Dry Rubbed Drumettes + Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Last night Shaun had basketball. So my great friend Kristen came over for a little girls night. Instead of hanging on the couch and drinking wine, we decided to get our workout on!

We hit the gym and did a nice total body workout, with a little cardio mixed in. I have to say, working out with someone else really is the way to go. It is not only more fun, but I felt like I got a better workout! Do you ever find that working out with a partner leads to a better exercise session?

So let's talk about chicken for a moment. A few weeks ago, the kind people at Gold'n Plump sent me a cooler full of premium quality, wholesome chicken to sample.

I have to admit that I was skeptical at best about this chicken. Because let's face it...most chicken is chicken. It's not particularly tasty and can often be rubbery and overall just a vehicle for some kind of sauce or spice rub.

I was, however, intrigued by their mission. Gold'n Plump touts their All Natural, No additional hormone raised chicken. They are environmentally-friendly and constantly finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint. They feed their chicken all raw materials. They humanely raise their chickens. And so I was really excited to try the chicken and see if the taste lived up to all of the hype.

Chicken cutlet, pan-fried!

I'm happy to report that this chicken was absolutely delicious. {I don't usually say that about chicken}. It was juicy, flavorful, NOT rubbery and just overall really fantastic. I would definitely seek this chicken out again. And so with so much chicken at our disposal, Shaun and I got to work on a few dishes!

First up, we made some dry rubbed drumettes. Again, drumettes make me slightly skittish because they can be very rubbery. These were not. Shaun made a spice rub consisting of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, a tiny bit of cumin and chili powder.

He tossed the rub with the drumettes in a ziptop bag and grilled these up. I served them alongside some Mediterranean quinoa. A dish I'd make over and over again! Healthy (no oils or sauces) and tasty. Yum!

Such a nice treat and change up from the traditional chicken breast!

Next up, I wanted to use the ground chicken, and so I decided to make buffalo chicken burgers! I could eat buffalo chicken anything, anytime. It's so delicious.

Buffalo Chicken Burgers
1 lb. lean ground chicken
salt
pepper
paprika
onion powder
Frank's Red Hot
reduced fat blue cheese crumbles
sandwich thin or bun
cooking spray

With your hands, mix the chicken with the salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Shape into 4 patties. We grilled these on our Foreman grill since it was raining out side! Spray with cooking spray, close the lid and grill until cooked, just a few minutes.

Remove from grill and brush with Frank's Red Hot. Place on a sandwich thin or bun and top with blue cheese crumbles. Eat immediately!

So there you have it. Two easy chicken recipes made with all natural, delicious chicken. If you want to try the Gold'n Plump chicken, you can now find it at Target! And be sure to download their coupon for $1 off!

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Questions of the Day:

What's your favorite way to enjoy chicken?

How do you 'healthify' it?

 

psst...I did receive samples of Gold'n Plump, however all opinions are 100% my own.

A Cup of Teavana

I have always been a tea drinker. While a barrel of coffee is necessary to get me going in the AM, I drink tea simply for the delicious, delicate taste. Though I've grown up in a Red Rose black tea household and rarely strayed to herbal teas (and never of the green variety), I was recently introduced to the wonder of Teavana. A tiny store in my local mall with a wall of canisters filled with different varietals of tea, from black to white to oolong to herbal, there's a flavor for every palette. After hearing rave reviews from Catherine and Christine and taste-testing the Earl Grey Creme from Christine's stash, I was instantly won over and made my way over to the shop to get my very own unofficial tea starter kit.

The tea is sold loose, measured out and sold in 2 oz portions and the price varies by type of tea.

I also needed an infuser in which to brew the tea (and keep the tea leaves from floating around in my cup, and subsequently out of my mouth). While there are lots of different kinds, I got a metal mesh cup that sits pretty atop my tea mug and has a little lid to keep it warm, toasty and steeping properly. And please also note the sweet Harry & David mug that Kimberly gave me as a Christmas gift.

And since there were oh-so-many teas to choose from and I wanted to avoid spending a fortune on teas that I may or may not like, I kept it super simple and went with basic flavors that I was pretty sure I'd enjoy (and ones I had previously sampled from Christine's own stash since she was kind enough to share with me). In addition to the tea and the infuser, I also got sucked into buying the fancy schmancy rock sugar.

Could you use regular? Sure. But the super special rock sugar is delicately sweet and looks gorgeous to boot. Since I wanted to savor the pretty sugary colors, I opted out of the Teavana canisters and instead picked up a glass mason jar for $1.29 at the local dollar store.

For the actual tea, however, I did splurge for the Teavana canisters since I really had nothing else in which to store the tea. Since I was getting a limited supply of tea, I went with the 6oz canisters which ran $4.50 a pop.

In the end, I did spend a bit over my budget, but realized that the canisters and the infuser will last and last and only the tea and sugar will need to be replaced. Oh and I should also note that since only 1tsp of sugar per cup of tea is recommended, my hope is that it will last for a while. 

Teavana breakdown:
1 tea infuser
1 lb rock sugar
4 oz Earl Grey Creme - a vanilla-flavored black tea that works at any time of day. I already knew I liked this kind, so I went with 4oz, rather than 2.
2 oz Weight to Go - an oolong strawberry flavored tea that doubles as an appetite suppressant
2 oz Samurai Chai Mate - a cinnamony mate, which means it's the same caffeine level as coffee
3 Teavana canisters to hold said tea

After bringing it all home and testing them out, the clear winner for me is the Earl Grey Creme. It's an any-time-of-day tea and the flavor is impeccable.Coming in second is the Weight to Go. It's fresh and supposedly jump starts your weightloss. I highly recommend it if you're into fruity teas.left to right: Samurai Chai, Weight to Go, Earl Grey Creme

And in last place? The Samurai Chai. With this one, I just felt kind of 'eh' about it. It was just ok. But that's why you start small and then refresh with the ones you take a liking to. Next time I'll be filling up on Earl Grey Creme and trying out something new. Any recommendations?

So what do you think? Do you like tea? Are you a Teavana afficianado? If so, what do you recommend for those just starting out, like me?

BabyCakes: A Culinary Conundrum

If you've read any of my past articles, you'll recall that I have a certain fascination with cupcakes. I'm not sure what it is exactly...the simplicity, the frosting, my obsession with personalization taken to the extreme as it's a tiny cake made just for me...I'm willing to accept any of the above. While visiting the Lower East Side on a bright Saturday, Shaun and I stopped in at BabyCakes, the chic vegan bakery hidden on the corner of Broome and Ludlow. I had heard tales regaling BabyCakes for their fabulous cupcakes, and given my history with the teeny confections, it really seemed necessary to check it out (for research purposes, of course). I went with the carrot cupcake - admittedly a stray from my usual repetoire of anything vanilla buttercream, red velvet, or peanut butter flavored. I was so excited at the possibility of finding a new, fabulous bakery that I savored the simplistic beauty of the frosting yet couldn't wait to dive right in.
After the first bite, my only thought was (please don't hate me for this)...I don't really like this. I hate to say it, but between my cupcake and Shaun's cookies I was a little disappointed that I had wasted the calories and the stomach space on it. I know, it's vegan and healthy and made from real products, not processed...but isn't there something a little off about that? These are cupcakes we're talking about, not salads. Though I was amazed at what they could do without using real fat or sugar, I can't say that I'd seek out BabyCakes again. And yes, I do realize that they are gluten-free and for those of you with that unfortunate allergy, I am truly happy that you can too bask in the joy of a fabulous cupcake. And with that stipulation, I'll admit, they were pretty good. But as a stand alone cupcake? It just didn't live up to the hype for me. The bakery itself, however, was sweet and charming and essentially the perfect little bakery.
What do you think? Is it just me? I feel as though it's a bit overrated and kind of like Pinkberry...all I could think was that maybe this place was good solely because of the upscale, urban vibe around it, but not necessarily due to the tastiness of said sweet treats (I won't go any further into Pinkberry...all I can say, Fruity Pebble topping aside, is really?). Was there too much hype before I got to experience it? Did I choose the wrong flavor? Or is it just my unsophisticated palette?