Scenes from V-Day & Crock Pot Shredded Chicken Recipe

Hi friends! The Workout Log was updated today, so head over there if you’re interested to see how I’m trying to stay active these days.

I’m sharing one of my staple recipes towards the end of this post: crock pot shredded chicken. But first, let’s rewind a bit to the weekend.

It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I am all about that chocolate, pink, and quality time with my love. This past weekend did not disappoint. Instead of captioning each individual photo, I’m just going to provide you with a vertical slideshow. Sound good?

Me and Bob

Me Courtney

G Love

homemade pizza

Barefoot Contessa casear salad

B Cuo

Sous Chef

Tired Baxie

I hope your Valentine’s Day was spent with the one(s) you love, or curled up with yourself and a good book/movie/glass of wine/full DVR.

Crockpot shredded chicken final

Each Sunday, as part of my regular meal prep, I throw three chicken breasts, some chicken broth and a couple spices into the crockpot and forget about it for six hours. What comes out is extremely tender chicken swimming in fragrant broth, ready to be shredded into pieces.

Ingredients medium size

We keep the shredded chicken in a large tupperware container and dig into it during the week as an addition to salad, in Mexican fajitas or baked into a pasta casserole. As I think about it, it’s the most versatile thing in our fridge!

Pot close up

Pot

Hand

Hand2

Hand3

Tupperware

CROCK POT SHREDDED CHICKEN

Ingredients:

  • 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Directions:

  • Line crockpot with tin foil or liner to minimize clean up.
  • Place all ingredients in your crockpot. There is no need to mix everything together; the crockpot does all the work.
  • Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 5-6 hours.
  • Shred chicken with a fork and add to tupperware container with 4 spoonfuls of remaining chicken broth mixture.

**Keeps for five days in the fridge!

Crockpot shredded chicken final

xo,

Lizzie

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Meal Prep & Workouts for the Week: Feb. 16-22

Hey hey!

I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day and weekend. I am just popping in quickly tonight to bring you my fitness and meal/snack plan for the week. I’m taking the day off of blogging tomorrow, but will be back in action on Tuesday to share some fun pics from Valentine’s Day weekend and a go-to recipe as of late. Since we won’t be chatting tomorrow, have a lovely President’s Day, especially if you have it off work/school:)

MEAL PREP

I just was not in the cooking mood today, so meal prep was a little more sparse than usual.

Snacks:

kale salad

Dinners:

I have a few ideas in my head and in the fridge, but wasn’t quite as organized this week. Hey, it happens. Here’s a tentative plan:

  • White bean chicken chili
  • Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce & chicken sausage
  • Salmon, baked carrots & kale Caesar salad with Barefoot Contessa dressing <– made for V-Day and we have leftover dressing and tomatoes!

Workouts:

  • Monday: 40-minute cardio + lower body strength training
  • Tuesday: 20-minute cardio + abs
  • Wednesday: yoga sculpt via Crunch Live + YouTube yoga to = 60 minutes
  • Thursday: 30-minute cardio  + abs
  • Friday: 40-minute cardio + upper body strength training
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: rest

***

Question for you:

  • Do you plan out dinners or just wing it?

xo,

Lizzie

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Favorite Finds Friday {2/13}

Good morning, my friends. Happy Friday the 13th – so spooky! It does feel great to finally have Friday upon us.

What are your plans for the weekend? We’re headed to a a concert with friends tonight, and tomorrow we have brunch plans with Bobby’s family, but are staying in for a romantical night of homemade pizzas on Saturday. I’m definitely looking forward to some downtime.

Enough small talk; let’s get right to your regularly scheduled posting, Favorite Finds Friday. It’s here that I share anything in my life or from around the web that has made me laugh, cry, think, covet or drool over the past week.

What’s your favorite find from the week? I’d love to hear form you!

Favorite Finds Friday NEW

  • Valentine’s Day. How do I not include the upcoming holiday in my list this week? Bobby and I plan to exchange inexpensive gifts, and this year we’re continuing the tradition of making dinner and dessert at home.

Valentines Day

My lone decoration 

  • Dark chocolate almond milk. I originally saw Heather drinking this stuff most nights after dinner, and I was inspired to give it a try. I’ve been enjoying the chocolate milk for dessert or as a post-workout recovery drink.

chocolate milk

  • When you eat allthecookies.

thin mints

chocolate covered candies

Love Nest Measuring CUps

50 healthy habits every girl should have

  • The sweetest video where a seal wiggles out of the water to hug a dog.
  • A fascinating perspective on how your name affects your success in life. <– Take it with a grain of salt for sure. You’re more likely to work for a company that matches your initials? Umm… 
  • 50 pictures that look JUST like my childhood. <– For fellow Gen-Yers, how accurate is this?!

Thanks to Running 4 Cupcakes for the link up!

***

Past editions:

xo,

Lizzie

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True Life

True life…

1. Yesterday, I combed a hair mask through my locks, wore a shower cap and completed a 30-minute yoga video in my living room.

cat shower cap

2. Sometimes when you work odd hours, dinner gets weird.

Dinner

3. It worries me for the children of our country that Kelsey from the Bachelor is a school counselor.

Kelsey gif

4. My work laptop is so freaking huge, like 18 inches or something. Finding a chic laptop bag that is large enough has been the thorn in my side lately. Send any recos my way, but I’ve got my eye on this one:

the-st-anne-tote-axis_6

4. I wish I craved egg whites in the morning, but I almost always want something carb-y and/or sweet.

kashi

5. I like to pretend that I quit ballet yesterday, but really, it was over ten years ago. I may or may not have watched this video five times already. I can’t get the link to imbed, so you’ll have to go here to watch it.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 9.32.45 PM

Question for you:

  • What’s your true life moment today?

xo,
Lizzie

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Reader Request: What I Wore my First Week of Work

What I Wore to Work collage

I remember when I was hired for my first full-time job. I was a freshman in college and home for the summer. I signed on as a marketing intern for one of the fortune 500 companies in Kentucky. I was used to wearing leggings and sorority sweatshirts all day everyday and was in for a shock when I had to start dressing in business casual attire Monday through Friday. I thought that meant black pants, button downs and cardigans, so my mom and I headed to LOFT to overhaul my wardrobe. I’m pretty sure I bought the same “work trousers” in black, navy and brown. I still cringe when I think of my weekly wardrobe during those days (and for the record, my mom still buys me cardigans😉 ).

Fortunately, I’ve become a little more creative in my work wear. Of all the occasions to dress for, I actually enjoy putting together a business casual look. I find that the majority of my closet is tailored towards career clothes, which makes it easy to conceptualize an outfit every morning. Now, if you asked me to dress for a casual weekend brunch, I would end up in yoga pants and an oversized Patagonia. I just can’t get a handle on “weekend wear.”

While I am definitely not a fashion blogger, I do love nice clothes, style and shopping as much as the next girl. The catch is that I’m a bargain hunter. If I want that $1,000 handbag, I will wait for it to go on sale or track it down on eBay. Lately, I’ve been all about buying investment pieces, items that might be pricey, but that I will wear more than once per week, are highly versatile and will last me for years to come.

I recently received a message on Facebook from a college friend (hi Katie!). She was interested in where I bought the clothing items from one of my recent posts. This is an exciting moment for The Magic Tree, as today’s post is my first Reader Request! (If there is something you’d like to see on the blog, please let me know!). Without further ado, a roundup of everything I wore to work during my first week.

MONDAY

Blue dress

Note: I ended up wearing the belt on the left.

Dress: Tahari via TJ Maxx | Blouse: Ann Taylor (old) | Belt: on left Talbots, on right LOFT (old) | Tights: Hue | Shoes: Franco Sarto | Bracelets: Betsy Pittard 

TUESDAY

Black tunic outfit

Shirt: Joan Vass via TJ Maxx | Pants: Tahari via TJ Maxx | Shoes: Antonio Melani (very old) | Necklaces: Rose pendant (very old) & James Michelle nameplate

WEDNESDAY

white blazer navy

Blouse: LOFT (old) | Shirt: unknown brand via consignment | Pants: Banana Republic | Blazer: Zara | Shoes: LK Bennett 

THURSDAY

burgandy

Blouse: Ann Taylor | Skirt: Ann Taylor via consignment | Tights: Hue | Shoes: Tory Burch via consignment | Necklaces: Pendant necklace is Coach via consignment & James Michelle | Bag: Kate Spade

FRIDAY

Gray Sweater

Blouse: H&M | Sweater: Max Studio via TJ Maxx | Pants: Max Studio via TJ Maxx | Shoes: Madewell | Necklace: old via Groupon

What I Wore to Work collage

There’s been a little fashion talk on the blog before. In case you missed it:

xo,

Lizzie

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Valentine’s Day Treats (& my Most Embarrassing Baking Attempt of All Time)

Valentines Day Treats

Single or taken, I have always loved Valentine’s Day. What can I say? I am a girly-girl who loves pink, glitter and a candlelight dinner (and I love to rhyme?).

Valentine’s Day really crept up on me this year. I can remember every detail of last year’s holiday of love, mostly because it was my first Valentine’s spent with Bobby. Instead of a fancy night out, we decided on homemade pizzas and wine. We bought dough from Whole Foods, googled a sauce recipe and topped the pies with our favorite combo: pepperoni + sausage + all kinds of cheese.

I remember listening to the Al Green station on Pandora whilst whipping up a heart-shaped buttercream-frosted cake for my love. Inspired by Pinterest, I was so excited to try this fancy schmancy dessert and impress Bobby with my baking skills. However, my creation quickly took a turn for the worse when it fell apart in the pan and the icing morphed into a watery mess. I tried to salvage what I could, but ended up with my most embarrassing baking attempt of all time.

Heart shaped cake collage

We still laugh so hard about the heart-shaped cake from hell. In all fairness though, it tasted divine!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share some homemade treats that have been inspiring me lately. I always turn to Pinterest or my recipe binder when I want to create something special. After last year’s disaster, I probably shouldn’t bake another cake. However, I also feel the need to redeem myself and I have a vintage cake stand that is collecting dust. We shall see!

  • XOXO Cake

XO cake

Valentines-Day-Peek-A-Boo-Pound-Cake_slice_blog

  • Heart Box (literally the best idea ever, in my opinion)

6094_020411_heart_box_hd

Valentines Chex Mix

Strawberry Vodka Sparklers

Valentines Dipped pretzels

Conversation cookies

Bronwnie kabobs

Questions for you:

  • Any good Pinterest disaster stories? 
  • Do you and your significant other have a V-Day tradition?
  • For you single ladies, “Gal”-entine’s plans?

xo,

Lizzie

Valentines Day Treats

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Meal Prep & Workouts for the Week: Feb. 9-15

Happy Monday, my friends! How was the weekend?

Bobby was out of town for a ski trip, so I decided to play it very low key. Some errands were accomplished, lots of Netflix watched (I’m working my way through Pretty Little Liars and a long list of documentaries), a much-needed nap was taken, a little LSW studying here and there and of course, my typical Sunday meal prep.

The snow is finally melting a bit and I no longer feel the need to duck under the “Caution: Ice Falling” signs on Michigan Avenue. Now it’s more like a drip of ice cold water down your back every once in a while. Saturday was particularly beautiful with sun streaming through my windows and temps in the 40s!

Flowers in the sun

The forecast on Sunday was a little less than desirable, so I spent the day meal preppin’, plowing through some laundry and getting things in line for the week ahead.

MEAL PREP

meal prep list

Snacks:

Energy Oat balls2

Dinners:

Yoga at home

Workouts:

  • Monday: 40-minute cardio + lower body strength training
  • Tuesday: 20-minute cardio + yoga
  • Wednesday: yoga sculpt via Crunch Live
  • Thursday: rest/foam rolling
  • Friday: 40-minute cardio + upper body strength training
  • Saturday: rest/foam rolling
  • Sunday: 20-minute cardio, stretch

***

Questions for you: 

  • Are you into Netflix? Hulu? Amazon Prime? What shows are you watching?
  • Do you workout on the weekends?

Have a great day!

xo,
Lizzie

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Favorite Finds Friday {2/5}

I’m welcoming Friday with open arms this week! I’ve mentioned it about 16 times already, but it has been an exhausting five days. It’s been a while since I’ve really looked forward to the end of the week, and now I’m reminded of that lost feeling.

Any plans for the weekend? I’m working later on Friday night before heading home for a DVR-marathon and Whole Foods takeout. Saturday will include some blog stuff, organizing, errands and a friend’s birthday festivities. It should be a nice little weekend.

Since it is Friday, it’s time for Favorite Finds, one of my favorite posts during the week. It’s here that I compile all the things that have made my week that much better. I would love to hear about your favorite finds in the comments section. Feel free to link, link, link away!

  • Homemade oat balls. I started making these a few weeks ago and they have quickly become a favorite snack for both Bobby and me. I’ll usually take two to work for an afternoon snack or enjoy a couple for dessert at home.

oat ball

  • L.K. Bennett heels. Kate Middleton wears this brand all the time and I’d be lying if I said I purchased them for any other reason. I’ve had my eye on the classic style for months and when Gilt.com hosted a sale, I snagged the navy pair right away. They are some of the most comfortable heels I’ve worn, the 2.5 inch is perfect for work and they will last a very long time. Three cheers for investment shoes!

LK Bennett

  • Egg burritos. I’ve really been on a Mexican food kick lately, which is strange because it’s not usually my favorite. One of my go-to breakfasts this week has been a whole wheat tortilla with plain greek yogurt, hot sauce, one scrambled egg, egg whites from the carton and a little sharp white cheddar. It really hits the spot!

egg burrito

  • Clinique Lid Smoothie 8-Hour Eyeshadow. I knew I wanted to streamline my weekday makeup routine before I started working again. My mom has sworn by this shadow for years and I finally decided to give it a whirl. I settled on the Cashew Later color and already want to buy the whole line.

Clinique eyeshadow

Tomato White Bean Soup final

  • I never really know what to include in homemade salad dressing. This infographic lays everything out in a perfect step-by-step tutorial.

Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade file box

  • Buzzfeed typically posts hilariously satirical articles, but this one about 27 life-changing tips for twentysomethings is really thoughtful and full of great advice. I happen to think the tips are applicable for people of any age.
  • Have you seen the Saved by the Bell reunion on Jimmy Fallon? I die! I can’t get over how Jessie Spano and AC Slater look the exact same.
  • I’m not even a music person, but Ed Sheeran just gets me. I can’t get enough of this song. 
  • It seems like “happiness” is already the buzz word of 2015. Huffington Post shares 27 common things that prevent our happinessI like to think I’m a pretty happy person, but of course I’m guilty of some of these, particularly #3 and #20. 

***

Did you like this week’s edition of Favorite Finds Friday? Check out past versions here:

Thanks to Katie for the link up!

Have a wonderful weekend.

xo,

Lizzie

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Thoughts on a Thursday

Good morning!

Your regular reading has been a little different this week as I slowly acclimate to my new work schedule. Thanks for sticking with me! Any full-time workers + bloggers out there? I would love to hear your secrets. I thought I would keep today’s post more true to form, a little tangential and more about what’s going on in my world. Sound good?

WORKOUT + BREAKFAST

Yesterday I just could not wake up. I snoozed a couple of times before turning off my alarm and stumbling out of bed. Transitioning from a couple months of not having a schedule to working a busy full-time job is not pretty, ya’ll. I am so fortunate to have this new position; honestly, it feels like a dream. However, the schedule is a little wonky and will take some time getting used to. Most of my days start at noon and end closer to 8 or 9 p.m. Sometimes they will be longer like 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. I am most definitely not complaining though. Like with anything, my body and mind will adjust in time!

I started my tired morning with 20-minutes on the treadmill following a modified version of this routine.

20 Minute Treadmill Workout

If you’re looking for a quick calorie burn, this PopSugar interval workout does not disappoint. It was challenging, but it was also over quick enough to even notice. I also completed a 10-minute yoga video (<– I actually do not recommend this video. It was a little slow and the instructor is kind of annoying!) in the group exercise room alongside two meathead-like men who were grunting and panting the whole time. It felt a little awkward and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Ha! I guess it’s my fault for trying to follow a yoga video outside the comforts of my living room.

Fortunately, I had prepped a bowl of oats the night before and they were waiting for me patiently in the fridge. Otherwise, I might have eaten my arm for breakfast.

Overnight Oats

Old fashioned oats, almond milk, plain greek yogurt, truvia and chia seeds mixed together and left to sit overnight. In the morning, I added honey, walnuts and craisins. 

A couple more thoughts about this week…

  • My meals have been monotonous, rushed and probably not the most balanced. However, my weekend meal prep has literally saved me this week. I might have eaten the same things, but they kept me from devouring microwaved popcorn for every meal.

Eats from the Week

  • Getting fitness out of the way in the morning has been key to feeling productive. Since I don’t have my evenings anymore, the morning hours are my time to get thangs done.
  • Speaking of fitness, on Sunday I took quite the embarrassing photo. It’s on my Twitter feed and you’ll just have to go there because I can’t find the actual photo to post. I wasn’t paying attention to how I was dressed myself (mindfulness, anyone?) and ended up in all pink. Um…
  • Coffee really is my bff. I have a sleep shirt with that saying plastered on the front and Bobby loves to make fun of it.

Coffee in bed

I don’t have time for a filter, so just ignore my dark circles, beautiful hair and the fact that I’m typing this from bed, mmmkay?

  • Since I’m really great at transitioning, speaking of Bobby… I arrived home late on Tuesday night and he had dinner waiting for me! How awesome is that? This isn’t even a #humblebrag. It was like the nicest, most needed gesture ever.

Chicken fajitas

I had the above serving of chicken fajitas x2.

  • Valentine’s Day is next weekend. Excuse me? How is that even possible? It’s one of my favorite holidays and I really need to get my *shat* together.
  • I forgot how much I love business casual clothes. I find work outfits to be the easiest to put together. Now if I had to wear “nice” jeans everyday I would end up in leggings and sweaters.

Work Wear

  • Since I know how much you love cat pictures, I will leave you with this one. He’s also had a long week.

tired baxter

Questions for you:

  • What is your work schedule like?
  • Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What do you do? <– When I was single, I once hosted an all-girls party and my teeny tiny apartment. We had a blast!

xo,

Lizzie

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Clean Eating Tomato & White Bean Soup

Tomato White Bean Soup final

You guys, I spent yeeeeears feeling very ambivalent towards soup. If I ordered soup at a restaurant, I never felt like I was actually eating since there is no chewing involved. I would enjoy a small cup of the hot liquid for an appetizer, but the idea of eating a bowl for my main meal seemed very unappealing.

Enter Chicago winter. My fifth to be exact. They are long. They are dark. And they are cold.

To counteract the dreary season, I’ve started experimenting with various soup recipes. From white chicken chili to roasted cauliflower white cheddar bisque, I like to think I’ve expanded my palette in just a few short months. I am officially a soup convert! I’ve also been on a major kick of doubling recipes and freezing most of it in pre-portioned containers. Talk about convenience on a hectic weeknight.

I made this tomato & white bean soup for the first time a few weeks ago.

Tomato and White Bean Soup 2

Tomato white bean soup

I love how the tomato paste and cannellini beans give it such a hearty texture.

Tomato white bean soup pot

I try to eat pretty clean throughout the week and save my indulgences for thai takeout and candy on the weekends, so this soup is perfect for an easy weekday meal.

White Bean tomato soup with bread

CLEAN EATING TOMATO & WHITE BEAN SOUP

Serves 4

*modified from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper

1. Warm oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato paste and beans. Pour in broth, season with salt and pepper, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool slightly (approximately 10 minutes). Working in batches, carefully puree soup in a blender on the “pulse” setting about 5x. It should be thick, but still a bit chunky. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. If soup is too thick, thin with additional broth. Wait for soup to cool if freezing it.

Tomato White Bean Soup final

Enjoy!

xo,

Lizzie

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Filed under Dinner, Healthy Meals, Recipe