Tuesday, June 29, 2010

30 Nights of Salad - Days 12 & 13

Since we had so much fun at the cookout we went to on Saturday, we came home and went right to bed. No salad that night. So we "re-did" day 12 on Sunday. Our Salad was so good and so easy that we had the same salad for Sunday and Monday (Salad days 12 & 13). Very basic - very yummy. That night we had bacon with our salad and grilled it on the George Foreman grill! This is a great way to prepare your bacon!!! It helps get rid of so much of the fat and it comes out crispy and delicious. Just remember to flip the bacon midway through grilling so that it's cooked evenly. I grilled the chicken first and then the bacon since it cooks quicker.

Here's what I did:

2 large chicken breasts seasoned with what you like. I used seasoned salt, garlic powder and onion powder and a little olive oil. Don't use too much seasoning or your grill will smoke
1 slice of bacon per salad
Cherry tomatoes
Romaine & Red leaf lettuce

***I used French dressing (approx 1 tablespoon) on my salad and it was so good we did the exact same thing the next night!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saturday Morning Breakfast

Most days we have cereal and or toast but every once in awhile I get fancy, especially on the weekends. I made a delicious egg bake, cheese grits and I put bacon on the George Foreman grill! My small grill gave out on me, so I had to dig out my HUGE grill from storage and I grilled bacon on it!!! It was crispy and amazing and so much fat drained off. Breakfast was amazing and later that day we went to a Birthday cookout for our friend and we had so much fun - and food - that by the time we got home around midnight we were too tired and too exhausted to want salad or anything else. But we got back on track for Sunday night. But that post will come after this one. Here's the recipes for the morning. If you're in the mood for a big breakfast, this will satisfy just fine!

Egg Bake
-4 eggs
-1/2 cup milk
-pinch of salt
-1 tablespoon maple syrup
-canister of biscuits
***Mix and beat the eggs with all ingredients and add the biscuits uncooked on top of the mix. Preheat oven according to biscuit directions and cook at least 2-3 minutes longer than package since the biscuits are sitting in liquid. If you like, add the syrup to the egg mix or on top of the finished product.

Chicken Breakfast patties
-1lb ground chicken
-2 tablespoons groundflax seed
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-pinch of nutmeg
-1 tablespoon of brown sugar
-1 teaspoon bell's seasoning
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 egg
***Mix together all ingredients. The patties will be moist. Drop several spoonfuls of mix into a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter if you prefer. Cook on each side until cooked through.

Cheese grits
***Cook grits according to package directions. Take off of heat. Add a few slices of American cheese and a pat of butter and mix until cheese is melted. There's no need to add salt to cheese grits since the cheese is so salty on its own.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream?

Yes! Homemade ice cream using 1 ingredient......Bananas! I got this recipe from TheKitchn - another of my fav blogs you'll notice there to the right. I slice and freeze just one Banana. I put the slices into the food processor and work it! I add a little milk, honey and sometimes Nutella - which I did tonight - and it was the perfect after dinner dessert! Tonight, my ice cream came out more like a milk shake because I added too much milk, but all you have to do is put the finished product back into the freezer for a few and let it harden a bit more. This would also be good with peanut butter, but I have not tried it yet. And ideas on variations to the recipe? Let me know, I'm always down to try something new!

Fresh out the Freezer!


Banana Ice Cream/Milkshake

For more detailed photos and step by step instructions, please head over to TheKitchn. This is a great low fat summer treat!

30 Nights of Salad - Day 11

Beans again! You know the song right? heh heh - I can't help but make a little joke, but in all seriousness beans are full of fiber, folate and B vitamins! This is why I make the effort to include beans in as many dishes as I possibly can. Tonight we used beans as our main source of protein and added a salsa type of flare to it by using corn and tomatoes too! I wonder how a little cilantro would have went with this? Ah well, next time. Here's what I did - easy peesy:

Beans (I used dry pinto beans, soaked and cooked them. See here)
1 can of corn, "cooked" in a little butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder
1 Roma Tomato, diced
1 Roasted Red Pepper, chopped
Green leaf lettuce, chopped
***I added some wonton crisps to mine and did not use salad dressing - the corn was moist and had a little "sauce" from the cooking so that was just fine.

This was one of our best salads yet and it took so little preparation. I think that this is the secret behind our success so far - it's so easy to do and requires so little effort that we want to do it. I think that we prefer to do it now too! Always feel free to add your own twist or take something out/add something in. Enjoy!

30 Nights of Salad - Day 10

10 nights down and only 20 easy more to go! We're 1/3 of the way to our goal! Pork Chops again! But we did things a little differently tonight. It was incredibly simple and really delicious. We stripped the salad down to the basics and topped it with wonton crisps and creamy italian dressing!

Try it and enjoy!

Thinly Sliced Pork Chops (seasoned and grilled or fried)
Lettuce, chopped
Tomatoes, sliced
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Roasted Red Peppers
***I topped this with Wonton crisps and creamy italian dressing! Yum!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yum Yum Lisa!

I love Bento Boxes. They're aesthetically appealing, they're neat and the arrangement just seems to make the food yummy-er! There is something about the arrangement of a Bento box that appeals to my nature, and it probably has a little to do with my years working at The Asia Society where I gained a true appreciation of Asian culture in a way that was unavailable to me before. Although I live in NYC, where every culture is literally at your finger tips, it can still feel foreign. You might be familiar with the foods or even a few important dates (every New Yorker knows what Ramadan is) but you can still feel outside of the culture. Working at The Asia Society was a little like prolonged study in Asian cultures and events. You begin to understand the importance of ceremony and what it has to do with something as simple as drinking a cup of Green Tea and you learn and appreciate the history behind Bento Boxes - from wooden lacquered boxes in the 16th century - to aluminum lunch boxes - to the mass produced Hello Kitty bento boxes available now. I've enjoyed purchasing "To-Go" Bento boxes for lunch and once my daughter began eating solid foods, I started trying my hand at my own bento lunches. That's how I came across Maisie Eats Bento while looking for tips and ideas. It has remained one of my favorite blogs - you'll notice it my blog list to the right of this post. And now! Now Lisa (the mother of Maisie) is having a giveaway for a lovely book called Yum Yum Bento Box! You can enter the giveaway here. If you'd like to try your hand at something new, or get more ideas for your bento boxes/children's lunch boxes, enter the giveaway for this great book by July 18th! And check out her blog while you're there - it's full of great ideas and inspiring lunches that all of us can do!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

30 Nights of Salad - Day 9

Pork Chop salad? It's whats for dinner! Grilled pork chops (thin sliced or thick cut) are so delicious. We throw them on the George Foreman grill and in a few minutes we have completely cooked through - tender delicious pork chops. Grilling your meat instead of frying it is a great way to maintain crunch but with way less calories, fat, etc. Alas my Grill conked out recently so I am using olive oil to fry my chops. I used less than 1 tablespoon to fry 4 thin Pork Chops and of course I drained them on a paper towel after they were done. Pork is a fun alternative to our everyday fare of Chicken - chicken breast, chicken wings, ground chicken - ugh. And it pairs really nicely with apples and cranberries, so I used this as an inspiration for my salad. It came out amazing and neither of us left food on our plates! And our daughter loved this salad - even the cranberries. Here's the ingredient list - Enjoy!

Pork Chop Salad
-4 thin sliced pork chops (seasoned to your taste)
-1 tablespoon of olive oil (Omit if using a grill)
-1 onion, sliced
-1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
-1/2 apple sliced (I prefer Gala)
-scallions, chopped
-dried cranberries, handful

***I cooked the pork chops in less than 1 tablespoon of olive oil and drained on paper towels. You can also grill if you like. Also I prefer my onions cooked, so I fried the onions in the remaining oil. Feel free to grill these also or leave raw - however, cooking them just a bit brings out the natural sweetness in onions and goes well with the chops! Wash & assemble the remaining ingredients and voila! Pork Chop Salad!
I used the raspberry vinaigrette on mine and it went so great! Although hubby does not like the raspberry pits - I barely notice them.

Try it and let me know what you think!

30 Nights of Salad - Day 8

Tonight's salad had no meat but was not lacking in protein. Thanks to beans (the same beans I used earlier here) and boiled eggs we had plenty of protein! This salad was savory and filling. I grated the boiled egg so that it would be more palatable to my husband who is not a huge fan of boiled egg - and this way the taste was there, but not so obvious. The Heart of Palm is so delicious and tender it adds such great flavor. And since I've opened these jars, you'll see Heart of Palm and Roasted Red Peppers popping up in more salads and maybe lunch too! Here's the recipe - Enjoy!:

Protein Rich Salad
-Mixed Greens
-Tomatoes, chopped
-Roasted Red Peppers, sliced
-Heart of Palm, chopped
-Beans (handful)
-1 boiled egg, grated
-Parmesan cheese, grated

***Mix it up and you're good to go! I used 2 tablespoons of French dressing with this salad and it paired nicely.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Powerhouse Lunch!

I put together a yummy and flavorful lunch that was packed with vitamins and nutrients! Brown rice with Pinto beans, Teriyaki tofu and Broccoli. It was really easy and very delicious and the only thing my daughter didn't like was......the beans! Did you think it was the tofu? No she loves tofu! And if you don't - you could. Below are my instructions for each part of the dish. Adding flavor to every layer helps the finished product to be incredibly dense and delicious. Start here:

Brown rice
1.5 cups brown rice
4 cups water
teaspoon of olive oil
1 packet of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
***cook for approx 1 hour on very low heat

Pinto Beans
1.5 cups Dry pinto beans
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 cups of water
***Rinse beans thoroughly. Soak beans overnight. Place them in the fridge or leave out on the counter. They should almost double in size. Add the beans and their water to a pot with another 3 or so cups of water. A Scallion and some salt. Also fresh thyme cooks well with any kind of bean - add a sprig to the pot.

1 pack of firm tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
3oz water
3oz Teriyaki sauce
Onions if you like
***Drain the tofu, and wrap in a paper towel to soak up excess water. Cut the Tofu block into thirds, then slice into small squares. Add the oil to a pan and let it get warm then add the tofu pieces and fry until crisp and brown on each side (onions too if you like). Add the teriyaki sauce & water to the pan and continue to cook on medium heat until the sauce reduces and leaves a thick glaze on the tofu - stirring constantly.

Broccoli - the easiest bit. Cook or steam until barely tender. Add a little salt if you like.

Add them all together and enjoy your hard work. Remember - beans are good for your heart. There's even a song. :)

Fresh Peaches

My supermarket recently received the most beautiful picture perfect peaches and I couldn't help but grab a couple just because they were there and looking gorgeous. So this morning I cut into one and oops! not ripe enough, but that's okay! I had a plan. I cooked them with a little drizzle of honey and a pat of butter (a thin slice of butter). The honey balanced out the tartness of the not so ripe peach. Then I baked some Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits and spooned the peaches over the top. It was simple, it was easy, it was yummy. I'd rather not have cereal everyday nor do I want pancakes/bacon/grits etc. very often. So it's important to me to mix it up a bit and try something different. Hope this inspires you too!

Monday, June 21, 2010

30 Nights of Salad - Day 7

Here we are at Day 7! A week of salads! We're really doing it - show no signs of slowing down! Day 6 was basic salad, but tonight it's on in the kitchen! We used the remainder of the baked Honey BBQ Salmon and put it to good use tonight. I'll let the picture speak for itself and of course the recipe is below:

Honey BBQ Salmon Salad
-Baked boneless skinless Salmon fillets in Honey and BBQ sauce (please see here for recipe)
-1 Mango, skinned & chopped
-1 small avocado, chopped
-1 Roasted Red Pepper, thinly sliced
-Mixed Greens

***Toss together! I used the remaining sauce for a dressing, about 3 teaspoons for myself.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lunchtime Quesadillas

A great lunchtime treat (or anytime really) is a warm yummy quesadilla! So I took a little Monterey, some leftover chicken breast, sliced tomato and some ground FlaxSeed and made a delicious, and easy lunch for us. This is a great way to sneak something healthy into a treat. My 2 year didn't even notice as she gobbled down all that good-for-you flaxseed with fiber and Omega-3s - great things to have in your daily diet. Check it out, it's so easy you can do it too!

2 Tortilla wraps (I used 8" diameter wraps)
1oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
sliced Roma Tomato
Sliced chicken breast
1 teaspoon (or more) of flaxseed (sprinkled throughout the quesadilla)

***Put 1 tortilla wrap down and spread the cheese, then add the tomatoes and sliced chicken, spacing them out so that you can get some in each bite. Sprinkle the ground flaxseed onto your "pizza" and then place the other tortilla wrap on top.
Place into a warm pan over low heat (with or without oil/butter) and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes until brown and using a spatula, flip onto the other side. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Place warm quesadilla onto cutting board and cut into eighths! ENJOY!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day Picnic

For Father's Day, I wanted to show my husband how much he was appreciated, so I put together a little picnic for us and took the gang to the Park. It was a gorgeous day today, a little hot but lovely nonetheless. We took our daughter out on her bike and rolled down the hill to Riverbank State Park. We were lucky to find a spot in the shade considering how crowded it was, but it all worked out! I made something he loves, Fried chicken wings with mango washed down with raspberry lemonade iced tea and for dessert! Ah dessert! We had chocolate pudding from a wonderful bakery called Sugar Sweet Sunshine - this pudding is amazing ohmygoodness out of this world and their Banana pudding is better than that! It's a treat and an indulgence we try not to overdo. But it was necessary for today, a small token of thanks to my man, an amazing husband and truly a wonderful father! The recipes are below! Enjoy!

Yummy fried chicken with mango
-15 Chicken wings
-Seasoned salt
-Bells seasoning
-Garlic Powder
-Onion Powder
-Badia complete seasoning
-some olive oil

***I fried these in canola oil very slowly. Low medium heat for about 10-15 minutes on each side.
***I use the amount of seasoning that I'm comfortable with. Try it your way and feel free to add or omit any ingredient!
***MANGOES!!!! Cut up some Mango slices and out them in a tupperware on top of the chicken so that the juices drip onto the chicken and flavor them that way! YUM!

30 Nights of Salad - Day 5

And so we soldier on. Day 5 of our Salad challenge had me trying something new - Salmon! I roasted it in the oven with a little BBQ sauce & Honey and I cooked up some frozen corn and Italian green beans and put that over a salad. Fantastic! The further this goes, the more fun I find myself having and it's a great way to get creative in the kitchen!
Here's the recipe, try it - you might like it!

Frozen skinless Salmon fillets (I used 4, 2 for tonight & 2 for tomorrow)
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 cup water
***Combine above ingredients in a baking pan. Cover with foil and bake at 300 or 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Flip and cover for another 20. Take foil off and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes or until sauce and/or fish is the desire color & texture you want.

2 cups Frozen Corn Kernels
2 cups Frozen Italian green beans
Garlic powder (to taste)
salt, pepper, sugar (to taste)
1 tablespoon Butter
1 cup water
***Combine above ingredients in saucepan and cover and cook over low to medium heat. Once the water has evaporated (approx 15-20 minutes) remove the cover and continue to cook stirring frequently.

Green Leaf lettuce
Red & orange bell pepper (I used half of each)

I layered this salad, first was the lettuce, & bell pepper combo - then I added the corn & beans - lastly the fish (and sauce if desired - acts as a dressing so there's no need to add more)

Salad does not have to be boring, get creative with it. Have fun!

I really do love to eat

It's a known fact. I'm Shaneeka, I like to eat. So much so that I felt compelled to start the "30 Nights of Salad" challenge for myself and my husband. Interestingly enough though, I do not love sweets, I try to avoid a lot of sugar/salt and I really like to eat healthy and vegetarian. However it hasn't made much of an impact on my weight which just proves that portion control and movement are key to a healthy lifestyle. Do I sound like a commercial for Jillian Michael's right now? I apologize. But some things are universally true. In that aspect, I will try pretty much anything at least once (I'm talking food here people!) and that's why I tried Greek Yogurt for the first time ever based off of a recommendation from Snack Girl. For some reason, I was in no hurry to try Greek yogurt, I honestly felt like it was the new fad, like the re-birth of Yoga, or blogging. Yeah. Anyhow, the review was for FAGE (pronounced Fa-yeh!) yogurt and she and other reviewers convinced me enough that on my next trip to Fairway I grabbed ONE. Just one. I was skeptical. I grabbed the Fage plain 0% and took it home. .....WOW!!!!!!!!! Now I will just say that I realize that Greek Yogurt is not for everyone. The taste, the texture is quite different from what we're used too, but it's so worth the "risk" to try it just once. It's amazingly good for you and taste like ice cream, especially when you add a little honey or fruit to it. I am hooked. I've pretty much kicked ice cream to the curb, this stuff's waaaaay better.

There's plenty of options from whole milk, 2% and 0%. With fruit and without. Yummy yummy stuff. The best part is, I can find it at my local supermarket! Try it and let me know what you think.

Friday, June 18, 2010

30 Nights of Salad - Day 4

So I learned a very important lesson last night - if I intend to keep up with my goal, I am going to have to have some things prepped in advance. We went to a charity concert last night for Project People Foundation and it was amazing. There were spoken word artist, a Jazz group that did a cover of John Coltrane's "Afro Blue", and an amazing soul singer named Somi. She was amazing and I can't wait to buy her CD. So when we got home, I was exhausted and honestly not that hungry. So I cheated and had an ENSURE for dinner. Yeah - I know but at least it wasn't a cheeseburger! So tonight, I'm back with it and cooked up something fantastic! We still had chicken breast that was seasoned, so I rolled it in Panko Flakes and fried it in corn oil. Are you screaming YIKES right now because it's fried - I understand. But our goals aren't just to lose weight, but also to be healthier and a little fried food never hurt anybody! Besides the chicken it was a basic salad, but we're both full & happy! Check out the picture and here's the recipe:

-Greenleaf lettuce
-Roma Tomatoes, chopped
-Scallions, chopped
-Chicken breast fried in Panko Flakes*

-I added a bit of creamy italian dressing to mine along with some crispy onions and got down! Fantastic!

*Panko Flakes are a Japanese style of bread crumbs, if you can't find these, just use plain breadcrumbs.

Enjoy and please feel free to post suggestions!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

30 Nights of Salad

In an effort to eat healthier and mix up our routine - Spaghetti night was waaaay too familiar around here! - and also drop a few pounds hopefully, we've challenged ourselves to 30 nights of Salad. Salad every night for dinner - for 30 days. Sounds crazy? It is. Is it do-able? I think so. We've gotten the first two nights off without a hitch and we're having fun so far. For our daughter, I just cook a pot of rice (to which I add the meat from the salad and lettuce & tomatoes) or let her eat leftover lunch. The first night, I was NOT in the mood to cook or chop or anything, but we forged ahead and had a basic chicken salad which included:

Basic Chicken Salad
-Romaine, chopped
-Tomatoes, thinly sliced
-Avocado, sliced
-cooked chicken breast, chopped
-cooked onions

**I added cranberries and crispy onions to mine
**I used Raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Yummy and a really great first try!

So, the next night - Last night - we really got down and created this amazing Chicken & Corn Salad (see picture above! Yum!)

Chicken & Corn Salad
-Green leaf lettuce, chopped
-Scallions, chopped
-Red & Orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
-Chicken breast cooked in 1 tablespoon of olive oil - with chopped onions
-Onions, see above
-Avocado, chopped
-Cooked corn*

*I used one can of corn kernels, cooked it in the same pan that had the chicken and added pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of sugar. FANTASTIC!!!!

I didn't use any dressing on mine, but Rob used some of that Raspberry and he said the dressing didn't quite go, but all was delish nonetheless. I implore you - make this Salad! You will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Inspired by Giada

There's a constant in our lives around here and that's me watching Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network (or recently on the new Cooking Channel) and jumping up immediately after or even during the show to go make something I just saw her create. Well today I watched while she cooked up yummy food for her daughter's first birthday party and of course, got creative in my kitchen while I cooked up some yummy lunch for my daughter. She made mini bowties with peas and carrots. She used Mascarpone cheese and Cream cheese while I used Cheddar, Monteray Jack, American and some frozen pureed winter squash. I only used a little butter and 1% milk, I wanted to keep it light. I tell you, it was a hit! Well...mostly, my daughter picked the peas out of hers! Ah well, next time I'll try broccoli. Here's my recipe below:

6oz (or half box) of Mini Bowtie pasta (or sub in whatever's in your cupboard)
1 cup green peas (I used frozen)
pat of butter
4oz Monteray Jack cheese - shredded
2oz mild Cheddar cheese - shredded
2 slices American cheese
2oz frozen pureed winter squash (chopped or melted)
splash of 1% milk

*Boil water, add pasta and green peas. Follow directions on box for cooking time - usually 9-10 minutes. Drain cooked pasta leaving about a tablespoon of pasta water behind in pan. Put Pasta and peas back into pot and turn heat to low. Add Shredded cheeses, slices of American and butter into pot. Stir until melted. Add splash of milk (eyeball it, you're just using milk as a thinner if needed) and frozen winter squash and stir. Once everything is melted, turn off fire and scoop into bowls and EAT! Enjoy!

P.S. I added a bit of tuna into my bowl for a texture and taste distinction.