30 minutes to a gourmet dinner

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Last night I felt like we were filming an episode of a 30 minute cooking show.  I should have taken more pictures, but let me set the scene.  Another wonderful and warm day by the ocean, kids playing, husband asleep in his lawn chair…reading a great book.  My girlfriend who was on Island celebrating her Birthday (they rented a home a few doors down) pings me that they are heading over “Should we BBQ?  I’ll bring what we have in the fridge.”

I really don’t know where the time goes here but sure enough it was 5:45 pm…JEESH!!!  This dinner thing really cramps my style here -living a lazy life by the beach.  I opened the fridge to see what we had to throw on the BBQ.  Chicken, skinless and boneless.  Not great for the BBQ…but then dinner presented itself.

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Costco. Pesto is easy to make…but this is REALLY easy!

When you clean the crap out of your cupboards, pantry and refrigerator you make room for staples that lead to healthier options. When you look for ideas and recipes like I do, your brain starts to bank them.  Baked Pesto Chicken, a recipe I had been wanting to try.  I spotted this in one of the South Beach Cookbooks a long time ago.  Tonight was the night.

1) Pre-heat oven to 375

2)  Spread Pesto into the bottom of a baking dish

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3) Add chicken

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4) Add more Pesto

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5) Cover with tinfoil and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes

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6)  Add cheese and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes

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We shucked some corn, added butter and seasoning and cooked those for about 30 minutes

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So at 6:30 pm everyone was eating (what I must say turned out to be some of the best chicken and corn I have personally had in a long time), drinking wine, and relaxing back by the ocean…right where we all wanted to be.

You HAVE to love a recipe that everyone asks for, and you can give to them without writing a single thing down!  Simple, healthy, yummy…all Good Stuff!

In writing this post I googled the recipe and Kalyn’s Kitchen did and awesome job of describing this recipe in more detail.  I also used her “final product” picture above.

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Seasoned Tilapia

We seem to be eating a lot of fish.  Maybe it is spending so much time near the Ocean, or simply that fish is easy.  I like to relax during the Summer months and not put too much time into worrying about dinner, or what’s for dinner.  Yet at the same time I don’t want the kids roasting hot dogs over a camp fire EVERY night…fun, but not very good for them.

Frozen fish is a staple in our home.  Frozen salmon fillets, tilapia, salmon burgers, halibut…we usually have all of them in the freezer on any given day.

tilapia coated in seafood seasoning and parmesan cheese

Tilapia coated in seafood seasoning & parmesan cheese

Last night it was tilapia.  I have talked about this fish before and I can not stress enough how much I LOVE tilapia.  A white fish, flakey and light…not thick, nor chewy.

This is the perfect fish for non-fish eaters because it doesn’t taste fishy, doesn’t smell fishy and really will just take on whatever flavor you prepare it in. Not only is it easy to cook it is a high in protein at 23 g, low in fat at 2 g, low in calories at 112 and high in potassium with 333 mg.

I took the individually wrapped fillets out of the freezer and dropped them (still wrapped) into a bowl of  room temperature water to start the thawing process. Then I dumped some seafood seasoning (I like the Costco one, but Tom Douglas makes a good one too) and some parmesan cheese onto paper plates (less dishes is the goal here).

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I broiled them for about 4 minutes on each side, normally it would be less but they were still a little frozen in the center.  This whole process took about 20 minutes start to finish.

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We also had some brown rice in the freezer, the microwave in a bag kind (3 minutes) so I tossed that with some Italian vinaigrette and served it along side the tilapia.  If I were serving the rice for adults (my Husband was out-of-town) I would have added some veggies like diced green onion, bell pepper, and maybe some small cherry tomatoes.

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Not a glamorous dinner, but based on both kids asking for seconds I will call it a success!  Plus anytime I can serve a healthy dinner and not have to do too much work I am thrilled.  After all, I have a view, book and a glass of wine waiting for me.

Life is good.

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Pinterest “inspired” dinner

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This morning I took a salmon out of the freezer.  That is about as far as I got. So at 5:40 tonight I has this:

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I needed quick inspiration so I grabbed my phone and checked my Pinterest Boards. I LOVE Pinterest. Pinning is a pretty relaxing hobby and often I do it at bedtime, kind of like reading, it slows the brain and lends to easily nodding off. I can honestly say I almost never read a recipe. I am a visual person so I pin based off of what I see and (this is key) whether or not it is something I think is within my “scope”.  I look for easy, interesting and for the most part, healthy.  It is fun and keeps me from falling into cooking ruts.

Salmon is popular Paleo dish with Pinners so I went to my Paleo Board and found this Lemon Herb Salmon.

At 5:45 dinner was oven-ready.

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I didn’t have all of the ingredients so I worked with what I did have (olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic) but that is the beauty of Pinterest…it leads to inspiration…a platform of good ideas that lends to more good ideas, J’adore!

I also added red pepper flakes to the adult side, spicing it up a bit.

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When I put the stuff back in the fridge I noticed a dying bag of asparagus and remembered a yummy looking picture of asparagus with parmesan cheese on top. Sure enough on my Veggie board I found this recipe Asparagus Gratin.

Ok, while the end result looks AMAZING it really was too much for the last-minute program I was running. So I just had the kids snap the stems,

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gave them a quick rinse, dumped some parmesan over the top

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and broiled on high for two minutes.

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The salmon took about 20 minutes @ 325 and by 6:15 dinner was served!

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Happy Pinning!

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Banana Oatmeal Cups

Can you call them muffins when there is no flour? I don’t know… but what I do know is these were devoured by all ages this weekend. I also made the Paleo Pumpkin Muffins.

From http://www.greenlitebites.com
Banana Oatmeal Cups
-3 ripe bananas
-1 cup vanilla Almond milk (any milk should work)
-2 eggs
-1 tbsp Baking powder
-3 cups (240g) Old
-Fashion or Rolled Oats
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3 tbsp (42g) mini chocolate chips or blueberries

Palo Pumpkin Muffins
http://thegoodstuff411.com/2011/07/05/paleo-pumpkin-muffins/

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Food is fuel

Food-is-fuel

For me these three words have been life-changing and they play in my mind many times a day. When people ask me about changing my eating habits and they really want the quick and dirty version this is what I tell them:

Your body is like an engine.  Food is the gas.  In order to be running at the most optimal speed you need to keep gas in your tank at all times.  The more quality the gas is, the better your car will run, and sound, and the longer it will last without breaking down and falling apart.  When you don’t fill your tank you stall out.  After a stall you eventually go and refuel…sometimes even with too much food because you are starving…and here is where our bodies compensate…they are so smart from our feast-or-famine ancestry that they take every little calorie and store it away just incase you decide to stop refueling again soon.  Your body always wants and needs fuel…if you keep fuel constant your body will not keep so much in reserve.

You want to feel hungry…just a little.  Hunger is the gauge for needing to refuel.  I can honestly tell you when I weighed over 200 lbs I could go hours w/o feeling hungry.  Where do you think my body was getting its fuel?  That is right, right off my ass!  My fat ass! My body just kept stock-piling the reserves because it knew I couldn’t be trusted to provide food on a regular basis.  I would have a diet coke or coffee in the morning and sometimes not even eat until 3pm.  I cringe when I think about how bad I was.  Often my day of eating started at 1 or 2pm and then went right up until bedtime which was 11pm.  There was no way around being fat.

Breakfast.  I have preached about this a million times but some people just hate breakfast, period…others of us just can’t fit it in and it gets aways from us.  Find something you can make happen and do it.  That first meal is the one that will dictate your whole day…it defines how your engine will run.  If you don’t eat you have stalled before you are out of the gate.  If you eat sugar and simple carbs you spike your insulin because your pancreas needs to produce insulin to remove all that extra sugar from your bloodstream (most simple carbs contain refined sugars and very few essential vitamins and minerals) and though you have fueled up you only gave it enough gas to go a few blocks before you will hit the sugar crash…crave more sugar…and thus the cycle for your day has begun:-(

Try to get protein in within an hour of waking up.  It will steady your blood sugar, give you more sustained energy, you will feel full longer…and it will give you the time to make better choices all day long.

From all those years of not eating all day I still have a hard time remembering to eat.  But as I become more in-tuned with my body I can read the cues…and I try not to get to where I am starving…though feeling a little hungry is good…it means the fuel you have put in is working!

I set alarms on my iPhone so I remember to eat…just incase I get busy and put it off.  Sure, some days are different, but in general this keeps me on track….And always breakfast by 8:30am!
food-for-fuel

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Happy Heart Month

Watermelon & an orange slice

Watermelon & an orange slice

February means Valentine’s Day!  Remember last year I posted the snack plate full of heart-shaped treats? Well a few weeks ago The Miracle Momma blogged an awesome post “40 Easy Valentine’s Day Recipe’s” and guess what?  Yep, she included my little plate of happy heart’s and even titled it the “Happy Hearts Snack Platter”!  (see #32 on her FABULOUS list!)

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Happy Hearts Snack Platter

I LOVE the kids getting so excited about Valentine’s Day and HEARTS because it is such a great opening to talk about heart health and what will keep our hearts healthy, happy and strong for years to come! February is American Heart Month so use healthy foods in the shape of hearts and find fun heart-healthy snacks to facilitate the dialogue in your home.

Some of the items The Miracle Momma has on her list I wouldn’t feed my kids and feel right calling it “healthy”, but they are all cute ideas!  Here are the ones I plan to borrow!

#1) Love Potion Floats -Instead of all the sugar and fat, just make a healthy berry, yogurt smoothie, add a little whipped cream, sprinkles and voila!

#7 Heart-Shaped French Toast -Make a healthy version of french toast and get that large-sized cookie-cutter out…easy and fun!  Top with strawberries and raspberries!

#14 Heart-shaped Egg & Toast -no explanation needed

#16 Heart-shaped crepe – Yum!

#17 Yogurt-dipped Strawberries – This is GENIUS, I am going to try it this week!

#19 Heart-shaped Hard Boiled Eggs -cute, and clever for those crafty Momma’s

#23 Hearty Lunch -more use for your cookie cutters

#24 Cupid Heart-Dogs -I will do this and use the Applegate Turkey Dogs

#27 mozzarella & Tomato Salad for kids – I like this, but thinking bigger tomato slices and the fresh mozzarella cut into hearts might be cool

#29 Fruit Pizza – a lot of things come to mind from this idea!

#36 Dark Chocolate Walnut Pomegranate Clusters -UMMM…HELLO!  Delish!

#39 Roasted Potato Hearts

Another GREAT Article is from The Family Kitchen; “Heart-Shaped and Healthy: 13 Valentine’s Day Surprises for Kids”

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Happy HEALTHY Birthday

Ellie attended a Birthday party today for one of her classmates and I was SO SO impressed by all the hard work and thought the Mom put into this celebration!  I just wanted to share with you that “healthy” can be CUTE & FUN too!

Veggies

Veggies

 

Goldfish

Goldfish Cups

 

Fruit

Fruit & cheese

 

Grapes mixed with something sweet

Grapes mixed with something sweet

 

PB&J w/the crusts cut off-of course

PB&J w/the crusts cut off-of course

 

Drinks=water

Drinks=water

 

Candy & cake too!

Candy & cake too!

 

This was the “fun” table with candy and cake!  However some of the jars were filled with fun colored paper, and other jars had lip glosses and things like that!

And even a cute homemade headband that matched the theme!

Hello Kitty Headband

Hello Kitty Headband

All of the kids had a great time and gobbled up their healthy lunch!  I think we often sell kids short and hop straight to pizza…this was a great reminder for me (hey I have served a lot of Pizza and am sure I still will) that with a little thought and planning even boring, old healthy food…can be made FUN…even at home on a regular day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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