Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shrimp Skewers w/Tropical Brown Rice

I am SO PROUD of my recipe creation tonight. I wanted to make something fun, fruity, colorful and light for dinner after our heavy lunch. Tonight I made up another recipe in under 30 minutes that was full of flavor and fun to eat. I LOVE taking little bites off skewers as you chow down. Plus I FINALLY found a use for my cool plate I've had for awhile :D

Shrimp Skewers w/Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce


** You can make this VEGAN by using Tofu, a meat substitute or leaving the meat option off and replacing it with POTATOES.

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
Dashes of sea salt & pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lime juiced
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces)
1 medium red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 medium green pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 summer squash, cunt into 1 1/2 inche pieces
4 asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
Other 1/2 of lime, juiced
1 jar TJ's mango ginger chutney
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat Grill or broiler.

Combine shrimp through olive oil and set aside to marinate while you cut up the vegetables.

Thread tomatoes, onion, shrimp, pepper, squash and asparagus alternately onto each of 8 skewers. Pour remaining sauce of shrimp skewers and you are ready to go.

If using the oven, Broil 4 minutes or until shrimp are done, turning once.
If grilling, grill for 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp are opaque.

Combine remaining lime juice, chutney, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. You may want to blend the chutney sauce if it is too chunky. Sprinkle with additional red pepper flakes and green onion, if desired.

Serve sauce with skewers.

Makes 4 servings, 2 skewers with 1/4 cup sauce (4 WWP each).

Here is what they looked like getting ready to go on the grill.


And, coming off the grill ~ grilled to perfection.


I had a few extra shrimp that I grilled all on one skewer.


And dipped them in the Spicy Mango Chutney.


I made up a quick, Tropical Brown Rice to go with it. It's so simple.


Heat up one packet of Trader Joe's Frozen Organic Brown Rice in the microwave for 3 minutes.

Add in 1/2 cup Tropical Salsa (you can buy or make your own). It's simple to make your own ~ combine: Mango, papaya, red peppers, cilantro, lime juice, jalepeno and jicama for crunch

Mix in 1-2 sliced green onions and add sea salt/freshly ground pepper to taste.

All together with a new Organic Cucumber Sparkling Water I was trying out to get ready to get into the "spa" spirit.


I honestly thought the fizzy water was super funky ~ maybe I've used too many smelly lotions, but, the taste of cucumber melon didn't really seem like something you should be eating. However, to be a good review, here are some pictures. You can click any of the pictures below to make them bigger.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Alright all ~ I am off to read my Bikini Book and "pretend" to watch Righteous Kill with The Husband. I wish we had ONE more day off - another 3-day weekend....*sigh*

Just a few more hours for your chance to score some FREE GNU BARS. Click HERE for your chance!

Bikini Bootcamp ~ What to expect~ Day 1

I think Ashley at a Healthy, Happier, Bear is jumping on board for the Bikini Bootcamp Challenge ~ Woohoo! She asked for a sample of what is in day one until she can pick up the book. Here is a quick recap for those wondering what my day will look like tomorrow.

Day one Meditation & Workouts:

It starts with the Day's Inspiration:
Journal Writing for 15 minutes
Meditation for 10 minutes
Yoga for 15 minutes
Walking-30 mins to an hour
Circuit Training 38 minutes
Core Strengthening for 20 minutes

I will be doing my meditation & yoga in the morning, cardio at lunch (gym workouts) and circuit training and strengthening for after work. If I have the chance I will fit in walking too, but, I think this is a pretty big list to follow. I want to journal at the end of the day about my day.

Menu for Day One:

Morning Burst: cup of hot water with lemon (each morning starts this way!)
Breakfast: blueberry smoothie
Lunch: Amansala Salad with Grilled Fish (or chicken) w/ginger lime dressing
Snack: Jicama sticks with lime and salt
Dinner: Tortilla-less Tortilla Soup, Chicken Fajitas with black beans Guacamole and Amansala Salsa
Dessert: fruit kebabs

I am not too excited about breakfast (wish it was more) and snack.....but, I will say the menus do get better from here on out. The book does give you a list of healthy snack options to have on hand so you don't starve (apples and such) so I am sure you will see some of them show up or I'll be moving dessert up in my day. A smoothie isn't enough to power through spinning for me.

Spa Treat:

Cooling Cucumber and Honey Scalp Treatment

The book gives you all the recipes, of course. And they try to make things as simple, natural and easy as possible, which I love.

The downsides: time intensive and NO alcohol or chocolate. (not a big thing for me, but, it IS only two weeks!)

So, there you have it! That is how my day 1 is looking.

Any questions so far? Let me know if you want any recipes posted or what not.

Favela's Fushion ~ Great Mexican Food!

For lunch today, we took my parents to the new restaraunt that just opened this past year, Favela's Fushion. We've heard alot about this place and have been wanting to try it out. I WISH I grabbed a take out menu since their website isn't set up all the way yet. I will just have to describe the flavors in my post for you all :)

We started out with hot, salty, crunchy chips and salsa ~ My absolute weakness is salty crunchy! Add salsa and it's the best combination. I did manage to not eat too many of these since the 4 of us had to share :)



The colorful salsa was roasty and spicy while the red salsa reminded me a bit of a spicy enchilada salsa. Both were good. I couldn't decide on what to try since everything looked so good on their menu. This is definitely not your typical mexican joint ~ their menu reminded me alot of what Bobby Flay does as they used alot of different spices, nuts and even chocolate to "infuse" the flavors into their food.

I finally decided on making my own taco combo ~ I picked a chicken and grilled shrimp taco with black beans. Easy, enough, right? Well, then, they gave me the choice of smashed black beans or whole ~ whole and cilantro rice or spanish red rice....hmmm! He brought me out a sample of the cilantro to try and I was sold!

Cute sample cup that we all shared ~ I want these cups!


When our meals first came out, I was sort of jealous of the great chicken salad my Mom had. Doesn't this look amazing?


The first thing I dove into was my chicken taco ~ OMG ~ AMAZING! This might just be the most flavorful taco I've ever had. The chicken was rubbed with spices, then, grilled. It was stuffed into two little corn tortillas with a little cheese, cabbage, chunky fresh salsa, guacamole and a little sour cream.


Next up was my shrimp taco. I LOVED that they included caramelized onions and garlic with their spicy shrimp with cabbage and chunky fresh salsa. This was amazing too! I was thinking as I ate these, tacos might just be one of the best creations ever!


My sides were that amazing cilantro rice that melts in your mouth and birsts with just enough cilantro flavor and slightly spicy black beans.



Their presentation is really fun ~ they place dashes of the different spices they use on your plate. I wish my camera captured how cool this looked with all the different colors.


I was absolutely wishing my stomach had more room ~ I couldn't finish it all and only managed a few bites of my beans. *sigh* It was such a great lunch and I'd definitely go back (pondering when we can next already LOL!)

After lunch we headed off to Lowe's and Home Depot to check out our rock siding that we are installing and helped my parents pick out some cool flowers. I have been relaxing this afternoon, but, suppose I need to get in the kitchen to start cooking up the NEW recipe I have for you all!

My GNU Bar Giveaway ends in about 6 1/2 hours ~ Click HERE before time runs out!

Bikini Boot Camp Rewards

Happy Sunday all!

This morning I woke up craving oats and I realized it's been a LONG time since I've had them. I decided to put my latest farmer's market fruit finds to work with my oats.


1/2 c Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1 c water
Dashes of cinnamon and vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Trader Joe's Berry Blend
1 apricot, chopped
handful of blueberries & a few raspberries
sprinkle of organic unsweetened coconut
Heaping Tsp organic apricot preserves
1 Tbsp freshly ground almond butter (on my spoon)


This totally hit the spot - so fruity, creamy, nutty and sweet - I devoured every bite. During breakfast, I was thinking about rewards. Ever since Angelea asked me to be her Bikini Bootcamp Buddy I have been trying to figure out what my "carrot" should be for successfully completing the challenge. I like having something to look forward to for ANY challenge ~ it gives me that added motivational boost.

My first instinct was something like a massage or a pedicure or facial. Then, I thought, oh wait, I am doing all THAT along the way. So, then, I thought about the real meaning of the challenge ~ Bikini's. I LOVE Venus suits so I broke out my latest catalog.


I liked the red one of the cover, but, I also LOVED the teal, brown, patterns on these pages. I am not sure, but, I am thinking I'll be picking and ordering one or two soon!


After breakfast, I went grocery shopping to stock up for the challenge. I thought of taking pictures but I didn't think it reflected it all since I have alot of stuff on hand already. Getting all stocked up really made me excited to start the challenge tomorrow!

When I came back, I decided it was time to break out the PB&A Nut Mix that I picked up at TJ's yesterday for snack. I poured a 2 WWP serving.


I had one nut and continued putting away groceries. The Husband helped me out and when I turned around ALL the nuts were gone! So, after I repoured some more, I got excited when I saw a huge, nutty, fruity, chunk.


I have to say I LOVE PB&A Nuts! TJ's really out did themselves with this mix ~ they taste just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (peanut/fruity ones) and then, the almonds taste just like the fancy flavored ones you get. They are made with both raspberries and strawberries along with vanilla ~ YUM! I'll definitely buy these again.

What is it about when you know your parents are coming over you feel the need to clean?! We just finished cleaning house since my parents are stopping by to check out the new concrete and go to lunch. Yeah, I am excited to see them and glad our house is now clean.


* My GNU Bar Giveaway ends tonight at Midnight. Be sure to click HERE to enter so you don't miss out.

* Do you want to get a copy of the Bikini Bootcamp Book? Angelea is giving away a FREE copy to one Bikini Bootcamp recruit. Angelea will draw a name on Tuesday from those that have emailed her to join the program, so SIGN UP NOW!

Ok ~ The parents will be here any minute so I am off to finish getting ready. I think we are doing more house stuff shopping later then a movie, so I will catch up with everyone later tonight.

For now, here is my question to you all!

What reward would you all pick for completing the Two Week Bikini BootCamp Challenge?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I LOVE My Secret Bloggie!!!

Do you all remember that I said I was participating in Megan's Secret Bloggie Exchange? If you did, I am proud of you because I actually forgot that I was RECEIVING something. When the package arrived in the mail today, I was like did I win another contest? Hmmmm....Yup, that was the blonde in me coming out a bit! My Secret Bloggie is totally on top of things ~ she managed to make and send her package to me already!!!

My Secret Bloggie is non-other than Chickpea at The Broccoli Hut! Not only is her blog amazing, SHE is amazing! You really spent alot of time getting to know me and my blog without ME even know. She put togethet the coolest Summer Menu Plan for me!

I opened up my box to find a super sweet letter (The Husband said he LOVED the paper) and a Summer Menu all planned out for me.


In my secret package, she included a FABULOUS Mexican Food Cookbook and Picked out the Spicy Chile Shrimp Tacos for dinner!


And, here is the rest of the stuff I NEED to complete my meal!


She knows I LOVE pre-portioned things and Kavli so she gave me some NEW stuff to try out.

* 100 Cal Raw Almonds ~ LOVE THESE!
* Akmak Crackers ~ Never tried, but, I cannot wait to with Laughing Cow Cheese AND Apricot Preserves (a girl after my own heart - who doesn't LOVE cheese and crackers!)
* Annie's Naturals Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette (one of my favorites!)
* DESSERT ~ Erin Bakers ORGANIC Brownie Bites! I've been dying to try Erin's stuff so I am soooo excited.

Thanks so much Chickpea (didn't know if you wanted me to use your real name!). I CANNOT wait to make the Summer Meal Plan you picked out for me and to try out ALL my goodies!!! You honestly made my day!

After I spend time going over all my super cool Secret Bloggie Stuff, I hopped in the car and headed to Trader Joe's to pick up some last minute stuff to finish off my Secret Bloggie package and to send out for somebody's Bday present. Before heading out, I snacked on some pistacios (3 WWP).


How I WISH I waited for snack! While I was at Trader Joe's I came across a NEW PRODUCT that I am dying to try out now. PB&A (Peanut, Berry & Almonds).


They look and sound so amazing and everyone at the store was raving about them! I am trying to hold out until tomorrow to bust open the bag.

Lunch was fantastic but not so eventful. I picked up 4 pizzas for our concrete workers for lunch and made sure one was a cheese pizza with STUFFED Crust. I had two pieces and was completely stuffed (no veggies or fruit on the side).


After everyone was finished and about to leave our adopted kitty decided to show up. Guess how?! By jumping off the neighbors fence, right onto the new concrete - booooooo! I actually think it freaked her out more than us. Luckily they were able to fix it and all was well again. She was happily spoiled inside sitting on her mat and is now sleeping (like a dog at The Husband's feet).


Doesn't it look great?! We are completely happy with it. I promise more pictures when everything is all done up, but, one thing at a time, right.


Since we decided we are now poor after paying for the concrete and neither of us wanted to cook, I threw together a fast dinner making up a

Layered Turkey Quesadilla


1 oz lowfat, finely shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 c Turkey Taco Meat (I used the one I made the other night)
5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 sliced scallion
2 chile lime corn tortillas (I get these at the Farmer's Market too!)

Start off by spray your nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray over medium heat. Add your first corn tortilla and top with 1/2 the cheese. Add the meat and top with the remaining cheese, tomatoes and scallions.


Add the other corn tortilla and flip cooking until both sides are crispy and the cheese is all metly and gooey. (6 WWP's). I thought of adding avocado and/or salsa but not until AFTER I was half way through (I was hungry!)

I have been craving fruit ALL day, so I decided to cut loose at dinner time. I had 2 WWP's worth of a blueberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon and cantaloupe.




All together it was a totally fun dinner to eat that hit the spot. I was missing fruit and veggies (still missing these) ALL day.


We are currently staying home to "watch" the concrete (The Husband is hilarious!), but, after ALL that we did today and being up at 6 am, I am ok with that. We may still venture out for a movie, but, we will see if he is ok (leaving the concrete) LOL.

Click HERE for your chance to win some 2-3 WWP GNU Bars! Contest ends tomorrow night so don't miss out!

I LOVE Gigantic Blueberries

Today is going to be a busy day, but, all in good ways. Our concrete is getting poured as I type - soooo excited to show you all the final pictures! We still have to do some more cosmetic stuff with adding in our rock wall and rails, changing out our door and such, but, it's going to look so amazing when all is said and done. The best part of it all is that it makes The Husband so happy ~ like a little kid in a candy store.

So far today I have gotten gas, gone to the bank, to my Weight Watchers Meeting, to Starbuck's and the Farmer's Market. Up next, finishing up my "secret blogging" package as well as a birthday package for Janetha. Then, it's off to the post office, shopping for the Bikini Bootcamp Challenge and all the usual weekend stuff all before DATE NIGHT! Tired yet?

To get things started this morning as I ran out the door, I quickly toasted a 100 calorie (1 WWP) Lowfat Banana Nut Vitatop.


It was seriously the perfect way to start my day! It was hot, crunchy and moist and toasting it made the walnuts really stand out.

I washed it all down with my favorite summer time treat. a 2 WWP 105 calorie, iced, decaf, nonfat latte with a little caramel sauce drizzled on top!


Are you all tired of seeing the things I get at the Farmer's Markets? I can never get enough of ALL the great stuff they offer and each market is different. Today I picked up a ton of great, new stuff.

Fresh organic raspberries


A few peaches, NECTARINES, and organic apricots.


Gigantic Blueberries ~ I had a few handfuls of these as I was putting them away and I froze a batch too for smoothies!


Look at how big they are! This is just one sitting on top of an apricot.


Organic Squash & Organic Asparagus



Homemade Pomegranate/Blueberry Jam PLUS Crunch Almond Butter. I also bought some Butternut Toffee and Tamari Almonds for The Husband.


I cannot wait to use my new jam ~ OMG - they taste amazing. I am thinking of getting a little adventurous and using them to make a nice sweet italian dressing ~ YUM!

This is another thing I totally LOVE about the Saturday market ~ Check out ALL the recipes I picked up using the fruits/veggies that are in season now! (are you surprised?!)


My reusable cloth bag was full at this point so I stopped! :D Alright, I am off to start checking more things off my list!

My GNU Bar Giveaway is going on until tomorrow night ~ Click HERE to enter for your chance to win 1 in 3 prize packs!

Friday, May 29, 2009

June Challenge: Bikini Bootcamp

Looking for a mind and body tune up before summer heats up?

Are you searching for ways to incorporate healthier eating, exercise and lifestyle decisions, but not sure how to start?

Want a two week fitness spa vacation without the hefty vacation price tags?

Then, stop looking now & join Angelea and I as we designate June as Bikini Bootcamp Challenge Month!

We will be following the two week holistic wellness program designed by Melissa Perlman and Erica Gragg, the authors (and founders of Amansala Resort in Tulum, Mexico) of Bikini Bootcamp: Two Weeks to Your Ultimate Beach Body.

Perlman and Gragg founded their fitness retreat after seeing a need for healthy, mindful fitness getaways for active minded people.

With the book, they have recreated the Caribbean sea spirit of Amansala with a home based program. Get a two week kick start to a healthier mind and body through a simple Latin and Asian flavored menu, meditation, journal writing, walking, yoga, invigorating cardio circuit training and core strengthening exercises. Each day concludes with a pampering at home spa treat with recipes for that too!

Sounds great, huh?

Here's all you need to start the program:

the book
yoga mat
light weights, soup cans or coconuts (for an island flair!)
exercise shoes
As far as the menu plan, the book outlines the menu for each day, provides all the recipes (tailored to be simple and not time consuming) and they even give you shopping lists for each week.

Why did I choose to do this? I've heard of Amansala in fitness magazines and I actually found out about Amansala and their Bikini Bootcamp fitness book through Angelea. Not really having any prospects of going there myself right now (But, I'D LOVE too!), I was very excited when I found out that they had written this book that I could try at home!

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the name Bikini Bootcamp. It strikes me as center-focused on the physical, but the program itself is much more than that. I hope through this program to recenter myself, find a balance of what is important, restart a yoga/meditative practice, pamper myself, learn a little about me and push myself with the workouts!

This is a pretty time intensive two week program, but, that is just it ~ it's only two weeks that you choose to put yourself FIRST! We are ALL good at putting others on a pedal stool, but, now is the time to do exactly that for yourself AND get yourself in rockin' bikini shape! I'm making a commitment to do some major pre-planning to organize my days during these two weeks but I plan on fitting it ALL in so I can get pampered at the end of the day!


The book talks about the communal nature of the program and having a partner to share your successes (and stumbles) with.

I talked to Angelea at Cabin Feaver Feast and we decided to pair up as bootcamp buddies starting the program together on Monday, June 1st. I've probably lost my mind, but, the book intrigued me THAT much!

We'll be reporting in daily to each other and to you on our blogs sharing how each day is going.

We want to invite you to join us as we experience this transformational process! If you want to sign up for Bikini Bootcamp with us, here's all you have to do:

* Pick which Monday in June that you want to start.

* Email Angelea at and tell her which day that you want to join in and also specify if you want a Bootcamp Buddy. We will pair you up with someone who wants to start on the same day as you! If you don't want a Buddy, that's fine too!

* Get a copy of the book.

* Leave a comment on one of our blogs each day of your program stating which day of the program you are on (Day 1-14). We want to track your progress and reward fellow bootcampers!


If you sign up to be a buddy, the only rules are that you report in to each other via email at the end of the day. You can talk about whatever you want to...your highs, your lows, etc. Just help motivate each other!

Speaking of rewards...time for a GIVEAWAY!

We are kick starting this challenge by giving away a copy of the book to one lucky bootcamp recruit! Angelea will draw a name on Tuesday from those that have emailed her to join the program, so SIGN UP NOW!

Angelea and I are also plotting other GIVEAWAYS throughout the month to keep you motivated and going strong!

This is going to be fun!

HOOAH and namaste!