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WARNING!! This recipe is not short or easy, but if you are like me and don’t mind checking out your local Hispanic market, spending a couple hours in the kitchen experimenting with something new, and losing sleep over whether or not your guests will like it–then this recipe is for you! I promise you will end up with a bunch of extra mole sauce that can easily be frozen and used another time.

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This recipe starts with de-stemming and de-seeding 10 dried ancho and 5 dried quajillo chiles, both of which I was able to find at my local Hispanic market.

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The chiles are toasted and soaked to soften while the remaining ingredients are toasted in various rounds of the pan. At the end, everything is added to the blender.

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Using the chile soaking sauce to thin, everything is blended until smooth.

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Note: a high speed blender probably works best here, but if you are left with bits and pieces of the cinnamon stick or other ingredients strain the sauce before adding to the pan.

The sauce is then added to the pan with a bit of vegetable oil, chocolate (the best part!), and 2 cups reserved chicken cooking liquid (if you are also making the enchiladas, but if not, vegetable broth would also work). Everything simmers until desired thickness is reached. Yum!

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The sauce itself could be used for a variety of things, but I chose to use it to make enchiladas…my favorite! I cooked and shredded chicken thighs and tossed them with 1/2 cup mole sauce for the filling.

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To assemble the enchiladas, I placed about 2 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese and 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of warm corn tortillas. Rolled them up and placed them seam side down in a 9×13 rectangular baking dish with about 1/2 cup mole sauce spread on the bottom. Then I spread about 1/2-3/4 cup more mole sauce over the enchiladas and baked at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes until heated through.

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Topped them off with crumbled queso fresco and fresh cilantro. Served them to the in-laws and they were a hit! This recipe can be prepared in various stages. The chicken and the sauce can be prepared the day before and the enchiladas can be prepared the following day–this helps break it up a bit. I lost sleep over this one, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out! Enjoy!

Chicken Mole Coloradito Enchiladas

Serves 4-6 | Recipe by Lauren Larson | Print here!

Total time: 2+ hours

For the chicken:

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

¼ medium white onion, cut into large chunks

3 cloves garlic, peeled

5 whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups water

For the Mole Coloradito (makes about 6 cups):

10 dried red ancho chile peppers

5 dried guajillo chile peppers

Enough boiling water to cover the dried chiles

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 3-4” cinnamon stick

5 whole cloves

½ teaspoon anise seeds

¼ teaspoon coriander seeds

¼ medium white onion, cut into large chunks

3 garlic cloves, peeled

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

2 tablespoons raisins

3 6-inch corn tortillas, torn into pieces

4 medium plum tomatoes, cored (canned is fine)

½ cup Mexican chocolate, cut in pieces

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon salt

For the enchiladas:

12 6-inch corn tortillas

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

½ cup crumbled queso fresco

¼ bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)

Lime wedges for serving (optional)

Plain yogurt or sour cream for serving (optional)

To cook the chicken:
  1. Put the chicken, onion, garlic, peppercorns, and salt in a large pot. Pour in water, adding more if the chicken is not covered. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover until chicken is cooked through very tender; about 30-40 minutes. Remove chicken, reserving liquid, shred with two forks, and transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate if not using within 30 minutes.
To prepare the Mole Coloradito:
  1. Wash the chiles with a damp cloth. Remove the stems, split open with a knife and remove the seeds and veins. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the chiles until lightly toasted; about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large glass bowl. Cover with boiling water to soften; about 30 minutes. Carefully remove the chiles, reserving 2-3 cups liquid, and add to a blender.
  2. In the same dry skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, tossing until golden; about 5 minutes. Transfer to blender.
  3. Again, in the same skillet, toast the cinnamon stick, cloves, anise seeds, and coriander seeds until fragrant; about 3 minutes. Add to blender.
  4. 4. Still in the same dry skillet, add the onion and garlic and toast until nicely brown in spots. Add to blender.
  5. Add tomatoes to blender.
  6. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons oil to the same skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds, raisins, and torn corn tortillas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the almonds are golden, the raisins are plump, and the tortillas are golden brown; about 2-5 minutes. Add to blender.
  7. Pour ~1/2 cup reserved chile soaking liquid (being careful not to pick up any rogue seeds). Turn on blender. Working ½ cup at a time, carefully pour in 1 ½-2 ½ cups reserved chile soaking liquid (avoiding seeds) through the hole in the top of the blender until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  8. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Pour in the chile sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened; 5-6 minutes.
  9. Add 2 cups reserved chicken cooking liquid (straining if necessary) and simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Add chocolate, and simmer, stirring frequently, until the chocolate melts and the sauce reduces; about 20 minutes.
  10. Add sugar and salt to taste. Use immediately and/or portion out and freeze for future use.
To assemble enchiladas:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with about ½ cup mole sauce.
  3. Microwave chicken if not warm. Stir 1 cup shredded cheese and ½ cup mole sauce into shredded chicken.
  4. Coat both sides of tortillas with vegetable oil spray. Arrange 6 tortillas on a large baking sheet and bake until soft and pliable; 2-4 minutes.
  5. Working quickly, fill each tortilla with ¼ cup chicken mixture, roll, and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  6. Pour 1 cup more mole sauce over enchiladas. Bake 25 minutes. Sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro.
  7. Serve with lime wedges, yogurt, and more mole sauce on the side.

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Summer is Just Flying By

How is it August already?! I feel like the summer has just flown by. We have been getting rain almost every day in Colorado, which has been amazing. It has kept the temperatures cool and the grass green. I don’t ever remember the grass/fields being this green all the way to August. As the summer has flown by, so has my first dietetic internship rotation. I have completed over 260 hours of the 400 food service management hours I have to do. I have improved the nutrition education programs for the dining halls, written a food allergy policy, attended chef interviews, made over 40 pounds of pasta (at one time!), learned how to ice a cake and make focaccia bread, made some gluten-free baked goods in the special gluten-free bakery, and more! I have already gotten so many great experiences, I cannot wait to see what else I end up doing in the 1,000 hours I have remaining. Since my internship is keeping me busy and somewhat out of the kitchen (I am able to eat at the dining halls for lunch), I haven’t been experimenting with new recipes as much. Instead, I have been obsessing about a few other things…

Running. In less than 5 weeks I am doing my third half marathon (second trail half marathon). I am doing the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park just outside of Fort Collins. With 13.1 miles of singletrack and close to 2,000 feet of elevation gain, I have been doing most of my training on trail with some hills. This weekend I ran 10 miles with a good friend, and next weekend I am easing up before I ramp up to 12 miles before the race. I am loosely following this training plan.

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Baking bread at home. Since bringing gluten back into my diet a little under a year ago I have been thoroughly enjoying all of the things that were forbidden while I was following a gluten-free diet. I’m talking beer, bread, tortellini, and tortillas galore! Rather than wasting my gluten on store bought bread, I have been experimenting with making bread at home. And when a friend gave me a liquid yeast starter he has been keeping alive since the 80’s that really fed the fire. So far I have made a few soft breads (similar to a sweet bread), yeasted banana bread, yeasted waffles, pizza crust, King Arthur’s No-Knead Crusty White Bread, and NY Times’ No-Knead Bread. All of them need some work, but I hope to be a self-taught crusty artisan bread master sooner or later.

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Chickens. After I successfully defending my Master’s thesis in May, the husband gifted me with four cute little chickens. It has been such an adventure learning how to care for them (which isn’t that hard) and watching them grow. We have an Ameraucauna (named Goose), a Red Star (Laverne), a Barred Rock (Maverick), and we used to have a Wellsummer (Shirley), but that one turned out to be a rooster. Unfortunately, roosters are not allowed within Fort Collins city limits, so we had to give her (him) up, but we think he found a good home where he can make over 30 hens real happy. As the three hens have grown, and still have more growing to do, we began to feel a little uncomfortable keeping them in the small coop we originally got for them. The husband did some research, found The Garden Coop, bought some plans, and spent a few weekends building this amazing new coop for them in our back yard. Now that we have more space we hope to get some more hens. I’m crossing my fingers for a Silkie.

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Slow Cooker Whole Oat Groat Porridge. With the warm summer temperatures I struggle with making stovetop oatmeal or mixed grain porridge for breakfast even though it was I crave every…single…day. Instead, I have been making this Slow Cooker Whole Oat Groat Porridge. I enjoy it warm on the first day and cold as leftovers (mixed in yogurt or kefir). It would be a great breakfast for those that aren’t morning people or don’t have a lot of time to make a hot breakfast. Just mix it up in the slow cooker the night before and wake up to a delicious ready-to-eat breakfast.

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Whole Oat Groat Porridge

Serves 4 | Recipe by Lauren Larson | http://newestobsession.com

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 8 hours

Cooking spray

¾ cup whole oat groats

¼ cup whole rye berries (or more oat groats)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

4 cups unsweetened almond milk

¼ cups chopped pitted dates (or other dried fruit)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1 whole cinnamon stick (optional)

4-6 whole cardamom pods (optional)

2-3 star anise seeds or pieces (optional)

Toppings (e.g. milk, kefir, yogurt, nut butter, and/or fresh fruit)

  1. The night before, spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Add oat groats and rye berries (or more oat groats).
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt and pour in almond milk.
  4. Sprinkle in pitted dates (or other dried fruit).
  5. Add remaining ingredients (if using) and give it a quick stir.
  6. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.
  7. In the morning, serve topped with warmed or cool milk, kefir, yogurt, nut butter, and/or fresh fruit.

Instead of reheating leftovers try mixing them with about ½ cup of yogurt for a cooling summer breakfast.

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Guess what I’m having for breakfast?!

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Approximately 17% of American children and adolescents aged 2-19 years old are obese (1). Teaching today’s kids to eat right is essential for the health and wellbeing of future generations to come. To emphasize the importance of healthy eating and active lifestyles for children and families, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have launched the first ever Kids Eat Right Month for the month of August. Shopping smart, cooking healthy, and eating right are all cornerstones for eating healthy.

  • Shopping smart. Getting kids involved in selecting the foods that appear at the table or in their lunch box will increase the likelihood that they will eat it. And, no, this does not mean getting them involved in choosing packaged foods and sweetened beverages—I am willing to guess they have no problem eating these types of items. Instead, take them to the produce section and allow them to choose one or a few items of their liking. If this doesn’t work out, don’t get discouraged and keep trying, kids may need over a dozen exposures to a new food to try it and decide whether or not they like it.
  • Cooking healthy. As with getting the kids involved in selecting foods in the grocery stores, getting kids involved with cooking connects them with the meal and increases the likelihood they will eat it or at least try it. Allow them to tear the lettuce for the salad, snap off the heads of broccoli, measure out and add the spices, and even stir. Make it fun!
  • Eating right. After selecting healthy foods at the grocery store and cooking a healthy meal out of them, take the time to sit down at the table as a family to eat together. Take the time as an opportunity to talk to each other about one’s day. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but try to aim to sit down for at least one meal a day together—with no TV or other distractions. Kids with families who sit down and eat meals together are less likely to be overweight or obese, eat healthier foods, do better in school, have improved psychological well-being, and reduced risk for eating disorders, substance abuse, and violence (2, 3). Aim for three or more meals together as a family each week!

The best way to develop healthy eating habits in your kids is to serve as a role model. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains, low fat dairy and meat products, and drink water instead of sugary drinks. And, finally, it is all about balance – calories in and calories out. Get active with your kids on a regular basis. Exercise also helps build strong muscles and bones, decrease risk of developing type 2 diabetes, have a better outlook on life, potentially lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, improves sleep, and increases the ability to focus in school (4).

For those of you who know me personally or have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I used to volunteer with the Growe Foundation in Boulder, CO. Their mission is to educate children about the benefits of healthy eating and caring for the environment.

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While volunteering with Growe I helped teach a few nutrition lessons for myself. Read more about each one by clicking the links.

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[Source]

Learn more about Kids Eat Right here: http://www.kidseatright.org/. Find articles, recipes, tips, and videos for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, gradeschoolers, and teens. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+. For more health and nutrition information for preschoolers, including tips on developing healthy eating habits, help for picky eaters, as well as sample meal plans and snacks click here. For nutrition related games for kids click here.

How do you get your kids right? Or how did your parents/guardians get you to eat right as a kid?

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