Sep 2, 2014

Creamy Enchiladas Verde

If you were to ask me on any given day what I'd like to eat for dinner, 9 times out of 10 I'd tell you Mexican food. Borderline obsessive, as D would say. Call me crazy, but any cuisine that has a large focus on cheese, meat, and spicy elements can't be that bad of a thing to be obsessed with. I make some sort of Mexican-inspired dish at least once a week...and it's usually on one of our cheat days. One can be obsessed with all things meat and cheese...but one could also grow a large rear end in the process, so balance is key. Another Mexican restaurant-inspired dish I became quite skilled at making while living in Germany? Creamy Enchiladas Verde. Meat, cheese, spice...ticks all my favorite boxes, and if my calculations via MyFitnessPal are correct, then it'll only cost you 558 calories for 2 yummy enchiladas. Add a half cup of fresh homemade guac and a few tortilla chips and you've got yourself a bonafied Mexican fiesta for under 750 calories. You'd be hard pressed to eat a meal at your local Mexican restaurant at those low numbers! Put a basket of those bottomless tortilla chips and salsa in front of me and BOOM, I'm SO done for the day. Sometimes cooking restaurant-style at home can prove to be convenient, cheap, AND better for your waistline. Maybe Germany did do me some favors by not having stellar Mexican food? I guess deprivation does have its silver linings.

What are some of your at home adaptations of your favorite restaurant dishes?
Share a link to your recipe in the comments section!

Creamy Enchiladas Verde
Serves 5

Ingredients for enchilada filling & topping:
  • 10 flour tortillas (6" or 8" size)
  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken (we love using shredded rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 can of Rotel Original Tomatoes & Chiles (habanero, if you're brave!), drained
  • 1/2 can of pinto beans or black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (topping)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese (topping)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Ingredients for verde sauce:
  • 1-7oz. can of salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup fat free heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. light butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • pinch or two of salt

1| Spray a rectangular 9"x13" baking dish with cooking spray (so the cheesy goodness won't stick) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2| In a medium bowl, mix the drained can of Rotel with the shredded chicken and stir in minced garlic, ground cumin, and drained pinto or black beans. Once combined, put heaping spoonful (maybe 2 of them) onto each flour tortilla and roll up. Place rolled tortillas seam side down side by side into the prepared baking dish. 10 tortillas should fit snugly into a 9"x13" baking dish. Set dish aside to start working on the verde sauce.
3| In a small sauce pan over medium heat, saute red onion until translucent (about 3 minutes). To the onions, add the 2 Tbs. of butter and allow to melt. Then add the 2 Tbsp of flour to the mixture and stir until a roux forms (grainy, pasty mixture forms around the onions).
4| To the roux, slowly add in the chicken broth and whisk together. Bring the mixture to a simmer and constantly stir to keep the mixture smooth. Then add in the heavy cream, salsa verde, pepper, and salt and stir together. Heat the mixture for roughly 2 minutes, then stir in the sour cream. Turn off heat and pour sauce over the prepared enchiladas in the baking dish.
5| Cover the baking dish with foil and place the enchiladas in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle the cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheeses over the enchiladas and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly browned, melted, and bubbly. Garnish with chopped cilantro if you're feeling fancy!

For more yummy goodness, check out my Culinary Adventures page!

Aug 28, 2014

Dental Failure

You guys, I got my first ever tooth filling yesterday...and I'm feeling all kinds of melancholy about it. I went 27 years, 10 months, and 19 days without ever having a cavity and BOOM, one visit to the dentist later and I'm getting not one, not two, but three fillings. T-H-R-E-E!!! %$*@! I'm ashamed and disgusted with myself, too. I could have boo-hooed the whole way home, but I was too busy drooling out of the side of my numb mouth, so I figured one involuntary bodily function was enough for the moment. 

I blame Germany for this. Gummie bears and copious amounts of semi-sweet Riesling weren't staples in my diet until I moved to that sugar-riddled country and now I have 3 tiny, expensive souvenirs from our time there. Gee, thanks! I also award blame to my sealants for their supporting role in deciding to jump ship and making my cavities even more possible. NO SLOW CLAP FOR YOU! But seriously, this kind of rocked my world. Going from having a brag-worthy cavity-less mouth to having 3 black spots of death in one fail swoop makes me sad. And it hurts...literally. As if a regular teeth cleaning wasn't already irritating enough on my mouth, I thought it would be a brave idea to get the fillings done in the same visit. The dentist had time, so I said, whatevs, let's get this over with. As they were prepping their scary tools and sticking all kinds of nonsense in my mouth, I kept mentally beating myself up and trying not to barf from the nerves. They tried to give me laughing gas, but I refused it. Glutton for punishment, I was. I deserved to be totally aware of this awful experience. That'll teach me, right? Glad I refused it because the whole filling process really wasn't that bad. My entire mouth is still sore today, but I didn't die, so yay for that. Apparently my cavities were itsy-bitsy baby cavities, and I'm making sure to tell everyone that so as not to feel as awful about my dental failure (re: denial).

Anywho, after driving home drooling all over myself, I spent 5 hours yesterday afternoon thinking my face was swollen the size of a soccer ball (truth: it wasn't) and Googling ways to make Novocaine wear off faster (hint: there isn't a way). I'm the epitome of a baby. I called my mom and sister to confess my news and they laughed uncontrollably at my misfortune. Guess I deserved that after all my years of not-so-humble bragging about my stellar cavity-free mouth. Karma is, indeed, a bitch. But really, they both laughed and consoled me. Mostly laughed though. I was also talking like a slurring drunk. Your tongue literally doesn't work when it's numb. So weird.

 When D got home from work and I was basically dying of starvation because I hadn't eaten a thing since 7am (tip: don't agree to same-day fillings when your original cleaning appointment is at 9am and they don't finish the extra stuff until after noon), I finally said f**k screw it...let's get fro-yo! A giant middle finger to my 3 cavities with more cavity-causing sugar. Yep, seems about right. They probably shouldn't have suggested I eat soft, cold things for the rest of the day (they actually mentioned Slurpees--I mean, really). My mind went straight to ice cream (#duh). Doc, I'll see you for another filling in 6 months. 

Aug 26, 2014

The Reason I Dressed: The Land of Vikings [GIVEAWAY!]

Hello, We Took the Road Less Traveled readers! I’m Angie from Reasons to Dress, my blog is about life and style, things that go hand in hand in Italy where I currently live with my husband and 2 year old son. Last week I was in a Northern German town visiting a Viking settlement recreation, I hope you enjoy where I went and what I wore!

The Reason I Dressed - The Land of Vikings

In search of a new experience we headed to the Northern tip of Germany to a small town called Hedeby just 20 minutes south of the Denmark border in “Viking Territory”! 

Once upon a time, around a thousand years ago, Vikings settled in this inlet and stayed here for over 300 years. They worked, lived, and set sail from here, until the site was abandoned for the more strategic position across the lake. The area they left behind remained untouched until archaeologists discovered it and were able to piece together the story of the settlement, recreating a few of their homes, tools, and ways of life.


We spent an incredible day at the Viking Museum in Hedeby, immersed in vibrant green meadows and perched on the edge of the inlet that connects to the North and Baltic seas.

The museum itself is very modern and showcased the artifacts in an interactive way. FYI, I was not able to actually read or enjoy any of the indoor exhibits because I was WAY too preoccupied ensuring that my toddler didn’t:
a) Climb/break the exhibits, b)  Stomp his feet, play hide and go seek, climb the exhibits (wait did I already say that?), c) Annoy the £$%& out of other museum dwellers with his adorable (to me) and yet surprisingly ear-piercing squeals (aka tantrum screams!)

What I really LOVED about this place was that you could go outside of the museum, walk for 15 minutes along the nature trail to an entire Viking Settlement recreated on the water’s edge.

Incredible attention to detail made it feel as though we really did enter a real Viking settlement complete with characters in full costume! There were even sheep grazing in the hills beside us along the trail!


I loved this part of the museum and thought more than once about the fact that the same cold wind that was blowing all around would have blown a Viking’s face a thousand years ago.

What I Wore

In my blog, I try to share not just how I dress but where I went. I always wonder where all those fashion bloggers are going all dressed up! Not only that, but I have a really hard time dressing appropriately for the weather, so hopefully this will help you if you ever plan on visiting North Europe in mid-August! Let me save you some packing headaches...leave your bathing suit at home (unless of course you are incredibly tough-like Viking tough!)

 What to Wear?  What to Wear………

 I didn't bring this trench with me, I bought it on sale for 20 euro (about $27) in Copenhagen a few days before this trip to Germany. It has been a much needed addition to my wardrobe.

 It can be very hot and sunny one moment and then frigidly windy and cold the next, only to be followed by rain! You’ll want to pack and wear many a layer from cotton sweaters to polo shirts and t-shirts. When it gets cold, layer away, and if you start to sweat just peel a layer off!   Plus, don’t you find that adding in layers instantly makes any outfit so much more interesting?

 I managed to pack rain boots into a carry-on luggage! These are “Chelsea” rain boots, meaning they are rubber, but have that sleek London Chelsea-design, making them an easy addition to bring along for a trip to North Germany in the summer. Believe me you’ll be glad you have them since it rains every second day!

 Remember my trusty rainhat from my Spring trip to Rome? Well, I keep it in my pocket at all times! When it starts to pour and I need to push the stroller, I just pull it out and voilà! When it really starts to come down I also have a fashionable Topshop rain poncho that I use, but luckily we were greeted with pretty decent weather on our trip to the Viking settlement (by decent I mean it only rained twice in a 10 hour period!) It was windy, however, so I’m glad I had my cotton beanie (touque for those of us who are Canadian) to protect my ears. The hats are available now at H&M as part of their new collection and are under $10, but any thin cotton hat will do!

 You’ll want to pack sunglasses, when the sun shines it REALLY shines. Mine were bought on sale for $17 and did the trick. Here’s some advice, skip the expensive sunglasses when on vacation, if you loose them or forget them they will be gone forever! I’ve lost $400 sunglasses in Paris (pre-baby days obviously) and to this day it still bothers me. Enjoy your vacation without the worry of loosing things that you won’t want to replace.

 I live in Italy! I dare not go ANYWHERE without a scarf. If you want to read about the Italian obsession with scarves and drafts I wrote a bit about it last winter here!

 Last, but not least I would recommend a braided belt. Since there are no holes, there is no specific “sizing” so you can wear it up high on your waist, or with pants and jeans and even over a coat.  I usually pack at least 3 belts when I go on vacation since my husband is a belt artisan, but on this trip, being limited to one small carry-on for two weeks I only packed this belt and it GOES WITH EVERYTHING!  For a chance to win this belt, valued at around $600, please enter the giveaway below!

And that’s what I wore and how my day went at the Viking Settlement. If you’re wondering if I found any stylish moms to photograph in Hedeby, I found only one! I call her “Viking Mom” and she was pretty cool!  Little does she realize that plaid will be all the rage this fall! Come visit the blog next week and I’ll be sharing some Copenhagen DAD Street Style, with a pretty hunky dad that looks surprisingly like Jude Law (good thing my husband has a lot of self-confidence!). Have a great day and don’t forget to stop by, say hi, and enter the giveaway!


Thanks for sharing your stylish outfit and great Viking adventure, Angie!! Friends, make sure to enter to win one of Angie's FAB Italian belts in the Rafflecopter below.
This supreme calf leather belt has been colored by hand and features a solid brass, artisan made buckle created in Florence, Italy. It has been braided by hand, and you will notice that each leather strip is actually twice as wide as what you can see, because the same leather is folded upon itself, so you have the same supple leather on top and bottom.  This method has created a luxuriously supple accessory that hugs your curves and confirms to your body’s shape.  Incredibly versatile you can wear this flexible belt through pant belt loops or even over a dress by tucking the belt tip down. Created entirely in Italy by the Italian artisan belt company T.E.S. Tradizioni ed Elementi di Stile, meaning Traditions and Elements of Style, Italy’s foremost exotic leather belt artisans, who have created belt lines for the World’s most exclusive luxury brands and currently have their own line of belts on sale at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. This belt will be custom sized to the winner’s WAIST SIZE,  please indicate your exact waist measurement (just above your hip bones) in centimeter’s as part of the giveaway’s entry process. This belt would retail for approximately $600 in North America. Good Luck!

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