Missing Vacation and Spicy Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps


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Well we are home and somewhat back to our regular life. Pathetically, jet lag is killing us far more than we ever anticipated. Three days out and we are still waking up way too early (4am-ish) and finding ourselves sleepy.

However, it’s great to be home and great to be back in my own kitchen. That said- the views here at home just don’t stack up to sightings like this:

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Believe it or not, this is a real live puffin. We spent an incredible evening in Latrabjarg, at the famous bird cliffs. The puffins were so incredible and were more than willing to come right up to us. It was amazing! Shot by my husband on June 15, 2013.

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I LOVE MONDAYS…. and Slow Cooked Tomatillo Lime Chicken

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Most people love the weekend and hate Mondays. But lately, I have been loving my Mondays. I know- clearly I have spent too many hours in the car. I must be losing my mind.

I get all the Monday hatred- starting the work week can be rough. But for us, Mondays rock. They are our no fitness class, no errand running, no plan evening. They are our US evening. For the last few Mondays, we’ve gone on runs or taken nice long walks. Tonight’s walk was the best yet- a nice long walk along a rail trail where we spotted birds, ducks and even a bunny! LOVE. Love love love.

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I am a 1950’s Housewife…. and Spicy Beef Enchilada Roll-Ups

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Hi my name is Stephanie and I am a 1950’s housewife. I double and triple recipes just so that I can stockpile meals in my freezer. I mean I PREFER fresh food- who doesn’t? But with a long commute, we rely on our stockpiles often.

And sometimes, all that crazy housewife cooking mania pays off.

Case in Point: This past weekend, we were able to escape to NYC for a wonderful visit with friends. It was a beautiful, sun soaked weekend made even better by fantastic company and several TO. DIE. FOR. meals. Thai food, burgers at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, and one of the BEST Italian dinners I’ve had. So much delicious food. And for those of you wondering  whether I worried about calories, I can tell ya with a big old smile: no, I did not. At the end of the day, one delicious weekend celebrating life with friends and enjoying copious amounts of good food won’t blow an otherwise on track diet.

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Recapturing the Beauty…. and Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

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It is so easy to lose sight of the beauty in life sometimes- the little things that make you so happy but get buried under the day to day. And lately, I have a LOT of day-to-day to bury myself in. Driving nearly an hour and 25 minutes each morning to work, working long days, driving that same distance back home, squeezing in workouts and runs, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of life- it is exhausting. 

Don’t get me wrong, I feel extremely blessed. I feel blessed to have found a job, that although extremely far, interests me each and every day. A job that I am WILLING to make such a drive for. And I feel blessed to have a home to worry about. But sometimes, sometimes it’s just hard. Sometimes I just want to be able to get home at a normal hour and crash on the couch with my husband. I don’t want us to have to spend our weekends running errands, cleaning and cooking because we get home too late at night to get any of that out of the way. And I get cranky. Rawr.

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Sunday Staples: Caramelized Onion and Fresh Basil Marinara

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Maybe this is just a sign of my Type A personality, but I am kind of a planner- shocker, right? One of my biggest challenges in eating healthy is balancing the time it takes to eat well with a full time job and a nearly 3 hour a day commute. This means prep- a whole lot of prep. Drop by on a Sunday and you are likely to find me in a kitchen packed full of various dishes slow cooking, baking and simmering. Sundays are my prep day- it’s my own little form of weekly therapy. #IamACrazyCooker.

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Change YOU Believe in and Slow Carb, Slow Cooked Moroccan Chicken Stuffed Portobello

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When I began my barre journey last fall, my husband was not ready to join me on the path to health yet. That is an important thing to realize- until you are ready, until you want to make a change for yourself, not someone else, you will not make that change. Change has to come from within, for yourself and your own health. Anything less than that just won’t stick- or at least it never has for me.

As I did a few months before, my husband had to make the decision to get fit on his own and did so around the start of the New Year. For him, his guide to health came in the form of a book- The Four Hour Body. Now, I know slow carb is not for me. Personally, I don’t want to limit anything- I want my sweets, my dairy, my carbs. I just eat them in moderation. For my husband, this diet really clicked with him, much like barre and simple healthy eating has for me. He felt more energy very quickly and within a couple of months, he had dropped over 20 pounds. Go him!

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What’s Inside: Slow Carb Taco Stuffed Red Peppers

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There are a lot of variations of stuffed peppers out there, but since the husband has been doing the slow carb diet for the last month or so, I’ve been experimenting with recipes that work with his new dietary constraints while still satisfying me- who refuses to cut out anything. 🙂 This week, we were both craving tacos, but since he cannot have tortillas, we stuffed everything in a pepper. Easy, definitely freezer friendly, and healthy….

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Smoked Paprika Chicken Over Spaghetti Squash


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Who doesn’t crave comfort food from time to time. For me, my comforts tend to be creamy, spicy indian dishes like Chicken tikka masala, or good old italian food- anything from chicken parm to cream based sauces like vodka sauce.

About a month ago, I had some chicken breast left over from a recipe that I needed to either cook or freeze. I decided to marinate and freeze it. It worked out so well, I was able to use it as a base for a delicious dish of Smoked Paprika Chicken Over Spaghetti Squash! By using yogurt instead of cream and Spaghetti Squash instead of pasta, I still got the same flavors without the fat.

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What’s Inside: Cracked Pepper Encrusted Sirloin Topped with Blue Cheese, Paired with Garlicky Cauliflower Saute

Beef and I have had a complicated relationship. Most days, it’s just not for me. But every once in awhile, I physically crave it. But even when I do- I lean more towards a lean, juicy burger than a large piece of steak.

The other night, the hubs picked up some delicious looking grass fed sirloin steaks from Whole Foods. I was stumped. I am more of a slap it on the grill beef girl and it was snowing out. Instead, I decided to improvise off a couple recipes I’d seen on Pinterest.

The result:

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What’s Inside: Cracked Pepper Encrusted Sirloin Topped with Blue Cheese, Paired with Garlicky Cauliflower Saute

Ingredients

    • 2 grass fed beef sirloin steaks
    • whole black pepper
    • sea salt
    • Grapeseed Oil

trong>Directions

Using a mortar and pestle crush a couple teaspoons of whole black peppercorns. The amount will vary based on the size of your steak. I would suggest not going to heavy on this, a little goes a long way. Once crushed, mix in a dash of sea salt. Rub this mix all over the steaks and set them aside. I then got moving on the cauliflower but for the sake of easy reading- here is how I finished the steaks:

Heat a teaspoon of grapeseed oil in a large pan- use just enough to keep the steaks from burning, but not enough to coat them. I pan seared them to 135-140 degrees because I like thinks about medium rare, but cook to your desired finish. Then, top each steak with a tablespoon of crumbled goat cheese. Voila.

 

What’s Inside: Garlicky (did I make this word up?) Cauliflower

Ingredients

      • One head of cauliflower
      • Half of one onion
      • 4 cloves of garlic
      • Macadamia nut oil
      • salt and pepper

Directions
Mince the garlic and chop the onion into thin slices and set aside. Then clean and chop the cauliflower into small florets. In a medium pot, bring a small amount of water to boil and then place the cauliflower in for a couple of minutes, until it just starts to become tender. Then, drain the cauliflower and set it aside. In a large saucepan, heat up about 2 teaspoons of the Macadamia nut oil and then sautee the garlic for a minute or so until it became fragrant, then add in the onions. Sautee them for about 4-5 minutes. You want them to be well cooked, but not quite to the point of caramelizing. Then add in the cauliflower and let the flavors cook together for another few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and you are done.

As long as you are using lean beef, this is overall a healthy meal. Of course with beef, oil and cheese, it is higher in calorie than some of my usual dinners but it is a nice change from lean chickens and fish! Enjoy!

 

 

What’s Inside: Pesto Pulled Chicken Flatbread

Who says you can’t eat healthy and still eat deliciously.

Behold my dinner a few nights ago. Pesto chicken pizza with fresh
mozzarella and pecorino Romano cheese. Delicious. Proof positive you can still enjoy comfort food and eat healthy. This meal came in around 380 calories and consisted of fresh ingredients.

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