Thursday, May 14, 2015

Back from Hiatus

Let me start off by apologizing for my extended hiatus from this site.  I have to say, I did NOT expect school to take up so much of my time!!!  At one point, this blog started off to be somewhat of a hobby of mine.  A source for me to vent all of my single parenting frustrations with the world; to share some new recipes I've created (or doctored up); and to share my life journey with weight loss, and healthy eating.  But since starting Nursing School in January 2014, I have been busy to the MAX!!!!  No time for blogging or recipe creating.  No time for weight loss or exercising.  I mean, if I'm being completely honest here, I barely have enough time for my kid these days!!  =( I am 100% overwhelmed and frustrated about 98% of the time... This is, BY FAR, the HARDEST thing I have ever encountered in my LIFE!!!!  There is simply no way to describe the agony of which Nursing School brings.  If you have not gone through the journey yourself, there is nothing I could say that would do it justice.  But, the good news is:  I am nearing the end of my third semester, making me 3/4 finished with this part of the journey!!!!  Yay me!!!  I have to tell you, I am a living testimony
to those of you who think that reaching for the stars cannot be achieved as a single mom.  I have journeyed this road completely alone.  Just me and my daughter.  It has been no one but God helping me through this, I know this for sure, because there were many times that I have wanted to give up and walk away.  I am living proof that good things can come from broken vessels.  You can make a comeback and change your future.  Whatever dream you may have in life, do what you have to do to get there.  Do not allow your single parenting woes stop you from achieving the life that you deserve.  YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mexican Chicken & Lime Soup

Okay, so, who hasn't heard of Williams-Sonoma's Mexican Lime Soup?  I honestly don't know of many people who haven't!  This is one of the best soups I've ever tasted!!  It was so flavorful & refreshing, and will definitely hit the spot every time you make it!  The original recipe is posted on the Williams-Sonoma website within their recipes tab, but I made a few minor adjustments, based on what I had in my own kitchen.  Go on and give this soup a try!  It's perfect for those cool and cozy autumn nights!

Mexican Chicken Lime Soup
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma / Serves 2-3

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half (cut into chunks)
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (or white onion, if you prefer)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cup water
  • mild feta cheese - for topping
  • 1 medium avocado, diced - for topping
  • cilantro - for topping
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TB grape seed oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp McCormick's Perfect Pinch Salt-Free Original All Purpose Seasoning (or 1 tsp oregano)
  1. Season chicken breast chunks with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan and sautee chicken breast pieces until browned.
  3. In the meantime, combine chicken broth, water, crushed red pepper, lime juice, black pepper, kosher salt, and McCormick's seasoning in a medium-sized pot.
  4. Remove browned chicken from saucepan and add to the pot.
  5. In the same saucepan, sautee garlic and red onions until nearly translucent (being careful not to burn the garlic).
  6. Add garlic and onions to the pot and cook on medium heat until boiling.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Transfer soup to a bowl and top with cilantro, diced avocado, and mild feta cheese.
  9. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Homemade Chicken & Rice Soup

    I am absolutely in LOVE with Autumn!  The beautifully colored leaves on the ground, pumpkin pie, and the excuse to break out the knit hats, scarves, and ankle boots!  Unfortunately, along with Autumn, also comes cold and flu season - which my poor little munchkin has experienced this past weekend.  In an effort to help make her feel better, I whipped up my first ever batch of Chicken & Rice Soup!  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did!  I can't wait to make this again!

    Homemade Chicken & Rice Soup
    Original Recipe / Serves 4

    • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup diced red onion
    • 1 c frozen mixed vegetables
    • 3 c chicken broth
    • 1/2 c cooked brown rice (I used basmati)
    • 1 1/2 tsp McCormick's Perfect Pinch All Purpose Seasoning (or you can sub basil, oregano & parsley)
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • kosher salt & pepper, to taste
    • 1 TB grape seed oil, for frying
    1. Cut chicken breast into small chunks and season with salt and pepper.
    2. Heat grape seed oil in a medium-sized skillet and cook chicken until golden brown.
    3. Meanwhile, combine seasonings, brown rice, chicken broth, and frozen vegetables in a medium saucepan.
    4. Remove chicken from skillet and place in saucepan.
    5. In the same skillet, saute diced onion and minced garlic, until the onion becomes slightly translucent - being careful not to burn the garlic
    6. Add onion/garlic mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat until soup begins to boil.
    7. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
    8. Enjoy!

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken

    There's really no introduction needed for this recipe.  I love chicken, I love lemon, and I love garlic! And when you mix them all together, you get a mouthwatering delicious entree that the whole family will enjoy!  This dish is extremely light and healthy, and can be used as a main dish or as a topping for salads, in a soup, or even wrapped in a tortilla!  I simply love how this chicken came out, and I will definitely be making it over and over again!  I hope you and your family love it as much as mine did!  Enjoy!

    Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken
    Original Recipe / Serves 3-4

    • Juice from 2 medium lemons (approx 2/3 c)
    • 1/2 c grape seed oil
    • 8 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 TB)
    • 1/8 c minced onion
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • Lime (or additional small lemon), optional.
    1. Combine all ingredients in ziploc bag and shake until well mixed.
    2. Remove small portion of marinade to use while cooking.
    3. Place chicken in bag and marinade overnight, for best results (or for at least 3-5 hours).
    4. Remove marinated chicken breasts from ziploc bag and cook on the grill (brushing with reserved marinade) until no longer pink.
    5. Remove cooked chicken from the grill and squirt with lime (or lemon) juice.
    6. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Garlic Wheat Naan

     For my second day, and first "official" cooking day of my 20lbs in 9 week challenge, I decided to make something light, yet filling.  I combined two of my favorite things, Alfredo Pasta & Naan bread!!!  I am fully aware that I have intermingled Italian and Indian cuisine, but I just could NOT resist!  The end product:  a
    dinner that even my picky 5 year old and non-dieting Aunt would not only eat, but LOVED!!!  I have to say, I was a bit nervous about both the Squash and the Naan.  I've cooked Spaghetti Squash once before (Click here for previous post), and my munchkin wasn't too thrilled.  Actually, to be honest, she hated it.  It took her a very long time to finish her food, and asked me not to make that again! It was the texture that she couldn't get past, and possibly the disappointment of her taste buds expecting spaghetti, but getting squash.  This time around, however, her response was "Mmmmm this is sooooo good, mommy!  I love it!"  Hearing those words come out of her mouth makes me love cooking a little bit more, if that's even possible!  Now about the Naan... I have never tried Whole Wheat Naan before.  And as much as I am in love with Naan, I honestly wasn't sure how this was going to come out.  But after the taste test - both myself and my daughter - we were both in love!  My aunt had never tried Naan before, and she really enjoyed it, as well.  All in all, I'd have to say tonight's dinner was a huge success.  My tummy is full, and my taste buds are happy!

    Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
    Adapted by Freakin' Fantastic Food / Serves 2-3

    • 1 medium Spaghetti Squash
    • 1 TB Butter
    • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
    • 1 TB Onion, minced
    • 2 TB Almond Flour
    • 1 1/2 c Almond Milk
    • 1 tsp Corn Starch
    • 1 TB whipped or light Cream Cheese
    • 1 c grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for garnish
    • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
    • 1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
    • Parsley & Crushed Red Pepper, for garnish (optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Cut the squash lengthwise, using sharp knife, and remove the seeds.
    3. Place squash cut side down on baking sheet, and cover halfway with water.
    4.  Bake squash for about an hour, until tender.
    5. Remove squash from oven and using a fork, gently scrape the "spaghetti" strands into the center of the squash (spoon desired amount into a bowl, if desired).
    6. For the sauce, melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.
    7. Add minced garlic and onion, and saute' until golden brown.
    8. Whisk in flour and then slowly add milk, making sure well blended.
    9. Add corn starch and whisk vigorously, removing all lumps.
    10. Heat mixture for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until fully heated.
    11. Add cream cheese, and whisk until smooth.
    12. Remove from heat, and add parmesan cheese, salt, and ground pepper.
    13. Spoon cream sauce over the spaghetti squash (or bowl of "spaghetti").
    14. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, parsley, and crushed red pepper (optional) on top.
    15. Serve Immediately.

    Garlic Wheat Naan
    Recipe adapted from Budget Bytes / Serves 8 

    • 1 3/4 c Whole Wheat Flour
    • 1 c unbleached Almond Flour
    • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
    • 1 tsp raw, unfiltered Honey
    • 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast (Bread Machine Yeast also works)
    • 1/2 c Water
    • 1/4 c Oil (Grapeseed or Olive Oil are best)
    • 1/3 c  0% Plain Greek Yogurt
    • 1 large Egg
    • Butter, Garlic Salt, and Parsley - for topping
    1. Combine honey, yeast, and water in a small bowl and whisk until fully dissolved. Let sit 1-2 minutes until bubbles form.
    2. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine whole wheat flour & salt.
    3. Pour wet ingredients into medium bowl with flour mixture, and stir until well blended.  
    4. Slowly pour in almond flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until well combined and flour ball is formed.
    5. Place ball of dough on well floured surface, and kneed dough for 2-3 minutes, adding additional
      wheat flour, as needed to prevent sticking.
    6. Loosely cover the dough and let rise until ball doubles in size, about 1 hour.
    7. Gently flatten dough, after fully risen, and slice into 8 equal pieces.
    8. Shape each piece into a ball, by folding the edges over each other.
    9. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and spray lightly with cooking spray.
    10. Roll dough, one at a time, on floured surface, until about 1/4 inches thick.
    11. Place dough into heated skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown & bubbles begin to
      form on the surface.
    12. Flip dough and cook other side until golden brown.
    13. Remove from heat, brush with butter, and sprinkle with parsley and garlic salt.
    14. Enjoy!