Aug 022012

Just think…warm and sweet butternut squash, bright, sunny lemon, nutty tahini, purple onion and wilted spinach….doesn’t that sound great for summer?  It’s wonderful even cold!
This butternut squash dish was one of the recipes that Cara and I chose to make while she was in town visiting.  In addition to the tahini and olive oil, we stirred in some honey, cumin and fresh baby spinach. 
Once you try that one out….here is a wonderful round two recipe for you with avocado and sprouts that enhance the taste of fresh lemon.

Juicy summer cherries are the perfect compliment!

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Quesadilla with Avocado and Fresh Sprouts
Serves 4
4 whole wheat wraps
1/2 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
1 avocado, seeded and sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 cup sprouts
1. Preheat broiler to high.  Stuff 1/4 cup butternut squash salad into wheat wraps, top with 2 Tbsp Daiya.  Spray with cooking spray; broil, on high, 3 minutes per side or until browned.
2. Top with 1/4 sliced avocado, 1/4 of the sliced red onion and 1/4 cup sprouts.
**No nutrition info available for this one.
Apr 102012
I finally got around to trying Happy Herbivore’s super easy bean burgers.  These will now be my go-to recipe when I need something super quick and easy. 
This will work with any can of beans and some oatmeal.  By using the broiler you can speed up the cook time to around ten minutes and get a nice char on the outside of the burger.  My daughter had a blast mushing the burgers with her hands and rolling them into balls. Something I never let her do when we cooked with meat as I was afraid of her getting sick from the raw meat.  We made little sliders for her and the burgers for me.  She ate every bite of her slider.
I paired these with some left over fresh salad I made from the lettuce, carrots and gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from KYV farm and some added some frozen sweet potato fries – broiled right along with the burgers.  Couldn’t have been much easier.
If you have extra these will freeze well too.
Ten Minute – Five Ingredient Black Bean Burgers
Inspired by Happy Herbivore
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Printable Recipe
2 cups cooked and drained black beans (or use a 14.5 oz can)
1/3 cup Gluten Free instant oats (or 1/2 cup rolled oats pulsed in the food processor)
1 Tbsp steak seasoning
1 Tbsp coarse ground prepared mustard (or whatever you have)
2 Tbsp Gluten Free Ketchup
1. Preheat the broiler on high and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.** Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl; divide into four burgers or eight sliders. Bake first side for 6 minutes; flip and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.
2. Top with whatever you like!
**Check the label on the cooking spray to ensure it is gluten free.  It’s best to simply use an oil mister to be sure.

Nutrition Facts

4 Servings
Amount Per Serving (burger with no toppings)

Calories 162.3
Total Fat 1.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 675.9 mg
Potassium 305.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.6 g
Dietary Fiber 8.5 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 8.9 g

Vitamin A 0.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 3.0 %
Vitamin C 1.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.0 %
Calcium 2.3 %
Copper 9.0 %
Folate 32.0 %
Iron 12.5 %
Magnesium 15.1 %
Manganese 19.1 %
Niacin 2.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 12.0 %
Riboflavin 3.5 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 16.5 %
Zinc 6.4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

May 102011
In a recent episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain was thoroughly enjoying Vatapá, a classic Brazilian dish with African origins.  Vatapá is a thick pureed seafood stew with coconut, jalapeño and peanuts and then a few variable ingredients such as breadcrumb or cornmeal, fresh lime, cilantro, tomatoes and ginger. 
How could I not make this?
Little did I know how easy it would be to make.  For Mother’s day I had gotten a Vitamix blender so this would be the perfect recipe to try it out!
I whipped some up and what a treat! Salty briny seafood, hint of sweet coconut and spicy kick from jalapeño was such a welcome break from the norm.  I loved the creamy texture akin to polenta and the big chunks of fish and shrimp.
Originally I was going to simply use the shrimp but my dad had gone fishing and brought home some fabulous white flounder fillets (and a cobia which I am SO excited about. Recipe to follow.)  My husband and I loved the tender fish so much we even went back for seconds.
Next time I will try adding 1 tablespoon of ginger and 1 to 2 cups of chopped tomatoes.  I can’t wait to make it again soon.
Brazilian Vatapá
Gluten, Egg, Dairy, Sugar Free
Makes 7 cups
2 Tbsp coconut oil or EVOO
2 onion, chopped
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, divided
2 – 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric (for color. Palm oil is traditionally used.)
1/3 cup peanut butter or cashew butter
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 to 2 cups veggie stock or water
1 cup cornmeal
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 14.5 oz can light coconut milk
1/2 pound white fish fillets such as flounder or cod
A few dashes of hot sauce
Handful fresh cilantro
1.      Place the onion, 1/2 cup shrimp, garlic, turmeric, jalapeño, nut butter, lime zest, cornmeal and broth in food processor or blender and puree well. 
2.      Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion-shrimp mixture and sauté until cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes adding more broth as needed.
3.      Pour in coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes.
4.      Stir in the remaining shrimp, fish and lime juice and simmer another 5-6 minutes, or until seafood is almost cooked through.
5.      Remove from heat, stir in cilantro.


Nutrition Facts
7 Cups
Amount Per Cup
Calories 291.5
Total Fat 12.2 g
Saturated Fat 5.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 120.5 mg
Sodium 268.1 mg
Potassium 312.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Sugars 1.0 g
Protein 25.0 g
Vitamin A 4.1 %
Vitamin B-12 26.1 %
Vitamin B-6 11.6 %
Vitamin C 6.9 %
Vitamin D 24.6 %
Vitamin E 6.6 %
Calcium 5.1 %
Copper 11.5 %
Folate 3.3 %
Iron 14.2 %
Magnesium 16.7 %
Manganese 8.2 %
Niacin 15.3 %
Pantothenic Acid     4.8 %
Phosphorus     27.4 %
Riboflavin 6.0 %
Selenium 66.2 %
Thiamin 8.1 %
Zinc 8.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
 Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Mar 132011
Yesterday was spent at the St Augustine Farmers Market (as that one is closer to my house than the Neptune beach one) scoring some super fresh veggies and then over to the 30th Annual St Augustine Seafood Festival.   Chris pointed out fried candy bars.  Oh my.

Huge pots of paella and salads
Taking a minute to pat the gator.
Seafood boil with crawfish,
Fresh Gator Skewers
Sample of award winning clam chowder.  (I like mine a bit chunkier.)
They didn’t have this when I was a kid but it looked like a blast.  What’s the weight limit on these things? I could get in there and show you other hamsters what’s UP.
This Greek tent caught my eye.  There was a gigantic Greek salad that I just couldn’t walk by.  So I ordered a gyro with a Greek salad.  What I ended up with….
…was a pile of meat and tzatziki sauce and stale pita.  The sauce was good though and so was my three bites of “salad” he put on top.  You’ve got to look at the positive right?
Chris got the jambalaya.  He said it was ok but we could do better at home.
I was still craving seafood though….

Sesame Crusted Tilapia

Have you seen this month’s Clean Eating Magazine?  If not, I suggest you pick one up.  There are so many wonderful recipes this month including this one that I thought would be perfect with the Asian Peanut and Cabbage Salad I made up recently.

This recipe has nice texture with the sesame seeds and that salty and tangy flavor from the tamari and lime and that bite you get from fresh ginger.  I added the agave for sweetness and used tamari rather than soy.  Additionally I halved it since there were only two of us.  The main thing I love about Clean Eating is the simple ingredients with big flavor hits and ease in preparation.

CE is quickly becoming one of my most favorite magazines for recipes.


Sesame-Crusted Tilapia

Slightly altered from Clean Eating
***4 WW Pts Plus
Serves 2


2 tilapia fillets
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp Tamari
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 425.  Place fish fillets on small, foil covered baking pan.
2. Whisk lime juice through agave in a small bowl; pour over fish fillets, sprinkle sesame seeds.
3. Bake fish for 8 minutes or until fish flakes.  Serve with Asian Peanut Cabbage Salad.

Nutrition Facts
***4 WW Pts Plus

2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 169.9
Total Fat 7.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.7 g
Cholesterol 40.0 mg
Sodium 578.5 mg
Potassium 58.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Sugars 2.8 g
Protein 21.8 g

Vitamin A 0.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 3.0 %
Vitamin C 7.7 %
Vitamin E 2.1 %
Calcium 4.8 %
Copper 10.0 %
Folate 1.9 %
Iron 7.0 %
Magnesium 5.2 %
Manganese 7.9 %
Niacin 2.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.6 %
Phosphorus 4.2 %
Riboflavin 1.6 %
Selenium 0.5 %
Thiamin 3.0 %
Zinc 2.7 %

Feb 072011

Today’s Eat. Live.Be. for a better 2011 is how to get out of a rut.

The only thing that works for me is to change things up and simply keep trying. Think about it, any time we start anything new, we go through a honeymoon phase. If it’s a new diet, we are all gung-ho at first, since it’s new. On top of that, it is really motivating to see results. Then the plateau hits, and the weight stops coming off quite as easily. For me, I’m always trying to lose the last five pounds. I love the new weight watcher program but realize that, to keep things interesting, I still need to try new foods. Having this blog really helps because it keeps me excited about trying new recipes and sharing the results.

Take this North African Chickpea Stew. I was able to use the base recipe from Eating Well and change it up to use some of the calabaza and some of the fresh cilantro in a new way, when I could have simply roasted the squash and used the cilantro in salsa. (Not that I don’t still do that. I’m just saying it is great to change it up.) On the down side, it was a bit labor intensive with prepping the squash. But, in the end, it was so worth it to be able to share it with you as well as my friend Suzanne, who belongs to the same CSA, and my friend Justine; my friend that did the Acro-yoga with me. It makes a LOT.  The serving size is 8 but I am sure I could get 10 servings out of it which is why I’m sharing.  I really liked the sweetness of the squash, the nutty crunch of peanuts and the aromatic cilantro.

Speaking of Acro-yoga, this is an example of how to keep the motivation going with working out as well. I already know I love yoga and try to make a class two to four times per week, but it’s the same teacher (unless they have a sub for some reason which is rare) and a lot of times I can anticipate what they will say next. When Justine invited me to try this workshop, I thought, yes! What a great way to visit a new studio; try a new teacher and a new form of yoga. So, on top of trying new forms of working out, you can even change up the way you already do your workouts. If you run, what about getting a running partner; if you bike, try joining a group, or do what I did….check out a new studio, teacher and method!

North African Chickpea Stew
Slightly altered from Eating Well Squash, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew
Serves 10


3/4 cup dried chickpeas
3 lbs calabaza squash, butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron, 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp PB2 (a powdered peanut butter product), Optional
2 cups water (optional to thin consistency)


1. Place chickpeas in medium bowl, cover with water and soak overnight.

2.Combine the soaked chickpeas through pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker.  Cook on low 5 to 6 hours.
 3.Stir in lime juice, peanuts and chopped cilantro.

Nutrition Facts according to SparkRecipes

8 Servings
***5 WW Pts Plus (this is using the calabaza, when I switched to butternut the pts plus value went up to 6)Amount Per Serving

Calories 177.6
Total Fat 5.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 494.9 mg
Potassium 395.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.2 g
Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
Sugars 3.4 g
Protein 9.6 g

Vitamin A 58.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 13.0 %
Vitamin C 14.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 6.3 %
Calcium 5.0 %
Copper 11.5 %
Folate 21.5 %
Iron 12.2 %
Magnesium 10.5 %
Manganese 28.8 %
Niacin 10.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.0 %
Phosphorus 12.2 %
Riboflavin 4.4 %
Selenium 3.7 %
Thiamin 8.3 %
Zinc 7.1 %

Jul 222010
Hi All!  I’ll be heading out of town tomorrow and still have yet to pack.  Things have been so crazy I have to take a few days off from blogging (boo!) to get it together but hope to be back on track next week.  Have a great weekend and I leave you with this recipe review of a cooking light recipe.
On a whim I bought fresh Brown Turkey figs at the store.  Just sliced they are delicious but I wanted to try them with some Springer Mountain Farms Chicken Breasts.  The delicately sweet figs were a great compliment to the aromatic bay leaves.  Not overpowering flavors here but great for an easy weekday meal.

Sautéed Chicken and Figs
Adapted from Braised Chicken Thighs with Figs and Bay Leaves
Serves 3

3 chicken breasts, I used Springer Mountain Farms
Coarse salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced sweet vidalia onions
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
8 fresh figs, each cut in half lengthwise

1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Spray with cooking spray and pour teaspoon of olive oil.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Top each with 1 bay leaf.

3. Add chicken to pan, bay leaf sides down. Cook 5 minutes or until browned.

4. Turn chicken over; cook 3 minutes. Add chicken broth; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

5. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion; cook 2 minutes. Add chicken, wine, vinegar, and honey to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

6. Add figs; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until figs are tender. 

 Posted by at 1:26 pm  Tagged with:
Jun 302010
Recently I discovered Clean Eating Magazine.  I love the fresh ingredients, colorful photos, easy to read recipes and nutrition information for each.  
I’m in trouble….another food magazine to love.
But you will be proud of me.  Instead of hoarding the magazines until it becomes unbearable and we have to drop them all off at the local home for the elderly (don’t worry we still drop off the National Geographics), I have begun the process of cutting out the recipes I want to try and placing them in a three ring binder.
This was one that made the cut. After making it, I now know why.  The sweet banana really stood out against the spicy jalapeno and chili powder.  It literally took me 15 minutes to make this one from start to finish. 
Their recipe called for six tilapia fillets so two would be left over to go with the extra salsa; however, I’ll had to come up with another round two recipe (which will be posted later) as I only bought four fillets.  I also forgot to put the tsp of chili powder in the salad but it was still so good even Chris ate it and he’s not big on dishes with fruit in them.
This one is a definite keeper and I highly suggest checking out Clean Eating Magazine for yourself!

Chili Rubbed Tilapia with Banana Black Bean Salad
Altered from Clean Eating Magazine’s Grilled Tilapia with Banana Black-Bean Salad


4 tilapia fillets
1 tsp chili powder
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Cooking Spray

Salad (This can be made while fish is cooking or in advance.)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 bananas, peeled and chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.

2. Season fish with chili powder, salt and pepper and place in pan.  Cook each side for three to four minutes or until fish is cooked through.

3. Mix salad ingredients.

4. Top each piece of fish with 2/3 cup salad mixture. 

**There will be some salad mixture left over for use in a round two recipe.

Jun 102010
I came across another Eating Well recipe I wanted to try for my recipe swap.   When I saw the photo and read more I knew I had to try it.  I love Indian spices and thought it would be perfect paired with the sweet mango.  The fact that a 1 cup serving is less than 200 calories with 9 grams of fiber made it even better! 

I didn’t change anything from the original recipe so rather than reprint it and risk copyright issues I’ll just provide the link (above).

As a review of the recipe I loved the blend of flavors; however, the recipe stated that the lentils should break down and fall apart and mine stayed fairly firm.  No worries, I enjoyed the texture and thought it was a great vegetarian meal served over whole grain brown rice.

Jun 072010
This past weekend was very busy and very fun.  Saturday was the highlight as I got out to the beach and then for dinner, drinks and dancing with the girls (photos to follow).
Last night we had a lovely BBQ of grilled shrimp, veggies and corn after Chris got home from a golf outing. I was so tired I didn’t get the weekend photos loaded but I hope to have that done tonight as tomorrow night is another Bite Club event! 


If you haven’t picked up Eating Well Magazine you’ve got to check it out.  There are so many amazing and healthy recipes and I don’t think I’ve had one I disliked yet.

My friend and fellow foodie Justine recently made this dish for her family and brought some in for me to try. She accidentally used Cayenne and I loved the kick. I immediately put it on my list to make!

I only altered a few things.  I cut down on the oil and switched out the spinach with the parsley as I didn’t have any, added a teaspoon of cayenne in replacement of a teaspoon of paprika and threw in some additional green beans.


Shrimp and Bean Sauté
Serves 6
**Original recipe is 5 WW pts per serving


5 cups green beans, trimmed (about 16 ounces)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound; see Note), peeled and deveined
2 16-ounce cans large butter beans, or cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh baby spinach
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


1.  Steam the green beans until tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes (or to your liking).

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, cayenne and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until just fragrant but not browned, about 20 seconds.

3. Add shrimp and cook until pink and opaque, about 2 minutes per side.

4. Stir in beans, vinegar and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

5. Remove skillet from heat and stir in spinach until it wilts.

6. Divide the green beans among 6 plates. Top with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with pepper.

 Posted by at 3:27 pm