July 30, 2012

Smoked Salmon and Potato Frittata

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Oh happy day. it's Monday!

This weekend was filled with so much rain but on Sunday evening when I finally sat on the couch with my fiance to enjoy dinner and a good flick, the sun was shinning and it was a perfect sunset. 

This weekend was packed for us. We had brunch with another couple we are great friends with followed by a long afternoon at my father's getting the house and yard ready for my bridal shower in two weeks (this engagement is FLYING by). We were cruising along great until the skies opened up on us. The girls and I sat and talked wedding shop for a while and when it was time to go I went searing around the property for Paul and my father only to find those silly boys hiding out in the cabana house pouring up Bloody Mary's in the rain. Boys.

Saturday night continued with excitement. Paul and I went over our friend's house, both of which are in our wedding party, and had a "stuff the wedding invitations " party complete with dinner, cocktails, and tons and tons of laughs. We cut the cards and RSVP's, painted the burlap belly bands and stuffed them all together. We carried on until late into the night, had excellent food and it was a blast. So when Sunday came we had one big plan... relaxing and vegging.
I had made my Secret Recipe Club dish about two weeks ago for breakfast. It came out excellent so I thought the perfect ending to this weekend was to bring out round two of this frittata for dinner with a light salad just as Lauren, the author of Healthy Delicious, suggested for this frittata. Lauren is a fabulous blogger and truly hits home with me on healthy eating and realistic expectations of what a life long diet entails. She had some wicked good recipes to choose from, all of which looked DELICIOUS.
Lauren mentions that "Served with a crisp salad dressed with a simple tarragon vinaigrette (equal parts tarragon vinegar and olive oil, with a touch of mustard, salt, and pepper), this frittata makes a great lunch or light dinner".

This fritatta is filling and super flavorful for breakfast or dinner. The first time I made this we had guests over for breakfast and it went quick. Last night when I made it again for dinner, it was just the two of us and we were able to enjoy it much more and now we have leftovers for the morning as well. SRC Reveal day is going to start off on a wonderfully frittata good foot.

Smoked Salmon and Potato Frittata
Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 russet Potato, diced
1/4 cup vegetable stock
2 eggs plus 2 egg whites, beaten
2 tbsp plain, fat free greek yogurt
2 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
Freshly chopped dill (optional)

Heat the broiler.
Heat the olive oil in a 8-inch omelet pan. Add the onion and potato. Cook about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the edges of the potato begin to brown and crisp. Add the vegetable stock and allow the potatoes to steam over medium heat until they are soft and the liquid is cooked off, about 10 minutes.
In a bowl, beat together the eggs, egg whites, and yogurt. Pour into the omelet pan. Top with the salmon. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, or until the bottom of the frittata begins to set. Transfer the pan to the oven and broil for 3 or 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and fluffy. Sprinkle with fresh dill, if desired. Remove from pan and cut into 4 servings.
Recipe adopted by Healthy Delicious
Photos by A Healthy Jalapeño

Find more of Lauren's dishes on her blog.
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July 25, 2012

Avocado-Mango Popsicles

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This past weekend was my grandmother's 80th birthday and the whole family got together to celebrate. We all went to my mother's house with {80} appetizers, dinner dishes and desserts galore... all with '80' somehow incorporated which was such a cute idea and I know gram loved it. 

It's been wicked hot, then stormy, then hot again here so I really wasn't sure what to expect for the day but mom had the tent up in preparation and we all brought our party hats and cold beer on ice.
I also tried to make my delicious popsicles but the day ended up being too hot for my meltable treats to make the 45 minute drive not to mention I don't think there was an inch of room in the freezer for my pop. 

So I bet you know what that meant????

They were all MINE!!!
Now I know what you are thinking... you made and ate 80 POPSICLES???? No, no... but even if I did I am sure I would have eaten them all. I made a measly 12 pop knowing everyone wouldn't have one what with all the birthday cake, my cousins healthy delicious cheesecake and eclairs that were taking one my mother's dinning room table. 

So I made my 12 pops that never made it to mom's, but you bet they made it to my belly Sunday afternoon while I laid on the deck reading in the sun.
These pops were so refreshing and light. The creamy-ness of the avocado and the fresh juicy burst from the mango was enough to satisfy any smooth sugary sweet-tooth, plus it's the perfect treat on a hot 90+ degree day. 

Avocado's are not to be turned away from when it comes to dessert. I have made quite a few amazing desserts that this fruits texture and taste only amplify the flavor. Check out my buttercream cupcakes or my vanilla avocado & banana ice cream to see how versatile the avocado can be. 
The second best thing about these pops that make them the best summer treat... they take little to no effort, no slaving over a hot stove or grill, and they are ready in only a couple of hours to enjoy. 

These pops are made with only a couple of fresh ingredients and a lot of love. Don't let the green color fool you out of their creamsicle goodness because this snacks give you your daily healthy omega-3 fats and fresh fruits to keep your body happy. 
Avocado-Mango Popsicles
Makes: 6 popsicles

3 cups mango
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup raw sugar (or stevia sweetener)
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp lemon zest

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth and no lumps. Spoon the puree mixture into popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze for 4-6 hours.

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 


July 16, 2012

Food Does a Body Good & Everyday Health

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Eating healthy and running my ass off!!!

I have to say that wedding dress fittings or not, it's about time I step it up and get myself moving. I have been eating healthy for a long time now (with of course the occasional indulgence) but I haven't been working out like I should. Let me correct that, I haven't been working out AT ALL. I know how important being active is as I am sure all of you do as well but my girl friend finally kicked my ass into getting my running shoes on and hitting the streets, 3 miles to be exact on my first run out. So as much as I can't believe it, I am now going to be running at least 3-4 times a week. 

Now I am pretty clear on the fact that you need to keep your body moving and flexible to maintain or slim ourself into the healthy body we all dream of but lucky for you and I, we have Darcie here from Everyday Health to share some valuable information on food and healthy eating to better ensure our bodies are working at their peek. 
After exercise or activity, the body begins the process of recovery to the muscle tissue. In order for muscle recovery to occur, adequate nutrition needs to be in place to prevent the breakdown of protein in the muscle tissue. Muscle restoration should start with recharging energy in the form of calories, which are ideally supplied by carbohydrates and proteins. These nutrients supply energy to the working muscle.

Muscle recovery is also important. Muscle recovery is where the structure of the muscle fibers is rebuilt. Muscle recovery depends on an increase in protein synthesis, which is the making of new proteins. How much protein synthesis occurs after exercise depends on the balance between the breakdown and the building of proteins. Nutrition has a major influence on the synthesis/breakdown occurrence.

Protein breakdown happens when the muscles go through stressful conditions, such as exercise. This stress activates the release of a hormone called cortisol, which breaks down proteins in your muscle tissue so that can be used for energy. If you aren’t eating after your exercise session, cortisol will remain elevated after exercise and muscle will continue to be broken down.

So many times I’ve heard people say they won’t eat after exercising because they think that fat burning will continue or because they aren’t hungry (exercise is an appetite suppressant). In actuality, it’s better to eat and drink within 30 minutes after exercise, especially prolonged or high-intensity exercise. The reason carbohydrates are so important to consume after exercise is because they stimulate an insulin response from the pancreas. The hormone insulin counteracts with the hormone cortisol and minimizes protein breakdown.

Protein consumption after exercise is important because it supplies all the essential amino acids your body needs. What are amino acids? They are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids help to make up the muscle fibers that in turn make up muscle tissue. Essential amino acids are the amino acids your body cannot make on its own, so it’s essential you get them from your diet. If you aren’t consuming protein there will be a limited availability of amino acids and calories which will limit protein synthesis.

Whole foods such as milk, fish, chicken, lean cuts of meat, tofu or beans are the best sources of protein. These foods should be included at each meal. If you select protein supplements, then choose a high quality whey protein isolate. This is the most available form. You can also add a banana and peanut butter to the shake to supply the carbohydrates and healthy fats needed to refuel your body and add a delicious taste and texture to your shake.

Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. Eating balanced meals that deliver carbohydrates, healthy fats, and high-quality protein and are packed with vitamins and minerals will provide optimal results and provide an overall feeling of health.

Guest Blogger Darcie Sosa is a Dietetic Technician for Everyday Health.com and its calorie counter tools.
I don't know about you but the more I read about healthy eating habits, learn about how food breaks down in my body and increases or decreases my overall heath... the more I am inspired to eat and live a better life. I use your calorie counter all the time and love your app on my phone for quick references to all great health tips and food recipes.
2.25 miles. I may not look great, but I feel GREAT!!!

Thank you Darcie and Everyday Health for sharing this valuable article on food. 



July 10, 2012

Summer's Cookout Pasta Salad

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Light up the grill, throw some beers on ice and get ready to unwind... we're in full barbecue mode. 
Everywhere I go lately there is a grill going and potluck dips and dishes are hitting the tables. The is something about the humid heat in July that makes kitchen cooking seem unbearable which is why this time of year is prime for grilling and the Fourth of July kicks that off just right.
Last weekend seemed like barbecue after barbecue, everywhere you went there was great food but everything was mainly cooked on the grill, or pre-cooked and chilled to serve. Being that the 4th was on a Wednesday this year kind of threw everyone for a loop. There was still burgers, beers and fireworks but it was followed by heading back to the office the next day which was a drag. Luckily this made the rest of the week fly and here came the weekend again fully prepared for a round two cook out. 

I have a few signature dishes that I bring to potluck dinners or cookouts simply because they are easy to make in bulk, simple ingredients and everyone seems to love them. 
One of my all time favorites is the kitchen-sink pasta salad that you can throw together for any occasion be it summer or winter. The trick to tailoring your pasta salad to the right flavors of the season is to see whats fresh and what colors meld with the weather. 

This is dubbed my "Cookout Pasta Salad" because that is the best time to serve this chilled pasta salad to a crowd to pair perfectly with their grilled sausage and watermelon.
Here I decided to go light. I choose a lot of my ingredients based on their taste when cold. If the ingredient can stand on it's own cold then it would be perfect for this salad. I threw in a lot of olives, artichokes, garlic powder and some fabulous sun-dried tomatoes. The combination with my light dressing, toppings, added garlic flair all blended together with this beautifully bright pasta... this dish was screaming for seconds.
Summer's Cookout Pasta Salad 
Servings: 8-10 people

1 pkg of pasta (I used tricolor cloche ortolan tarall'oro)
1 small onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 can(s) black olives, chopped or sliced
2 (8oz) jars marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1 (4oz) bag sun-dried cherry tomatoes
1 tsp garlic powder
5 tbsp Vegenaise (I use the soy-free)
1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp salt

Cook your pasta according to package directions.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse it with cold water, and put it back into the pan you cooked it in or a large bowl. 

Dump the the next 5 ingredients on top of the pasta and mix. In a side bowl, mix together the garlic powder, Vegenaise (or mayo) mustard, lemon juice and vinegar. Taste test it, seasoning with salt and pepper, and adjust other ingredients like Vegenaise if need be.

Once it is at a good combination of flavors, blend the dressing and the pasta together until fully coated, tossing gently. Put salad in the refrigerator for at least a half hour or more. Serve chilled.

Oh summer... I just love your sun tanned toes and sundresses. So excited for more party dishes coming up this weekend.


July 04, 2012

Sparkling Blood Orange Spritzer for the fourth of July!

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Happy 4th of July!!!!

Hello beautiful readers, it's the 4th of July and I am so excited for today. Not only is today Paul's favorite holiday out of the year but we get to spend the day around a barbecue eating and drinking great American food with great friends and family.

My fiancé is a simple guy and that's what he loves about the holiday. The patriotism, the fireworks, (the day off), but he's right in a lot of ways that this is his favorite holiday because theres very little planning, no hallmark holiday with lots of money spent, no trucking around from relative to relatives house without relaxing... the 4th of July is for fun, food and freedom and that is definitely favorite holiday criteria. 
Last night we went to the fireworks and just like last year we had the best seats in the house. Our friends work down at the airport right across from where they shoot of the fireworks in our area... the big show. So every fourth we get to drive through the police gate and onto the runway for our own private fireworks party. We grill up some dinner with tons and tons of snacks and salads, the kiddies all run around on their razor scooters and sneak cookies loaded with blue and red frosting and we all pull up our lawn chairs to have a few beers and catch up before the light show. It's such a great time, no crowds and our own private bathrooms... score!
I am new to learning about blood oranges and how to cook with them but whatever I’ve lacked with past experience I have been making up for pretty quickly over the last couple of months. Blood oranges are somewhat of a winter fruit but they can come out later in the season trickling into spring/summer if you can find them. I have been cooking a lot with them however when I made this spritzer it’s screamed summer to me because of its bright and vibrant color. 

I brought a pitcher of these last night and they were excellent. The orange soda will keep in the fridge for future cocktails or even just an afternoon mocktail if you are really craving this delicious fruit. If you do not have blood oranges still available you can normally find the bottled soda at Stew Lenard's or specialty stores and it will work just as well.
Fresh Blood Orange Spritzer 
Servings: 1 cocktail


4 oz blood orange sparkling soda
2 oz Sauvignon Blanc (or sparkling white wine)
1/2 oz orange liquor
blood oranges, sliced for garnish

Combine and stir. Add ice to glass and pour cocktail over ice.
Garnish with a slice of blood orange and serve.

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 

Also try my perfect 4th of July dessert,
I hope your barbecue's, cold beers and fabulous recipes are enjoyed around great company today... relax and enjoy, this is our holiday!
Happy fourth of July friends!!!!