chicken tikka masala
I’ve been wanting to venture out of my normal “safe” recipes and try something new. Chicken tikka masala has been on my list for quite some time. A few months ago I had intentions to make the meal and bought the main spice for the dish (Garam Masala), but never pulled the trigger and made it.
Not going to lie sometimes I get nervous when making something new. Will it be disgusting? If so, would I throw the entire thing away and waste it all? I hate to waste food (my parents raised me to always aim to be a member of the ‘clean plate club’). Not to mention this dish has a decent amount of ingredients and that’s money my friends!
However, how are you expected to learn new flavors and cuisines if you don’t TRY. So I recently made it a goal to aim for one completely new recipe a month (if not more), particularly focusing on different ethnic dishes.
I spend a lot of time researching different recipes, how they are prepared, ratios of ingredients, various cook times & methods, and then I piece together my recipe based off what I think would work best.
While this dish is easily made on the stovetop, I decided to try it in the instant pot. The chicken I was using came out of the freezer and the instant pot always perfectly cooks it without over drying. I don’t use my instant pot much, but the times I have resulted in some tasty (and quick!) dishes.
The babies obviously didn’t participate in this meal since I can barely get June to eat a plain piece of chicken so I was able to make it a bit spicy. Luckily my nerves about it being bad and tossing it went to the wayside because it turned out really great. The flavor was certainly unique, but that is exactly what I am looking for with my new cuisine adventure.
The turmeric gives a small kick of curry flavor and the garam masala presents sweet hints of cinnamon and cloves, perfect for this time of the year. I served it with green beans and brown rice, but would be great with naan for dipping in the extra sauce. The ingredient list is a tad longer than I like, but it was a simple preparation and the instant pot does all the cooking, no stirring required.
If you want to pair a wine with this dish, I recommend something pretty mild or sweet to counterbalance the spiciness. Scout & Cellar’s Che Fico Pinot Grigio or Bookbinder Apprentice White are great options! Click the links below to purchase your perfectly matched bottle.
Are you adventurous in the kitchen or do you tend to stick with a regular rotation? I challenge you over the next year to make one new ethnic dish a month and share your creations by tagging me (@czubasn) on Instagram or Facebook!
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka MasalaCourse: MainCuisine: Indian
1.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 can (14.5oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 small onion, roughly chopped (~ 1/2 cup)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
handful of cilantro, chopped
- In a ziplock bag, mix together all marinade ingredients. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to 24 hours.
- Turn instant pot on to sauté setting. Add about 1/2 tsp vegetable oil & chopped onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add all other ingredients for sauce EXCEPT coconut milk and cilantro. Stir to combine.
- Place chicken and marinade on top of the sauce.
- Place lid on instant pot and change setting to Pressure Cook on high for 8 minutes. Close the vent.
- Quick release steam once the timer goes off.
- Take out chicken and set on serving platter.
- Add all sauce ingredients into a blender with the coconut milk. Blend until smooth.
- Pour blended sauce mixture over chicken & top with cilantro.
- Serve with naan or brown rice.
- Don’t have an instant pot? No problem. Sauté the onion on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the other sauce ingredients and then chicken + marinade. Cook about 25-30 minutes depending how thick your chicken is, flipping them halfway & stir often. Blend sauce as instructed above.
rise & shine
I have never coined myself a morning person or a night owl. I find myself to be a little bit of both, or neither really. Since having kids and particularly this pandemic, I adopted the lifestyle of an early riser.
Once Will finally (sort of, not really) started sleeping through the night I began to wake up increasingly earlier in order to have some time to myself. It started with just some quiet time to watch the news, drink a warm cup of coffee and be alone. It eventually evolved to include my workout hour.
I don’t always wake up at 5am, but it is my plan every night when I go to bed. That morning time sets my day up in a much more organized way. I don’t feel rushed (even though we have no where to go) and my mood is much better. On the days I have given myself time alone in the morning to workout, drink that coffee or stare into space, I find my patience doesn’t wear thin quickly and my overall mom-ing much better.
It is so important to find time to yourself, especially right now. We are all cooped up together and oftentimes running on fumes, patience out the window. Being able to regroup and recharge can certainly improve your overall mental well-being. I encourage you to find the time each morning to wake a bit earlier to do what will set your day up for success. Do you want to exercise? meditate? read a book? journal? pray? Whatever it is, even if it is 15 minutes or less, find the time. You won’t regret it.
The hardest part is getting out of bed. Once your head is off that pillow and your feet hit the ground, you won’t question your decision. Need help trying to navigate how to get your booty out of bed? Below I am sharing the 5 things that I focused on in order to change my mindset to begin enjoying and looking forward to those early hours.
Coffee. You either love it or you hate it.
I started drinking coffee in college when I worked as a kewl barista at the Starbucks in our school library (hey-o King Lib!). I actually started off as a professional sandwich maker, but my attention to detail for requests (lite mayo please) & precision when it came to distributing the perfect amount of ham vs. swiss cheese allowed me to move up in the ranks of that cafe.
I began brewing lattes, cappuccinos, hot apple ciders and fraps like a pro. You would have thought the smell of coffee for 4 hours straight would deter me from trying my first cup. A coworker told me to start with the most powerful… umm okay? So I graciously took my first espresso shot similarly to how I would take lemon drop shots… quick, slight gag, terrible looking face. I loved it!
Just kidding. I hated it, but knew I had a nearly all-nighter ahead of me for a chemistry exam that I had not read one chapter on. Needless to say, the espresso kicked in and kept me from dozing off while reading about allotropes and valence isomerization. Thereafter, I ventured down the path of all the sugary Sbux essentials… full fat hazelnut lattes and mocha fraps. The thought of drinking one of those now makes me kind of want to gag. They are way too sweet and knowing there are 8 teaspoons of sugar in a grande hazelnut latte, makes my butt that much bigger (not in a good way).
As I became wise-old-me, my coffee order changed too, becoming much simpler. My standard morning is 1 1/2 cups of coffee with a splash of cream. While, I am not particular about the blend and will drink anything, I tend to prefer medium roasts. The Kirkland coffee has been our staple for awhile, but we occasionally try something new.
The other 1/2 cup coffee is used in my protein shake. It gives it an extremely rich flavor that I love. Also, I get another little coffee kick once I am ready for breakfast. If you’ve been following along with me for quite awhile you are aware that my go-to protein shake is Isagenix.
Isagenix shakes offer not only protein, but the appropriate amount of carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals to be deemed a balanced meal. I tend to replace my breakfast daily (but not always) with a protein coffee shake. They are simple, delicious and have aided in my post-partum weight loss.
Below I am sharing my simple protein coffee. You can easily add whatever you want into it too. Want it a bit sweeter? Add 1/3 banana. Want it seasonal? Add in pumpkin pie spice. Want it thicker? Add in more ice. Want it creamier? Add in almond milk.
Interested in trying out the product I use? Click the link below & head to Sign Up & Save!
2 scoops Whole Blend Isagenix chocolate
1/2 cup black coffee, cooled
2-4 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients into a blender or nutribullet. Process until smooth. Add more ice or water to get desired consistency.
Enjoying my posts? Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@czubasn)! Thanks for stopping by and having your morning cup of coffee with me.
*disclaimer: longer post than I usually have up*
Not going to lie, writing this post took me a bit out of my comfort zone and I keep asking myself WHY. Well the truth is, women and society can be really judgmental when it comes to the way your baby is fed.
Breast is best. Bottle is better. Fed is best.
Best breast shmest fest.
With June, I breastfed exclusively for only 8 weeks. My postpartum anxiety was completely out of control and in order for me to get it in control, I needed to right my body & mind. While I went into motherhood completely blind and with intentions to nurse June until she was 1 (it will be a breeze I had thought), my anxiety was taking a toll on my mental health causing my supply to drop. Also, quality bonding time between us was suffering as I suffered through feedings.
The mom-guilt, back and forth questioning of my decision to stop and utter conflict was debilitating. Would we bond? Would she be constantly sick? Would people judge me? However, I finally silenced the noise and unsolicited opinions and made the best decision I could for me and my baby. I knew I didn’t want to completely give up so I continued to pump for about 3 months more.
I ate all the oatmeal, drank all the tea and would spoon teaspoons of brewers yeast into things praying it would just go down because that stuff is disgusting. My supply increased and I was able to accumulate a supply of frozen milk to supplement with formula until she was 7 months old.
She is completely healthy, has no allergies and was always happily full & content. Most importantly, mama’s postpartum anxiety started to dwindle and I was able to find joy in motherhood, not just stressing over feedings. Silencing the noise of intense pro-breastfeeding people or rude women, finally put me at ease.
When I found out I was pregnant with Will, I knew this time around I would try to breastfeed and if it spiked my anxiety or caused any mental conflict I would stop immediately. Every baby is different so I wanted to make sure I at least tried.
I didn’t like it any better than I did my first time around. I still suffered through those initial feedings as my body adjusted & he figured it out. It was easier in the sense where I didn’t have the devil on my shoulder yelling at me that I must power through or else all the terrible XYZ things would happen to my child if he had formula. In fact, he had 10mL of formula the 2nd night of his life because mama needed to sleep.
Our nursing experience was much calmer than with June. I nursed him until about 4 months. When COVID happened and I was working at home with 2 under 2, time just did not allow for nursing every 2 1/2 – 3 hours so I started to pump more. Bryan would bottle feed him and a new routine just happened.
I continued to nurse him at night until one night he just screamed bloody murder until we gave him a bottle. Thereafter, he wouldn’t nurse anymore. He preferred the bottle. Now while this tugged massively at my heart, which surprised me given I was never a fan of nursing, he was happier with bottles of breastmilk.
I continued to pump and accumulate such an intense supply that we actually had to buy a deep freeze LOL. I pumped for about a month straight and once our freezer was packed I weaned.
Will was able to get full breastmilk bottles until he recently turned 9 months, minus his bedtime bottle of formula that kept him full longer. My goal was always 6 months so to get to 9 was amazing.
When I pulled out that last frozen bag, my heart strings were tugged again. However, this time in a different way. I was so proud of myself for not letting the noise get to me. With Will I didn’t experience post-partum anxiety and I think a lot of that is contributing to doing what was best for my son and me instead of what “I was supposed to do”.
To all the future moms, new moms, moms experiencing breastfeeding woes, mom guilt or overall struggling, do not listen to anyone else except you. Your motherly instinct will guide you. Follow it and don’t look back. Breast. Bottle. Both. It does not matter. Your mental state and health of your baby is top priority. Whatever it is you choose to do, you are doing an amazing job!
fall recipe tour
hello & welcome! You may have stumbled across my page after engaging in the fall recipe tour that is featured on my social media. I appreciate you stopping by and hope this recipe brings a sweet and savory touch to your next gathering.
As I am making my way… again.. through the blogging and social media world I realized it can be easy to make “friends”. That being said, after just a few messages back and forth about a collaboration together, I found myself enjoying the “company” of these women I have never met! At the end of the day, we are all trying to have fun, make money & do good. Folks, it’s a weird world we live in right now isn’t it? However, the virtue of good people and friendships never will seem to fade. I highly recommend commenting on that person’s post or simply sending them a message to say hello!
Brittany, Lauren, Kelly & I decided we wanted to share some delicious and easy fall recipes. With the cooler weather here, a new fall recipe tour is just what we all need! I find myself cooking more in the fall months because to me there is something cozy about the ingredients that warm us head to toe.
Today I am sharing an easy appetizer that screams FALL!
Apple Brie Crostini with a warm honey rosemary drizzle
The crunchy, sweet apple pairs eloquently with the creamy brie. A sharp touch of rosemary and a hit of sweet honey pulls the 2-3 bite treat together. Grab the apples that are sitting on your counter from the orchard that you know you will end up throwing away and wow your friends, husband, wife, parents, or neighbors with this fall inspired snack.
Don’t forget to head back to Instagram to follow all four us. Like & comment on our recipes for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!
Looking for a good wine to serve with this appetizer at your next gathering? The FieldHouse Chardonnay is a great option. It has a lingering hint of honey that will pair nicely.
Apple Brie Crostini with rosemary honey drizzleCourse: AppetizersDifficulty: Easy
1 large McIntosh apple, sliced thin
8 oz brie cheese
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp rosemary, minced
salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 350
- Slice the baguette diagonally into 24 slices.
- Place the applesauce and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until butter is melted (about 1 minute).
- Spoon an even smear of applesauce/butter mixture over the bread slices. Sprinkle with salt.
- Slice the brie into thin slices and place on top of the bread.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
- While the baguette bakes, slice the apple into thin pieces. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the honey & rosemary. Microwave about 30 seconds.
- As soon as the crostinis come out of the oven, place an apple slice on top then drizzle with the honey/rosemary mixture. Sprinkle with a small bit of pepper.
- Serve warm & enjoy.
Thanks for stopping by & be sure to come back soon!
It’s that time of the year when pumpkin flavored everything comes out of the woodwork.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I highly dislike Pumpkin Spice “flavor”. Anyone else with me? When it comes to pumpkin desserts, sign me up. The Starbucks pumpkin muffins with that cream cheese filling in the middle… yummmm. Pumpkin rolls, pumpkin pie, pumpkin DIP. I’ll take it all, hold the pumpkin spice latte that tastes like chemicals.
Last night I hosted my first wine tasting and I am happy to report it was a great success! We had so much fun. The wine was delicious (and chemical-free!), the cheese / snacks paired oh so perfectly and the weather couldn’t have been better.
I served this super easy pumpkin dip and it complemented the 2019 Fiddleneck Chardonnay nicely. You can serve the dip with ginger snaps, apples, or graham crackers, cold or warmed. In my opinion, it isn’t overly pumpkin-y either! Too much pumpkin can be a bit earthy tasting sometimes. It is the perfect fall treat that is really simple to throw together! If you want to get super crafty, carve out a mini pie pumpkin and serve the dip in there. I remember my mom always serving it this way and it was so cute.
Stay tuned for some pictures from my wine tasting and as always let me know what you think of this recipe!
pumpkin dipCourse: AppetizersDifficulty: Easy
1 block cream cheese (8oz), room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
ginger snaps, graham cracker or apples for serving
- Place all ingredients except serving items in a bowl.
- Using a hand mixer, blend on medium until combined and fluffy.
- Sprinkle top with cinnamon.
- Serve chilled or warm in oven for about 10 minutes.
Simple Basil Pesto
If you have been following along on my Instagram for awhile, you know that my garden has been quite fruitful this summer. My basil plants flourished wonderfully leaving me with it coming out of my ears. Most has been picked to add into salads or dried for future use (later post to come). However, this extremely fragrant and delicious way to use basil is one of my favorites and of course a basil staple.
Only a few ingredients, most of which you may have on hand, create a delicious pasta sauce or topping for bread, chicken or fish. By freezing in an ice cube tray, you can pull some out whenever you need it too!
Pair your pesto dish with a buttery, smooth Chardonnay. Dove Hunt Dog is great choice. The hints of lemon and apple are a nice crisp counterbalance to the sweet and garlicky pesto.
Simple Basil PestoCourse: EntreeDifficulty: Easy
serve with pasta, chicken or fish
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper
- Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper into a food processor or blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately or pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, place cubes into a zip lock bag and freeze up to 6 months.