An Adventure in food, DIY, and More

Tag Archives: Healthy

Many people love to grow their own vegetables in the summer. If that’s you, you might want to tune in to this post, since it uses fresh tomatoes and basil…and nothing is better than picking it straight out of your own garden right before you begin cooking. That’s one of the biggest thrills of gardening for me, the produce yields. Whether it be fruit or vegetables, it’s still exciting every time you get to pick something that just ripened to perfection, with plans to use it in tonight’s dinner. Tomatoes and basil are both a very simple backyard gardening effort, as long as you have a decent amount of sunshine and ample water. Basil can even grow year round if you have it in a pot that you can bring indoors during the colder months. Tomatoes typically grow from mid-May until September or October, depending on the summer. Picking a fresh tomato (regardless of variety) and cooking with it that day makes for some excellent flavor in your dinner, I promise!

organic-chicken-breast

In our household, we have a picky 2 year old who doesn’t eat much besides cheese, yogurt, cereal, mac n cheese and hot dogs, much to my dismay. I love to cook and it’s very difficult to find meals that he will eat. Shockingly, he actually ate a good portion of the noodles in this dish, although he did pick around the tomatoes a bit, and steered very clear of the basil. He does appreciate some garlic on occasion, and I always tend to go a bit overboard with it because I am just a huge garlic lover. This is a very light and delicious dinner, and served next to a loaf of homemade bread, it’s downright delicious. I would recommend this to anyone, and I sure do hope you’ll try it. It’s well worth it.

IMAG1249

I have varied the types of tomatoes I’ve added to this dish, you can use varieties such as early girl, roma, and even cherry tomatoes like sun golds or sun sugars. Each tomato has it’s own unique flavor and I think if I had to choose, a mix of fresh roma and cherry sun sugars is my favorite. It just emanates summer. If you make this recipe in winter and buy the tomatoes from the store, I’d highly recommend just using roma tomatoes or a mix of roma and grape tomatoes. We make it in winter because it’s just too good to wait all the way until next summer to eat it again, and it brings nice fluffy feelings…and reminds us that summer isn’t too far off again.

Another fun twist, if you’re tired of chicken or just have a hankering for seafood, you can easily substitute shrimp into this recipe instead. If you decide to go that route, skip cooking the chicken at the beginning and just start by sauteing the tomatoes. As the last step, you’ll add the shrimp (peeled and deveined) and cook for 4-5 minutes or until pink and cooked through. Pre-season them with salt and pepper, and if you’d like, a seafood seasoning. Both ways are delicious!

IMAG1266

Lastly, the type of noodles can easily be varied as well. Linguine, fettuccine, spaghtetti, etc. It’s even more fun if you make your own homemade noodles. 🙂

IMAG1265

And without further ado, here is the recipe!

Tomato & Basil Chicken with Pasta

Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips (or 1/2 pound shrimp, if substituting)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups roughly chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • 1/2 lb dry pasta of your choice

Step 1
Season chicken breast slices with salt and black pepper. Add olive oil to your skillet, and heat oil on medium high. While waiting for the oil to heat, start your pasta according to package directions, or if using homemade pasta, follow recipe directions. You don’t want to have to wait for your pasta to finish at the end. Make sure your oil is hot before adding chicken, you can splash a small amount of water on the oil and if it sputters, it’s hot enough. Add the chicken when hot, and cook until chicken is no longer pink.

Step 2
Next, add your tomatoes. Stir and cook for about a minute, and then add your fresh basil (reserve a small amount for garnish). Your kitchen will be smelling wonderful about now, so enjoy it! Then add the cold butter, and allow to melt, making a very delicious, thin sauce. Lastly, add in your garlic. At this point, you can sneak a quick taste and if you like, season your sauce with additional salt and pepper. Stir the sauce and chicken together well.

Step 3
Your pasta should be ready by now. Top the pasta with the chicken and sauce, and garnish with Parmesan cheese and remaining basil, and serve!

 

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we have! Feel free to share and leave a comment below telling me what you think!


Image

Ok….yes….just let the picture settle into the recesses of your brain. There….can’t you almost taste it? I mean, come on, it looks like a liquid kiwi in a jar. Um, yum! What a great way to eat those fruits and veggies without feeling like you really are. This is also a sneaky way to get those picky kids to eat their vegetables; trick them with a green monster smoothie! Tell them when they drink this smoothie, they’re drinking the same thing the Hulk drinks every morning for breakfast! 😉 See, simple, huh? Not only is this recipe incredibly open ended, it always ends up tasting good no matter what. Ok, maybe not ALWAYS, but you’d really have to throw in everything but the kitchen sink (or, maybe even the sink too…) to get it to taste not-so-pleasant.
The basis for this recipe comes from Portuguese Girl Cooks. She has a fantastic blog, that I’m personally addicted to.

Green Monster Smoothie

Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1-2 servings 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 fresh or frozen banana
  • 1 large peach, chopped with skin on
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 mango, chopped
  • about 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup cold water

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, add in all ingredients, and blend until very smooth. If it is too thick, add water or almond milk until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.

Feel free to mess around with the fruits, and you could always use kale instead of spinach, or even both. The antioxidants in this smoothie are fabulous for you, and should make you feel good in no time. Starting your day with a smoothie like this would be one of the better choices you could make for your body, even though those egg mcmuffins really can be appealing at times. You’d probably take the same amount of time to make this smoothie as it would to wait in the drive thru line or order inside, so do yourself a favor, and start your day with a healthy breakfast!

Recipe from, Portuguese Girl Cooks


So, I’ve never really had a knack for just throwing things into a pot and having it come out right. But, now that I’ve been spending more time in my kitchen, tinkering with ingredients and seasonings, things have been coming along a little better. The other day I was very pressed for time, and needed something to make in the crock pot for my husband and my mother, since I had to work that night. I kept looking for a recipe, but was missing at least one or two things ingredient wise on each recipe. Not so helpful. So, I decided that I was just going to try a “recipe” of my own, and see what happened. Well, needless to say, it actually turned out quite good!

chicken

You can use frozen or fresh chicken breasts for this, it doesn’t particularly matter, although it’s easier when they’re thawed in my opinion. I’m just overly picky. To each their own, as I always say. And the vegetables you add to it can vary, I was in a hurry so I used a frozen mixed vegetable blend of onion, green and red peppers, and mushrooms. It turned out great, but I’m sure it would be much better with fresh veggies. I always prefer to use fresh, more nutrients that way as well. As we come up on the new year, my husband and I have resolutions for weight loss, healthy meal plans, and exercising that we intend to stick with. 🙂 With that in mind, I will be focusing my recipes on low calorie, but high “good” fats/protein meals. So if you have a resolution to stay fit and eat better, this is definitely the blog to follow! I am also contemplating posting a few entries on Mom and Baby Yoga, so even if you’re a new mom, you could totally get in on this for 2014. Which, I can’t believe, is seriously already here. My son turns 3 months old January 2nd. Goodness how time flies.

Ok, now, back to the point. I’m sure you’re wanting the recipe for this fantastic chicken, huh? 😉 Well, here it is.

Directions

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed or frozen (thawed is easier, in my opinion)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup (the cans say to add one can of water with each, you will only add ONE can of water)

2 cups of your choice of cut vegetables (broccoli, onion, peppers and mushrooms work great, frozen veggie mixes work as well if you are in a time crunch)

1/2 packet of powdered chicken marinade of your choice (you can vary the flavor this way, I used an Italian chicken marinade)

Combine all ingredients in crock pot, and turn on high 4-6 hours, or low 6-10 hours, depending on how long you need it to cook for. 🙂 That’s it. Super easy, and super tasty. This is fantastic served over white or brown rice. Just pop a package of quick cooking rice into the microwave when you get home, and dinner is done! Serve with a drizzling of the sauce over the chicken, veggies and rice.


So lately I have been leaning toward all natural foods and making my own cleaning supplies, shampoos, detergents, and even lotions! I already posted my coconut oil lotion recipe on here, and that one I still use to this day, especially on my tummy to save me from those nasty pregnancy stretch marks (one can hope, right?).

With my son being born within the next 3 1/2 months, it makes me realize that our world has some NASTY stuff in our foods and health and beauty products. The amount of GMO’s and “icky” stuff in our foods today is shocking, like the use of pesticides, preservatives and artificial flavorings. I don’t want that in my system, and I certainly don’t believe that my son should be exposed to these products either, whether it be through me during my pregnancy or after he’s born.

With that in mind,  I am beginning my search for all sorts of home DIY stuff. Soaps, candles, lotions, detergents, cleaners, etc. My hubby has extremely sensitive skin and can’t use soaps with glycerin or anything like that, so my first big task is to create a soap that doesn’t irritate his skin. I too have sensitive skin, but not quite to that extreme. I do anticipate our son to have sensitive skin too because of that though. I will be posting my findings here to share with any of you that read or follow my blog. And for those of you who do..thank you! I truly appreciate it. I realize I may not update every day, but that’s mainly due to my pregnancy brain right now. I forget even the simplest things! So bear with me, and hopefully I can share with you some wonderful and safe DIY recipes for the whole family.


I found an amazing recipe that features two of my most favorite things: artichokes and feta cheese. In most cases, I’d do backflips just for feta. Add in artichokes too and you might get some flying backflips! Found this recipe in the March edition of Good Housekeeping, and I just adore it. They outline that feta cheese is lower in fat than many other cheeses and the array of vegetables in this dish help deliver plenty of “health boosting antioxidants.”

Artichoke Frittata
Total time 30 minutes and makes 4 main dish servings.

Each 1 cup serving; 325 calories, 18g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 14g total fat (5g saturated), 3g fiber, 205mg cholesterol, and 515mg sodium.

Ingredients;
1lb small red potatoes, cut into quarters
1 tbsp. Plus 1 tsp. Olive oil
2 green onions, sliced
1 orange pepper (8oz), chopped
1 Pt. Grape tomatoes
1 can (13-14oz) artichoke hearts, rinsed and chopped
4 lg. Eggs plus 4 lg. Egg whites
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preparation Instructions:
1. Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler.

2. To medium microwave safe bowl, add potatoes and 1/4 cup water, cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high 8 minutes or until tender. Drain. On jelly-roll pan, toss potatoes with 1 tsp oil and 1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper. Broil 6 minutes or until browned.

3. Meanwhile, in non-stick 10inch skillet, heat 1 tbsp. Oil on medium heat 1 minute. Add green onions and orange pepper, cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and artichoke hearts, cook 2 to 5 minutes or until tomatoes start to burst, stirring occasionally.

4. While vegetables cook, in a medium bowl, beat eggs and egg whites with 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper and half of the feta. Pour over vegetables and tilt skillet to distribute evenly. Top with remaining feta. Cover, cook 5 to 6 minutes or until set. Serve with potatoes.

All in all, I think this is a wonderful dish. Served with a nice and flavorful wine like a twist of Cabernet Sauvignon blanc and I’m sure it would be wonderful. I’m not the best at pairing wines with food, but maybe someone could give the recipe and a bottle of wine a try and let me know their thoughts and reviews? The picture of the dish below comes straight from Good Housekeeping, I take no credit for it. I forgot to take a picture when I made it. Enjoy!

Till next time, my friends. ❤

20120306-102125.jpg