Saturday, March 31

Caribbean Shrimp...Our way

Was in the mood for Shrimp, the grill is put away for the winter so I asked the hubby to please make something in the kitchen.  Here is Caribbean Shrimp, done Fitnessmom way. 

71-90 count raw shrimp peeled and de-vained
Yellow bell pepper
Red bell pepper
Red onion
Green onion
Sliced fresh garlic
Left over homemade salsa - Recipe
Chili powder
Kosher salt
1/2 Serrano diced pepper

Saute all the veggies in EVOO then add the shrimp and cook until pink.  Add the salsa to the mix and fold all together.  Serve over rice.  

*NOTE* Cooking your rice in low sodium Veggie Broth makes for extra flavor.  Again, I don't measure, so make your own adjustments with this and enjoy.  Great meal to share with friends.

Friday, March 30

Why Buy It When You Can Make It?

I love, love, love quiche. However, I am not a fan of the omelet or the frittata. Go figure.  I hate to bake, yet I will bake a quiche. Hmmm, the entire things just seems weird right?  Well I have had this on my mind for days and finally got to it this morning.  The house is quiet, the skies are dull and it is a tad chilly outside, so I will bake a quiche. 

I do not make my own crust...EVER, this would require me to go into baking mode and no.  Store bought pie crust will do just fine.  Now time to go through the fridge, you see not every quiche I make is the same.  They are kind of like snowflakes, I never know what I will pull out of the oven.  If you are doing proper shopping, you should pretty much be able to create your own at any given time (hence the pie crust) those you need to think about.  Today's recipe consisted of the following lucky ingredients that happen to be in the veggie draw of the fridge.

Yellow onion
Yellow bell pepper
Red bell pepper
Yellow squash
Green onion
Frozen broccoli heads (I have fresh in the fridge) but just used the others today
Sharp cheddar cheese
5 eggs
Sea salt
Flax seed

So crack eggs in bowl and add a little bit of water, whisk and set aside.  In a saute pan add all the veggies, (minus the frozen broccoli) to some EVOO.  Saute them and sprinkle with sea salt (I use that all the time instead of table salt) the course texture gives me more control when using my fingers to sprinkle.  While veggies are "doing there thing", defrost the frozen broccoli in water in the microwave for about 2 -3 mins. don't cook them, just get the freeze off and soften.  Add these to the veggies and finish the saute.  Here is the extra ingredient that I add that no one will ever taste or know about, the flax seed.  Just one spoon full on top of the veggies and stir in.  (Remember to grind the flax seed first).

Everyone has a different take on quiche.  My hubby loves the top covered with loads of cheese and thinks the egg goes after the veggies.  I don't agree.  I pour the egg mixture first into two separate pie shells evenly (5 eggs works, or you can do more)  I don't like the number 6 and 7 seems to many.  Then I add the veggies, again evenly to both.  Lastly, top with finely grated cheese (of course this is up to each individual as to how much).  Put both into pre-heated oven at 350 degrees and cook for about 30 mins. while checking not to burn.

Depending on whether or not you add the egg first or last will change the cooking time, so just keep an eye on them.  Remove from the oven and let cool (or eat hot) and you have yourself a great breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Even better leftovers.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, March 28

Simple Enough For The Kids..

I am always talking about "prepping" doing ahead of time, shopping smart and having everything you need ready for any type of meal.  As much as I try, the kids (God bless them) still look and go through the plate in front of them with their eyes and forks.  You know, the "what is in this" question, or the move around the plate option, spotting every bit of green something or colored something.  Don't get me wrong, they are up to the challenge of the healthy meals and they know exactly what it is that their mom does every day and what I talk about.  I just have to ease up every once in a while and give them a "normal" plain ordinary meal.

Tonight will be just that, how much more simple can I get than chicken?  Oh that again.  Right, how many different ways can we create chicken?  How many nights a week do we have to eat it?  Well, beings that we don't do red meat in this house, you can only imagine how much chicken is cooked here.  This brings us to somewhat of a Stroganoff type chicken if you like. 

Chicken Breast
Cream of Celery Soup
Chicken Broth

Seriously, that is it.  Low sodium everything.  Just cook the chicken breast first, remove and set aside in a bowl.  Add mushrooms and onions to saute with chicken broth.  No, there was no measuring in this recipe, just go with it.  Get all that sauteed together, then add the chicken back in with the cream of celery.  I like to first put the cream of celery in a bowl and whisk it up to de-clump.  Steam some brown or white rice and top the rice with the chicken.

Done, easy and quick.  One pan, one meal, the most simple ever for the kids (until they fork around and see the onion).  This with a side salad and they are good to go.  Not to mention this meal is super affordable.  I know it is a hit when they ask for seconds. YAY!

Sunday, March 25

It's Spring and I was in the mood for Spring Rolls.  Thank goodness my hubby is patient, because as usual I gave him little notice and asked him kindly to stop and pick of 2 avocados on his way home from work.
Juice from 1/2 lime
2 tbl canola oil
1 tbs rice vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
2 Avocados (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
4 rice paper rounds (6 or 8 inches)
5 green lettuce leaves
fresh basil
fresh mint
2 carrots (cut into thin strips)
1/2 English cucumber (cut into thin strips)

In a small bowl combine lime juice, oil, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved; set aside

You will need to soften the rice paper rounds, run under warm water in a circular motion, then place on a clean kitchen towel to dry.  If you would like, you can double your rice paper or just use one.

Once you are done with that, then take the lettuce leaf and center it on top of the rice paper.  From there add your veggies, while being careful not to over stuff the roll.
Once you have made your rolls, cut them  in half and enjoy.

These are filling and healthy and fun to eat.  I enjoyed mine with a glass of Pinot Grigio and of course water with lemon.  You can create these rolls many different ways.  I happen to have modified this from another.

Sunday Evening "Quickie"...Dinner That Is

Okay so it's Sunday evening and the last night of Spring Break (for us). So my head is already going to the place of organization and planning.  Are the back packs ready? Is the laundry done? Market shopping finished? All I need to is to get the kids feed and showered and back on their routine so to stay on task for the up-coming school week.  This calls for a Sunday night "quickie".  The world's fastest chicken enchiladas ever.  This dinner is for the kids, so it is the most basic and simple, minus all the spicy and goodies.

Chicken Breast
White Corn Tortillas
Enchilada Sauce (mild)
Black Beans
Left over Pico de Gallo (salsa) just to  mix in and get rid of
Mixed Assorted Cheese

Cook chicken in EVOO (yes I have stolen Rachael Ray's word).
Sprinkle granulated garlic.
When done set aside in bowl.
In the same pan, cook the onion, black beans and salsa mixture.
Add enchilada sauce to the mixture and stir to cook until warmed.
Shred the chicken into pieces and then add them back to the pan.

I do not take the time to roll or fold my enchiladas, never have...this is like the measuring thing, (you know that thing I don't do unless I really have to).  So pour some enchilada sauce into a rectangular baking dish. Layer about 6 tortilla shells into the dish (dip each shell into a wide bowl of sauce to cover both sides first).  Then start layering your chicken mixture, sprinkle cheese on top and repeat the process.

Since this recipe is for the kids, I go two layers and super basic.  Cook at 350 for about 1/2 hour. Done!  This just frees up Sunday night for another Date Night Dinner with the hubby.  I can't think of a better way to wrap of the last night of Spring Break, than being organized and relaxed.  Can you?

Friday, March 16

Thank you Honey....I love my Corn Chowder (FAV)

Happy Friday night to me! It's raining out, the kids, hubby and I are hanging out.  One is reading a book, one watching a movie and yet we are all together in the kitchen while creating dinner.  It did not take to much persuasion on my part to get my hubby to whip up my number one, most all time fav soup, his homemade Corn Chowder.
*NOTE* This was modified tonight for a smaller version

Red Potato
Yellow Onion
Red Bell Pepper
Yellow Bell Pepper
Butter (no salt)
Whole Wheat Flour (you can use all purpose, however we prefer wheat)
Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Red Pepper Flakes
Granulated Garlic

Chop potatoes and boil about 10 mins. (not too soft, as they will continue to cook in the soup)
Chop all other ingredients and sear in butter until soft, add red pepper flakes, granulated garlic and ground pepper. *NOTE* There is no need to add salt to this soup, you have plenty in the low sodium broth.  Then add your flour to make your roux.  Cook for about 2 mins.
Slowly add milk while stirring until you reach your desired thickness of soup (at a boil).  Then bring to simmer and add corn and potatoes.  Season to your liking :)

Two bowls of this and I am good....who says that soup "is not meal"?  I think I will have to pop one of the bottles of that bubbly we bought today, and toast to a very happy, healthy and blessed life :)

Wednesday, March 14

Rainy Day...I want Soup!

I am a huge soup fan.  Yep, soup, broth, consomme, you name it love it.  I can enjoy a huge bowl and be totally content.  I am going to be a great old lady, just for the fact that I actually love a bowl of consomme and a Rye Krisp cracker.  Must be from all the visits to my late grandparent's retirement home and all the Sunday brunches we went to.  My hubby on the other hand just rolls his eyes.  "Soup is not an entire meal".  Must be a guy thing.  So with March kicked into gear, we are finally getting some much needed rain here in Northern California.  I am not up to creating in the crock pot, and I have not even thought of dinner for the night, however, it is wet and cold out and my soup craving has kicked in. 

For a gal who loves it so much, you would think that I have a pantry full of assorted soups.  No, no way, only homemade in this house, and the only reason why?  My hubby is an incredible chef, so when I am able to kindly talk him into making some, I ask for enough to feed me for the week.  However, on the days that he is not home and I want a quick soup fix, I have to get creative.  My fav "go to in a hurry" soup is chicken, veggie.  I can always whip this up because I always have fresh veggies in the house.  One of the staples in the pantry at ALL times are boxes of broth.  Beef, Veggie and Chicken, usually 3 of each at one time.  Seems almost every recipe calls for one of those and I want to be ready.  Organic and low sodium of course.

My fav veggies to use in this one: carrots, celery and onion.  Seriously, can this be any easier?  I am not a fan of measuring tools, so I just don't (unless I am totally needing to). 

3 carrots
1 onion
3-5 stalks of celery (peeled)
Steam all of them just until al dente

While the veggies are steaming I add one 32 ounce box of Low Sodium Chicken Broth with about 5 cups water, season with sea salt (I know, why low sodium then add salt)? Because I can control my sodium and it is just a dash with my fingers.  Bring to a boil, then add the steamed veggies to the pot, simmer.  I love adding rice to my chicken I cook up some in the rice cooker and just add to the pot of broth and veggies.  (Again, no measuring, just doing)

There you have it. The world's quickest, easiest chicken-veggie soup.  I am happy and got my fix.  Just top with some ground black pepper (that is endless, because like my late grandfather, I am a lover of pepper).  Making soup at home just makes more sense to me.  It costs less and you are in control of all your ingredients.  Sure there are some good soups out there, but I can buy more veggies and get more bang for my buck making our own. :)

Saturday, March 10

Thank you BonAppetit...:)

Who does not like pizza? Only problem when you go toeat it, you come home feeling like you ate a bucket of dough and then want to head to the couch and fall into a "pizza coma".  Not to mention, in order to get a "good pizza" you need to go a tad pricey, but then when you order it and see what is on it for the price, you think hmmmm, really?  Well I do anyway.  Let me back up, first of all I don't order out pizza, for the kids yes.  Second, I shop and have the house stocked with cheese and tons of healthy food and great assortment of veggies.  So why on earth do I want to pay for what I can make at home, and while at home I control what goes into the pizza.  I can control the cal count, the sodium, the oil, etc. and for a lot less. 

We already ventured with the Cauliflower Pizza Crust, which was a huge hit and will be a repeat in our kitchen again.  So thanks to Bon Appetit and their wonderful recipes, we stumbled upon the No-Knead Pizza Dough.  What? This is too good to be true.  Going through the recipe and list of ingredients all I could think was "how fun is this going to be"?  The kids and hubby will love this.  I did however modify the dough.  Instead of "all purpose flour", I opted for whole wheat and Semolina flour, just did half of each.  I also went less on the salt.

The only item I needed was the active dry yeast.  Which I thought do I really need that, it is only 1/2 tsp. how much of a difference can it make?  After calling hubby at work and asking that (apparently hysterical question) I had gotten my answer.  Into the car I go, we need the yeast.
So excited to create homemade pizza that night for dinner, and halfway through the process of making the dough, it dawned on me that I had not read fully through the recipe.  This is something that you need to make hours before dinner, or day before, because the dough needs to sit and rise and sit again.  Professional pizza maker I am not, nor do I always read through the entire recipe, because I get so excited to be trying something new.

Not only am I now telling the kids "pizza tomorrow night", I now have to come up with dinner for tonight.  Kitchen covered with veggies everywhere, flour and yeast, measuring equipment (that is what I call it) and a gazillion bowls all over the sink, I start to panic.  Therefore, reaching for the yeast yet again and just adding more ( I need to get this stuff to rise in a hurry).  By now my hubby has walked in the door (yet again to another night of "what in the world is my wife creating now") evening.  Only to come into the kitchen and blurt out the words "that does not look like pizza dough". 

Now, I know my hubby seems to have many comments about my meals and ideas, but to his defense his background is food and he is first a chef although now in management and suit and tie.  So he does now what he is talking about.

Next thing I know his sleeves are rolled up and he has kindly excused me from the area in order to take care of what I seem to have tried to create on my own.  I did not even want to tell him about the extra yeast I threw in after the fact.  However, I did envision my own version of that so popular Lucy episode when she and Ethel were trying to bake their own bread.  Oh Lord.

Anyway, hubby to the rescue, recipe followed through exactly, and the next night the  final product was fabulous!  I even called over one of the neighbors to try these out.  We were able to make about 6 different pizzas.  Thick crust, thin crust, cheese for the kids and ones with veggies all over them. They weren't the prettiest pizzas, but they tasted great, (I would stick with making the thinner crust) and it made for a fun night and great experiment.

A must try for sure!

Friday, March 9

Spring? Wait, in March? Where did winter go?

Okay, so we are second week into March.  I can't stand it, this is too great. Tank tops, flip flops, doors and windows open, smell of fresh air and Cherry Blossoms blooming everywhere around the house.  We started eating healthy and clean back in October when I woke one day and created Fitnessmom.  Though the holidays were a tad difficult to get through (food wise) we stuck to our goal, we stood firm and passed up on all the confections and tasty foods full of sugar and carbs and comfort filling.  The Baileys and cream and coffee did not get even a thought in the house this season.

So here we are in March and actually the hubby and I are really in great shape.  We are ahead of the game this season.  Not stressing about loosing the last 5-10 lbs before the season hits, not having to "train" the body to eat clean.  Nope, we are good as gold this season.  I can actually open the Victoria Secret catalog and love looking at the swim suits, in fact, it is so rewarding going on-line and actually ordering some that I know will not only fit, but look pretty damn good on me this year!  Those squats and lunges have come in handy. :)

We have had so many clean and healthy recipes and dinners already, with just more ahead.  But today is really a tough one, with the back patio cleaned and ready, how can I not want to bring out the shiny new furniture and bust into the new shiny (which my hubby promised he would keep clean) grill?  Who can blame a girl? 75 degrees on this Friday March day.  All I want to do is break out the chips and homemade salsa, whip up a homemade sangria (healthy version) and call over all the neighbors.  Ahhh, life is good, we are blessed and the kids are happy and healthy.  We are taking care of ourselves and living and truly enjoying the healthy lifestyle we have chosen. 

It did not happen overnight, it was and still is a work in progress.  Making a decision to change your lifestyle is a full commitment and needs daily dedication.  But with the progress we have made and how wonderful we feel, it is so worth it.  Who wouldn't want to live a healthy life? Who wouldn't want to teach their children this lifestyle?  There are no days of fast foods in our home, no quick grab and go dinners because I did not make the effort to prepare and think ahead.  A healthy home is a happy home!