Shrimp Bruschetta

A few weeks ago I was watching Julie & Julia. It should come as no surprise that I really enjoy that movie. Anyways, in the beginning when Julie is discussing potential blog topics with her husband they are eating bruschetta for dinner. That sparked my interest. Carver and I really enjoy simple finger foods that require little prep and equal effort cleaning up. That lead us to shrimp bruschetta, made entirely from ingredients hanging around the house. The bread was the leftovers from that week’s homemade loaf- no knead whole wheat. I always have a bag of frozen shrimp on hand. I buy the ones Trader Joes carries because they don’t have any additives and they are a good size. The other ingredients: olive oil, canned diced tomatoes, shallots, dried basil and thyme.
In a large sauté pan I cooked up the shallots in oil and salt & pepper until translucent. Then I added in a 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes, a pinch each of basil and thyme. I let the tomatoes simmer for about 15 minutes. Then I added in the shrimp which I had defrosted and cut in to 1 1/2″ pieces. Once the shrimp hit the sauce you will cook for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. You want pink shrimp, tender but not rubbery. While the sauce simmered away Carver browned up the bread in a bit of butter on each side until golden and crisp. Then all you do is assemble. Easy, fun and balanced.



friday again

Friday again. Very strange week. I enjoy not having to commute in snow storms, and having time to get ahead on reading and assignments but I have had enough snow days for the semester. I have waited years to take these classes and now Mother Nature is messing with my learning. As I look at the 10 day forecast and it’s THREE pending storms, I would just like to say… ENOUGH already. Please give me a break.

Last thing to do is adjust my weekend project/errand list and do some more reading. I am slowly hacking away at Omnivore’s Dilemma. It is an interesting book, but I find I can’t read more than 30 pages at a time- possibly because I’m reading at the end of my day when sleep is beckoning… I will get there – I must!

I am trying to put of going to the grocery store as long as possible so I have been digging deep in my freezer and cabinets to use forgotten items. Tonight’s dinner was some frozen Mexican vegetable soup with added corn, avocado and shrimp. Very nice dinner for a cold night. The soup is thick and filling and super tasty. Also, I freeze half of it in bags (label before filling and lay flat in the freezer once full- this makes defrosting MUCH easier) and it lasts about 3-4 months. I froze the vegetarian portion and then just added in extra protein before serving. I think this gives you more flexibility.

Mexican-Inspired Vegetable Soup (Adapted from WW)

Dice 2 small zucchini, 1 medium Spanish onion, 1 medium green pepper, 2 medium jalapeno. Place green beans,3 garlic cloves minced, zucchini, 14oz diced tomatoes, onion, green pepper, jalapeño, 1t oregano, 1/2t cumin and 2 1/2c vegetable broth (low sodium) into a large soup pot. Puree 1/4c roasted peppers with 1T chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in a blender or food processor; stir into soup with 1 can black beans– rinsed. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, partly covered, for about 15 minutes. Stir in 1c frozen corn kernels and 10 medium shrimp cut in half. Let cook 2-3 minutes longer, until shrimp is opaque and cooked through. Stir in 1/2c cilantro– chopped, 2T lime juice and 3/4t salt. Serve. Yields about 1 cup per serving.Points Plus: 3

I served this with 1/4 of a medium avocado, 1oz tortilla chips and 1T shredded cheese – Additional Points Plus value: 6

eggs, bread, and cheese oh my!

Egg Sandwich

Toast 1 whole wheat english muffin to desired crispness. Scramble one large egg and cook in 1t vegetable oil over medium-high heat until cooked through but moist. Place egg on english muffin, top with 1T shredded cheese (reduced fat), 1/3c spinach and a dash of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Serves 1. Points Plus: 5

Mediterranean Salad

Dice 1/2 medium red onion, 1/2 medium cucumber, and quarter 16 cherry tomatoes. Combine vegetables in a serving bowl with salt, pepper and 2t olive oil. Add in 1/2c rinsed garbanzo beans. Stir to combine. Serves 2. Points Plus: 2.

I served this with impromptu flat bread. I cooked 1/2 whole wheat pizza dough (from the store) at 375 for 15 minutes. I topped the ‘flat bread’ with 1t olive oil and salt/pepper. Serves 2. Points Plus: 3

Penne with Roasted Shrimp and Vegetables

Chop 1/3c mushrooms, 1 crown of broccoli, 6 cherry tomatoes into bite size pieces.Devein 10 medium shrimp. I keep the shell on because I find the shrimp stay more succulent this way. Roast veggies and shrimp in the oven with 2t olive oil, 1t salt, 1/2t pepper for 12-16 minutes at 400. Cook 3oz whole wheat pasta as directed on box, then drain reserving 3T cooking water. Combine drained pasta with 1T goat cheese and 1/4c shredded mozzarella cheese in a serving bowl. Mix cheese with pasta until melted, add water slowly if needed. Mix in shrimp and veggies. Toss to coat. Serves: 2. Points Plus: 8

Recipes without a home


Trim, blanch and dice 1c green beans. Place 2T cilantro– finely chopped, 2T red onion– finely chopped, 1 Serrano & 1 jalapeno chilies– minced, and 1/2 t salt in a medium-sized bowl and combine. Add 2 medium ripe avocados– seeded and peeled, green beans, 1c tomato– diced, and 1T lime juice. Mash all ingredients together. Adjust seasoning as needed and serve immediately. Serves 8. Points Plus: 3.

Fruit Salsa

Rinse and drain 3c fresh cranberries. Place them in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not mushy; alternately you can chop the cranberries by hand until about 1/2-1/4 their normal size. Place cranberries in a bowl; add 2 medium mangoes- cored and diced, 2 medium papayas– seeded and diced, 1/4c chopped scallions2T jalapenos– minced, 1/3c sugar1/4c cilantro– finely chopped, 2T ginger– freshly grated, and 2T lime juice. Combine ingredients thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to serving. Serves 8. Points Plus: 3

Dutch Baby Pancake

*I did not make this recipe, my brother did. If you have never had a Dutch Baby (pancake) before – you should try ASAP.* Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 12″ skillet (must be ovensafe) with nonstick spray. Break 3 eggs – room temp,  into a mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add 1/2c skim milk and blend well. Sift 1/2c flour and 1/2t salt onto a square sheet of wax paper. Lift the waxed paper up by 2 corners and let the flour slowly fall into the egg mixture, whisking steadily. Add 2T melted butter and mix briskly so the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with: lemon juice and powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Serves 8. Points Plus: 2

Chicken Breast Sauteed in White Wine

Trim any visible fat off of 2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts. Brown the chicken in 1t olive oil and 1t butter. Season both sides with saltpepper, and herbs de Provence. Stir in 1/2T minced shallots1/3c chicken broth and 1/4c dry white wine to the pan. Cover the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Baste and turn the chicken a few times during cooking to maintain moisture. Remove chicken from the pan and keep warm. Boil down the liquid and melt in 1t butter. Pour sauce over chicken and serve. Serves 2. I served this with 1c whole wheat couscous and 1c greek salad. Points Plus: 13 (does not include salad)

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, cream together 2T butter2t oil and 1/2c brown sugar. Add 1t vanilla1/8t saltand 1 egg white; mix thoroughly to combine. In a small bowl, mix together 3/4c flour and 1/4t baking soda; stir into batter. Add 1/3c chocolate chips1/3c toasted nuts– chopped and 1/4c coconut to batter; stir to distribute evenly. Drop rounded half-teaspoons of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake cookies until golden around the edges, about 4-6 minutes. 2 cookies per serving. Points plus: 2

Chocolate Biscotti

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1c nuts on a baking sheet. Toast the nuts in the warm oven for about 3 minutes – your nose will know when they are done. Remove the nuts and let them cool, then coarsely chop them. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together 2c flour1/2c cocoa powder1t baking soda and 1/4t salt in a bowl. In a large bowl cream 6T unsalted butter (room temperature) and 1c sugar until light and fluffy. Add 2 large eggs, beat gently until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat to form a stiff dough. Mix in nuts and 1/2c dried fruit -diced, until just combined. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and form into a slightly flattened log (about 12″x4″). Bake until slightly firm, about25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300. On a cutting board, using a sharp knife, cut biscotti diagonally into 1″ slices. Arrange cut side down on baking sheet – bake until crisp about 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 24 cookies. Points Plus: 4

Lite Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Heat 1t olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 large red onion (diced), and 1 celery stalk with leaves (chopped), and cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add 1T flour and 1/2t paprika and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, add 1/2c non-fat milk and 1/2c fat-free half and half, whisking until smooth. Add 3/4c frozen corn kernels and 1/4t salt – cook over medium heat stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add 1/4lb medium shrimp – halved, and cook stirring often until shrimp turn opaque, about 3 minutesServes 2. Points Plus: 5

Yummy Grilled Cheese with a Twist

Melt 1t butter and 1t olive oil in a large skilled over medium-high heat. Build 2 sandwiches using 4 slices of Carver’s White Bread4 slices of deli meat4t spicy mustard,  1 tomato-sliced, and 2oz brie (split all amounts between 2 sandwiches). Cook about 3 minutes on either side, top sandwiches with a plate and something heavy to add pressure. Cut in half and ENJOY….. Points Plus: 9


How is it two whole days can pass by so fast? I am amazed… both at how quickly the time passed and at how productive I was. I completed 90% of my reading for the upcoming week, transferred over notes from 2 lectures, answered several emails, made some soup (potato leek), cookies (chocolate chip) and a delish surf and turf dinner. Recipes/photos to follow.

With the first full week of classes ahead I wanted to be sure and remind myself of the basics. I know when I get stressed these are what go out the window. For me the basics are eating well, sleeping, exercising and staying on top of projects (work/school/personal). It is inevitable that certain items take priority from time to time, but I want to have a sense of balance and not feel like I am shifting from one issue to another. One piece is the ‘Good Health Guidelines’ per Weight Watchers, for my specific needs. These items are pretty standard, agreed upon norms in the nutrition world. The other piece is a personal note- getting myself into a morning and evening routine that is productive. I don’t ever remember a time when I had a morning/evening routine – maybe when I was a kid… but again not that I remember. I feel these are the times of day that set the tone and I want to be at my best.

So here are my ‘guidelines’

Good Health Guidelines (Daily)

  1. Fruits & Veggies: 5 servings
  2. Lean Protein: 1-2 servings
  3. Non/Low- Fat Dairy: 2 servings
  4. Whole grains: whenever possible
  5. Liquids: 6 cups
  6. Healthy Oils: 2 teaspoons (pp:2)
  7. Multivitamin: 1
  8. Be Active: 30 minutes
  9. Watch Sodium & Sugar – don’t worry about a specific amount
Morning Routine
1. Make coffee/tea
2. Shower
3. Breakfast, review planner, BC/Vit
4. Lunch/bags
5. Clean up kitchen
6. Get ready
7. Shut off lights, turn down heat
1. Check mail
2. Empty lunches
3. Dinner
4. Pack bags/lunches — Planner
5. Speed Clean
6. Blog

I am going to check in each day about my progress with these items and hopefully build a lasting routine of it. I will include a photo of my planner of the next day and then in the evening I will rank my day and show how many of my guidelines I met.

Planner for 1/24


Granola (Bars)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast  2c old-fashioned rolled oats1 1/2 cup nuts (I used almonds and soy nuts), 1/2c wheat germ and 5T coconut for 15 minutes – stirring every 5 minutes to ensure equal browning. In the meantime, combine1/2c honey2T brown sugar1oz butter, 2t vanilla extract and 1/2 t salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add 6 1/2 oz dried fruit (I used dates and cranberries) and 1/2c chocolate chips, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week. Serves 16. Points Plus: 6.

** I often have problems with granola bar recipes because they don’t stay as bars. I end up getting half of them to stay in the desired shape, the other half of the batch will become granola clusters. In that case I just use 1/4c as a serving size.

Leek and Potato Soup

Chop 3c leeks (cleaned), 3c baking potatoes (cleaned). Combine chopped vegetables with 3c chicken broth and 3c water and 1 1/2t salt– bring to a boil in a 3-qt sauce pan. Cover partially and simmer 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Correct Seasoning. Serve as is, or puree. Top each portion with 1T ff sour cream if desired. Serves 6. Points Plus: 2

Surf & Turf Dinner

Roast 4oz shellfish with 2t olive oil1/2t salt, 1/4t pepper for 8 minutes at 375 – Shrimp should be pink and opaque. Broil one 8oz flank steak topped with 2t olive oil, 1/2t salt, 1/4t pepper for 10-12 minutes for medium rare. Serve with 1 large sweet potato (baked) or two small,1 serving packaged salad with oil and vinegar dressing. Serves 2. Points Plus: 8