Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gobble Gobble, It's a Wrap!

Well I am trying to be diligent in keeping up with my blog; I seriously need something to occupy my brain from thinking about the crap that has been going on over the past several months: the lies, the games & the deceit.  Cooking has always been such a therapeutic measure for me so being able to use my knowledge and talents to create healthy meals AND get paid for them is actually keeping my mind and thoughts occupied.  

I met an individual almost 2 mos ago who works for a very prominent oil & gas company who is also an avid baseball player.  He has been thoroughly impressed with my knowledge of nutrition and my cooking so he asked me to help him get leaner and faster.  As a person who runs several miles daily, works out in the gym daily and lives at a baseball lab to hone in on his skills, my goal was to watch carb intake but not delete it completely, increase his protein intake, fiber, and stay under the fat per calorie ratio as well.  After talking with one of my friends, who happens to be a medical professional and avid Crossfitter, I take into consideration several Paleo aspects when meal prepping for him.  It has now been 5 wks, and he was excited to report the other night that his energy has increased tremendously and he can see more muscle definition.  My other client is an MMA fighter, and his needs are on the severe opposite spectrum of the board since he needs to stay bulked and build more muscle.

I get asked where I find my recipes, but in actuality what happens are several things:  I have a wall of cookbooks, magazines, research online, do Pinterest and follow several individuals on Facebook.  What happens most of the time is I come up with an idea for something I want to work on, research and pinpoint about 3-5 different recipes.  I pay attention to the ingredients and start piecing components of each to create that dish; once that is done, I run a nutritional analysis to see how "bad" it is, lol.  Then what I end up doing is substituting ingredients with healthier options, scale down measurements for 2 people, add spice elements from my cupboard and find extra ways to sneak in protein and fiber.  Then I run another nutritional analysis and calculate everything to see how far under I came with things such as sodium, carbs, fat etc., and TADA, I have my recipe!

This recipe just so happens to be one of those gems I am thoroughly thankful and pleased to share with all of you because it tastes AMAZING!!!  The calories are awesome, the fat content is under the recommended per calories, plus the protein is super high, the fiber has been boosted past the recommended levels and the sodium is just under recommendation as well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with anything here.....PLUS HERE'S THE ADDED BONUS:  IT IS SUPER EASY AND FAST TO MAKE!!


6 oz. Honeysuckle White Extra Lean Ground Turkey, cooked & drained
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
1 tsp water
1 tsp Sriracha
1 oz water chestnuts, diced
1 Tbs chopped green onions
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp chia seeds
8 Romaine Heart Leaves
1 Tbs chopped raw, unsalted cashews


Brown and drain the turkey.  

Mix all of the ingredients (except the cashews) thoroughly until everything is completely incorporated.

I find that doubling the Romaine Hearts holds up better.  I see places that use iceberg lettuce, but there is really zero nutritional value in it so I went for the Romaine.  (I wonder how it would do with kale?!?! lol)  Spoon turkey mix onto leaves and sprinkle with chopped cashews.

Note:  this recipe is a one-serving recipe and easy to calculate double, tripe, etc...

Here's the nutritional skinny:

Calories:       333.0
Total Fat:         8.6 g
Sat Fat:             0.9 g
Cholesterol:    76.0 mg
Sodium:         544.0 mg
Potassium:     181.0 mg
Total Carbs:    11.5 mg
Fiber:                 8.4 g
Sugar:                8.9 g
Protein:             45.2 g

Vit A:      29%
Calcium:  4%
Vit C:       8%
Iron:       40%

Well I hope you enjoy making these and that they are enjoyed thoroughly as well.  

Until next time, Happy Eating!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Feed your sweet tooth without the guilt!!

WOW, are your ready for something SUPER sinful but low cal, low carb and high in protein?  Well look no further because I've got JUST the thing for you.....AND if you're a peanut butter fan such as myself, these will be totally up your ally.

This evening, my friend Matt posted a low-carb recipe idea to my page.  The recipe was from a blog called Buttoni's Low Carb Recipes; HOWEVER being the stickler that I am, I was not impressed by a lot of the ingredients OR numbers.  Guess what? I have all the ingredients on hand to make this MY way by not only drastically cutting the calories but also the fat and did not compromise the fiber either.  

Note that I am being very specific about items and ingredients as these are items I keep on hand; any changes or substitutes you make, you will need to account for as there will be subtle changes.



2 scoops Advocare Performance Elite Muscle Gain Vanilla Protein Shake Mix
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup Fancy Jr. Mammoth Pecans, finely chopped (found in bulk section of HEB)
4 Tbs Fage Total 0% Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup PJ2 Powdered Peanut Butter (mixed w/ 1/8 cup water)
2 Tbs. So Delicious Dairy Free Culinary Coconut Milk Lite
1 Tbs Josephs Sugar Free Maple Syrup
1/3 cup Natures Eats Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (HEB)
1 Tbs Madhava Coconut Sugar Pure & Unrefined

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a medium sized bowl.  Put muffin/cupcake papers in a regular sized muffin tin; spoon 2 Tbs of mixture into tin (I measured out exactly 9)

This currently is just a tad wet so I froze them, and they are absolutely DIVINE!  I am going to continue to tweak this recipe to the right consistency (I have an idea on what changes to make).  I also have an idea about using pure Cacao Powder because it is amazing, AND chocolate and peanut butter go great together.  As I make changes, I will update and re-post as it develops.

OOPS!  We HAD to try them first!

And here's the skinny on this recipe:

Recipe makes 9 patties - each serving is as follows:

Calories:             77.0
Total Fat:             5.1g
Saturated Fat:     2.3g
Cholesterol:         6.0mg
Sodium:              38.0mg
Potassium:         12.0mg
Total Carbs:        3.6g
Fiber:                   1.3g
Sugar:                  1.7g
Protein:                5.1g

Vit A:        0 %
Calcium:   1%
Vit C:       11%
Iron:         14%

Good points:  Low Sodium, High Vit C & Iron.

Hope you try these out and enjoy them as much as we did.  One is very filling because of the protein content plus the fiber is practically on point which is also very good for your body.

Until next time, HAPPY EATING!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pasta without the pasta!

I am back!  I've been going through some trial and tribulations over the past several months that have been clogging up my mindset and my heart thus leading me to want to do absolutely nothing.  Now that I have somewhat, not completely, overcome the situation and ordeal, I am now back in the kitchen.  I have been fortunate to have met someone who has a serious interest in his health as he is a baseball player and works hard daily in the gym.  He has brought a breath of fresh air into my lungs and has his priorities set and is very kind, affectionate, passionate in what he does and works very hard.  He has asked me to help him stay fit and get even leaner by prepping his daily breakfast and lunch, and I now have meaning again, not only in what he has brought to my life but my love of cooking.

I have been following a blog lately My Whole Food Life and have found a couple of interesting recipe ideas.  I of course run them through my recipe analyzer and tweak them to fit our goals and needs a lot better including dropping the sodium and fat content and increasing the protein, and in some cases, the fiber.  One such recipe idea I loved was the Peanut Noodle Stir Fry and below is my version of her recipe.  (By the way, I seasoned my chicken with a little Chinese Five Spice & garlic powder)

Here is my version:


6 oz. Simple Truth boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked & cut into cubes
4 oz Explore Asian Organic Black Bean Spaghetti
1/2 cup broccoli
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 green onions, cut into strips
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 Tbs PB2 mixed
1/8 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


1.  Cook noodles according to package direction (very low simmer for about 7 min) & set aside.
2.  In a small bowl whisk together PB2, orange juice, soy sauce & red pepper flakes & set aside.

3.  Thoroughly spray a large skillet with cooking spray &, saute carrots, mushrooms, celery, broccoli & onions over medium heat for about 5-7 min.

4.  Add the sauce & saute for another 4-5 min; you may need to add about 1/2 cup of water to keep sauce from thickening too much and sticking to your skillet and to keep it creamy.

5.  Add the noodles and chicken & stir well to coat.  Continue to saute until well incorporated.

You may be wondering about the noodles; honestly they do not even taste like beans at all!  They are extremely high in fiber which is good because fat binds to fiber so you can expel it (LOL).

This recipe makes 2 servings, and here are the nutritional comparisons (cutting hers in half):

                                      MINE                    HERS

Calories                        520.0                       466.0
Total Fat                          5.8                         15.4
Saturated Fat                  2.0                           3.1
Cholesterol                    49.0                            ---
Sodium                         682.0                     1059.0
Potassium                     370.0                       561.0
Total Carbs                    46.1                         63.3
Fiber                               27.4                           5.7
Sugar                              14.7                           6.2
Protein                           74.8                          20.2

Vit A                              103%                     103%
Calcium                             8%                       28%
Vit C                                70%                       65%
Iron                                448%                       36%

I hope that this dish is a hit and that you enjoy it as well.  Until next time, Happy Eating!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bouillabaisse for Your Soul

Wow, these past 30 days have flown by; I can't believe we have been in our new apartment now for one month.  Thankfully most of the boxes are done (only 3 meaningless ones left), the kitchen is in the order I like and all of our new living room pieces were finally delivered yesterday (thank God).  I will be on a mission to pay more loving attention to my blog, lol.

The past couple of days that Chris has been home from work, I made tacos and carne guisada so today I was in the mood for something along the line of a more lighter fare like seafood.  The weather today was cool and crisp which made it perfect soup weather so I decided I would make Bouillabaisse. 

You may be asking yourself, "What is this Bouillabaisse?" Bouillabaisse is really a fish chowder; whole small fish or large fish cut into serving pieces are boiled in a deliciously aromatic fish broth.  It is a traditional Provencal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille.  


Rouille (recipe below)
1/2 lb sea scallops
1 dz littleneck clams
1 dz mussels
1/2 lb shrimp, shelled, deveined & tails removed
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 lg leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 can (14 1/2 oz) San Marzano tomatoes
1 lb cod fillet, cut into chunks
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley


Let's talk about your leeks; make sure to submerge your sliced leeks in cold water to remove all the grit and sand.  Place leeks in a colander and submerge in a large bowl of cold water; let sit for about 5 min, swishing occasionally to help remove all the dirt.  Pull the colander out, give a few shakes and set aside.  You will notice your bowl has a lot of dirt.

If for some reason you are unable to find any cod in stock, ask for scrod or red fish which will work equally as well in this dish.

Rinse scallops under cold water to remove any sand.  Slice each scallop horizontally in half.  

Make sure to scrub your clams and mussels under cold running water to remove any sand; remove any beards from the mussels.

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 cup of water to boiling over high heat.  Add clams and mussels; heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook about 5 min, stirring occasionally until shells open.  Discard any clams or mussels that do not open.

With a slotted spoon, transfer cooked shellfish to a bowl.

Transfer broth to a measuring cup or small bowl and let stand until sand settles to the bottom.  Carefully pour through a sieve into another measuring cup or bowl making sure to leave behind any grit or sand that was settled in the cup; set broth aside.  

Dry your Dutch oven.  Heat oil over medium heat; add leeks and garlic and cook until tender.  

Add salt, thyme, saffron, tomatoes with their juice,  clam broth and 1 cup of water; heat to boiling over high heat, breaking up tomatoes with the back of your spoon.

Add cod, shrimp and scallops; heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, 8 minutes until seafood is opaque throughout.  

Add the clams and mussels, and heat through.  

So what is Rouille?  Rouille is a French word for rust!  It is a sauce made of  bread or breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper and is served as a garnish.

To make the Rouille:

1 slice firm white bread, crusts trimmed
1 red pepper
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your broiler; line a pan with foil.  Cut your pepper lengthwise in half; discard any stems and seeds.  Place peppers, skin-side up, on the pan.  

Broil at closest position to the heat source, about 10-12 min or until charred all over.  

Wrap in foil, and let stand 15 min.  

Remove foil, and peel off skin.

Soak bread (I use sourdough) in water to cover 5 min; squeeze out water.  

In a blender or food processor, puree bread, roasted and peeled red pepper, olive oil and cayenne pepper.  Create a paste with the salt and finely chopped or minced garlic; stir into the bread mixture.

Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with parsley.  Top each serving with a dollop of Rouille.

Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Well I'll be on a very long, well deserved and seriously overdue vacation really soon so hopefully I will have more tasty posts coming.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Give Me Manicotti or Give Me Death!!

Well after running around this morning getting needed supplies to continue packing and to finalize some last minute details,  I decided today would be a really good day to make my manicotti and Caesar salad for dinner.  I thought today was especially a good day for it since Chris doesn't have to work tomorrow either.  I had toyed around with my manicotti recipe several times trying to achieve the right balance of flavors until I settled on this particular combination.  It has become a favorite in our household and among some of Chris' fellow boilermakers as well.

Today I must add that I did not have any grated parmesan at home & did not want to go out and get any; the least amount of items in our refrigerator currently, the better for packing for the move. What I did, however, have on hand was a shredded blend of parmesan, asiago & romano which works perfectly in this dish also.  

Also, this particular recipe lends itself to those of you who don't have the time to sit over the stove for 8 hrs to tend to the perfect homemade pasta sauce.  I am particularly fond of Rinaldi brand sauces; I find it has the perfect balance of flavors and herbs and is not overly acidic either.  Today I went with the Tomato & Basil flavored one.

I have also found that an equal blend of ground pork and beef is perfect in the manicotti;  I, oddly enough, never find it in the pork section of the grocery store.  It is usually near the ground turkey and Italian sausage links, and also comes in lean.


1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1/4 cup  Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbs Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1-8 oz pkg manicotti shells
2 eggs
1 jar pasta sauce of your choice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add beef, pork, garlic, onions, salt and Italian seasonings; drain and cool completely. 

In the meantime, cook your shells to al-dente (don't let them cook all the way or they will fall apart or tear; I cut the cooking time by 2 min).  Drain and carefully place shells on waxed or parchment paper.

Once meat mixture has cooled, transfer to a bowl and mix in bread crumbs, parsley, mozzarella, parmesan cheese and eggs (your hands are the best mixing tools you have, lol).

Spread pasta sauce over the bottom of your baking dish.  

Carefully stuff your shells with a small spoon -OR- you can cut the edge of a large ziplock back and fit with a large decorating tip.  Start on one end, stuffing tightly; flip around and continue to stuff being careful not to tear your shells.  Arrange in your baking pan, and cover with remaining pasta sauce. 

Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.

Dot with butter.  

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 min.  Uncover and continue to bake 20 min, unbubbly

Let rest for about 10 min.

You can serve with garlic toast and Caesar salad, which is our favorite salad for this dish.

If you should try this out, I hope it is a hit in your household as well.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gumbo Heaven

Today brings about a craving for chicken & andouille sausage gumbo; I've actually been thinking about it for a while since I had 3 very large bone-in chicken breasts in the freezer and recently found our favorite Holmes Smokehouse Andouille.  I must add that this particular brand is our favorite, not bland and is perfectly spicy.  I can never find it at HEB or Kroger either; it seems I can only find it at Wal-Mart or Randall's.

With our upcoming move, lots of my "tools" have been packed away leaving only essential day-to-day items. With that being said, I did manage to pack away my notebook of where I keep notes of my kitchen experiments but luckily opened the correct box to pull it back out and keep it handy.

For those of you who are busy or are leery about making gumbo, this is the perfect recipe for you.  Don't worry about roux and whether or not it'll come out right.  Tony Cachere's Creole Instant Roux Mix is the perfect shortcut and is delish.

All you need to do is mix 1 cup of  the mix with 2 cup of cold water, whisk well and voila!

So of course, I am not cajun or creole; but through trial and error, I have perfected my recipe and get great reviews on it.  Should you try it out, hopefully you will enjoy it as well.


1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves
1-1/2 Tbs olive oil
1-1/2 Tbs butter
8-10 cups cold water
2-1/2 Tbs Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
3 bone-in chicken breasts
1 link andouille sausage
2 large or 5 small fresh bay leaves
1 cup Tony Cachere's Creole Instant Roux Mix
Tony Cachere's Creole Seasoning

The Trinity

If you have a microplane, run your garlic cloves through it which creates a paste consistency and blends better into your dishes.

Melt butter into olive oil in a dutch oven and saute veggies, garlic and 1/4 tsp Tony Cachere's for about 20 min or until browned and reduced.

Once you've reduced the veggies, add 1 cup Roux Mix and 2 cups of cold water and whisk thoroughly. Add 6 cups of water and mix again.

Add the chicken breasts (leave the bone in; it makes the gumbo that much better) and bring to boil; lower to a simmer, add the bay leaves, cover and simmer for approximately 2 hours.  Skim off the fat.

Remove chicken to a cutting board, remove skin and bone; chop and return to pot.

At this point, but andouille link in half, cut down the middle and slice entire link; add to the pot. Continue simmering for 30 more min; skim off any fat that may be remaining.  This would be the best time to start your rice; my personal favorite is Mahatma.  Basic rule of thumb for perfect rice every time is 2:1 ratio water to rice and simmer over low heat covered for 20 min.

**Important note: if you cannot find the Better than Bouillon base, you can substitute chicken stock.  I prefer Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock best because of the intense flavor profile.  If you decide to opt for the stock, replace 4 cups of water for 4 cups of stock**

You may add more Tony Cachere's during the last few minutes of cooking for added kick.  Serve over rice, sprinkle filé and scallions.  Yum, Yum, Yum!

As luck would have it, I forgot to buy green onions today to top garnish my gumbo.  Oh well, it's still killer.  Note that I did not use okra (I hate okra), but go ahead and be my guest if ya like that.

Oh and before I sign off for the night, this stuff is even better on days 2 and 3!

Well until next time, Happy Eating!!