Orange Chicken


Orange Chicken is juicy, savory, and packed with big sweet and sour flavor. 


What happens in Vegas…


Gets posted on The Blog. Ben and I are headed to Sin City – WHEEEEE!!

Since marrying three years ago, we’ve had a tradition of taking a rejuvenating vacation every year in the spring to celebrate our anniversary and take a break from life in general. This year we planned on taking the most epic road trip ever and loosely follow the Oregon Trail, hitting up Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone Park on the way to our final destination of Portland, OR.

We were supposed to leave this Friday, but didn’t even put pen to paper and map out the journey until we drove to Minneapolis this past weekend. When all was said, done and miles meticulously calculated – we figured it was going to cost us nearly $3000 to get there and back – $700 in gas alone!

You can go to Europe for $3000! So, we looked into Plan B: a trip to Wine Country. All the good hotels were taken for next week. Plan C? fly to our beloved New Orleans. Still too expensive. When all else fails, Plan D! VEGAS!!!

I went to Vegas for the first time in July 2009, and I swear to you I only fully recovered and was able to even think about going back just a few months ago. It’s a crazy town, but I Ben and I know how to have a good time without getting too crazy. Ok, maybe a little crazy… ;) I know what I said about loving a low-key lifestyle, but a Vegas vacation always makes me rally. I’m so excited!

We’re heading west late this weekend, so I’ve got 6 days to get bikini ready.

OH boy.

Tonight, to help me on my way, I made a healthy, filling and only slightly sinful dish for dinner. Orange Chicken! This dinner is a Frankenstein combination of Jenna’s Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken and my Orange Tofu, and is seriously le.git.


Orange Chicken

Serves 2


Orange Chicken is juicy, savory, and packed with big sweet and sour flavor. 


  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded to the same thickness
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of two oranges
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, paprika, salt and chicken breasts in a sealed plastic bag then shake to coat chicken evenly.
  2.  Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat then shake excess flour from chicken and saute until golden brown on both sides (does not have to be cooked all the way through.) Remove to a non-stick sprayed baking dish and set aside.
  3. Add orange juice to the hot skillet, reduce by half, then pour over chicken in the baking dish.
  4. Crumble 2 teaspoons brown sugar over each chicken breast then bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, finishing with a few minutes under the broiler to caramelize brown sugar if needed.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,



The reduced fresh orange juice made a sweet & sour sauce that I poured over the golden brown chicken and onto the steamed broccoli below to soak up. Look at that caramelized orange! MMMMM!


Baked chicken is seriously the best, by the way. Always tender and juicy.


Gobble, gobble, gobble. You’ve got to make this! It tasted just like Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken, except way, WAY healthier! :D

Dessert is also healthier. The Brown Butter Banana Muffins I made last night are seriously to die.


I followed this recipe, but added 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY yummy. I want to eat 100!


2 will do.

With Vegas less than a week away, and Bridesmaid Bootcamp still in the works, I kicked it into high gear and went to Body Pump this morning (took it SUPER easy on my legs/quads so I’m not in as much pain as last time, and so it wouldn’t kill my knees (which are feeling MUCH better after a break over the weekend!) ) then went for a run this afternoon in the PICTURE PERFECT weather we’ve got going on right now!

Seriously. 72. Sunny. Slight breeze. I couldn’t ask for anything else. Oh yes I can. A tan.

I wore shorts on my run for the first time this spring and I swear to you, I was blinding oncoming traffic with my glowing legs. I am SOOOOO pale! And not porcelain pale, a la Kristen Stewart in Twilight, like someone take this girl’s temperature because she must have the flu, pale.

Yeeeeah. I do believe a mystic tan will be lightly coating my limbs before I board a plane heading poolside this weekend. I’m nervous – I never tan in beds after reading a SELF Magazine article a couple years ago with pictures of people suffering from skin cancer in it (which are forever etched into my brain) but I’ve never gotten a spray tan either. Any tips?

Off to enjoy the evening. Take care! :)


Have you ever been to Las Vegas? Any desire to go if you haven’t?

Like I said last time – yeah it can be a super seedy town, but it’s really as seedy as you make it!

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  1. I was skeptical about those muffins (only 5 ingredients!) but now that I hear your review – I’ll have to try them!

  2. emily ruth 04.12.2011

    Have fun in Vegas! I always get my spray tan at a salon in Iowa City from a lady who sprays it on. The spray machines scare me and always look a little too orange. Hope that helps ; )

    • Katy 04.12.2011

      I agree, find someone to spray it on for you and it will look much better! :)

  3. Erin 04.12.2011

    So…Vegas the older I get gets harder to take. I have been countless times for Catering Conventions and love the hustle and bustle. The food is amazing as well. One of my choice buffets (I hate the word) is a place called dishes in the TI hotel….what I love is that they have Cotton Candy and I am a sucker for Cotton Candy. I have had the fun of eating cheap buffets to extremely expensive meals in that city. Honestly though, I love nothing more than going for a few days, but catching a flight back to our Midwest town that is full of great foodies. Have fun!

  4. Wear dark clothes to and from your spray tan! me and my friend did it back in college and she destroyed a white hoodie of hers =(

  5. Your chicken looks great! I went on my first trip to Vegas in the fall with some girlfriends and it was a blast! I didn’t go crazy gambling, just hanging by the pool, sipping some dranks! Good call on saving your moola- wait until gas goes down!!

  6. Rebecca 04.12.2011

    Bahahahahaaaa the spray tan…….I’ve only done it once myself and although I can laugh about it now, it was horrendous at the time. I don’t remember why I had to make a last minute appt, but I did…for and hour and a half before I had to teach night class. Very, very bad decision. If I remember right you are supposed to let the spray dry for a certain amount of time without getting your skin wet. Well, they should also say before really putting clothes back on either, the spray DOESN’T dry fast and due to my impending class, I had no choice but to just put my clothes back on and get to DSM in time for class. Also, by pure chance, I was wearing a sort of gauzy, thin top that night and of course, the spray soaked through in spots. So there I was in the middle of 30 immigrants (all of them with darker skin than my own, thus the idea of explaining my spray tanning debacle to them would have made zero sense) trying to teach ESL, my shirt is mildly sticky and has brown ooze coming out of it, my face the same, and I had absolutely no choice but to just stand up there in front of my class and try to act like nothing was wrong. Not my finest moment :(

  7. So jealous!! I have never been to Vegas but have heard it is a lot of fun! Have a great trip!

  8. Imwaytoobusy 04.12.2011

    I am not a fan of spray tans, but I am a fan of a little self-bronzing once or twice a week during the spring and summer months. That’s just enough to take the “pink” out of your skin and not leave you looking like a carrot (which can happen when you apply daily). Origins has a great face self-tanning line: Faux Glow for the face and The Great Pretender for the Body. I just put it on at night before I go to bed. Speaking of, I better start the routine now that warmer weather’s here again ;)

  9. Lauren 04.12.2011

    YAY Vegas!!!! Every time I think of Vegas I think of you! :) Are you staying at The Flamingo Again? Such good memories. :) Have a BLAST!!!!

  10. cj 04.12.2011

    ha – i must have been channeling you tonight as i made orange tofu and roasted broccoli for dinner. seriously. that is my new favorite meal!!

    i’ve been to vegas once…for a fabulous wedding in a little white chapel. i had a great time and would love to go back to see and do the things that i didn’t get to see and do. definitely not a place i would go forever, but fun for a weekend trip of fun!

  11. Vegas sounds like a perfect vacation right about now!! Have fun!

    Dinner looks amazing!

  12. erica 04.12.2011

    i LOVE vegas! i think after my most recent trip, i’ve gone beyond the age of clubbing—but the food, and the shows, and the shopping! awesome!

    you’re going to have a great time! can’t wait to read all about it!

  13. Emily 04.12.2011

    I love Vegas! It’s where I got married- not by Elvis, although we did consider it. For a second-, and we’re planning on going back to celebrate our third anniversary in June :)

  14. Omg, that will be an amazing trip! I’m super jealous!

  15. I went to Vegas once. It was fun, but I think 3-4 days max is a good amount of time before you just can’t deal with it anymore. It’s hot almost all the time, there’s a million people, everything is super expensive, and it just gets to be too much after a while (esp since I’m not a “club” person). That said, it’s neat to experience it!!

  16. Yay for avoiding tanning booths!! I’ve gotten a spray booth tan twice now and thought it came out really well. There are different settings for how dark you want it to be (you might want to avoid the highest setting just in case things get orange). If they don’t offer, insist that someone goes back with you to walk you through the process first. They should give you a lotion to put on your hands and feet so those areas don’t absorb as much of the tanning spray. They should also provide a towel for you to pat yourself down with afterwards to avoid any streaking and it helps with the lotion not getting on your clothes afterwards. Good luck!

  17. Machelle 04.12.2011

    Been to Vegas several times, but not in several years. I love to look at the hotels…great architecture!!! I think everyone should go at least once, whether they like to gamble or not. It’s so much more than just gambling. I love the Hoover Dam area…so pretty! I love the Shops at Ceasars. Love the shopping in general!! Love seeing a show! Love the cheap shrimp! It is SO touristy and man made and they waste SO much water keeping it all alive, three things I hate, but for some reason I love to visit there! Ha! Have a great time and eat ice cream everyday!

  18. sara 04.12.2011

    mystic tans have come a long way. I’m really pale and tend to burn, not tan, so i get a couple each summer and they end up looking so good! Some tips…
    1. pay the extra $1 for the scent (vanilla or coconut)
    2. use the shower cap, but make sure it’s just covering your hair, and not your ears/forehead/sides of face too much.
    3. if they provide booties, maybe just stand on them. otherwise the bottoms of your feet get v. orange (which really isn’t a biggie).
    4. when you get out, wipe off your hands really well, and then just lightly blot your legs/arms, etc before you get dressed. I usually wear shorts, a light t-shirt and flip flops to the salon so I don’t have to put lots of clothes on right after!

  19. Have fun! I went to vegas when I was like 12- I barely remember it!

  20. jad18 04.12.2011

    I have been to vegas three times. We went last year on our way to san diego and have sworn it off for a few years. The crowds and smoke got to us more than anything else. But we had a great time at love and we also had a great meal at the mesa grill.

  21. Stephanie 04.12.2011

    How exciting that you two are headed to Vegas!!! You are going to have a great time :)

    I got spray tanned once for a wedding and I would definitely say make sure you keep your eyes closed and don’t breathe at alllll. I did some research after-the-fact and found out that it’s kind of toxic for you – wish they would have told me that up front! I honestly don’t know that I’d do it again… but it did yield fabulous results (make sure you put the lotion they give you on your elbows/knees!)

  22. Connie Conlon 04.12.2011

    Kristen….we just got back from Vegas last week. Went on Monday night and came back Friday evening. Stayed at the Monte Carlo and visited Fremont Street to see the over head light show. Also, got to see a FREE show since we flew with the Allegiant package deal. I even won a few bucks. Hope you enjoy your visit….the weather was great !!!! Your mother-in-law thought I might have won the big jackpot….that sure didn’t happen !!!! hahaha….

  23. Eleni 04.12.2011

    I went to Vegas over winter break right before I turned 21 and I still had a blast. You MUST go to the Wynn buffet. Definitely the classiest, best buffet I’ve ever been to. There was gold leaf on the desserts!

  24. Melissa 04.12.2011

    I buy my own can of Neutrogena or Banana Boat spray tan and do it myself! You can get it at Target and with a few applications, it works just as well if not better than the mystic or whatever you get at the salon. Just be sure to spray it on evenly and then also rub it in so you don’t get patches. Make sure to do your feet, too! :) Then just wash off your hands really well. Works great and it’s a lot cheaper!

  25. AmyLou 04.12.2011

    Spray tans aren’t that bad. Definitely wear dark clothing to and from the appointment. Also, make sure you pay attention to the information video they offer, and if it’s your first time, get the lowest dosage so you don’t look like an oompa loompa!! Finally, you DEFINITELY want to hold your breath in a spray tan booth and PAT (not wipe) yourself dry – otherwise you end up with streaks. I worked at a tanning salon in college and nobody ever really had major issues after the Mystic booth if they followed instructions.

    The bad part is a couple days later, when your skin starts flaking off (naturally or due to a body wash with exfoliating beads-try to avoid those with a spray tan!!!) and you get “patchy.” I highly recommend bringing along one of those moisiturizing self-tanning things from the drugstore, like Jergens or L’Oreal, to help with that issue.


  26. Carie 04.12.2011

    Can’t wait to try the orange chicken recipe it looks delicious! As for a tan – I use Jergen’s body Glow Lotion. It’s pretty cheap and I think it works great! They also have an accelerated one that shows up in just 2 – 3 days so you’ll be ready by your trip! I LOVE VEGASS!! Have a blast!

  27. Ah you’re going to have such an awesome time! I’ve never been to Vegas, but I’ve heard it’s a blast! Can’t wait to hear what happens. Oh, and those muffins look exactly how I thought they would-to die.

  28. Bridget 04.12.2011

    I’ve been to Vegas three times and loved it every time! My list of places to see and things to do is long so I’ll keep it short and sweet.

    #1~New York New York Dueling Piano bar around 9:30 or 10 pm is the BEST! It’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time. :)
    #2~Binions Steakhouse on Freemont Street is total old school Vegas and has amazing food.
    #3~THE Hotel has a bar on the top floor called the Mix and the view at night is awesome. It’s a must see!
    Have a great trip!

  29. Lindsey 04.12.2011

    I’ve done the mystic twice and the spray by a professional once. I found that with the person spraying it I got less drips and streaks than w/ mystic but it might not matter. Be sure to exfoliate really good before-hand to get rid of uneven patches on skin, so that it goes on evenly. Also, ask for a list of products to avoid after to get your tan to last longer (including alcohol based products, salicylic acid, some shampoos etc…). But the store bought ones work pretty well also if you’re pressed for time/money!

  30. Jennie 04.12.2011

    I love Vegas. My dad and sisters have lived there since 2000 and I go out there quite often (I live in Indiana). My little sister is getting married in Sept so I will be out there then. I spent my 21st birthday out there (a total blast!) and I also got married there. Have fun! You should stay at Mandalay Bay….their pool is awesome!

  31. Rachel 04.12.2011

    My sister took me to Vegas for my 30th b-day…Of course, we’re geeks, and we went specifically to do the Star Trek Experience when it was at the Las Vegas Hilton. While my sister was a little more stick-in-the mud than I was, it was still a LOT of fun, and I can’t wait to go back some day!

  32. ew 04.12.2011

    I highly recommend Tan World in Ankeny for your spray tan. It is the best that I have found. I drive from Des Moines as I haven’t found anything as good here or in West Des Moines. The employees walked me through each step. As long as you follow their instructions it should turn out great. It is the most natural spray tan that I’ve ever had. It also has a large fan in the machine that completely drys you before you leave so you don’t have to worry about streaking or it coming off on your clothes. Just make sure to exfoliate really well before you go.

  33. Codi 04.12.2011

    Do the spray tan a day or 2 before you go. I do mine on Thursday nights if I want it for an event Saturday. Then you have 2 showers underway and most of the ORANGE glow comes off. Also protect your hands and feet they get the worst.

  34. Caylie 04.12.2011

    I went to Vegas back in 2006. It was for a leadership conference in college. Who in their right mind would have a leadership conference in Vegas for a bunch of college students?! Haha. It was fantastic, since it was all free! But I was 2 weeks shy of 21, so it wasn’t as fun as it could have been!

    I’ve never had a spray tan, but I agree with the girls that use the store bought lotions. They work well, if you apply them correctly. I have a friend who is using the lotion from Bath and Body Works (she said buy the lotion, not the spray), and it is the best that she has used, and she is so pale, it’s ridiculous! She just said to exfoliate a few time before applying the lotion… but it works well! Don’t know how fast it works though, if you want to look less pale by the weekend!

    • Caylie 04.12.2011

      So, the lotion is called – True Blue Spa, Bronzing Self-Tanning Lotion – Strike Gold… The description says, “… Your tan will achieve its maximum darkness in 4 hours” And the reviews are looking promising… Heck, maybe I’ll have to try it!

  35. Michele 04.12.2011

    I go to Tan World on 50th. Just be careful. Last time the bottoms of my feet were BLACK! I found out later you can buy some stickey things to put on the bottom of your feet. I will do that next time.

  36. Ashley M. 04.12.2011

    It really breaks my heart to hear when people tan. I’m so glad to hear you are going with the spray! I have done it in the past and the only advice I have is to make sure you give your tan enough time to set! You don’t want to shower too soon and come out looking like a leopard. Good luck! And enjoy Vegas!

  37. dmcgirl 04.12.2011

    Well, I grew up in Portland you are missing out! I go to Vegas occassionally, and its okay, for a couple of days. Try to make it to the City of Roses, you won’t be sorry!

    I have been a tanning bad addict and now that I am older and smarter, I no longer do that.

    Spray tans are great. Tips:
    Scrub, scrub, scrub at least 8 hours before you do it.
    Stay out of the sun after and wear light weight clothing.
    PUt some lotion on your fingers and toes
    Make sure you get somebody to spray you that knows what they are doing, not a thing you stand in and turn! Ga-Ross results.

    Have fun!

  38. Kelly 04.12.2011

    I agree that booths are not nearly as good a tan as finding someone to spray you. The girl that I go explained that booths use four ounces of solution because they have no idea how big or pale customers will be. Having an actual person spray you means they can control how much or how little color to give. The result is natural and a lot more goof proof. I highly recommend it. Plus, the last time I went to a booth, they solution was scented and it was like inhaling and tasting perfume. The other thing I didn’t like about the booth as well as a person spraying me is that you get out of the booth dripping wet with spray tan. This tan dries instantly. Try it. I bet you’d like it and it costs the same.

  39. kEndra 04.12.2011

    Ah lucky!! Went to Vegas with my college roommates after we graduated from UNI and had a BLAST!!! You can literally make it any kind of trip you want – we laid out every day and sat poolside then went out every night – perfect way to celebrate a college graduation!! :)

  40. dmcgirl 04.12.2011

    That is my post the last vegas trip we took. Yes, do Fremont street at night only. Way cool!

    • dmcgirl 04.12.2011

      That trip to vegas I took was the first week I started my blog! I just realized that. The pics are so small! Too bad (jk) you missed out on the Liberace Museum, it closed!

  41. Tracey 04.12.2011

    I had never been to Vegas and then I went 5 times in one year!

    It’s a fun town and I like that you only need a couple days to do it right ;)

  42. Monica 04.12.2011

    Exfoliate with a loofah before a spray tan. ;)

    Vegas should be a fun trip. My husband and I have visited Vegas solo with a group of friends, but went together for the first time a couple of years ago and had a blast. It can be a very fun city to get swept away in – I mean it is truly its own little world that operates outside reality it seems.

  43. KeshaB623 04.12.2011

    I love Vegas! We went twice last year. The 1st time, we went for a wedding at Caeser’s Palace in the Venus Garden (BEAUTIFUL), we stayed at Bally’s (I do NOT recommend) but the 2nd time, we stayed at the Wyndham resorts which was really nice. My brothers stayed at the Bellagio and recommend it. It was a beautiful casino, made me a little jealous when I saw their digs.
    We got to go to a lot of casinos to see and take pictures, saw the Bellagio Casino’s Botanical Gardens, went to see the Hoover Dam, saw the Blue Man Group, the Cirque du Soleil “Mystere” show, the Boyz II Men concert, took the gondola ride at the Venetian casino, AND ate at Emeril’s for Christmas dinner at the MGM! LOL
    Talk about a fabulous time, I have to admit I originally went to see if I could see Emeril, but I have to admit the food was AMAZING! You’ve got to go & try the jambalaya! Yumm!

  44. Jill 04.12.2011

    You got to have someone spray you. Dont do the booth. Make sure you read all the rules about the tan. You have to prepare your skin and use certain lotions and soaps afterwards. I get airbrushed for every event or vacation. It’s awesome. You just have to be educated before you do it. Have fun in Vegas!!!!

  45. Dream Mom 04.12.2011

    Oh, that sounds like so much fun! I love Vegas. I used to travel there on business a few times a year; it was the cheapest place for all of our division to get to! I LOVED the Cirque du Soliel. Amazing. Great food, did a little bit of gambling, etc. Overall, a fun place.

    As for tanning, I am really fair too-I always get the lightest foundation! Anyway, try the Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer for Fair to Medium Tone skin. You’ll get some color if you apply it a few days prior. I did tanning beds for a short while when I was young and then really worked to stay out of the sun. I am older and have hardly any wrinkles so it pays off. I’ve never spray tanned however I do worry about the toxins in things. Jergens scores a “7” hazard rating on the cosmetics database however I don’t use it very often. Your skin is the largest organ in your body so you do have to be careful with what you put on it. I use Now Foods Organic Virgin Coconut Oil in lieu of a sunscreen-you’ll tan nicely and not burn.

    P.S. The chicken recipe sounds great. I’ve made lemon chicken before but I like the idea of the orange.

  46. Abby 04.12.2011

    I love, love, LOVE the spray tan! OK, so it’s not QUITE as natural as the ‘real’ thing (tanning beds), but obvi much safer! I have a package where I can go as many times a month as I want here in Denver for only $50/month, so I go almost every week! I recomment putting a light coat of lotion on hands/feet, as the creases get a lil’ orange, and if you’re REALLY worried, you could leave it on a little less than they recommend. The worst part is the smell, and it does leave your clothes/sheets a little stinky, but overall- worth it. And, the good news is, you’re going to Vegas, so even if it’s a BIT much, no one. will even. notice. Ha, happy anniversary!

  47. Jill 04.12.2011

    Vegas!!! How fun!! I try and go to Vegas once a year for either a girls trip, birthday, or bachelorette party. Its always a good time!!! My absolute favorite place to stay is The Hotel at Mandalay Bay – super modern interior & the least smokey of all the hotels. As far as restaurants – Social House or Nobu for sushi, Pink Taco for mexican, and Burger Bar are all my faves. Hope you have a great time!!

  48. Lisa 04.13.2011

    Don’t waste your time it’s going to be 90 here in Vegas this weekend! OMG a few hrs in the sun and you will be golden…literally. I live in Vegas and there is something here for everyone so relax and enjoy yourself…we aren’t as seedy as some may think :) Let me know if you need restaurant recommendations or things to do!

  49. Jen 04.13.2011

    I grew up in Minneapolis and have lived all over the country and ended up settling down in Vegas. It has a reputation – but it’s really just like any other city! Have a safe trip!

  50. Mary Ann 04.13.2011

    Oh I’m so sad you’re not coming to Portland! Wah! Have fun in Vegas, the only time I’ve been is when I was a few months shy of 21. lol!

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