Expanding My Palate

Today marks week two of following through on my goal of trying one new vegetarian recipe each week.  I feel like a walking advertisement for Pinterest, but it is so easy to find new recipes there.  

I also enjoy the ease of opening the application at the grocery story to get the recipe ingredients.  Gone are the days of scribbling ingredients on paper and forgetting the list home.  The recipes are always with me, which increases my chances of trying the new dish.

Last week I enjoyed the One Dish Mexican Quinoa so much, that I made it again today. 🙂   This time I substituted chick peas for the corn.  It was equally as delicious and the chick peas added even more protein to the dish.

  
I am trying to ease into the vegetarian recipes, so to chose a new one, I look for new ways to combine familiar ingredients.  Yes, I am open to try new ingredients but will do so slowly.

Kale is one of my favorite vegetables, so when I read the Spicy Kale Quinoa Black Bean Salad, it immediately got my attention.  First, I love spicy foods.  Second, I love kale.  The idea of a spicy salad with green veggies is intriguing.  

Even if you do not consider yourself a cook, you can make this with ease.  I substituted the corn with chick peas, so the dish isn’t as colorful but has even more protein.  If I am going to eat less or no chicken and turkey, I have to find a way to replace the protein.

 

The above bowl was supposed to be a taste test; however, once I took a forkful, I went back and filled my bowl.  Lol!!

To make the dish a complete meal, I cooked (broiled) a large piece of salmon.  Both my family and I enjoy salmon.
To cook the (3.11 lb) salmon I did the following to both sides:

  1. Squeeze juice from 1 large lemon 
  2. Sprinkle generously with granulated garlic
  3. Sprinkle generously with fresh black pepper
  4.  Sprinkle evenly with Lawry’s All Purpose Chicken Seasoning
  5. Add a few piece of butter (I used Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter on the salmon
  6. Lightly drizzle with Italian Dressing

Cover and broil on low for 2o minutes.  Unconver and increase broiler to high.  Cook for approximately 20 minutes.  If you are cooking a smaller piece of salmon, it will cook quicker.  Keep your eyes on the salmon so it does not over cook.

  
The finished product….  A delightful, light, and nutritious meal.

Enjoy!! 🙂 

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Quinoa With A Bang!

I tried a new recipe last night that I found on Pinterest.  It truly is all that and a bag of chips.

A one pan dish is right up my alley, especially midweek when I rarely have time to cook meals.

My normal weekly meal prep was busted on Saturday when the meat market sold out of  turkey and chicken.  They could not fill my order of 15 boneless chicken breasts, chicken patties and turkey patties. The display case was nearly empty!


The display case looked almost like it was closing, except it was only 12:30 in the afternoon!  What the????

I asked the staff if they had a crazy special or something but they said they did not.  They were as confused as I.

Anyways, back to the recipe.

A quick sauté of fresh garlic and one jalapeño pepper.

Although the the recipe does not call for rinsing the quinoa, to eliminate the sometimes bitter taste, I rinse my quinoa with water before cooking.


All the ingredients… in one pot.  This is a lovely sight. 🙂


The finished product was so damn good!  Wow!

The recipe belongs to Chungah at Damndelicious.net. Chungah, doesn’t know me, but I am grateful the Pinterest Post.  Here’s the link to the One Pan Mexican Quinoa recipe.

This was delicious, quick, and packed with protein. This recipe is the newest addition to my rotation of vegetarian recipes.

It’s funny how situations work themselves out.  My 2016 vision board includes an image to remind me of my goal to eliminate meat (chicken & turkey) from diet.

Why?  I guess from all the bodybuilding training, I have grown tired of eating chicken and turkey. I gave up beef in either 1994 or 1996. I don’t miss it.

My goal is to replace my protein source to mostly plant based sources. I will still eat seafood. I don’t know if this is a permanent change or a needed break from animals but I am ready for a diet change.

With that said, nine days in to 2016 I was still buying meat. 😦

The empty meat case of was God’s way of reminding me of my goal for the new year.

Since I had no intentions of buying meat locally for myself, I was forced this week to work on my new goal.

Today is day two of no chicken or turkey. All is good.

Meanwhile I continue to search for vegetarian recipes.  Thank goodness for Pinterest.

Please!!! If you have ideas or recipes, please share them with me.  Thank you in advance. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!


Snap Out Of The Recipe Rut

When the mood strikes me to cook, get out of my kitchen!  Occasionally I get tired of eating the same food and have the time to try something new.

Sunday was the case. I cooked roasted peppers, quinoa stuffed peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, sea scallops, a small piece of salmon, baked drum sticks (for my family), center cut pork loin (for me), and plain oven baked sweet potatoes (for me).  Lol!  Was in the kitchen from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  On the brighter side- By 7:00 p.m., my meal prep was completed for the week.  High 5!!

If you’re stuck in a recipe rut, I don’t have the answers, but Pinterest does… at least for me.  On Pinterest, I can find everything, so if you’re stuck, just search a favorite ingredient like avocado, quinoa, yams, rice, or whatever you’re into.

How do I go about selecting a new recipe? I look for:

  • a nutritious recipe or at least one I can change & make healthier
  • a recipe that has at least one or two main ingredients that I favor
  • an attractive dish; something that is pretty to look at
  • prep time – How much time do I have to spend cooking and how much time do I want to spend on cooking the dish
  • unconventional usage of an ingredient

Here are few of my favorites:

Recently I tried this Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

red stuffed pepper

Stuffed pepper before baking

yellow stuffed pepper

After baking. See what I mean about looking pretty?  How could you not want to eat something so colorful and appetizing?!

To make food interesting, sometimes it’s just a matter of preparing the food in a different way or swapping out ingredients to infuse the dish with a new flavor.

I now favor my broccoli roasted with fresh garlic and olive oil. I‘ve fallen in love with it oven cooked, plus it is less likely to overcook in the oven than stove top. This method is no fuss, quick, nutritious, and delish!  Once you go “oven style,” you won’t go back!  🙂

This Caribbean Salad is beautiful!  I can’t wait to try this one!!

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Lastly, be open to try new foods.  I’m eating food that I didn’t know existed a few years ago.

One of my favorite easy go to is baked spaghetti squash.  First of all, it’s no fuss cooking. Second, it’s mild in flavor so you can mix it with just about anything.  Third, it’s like eating FREE FOOD!!  Lol!

1 Serving ( 250 ml/ 1 cup) of Spaghetti Squash is 33 calories and only 5 grams of calories from fat!

Protein:  .6g

Fat:         .6g

Carbs:    6.9g

Come on!!  Why wouldn’t you eat this!  Add grilled shrimp, salmon, sea scallops, or whatever else you chose and you’ll have the most delightful meal!

Wait one more!! I don’t eat ice cream and haven’t for many years now.  Recently I tried a new recipe and Lawd!!   I’m in trouble!!

I couldn’t wait for my “Healthy” ice-cream to completely freeze, but it was OUTSTANDING!!  My version of chocolate ice-cream is from, where else but Pinterest.  I ran out of peanut butter, so I added a two teaspoons of the coconut milk.  There’s a lot of fat in the coconut milk. 

  

Delicious!!  🙂 

I hope that I’ve inspired you to try and to seek out new recipes.   If you are on a journey to improve your lifestyle by getting fit and eating smarter replacing your old recipes with cleaner and more nutritious ones is an excellent first step.

Be encouraged and make it a fabulous day! 🙂


Food For The Soul

It is a chicken soup kind of day! The whole family is off.  It’s cold outside, the wind is gusty and, other than going to the gym, I have no desire to go outside today.

2015/01/img_3908-0.jpgLike clockwork, my helper showed up right on time! B’Dazzle is having fun washing and peeling carrots.

2015/01/img_3910-0.jpgThe beginnings of a home-made and hearty chicken and  quinoa soup. What are the healthy benefits of carrots?

2015/01/img_3909-0.jpgI love the vibrant colors of uncooked veggies!  Read this to learn about the health benefits of celery.

2015/01/img_3912-0.jpgThe seasoned chicken is baking nicely and is almost done.  Mmm..!  Smells good! 2015/01/img_3913-0.jpgGet your kids involved at home!  My son was eager to help cut the veggies. When your children asks to help out, please let them. Although the process might slow you down a bit, the time together is good for both parent and child. Besides, it’s better time spent than video games and TV. While cooking, we talk about everything… girls, school, family, and more!  Goooood stuff!! 🙂

chicken stockChicken stock in the making!  Are you hungry yet? Lol!

I searched the internet to find a recipe that appealed to me.  Can soup is filled with sodium and other processed stuff and is not the same.

Yeah, I cook often but home-made chicken soup is not my speciality.  Divas Can Cook had a recipe that works for me.  I substituted the noodles with quinoa (It is pronounced KEEN-wah).  Quinoa is a grain filled with nutrition.  Noodles are processed foods that I try to avoid.  The plan was to add brown rice, but since I have a decent amount of leftover quinoa, I decided to add it instead of cooking more rice.  I also added a little nutmeg to the broth.  Mmm… there’s something about nutmeg that gives food a homey and warm feeling. home made chicken soup

This is delicious! Just one spoonful brightened my smile even more today! 🙂 Here’s a link to DCC recipe.

Happy Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Slide1🙂


Delightful Summer Salad

To look at me, you wouldn’t think I enjoy food, but I do!  Today I tried a new Quinoa Chickpea and Avocado Salad recipe.  It was delightful!! My mouth is watering again, just thinking about it.

I found the recipe on Pinterest, which brings me to the main point of this post.  If you are serious (not just giving lip service) about getting on track to eating better, there is no magic formula.

Allow yourself to be free to try to acquire a taste for new foods. I perfectly understand being squeamish about eating delicacies of foreign origin.  But how can you turn your nose up to natural foods that grow from God’s soil?

Many of the foods I eat today, I was not exposed to as a child.  Some I more recently started eating and did so only out of a want to appreciate and to make healthier food choices, such as eating avocados.

I thought avocados were the ugliest foods. Even the shade of green is ugly! With a nickname, “Alligator Pear,” who would want to eat that?   That is until it’ sliced open. Then the beauty is exposed by the vibrant lime green and odd round wood like seed.

The first time I ate an avocado, it was blah… eh… okay, but nothing to brag about. After reading about all the benefits of Avocados, I was determined to find a way to include them in my diet and I did!!!

Okay so enough rambling.  The recipe is courtesy of skinnytaste.com  You have to try it!

Quinoa Chickpea and Avocado Salad Skinnytaste.com Servings: 4 • Size: 1 1/4 cups  • Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 6 pts Calories: 248 • Fat: 7 g • Carb: 41 g • Fiber: 8 g • Protein: 9 g • Sugar: 1 g Sodium: 403 mg (without salt)

Ingredients

tomatoe

It was hard not to eat the tomatoes and not put them in the recipe. Lol!!

beans

Quinoa

I did cook the Quinoa. I just wanted you (if you’ve never brought it) to see what it looks like packaged.

onion

The recipe called for red onion, but I had a bunch of Vidalia onions, so I substituted. They are sweet onions and tasted just fine.

cilantro lime]

How could anyone like “green” foods?  The Cilantro’s scent is as strong as its flavor. Mmm..

cucumber

I know I should have sliced the cucumber, but I was in a hurry. 🙂

salt

I don’t usually cook with salt, but I did use a little of this good stuff.

avocado

Gorgeous! Lol!

Directions: Combine all the ingredients except for avocado and cucumber, season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Just before serving, add cucumber and avocado. Makes 5 cups.

Qsalad

The finished product!  OMG!! You gotta try this!  Scrumptious!! Thank you sknnytaste.com!

Give it a try!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Enjoy your weekend!  🙂


The Body Is Your Temple

The body

At 7:30 Sunday morning, I was in the kitchen cooking.  I would have rather stayed in bed, but sleeping late wasn’t an option.

Another busy week for this working mom and wife includes, CrossFit, a day or two of jogging, football, work, tutoring for my son, blogging, laundry and a few other chores mean I have no other choice but to carefully plan for each week.     All of the food pictured here I cooked Sunday between 7:30 a.m. and 12:10 p.m.

When I finally sat down, I was exhausted, but relieved that the food was cooked and I wouldn’t have to turn the over, stove, or grill on for at least five days.  Heeeeey!!   Now I can focus on getting to CrossFit, the gym, and my running.  LOL!

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Two beautiful bunches of broccoli Rabe.  They are so good sauteed in olive oil with fresh garlic, and crushed red peppers.

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Mushrooms, sweet onions, jalapeno peppers, red, yellow, and orange sweet peppers. They are very good served over brown rice or Quinoa.

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Fluffy brown rice that I cooked in the rice cooker. If you eat a lot of rice, a rice cooker is worth the money , as well as a time saver.

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Boneless skinless chicken breast is much leaner that chicken thighs, breast, or drumsticks.

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Boiling my eggs in advance makes it easier to pack two-three for lunch. I usually eat only the egg white, sprinkled with egg whites. They are a great source of protein.

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Baked mac and cheese for the family, This two-pound pan will test my will power this week. I cooked it because it is one of my family’s favorite dishes.

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I tossed four pounds of kale in a pot with sweet onions, crushed red peppers, freshly ground black pepper and a little lawry’s all season salt… I can’t get enough of it.

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I found a super easy recipe for zucchini cakes on Pinterest. If you’re interested in the recipe, you can find me as “Lexa” and the recipe is posted on my board. It’s easy, quick, and healthy.

ADDITIONAL READING

Nutrition Facts, Calories in food

Power Foods:  Broccoli Rabe

The Nutritional Value of Mushrooms