cool-very fall like! I am going to do a little fall reading for inspiration. Game Day Snack Attack from Rachael Ray? Yes please! 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Mindfulness Monday with Kate

Just a few things I've been delving into lately, helping me be more mindful in my every day life...

by Michael Singer
“In the book The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer takes you step-by-step through the process of Gyana, the yoga of the Intellect, to the Source. Moreover, he does it with elegant simplicity. Read this book carefully, and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity.”
—Deepak Chopra

Yoga, yoga, and more yoga :>)
Local? Go to The Green Yogi in Manhattan Beach, CA
Home Practice? Run, don't walk to your computer and sign up for Yoga Glo!

Cold Pressed and Detox Juices from Kreation Juicery
Some of my favorite flavors are Harmony, Master Cleanse, and Sassy.  I immediately feel lighter and healthier when I have a Kreation Juice.

Have a wonderful Monday, lovelies!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Sorella Styles Instagram

 Lavender wall at Lavender Ridge 

We are so excited to announce our new Instagram account!

Follow Kara, Kacey, and I as we post all our Sorella adventures :>)


Happy Friday, lovelies!

Copper love

Pretty Moroccan glassware

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Let's Luau! Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

So here's how it went down.

Pretty much all of our good friends were at another friend's destination wedding in Hawaii.  For one reason or another, about 3 couples (including me and Billy) weren't able to attend the wedding.  As you can imagine, a serious bout of Instagram envy began.  After all, it was a gorgeous wedding in a stunning locale with an amazing group of friends....Green. With. Envy.

How did we remedy the situation, you ask?  

We threw a luau!  

I mean, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em :-)  Hawaiian themed recipes were on the menu, and I was tasked with dessert.  So I made chocolate cupcakes from scratch and threw chopped macadamia nuts on about half of them.  Add a cocktail umbrella and viola...

I'll luau anytime!

Recipes below:

PS: Cupcakes are super easy to make and fun to eat at a party!  And you can switch up the "festiveness" based on the occasion: American flags for Memorial Day, mini sparklers for 4th of get the picture!