Hello?? Anyone there????

I have been so busy these past few months.  I returned to work about 2 weeks after giving birth and really haven’t stopped running around since.  Learning to balance a baby and work has been easier than I thought.  However I can’t say the same thing for this blog.

I plan on revising everything on here.  I have vowed to lead a much healthier lifestyle.  Not that I was bad before but there were things I could of course change.  I want to make sure that not only my husband and I are healthier but also set an example for my beautiful daughter Avery Shea.  I have seen one too many problem children who weigh in more than I did fully pregnant and they aren’t even in their teens yet!!

If there is anyone left around that still reads this- I promise I will be doing updates within the next few weeks.


Avery Shea- Born 9-11-09

My New Goals!!!

So it has been  a summer of feeling not quite like myself- ( that seems to happen when you are pregnant the whole time).  

preggo  I am giving myself some new goals.  First of course is to deliver a healthy baby girl hopefully sooner than later.  I am 38 weeks after all!  Second is to completely clear out my cupboards and fridge.  Not that there is really that much “junk food”  but somehow I seem to get addicted to even the most innocent of foods i.e. triscuits, graham crackers, etc.  I miss feeling lean and healthy.  I did escape the better part of my pregnancy without really feeling big which has been a blessing.  I probably have now gained about 22 pounds which isn’t bad but needs to disappear ASAP!!!!  I also can’t wait to get back to my exercise schedule.  I still workout.  Weights 3 times a week and some sort of cardio at least 4 times a week.  However my cardio has been leaving little to be desired.  Running has been banned from my routine.  So of course what is the one think I want to so badly do…. RUN!  I plan on doing my first race post pregnancy on Thanksgiving Morning.  It will be the Garden City Turkey Trot 5 miler.  I am hoping to be back up to that by then.  I know I am not leaving much time to train as I won’t be cleared to run for approximately 6 weeks after birth but I am going to give it a shot.  I also want to do the Half Marathon this coming spring.  It will be my longest race to date.  I have only run 5Ks, 10Ks, and 5 Mile races.  So this should be a good challenge.   I figure by blogging about this I won’t allow myself to change my mind.  Sometimes I need a little extra motivation! 🙂

Just thought I would give you an update as to why my blog has been lacking!!  I am looking forward to updating with a lot of new healthy recipes!

Pineapple Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I haven’t updated this in so long. I have been cooking just forgetting to write about it.

I made this dessert yesterday due to the overabundance of zucchini. I loved it. It’s bascially a carrot cake without the carrot. It’s also very easy and stores well in the fridge.

I found the recipe on Tasty Kitchen.  It’s a great site when you are all out of ideas.

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Ingredients:
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (can Use All White Flour If You Don’t Have This)
1-¼ cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
Freshly Grated Nutmeg, To Taste (1/4 To 1/2 Tsp?), Optional
1 Pinch Ginger (about 1/16 Tsp Or So), Optional
3 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 whole Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Grated (unpeeled) Zucchini (*see Note)
1 (20 Oz.) Can Crushed Pineapple In Juice, Drained (reserve In Case You Need It For The Cake Batter Or The Frosting)

FROSTING
2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
8 Ounces Low-fat Cream Cheese, Softened (can Use Full-fat Cream Cheese)
2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Approx.
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Splash Of Milk Or Pineapple Juice, If Necessary
Chopped Walnuts Or Pecans (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Combine oil, eggs, and vanilla; stir well. Stir egg mixture, grated zucchini, and pineapple into flour mixture. Batter will be stiff and dry but keep folding it and it will all come together. If it still seems too dry, just add a little splash of the pineapple juice.

Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for about 33-35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs and cake is pulling away from sides of pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare frosting, combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Add a splash of milk or pineapple juice if necessary. Spread frosting over top of cake. You can garnish with chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired.

NOTES : If your zucchini are huge, scrape the seeds out of the center before you shred it so it’s not too watery. Also, I spread it all out on layers of paper towel to drain it and dry it off a bit. Then I measure out 2 cups. Not sure if this is critical though. Nuts can also be added to the cake batter if desired. This recipe makes a very generous amount of frosting.

And this recipe can be turned into a Carrot Cake just by substituting shredded carrots for the zucchini.

Enjoy!!

Gazpacho

I love gazpacho. It is so easy to make. It is similar to salsa but just a little soupier. Try it with grilled shrimp on top, avocado and a small spoonful of sour cream or greek yogurt!

Ingredients:
1 cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
Handful fresh copped Cilantro
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Hot Sauce to taste

Directions:
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Crab Quiche

This was amazing! So easy! I even used a frozen pie crust as I am not a huge fan of rolling things out. Way too much work.

Ingredients:
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
½ cup mayonnaise
3 eggs (beaten)
1 cup of crab meat (or imitation crab)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup green onions (chopped)
salt (optional, to your taste)
pepper (optional, to your taste)
cayenne pepper (optional, to your taste

Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix together eggs, milk, flour and mayonnaise until well blended. Stir in crab meat, cheese and green onions. Pour over pie crust. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Antipasto Salad

This was a quick salad.  It was even better the next day.  I found this recipe on Proud Italian Cook’s blog.

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(picture from my kitchen)

I used a combination of fresh green beans, that have been cooked and cooled down, just make sure they still have a little bite, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, garbanzo beans, chopped red onion, and strips of salami. The dressing is made with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and oregano. Delicious!

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I love mushrooms!  I never have really made stuffed ones though.  These were beyone easy and VERY flavorful.  I found this recipe on a great blog- check it out when you get a chance.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

2 Portobello mushrooms
Balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, roasted and chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cups of fresh spinach
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Italian seasoning (I use a blend from Emeril)
Mozzerella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the stem and gills from the mushroom. I use a spoon to scoop them out.
2. Brush the mushrooms with balsamic vinegar.
3. Heat olive oil in a small saute pan. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until tender. Add in peppers. Cook until tender.
4. Add in tomatoes and spinach. Cook until spinach wilted and “cooked.”
5. Divide the filling and stuff the mushrooms.
6. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on the top and add Italian seasoning. Top with cheese.
7. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about ten minutes or until the cheese is melted.
8. Enjoy!

Black Bean Salad

I loved this recipe- I found this on the Food Network. It was great with Tostito Chips or on top of Chicken or Fish. My friend April also makes this exact recipe- it is perfect when the weather is warmer!!  The last time I made this I left out the tomato and it still was amazing! 
Ingredients:
2 cans black beans, drained, about 30 ounces
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced green onions
1/4 cup diced pineapple
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch ground cumin

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Strawberry Shortcake with Cream Biscuits!!

I LOVED this recipe!!!! It was AMAZING! It is very had finding recipes for desserts that don’t contain Chocolate. It seems that everyone out in blog world is obsessed with chocolate. I have never really been a fan of the stuff. Which is why this recipes was PERFECT!  Thank you Ezra!!!

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( This picture was also from Ezra’s site)

Strawberry Shortcake

Adapted from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food”

Makes 6

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

6 baked 2-inch Cream Biscuits (recipe below)

Powdered sugar (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries and sugar.

2. Remove 1 cup of the strawberry mixture, and purée it in a blender or food processor. Return the purée to the rest of the strawberries; stir. Set aside at least 15 minutes.

3. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip together the cream, vanilla and sugar until it starts to form soft peaks.

4. Slice the Cream Biscuits in half. For each biscuit, spoon the strawberry mixture onto the bottom half, and add a dollop of whipped cream. Top with the other biscuit half, and dust it with powdered sugar.

Cream Biscuits

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar (if using) and baking powder.

3. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or your fingertips. The pieces should be the size of small peas.

4. Measure cream; set aside 1 tablespoon. Add the remaining cream to the flour, and stir with a fork until the mixture just comes together. Lightly knead the dough a few times in the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, and roll out about 3/4 inch thick.

5. Cut six 2-inch circles or squares out of the dough. Reroll the scraps, if necessary.

6. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and brush the tops with the tablespoon of cream.

7. Bake for 17 minutes or until golden and done.