GREEK-STYLE SHRIMP SCAMPI WITH “ZOODLES”

GREEK-STYLE SHRIMP SCAMPI

My current obsession is zucchini noodles. Honestly I didn’t realize it until Amiyah came in the kitchen to see what was cooking and saw the zucchini noodles in the pot. Her response was, “we always have to have zucchini noodles.” I just laughed to myself. No worries, this time I didn’t make her eat them but the funny thing is she loves sauted zucchini, red onions and red peppers. I made her regular noodles since obviously she doesn’t share the same love for the “zoodles” as I do.

This delicious recipe was found in a cookbook I grabbed from the library, “The Best of Cooking Light.” I’m trying to be more budget conscious and not purchase so many cookbooks. If only you could see my office space but you just might. I’m currently in the process of de-cluttering my house and thinking about sharing the process but we’ll see… I seem to collect cookbooks, magazines, water bottles and workout clothes, ugh…

The first step is admitting you have a problem and now we can move to step two now that I have that out in the open…whew! :)

Ok, on to the recipe… This one was easy to make and I was a little hesitant about adding all those tomatoes but we ate all of them. Try it out and let me know what you think!

 

GREEK -STYLE SCAMPI

Greek-Style Scampi

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil
5 garlic clove, minced
3 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add minced garlic, and saute 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup parsley; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp, cook for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with feta cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parsley, lemon juice, and pepper. Yield 6 servings.

Per serving: 191 cal; 6.5g total fat (3.2g sat); 125mg chol; 752mg sodium; 14.4 carb; 2.1g fiber; 19.9g proteins

The zucchini noodles were not part of the recipe but I used my julienne vegetable peeler and placed them in a pot of water and boiled them for about 5 minutes. I guess you can say al dente. :)

Selena

Punch Bowls and Pitcher Drinks [book review]

punch bowls & pitcher drinks

by: Jeanne Kelley & Sarah Tenaglia

This is a rare occasion where I share a drink recipe. We usually drink water and green tea. I’ll have a glass of red wine every now and then, depending on why type of day or week I’ve had. I received a copy of Punch Bowls & Pitcher Drinks book to review. As the title says there are lots of Big-Batch Cocktail recipes. So if you are needing to prepare for a dinner party then this book has a great selection of recipes.

The book is broken down into 7 different categories; Classic Cocktail-Inspired Punches, Sangrias and Champagne-Based Punches, Tropical and Exotic Drinks, Lazy Sundays, Height of Summer, Fireside Cocktails, and Nonalcoholic Punches. We rarely buy juice so I decided to go with a nonalcoholic punch for my daughter to enjoy. We made the Mixed Berry Lemonade and it was very refreshing! I may have used a little too much lemon peel or lemon juice because she said it was sour, haha, but she drank 2 glasses so it much not have been too off putting. Ever since Amiyah was a baby I’ve always watered down her juice so the only adjustment that I made was I used less sugar. I used about 1/4 cup and it was still sweet enough.

Try the recipe for the Mixed Berry Lemonade below and let me know what you think.

Mixed Berry Lemonade

 Ingredients:

2/3 cup frozen unsweetened mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries), thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 cups chilled sparkling water, or more to taste
Ice Cubes

Directions:
1. Combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and 1/4 cup water in a large jar or pitcher. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Chill until cold, about 1 hour. Gently stir in 2 cups of the sparkling water; taste, and add more sparkling water if desired.

2. Fill 6 glasses with ice. Pour the punch into the glasses and serve.

ENJOY!

 

FTC disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

The Adrenal Reset Diet

The_Adrenal_Reset_Diet

For my next Blogging for Books book review, I chose to review the Adrenal Reset Diet by Alan Christianson, NMD. I have to warn you up front that I haven’t tried this diet out for myself. This is just to share with you a high level of what you can expect from this book.

The book states that he believes that there are 3 main problems causing the obesity crisis, processed foods, a polluted world and the pressures of daily life. Our adrenal glands control a switch that causes us to thrive, meaning we are burning fat and feel energized or we are just survive, meaning we store fat and feel tired. Alan Christianson states that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the problem with most individuals is they either have a carb filled breakfast or its filled with toxic proteins, like dairy and eggs. Well I guess that puts me in that category because I have 5 egg whites just about every morning, along with my oatmeal.

The Adrenal Reset Diet is based on a concept of carb cycling throughout the day. Surprisingly the majority of the carbs are consumed in the evening. Now, I’ve been on a carb cycling program before when I was competing for my fitness competition and it was just the opposite. The majority of the carbs were consumed earlier in the day and they tapered off as I went throughout my day. There isn’t any calorie counting on the ARD. Each meals has the same about of healthy proteins and fats but the amount of carbohydrates increases throughout the day.

The book does include an overall list of food options and the serving size. The suggestions for the meat options are grass-fed and nitrate free and should be about the size of the palm of your hand, 4 to 6 ounces. There is also a list of items to limit to a few times per week if you are trying to lose weight faster. Most of these items are fruit, air-popped popcorn and wine. One of the disappointing things about the book is that it doesn’t have enough recipes included.

Their is a quiz in the book for you to take to determine which adrenal level you currently are in (Thriving, Stressed, Wired and Tired, or Crashed). If you’re not in the Thriving level, no worries this book gives you tips and suggestions on how to begin to change the current level that you are in so don’t get attached to your level. It also outlines techniques you can use throughout your day to help move you along. It’s also suggested that you repeat your Adrenal Level Quiz on the first day of each month to make sure you are moving in the right direction and staying on track.

Overall I would say that this “diet” does take some work on your part to see where your current levels are and rechecking every month to see where you are. This is not a simple, this is what you need to do now go for it type of diet. Everyone can start at a different level so you really have to be honest with where you currently are with your everyday life. I don’t think this is a type of “diet” that I want to make into a lifestyle for myself. The science and studies are very informative and eye opening. I would suggest getting the book to find out more about the adrenal glands and how they affect our overall health.

FTC disclaimer: “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

One Pot Cookbook – Book Review

Book review - One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More

Time for another book review courtesy of Blogging For Books. Since most of my post are sharing delicious recipe ideas, it made sense that I review a cookbook. One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More, is a great addition to your cookbook collection.

As I mentioned in one of my previous post, one of the first things that I look at is whether the cookbook includes lots of colorful pictures and the next is the number of ingredients in each recipe. I have to admit I’m less likely to try a recipe if it appears that it would be difficult to find an ingredient. 

one pot cookbook - Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

So far I have tried two recipes from One Pot bookbook. I’ve tried the Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy. They both have few ingredients and they are simple and easy to make but most importantly they taste amazing. 

one pot cookbook - Stir-fried chicken with bok choy

The Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy is something that I could added to my meal plan every week. Since the first two recipes that I tried were a hit, I’m excited to try more recipes. This collection of recipes is from the editors of Martha Stewart Living. It features different one pot recipes from an array of kitchen gadgets. 

Usually when we think of one pot, a crockpot comes to mind. This cookbook is divided into sections depending on the kitchen tool you need to use such as; skillet and saute pan, slow cooker, roasting pan, and pressure cooker, just to name a few. No worries, as you can see from the chocolate chip cookie , desserts were not left out.

The only thing that I wish was included would have been the nutritional labels for each recipe. I’m sure I can plug it into a tool online but it would have be nice if it was available. Overall I think this would be a great addtion to add to your cookbook collection. Next on the list to make is the Texas Red Chili. Nothing more warming than a hearty bowl of chili on a cold winters night!

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Easy Skillet Chocolate Chip cookie

 Look away if you are looking for something healthy! The good news, this is quick and easy to make. If you need an easy recipe for a pot luck or cookie swap, you’ve come to the right place. This recipe is brought to you by One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More from The Editors of Martha Stewart Living
 

 
One Pot cookbook - Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

When I was searching for photo shoot ideas for this recipe I did see other skillet cookie recipes. Some were a lot thicker than this one. Just a note that this is not a deep dish chocolate chip cookie but you can always double the recipe if you have a larger skillet or if you want a thicker cookie. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk or add a scoop of ice cream like we did. Most importantly enjoy it!
 
Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars with a wooden spoon. Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chips. Transfer to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; smooth top.
Bake until cookie is golden brown and just set in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.

 One Pot Cookbook - Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
Print the recipe and get baking!

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
Serves 8
Quick and easy chocolate chip cookie.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  9. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars with a wooden spoon. Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chips. Transfer to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; smooth top.
  2. Bake until cookie is golden brown and just set in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. The chocolate chip cookies in the mini cast iron pans I used milk chocolate chips. Also use water or baking spray on your hands when smoothing out the batter before putting it in the oven.
Adapted from One Pot
Adapted from One Pot
http://www.ditchingdiets.com/

Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy

One Pot - Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy

We have a keeper! Not only is it quick and easy to make but having so few ingredients, it packs a big punch. This recipe is included in the One Pot cookbook from the editors of Martha Stewart Living. One of the first things that I look at when searching for whether or not I’m going to purchase a cookbook is, does it contain pictures and the number of ingredients.

Making a recipe, your results might not come out exactly shown but it’s always good to have a reference. The One Pot cookbook is filled with great pictures for sure. Since I mainly eat fish and chicken, I’m always on the lookout for flavorful chicken recipes.

One Pot Cookbook - Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy

This Stir-Fried Chicken recipe provides great flavor and an added kick with the red  chile pepper. If you like a little spice stick to the one red chile pepper and add more if you can handle the heat. I accidentally grabbed baby bok choy but it worked well. This was my first time cooking bok choy but it won’t be my last. I’ll be adding this recipe to my weekly meal prep in the future. Try it and let me know what you think.

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used bragg’s amino)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (unseasoned)
2 teaspoons water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound total), sliced into strips
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 cups sliced bok choy (from 1 head)
1 small red chile or jalapeno, seeded and sliced

Directions:
In a bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until coated, In a large sauce pan or wok, heat oil, garlic, and ginger over medium-high until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken in a single layer, pressing against pan to sear. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add bok choy and chile; cook, stirring, until bok choy wilts slightly, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until sauce thickens slightly, 2 minutes.

one pot cookbook - Stir-fried chicken with bok choy

 

Print out recipe below and ENJOY!

XO Selena

Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used bragg's amino)
  2. 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  3. 2 teaspoons water
  4. 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound total), sliced into strips
  5. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  6. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  7. 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  8. 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  9. 4 cups sliced bok choy (from 1 head)
  10. 1 small red chile or jalapeno, seeded and sliced
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until coated, In a large sauce pan or wok, heat oil, garlic, and ginger over medium-high until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken in a single layer, pressing against pan to sear. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add bok choy and chile; cook, stirring, until bok choy wilts slightly, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until sauce thickens slightly, 2 minutes.
Adapted from One Pot
Adapted from One Pot
http://www.ditchingdiets.com/

Meal Prep Ideas

DitchingDiets.com - Meal Prep
One of the best ways to free up time during the week is to take some time on Sunday (or which ever day fits your schedule) and prepare your meals for the week. You might spend an hour and a half to two hours in the kitchen depending on the complexity of your meals.

Think of all the time that you’ll save during the week and not to mention the money you’ll save from not having to grab something for dinner because it’s late. The trade off is well worth it and what helps me is setting up my iPad in the kitchen while I’m cooking and washing dishes to pass the time.

DitchingDiets.com - Meal Prep Containers

I recently ordered these Reditainer Food Storage Containers to help make meal prep even easier. My suggestion is that you get the 38oz containers if you plan to order them. The 28oz and the 38oz containers are both 6×8 but the 38oz containers are 0.5″ taller. These containers are microwaveable and dishwasther safe.

This weeks meals are:

Meal 1 – Egg white veggie scramble

Meal 2 – Fruit and spinach smoothies w/3 boiled egg whites

Meal 3 – Turkey Meatball Spaghetti w/ zoodles (zucchini noodles)

Meal 4 – Buffalo Chicken Soup & Broccoli

Meal 5 – (not shown) Chicken Pita Pizza

 

I highly recomend meal prep so that you have time to do other things during the week, like working out! :)

 

XO Selena

Buffalo Chicken Soup

 Ditching Diets - Buffalo Chicken Soup

I love this time of year because I get to eat soup! Nothing like enjoying a warm bowl of chili on a cold winter day. I picked up a magazine full of soups and stews so I’ll be sharing the ones that I try and approve. The first soup included caught my eye immediately so we are off to a great start. I have to say that this soup is delicious. Depending on the type and how much hot sauce you add it will have a nice kick to it.

Ditching Diets Buffalo Chicken Soup

Can’t take credit for this entire post, I had a little help today. I picked up a new camera, the Nikon d7000 so Amiyah has claimed my old point and shoot Nikon Coolpix p510. I’ve upgraded and feel all professional now but at the same time I feel so lost. I’ve watched several youtube videos on shooting with a dslr camera yet I still am lost. I heard the best way to learn is to shoot in manual mode and not automatic. It might take me a while and I’m trying not to get discouraged but it’s safe to say that my Nikon Coolpix might make it in my luggage for the cruise next month.

Ditching Diets - Buffalo Chicken Soup

Now on to the Buffalo Chicken recipe. Just a few notes on some of the changes I made, I used 2% milk instead of whole milk. I boiled 3 chicken breast in water and added seasoning and squeezed lemon juice and then shredded the chicken. I divided the soup into 6 containers to have as a 4th meal for this weeks meal prep. That’s everything that needs to be noted so enjoy and let me know what you think.

 

Makes 4 servings (8 cups)
Total time: 30 minutes

 

Melt:
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Add:
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 Tbsp. minced garlic

Stir in:
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
2 cups shredded chicken
Salt and black pepper to taste
Crumbled blue cheese
Chopped celery leaves

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.
Add celery, onion, carrot, and garlic; sweat, covered, until carrot begins to soften, 8 minutes.
Stir in flour to coat vegetables, and cook 1 minute. Whisk in broth and milk, increase heat to medium-high, and bring soup to a simmer. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in hot sauce and chicken; cook until chicken is heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper.
Garnish each serving with blue cheese, celery leaves, and additional hot sauce. *note – The vinegar in the hot sauce can curdle the milk while the soup is cooking, so add it at the very end.

Per serving: 327 cal; 14g total fat (8g sat); 92mg chol; 909mg sodium; 19g carb; 2g fiber; 29g proteins
Adapted from: Cuisine – Splendid Soups & Stews

XO Selena

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

easy sweet potato casserole

My contribution this year to our Thanksgiving meal was this super easy and delicious Sweet Potato Casserole found on Pinch of Yum. We had our Thanksgiving pot luck at work the week prior and my coworker brought in this dish. I didn’t put any on my plate but another coworker insisted that I tried it. I’m glad she did because it was delicious! Sweet Potatoes are not my go to carb but if I could eat it prepared this way, then I would eat this everyday. I’m sure it’s not the healthiest so I’ll stick to red potatoes.

easy sweet potato casserole

You won’t be disappointed if you give this recipe a try. Now that Thanksgiving is over you may want to give it a try for Christmas dinner or a work pot luck. I did use the sweet potatoes in the can like the recipe called for but I’m sure you can use the real thing. When I first opened the can and mashed the sweet potatoes I didn’t think it was going to make enough but once you add all the other ingredients it will expand. I also baked it a little longer then what it called for because I wanted the pecan crumble to be extra crunchy. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

Ingredients
For the sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups (1 29-ounce can) sweet potatoes, drained
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • salt to taste
For the topping
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup flour
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash the sweet potatoes and add the melted butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, beaten eggs, and a pinch of salt. Stir until incorporated. Pour into a shallow baking dish or a cast iron skillet.
  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and pecan pieces in a small bowl, using your fingers to create moist crumbs. Sprinkle generously over the casserole. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden brown. Let stand for the mixture to cool and solidify a little bit before serving.

Adapted from: Pinch of Yum

 

XO Selena

Am I Getting Fat?

Ditching Diets

One of the things that I noticed every time I have been on a big exercise and healthy eating kick was that people were more likely to say to me, “Please don’t get too skinny” or “Are you planning to loose more weight?”.

I’ve wondered, why didn’t anyone say anything to me when I was putting on a few exta pounds. It appears that we feel more comfortable expressing our feelings to someone when we percieve them as being too thin, yet we shy away from telling someone they appear to be gaining weight.

Why is expressing that someone appears to be too thin, ok? Could it be that deep down inside we haven’t committed to leading a healthy lifestyle and we don’t want our friend to change. Maybe that would cause us to have to take a look at ourselves.

DitchingDiets.com

 

A great deal of women have body image issues, myself included, so rather than invoke our opinion of how we think they should look we should be more encouraging. No matter what side of the coin you are on, we all need support.

As long as what they are doing is not harmful to themselves or  others then we should be supportive of their journey. Who are we to judge someone else to say that they are too thin?

I say all this because I can feel my body changing since my bikini competition and I’m starting to add a few extra pounds since my show but nobody has said anything to me. Grant it it’s not noticeable compared to last year. Yet, at soon as my show was over I heard often, “are you going to gain a few pounds back?”. It’s all perception and we know our bodies and have to make adjustments based on how we feel.

XO Selena