Tag Archives: dinner

My Journey to Health – Day 2

This day was a really great day! I felt good, we exercised in the morning, and my headache was gone. I’m really starting to feel the effects of this healthy eating and healthy lifestyle.

My breakfast this morning was scrambled eggs with a little bit of Parmesan cheese, half a tomato, and a little bit of fresh basil from my garden. It’s really fulfilling to go out into your yard, pull something out of the ground, put it over your food, and eat it. How satisfying! Not to mention tasty.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

My first snack was one cup of red grapes. How much easier can that get?!

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Then, lunch. Oh, beautiful lunch! The salad was so delicious. I had cooked the ground turkey the day before, and it was ready and waiting to be put into this beautiful salad. Super healthy, packed full of flavor, and really delicious.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
My second snack was a hard boiled egg cut open with a splash of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar gave it a needed kick that made me feel like I was eating something more than an egg.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Dinner was chicken in foil with red skinned potatoes, peppers, onions, and some herbs. I think this is my favorite meal so far. It was easy, well-rounded, and very good.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

And there you have it, Day 2… done. In the morning I exercised to T25 with my husband. I am so proud of his effort to do this with me. It’s way easier with somebody going along with you and helping you stick to it. And he has been a champ with lots of unhealthy temptations out there.

Looking forward to the days ahead…

~Veronica

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My Journey To Health – Day 1

A friend of mine who is a Beachbody coach (visit her page here!), invited me to join a challenge that she was doing. It started yesterday. It’s a five day challenge to eat clean every day. 1200 to 1300 cal per day, three meals, two snacks. No processed foods, no pop, and very little sugar, exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Yesterday I started my journey towards health. My reasons for wanting to get healthy are my children. I want to be around for them for a long time. I have also found out recently that I have a condition called joint hypermobility syndrome or JHS. With that comes pain in my joints because they easily rotate past normal range of movement, and that causes inflammation and sometimes scar tissue. In the past, exercising has been tough for me because I get injured easily and then take weeks to heal. I also suffer from anxiety and insomnia that I believe is partly due to JHS, and fibromyalgia goes along with it. I often feel very fatigued, and that’s frustrating. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that I become healthy, not just for me but for my family. I’m going to take you guys along with me on this journey as I learn how to eat healthily and exercise every day.

Yesterday was my first day, and I suffered a terrible headache due to my body having withdrawals from caffeine and possibly sugar. For my exercise I rode my bike for about 20 minutes (not very long due to headache). And this is what I had to eat…

This was the first omelette I’ve ever made! It’s a broccoli and feta cheese omelette. It was really tasty, but next time I would put some tomatoes in it ’cause it was also a little dry. I paired it with a side of half a piece of Ezekiel bread.

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Then for my morning snack I had some yogurt with a little bit of honey. The recipe called for grapefruit peel, but I’m not a fan of peel unless they are organic, and I didn’t have any organic citrus peels. So I left those out and squeezed a little bit of lemon into it, and it was delicious!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Lunch was a spinach and chicken salad. I boiled the chicken in water with curry powder for little extra boost of flavor. I had cooked the chicken ahead of time because I knew it would be hard for me, as a mom of two, to have the time to cook chicken for lunch. So it was already in the refrigerator when it was time for lunch. Super easy!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Then, the hardest part was waiting for this PM snack. These turkey rollup’s are delicious! I had two. You just take two slices of turkey lunch meat, and spread a soft cheese on it, I used Laughing Cow cream cheese. The recipe also called for avocado slices, but mine aren’t ripe! A nice goat cheese would be really great on this.

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

My headache was killing me by dinner time. I had been drinking lots of water hoping that I could steer it off. But that didn’t really work because it was from a lack of caffeine and a lack of sleep. But I did manage to make dinner; these fish tacos were really, really good. I used my Mahi-Mahi and replaced the avocado with sour cream. Darn unripe avocados! These have a tasty, spicy cabbage slaw to bulk them up. They were really filling though, and super tasty!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

So with all my cooking and eating done, I went to sleep early to try to get rid of my headache. Thankfully today it’s gone. I’ve already done my workout today, and made breakfast, two snacks, and lunch to send with my hubby to work! I got my T25 in the mail yesterday, and did my first workout today, and it was AWESOME. I’ll tell y’all about today’s success in my post tomorrow! Be healthy!

~Veronica

Chicken and Handmade Noodles

chnAuthor: Cassie Stevens

One of my favorite dishes my mother makes for Thanksgiving is her turkey and homemade noodles. OMG! They are so good, she makes them the day before and lets them dry out overnight. Although I have tried many times, I don’t make them the same as my mama.  Well, this is a similar recipe to hers.  My chicken and noodles has veggies in it unlike my mama’s, but I think it adds a lot of flavor to the stock.

I start by making the dough for the noodles. It’s really very easy, all you need is

2 cups of flour

1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

2 egg yolks and one whole egg beaten

1 tsp olive oil

Prep: In a large bowl stir together the flour and salt, then make a well in the center.  In another small bowl mix egg yolks, whole egg, water, and olive oil.  Add egg mixture to flour. Mix well. add a tsp of water at a time if too dry. On a floured surface roll out dough and knead until smooth and elastic. (8 to 10 minutes). Cover and let dough rest for ten to fifteen minutes.  Cut dough in half and roll out as thin as you want your noodles. Dust with flour on each side so the dough does not stick to the counter and cut with a knife, pizza cutter, or the nifty little roller cutter that I found at a thrift store never opened for fifty cents.

chn2I love that thing. I’m glad I picked it up. It also has another roller blade that tenderizes meat. I use it for pastas only. I tenderize my meat other ways.

chn3So after all your pasta is cut, it’s time to set it aside to dry.  I just place it on a parchment lined baking sheet to air dry. I turned it after an hour to help it dry out more evenly.

chn4I let mine dry for about two hours. It was dry enough by that time. As soon as it was dry I started the stock. I added a Tbsp of minced garlic and enough olive oil to cover a stock pot. Then I added the veggies:

chn5About three carrots, half an onion, and two stalks of celery. Dice them all up and sweat them out in the stock pot. I also, added two Tbsp butter, cause I can never cook without it. I love butter, real butter!  Once your veggies are sweatin’ add 3 cups water and simmer.

Next in a cast iron skillet or whatever pan you have (I love my cast iron skillet) brown your chicken. I used 3 boneless breasts and I seasoned my chicken with salt and pepper and a little bit of minced garlic in the bottom of the pan. Once browned on each side I set aside to rest for a few minutes. Then cut into small cubes and put inside stockpot to finish cooking for about ten to fifteen minutes.

chn7Drain the liquid from the stock pot into the skillet and bring to a boil, then add your noodles. Cook for about three minutes. Noodles will be done. Cook a little longer for thicker noodles.

chn6Once the noodles are done, add them to your stockpot. Before you add more water, make a slurry to thicken to a gravy.

chn8Add 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp flour and mix well in a measuring cup with just enough water to dissolve. Add to stock pot, then add more water to desired consistency. Let simmer for a few minutes and it will thicken up to a gravy consistency.

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Looks yummy right? Time to eat! Pair it with your favorite dinner rolls and you have a great dinner your family will be talking about for a while!

chn10I hope you enjoy as much as we all did! Happy cooking!

Spicy Shrimp and Butter Grits ~ Southern Comfort Food

sg6Author: Cassie Stevens

I am a southern girl, and I eat like it too.  Cornbread, beans, grits, mashed taters, all kinds of gravies, butter, BBQ, etc.  Southern comfort foods, and this is one of them.  Shrimp and grits! YUM! better yet, spicy shrimp and grits! YUM! YUM!

Shrimp and grits started out as a seasonal fisherman’s dish of shrimp cooked in bacon grease served over creamy grits in the south where they were also known as “breakfast shrimp.” The popular cuisine of corn grain provides a new twist in a variety of ways that it can be made. This has caused chefs to try to create new variations of the basic shrimp and grits recipe.sg2

You may be wondering what grits are made of. Well grits, formerly “hominy,” is ground corn that has been mashed. This dish was invented by the Native Americans from the Carolina region. Grits were used as one of the ways for Native Americans and white people to communicate in the latter part of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century before people learned how to speak the same language. An important event happened in 1584, when Native Americans gave some of their grits to Sir Walter Raleigh, and the people who came to live in Jamestown, Virginia a few years later.sg3

The colonists were learning about maize (corn) from the Native Americans, who were well versed in that area. Multiple items quickly became basic food sources for the settlers, including corn and grits. These items had been a normal part of the Native American diet for a long time.sg1

Centuries later, in 1976, grits were  declared as the official state food of South Carolina and are well known for their significant contribution to the culture and economy of South Carolina, and the power of the people who live there. The region stretching from the Carolinas to Louisiana is now called America’s Grits Belt.sg4

For many people in this region, a day without grits is like a day without sunshine. They hate and have no respect for prepackaged instant grits or quick grits. For them, the only way to eat real grits is to cook them the old fashioned way slowly with stone ground grits. However, there are a number of ways to spice up the meal like adding shrimp.

For many decades, shrimp and grits were a mainstay of the diet of the people who lived in and around Charleston, South Carolina.

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I live in Tennessee, not far from the origin of shrimp and grits. I love it! Well, in this recipe I used, lemon juice, butter, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, parsley, garlic, and onion powder. Spicy!

I cooked my grits then added a little butter, salt, and cream to my taste. Viola! the best ever spicy southern shrimp and grits. Gotta love it! Good southern comfort food! Enjoy! ~ C

(Edit)

10 to 15 cooked shrimp (depending on size)

Juice from half a lemon

1 tbsp salted butter

1 dash cayenne pepper (or to your heat preference)

1 three finger pinch dried parsley

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

In sauce pan combine all ingredients until heated through. Serve over cooked grits.

 

Friday’s Flavor ~ Shrimp Scampi with Leeks

ss1Author: Cassie Stevens

What’s easier than a shrimp scampi? Lemon, garlic, butter, parsley, onions (or in this case leeks), salt, pepper, and shrimp.  Bring a little white wine to the party and jazz it up a bit. Mmmmm…. Just about every shrimp scampi photo I see on the Internet looks delicious, even from first timer cooks.  Scampi is quick, easy, and old school, but so good, and good for you.

ss2Served either with bread, or over pasta or rice, although sometimes just the shrimp alone. Most variants of the “shrimp scampi” come on pasta.

Fun Fact: Scampi is a kind of small lobster known as  Norway lobster, Dublin Bay prawn, or true scampi.  The name is often used to loosely describe a style of preparation typical for this lobster.

And now for the leeks…….

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Leeks are a new ingredient for me. Until now, I have never had or used a leek.  I had heard that they are a lot like an onion in flavor.  I would agree with that, I think they are very good and mild in onion flavor with a hint of mild garlic. My husband was new to leeks as well, and he too would agree that they are very good. He said it was  ****ing awesome! Ha! ha ha!

For those of you that don’t know:  The edible portions of the leek are the white base of the leaves (above the roots and stem base), the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves. One of the most popular uses is for adding flavor to stock. The dark green portion is usually discarded because it has a tough texture, but it can be sautéed or added to stock.

I would recommend trying leeks if you haven’t.  I think they are just great.  I shouldn’t have waited so long to try them. I will be seeking more recipes that use leeks in the future.

Back to the scampi…..Mmmmmm! Oh Yeah!

ss2This is an easy dish you must try out whether you are a beginner, or if your a veteran cook.  I hope you enjoy and make lots of memories while cooking and just have fun in the kitchen. Bon Appetite!

Wordless Wednesday

Baby Portobellos to be Grilled :: Pen Pal and Gookin' Gals Grilling Chicken Sausage and Eggplant :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Grilled Zucchini Slices :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Wordless Wednesday; Grilled Dinner :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

~Veronica Hilliard

Homemade Calzones

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Author: Cassie Stevens

A calzone is folded over like a pocket pizza. A calzone has sauce inside, like a pizza. Not to be confused with the Stromboli, which does not contain any sauce and is usually made with Italian dough and stuffed with meats and cheeses only. Were as, the calzone is made with pizza dough hence, a pocket pizza, and stuffed with everything you would put on a pizza.  I love either, meat and cheese wrapped in any kind of dough, sauce or not, and you can count me in.

Start by getting your stuff together. I used the same recipe I use for my pizza dough.  Only, I added another 1 Tbsp of yeast for a thicker crust. Let the yeast sit a few minutes in warm water until it gets foamy.

SAM_1233Olive oil, Italian seasoning, yeast, sugar, bread flour, warm water, salt, and love.  Mix and knead on a flour surface until dough is smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl in a warm oven to let rise for about an hour.

SAM_1242I always turn on my oven to as low as it gets (170) then shut it off once it hits temp.  I place it on a hot pad on a sheet pan so my bowl doesn’t melt in the oven. Once it has a chance to rise, pull it out and divide in half for two large calzones or into four equal parts for four smaller ones.  Egg wash the tops then sprinkle with sesame seeds. I baked them as high as my oven would go 500 degrees F for about ten minutes or so. Keep an eye on them they will brown fast.

SAM_1244My husband and I split one and we saved the other for lunch the next day. There was more than we could eat in one of them. They were very big, and very good.  I didn’t get a chance to take pictures while I was stuffing them. They are filled with chicken, pepperoni, marinara sauce, ham, Colby jack cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

SAM_1257Oh yeah! Looks real good huh! Oooey Gooey Goodness!  Ah, I think your drooling. Ha! Ha! Ha!

SAM_1258Fill them with whatever you like and enjoy! Easy personal pocket pizzas! Sandwich-sized calzones are often sold at Italian lunch counters or by street vendors because they are easy to eat while standing or walking.

SAM_1265As a rule, calzones are usually stuffed with cheeses such as ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone or a type of regional cheese. The dough is folded into a half-moon shape then sealed with an egg wash mixture, or formed into a spherical shape and baked or fried. After cooking, calzones are typically served smothered in marinara sauce or topped with a combination of garlic, olive oil, and parsley.

SAM_1263In the United States, calzones are characteristically made from pizza dough and stuffed with meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Traditional calzone dough consists of flour, yeast, olive oil, water, and salt. Calzones are similar to Stromboli, but traditionally the two are distinctly different dishes.

SAM_1261However you enjoy your calzones, they are sure to please. So enjoy them with your family for dinner. They don’t take too long to make!

SAM_1248and they are so delicious…..How do you eat a calzone?