Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

We were invited over to a friends house for dinner with a couple families, I was asked to bring a salad. I asked my kids (individually) which salad that I make is their favorite. Both of my girls answered "Sweet Broccoli Salad", my son answered "anything with lettuce, cucumbers and honey" (he is allergic to eggs so most salad dressings are out for him - he loves for me to drizzle honey over his salads).

Since the salad would be eaten by 6 adults and 12 kids, I decided to go with the old "Family Favorite Salad" served with ranch until my husband piped in with "What about that strawberry salad you make? That sounds really good." Decision made. I got on this here food blog and searched for it. I searched high and low and I didn't find it! How could this be possible?? So - here it is - for all to enjoy...
Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad
Spinach and romaine lettuce, chopped (I only had romaine this time)
Strawberries (sliced and cut into bite sized pieces)
Red onion, diced
Carmelized pecans*

Dressing**
2 c mayonnaise
2 t poppy seeds
1/3 c Four Monks Raspberry White Wine Vinegar
2/3 c sugar
1 t dry mustard
1/3 c strawberry jam
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Assemble salad fixin's just before serving.

*I used carmelized sliced almonds - b/c that's what I had. 4 T sugar + 1/2 c sliced almonds in a frying pan on medium heat. The sugar will heat up and start to carmelize. Stir often to prevent burning and keep all the almonds coated. Add a little water as needed to help the sugar dissolve.

**I couldn't find Four Monks Raspberry White Wine Vinegar at my local grocery. Instead I used Brianna's Poppy Seed Dressing & also walmarts 'Market Fresh' brand Raspberry Vinaigrette in combination to mimic the flavor.

The picture is missing the candied almonds (b/c my 4 yr old is allergic to nuts) and is also missing the dressing - b/c kids can be picky and when serving so many little ones - I wanted to keep their options open...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spinach Parmesan

I know I'm on this diet kick lately - but a friend just posted a recipe for "Lip Smacking Spinach" and it immediately made me think of my absolute favorite spinach recipe EVER - Spinach Parmesan.

I got the recipe from my friend Dawn Kenny - she made this for Easter dinner a few years ago and after one bite I was after her to give me the recipe. Luckily - she is as generous as she is talented. She used to be a fancy shmancy caterer you know... and we are all the beneficiaries of her food knowledge!

Spinach Parmesan
2 10oz packages fresh spinach
1/4 c water
1/2 c fresh grated parmesan
1/4 c heavy cream or whipping cream
2 1/2 T butter, melted
2 1/2 T finely chopped onion
1/8 t pepper
1/2 c fresh whole what bread crumbs (she makes them homemade - I just use regular bread crumbs)

Combine water & spinach in a dutch over; cover and cook over meium heat 8 minutes. Drain well in a colander pressing with paper towels.

Combine spinach, parmesan, cream, butter, onion & pepper; spoon into lightly greased 1 qt. baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered 10 minutes or until heated through.

Remember to share with your family, if you aren't careful - you'll eat the entire pan to yourself...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quick & Healthy

These are a great find. I found them (again) at Costco. I never thought I would ever eat a microwaved burrito - but these have changed my mind. These are filling with just enough spice to make you feel satisfied and leave you craving that delicious taste.1 burrito: 260 calories; 1 g fat; 0g sat fat; 0 mg chol; 490mg sodium; 48g carbs; 13g protein.

I always eat these with either 2 Tbsp of salsa - or a combo of salsa and greek yogurt (an amazing substitute for sour cream)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Stamina

This isn't part of my 'diet' but it's a HUGE part of my workout. I drink one about 30 minutes before I workout. It really helps with my stamina. There have been times that I've worked out so hard that I get the shakes - do you know what I'm talking about?? If you drink this - you won't get the shakes!
I'm sure any protein powder mix will do - I got this at - you guessed it - Costco.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Salmon Steak & Steamed Veg

If you haven't noticed - I reference things I've bought at Costco so often that I really should be getting paid for it:)

2 more Costco products - you can find these same products at any store - I just happened to get mine there.

This meal is 422 calories - seriously...
Salmon Steak & Steamed Veg

1 Salmon Steak (click HERE for easy, quick, amazing salmon)
2 cups steamed veg (I always buy Kirklands stir fry blend - it has something for all of us)

Follow directions for salmon steak per link above
Follow directions on the back of the package of veg you have. If you don't know how to steam vegetables - email me and I'll post a tutorial.

ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Operation Get This Baby Fat Off Me!!

I had a baby 2 months ago. She's my 4th. After I have a baby, I work my buns off to get back to my pre-baby weight. Once I'm there - it's easy for me to maintain my weight b/c I'm busy chasing all my kiddos around:) It's the getting there that is the HARD part!!

It's no secret that I love food. I mean - I. Love. Food. So 'dieting' is something I loathe. It's both a word and a way of life I do everything in my power to avoid. But, I'm in dire straits here. 4th baby, out of shape, in my late 30's - somethings gotta be done.

I've just started working out - zumba, treadmill, biking, volleyball - which is the usual way I lose that baby fat - but I'm also watching what I eat.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, I just started Monday, so far I've stuck to my plan - but we'll see how it goes...Anyway... part of losing weight is exercising - but the other just as important part is what you eat - and that you eat! Limiting yourself to under 1200 calories a day actually works against you - it puts your body into starvation mode. I shoot for 1500-1700 calories a day.

Who wants to count calories?? Not me. Not the old fashioned way at least. BUT, I've found a way to simplify things. It's an app called 'everyday health calorie counter' it's free, it allows you to enter in all the foods you eat and any exercise you do. It's brilliant. You can also Google the same thing and get it on your computer. You put in your current weight, it suggests a 'healthy' weight for you and gives you a calorie intake based on that.

I am going to post a series of meals UNDER 500 CALORIES. Since you all know about my love affair with food - you know that I'll be honest about these recipes. I'll let you know what I liked, what I tweaked and what I'll never eat again.

ARE YOU IN??? Leave a comment and let me know if you are in! Dieting is always so much easier if you have a support group:) I'll post all my UNDER 500 CALORIE recipes under the categories "diet" and "healthy." I'll also try to link up the diet/healthy recipes weekly or bi-weekly to make it easier.

** For those of you that aren't dieting, I'll still be posting amazing, mouth watering, family pleasing food too - for the food I make my skin and bones kiddos, those days that I cheat - or the days that I workout like a crazy person and totally deserve it:)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wrap

Oh yeah babe - this was good. AND this huge wrap is only 346 calories!! I just had a baby 2 months ago and I am gettin back on the skinny train. For my information - and yours if you are interested - I am going to try to add nutrition information at the bottom of the recipe...

Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wrap

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, (or 1 tsp dried chipotle powder and a dash of vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced red onion
4 8- to 10-inch whole-wheat wraps, or tortillas

Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine.

Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion.

To assemble the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.

Nutrition
Per serving: 346 calories; 17 g fat ( 4 g sat , 9 g mono ); 15 mg cholesterol; 44 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 13 g fiber; 462 mg sodium; 491 mg potassium.

*Next time I make these I think I’ll add a bit more chipotle in adobo to kick up the spice factor (and I’m not a huge fan of heat).

**Since I am a big advocate of having my kids eat what my husband and I eat (who wants to be a short order cook?) I made a few changes to how I served these. I thought the slaw was a little tart for my kids (ages 9,7 &4) so, I sprinkled a little sugar on top of their slaw. Considering how healthy these are - I don't feel the least bit bad about that:) I also didn't mix the cheese in with the avocado bean mixture b/c my son isn't a fan of 'cold cheese.'

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cranberry-Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette

I saw this salad on pinterest and started drooling... I got this recipe on The Cafe Sucre Farine. Recipe and photo credits to her:) Thanks for the recipe!!

Cranberry-Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Ingredients for the dressing:
⅓ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
1 ½ tablespoons sesame seeds
½ teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried mustard
1 tablespoon minced sweet onion
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup vegetable oii
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the salad:
12 ounces baby spinach, arugula, field greens
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and dried, leaves removed whole from stems
2 medium avocados, peeled and halved
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup Candied Spiced Almonds***
Directions:
1. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a pint sized glass jar and shake well to dissolve sugar.

2. For the salad, place greens and cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Add avocado and dried cranberries and about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss gently. Scatter candied almonds over salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pass extra dressing at the table.

***Candied Spiced Almonds
5 cups sliced almonds, or a 1 pound package*
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin*
1-1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika* - some smoked paprikas are quite hot, if you don't like "hot", just use 1 teaspoon and they will be mildly spiced.
1 teaspoon vanilla
sea salt

*The cumin and the smoked paprika give just a hint of mysterious, delicious flavor - even though these are savory spices, these almonds are still wonderful served with sweets like ice cream or yogurt.

Directions:
1. Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub a teaspoon of oil over foil with a paper towel.

2. Place sugar in a large non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium heat , occasionally tipping and swirling the sugar until it is all melted into a pale golden syrup.

3. Lower heat immediately and add butter, cinnamon, smoked paprika and vanilla. Stir until well combined and all butter is incorporated into the sugar syrup.

4. Add the nuts and stir gently to coat. Don't worry if you have some clumps of caramelized sugar - they will melt as you continute to sauté the almonds. Cover and continue to cook on low, stirring every minute or so until almonds are a delicious golden brown. Watch very carefully as they can go from beautiful to burned very quickly! Turn out onto prepared foil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Spread out on foil to cool.

Deviled Egg Chicks

Today, my girls and I made these fun deviled egg chicks! Easy peasy. Make your favorite deviled egg recipe - I made mine today with mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice, salt and pepper... yum!

Cut your hard boiled eggs in the top section of the egg in zig zags. I used a pairing knife to make it quick work. Scoop out the yolks and add the other ingredients. Whip until smooth. I put the mixture in a small ziplock back. Squeeze all the mixture to one bottom corner of the bag and cut the very tip. This makes it easy to "pipe" the yolks into the eggs.

Use diced olives for eyes and shredded carrots for the nose. Fun, easy and delicious!

Easter Dinner

What are you making for Easter Dinner?? I just did my grocery shopping yesterday and here is what is on the menu:
For a delicious breakfast - we are having Mindi's Sausage Bread
Our traditional menu:
Baked Ham (of course)
Isabelle's Rolls (seen above)
A yummy stand by veg:
And a new salad:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fun Food

My kids and I have been having LOTS of fun lately with food!! My girls wanted to have a little picnic up in the treehouse. We assembled these cute little snack bags together. The girls colored clothes pins (find them at Target 50 clothes pins for $1.50). Then, we hot glued pipe cleaners to the top and then filled them with green grapes and goldfish.

They thought these snack bags were the bees knees...

We also made birds nests for Easter.
You'll need:
1 bag of mini marshmellows
3 T butter
1 bag chow mein noodles
Cadbury mini eggs
Peeps

Melt butter in a large sauscepan. Add bag of marshmellows 1/3 at a time until completely incorporated and melted. Then, fold in the chow mein noodles 1/3 at a time. Let it cool enough to handle but not until it's set.

I used a muffin pan to help me make the birds nests. Mold the marshmellow/chow mein mixture around the sides of the muffin tin leaving room for your birds and eggs to sit. Then have your kids decorate with peeps and cadbury eggs!!Finally, this little centerpiece. I've seen it done with dum-dums and a smaller vase or planter and it's really cute. I did it with a vase I already had - and I did it with Blow Pop's because my kids go ga-ga for them - and it turned out pretty cute.


What fun foods are you making??

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