Shrimp Primavera

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The weather here in The Land, aka Cleveland hasn’t quite broken into spring temps just yet. Mother Nature has decided to keep winter around a little longer this year. Well, I think everyone can agree with me, enough is enough and winter, you need to go bye bye! The forecast for this weekend is giving us a little hope that spring isn’t far, with a high of 75 tomorrow! However, this is Cleveland and any chance we get with warmer weather always comes with rain….If you dislike the weather where you live, move to Cleveland and change my mind.ย 

April is the month I like to start looking into more fresh ingredients to use in my cooking. It’s around that time of the year where all the good produce is coming into season and everyone is looking for lighter food options to enjoy during the summer heat and refrain from gaining extra winter weight (I refer to this as the summer body diet). There is also the issue with cooking time on meals. I find most folks don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes preparing dinner especially when they are feeding more than themselves. Long days at work and then having to come home and cook dinner get exhausting very fast. Pasta is always a quick go to and whats nice about this recipe, you can cook the pasta and prepare you vegetables ahead of time so all you have to do when you’re ready to eat is heat it up!ย 

Even on a low carb diet, I find this recipe to be keto friendly. I just measure out my pasta to grant myself 1/4 cup to eat that way I don’t consume all of my daily carbs in one meal. I love the addition of fresh lemon juice and the mixture of vegetables in this dish! My primavera is very light and the acid gives a lovely crisp mouthfeel. Shrimp is the best option for protein as it is also very light. Butter is the only “sauce” used, you may substitute EVOO or Avocado Oil in place of the butter if you would like.ย 

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Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Mise En Place:

  • 1/2 Box Bow Tie Pasta, Cooked in salted water, drained
  • 1 LB Raw Shrimp (Approx. 20 Pieces) peeled & deveined
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 Green Belle Pepper, medium dice
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, medium dice
  • (1) 14 Oz Bag Frozen Vegetable Medley
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Cook off pasta and drain if you haven’t already done so. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add frozen vegetables. Cook until soft but not overcooked, approximately 5 minutes.
  • In a saute pan, Melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Season both sides of the shrimp with salt & pepper. Add into pan and sear for 2 minutes over medium heat. Turn shrimp over, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, addย  1 tablespoon butter, 1 Teaspoon minced garlic & half the lemon juice to the pan, quickly baste the shrimp for 10 seconds. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • In a large pot, heat up 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add in all vegetables and garlic. Stir and allow to cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add in pasta, remaining butter, shrimp, pepper flakes, and lemon juice. stir until well combined and hot. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Enjoy!
  • **Pair this pasta with a glass of French Chardonnay or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!

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Sweet Chili & Soy Tofu Vegetable Bowl

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This is a great recipe for anyone who is also following a low carb regime. I started the keto diet for Lent, in hopes of being able to fast myself from drinking alcohol, and eating sweets. Two things that make up a large part of what I consume on a daily basis (so much for a healthy lifestyle, huh?)ย  I just did a weigh in last week and have lost 5 pounds in 1 month! That’s pretty exciting to me considering I haven’t been to the gym since early December. An unfortunate injury to my tailbone from slipping on ice a few weeks ago has kept me from being able to work out. I’m hoping the bruising will heal soon so I can get back into my fitness routine. 2018 has been off to a rocky start with my health. I started it sick with bronchitisย  for all of January into early February and then right when my strength had come back, during an early morning walk with the dog, I slipped very hard on the ice and slammed flat on my tailbone causing severe bruising which is still healing 3 weeks later. I heard rumors that the keto diet is an easy way to lose weight without having to workout. So I figured, if I cant go to the gym to lose weight, I’ll have to sacrifice some of my favorite things for 40 days to see if this diet actually works, and we’ll go from there.ย 

As you may have read, I recently adopted the pescatarian diet (Vegetarian including the source of fish or other seafood as protein) I will however still eat small bites of meat on the rare occasions like a tasting menu at work or my husband and I are at a restaurant known for their food. I’m not super strict or hardcore about this change, I just chose to eat less animal fats and focus more on healthier alternatives for personal reasons. During this change, I have been eating more vegan “meat alternatives”, a ton of seafood, lots of vegetables, berries, whole grains and soy products such as tofu. You may see a lot of tofu recipes on here but that’s because I happen to enjoy cooking and eating it.

This recipe takes my favorite Asian flavors of soy, and sweet chili sauce to coat the tofu and lay on top a bed of sauteed vegetables with garlic and sesame oil. If you enjoy Asian cuisine, I’m sure you’ll love this recipe. Feel free to substitute Chicken or another protein of your choice if Tofu isn’t your cup of tea ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 45 Minutes

Mise En Place:

  • 1 Pack Firm Tofu (Pressed to remove liquid, cut into bite size chunks)
  • 1 bag of Frozen vegetable Medley of choice (you may use fresh vegetables if you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Cup Raw Spinach
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • S&P, TT

For the Sauce:

  • 1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Sweet Chili Sauce ( I used Mae Ploy)
  • 1/3 Cup Honey

Method of Prep:

  • In a saute pan over medium high heat, generously oil pan with vegetable oil. Add in tofu cubes and sear on each side 4 minutes or until golden brown all around.
  • As tofu is cooking, in a small sauce pot, whisk together all ingredients for sauce over medium heat until well combined. Bring to a boil and adjust heat to low. Allow liquid to simmer and reduce for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust to your liking. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Once tofu is browned on all sides, remove from pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the oil.
  • Using the same saute pan, over medium heat, oil the pan again then add frozen veggies and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until hot and vegetables are cooked through. Finish with sesame oil.
  • Dump vegetables into serving bowl. Top with spinach, allowing the steam from hot vegetables to lightly cook the spinach. Stir to combine.
  • Place saute pan back over medium heat, add in tofu and half the sweet chili sauce. Toss together until tofu is well coated and hot again. Pour onto bed of vegetables and spinach. Serve immediately. (Add extra sauce if you choose)
  • Enjoy! *Can Also be served with rice

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Cauliflower Steaks

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It’s a well known fact that fresh is always better than frozen products. When it comes to vegetables though, the shelf life for them being fresh and kept in the fridge goes faster than I can keep up with in my back and forth work schedule.

During the slow winter months, also knows as our off season at the Country Club, I try to use this free time to do a lot more cooking at home. The only thing I wish this side of Cleveland would offer is more farmers markets. I would much rather spend my money there than at the grocery store any day. Even though I’m doing a lot more cooking at home, I’m still watching how much produce I bring home. I can only use up so much of it at one time during the week. Like I said, fresh vegetable always seem to wilt or rot on me before I get to using them.

I’ve always had a liking for cauliflower, raw or cooked didn’t matter to me. A fellow co-worker mentioned how she will make roasted cauliflower for her 2 little kids at home. She roasts it in the over with oil, salt and pepper and then sprinkles loads of Parmesan cheese and tops it with fresh made pesto, she really talked the roasted cauliflower recipe up. I figured if 2 kids under the age of 6 will eat it, it’s gotta be good. Usually I steam cauliflower so I was ready to try something different with roasting it. I took the basic ingredients: salt, pepper, and EVOO and added a few more spices to it to really make the flavor pop. The recipe makes the best entree, or side dish, you choose.

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Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, stem & leaves removed, cut (You will get 3 steaks out of 1 head)
  • 1/2 Cup EVOO
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning Blend
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Heat Oven to 350
  • Once cauliflower is cut, place on a sheet tray
  • In a small bowl mix together EVOO & seasonings
  • Using a pastry brush, brush oil over the front and back of cauliflower, brush along the tops and sides as well. Season with S&P.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 10 Minutes. Turn over and place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until tops of cauliflower are golden brown.
  • Enjoy!
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Juicing!

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I disappeared for a wee bit and am slowly getting back into the blogging life I kind of once had. I left Florida and headed back north to my home state of Ohio with my fiance to start a new job and begin planning for our wedding next September. Since I’ve been back I’ve been on a huge juice kick partially for the reason that my dad bought a really nice juicer a few years ago and it still hadn’t been used. I figured it was time to put that baby into action.

I’ve always enjoyed fresh made juices but rarely get the chance to make them from home. I usually go to a local juice bar and purchase one a few days out of the week or make one first thing in the morning at work. Juicing can be expensive which is why many folks don’t get into the habit of doing it at home. When I was living in FL the farmers markets didn’t have the best produce (depending of the time of year) and purchasing bulk amounts of vegetables from Publix became too expensive causing me to not be able to juice regularly at home. Back in my home city of Cleveland, OH I live near a large market in downtown called the Westside Market. This market is filled with a ton of local meat, produce, pastry, and seafood purveyors that sell food for cheap. I go there to get all of my juicing materials for $20. That may seem like a lot of money to be spending on just fruit and vegetables alone, but that amount will last me about a week giving me up to 3 8 ounce glasses of juice a day…I’d say i’m getting pretty decent bang for my buck.

There’s a few reasons why I think you should juice:

1.) Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables.

2.) Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner.

3.) You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet (vegetables you wouldn’t eat whole).

If you’re new to juicing, you can find a mid range priced juicer ($60) that will work well to start with. There’s a lot to read about juicing that I’m not going to explain here in this post, just know that when you juice, its recommended that you drink your juice right away and don’t save it due to the bacteria and e-coli you could contribute causing food poisoning. It’s important to thoroughly wash your vegetables or fruit well with water and even give them a quick scrub to remove any possible pesticides or dirt (unless your juicing with organic vegetables then just rinse them). Its not necessary to peel the vegetables but I have seen people do it, I guess it’s just a preference?ย  I recommend you do some reading or research on juicing if you haven’t done it before to know more about health benefits and nutrition if you are concerned. There is a multitude of benefits and many people have their reasons on why they choose to juice or not (cost of juicing, fiber removal from the vegetables, etc) I personally love to juice because I can choose to put whatever I want in my juice to make it taste good, I get a good yield out of the juice I do make and to me it’s cheaper to spend $20 on fresh produce than go somewhere 7 days a week and spend $6 on one 16 ounce juice.

If you enjoy fresh squeezed juice here a few delicious recipes I came up with over the last few weeks that are good to start with if you are new. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a high speed blender such as a vita mix. Just be sure to strain your juice through a fine mesh strainer, unless you enjoy pulp then enjoy as is!

 

Juicing is Gluten free/Vegan/Refined Sugar free/Dairy Free!!

 

Sweet Green:

Mise en Place:

-1 Small bunch Kale, washed

-1/2 Cucumber

-1 Each Apple, cored

-2 Stalks Celery, washed

 

Method of Prep: See below

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Feel the Beet:

Mise en Place:

-3 Each Beets, trimmed, scrubbed and washed

-1 Large Carrot, scrubbed and washed

-2 Handfuls Spinach, rinsed

-1/2 Lemon

-1/2 Cucumber

 

Method of Prep: See Below

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The West side:

Mise en Place:

-1 Carrot, scrubbed and washed

-1/2 Cucumber

-1 small chunk Ginger, peeled

-1 Apple, cored and scrubbed

-1/2 Lemon

-1 Small bunch Kale

 

Method of Prep: See Below

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Westlake Demon:

Mise en Place:

-1 Stick Celery, washed

-1/2 Carrot, scrubbed and washed

-Small bunch Kale, rinsed

-1/2 Cucumber

-Small bunch Spinach, rinsed

-1 Apple, cored

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Method of Prep (All juices):

-Using a juicer, turn on and slowly add in whole vegetables one at a time. Push down using the stick attachment if needed.

-Once all the vegetables are turned into juice, pour juice over ice and shake up or stir, whichever is easier for you.

-Pour juice into desired drinking glass and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

Summer Rolls

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I have a huge desire for Asian food. I would much rather go to the local oriental market and grab all the necessities I need to fix a fabulous meal than go out to a Chinese or Thai restaurant and get it made for me. One of my preferred choices when it comes to Asian cuisine is summer rolls. They are so fresh and full of crisp flavor from seasonal vegetables and herbs. Super simple to make and inexpensive. These rolls are perfect for a hot summer day, however, because its only January, I find them a perfect match with some curry!

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Active Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Yield: 6 Summer Rolls

 

Mise en Place:

-6 Spring roll wrappers

-1/2 Yellow onion, julienne thin

-1 Red Pepper, julienne

-1 Carrot, peeled, julienned

-1/2 Mango, peeled, julienne

-6 Basil Leaves

-12 Cilantro Leaves

-1 Cup Rice, cooked

Additional Tools:

-1 large bowl of water

Method of Prep:

-Place 1 spring roll wrapper in water and soak for about 20 seconds until soft.

-Carefully place wrapper on the counter (Paper tears easily once wet, use care when moving around to avoid tearing paper.)

-Place 1 small handful of rice on the bottom of the wrapper. (leaving about 1/2 inch room at the bottom for wrapping)

-Press rice down and begin to lay vegetables on top. garnish with herbs.

-Roll the bottom up to cover the rice. Fold both sides in and then continue to roll tightly until sealed shut.

-Repeat the above steps until finished.

-Dip in sauce of choice

Enjoy!

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Sauce Recommendation(s):

-Mae Ploy (A sweet chili sauce that can be found in all oriental markets or in the Asian (international)ย  section of your supermarket or walmart)

-Hoisin (Garnish with 1 tablespoon of chopped peanuts and 1 teaspoon of chopped cilantro) Can also be found in the international isle.