Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Something BIG is Coming!!!

Ok, first off, let's catch up a bit. Last friday I had a great time debuting as a Test Judge for the NPC. While I previously had a great deal of respect for the work judges do, after experiencing a show from their side of the table, all I can say is, "WOW, that's a lot of work!!". There were about 200 athletes, and the NPC here in AZ moves QUICK!! Whew! It was hard to keep up! It was a fantastic experience, and I'm excited to do it again!

Following that fun, the hubby and I rented trikes from Scottsdale Harley and hit the road with friends. We had a great time! I will admit, I didn't think much of trikes (training wheels? really??) but it was amazing! We'd actually given up motorcycle riding because of safety issues - concern about the other drivers on the road. We'd had a couple close calls, and just didn't feel right, so we sold the bike and let it go. :-(   But... the trike has a larger 'footprint' on the road, cars are more aware of you, and the ride is super comfy!! We had a blast!! I have a feeling there will be more trike riding in our future ;-)

Back home, it's been busy, still trying to get the next newsletter put together, working, studying (did 7 chapters yesterday - can you say brain-mush???), everyday-life-doing... and early Friday morning we're heading out with friends, back to Colorado for a few days of R&R. Two weekends "off" in a row??? WHAT??? I know!! I'm looking forward to relaxing in the hot springs with a glass of wine, great company, snow surrounding us... ahhhhh!!!

Then, the craziness begins... we drive home early Monday, hubby goes straight to the airport (literally) to catch a flight to CA for a trade show, I go home, unpack, do laundry, catch up with Bethany and Sadie, then repack and hit the airport early Tuesday morning. Bill returns home Wednesday, I fly back on Thursday (which fyi, is his birthday, and my sister's birthday!).

So... where am I going??????

Oh my gosh, you guys!!!! It's HUGE!!! I've been given an amazing opportunity and cannot wait to share it with you! But I have to, lol. Keep watch here on the blog and facebook & instagram & twitter... next week is going to be AMAZING!!!! It's incredible, not just for me personally (OMG, OMG!!), but for Recipe For Fitness, too! Seriously, I cannot wait!!! Wooooohooooo!!!!!

Starting Wednesday, you'll be seeing pictures of what I'm up to on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and here... Stay tuned!!!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Irish Edition ;-)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For years, I believed I was Irish (well, part) through my maternal grandfather's side. Why did I believe this? Because his wife, my grandmother, told me so. Often. And with great pride. Turns out... she lied.

See, a few years ago (oh my gosh, more like over a decade! Lordy, I'm old!), my cousin went on this amazing journey through Europe. One of her goals was to visit our "family's" castle and tell us all about it. After much hunting, researching, she called home to Grandma quite confused.

"Uhh, Gramma, I found the castle - and it's amazing - but, it's not in Ireland. It's in Scotland."

"Yes," my grandmother told her.

"Okaaaaay, so we're not Irish? We're Scotish?" my cousin asked.

"Yes," grandmother replied.

"Uh, Gramma, then why have you always told us we're Irish????"

"Oh, I just thought it sounded better."

This of course, caused quite the uproar among us "younger" folks. Lol. So, of course, I got right online and looked up as much as I could. Now - my husband's family can be traced all the way back to the various Dukes of Buckingham (you know, the ones who always tried to overthrow the throne and ended up losing their heads? Yeah, those were Stafford's). I loved pointing out to him that while his castle was in ruins, mine was still standing, and in fact a tourist attraction. Once all this Irish/Scottish stuff came out, he just had to needle me.

Well, to prove a point, I went to our Castle's website again and pointed out - "Still standing" in my smug manner.

He looked, and looked, then started laughing. I'm talking serious bend over, eyes leaking, losing breath laughing.

"What?" I asked. "What's so darn funny?"

"Look at the address," he said.

Ah crap. Seriously???? Yes, folks, my clan's castle is sitting on Stafford Street. Turns out that the Stafford's had actually occupied our castle for quite some time before we finally got it back.

He still gets a kick out of that.

So what's that got to do with today's post? And where's the Tasty Tuesday part? Right here... While yes, evidently I'm Scottish (hey hubby -"Póg mo thón!") - there's a portion of our family who fled to Ireland at one point. So I call myself Scottish of Irish Extraction. Lol. Therefore, I claim St. Paddy's day as my very own. Go ahead, laugh all you want, but we're feasting tonight! ;-)

I'm about to get out the crockpot for the Corned Beef & Cabbage, then prep the veggies for the Colcannon (which I'm playing with the recipe a bit - you know me!), and gathering up what I need to make the Irish Blue Cheese Tomato Soup. I'm pretty darn excited! ;-)

I've also got Guinness and Pear Ale, so I can make Dirty Pear's. ;-) Yummy!! It's super easy to make - it's just half guinness and half hard pear ale/cider. And 100% delicious!!

My house is going to smell like cabbage, but that's what candles are for, right?

All the recipes I'm using are linked, so just click on the names. This is going to be fun!

Sláinte my good friends!!! 



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Viva Vegan Vegas!!



At the Wynn Resort in Vegas, Celebrity chef Tal Ronnen has created a great selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes. Vegan in Vegas? Yep!! In fact, he's got a better vegan menu there, than I see in most restaurants here! For green folks, it's often difficult to get a truly luxurious dining experience - vegan and vegetarian dishes are often limited to bland veggies, pasta, and regular entree's just with the meat left out. Not very exciting. But Chef Ronnen has made it his mission to introduce a new standard to vegan dining - and it's incredible!! Gourmet Vegan.

While I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, I've worked with several clients who are, and am always on the lookout for healthy, high-protein recipes with those folks in mind. There are some great ones out there, but Chef Ronnen's are the cashew-cream of the crop! This last week I've been poring over his menu at the Wynn, and found so much inspiration! Which one would I try to make at home first???

Two jumped out at me - Wild Mushroom Risotto and Sauteed Gardein Chick'n. Now, I'm not much of a risotto person, so I knew I didn't want to do rice, but... what if I put the mushrooms on the Chick'n? Could I make the whole thing gluten free? Could I get that Vegas-gourmet flavor at home? And, here's the kicker... could I get it on the table in 15 minutes? Could I??

Yes. Yes, I could. And I did. Boom! So, while I can't get to Vegas just now to sample Chef Ronnen's seriously appealing dishes, I can get a taste of his Vegas Vegan Gourmet right here in my own kitchen. And it's pretty darn amazing.

Vegan Mushroom Chick'n with Candied Carrots

By
"Meaty but meatless, this vegan dish will satisfy even the most staunch carnivores!"

Serves 2
Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Ingredients - if you want the Tempeh version of this recipe, go HERE

  • 2 Gardein Chick'n Scallopini filets
  • 1/2 cup Pacific Vegan Mushroom Gravy
  • 1 cup sliced brown mushrooms (baby bella's)
  • 2 Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper, ground
  • 1/4 tsp sea-salt
  • 6 large baby carrots
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • **Optional** - fresh baby greens (about 2 cups) - spinach, kale, etc.

Directions (see photos below)

  1. Slice mushrooms, set aside.
  2. Mince garlic.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add garlic, and sautee until fragrant.
  5. Add mushrooms, cooking (stirring often), until cooked through.
  6. Remove to bowl, and set aside.
  7. Place carrots, thyme sprig, maple syrup and sprinkle of cayenne pepper in a ziploc steamer bag (or however you prefer to steam). Cook in microwave on high for 3 minutes. Allow to rest 1 minute, then plate.
  8. While carrots are steaming, place scallopini in skillet and increase heat to high. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. If you need more oil, add another tsp to the skillet prior to adding the Chick'n.
  9. Heat 1/2 cup mushroom gravy, about 1 minute.
  10. OPTIONAL: Lightly wilt fresh greens (spinach, kale, etc) in pan, then place on plate.
  11. To plate: Top greens (if using) with a Scallopini. Pour 1/4 cup gravy over each scallopini, and divide mushrooms between the two plates. Add a sprig of fresh thyme, if you like, for presentation.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 213 | Total Protein: 16 g | Total Carbohydrate: 27 g | Total Fat: 6 g | Total Fiber: 4 g | Total Sodium: 794 mg 

in this pic you can see a package of Tempeh, simply replace the tempeh with Gardein's Chick'n Scallopini

Use any mushrooms you like! I did Shiitake and baby bella's

Saute garlic in olive oil, then add your mushrooms

Steam your carrots however you like - I pick easy, using my Ziploc Steamer Bags

As the Scallopini finishes up, toss in some greens to wilt (spinach, kale, etc)

Place the Scallopini over the wilted greens, add gravy, top with mushrooms, and plate the carrots! NOM time!!

Dayum tasty!!!




Monday, March 9, 2015

New, News, and Pooped by Noon...

Hope ya'll had an amazing weekend!! Ours was fun... a little downtime, a little crazy... just like usual ;-) We've got a boatload of traveling in the next 60 days, so we're trying to really get a handle on home-chores/honey-do items before we head out of town again.

First up was my office / guest room. It is also now Sewing Central, lol! It's been years (YEARS) since I've sewn anything. Coming back to it, feels a little like coming home. I truly enjoy sewing - the process, the creativity, pretty much everything (well, not zippers - never zippers). After this weekend, I've got an IKEA wardrobe built and installed and filled with supplies, an IKEA extending table built and installed and now housing my machines, 1 rolling computer cart (also IKEA) built and loaded up with the printer and supplies then pushed under the table, and 2 (IKEA) storage stands built and placed under the table. All my fabric is washed, ironed and hung in the wardrobe, and I am ready to roll! And, I did 99% of the work all by myself. Yes, I am proud of that, lol. If you've ever put together anything from IKEA, you'll understand. And I only had 4 blisters on the palm of my had when I was done! ;-)
Yep, window coverings are at the top of the to-do list! LOL!

Over the bed, we're doing this project,
with classic pinup girls in each of the glass panes


So why am I not sewing right now? More to do first...

Study time is blocked daily and going well - I even found some amazing resources at Barnes and Noble this weekend. I'm a visual learner. I do ok with textbooks, but if you can "show" me, I'll nail it and never forget it. My textbook is a bit light on solid visuals. I found several medical reference books that are AWESOME!!! and super helpful. Already, I've gone back over sections I just wasn't firm on and now feel like I "get it". Yay!!

Additionally, recipe development... this is a usual for me, several days a week. However... I was contacted last week by Vegas.com to participate in a Wynn Vegas recipe challenge! Woooohooo!!!! Celebrity Vegan Chef, Tal Ronnen has an incredible selection of tasty dishes. My job is to select one, play with it, tweak it, give it my own spin, then share it - allowing folks at home to get a taste of gourmet vegan-vegas. HOW FUN IS THAT???

Chef Ronnen has been on my radar for awhile, because of his truly amazing talent and ability to create dishes that anyone (yes, carnivore, even YOU) can enjoy. Playing with his dishes is an honor and a joy. If you're looking for a GREAT gourmet vegan cookbook, I encourage you to check his out. Anyway, so I spent the weekend building  the recipe in my head, and today I'll finish it up then build it. Wish me luck!!

This week has crazy written all over it, lol. I've got the Wynn recipe, my own recipe development, my studies, (laundry, housework), clients, sewing projects, hubby has a trade show out of state, while he's gone I get a Mommy-Daughter day with my Mom (woot!!), then the day after he returns we'll head out of state to visit with Shi and Jared for the weekend, then next week it starts all over again.

Oh, and this week my fabric from England should arrive!!! I can't wait!!! If you missed it on facebook, this is the fabric, and it is ONLY available in the UK. After much back and forth, (and a whopping 27 yard order) the company agreed to ship to me here in AZ. I'm so excited!! It's so sweet & sassy!! Plans as of now are to do my kitchen roman shades with it, then an apron/oven mit/hot pad set, and I'll go from there. Shi is trying to claim 2 yards of it for herself, but we'll see ;-)

Back to recipes... other than my Wynn challenge, I'm also working on another vegan dish - I'm really digging Tempeh! Then I've still got to nail down that drunken greek chicken recipe. I think it only needs a tweak or two. I've also got a paella working in my head. And, the amazing Coach Kayla got me inspired on a grilled tomato recipe that I'm thinking about ;-)

So... now, my friends... I'm off to study. What's on YOUR to-do list this week??

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Jambalaya!

Maybe it's the season - nearly spring, mardi-gras - maybe it's just random, but I've been craving some good, homemade, cajun yumminess. After spending hours searching for recipes, and comparing them, I came up with a basic skeleton of a recipe, then had a whole lotta fun fleshing it out! The result is this super tasty Jambalaya that's going to make your house smell like glory, fill your belly with cajun goodness, and help you burn more fat. Ha! Yep! The capsaicin in this recipe does indeed help you burn more fat (mighty metabolic monster!!)!

Now, don't let the list of ingredients scare you off. You can prep this recipe on your one-day food prep, then just set all those ingredient baggies in a larger ziploc or a bowl/tray. When you're ready to whip this up, pull out those ingredients and you're on your way in moments! The jambalaya takes about 15 minutes hands-on, then simmers for 1-2 hours (your choice - more simmer = more flavor). Then you add the shellfish and cook another 15-20 minutes, and it's ready! It's really not complicated, I promise!

Jambalaya

By
"Craving comfort food, but don't want to sabotage your goals? This amazing jambalaya will satisfy your tastebuds, fill your belly, and help you burn more fat!"

Serves 8
Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken thighs, diced
  • 3 sausage links, sliced (I used Aidell's Andouille sausage)
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined (you can remove the tails if you want)
  • 2 lobster tails, or 1/4 to 1/2 lb raw crawfish (alternatively, you can eliminate the shellfish altogether, just increase the chicken)
  • 1 (14oz) can crushed tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 (14oz) can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups chicken bone broth*
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice (uncooked)
  • 3 bell peppers, any color (I used 1 each red, yellow and orange)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp dried minced onion**
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumen
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf

 

Directions

  1. In dutch oven over medium high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. When sizzling, add garlic and peppers, stirring often until just beginning to soften (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add chopped/diced chicken and sliced sausage and cook until chicken is mostly not pink.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasonings, broth and rice, stirring well.
  4. Reduce heat to lowest simmer and cover, leaving a small gap in the lid for steam to escape.
  5. Cook, stirring periodically, about 60 minutes. You can cook longer - the longer it cooks, the more flavor there is, just keep that heat low, and stir occasionally.
  6. Add red beans and stir, then lay shrimp and lobster (or crawfish) on top, recover and increase heat to medium. Cook until seafood is cooked through (about 15 minutes).
  7. Discard bay leaf.
  8. Serve, topping with chopped green onion.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 347 | Total Protein: 32 g | Total Carbohydrate: 38 g | Total Fat: 6 g | Total Fiber: 6 g | Total Sodium: 900 mg 
NOTES:
*You can substitute low-sodium chicken broth for bone broth if you can't find it. I recommend Pacific Foods or Imagine brands.
** You can substitute a raw onion, diced, for the dried onion. My husband doesn't like the texture of the fresh, but can handle the dehydrated.
***CROCKPOT: You can make this in the crockpot! Add everything to the pot (except red beans, shrimp and lobster), and cook on low 4-6 hours. About 20 minutes before serving, add remaining ingredients, cover and continue cooking until shrimp is no longer translucent.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday's Recipe Mania!

I love recipe days! Today I tried out 3 recipes I found on Pinterest... I even managed to follow directions! I didn't make a single tweak. Not a one. And... on two of the recipes, I should have ;-)
  

 

First up was the main dish... Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk.


It was VERY good. When you try it, don't leave out the cinnamon stick because you think it's weird... lol! Trust me, it gives the chicken a very subtle, extra yum. Also, per another blogger's directions, I cooked it for the first 30 minutes without a lid, then the next 30 with it. Dayum good!!

I did two sides, one starch, one veggie... Here's the potato stacks.


Results... Meh. I got these puppies in the oven during my chicken's last 30 minutes (they cook at the same temp)... they were ok. Actually, they were just ok. Nothing special. No spike of "oh wow!". Not even a little bump of "oh wow". Meh.

Second side, these green beans.

By all accounts, these should have been fabulous. They weren't. It was too much goin' on. Next time, I'd do either the sauce or the toppings - and I wouldn't waste my time doing the boil/blanch thing. Just toss those puppies in a steamer bag and done. Yeesh. But, I can decisively say now that there's NO taste difference between doing it the super-time-consuming way and my easy steamer bag way. Hence, you can guess which method I'll use in the future. ;-) But back to the recipe... the toppings got lost in the strong flavor of the sauce. Again - it'd be one or the other.

So, all things considered... decent dinner. The chicken's a keeper, the potatoes need a flavor tweak, and the green beans - well, I've got better recipes. What'd YOU have for dinner?