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Shrimp Scampi Made with Coconut Oil

19 Jun

While at Whole Foods Sunday, I noticed that the the fresh (and deveined) shrimp were on sale so I decided to pick up a pound.

Since I don’t cook much shrimp, the only recipe I know how to make with them is Shrimp Scampi. I picked up the rest of the items I knew I would need: gluten-free angel hair pasta, fresh parsley, a lemon, and mushrooms. I knew that we had butter, Grey Poupon, grape tomatoes and romano cheese at home.

However, on my way home I called Donnie to tell him about my great buy and the first thing out of his mouth was, “I don’t want all of that butter.”

After wrecking our brains for a little while, I remembered the Cocconut Oil I had bought at Whole Foods, also on sale.

I had purchased the coconut oil because a co-worker had suggested I put some in my hair for some good conditioning. I wondered if we could just use the coconut oil instead of the butter. After some good ol’ Googling, I figured it was worth a shot.

Here were my ingredients:

2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon Grey Poupon

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lemon, cut in half

1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

handful of grape tomatoes, slice in half

handful of white mushrooms, sliced

angel hair pasta

grated romano cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1. Throw on your cutest apron. It makes cooking so much fun!

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the coconut oil in the pan. Add the garlic, Grey Poupon, and squeeze half of your lemon. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the shrimp with the cayenne pepper and parsley. Cook, tossing occasionally, until shrimp are opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms mid-way through those 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes when shrimp are almost opaque. Season with more lemon juice, salt and black pepper.

4. Serve over angel-hair pasta. In our case, it was gluten-free. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Our shrimp scampi with coconut oil instead of butter turned out to be amazing:

Yes, butter would’ve tasted the best. But while coconut oil is high in saturated fats, it’s cholesterol-free and better for you than butter. And we ended up using much less coconut oil then the amount of butter we typically use for  scampi.

Afterwards, I took a tablespoon of coconut oil into the shower with me and conditioned my hair with it for about five minutes. I made sure to shampoo after I conditioned, so my hair wouldn’t be left greasy. My hair felt so soft.

Who knew I’d get so much use out of my coconut oil right off the bat?

How do you use your coconut oil?

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Meatless Tuesday Dinner?

23 May

Since weekends tend to be a free for all for us when it comes to food, we’ve been doing Meatless Monday dinners. It’s nice because it resets our palette for the coming week.

However, this Monday was a BBQ at my best friend’s parents’ house, so we had to put it off until Tuesday.

Dinner was super easy. We headed to Publix and wandered aimlessly picking up random items.

Here’s what we bought at the store:

  • Snap peas
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Sliced mushrooms

Here’s what we had at home:

  • Quinoa
  • Lentil beans
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary

Donnie went to cooking the quinoa (per instructions on the package) and the mushrooms (sauteed with just a bit of olive oil) and the snap peas (same) while I prepped the tomatoes and walked around complaining how hungry I was. 🙂

For the tomatoes, I sliced them up, laid them on some parchment paper and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary. I drizzled on some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, closed up the parchment paper, and baked them for 13 minutes on 375 degrees. They turned out perfect, and complimented the rest of the meal.

Sometimes when you head to the store with no idea of what you’ll make for diner, it comes out perfect. Props to Donnie for wanting to stick to the plan. I was tempted to buy a rotisserie chicken and call it a day. Instead, I got to eat this delish meal:

Quick and easy

Have you gone meatless, even if for just one day? 

My Food Obsession: Strawberries

6 Mar

Strawberries… Mmmmmmm…

I’m a big fan of strawberries and purchase these year round, but I certainly tend to increase my intake when they are in peak season. With my local grocery store having strawberries on sale, I’ve been buying strawberries in bulk.  This means I have to find ways to consume them before they go bad.

Lucky for me, only a few strawberries have been wasted this season. Here are my favorite ways to consume them:

Smoothie

Being a runner in the almost-always hot and humid Orlando, there’s nothing more that I enjoy post-run than a cold, delicious smoothie… and a cold shower. In fact, I’m in enjoying one right now! A smoothie that is (I’ve already taken my post-run shower).

Here’s what’s in today’s smoothie:

  • fresh strawberries
  • half a banana
  • blueberries
  • vanilla yogurt
  • honey
  • vanilla soy milk
  • oatmeal

I have heard that adding spinach or kale to smoothies are great added sources of calcium and vitamin C, and I’m toying with the idea. I’ve been told you can’t taste this odd addition, especially in any smoothie that includes bananas. However,  I think I’m having the hardest time saying goodbye to my pretty pink smoothie and welcoming a green smoothie.

Salad

One of my favorite salads is super easy to make:

  • spinach or spring mix salad
  • goat cheese
  • sliced fresh strawberries
  • sliced almonds
  • grilled chicken breast (or if you’re in a hurry, buy a rotisserie chicken from the store and add pieces of chicken to your salad)
  • raspberry vinaigrette

For Donnie’s salad he skipped the cheese so I added garbanzo beans instead.

Fruit Salad

Sunday we made our all-time favorite fruit salad, including mango, strawberries, kiwi and blueberries. Mmm…

Yogurt Parfait

Donkey: Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious! — Shrek

Just layer granola, yogurt, strawberries (and other berries) and go! Best paired with half of a Whole Foods bran muffin. 🙂

Pancakes

Topping my pancakes with whipped cream and fresh strawberries might be one of my favorite ways to consume strawberries, but definitely the least enjoyed. This is a rare, but delicious treat for me. Hmmm… my birthday is coming up…

Party Snack

I recently went to a bridal shower where one of the hostesses served finger sandwiches made with Nutella and strawberry slices. For a week after I was eating wheat bagels with Nutella and strawberries for breakfast. Raise your pinky while eating and I promise you’ll feel like such a lady while eating them.

And of course, you can always just wash a strawberry and pop it in your mouth. Mmmm…

How do you eat your strawberries?

Applewood Chicken Sausage with Spicy Goat Cheese Grits

17 Nov

Last night I had some applewood chicken sausage in the refrigerator that needed to be used up. After giving it some thought on what side dish to make, I decided I would serve the sausages with grits and asparagus.

I did some research on Allrecipes.com for recipes with grits, and found this basic recipe for garlic grits. This was more for a baked grits dish, but I figured I could work from it. I remembered that I had some goat cheese I wanted to use up at home so I decided I would use this type of cheese. Also, I left out the milk and egg (since I wasn’t baking it) and added some cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

When I went to the Publix on Shine, they had no asparagus, so I went without because I was in a hurry to meet an old friend. But I did snatch up some diced peppers (green, yellow and red) to toss in with the sausage.

Here’s how I ultimately made dinner:

Ingredients for Grits:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1/4 cup butter (I used Brummel & Brown vegetable oil spread)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese (or to taste)
  • 2 slices of crispy bacon

Directions for Grits:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan with garlic and salt. Stir in grits, reduce heat to low, and cook until thick, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and butter until melted.
  3. Crumble bacon on grits and serve.

As for the applewood chicken sausage, I heated them up on a skillet with the diced peppers. I added garlic powder as seasoning.

This took me less than 20 minutes to prepare and was absolutely delish! Next time I will definitely add some baked asparagus to round out the dish.

I started the grits first then heated up the sausage with the peppers while the grits thickened

Quick, yummy and easy. Just like I like my dinners!

Donnie ate his without the goat cheese because he’s cutting down on the dairy intake. He loved his grits and tried mine and liked them with the goat cheese as well! I’ll definitely be making this dish again soon!

Peaches in My Salad??

31 Oct

Sliced peaches ready for my salad

In my quest to try to eat healthier, I’ve been looking for new recipes to try. I recently came across a recipe in a magazine that caught my eye and I tore it out in case I got brave enough to try it. I must apologize because I don’t remember which magazine I tore this recipe out of, but I’m pretty sure it was one of the women’s healthy living magazines. (Let this be a lesson to all magazines – Listing your title or website at the top or bottom of every editorial page is important for this very reason: reckless people just like me!)

I slightly altered the recipe for simplicity. It was absolutely delicious and I already can’t wait for lunch tomorrow to have more.

Here’s what you’ll need for the salad:

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 peaches, cut into wedges

1 bag spring salad mix

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted (I bought a bag of roasted sliced almonds)

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

And here’s what you’ll need for the dressing:

1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt (I just bought a single serving of Publix brand yogurt)

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

salt and black pepper

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon each honey and vinegar with a fork; add peaches and stir to coat.

Coating peaches in honey and vinegar

2. In a large nonstick pan, sear peaches over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side or until caramelized. Remove from heat and let cool.

Seared peaches

3. While waiting for peaches to cool, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, and remaining honey and vinegar in a medium bowl. Drizzle in oil, whisking constantly; season with salt and pepper.

The dressing

4. Divide spring salad mix among four plates. Top with goat cheese, sliced almonds, balsamic peaches and a drizzle of the dressing.

I paired my salad with some Publix rotisserie chicken (my favorite flavor: mojo). My dinner was absolutely delicious. The sweetness of the peaches combined with the balsamic and honey mixture was a pleasant surprise and the goat cheese wasn’t overpowering. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this salad dressing, but I think I’ll be making it on a regular basis!

Rotisserie chicken with yummy salad

When I texted my sister about my delicious salad, she responded with the following text: “Eww. I don’t like fruit in my salad.” I don’t blame her… I can’t stand mandarins in any salad, but this is worth trying.

Do you like any fruit in your salads? Which ones?

My Pumpkin Obsession: Pancakes

23 Oct

To continue feeding my pumpkin obsession, yesterday morning I made pumpkin pancakes.

On Allrecipes.com I found several pumpkin pancake recipes that looked both tasty and easy to make. Usually, I tend to choose the recipe with the least amount of ingredients needed, but because I had a lot of the ingredients on-hand from my recent pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I chose this one.

I mixed my ingredients in two separate bowls as instructed then combined into one bowl to get my batter.

Pumpkin pancake batter

Then I used a 1/4 cup measuring spoon to portion my pancakes on a lightly greased pan. After a little trial and error, I realized I needed to flatten them a little so that my pancake wasn’t too thick and could cook all the way through.

Mmmmmm...

My house smelled delicious and the actual pancakes tasted like fall. I loved every bite.

Breakfast is served. Nom nom.

The batter made enough pancakes for 4 to 6 people. Since it was just me and Donnie, I stored the extra batter in the frig and made pancakes this AM too.

My love for pumpkin is normal, right? I mean, I don’t need to start going to meetings or anything… not yet at least.

My Pumpkin Obsession: Cookies

21 Oct

I have what I consider to be a very healthy obsession with pumpkin. In the past, this was limited to pumpkin pie, pumpkin spiced lattes from Starbucks and pumpkin ale. But then I tried a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie at my friend Kate and Ryan’s housewarming party and I knew I was in trouble. Kate quickly supplied my habit by sharing the recipe with me. Too my delight, it’s super easy!

It turns out the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe is an allrecipes.com one. You can click here for ingredients and step-by-step instructions on how to make these cookies. The recipe calls for walnuts, but since I don’t want to take the chance with people’s nut allergies, I’ve been leaving them out. I also added a little pumpkin pie spice for extra flavor.

I’ve made these cookies twice so far and the masses love them. They are cake-like and super soft. Did I mention that these are easy to make? Aside from being pumpkin and tasting delish, the dummy-proof instructions are quite the selling point.

Baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. My house smelled so good and fall-like.

I made these cookies Wednesday night for a little department shindig we have monthly. Here are the cookies sitting right next to my next pumpkin obsession: Publix Pumpkin Pie ice cream. It has pie crust in it. PIE CRUST! This is one of their limited-edition ice creams, so I strongly suggest you go to the store right now and buy some. (I’m not kidding. Go. The blog will still be here later.)

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies + pumpkin pie ice cream = best ice cream sandwich ever

For the shindig my friend made this pumpkin roll with cream cheese that was amazing. She shared the recipe and I might try it for the holidays. If it passes my dummy test (me making it successfully) then I’ll post pics.

Next up this weekend: pumpkin pancakes.

What’s your favorite pumpkin-flavored recipe?