Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hugs A Lot

Is there really anyone walking this planet who eats health food all the time; no exceptions? I say no. I certainly am not one of those people. So while I am usually blogging health food, today I am not. The story behind this little bit of junk food is that I committed to a dessert for an Oscars get together. The problem was that I was running errands all day and had zero time to put anything together. I needed a quick dessert that looked cute. At that point I didn’t even care if it tasted amazing. I just needed not to fail at showing up with dessert.

So I found these cute little things on Pinterest from a repin of my friend Angela’s.

Here’s the breakdown:

Square pretzels
Hershey Hugs

Place the pretzels in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lay one Hershey hug on top of each pretzel. Put in a 350 degree oven for about 3 minutes. Place an M&M with the writing face down on top of the melty hug squishing it down a bit. Then stick the whole sheet of candies in the fridge for 20 minutes or until the chocolate is hard again.

These were super quick and easy and everyone loved them! Turns out they are delicious too! AAAAAND you can theme them depending on what the holiday or occasion is. If you know me, you know I love celebrating all holidays and this is an easy fun way to do it! I themed mine for UK since the basketball team had just won their 28th game this season. But other ideas would be green and red for Christmas, pink and red for Valentine’s Day or even using Hershey Kisses and topping with orange M&Ms for Halloween!

These little candies also make it very easy to portion control! Although I dare you to try to just eat one!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Salad To Make Strawberry Shortcake Put Down the Junk Food!

She's so cute, I can hardly stand it!

Every once in a blue moon, I manage to sweet talk my way into a grocery trip to Whole Foods. This does not happen too often for big shopping. When I was cleansing I snuck down there for beets and some other things I was eating quite a bit of. But suffice to say shopping for all my groceries at Whole Foods is a bit outside of what’s reasonable financially! Not to mention that place is a ZOO so going requires the mental capacity of a monk!

Last week I received an avocado in my organics box. I’m a huge fan and normally I put it on a turkey burger or make some guacamole. But I was really interested in another fate for my beautiful avocado! So I found this great recipe on All Recipes submitted by nkmelvin. And I took myself to Whole Foods for organics to accompany it!

They actually made this recipe into a salsa and served it with tortilla chips. But this is BIG EATER small body and around here, we try to stay away from fried chips no matter how much we love them. So I chunked everything up a bit larger and made it a lettuce-less salad. And I thought of my girl Missy the whole time because I’ve legit never met another individual who loves avo as much as her! So Miss, I hope you try and enjoy this!

Here’s the breakdown:

1 avocado, chopped in large chunks
2 cups strawberries, chopped in half or quarters for the large ones
¼ cup red onion, diced small
½ jalapeno, minced
*I use the mini food processor for this
2 handfuls fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
fresh ground pepper

Throw everything in a bowl and serve. The recipe actually calls for far less cilantro, but I love the stuff, so adjust to your taste.

You should know that I’m regularly trying to disguise salad so that Josh will eat it. He has a tendency of eating around the “bits” of the salad. And since there are no greens or lettuce in this, I wondered if he’d just stare at the bowl and push the “bits” around with his fork. But EUREKA…he loved it. Maybe less option for his future!

Either way, I definitely recommend this as a great side or even a fabulous summer lunch. In my mind, it is summer and there’s a margarita on the table next to it!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paleo Spaghetti

In August I was in Las Vegas with my girls for an unbelievable girls weekend! I really cannot divulge any details, as you well know! However, what I can say is that while I was there, my friend Missy, personal trainer at I Luv My Body Fitness in San Francisco, was telling me about these amazing results she had gotten from 30 days of Paleo challenge. We were chatting quite a bit about it, but I wasn’t really sold. Mostly because when I shared my fresh white peach with her she almost had a meltdown on how delicious it was because she hadn’t had any fruit/sugar for 30 days. You know how much I love my farmers’ market stuff. And yes, I traveled to Vegas with a peach, stop with your judgment! But I will say she looked amazing although I’d argue she was always beautiful!

So fast forward to the present and I have “liked” a Facebook page that I connected to through Bryen Pinkard, you guys know him because of my cleanse posts. The page is The Paleo Coach. One of her recent posts was a picture of paleo spaghetti. Basically you replace traditional spaghetti noodles with spaghetti squash. Now, I’m not paleo but I am interested in any foods that taste great and make me feel good. Besides the fact that I’m a squash fanatic! So I was sold at go!

I tried her recipe last night with a little bit of change. Hey, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add my own touch. But let me just say, it was great! I was a bit concerned that the squash would be too sweet. However, I was wrong. I think mostly because I make my own spaghetti sauce and there’s no sugar in it, so it balanced out.

Here’s the breakdown

Please see my recipe from 9/12/11

1 package ground lean turkey
*this is usually just over a pound
garlic powder

1 large spaghetti squash

After you’ve made the sauce, or defrosted it as my recipe makes so much I freeze it for easy use later, sprinkle with garlic and brown the ground turkey, then drain and add the sauce. Warm all the way and turn off the heat. Put the whole squash in the microwave for 4 minutes. This will make it easier to cut it in half. Then cut it in half lengthwise. Put one half face down in a glass dish with about ½ cup water in the bottom. Microwave for 8 minutes. Repeat with other half of the squash. Then put both halves face up in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Take out the squash and with a fork “shred” the squash into “noodles”. This will require you to run the fork across the short ends. This is unbelievably easy, so if you’re having trouble, shred the other way. Put your sauce back on high heat quickly heating through. Put the “spaghetti” on a plate and top with sauce.

Add A Green Salad

If you’re thinking this sounds is ridiculously easy, you’d be right! Especially if your sauce is already made! And let me just say, I didn’t miss the traditional noodles at all! In fact, my body even felt better post meal than if I’d eaten pasta! And a skeptical husband really enjoyed it too!

Try it friends, even if you’re not paleo. It’s good for you!

Cheers and BIG THANKS TO THE PALEO COACH! Check her out on Facebook at

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not Your Momma's Chicken Soup

Seems like every time I’m thinking I’m not a soup eater, I see a recipe for something that looks super yummy or it’s really cold out. We’ve had a particularly mild winter in New England this year, but we’ve not completely avoided the super cold days. On one of those frigid days, I again decided to make some soup. At this point I know you guys are thinking, “Yeah right, this girl is a closet soup eater!” And maybe I am or maybe I’m still just too southern for this cold weather! Either way, I had a huge bunch of swiss chard from my organics box, so I decided to make some soup with greens. Perhaps it’s just my love of greens in broth that provokes my soup cooking….I’ll keep thinking on this and letcha know! I decided to go outside of the chicken noodle box and substituted for potato gnocchi. Mostly because prior to a fabulous gnocchi dinner at Posto in Davis Square, I was under the impression that I didn’t like gnocchi! I stand corrected!

Here’s the breakdown

½ onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced small
2 carrots shredded
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes (garlic, basil, oregano flavored)
1 bunch swiss chard
1 lb potato gnocchi, fresh
borsari to taste
¼ tsp. garlic powder

Cut the chicken breasts into bite size chunks. Sauté the onion, celery, carrots, red pepper flakes and garlic in a small amount of olive oil until tender (3-4 minutes). Add the chicken and sauté until cooked through. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, borsari, pepper and garlic powder. Stir well. Cut or rip the chard into small pieces and add to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the gnocchi and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Despite the gnocchi, this was a light and very tasty soup! And the chard made me feel great about eating it. Try this one out before Spring gets here!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Don't Waste the Shrimp!

Ever since I can remember, Christmas Eve dinner at my house has consisted of tons of finger foods. One of those finger foods always includes shrimp cocktail. For this I like to just buy the precooked frozen shrimps as opposed to getting them raw and cooking them. It just makes it easier at a time when I like to chill out and rest. Unfortunately when you buy them frozen it’s always in a huge bag: which is hard to use later since the shrimps are already cooked. But, as I’ve mentioned before, I hate to waste food.

So I was looking for an interesting way to use shrimp that wouldn’t require them to be hot. Obvi this would have to be a salad, but I couldn’t believe it when I found the recipe for this interesting salad on All Recipes for a Thai shrimp and chicken salad.

Here’s the breakdown:

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
2 cups shelled cooked shrimp, cut in half
2 cups shredded chicken breast
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 red chili pepper, minced
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
Spring mix greens

Sesame sticks
*these aren’t in the recipe, but they were great

I made the shredded chicken by putting two chicken breasts in the slow cooker with equal parts chicken broth and orange juice (cover the chicken) and large pieces of fresh ginger. Cook those on high for about 4 hours and the chicken will shred easily. Let it cool completely. I actually made the chicken the night before and refrigerated it until I needed it.

Make the dressing by whisking together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and garlic in a bowl.

Toss together the sectioned grapefruit, shrimp, chicken breast, coconut, shallots, chili pepper, mint, and cilantro in a large bowl. Drizzle approximately 3/4 of the dressing into the grapefruit mixture and toss to combine. Combine the remaining dressing with the greens in a separate bowl shortly before serving.
Spoon the chicken and shrimp mixture over the greens. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sesame sticks on top.

This was not just really good. This was CRAZY delicious! In fact, I ate it for 3 days in a row left over for lunch! The spicy, acidity, sweet flavor of this salad worked so much better than I thought especially combined with the sesame. Even Josh loved it and usually he sticks with a chicken ceasar salad!