July 29, 2014

Black Bean, Corn, Mango Salad w/ Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

Recently I made a happy little find at Trader Joe’s!  These Chile-Lime Chicken Burgers. They were nicely priced at $3.49 for a 16 ounce package of four burgers. They are made with all-natural ingredients, no preservatives…and are high in protein, low in fat. All which fit right in here with our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV! Do you have a Trader Joe’s near to you? If you haven’t shopped there yet, I would heartily encourage you to give them a try! We are always satisfied with our purchases at Trader Joe’s…and will pick up another package or two of these on our next shopping trip.

traderjoeslimechickenburgers

So, these made for a quick meal as they grilled up in approximately ten minutes. But, what to serve with them…this was my question. Hmmmmm….something quick, healthy, fresh…?  I googled ‘…lime, mango, salad…’ and was presented with quite a list and variety of choices. After reading a few recipes, I had a pretty good idea and a plan of action. We were quite satisfied with the burgers and this Black Bean, Corn, and Mango salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette to accompany the burgers. This makes quite a large bowlful (I’d venture to say 9-10 cups or so). So consider making this as a side dish to bring along to a BBQ this summer. Enjoy!

Black Bean, Corn and Mango Salad w/ Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

2014-07-23 20.23.00
ingredients :
salad:
2 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can small white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 small sweet onion, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

vinaigrette:
2 small (or 1 large) limes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup mango (or orange) juice
1/3 cup olive oil
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
sprinkle of ground red pepper (optional)

garnish:
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)
zest from the limes

Directions:

  • in a large mixing bowl, combine veggies, beans, and mango
  • zest the limes (putting the zest aside ‘til the end), and squeeze all the juice from the limes
  • combine lime juice, honey, balsamic, and mango juice using a blender, food processor, or simply whisk by hand
  • slowly pour in the olive oil in a slow steady stream ‘til it is fully incorporated with the liquids
  • season the vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper (and the red pepper, if using)
  • pour the majority of the vinaigrette over the salad, and stir thoroughly but gently to combine (adding more of the vinaigrette, if necessary)
  • allow to set at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to combine flavors (or place in refrigerator ‘til ready to serve)
  • when ready to serve, garnish with the lime zest and basil strips

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Bacon Corn Fritters

Last week at the grocery store, my older girl informed me that she had never had corn on the cob.  What kind of monster am I to deprive her of that experience? We bought corn and she liked it.  Then more corn came in my CSA box, and I was stumped: what else can I do with it? I like this recipe but I wanted to try something new. So I flipped open this old dear:

danamennoniteckbk

And I stumbled upon this recipe for corn fritters. Yum! But since I can’t leave well enough alone, I added bacon and summer squash to mine. My new recipe: Bacon Corn Fritters!

These mix up quickly and fry quickly too. My girls ate these like pancakes with a little maple syrup. I ate mine with a dollop of plain yogurt (or you can use sour cream) and some shredded cheddar cheese. Fantastic! I bet these would be great with some cheese and lots of fresh sliced tomatoes. Sound interesting? Let’s go!

Bacon Corn Fritters

danabaconcornfritters

· 3-5 slices of bacon, diced
· 3 ears fresh corn
· 2 zucchini
· 2 eggs
· ¼ cup flour
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1/8 teaspoon pepper
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (or use sour cream, or whole milk)

Directions:
1. In a large pan, fry the bacon. When crispy, remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pan!
2. Using a box grater, grate the corn from the cob into a bowl. Grate the zucchini too.
3. Beat the eggs, and then add to the corn and zucchini. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and yogurt.
4. Heat the pan again. Drop the corn batter by large spoonsful into the hot bacon fat. Flip and brown again.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Do You Have an “All or Nothing” Attitude?

all or nothing
This weekend, I had the most amazing get-away with my husband.  Obviously, it was a time where we did splurge a little on food.  While it was enjoyable, I was glad to return to normal eating habits and exercise routine.  Those occasions are going to happen and we have to keep it mind it is not a sign of failure if we do not follow a perfect eating regimen for a few days.  It does not mean we have blown it forever.  Having an ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude is what leads to feeling defeated and then giving up completely.

I have worked with so many women who feel that if they indulge on occasion, it is useless to pick back up and keep on going.  The key to staying healthy and fit is consistency.  What we do on a consistent basis (or 80% of the time) is what matters.  These small, continual, consistent steps are what build us to be healthy women inside and out.

First, remember that perfection will never be attained.  Our health and fitness is a lifetime journey.  Instead of attempting perfection by trying to make so many changes, focus on one or two new behaviors that will lead to a lifetime of good health.

For example:
• Choose one day per week to get up an extra 30 minutes early to exercise or have a quiet time…it does not have to be an early morning every day.
• Cut out one Coke a day instead of trying to quit all together.
• Commit to 2 days per week of exercise instead of 7 days.
• Decide to bring a healthy lunch to work one day each week instead of eating out.

Pick one thing and become consistent with that behavior. Even when you fall off the wagon, pick yourself up and get back to your one consistent behavior. When you do, you will be confident to add another one.

For today, be nice to yourself and focus on your progress, not your imperfections.  Let’s remember that God looks at our life in much the same way. He doesn’t expect “all or nothing” in order to receive His love and grace.  Why should we?

In Good Health,
Crystal

Lime Shrimp Quesadillas

So…I’ve told you before about my husband’s new-found love for Tex-Mex foods. The other day he specifically asked me to make quesadillas. “Why, sure I will!”  ;-) But I was a bit stymied how to ‘lighten them up’ from being cheese bombs in our tummies…AND fit them here into our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV.  But then I realized it was simple: ease up on the cheese, and add lots of veggies!  That was easy!

Oh, there’s just one not-so-easy step—the flipping!  Here’s what I did…but if you have a better method…bring it on!  (Please!)  When the bottom tortilla has browned off just a bit (3 minutes or so), slide it carefully out of the pan onto a dinner plate. Then, invert ANOTHER dinner plate on top, hold them together now, flip over, remove the top plate and slide the tortilla back into the pan with the browned side facing up now!  If I can do it, then I have no doubt that you, too, can do it!  Enjoy!

2014-07-20 19.09.42

Lime Shrimp Quesadillas

(makes 2 or 3 finished quesadillas; serves 2-3)

Shrimp
ingredients:
12 oz medium to large raw shrimp

lime marinade:2014-07-20 18.45.29
zest of 1/2 large lime
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 large lime
2 teaspoons minced garlic (I use jarred)

directions:

  •  in a medium glass bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients
  • add peeled shrimp; set aside for 15 minutes
  • thread onto 2-3 wooden skewers
  • grill over indirect heat for 2-3 minutes per side; don’t overcook!
  • remove from skewers; set aside

Veggies
ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 sweet onion, sliced into halfmoons
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder

directions:

  • saute veggies in olive oil over medium high heat for 7-8 minutes, allowing to brown just a bit
  • remove from heat; set aside

Assembly
12 oz +/- monterey jack cheese, shredded (or similar)
4-6 flour tortillas (I used gluten free)
1 tablespoon butter
directions:

  • in a large nonstick saute pan, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter over low heat; raise temp to medium-high when prepared to start cooking2014-07-20 18.51.06
  • place 1 tortilla shell in bottom of pan
  • layer 2-3 oz shredded cheese, some of the sauteed veggies and some of the shrimp (the amount you use will depend on whether you are making 2 or 3 completed quesadillas)
  • top with a second tortilla shell; pressing down so everything will begin to adhere together
  • allow bottom tortilla to slightly brown; then flip so other side can brown also
  • slide out onto a plate, cut into quarters
  • (if making more than 2 or 3, keep warm in oven)

serve with guacamole, sour cream, mango dipping sauce, salsa…or ? (I would love to hear your ideas, please!)

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

 

Kale and Barley Salad

Kale and Barley Salad resize

My husband and I eat mostly Paleo.  That means we avoid grains.  But occasionally, I do eat whole grains like barley, wheat berries, or quinoa.  I like their hearty texture and nutty flavor.  They go especially well with greens, as in this Kale and Barley Salad.

You pretty much cover all the bases with this one:  leafy green kale, salty feta, tart dried cranberries (or cherries, or raisins), rich walnuts, and a dressing with a balance of sweet and savory to tie it all together.  You can make this hours ahead of time – even in the morning – and the kale will still have a sturdy texture.  I even eat the leftovers the next day and the kale is chewy and wonderful.  Can’t say that about a lettuce salad!

Try this with pearl barley, wheat berries, or quinoa.  Let me know what you think!

Kale and Barley Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Directions:

  1. Boil one cup of salted water.  When the water boils, add barley and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until done and the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.  (Depending on the grain you’re using and other factors, these directions may vary.  Use your best judgment.)
  2. While the barley is cooking, prepare the kale:  Tear bite-sized pieces off the tough ribs and wash thoroughly.  Spin dry and place in a very large bowl.
  3. Make the dressing:  In a bowl, combine tahini, vinegar, honey, and soy sauce.  Mix in oil.  Pour it over the kale and mix it in with your hand.  Really!  Get in there and massage and squeeze the kale, to make the dressing stick and soften up the tough leaves.
  4. Add the barley, cranberries, feta, and walnuts.  Toss again and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Peach Salsa

2014-07-13 21.33.27Oh…does that not say ‘summer!!!’ to you? Yes, to me, too! Here in the NorthEast, we are smackdab in the middle of the peach harvest…and they are so good! There are so very many sweet things that you can do with peaches; oh let me count the ways: pies, cobblers, crisps, crumbles, muffins, jam, ice cream, sorbet, pancakes, smoothies, popsicles, teas, sangria….  I’d love to hear of your favorite way to eat a peach!

But I do love using peaches in savory foods, too!  Now perhaps there aren’t quite as many options…but equally yummy! How about used as a glaze for chicken? Or chopped fine and added to ground chicken for meatballs? Peaches are FABulous added to the grill when you have fish or chicken going! Try simply topping them with a drizzle of really good balsamic vinegar and some goat cheese; oh yeah!

This week, however, I have a REALLY simple recipe for Peach Salsa. Great served with grilled salmon, or chicken breast, or shrimp kabobs!  This recipe comes together so quickly I did it twice this week…once with a ginger sweet flavor and once with a sort-of-spicy tomatillo salsa mixed in. Equally delicious!

2014-07-13 21.58.44

Peach Salsa (Two Ways)

Gingery Peach Salsa
ingredients:
2 large ripe, yet firm, peaches2014-07-13 21.54.56
handful of yellow and red grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon ginger preserves
2 tablespoons red onion, cut into a small dice
zest and juice of 1/2 of a lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

directions:

  • combine ginger preserves and lime juice and zest; mix together
  • remove pit, and cut peaches into bite-size pieces; add to ginger-lime mixture
  • slice grape tomatoes in half; also add these
  • season well; and combine together
  • put to the side for a few minutes and then taste for additional seasoning
  • set aside and let flavors come together while the meat/fish is being cooked

Spicy Peach Salsa
ingredients:
2 large ripe, yet firm, peaches
handful of yellow and red grape tomatoes
2 (or more) tablespoons tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
2 tablespoons small dice red onion
zest and juice of 1/2 of a lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
directions:

  • combine tomatillo salsa and lime juice and zest; mix together
  • remove pit, and cut peaches into bite-size pieces; add to tomatillo mixture
  • slice grape tomatoes in half; also add these
  • season well; and combine together
  • put to the side for a few minutes and then taste for additional seasoning
  • set aside and let flavors come together while the meat/fish is being cooked

(Here are some facts about the nutrition associated with peaches; good stuff! )

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Tahini Pancakes

Tahini Pancakes resize

Oh, pancakes!   We all love them.  But sometimes you just don’t want to make them, even when the kids are whining for them.  They take time to mix up (unless you’re using a pre-made mix like Bisquick…in which case, check out that long list of chemicals and preservatives!), and they’re pretty high in carbs.  Ready for a game changer?  Try these Tahini Pancakes!

This recipe is just three ingredients long.  WHAT?!?!  All you need is a very ripe banana, an egg, and a tablespoon of tahini.  You could use another kind of nut butter, but we use tahini to avoid allergies in my house.  Tahini is an amazing thing.  I keep a can of it in my fridge at all times, because it is crucial to homemade hummus, baba ghanoush, and this kale salad.  It’s just sesame seed butter, but it’s lovely.  These pancakes have no gluten and no nuts, plus they’re high in protein.  Win! Win!

Dress these up however you like.  Add in chocolate chips, coconut flakes, or raisins.  They don’t rise like regular pancakes, but they’re certainly more substantial than a crepe.  Try them for breakfast tomorrow and you—and your pancake-loving kids—will thank me!

Tahini Pancakes

(makes two six-inch pancakes.  Go ahead and double or triple the recipe if you like.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
  • coconut oil or butter for the pan

Directions:

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add a teaspoon or so of coconut oil or butter.  Make sure the pan is really well lubricated.  These pancakes can fall apart if they stick.
  2. In a bowl, beat the egg.  Mix in the banana and mash and mix well.  Beat in the tahini.
  3. Pour half the pancake batter into the frying pan and reduce the heat to medium low.  Let cook for a few minutes until, like a normal pancake, it gets dry with burst air bubbles on top.  Very carefully, flip the pancake over and turn the heat all the way to low, or even turn it off.  Let cook a minute or two, then slide off the pan and onto a plate.  Smother with whipped cream and berries, or maple syrup, sliced bananas and walnuts.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Your Healthier Options and What Would You Rather?

Quinoa Salad

This past weekend, I went on a camping trip with my family and some friends. We had a great time sitting around the campfire playing the game “Would You Rather…?” It consists of one person giving someone two unfavorable scenarios to decide which he or she would rather do. With four kids asking the questions, it can go something like this,“Would you rather…eat a big bowl of broccoli for every meal for one week or eat out of a garbage can for one day?”

As I thought about it, there were a few questions and scenarios that came to my mind. So many times, I hear women say, “I struggle to consistently eat healthy and/or exercise. I know I should, but I just can’t seem to do it.” I hear the heart of women who desire to be a good example to their children and grandchildren; to be active and have fun with their husband and kids; to feel confident in who they are on the inside and out.

So here a few questions. (I apologize in advance if this seems harsh.)

  • Would you rather find 30 minutes a day to exercise at your own choosing, or be forced to do it one day by your doctor?
  • Would you rather learn how to eat healthy now and reduce your risk of certain diseases, or miss having a higher quality of life with your kids and grandchildren one day?
  • Would you rather learn how to prepare foods at home, even with a busy schedule, or hear that you have heart disease one day from eating too much fast food?
  • Would you rather be fit and healthy to enjoy activities with your family and friends, or instead sit on the side as a spectator?

Proverbs 21:5 says, The plans of the diligent lead surely to his advantage.

What we do today, prepares us for the quality of life we will have for the future. Let us be wise with our time and resources.

I understand that it can be a challenge to figure out what you should eat and not eat,  and how to fit in exercise along with the busyness of life. So here is another question…

Would you rather spend valuable time trying to figure out HOW to eat healthy and exercise with your busy lifestyle, or would you rather make it easier on yourself and have someone coach you to make the right decisions to attain results?

I know before I buy a house, invest my money, or make a life decision, I look to those who are educated and trained to help me. The same is true for your health. I want to help you learn how to meet your fitness, nutrition, or weight-loss goals and learn how to have a balanced life physically, mentally, and/or spiritually. If you are interested or have been thinking about it, email me today for a FREE consultation at crystal@yourfitnessdesigner.com.

camping

In Good Health,
Crystal

Grilled Chicken Supper Salad

What do you call the meal you eat in the evening…supper or dinner? Just curious! So it appears that this has turned into a mini-series…these last few recipes have focused on lighter meals that are easier to prepare and don’t heat up the kitchen.  Perfect for summer suppers!  (See, that’s what I call the evening meal.)

During these warmer months, I prefer to keep a tub of greens all prepared in the refrigerator to make it quicker to pull together one of these supper salads two or three times each week. Fortunately, Robert really enjoys salad for supper, too! And, like most men, he is very appreciative of something hearty either in or served along with the salad.  Oh, and bread too…really enjoys his bread!  So there is no excuse, as far as I can see, not to have the fixin’s for salad ready to go what with all the luscious produce available at the grocery store AND local farmer’s markets. This week, one meal we had was topped with grilled chicken breast…yum! This fits well into our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV! Low in fat, high in protein!

I have a tip that you might find helpful: when I purchase chicken breast, I repackage them into meal-size portions to store in the freezer. And, most times, before freezing it, I pound or flatten them so that they are similarly thick throughout the whole piece. I find this makes them cook more evenly when used whole; and also are easier to dice or slice when you need to cut them up. Here’s a tutorial you might check out...has some great ideas!

I would LOVE to hear of your favorite salad combinations!

2014-06-27 18.11.48

Grilled Chicken Supper Salad

ingredients:
–  chicken breast
–  2-3 tablespoons favorite marinade or salad dressing
greens:  choose your favorite combo of lettuces with a mixture of textures (bibb, butter, romaine, spring mix, radicchio, arugula, cabbage, spinach, kale, etc.
other veggies cut into bite-size bits:  carrots, tomatoes, cukes, celery, onions, sweet peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.
additional add-ins:  olives, avocado, hard-boiled egg, artichokes, nuts, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs
–  salad dressing
–  sea salt and freshly ground pepper

directions:

  • thaw chicken, if necessary.  pour marinade into bag or container along with the chicken and allow to rest for 30 minutes or so
  • grill chicken ‘til thoroughly cooked through (temperature of 160 degrees); set aside to rest ‘til balance of meal is prepared
  • add 2-3 generous handfuls (per serving) of the lettuces to a big serving bowl
  • throw in the veggies of your choice and toss together
  • top with any other add-ins you choose
  • serve with dressing on the side and s&p for seasoning

♥     ♥   ♥  

God loves you!    (Please don’t ever forget that!)

  coleen

Baked Beans

Baked Beans resize Happy Independence Day!  I’m hoping you are able to celebrate with family and friends today.  What’s on the menu? One of my guilty food pleasures is a right-off-the-grill hot dog.  I know, not the most gourmet of foods, or the healthiest, but everything in moderation, right? And what goes better with hot dogs than baked beans?  Now you could just open a can of baked beans and plop them in a saucepan, but where’s the fun in that? Make your own!

Once I decided to do just that, I found my Mom’s recipe for baked beans.  That poor note card has seen better days, but its hard-used appearance proves what a popular recipe it is.
Baked Beans Recipe Card Mom resize
 
I didn’t have any canned white beans in the pantry, but I did have a one-pound bag of dried white beans. They take more preparation than canned beans (obviously – canned beans come out ready for use) but are worth the effort.  First, dried beans are cheaper than their canned cousins, because once you soak and rehydrate them, they double in weight. (Put another way, when you buy canned beans, you are paying for water.)  Second, you are avoiding any salt, preservatives, or chemicals in the canned beans, not to mention the chance of BPA in the can itself.
 
Anyway, I soaked the beans the night before, but they double in size, so I only used half. (You could freeze the rehydrated beans in a Ziploc bag and thaw them when you have another recipe for them.)  I used my Mom’s recipe as a jumping off point, and they were just as delicious as hers were.  I realized they don’t need to bake in the oven and are great on the stovetop—that way you won’t have to heat up your kitchen on a hot summer day to make them.  These are easy, cheap to make, and will impress everyone who has them.  Hearty, smoky, and fantastic, these put those  gloopy canned baked beans to shame!

Baked Beans

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound dried white beans, soaked overnight in 6 cups water (or use 2 cans of white beans, reserving some of the canning liquid)
  • 5 slices bacon, diced 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (optional, but I like the smokiness – you could also try a few dashes of liquid smoke)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Directions:
  1. If you are using canned beans, skip to Step 2.  If you are using dried beans: Drain the water from the beans you soaked overnight. Put the beans in a pot, cover with about 4 cups of water and a lid, and cook over medium heat for about 2 hours. You don’t want to cook off all the water, so check in on them every once in a while. When they’re done, save about a cup of the cooking water to use in the baked beans, in case you like them a little “saucier” than I do.  
  2. In a Dutch oven or very heavy-bottomed pot, fry the bacon. When it’s about halfway to crunchy, add the onion. When the bacon looks done, add the beans. Turn the heat down to low and stir everything together for a few minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Give it a taste and see if you need to adjust the seasonings. It likely won’t need salt, but you may like some pepper.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for half an hour. Check the consistency – if it’s too thick, add some of the bean cooking water; too thin, take the lid off and let simmer.  Serve hot.
Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!