Greek Chicken Bowls
Greek Chicken Bowls | Freckled Italian

This is one of my current favorite recipes—I’ve been making it at least once a week lately and I love it because it’s great for meal prep, which is a thing I really never got into until recently. Rice, marinated chicken, a little tomato salad, and some homemade tzatziki can all be made ahead of time and put together when you’re ready to serve and eat. You could use regular white rice but I like to add lemon when it’s cooking to give it a little something extra.

Greek Chicken Bowls | Freckled Italian
Greek Chicken Bowls | Freckled Italian

Ingredients:

  • About 1 pound of chicken breast

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • The juice of 1 lemon, divided

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or diced

  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced

  • Half of a large cucumber, peeled and diced

  • 1-2 cups of uncooked rice

  • 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt

  • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint and/or dill

  • The other half of the cucumber, grated

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced, divided

  • A drizzle of olive oil

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Mix together olive oil, dried oregano, half of the garlic clove, and half of the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and add chicken. Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or longer in the refrigerator.

  2. While chicken marinates, make the tzatziki by combining yogurt, mint and/or dill, grated cucumber, and half of the garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper and add a drizzle of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  3. Put together the tomato salad by combining tomato, diced cucumber, and red onion. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

  4. Make rice according to package instructions—I like to make mine in the pressure cooker (1 cup rice to 1 cup water or broth for 2 minutes on high pressure, then natural release of pressure which takes 10-20 minutes depending on how much I’ve made). Add some salt and pepper, the other half of the lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil to the pot for extra flavor.

  5. Place a large pan over medium-high heat and allow to preheat. Add chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned and completely cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing or dicing meat into smaller pieces.

  6. To assemble and serve, spoon rice into bowls and top with chicken, tomato salad, and a generous dollop of tzatziki. You can add pita bread as well if you want!

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This Late August Afternoon
This Late August Afternoon | Freckled Italian

In my head I only just sat down and wrote a blog post last weekend, but here I am on a Sunday logging in to Squarespace for the first time in what turns out to be almost a month. What have I been up to since July? A lot, and also not much. The past few weeks have flown by.

I started teaching again at my barre studio—in January I was feeling overwhelmed and in March I officially got off the schedule. I wasn’t sure if it was forever or if I just needed a break, but I was sad to let go of something I had worked so hard for, something I had grown to love. But it taught me that it’s okay to rest when you’re tired, and it encouraged me to be more open with the people I work with and not just push through until you hit burnout. Now, five months later I’m back two mornings a week teaching four classes; finally leaning on our nanny for more than just errands.

I also finished another cookbook this summer. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write one any time soon but my publisher reached out to me about a project that ended up falling through. I figured it wasn’t meant to be and then a few weeks later they approached me with an even more exciting offer and I went for it. When I was in college, writing papers and dreaming about being a writer one day I never imagined that I’d actually become an author, or that my thing would become cookbooks, but I love it so much.

And I’ve started working out a CrossFit gym as well—it’s closer to my house than the barre studio and has class at 6AM and is costing us a small fortune so I make it there 4 days a week no matter what. It was a small shift, but one that I needed. It’s 100% for me and I leave before anyone wakes up and am back home, tomato-faced and sweaty, making myself a latte in time for Rob’s alarm to go off. Going to the gym and being around all of the equipment feels oddly nostalgic to me—it reminds me of being back in Roanoke the summer after grad school when Rob was moving to DC and I hadn’t gotten a job yet. I worked out with my mom every morning until I started at a small software company where I worked until Rob moved to Minneapolis and I followed him six months later.

I still spend a lot of time feeling like I don’t do enough—or, worse, feeling guilty for needing some time here and there for myself. I don’t know why I do that. I’ve wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for longer than I can remember, but there’s this part of me that sometimes feels like it’s not “enough.” Over the past few months I’ve given myself a lot of grace to just focus on my family—it’s such a gift to have this time together and I often forget that. And yet there are still days where I try to do it all--to write and share and develop recipes and market my cookbooks and keep the house clean and engage Sophie 100% of the time she's awake and walk the dog and keep in touch with my friends and get groceries and memorize new choreo for my classes and call my mom and cook healthy meals.

There are times I feel left behind in some ways. While people excel in their careers, blow up on Instagram, travel the world. But when I walk into the room and Sophie yells “MAMA!” with so much excitement, when she brings me a book from across the room and plops herself into my lap with all the confidence in the world, when we sit down for dinner and sing every song she knows on repeat, when we take Ender on a walk on a weekday morning and I get to watch her look around and point at every bird and tree along the way, I know that this is exactly what I had been working toward for all those years—a flexible, but sometimes unorganized life full of love.

...someday she’ll long
for this late August afternoon

when she could have held
each instant
like a jewel
in the palm of her still smooth hand.
— Sonya Sones
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Currently...
Currently | Freckled Italian

Feeling ready for fall. I know, I know. I can’t help it though—I’m ready for cooler weather pretty much as soon as the 4th of July rolls around. Like many people in the Bay Area, we don’t have central AC so the few hot days we do get are kind of brutal. We have window units in the bedrooms so it’s not the worst, but it definitely gets me dreaming of sweaters and boots when I’m sweating my ass off through most of July and August.

Eating so much rice! We got a pressure cooker, which I’ve always been kind of intimidated by, but as soon as I started messing with it I became obsessed and now pretty much cook everything in it. (As usual, I’m about a year and a half behind most trends.) I like just plain rice with a ton of kimchi on it when I’m not in the mood to cook, but another thing I’ve been making lately are these Greek chicken rice bowls, which I’ll definitely write up a recipe for and share here soon.

Reading Searching for Sunday (affiliate link) by Rachel Held Evans. What a beautiful book. I unfortunately only learned of her work right before she passed away, but reading her words makes it feel like she’s sitting right here next to me.

Watching all the Disney movies. After my master’s thesis I really didn’t watch any Disney stuff again until just recently, but then I discovered a new-to-me podcast which I am currently obsessed with (see “Listening to” below).

Listening to Inside the Disney Vault. Oh my goodness. This podcast is hilarious and so smart. The hosts watch every Disney animated movie in chronological order and then talk about each one. They make such great observations and know all kinds of trivia about each film, and they are all so funny as well. I have been laughing out loud to every episode so far (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Mulan, and I’m currently listening to the Moana episode). If you’re a Disney fan (or maybe if you’re not a Disney fan), you should check it out.

Thinking about “living” life online…I’ve been taking an intentional break from Instagram and I suppose an unintentional one from this blog lately. For years I spent so much time thinking about traffic and algorithms and photo opportunities and what would do “well” in these online spaces, and over time I finally just got burned out. I’m so thankful for this blog and the Internet in general because it’s been amazing to earn an income from brand collaborations and even my cookbook projects, which wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for this online “home” of mine, but lately it’s all been feeling a bit inauthentic to me so I thought it’d be best to step back for a bit. I want to get back to writing what’s on my mind and sharing photos without obsessing over every little detail. I just finished writing another cookbook so I also hope to get back to sharing my recipes here more regularly, because that really has become a passion of mine over the years. Food and words—and less other stuff.

Looking forward to some trips we have planned—we decided not to travel back to the east coast for a while after the wedding we just went to earlier this month because that 5 hour flight with a toddler is a lot, but we have a road trip to Oregon for another family wedding coming up, and after that I’m actually going to New Orleans for a weekend with one of my college roommates in September. Then we’re taking Sophie to Minneapolis in October, where my mom will actually meet us for a few days. And then I’m looking forward to staying put for Thanksgiving and Christmas—can you believe I’m already thinking about the holidays? I literally started planning a Thanksgiving menu the other day. What can I say, I’m ready.

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