January 31, 2012

Scallop Pesto Fusilli with Broccoli

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I love the spring-time.

It means cute flats, fresh air, and amazing fresh fruits, but the only problem is....it's JANUARY!!!

Where is the snow? Instead here in the wintery months of northern New England have been granted 55 degree weather this afternoon.

I feel like I live in the south or something.
I do miss my snow but I have to say, for the time being, I am enjoying not having to put on my super heavy duty goose down jacket to go to the mail box because it's that cold out.


But I am ready for a true Connecticut winter.
I thought a nice green pasta with some light seafood would balance my mood. Whole wheat pasta, fresh pesto, nice bright veggies and some sea scallops sounded absolutely comforting and delicious. 

I LOVE scallops... and paired with pasta how could you go wrong.

Plus I have been all about having my serving of greens at almost every meal. Green smoothies in the morning, salads for lunch and a nice heaping plate of greens for dinner... sounds like a good idea to me.
So this is a somewhat Irish girls take on delicious Italian. There is something about a freshly made pesto sauce that I want to toss or dip everything into it, but if you are short on time a store bought pesto will work just as well.


Served with some crusty Italian bread, this is an excellent Italian feast that will fill bellies with flavor and satisfaction.
Scallop Pesto Fusilli with Broccoli
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 

Ingredients
1 lb broccoli, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 pkg cremini mushrooms
1 lg shallot
1 pound whole wheat fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons butter
1 lb sea scallops, each one quartered
1 1/2 cups pesto sauce, homemade or store bought
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli, mushrooms and shallots and cook until just crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl, using strainer. Add fusilli to water and boil until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring pasta occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add veggies and season with salt and pepper; stir until heated through and coated with butter, about 1 minute. Return vegetables to bowl. Melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in same skillet. Add quartered sea scallops, season with salt and pepper and sauté until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Drain pasta and return to skillet. Add vegetables, scallops, pesto, cream and lemon juice and stir over low heat until pasta is coated with sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


Enjoy!

January 30, 2012

Powerful Pomegranate Green Smoothie

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Mondays... oh how I loath thee.

Weekends need to last longer.

It was a really long week last week so this Saturday and Sunday Paul and I did the best thing possible, NOTHING.
We did some much nothing it was almost embarrassing. 

Saturday morning Paul went to the gym and his sister Jess and I went to breakfast then we both headed home for a productive afternoon. We had definite plans to vacuum, scrub the bathrooms and organize the 'junk' around the house but a lot that got us. Apparently TCM was having a 'based on a true story' movie marathon afternoon and we were suckers #1 and #2. 

So much nothing... three movies later and still nothing. Dinner even got started late because we had to pause the rewind part of the movie cause we both zonked off for a little bit.
 And of course Sunday wasn't much better.


So even though Monday is the ice-factor to my week, it's a fresh start to get me off the couch and moving. As nice as it was to veg out all weekend with my beau there is so much I want to catch up on and get organized so for that, I thank you Monday's.


The best part to this Monday is this new pomegranate smoothie I created. I have been on a smoothie binge ever since the new year and it's been fabulous. Trying new flavors and all with healthy ingredients to start the day or rejuvenate me has been quite a fun experiment. My tops so far are the detoxing green smoothie and the blueberry monster. Although I must say that everyone loves their chocolate fix and this smoothie hits that sweet button head on, amazing for after a workout. 
I finally figured out the best and easiest way to de-seed a pomegranate so once I had two pom's seeded, I needed to put this high antioxidant fruit to good use by putting together another delicious smoothie.


Something about smoothies in the morning just make me smile. Plus it gets me started on a healthy track for the week, which after a lazy non-movement weekend was much needed. Pomegranates have such a powerful taste, full of vitamins and minerals and pack a punch in a smoothie, you would never know there was spinach in it.


Antioxidants, delicious juices and greens to get you started.
Powerful Pomegranate Green Smoothie
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño
Serves 2

Ingredients

1/2 cup orange juice
1 pear, stem and seeds removed
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 frozen banana
2–3 cups organic baby spinach

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. 
Serve immediately!
Enjoy!

January 29, 2012

Design Software Giveaway!

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.................................................................
My-Memories-Suite
The past few weeks have been a roller coaster in that I have hit quite a few major milestones in my little spot here on the internet. I finally reached over 100 followers, blew above my monthly page views by over 3,000 {with 3 more days to go}, and just the other day I had my ONE YEAR Blogiversary. There have been so many great things going on that it was only the cherry on the cake when I was offered such a fabulous giveaway for my readers... and one of my best ones yet. 

That's right, I have a great GIVEAWAY and there are more than a few reasons as to why I am super excited about it! I was contacted just last week by My Memories to try out their award-winning design software and I jumped at the chance right away!  I am very new to the whole editing/font world of blogging {and feel a little slow in the process as well} but as soon as this program was uploaded I was able to add pictures, graphics, embellishments and so much MORE!


Check out what I was able to do for next weeks Superbowl...
::Created using MMS:: 

It's so easy!!!
My Memories includes endless templates for you to start off OR you can start from scratch and create your own. This program is fun to play around in and completely user-friendly, especially since I already mentioned that I'm not exaaactly the most computer savvy individual, this is the perfect program.


Buttons, clicks and colorful tutorials that show you how to make your pages in minutes.

The #1-rated scrapbooking software, just got better... again.

easy-to-use

Create in minutes


Fast, and easy to use. Simple enough for beginners, yet powerful enough for a serious scrapbooker.
interactive-features

Make it Easy


Setup and cleanup are as easy as the exit button. And the savings over traditional scrapbooks is huge!
video-features

Speaks for itself


Video, music, and narration can bring all your memories to life.
share-again-and-again

So, go ahead, show off!


Countless ways to share your creation with family and friends again and again—and again.
MyMemories Suite v3 software is a complete digital scrapbooking solution that provides a comprehensive powerful set of creative tools no other scrapbook software can offer. With its intuitive workspace and enhanced time-saving features, this application is perfect for a beginner to create a complete album in minutes, or to empower the design pro to build a scrapbook album masterpiece.
Create scrapbook albums with MyMemories Suite digital scrapbooking software

Making a Scrapbook

MyMemories Suite will help you create your beautiful pages from scratch or build an entire album using one of the many professionally-designed scrapbook templates provided within the scrapbook software. A large collection of papers and embellishments are also included and available at your fingertips to help you make each page uniquely your own.
If this were any other scrapbooking software, you might be finished. But with My Memories Suite, the real power-and fun-of this software is just beginning. There are so many ways to save and share your memories, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.

Affordable


With over 1,500 papers, over 1,000 page elements, and over 30 album templates (including 10 new for v3), MyMemories Suite lets you hit the ground running with your very own scrapbook or photo album in a matter of minutes. It’s easy-to-use and affordable—and compatible with both Windows and Mac computers. Don’t put off your important memories any longer, add MyMemories Suite to your shopping cart now.

You can make a beautiful scrapbook an interactive memory experience for anyone who sees it. Use simple one-click options to enhance your scrapbooks, with music, narration, video, and even the Internet. Go beyond pictures by showing off video of the birthday party, or record a narration to capture the memories that pictures alone cannot. With My Memories Suite you simply don't look at a scrapbook-you experience it!

There are so many fun and easy add-ins for your pages or profiles. You can create your own page headers, buttons and cute picture tags and texts to really show off your full creativity. 


So if you can't wait for announcement day to try and win this software, as a special for all A Healthy Jalapeño readers, MMS is giving readers their very own Share the Memories code that provides a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - $20 value! Just use the coupon code: STMMMS18404


Just another fun example...
Now for the best part...


My Memories is offering one lucky reader a chance to WIN this fabulous design software, a $40 value, for FREE! 

There are 7 chances for you to WIN.
To ENTER is easy (all separate comments):

1. Become a Google Friend Connect follower (if you aren't already) and leave a comment saying so.
2. Visit My Memories and leave a comment telling me which is your favorite digital paper pack or layout.
3. Like My Memories on Facebook (comment saying you did so).
4. Follow My Memories on Twitter (comment saying you did so).
5. Like A Healthy Jalapeño on Facebook (comment saying you did so or let me know if you already do!)
6. Follow A Healthy Jalapeño on Twitter (comment saying you did so or let me know if you already do!)
7. Tweet about this giveaway (
I just entered  design software giveaway hosted by ) and comment saying you did.

Seven possible entries and you could be the winner of this incredible program! The winner will be announced in 2 weeks, Sunday, February 12th.  


It's That Easy!!!

Thank you all SO much for reading and stopping by!
Good Luck everyone and remember to comment below for entries!!!!

January 27, 2012

Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets {Guest Post}

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It's a rainy day here in Connecticut but at least it's FRIDAY!!!!

Today I have a very special blogger to introduce to you all. Her name is Willa {beautiful name right?} and she is the face behind the blog Armstrong Family Fare. Willa shares with her readers kid-friendly meal plans and activities, weekly menus, favorite recipes, tips on freezer cooking, baby-food making {yup, she makes her own baby food} and reviews of new food products that they try out! Willa is a true family gal, with a side love for sports... you gotta love it!


Today Willa is sharing with us one of her many kid-friendly and healthy dinners, which I know speaking for myself that I am still a chicken nugget child at heart. So here is the beautiful Willa.
     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hello!  I am very excited to have the opportunity to be a guest blogger for  A Healthy Jalapeno today. My name is Willa, and I share lots of recipes and meal plans over at Armstrong Family Fare. I’m fairly new to the whole ‘blogging’ world, but have been enjoying all the new friendships I am making….such as with A Healthy Jalapeno!
As a mother of two young children, I feel that tug already between wanting to provide my children with very healthy and nutritious food, but yet wanting them to love everything that I feed them.  There are some foods that seem to be the ones we first think of when we are planning a meal for a child, such as spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, French fries, etc.  They are foods that most children love.  However, a couple of those are not the best.  Especially if you are stopping at the local fast food restaurant to pick them up!  
Lately I have been trying to find foods that my little ones will love (well…let me clarify, my youngest is still just on purees).  I’m asking myself, is there a way to make this food healthier, but not sacrifice the flavors we love?  One such food item is Chicken Nuggets!  Who doesn’t love some good Chicken Nuggets?  I know that we are very fond of them!  But, I do not want to serve my kids fried foods, at least not very often.  So I created my own recipe for Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets!  Guess what?  My son loved them.  So did my husband!
Parmesan Baked Chicken Nuggets 
(approx 6 – 8 servings)
3 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 eggs
½ cup flour
¾ cups breadcrumbs
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk well.  In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; stir together.  Take the cubed chicken breast and coat it in the flour.  Dip the coated chicken in the egg mixture.  Immediately dip into dry ingredients and place on a treated baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping the nuggets at the 10 minute mark.
These Chicken Nuggets will make your kids happy and will keep you from feeling any guilt as they spend no time frying in oil! 
 
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you so much for sharing with A Healthy Jalapeño today Willa, and I know my readers, especially those healthy conscious mom's will much appreciate you sharing this kid-friendly dinner with us.


More Big News....


There is something BIG and EXCITING coming to A Healthy Jalapeño so stick around this weekend and see what is coming up... I know you will all be very excited.


Enjoy!

January 26, 2012

Oh My, It's My One Year Blogoversary

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I can't believe it but it was one year ago today that I started my cooking {and blogging} adventure here with you all. Looking back, and looking back to my very first post I realized I have posted over 210 recipes, created a fabulous facebook network of friends and fellow bloggers, finally caved and got myself a twitter {which I still am not sure how to use} AND became obsessively addicted to interest

I mean, just looking back to that first introductory post makes me giggle a little inside because I can tell in my own writing that I was sheepishly trying to keep my intentions for this blog at a minimum as to not epically fail. So I have to giggle, especially since there is very little in the category of plain that I made now... I mean, I just ate tofu...I's WILD!!!

The other funny part is, when I started this I really wasn't sure how far it could actually go, especially since I was a horrible cook, but even more because I had limits in my mind of how much there actually was out there to cook. I definitely thought that there was chicken, pasta, steak and eggs... and how many ways can you really cook them and call it different???

WAY WRONG!

There is so much that I still drool and dream of that I want to cook and bake, it's never ending. 

Not to mention, I have been supported and encouraged all along the way by friends, family and fellow bloggers and readers. To you all, I clearly wouldn't still be doing this. Well, maybe I'd still be doing cooking part but definitely not the blogging.

Blogging is such a fun outlet to cook, bake, write, photography, and just all around have fun marking my steps in this journey. 

I am so grateful for all that I have created and all that I have been given. I think tonight I will celebrate my one year with the last leftover peanut butter pop, mmmmm. 

Thank you so much for reading, commenting and supporting my little slice of virtual heaven.

xoxo
Laura

January 24, 2012

Creamy Asparagus Soup

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Soup is hearty and oh so healthy for you.

This is by far one of the healthiest soups I have ever made, given that it's packed with ingredients and full of flavor.


I promised myself that I would be making one vegetarian meal a week for dinner as part of my culinary {and healthy} plan for the year. 


This is my top recipe yet.
One of my favorites from 2011 was this delicious Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese which was absolutely delicious. Along with my one vegetarian dish a week I am also trying to stay away from heavy processed starches as much as I can, i.e. pastas and breads, so soups fit perfectly in my little meal plan.

{ok, ok, so I know you see that baguette in my photos and your saying "but you just said no bread", but in actuality... it was all for show to make my pictures look a little prettier}. No Judgements! haha.
The best part is, if I served this soup to you, you would have no idea it was so healthy for you.

Don't believe me?
This soup is packed with veggies, nuts and {as always} a little kick. The consistency of the soup is actually very rich and creamy considering there is practically no dairy in here and can easily be made into a vegan dish if you omit the parmesan cheese. 


How awesome is that???


If you are on board with cutting back on meat one night a week, this is the soup you need to be having. Rich, creamy and packed with flavor.
Creamy Asparagus Soup
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño



Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil

2 stalks leeks, sliced
8 oz (1 pkg) cremini mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 lg shallot, minced
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 cups of organic vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups of dry white wine
2 tbsp of fresh thyme
salt & white pepper, to taste
1 cup unsalted natural cashews
2/3 cups water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
cracked red pepper, garnish


In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, mushrooms, asparagus, shallots and garlic and cook for 4 minutes, until soft. 

Add broth, wine, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 20 minutes and then puree.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, mix together cashews and water until smooth. Stir nut mixture into soup, and add lemon juice and cheese. Let heat for another 5 minutes until all marinated.

Garnish with cracked red pepper flakes and crostini bread.
Enjoy!




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January 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt Pops

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LET'S GO NINERS!!!!
Sunday night and the big game is on in only a half hour.... I am seriously so excited!


I cant remember a time that the 49ers were playing so well together and tonight against the Giants {for a second time this year} is a really great match-up.

So needless to say when I was proudly walking around Paul's reserve unit this afternoon with my jersey on there were a couple of comments that came my way from a few soldiers.

Talk all you want Giants, we're ready...

Bring it!

We've made it to the NFC Championship baby so just show up tonight, bring your A game and may the better team take it to the Superbowl. 
So in lue of the big game I wanted to make little desserty snackers for after dinner.


Healthy... but your taste buds wouldn't know the difference.

So since we were both late coming home from the unit and we recorded the Pats v Ravens, were trying to quickly finish that game so I don't miss tip off!!!!


Plus we are both still rolling on the floor laughing from this new Etrade commercial. There is something about a talking baby that get my mother and I hysterical, it's just too cute.


Anyways, I snuck one of these last night after dinner and it was soo delicious. Nice creamy frozen yogurt with the natural nutty taste of peanut butter. Just the right sweet treat after a good dinner to kick my sweet tooth.


Let's Go Niners!!!!
Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt Pops
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 


Makes 12 mini ice pops


Ingredients
2 cups Greek style yogurt
1 cup 1% lactic milk
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup agave sweeter

Add all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Fill 12 dixie cups or shot glasses with the mixture and freeze until they become almost solid (1-2 hours). Stick a mini wooden fork or popsicle stick in each ice pop. Freeze for another hour or overnight until they are completely frozen.

You can easily remove the ice pops from the shot glasses by dipping them in a glass of warm water.
Enjoy!