Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lean and Green: Sweet and Spicy Shrimp with Garlic Green Beans


After working for a summer in Alaska at Peter Pan Seafoods, I developed a deep love for seafood. I ate like a king that summer and was exposed to many new and interesting treats from the ocean. That Summer I tried salmon roe for the first time in my life and you know what....... It was actually pretty good. As a kid growing up, the only thing we used salmon roe for was catching more fish. I also got to try raw cod hearts, halibut steaks, crab, scallops, salmon, shrimp, lobster, and many others. Anytime I get to enjoy a great seafood meal, I reminisce about that summer and all the fun I had. Funny I don't think about the terrible weather, the long hours, or the smell...... selective memory I guess.

     Steph came up with this AMAZING shrimp dish or "scrimp" as it's lovingly called by our 4 yr. old. Yes, even the kids get in on the fish and seafood action in our house. I think their favorite is talapia, salmon, crab, or shrimp, depends on their mood. We just picked up some sushi grade ahi tuna this week, so follow the blog to get an update on how we prepare that. We are also working on a blog post about some of the health benefits from seafood, and there are many, so stay tuned for that one as well.

On to our Sweet and Spicy "Scrimp" with Garlic Green Beans, All I can really say is AWESOME! Even if you're not a big fan of shrimp, you will love this one, not to mention how healthy this is for you! You can check the recipe and the nutritional facts at the end of the blog.

I always start with raw scrimp with the peel on. It's a little more work for the preparation, but it's a lot easier to infuse flavors into the raw scrimp than the cooked. To each their own, but stick to what you know. We used 16oz for this recipe.

We coated our scrimp with a little Garlic Gourmay cajun style. We like hair on our chest, well...... I like hair on my chest, Steph........ not so much, literally and metaphorically! 

 Next is the SECRET sauce. Don't tell anyone........ ah who can keep secrets anymore! This is the 21st century everything is on the net, even the Colonel's secret spices! The tutorial for the sauce can be found HERE.

We marinated our scrimp for about an hour before cooking, this really lets the flavors soak in and grab hold. Looks good enough to eat raw....... well almost.


For the Garlic Green Beans, we love the petite whole beans. California and Washington huh? We are in Oregon........ is that false advertising? We won't hold it against them, because we love their beans. We used 14oz for this 2 serving recipe.


Start with the garlic, I LOVE GARLIC! This little gem also has some wonderful health benefits and it's great for keeping the vampires away.

We used about 1 Tbls of garlic and added it to a well "PAMmed" pan. We usually cook it for about 2 min on medium heat to release the great flavors from the garlic.

 Next we added our 14 oz of green beans. Green beans are yummy for my tummy as the 2 yr. old says. Click HERE to see a short video of our 2 yr. old putting in his breakfast order, he loves Yabba Dabba Do's! He asks for them at least 6 times a day. We use Johnny's Seasoning Salt as well as the garlic.

In another saute pan, add the scrimp and sauce mixture and cook on medium high until the scrimp firm up and curl - about 7 min.

You can see the scrimp curling up, these look awesome. I am remembering how these smelled! Million dollar idea: the next big thing in technology............. ScentBlogs. Well I can dream right? Where is Willy Wonka when you need him.

Right before the scrimp finish cooking, add 2 Tbs of Beer'n Brat Horseradish Mustard and........................ BAM! Can I even say BAM?! Did Emeril trademark that?! Anyway, this adds a great little kick that melds well with the scrimp and the "not so" secret sauce.

Here are the Sweet and Spicy Scrimp and Garlic Green Beans. This is the best scrimp dish I have ever had! Well almost there was this one time in Vegas, but you know what they say about what happens in Vegas... *wink*wink!

Succulent morsels of yummy goodness and perfectly seasoned petite beans! It's a must try for everyone and the kids will love it too. Try it, change it up, and leave a comment on the blog and let us know how you liked it. Yummy and good for the tummy!

Sweet & Spicy Shrimp with Garlic Green Beans

1 lb raw, tail on Shrimp
14 oz Petite Green Beans
1 tsp Cajun Spices (we like Gourmay brand)
1 Tbl Garlic, pressed
1 tsp Johnny's Seasoning Salt

Sauce
3 Tbl Truvia
3 Tbl Reduced Sodium Tamari (or soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
3 Tbl water (dilute as needed)
1 3/4 Tbls Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Zest of the Lime
1/2 tsp Chili Garlic Paste
1 Clove Garlic, pressed

To prepare shrimp:
Peel and devein shrimp and place in medium bowl.  Add 1 cup of milk (any kind) and let sit for 30 min.  This helps remove the fishy smell/taste and makes the shrimp nice and mild to soak up flavors they're being cooked in.

Drain shrimp and put back into bowl.  Season shrimp with Cajun Spices.

Whisk all sauce ingredients in a bowl until well-dissolved.  Pour over shrimp and let marinate for at least 30 min. 

Heat medium frying pan (sprayed with PAM) on medium heat.  Saute 1 Tbl garlic for 1-2 min until it releases its aroma.  Turn heat up to medium-high and add green beans.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp Johnny's Seasoning Salt (or to desired flavor) and continuing sauteing until green beans are soft and pliable - about 10 min.

Once green beans are sauteing, it's time to get your scrimp on!  In a medium frying pan (sprayed with PAM), add shrimp (in sauce) and saute until shrimp are curled and slightly red - about 7 min.

Plate your shrimp and green beans on a plate and enjoy!

Nutritional information can be found HERE. (I had to put things in a little differently because the calorie counter didn't like my measurements, so the sodium is way high, but you get the gist)


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Weigh-in

Happy Monday all!  After a super busy week (lots of work, most of it while sitting on my butt), I was less-than-surprised to find the following results:

Last week's weight: 191
This week's weight: 190

Yep, just one pound.  I haven't had this little of a loss since October, and I wrote about it HERE.  So, I am revamping again - I know the little tweaks that help and the areas that need improvement.  I love knowing how to fuel my body properly and what I need to do to keep it running at its optimal level.  I have an incredible program, I have amazing health coaches guiding me and I have the pleasure and ability to share that with others.  I am so blessed.

For those who are interested, here's what I'll be working on this week:

*Increase water intake (I should be drinking 95oz each day & probably have been closer to 75oz)
*Get moving (to start my day off on the right foot, I will do the elliptical every morning for 20 min, plus incorporate extra movement into daily tasks)
*Cut out snacks (I'm pretty good about not having snacks, but I did indulge in some almond butter a couple of days this last week. I also have been choosing some of the higher calorie maintenance meals instead of the regular ones that I need to stick to)
*Watch condiments (again, we're pretty good about this, but we will be extra vigilant in monitoring our condiments for our Lean & Green's)
*Get plenty of sleep (this is vital to ones overall well-being and I have been really bad about it lately - we have set a schedule for ourselves for this week, so we are sticking to it and I think that will help a lot!)

So, I guess I'll let you know next Monday how everything paid off!  I know it will make a huge difference - and I can't wait to be in the 180's!  Wowza!!

I had an epiphany this week.  While on the phone with a new client, I was told how they'd been following my blog for quite some time and how much they enjoyed it (I'm not bragging...yet).  Then they remarked, "I don't know how you put yourself out there like that, it's so brave and inspiring - I mean, I know how much you WEIGH!" BWHAHAHAHA - I love this!  

It really got me to thinking (hence the epiphany): I would never have "put myself out there" before.  Ever.  As the perpetual fat kid, who went to great lengths to hide her weight, it seems crazy to post it on this blog every week for all to read.  Maybe I am crazy?  But I don't think so.  I do it because I am not the same person I was 8 months ago (or 8 years ago!) - I don't want to be.  I have taken the best of Stephanie, the things that really make me, me and tried to bring them into harmony with the new me - the one who loves herself and her body (this is a work in progress, of course)!  I am trying hard not to be ruled by fear.  If I do things that take me outside of my comfort zone and survive (I always do), then I'm that much braver (is that a word) and continue to challenge those things which once held me captive.  

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature...avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." 
~Helen Keller 

I'm pretty proud of this 190 lb body!



Please disregard the dog...and the messy shelves...and my  ghost hands. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. ;o)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lean and Green: Chicken Cacciatore with Spaghetti Squash "Noodles"

This is - HANDS DOWN - one of my most favorite meals - EVER (PS - another one of Mr. Charming's creations!)!  If you like the flavors of chicken cacciatore, then you will love this spiced up version complimented by the sweet squash - truly a combination to DIE for!

How to roast a spaghetti squash:
Preheat oven to 350 degress
Cut squash in half, lengthwise.

Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds from the center of the squash (just like a pumpkin).  Then season your squash liberally with salt (we didn't use much) and cracked pepper.  You can drizzle with a little olive oil as well, but we didn't add any fat to it).

Lay cut-side down on a PAMmed cookie sheet and place in your preheated oven for about 45 min.

For the sauce: 
This is spicy, so for a toned down version, you could omit the red pepper and use regular tomato sauce (not Mexican style).  But it won't be nearly as yummy...it's worth the runny nose! ;o)
  
Slice your red onion, yellow bell pepper and tomato.

The chicken:
Chunk up your chicken breasts (dark meat would give a heavenly taste as well, but the breasts were awesome - and healthier!).

And throw them in a well-PAMmed pan (I feel the beginnings of a tongue twister here...).

Add your Italian seasoning, salt, cracked pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic. 
Well seasoned chicken...nicely undercooked.

Once the chicken is cooked on all sides (but still slightly undercooked in the center), add in your veggies.

Saute for 3-5 min

Just until your onions become translucent.

Add in your tomato sauce and simmer for 15 min on low, stirring occasionally.

See how the sauce begins to thicken?  Getting close!

The spaghetti squash is perfectly cooked - see how the striations are obvious?  A fork should go through it easily.

Take your fork and gently scrape the side of the squash from rind to center, creating "spaghetti noodles".  Your kids will love this!

Put 1 cup of the spaghetti squash in the center of your plate and scoop 1 1/2 cups chicken and sauce over the top.  

Grab a fork and sink your teeth into a bite of this.

Uh huh, I told you!  It's amazing, huh?!

Let me know when you try it and how you would change it up!  I love hearing from everyone who is trying our recipes - and SO fun to hear how you make it your own!  Three cheers for healthy meals!!!

Chicken Cacciatore and Spaghetti Squash - Serves 2
1 Spaghetti Squash, halved lengthwise
1 lb Chicken Breasts, trimmed of fat and chopped (should be about 14 oz when cooked)
1 can El Pato Tomato Sauce (or regular tomato sauce)
1/2 large, Yellow Bell Pepper (or red or orange), sliced
1 whole Tomato, sliced
1/4 medium Red Onion, sliced
1 Tbl fresh Garlic, pressed
1/8 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbl Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cracked Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Season squash with salt and pepper and lay face down on a PAMmed cookie sheet.  Bake in oven for 45 min, or until squash is fork tender and releases easily from the shell.

In the meantime, place chicken pieces, salt, cracked pepper, crushed red pepper, italian seasoning and garlic in a PAMmed pan over med-high heat.  Saute until chicken is cooked on the outside, but slightly underdone on the inside - 8-10 min.  Add bell pepper, tomato and red onion and saute for 3-5 min, until onions are translucent.  Add in your tomato sauce and simmer for 15 min on low, stirring occasionally.  Sauce will thicken quite a bit.  You can let this simmer for longer while you wait on your squash, but don't let your chicken get rubbery.

Pull squash out of the oven and using a fork, gently scrape the side of the squash from rind to center, creating "spaghetti noodles".  

To plate:
Place 1 cup of the spaghetti squash in the center of your plate and scoop 1 1/2 cups chicken and sauce over the top.  ENJOY!

PS - Save your leftover spaghetti squash for other "green" options!  We love it in omelets, with salads, sauteed veggies, etc.

Nutritional Information can be found HERE.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

WARNING: Healthy AND kid friendly recipe!

You've been warned! hehe

We love to involve the kids in cooking and they love it too!  Tonight we made these fun little mini pizzas, with a healthy twist.  The kids love them and I feel good about serving them something that is good for their bodies!

I present to you: Whole Wheat Mini Pizzas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Slice your english muffins in half and toast them (keeps them from getting soggy and you don't have to bake them as long)

Grate your cheese and chop your veggies

Lay your toasted muffins on a cookie sheet and spread 1 heaping tsp of pizza sauce on each one.

Then start laying your veggies on (we used colored bell peppers, red onions & olives).

Next add your turkey pepperoni slices (if you want to, nobody's forcing you - not everyone wanted olives either)

All layered up...almost ready to go!

Here's a good trick, take the back of a serving spoon (it doesn't have to be well-used or ugly like mine) and press firmly on your pizzas to create a flat surface for the cheese.  Dude, nobody likes all of their cheese to drip off the sides.  Nobody.

Put your cheese on (about 2 Tbl on each pizza)

We also did some plain cheese and pepperoni with cheese for the purists.

Place your cookie sheet in the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned... 

Cheese and pepperoni ones are done!  A little sloppy...I see dripping cheese!

And here come the veggie pizzas!  Yum!  Notice, no dripping cheese...back of a spoon, I tell ya!

Aerial view of the plain cheese and pepperoni pizzas...messy, but oh so good!

Whole Wheat Mini Pizzas
1 pkg (6 whole, 12 split) Whole Wheat English Muffins
1 pkg Turkey Pepperoni (or other low fat alternative)
1/2 lb Mozzarella Cheese, grated
1 jar Pizza Sauce (our favorite cheap and easy and no weird additives is the Fred Meyer brand)
1/4 Red Onion, diced
4 Baby Bell Peppers, sliced thin (or your favorite large bell pepper - about 1/4 of one)
1/4 cup Olive, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Split your English Muffins in half and toast each one (you can determine how toasty you want them) - just enough that they are crisp (so they don't get soggy when you put the sauce on).  Lay flat on a cookie sheet and spread 1 heaping tsp (up to a Tbl) of pizza sauce on each muffin.  Then layer as desired with: bell peppers, onion & olives.  Add 3 slices of turkey pepperoni to each muffin.  With the back of a large serving spoon, press down on the center of each muffin to flatten it out and make a nice area to set the cheese.  Top with about 2 Tbl mozzarella cheese and place sheet in oven for 15-20 minutes (until cheese is melted and slightly brown on top).

Enjoy!

Nutritional Information HERE.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Hump Day!

I hope you all had a great day today!  Me?  I came down with a small case of gastroenteritis (stomach flu)...so, less than fun for me, but not nearly as bad as it could be!  

It's really got me to thinking...I haven't been sick in 8+ months.  I've been on my program for 8+ months.  Correlation?  I think so.  

Christopher and Zeke came down sick on Sunday (unfortunately for Christopher, he was at church when he threw up).  So I should have known that's what it was, but mine has been a little funny.  I've been awakened around 4-5am every morning with stomach cramps (but higher up), but eventually fall back asleep and feel fine when I wake for the day.  But this morning, the cramps lingered and became pretty intense.  They were also accompanied by headache and lightheadedness.  Mr. Charming was insistent that I go to the doctor.

I spent the morning at the Walk-in clinic and ended up with a couple of prescriptions and a lab order.  I walked over to the lab across the street and waited for them to call my name.  There was an older woman seated next to me who was freaking out because she was there to do a "pee test" and she had to go "NOW!!" and apparently the staff wasn't moving fast enough for her (they had to sterilize and prep the bathroom).  I tried to talk to her, ya know, to help take her mind off of her impending explosion of bodily fluid, but she would burst out in angry rants to the staff walking around and behind the counter.  It was awkward.  I was called back before she was (she may or may not have wanted to strangle me) and when I came back, she was STILL waiting!  I felt so bad for her.  As I sat down to wait for Mr. Charming to come pick me up (dude, I wasn't driving in the condition I was in), the woman jumped up (maybe a bit dramatic because she was older and very cumbersome in size) and headed for the bathroom screaming about how they can't make her wait anymore or they'll have to wring it out of her panties.  Yes, she said panties.  Did I mention...awkward?  So...I'm pretty sure she made it on time (3 staff ran to assist her), but ya know, always an eventful time at the doctor's office.  And almost always awkward.

In less awkward news, the phlebotomist was phenomenal (like that?) and with one quick stick and one little vial of blood, I was done!

I've requested a copy of my lab results, for my own personal records, but y'all - my numbers were FABULOUS!  I'm healthy as a horse (but not as big as one anymore)!  The doctor's concern was that I may have a cranky gallbladder because of where the pain was, but nope, everything looked good!  So it's really just a stomach bug.  Yuck (but I'll take it over the alternative)!

I do remember that my heart rate was 76 and my BP was 100/68.  My doctor used the word "stellar" to describe it.  YUS!

Anywho...Mr. Charming took over all of the household duties and sent me to bed when I got home.  I slept soooooo hard.  It was awesome.

I was going to leave you with a hilarious video that Mr. Charming took while waiting to pick up the kids from school, but my internet is conspiring against me and it's going to take all night for the video to upload to youtube, so I'll post it tomorrow!  Check back...you won't be disappointed! hehe

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Here it is!  I died laughing!  Payton and her shifty eyes...and Zeke in the background trying to sing the various sound effects...too stinkin' funny!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lean and Green: Cilantro Lemon-Lime Salmon and Sauteed Veggies

 When I was a kid, I couldn't stand seafood.  Maybe it has something to do with growing up in sunny Southern California, then moving to this little coastal town at the age of 9 where everything was about seafood.  It was kinda like a seafood immersion program...and I balked.  Fast forward about 10 years, while in college, I started enjoying some shellfish dishes here and there, then slowly worked my way up to salmon, halibut, crab, lobster and even...*gasp* scallops!  I still don't like a strong fishy flavor, but I do love me some good seafood!  When a customer of my dads brought by some of his fresh caught Coho Salmon, we were thrilled!

My husband is a culinary genius (I may have mentioned this before).  Seriously, our kids' classmates are always asking, "Is your dad a chef?" because, well, you should see some of the lunches they get!  Gourmet meets convenience!  Again, genius.

Here is how this salmon titillated our taste buds: (I just wanted to say titillated!)
Glorious salmon, Cilantro, fresh (organic) Lime and Sal Con Limon (lemon salt) and garlic (oh wait, I forgot to put the garlic in the picture *forehead slam)

Dice up your cilantro and garlic

Tear off some sheets of aluminum foil  and lay out on your counter.  Sprinkle some lemon salt, lime zest, cilantro and garlic in the center of one sheet.

Lay your gorgeous salmon on top of the seasonings.

Sprinkle some more on top.

Squeeze some fresh lime juice over your salmon.

Then start folding: Bring the sides of your foil in to meet in the center (they should overlap).

Then fold the top over the center...

And fold the bottom over the top to make a nice little pouch.  Then flip your pouch over into the center of another foil sheet (so the seams are on the bottom) and fold again - so you have 2 layers of foil pouching.

Then place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 7 min (or until fish is flaky and moist).

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For our side dish, we sauteed broccoli and cauliflower (OH YUM!).
Spray a saute pan with PAM (or use a tsp or two of olive oil)

Sprinkle lightly with this - it's divine, but strong (and high in sodium), so use accordingly.

Add lots of pepper, ya know, if you're like us.  We like hair on our chests.

Plate salmon and veggies together and enjoy!

I sprinkled my salmon with a little low sodium soy sauce and Truvia (for a teryaki-like flavor) - it was AMAZING!  

Cilantro Lemon-Lime Salmon and Veggies
12 oz Salmon (fresh caught if you're lucky!)
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped finely
1 heaping tsp Garlic, pressed (you can add to taste, we used about 1 tsp on each pouch)
1 Lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp Sal Con Limon (lemon salt)

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Lay out 4 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil (approx. 12" long).  Sprinkle some of your cilantro, lime zest, garlic and lemon salt down, then lay the salmon fillets (we had 2 each) on top of the seasoning.  Sprinkle more of the seasonings on top of the salmon then squeeze some lime juice over the fish.  Wrap your salmon up tightly into a pouch (see instructions above), flip pouch over onto new foil sheet and wrap again.

Bake in oven for about 7 minutes, or until fish is flaky, but moist.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Saute (we used frozen veggies)
1 1/2 cups Broccoli (florets and/or stems)
1 1/2 cups Cauliflower
Pepper (fresh cracked) to taste
Johnny's Seasoning Salt to taste (doesn't take much!)

Spray a stainless steel (or pan of choice) pan with PAM and set heat to medium.  Place broccoli and cauliflower in the pan and season to taste.  Saute until slightly wilted and warmed through.  Add PAM as needed.

Nutritional Information can be found here.


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