Cilantro Lime Shrimp

One thing with this desire to eat a little more healthy is the fact that we should probably eat more fish. And yes, I know that shrimp isn’t fish, but bear with me. I had this recipe saved before vacation and it seemed appropriate to make after we got back. You can read the recipe here, although it is an article that talks about how to cook without recipes. 

While I like following recipes, there is almost always something I change for one reason or another. This article, and the column in general, is nice as it seems to almost encourage a change or adjustment. Which means I did make an adjustment. 

The main thing I did was leave out the pepper. In looking at the store, they didn’t have the specific one called for so I decided I would substitute with a banana pepper we had at home, assuming there were still some growing in the garden. Once at home making this, I opted to not bother to check and just left it out. I did choose to chop the garlic instead of grating it. And, it calls for a “light” beer and suggests Corona or Pacifico. Both good choices for a seafood dish. I didn’t have either of those and used an American Wheat Ale as it was the closest thing I had in the fridge to a light beer. Specifically, it was Akari Shogun from Half Acre. It worked well. 

The timing for each step worked pretty well also. I did shorten the time on the onion as it was starting to brown. Oh, and I used a teaspoon of cumin and a little bit of salt and pepper. It doesn’t specifically say how much of each to use, just “to taste”. The cilantro flavor was present but not overpowering which was nice. I like cilantro but I know others don’t so it was nice to be able to use it without it being in your face. 

Overall, this was a pretty decent dish. I probably let the shrimp cook a little too long as some were a tad bit rubbery but that was operator error. The youngest (6) complained mightily about not liking shrimp until she actually tried it. Then she said she liked it. That’s a success right there. The oldest was under the weather so I didn’t make her eat it. But I’m sure she would have complained as well. 

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Butter Pecan Shake

While on our recent vacation, we both felt like we did a fairly decent job of not over indulging especially when practically every meal was eaten out. But we still told ourselves that when we came back we really needed to eat healthier. What that means exactly, I’m not sure. But you may start to see things posted on here that trend to be fairly healthy. 

Enter more smoothies. This one, although called a ‘shake’, is inspired by a Shakeology recipe that was posted by a friend. Saying I was inspired by the recipe is probably not quite accurate. I was inspired to make it. Not that a recipe inspired me to make this, which was different. 

The recipe is outlined below. The only change was using my own protein powder in place of the Shakeology. And using a teaspoon of almond extract in place of maple. I thought for sure I had some maple extract but I didn’t. Using the almond worked, although it was pretty strong in almond flavor. This smoothie was also very non-thick. I’m not sure how else to say it but most of the smoothies I’ve made are fairly thick. This one wasn’t. Still okay, just more more like a drink than a smoothie. 

Overall, this was pretty good. Not in my top five (or maybe ten) but a decent recipe. Very easy to make and in some ways a “fun” thing as you don’t often think of butter pecan as being healthy. Oh, and for what it is worth, I usually split the resulting smoothie with my wife, furthering the healthy aspect by only eating part. At least that’s what I tell myself. 

  • One scoop vanilla protein powder 
  • 8 ounces unsweetened almond milk
  • 10 pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 5-6 ice cubes 
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Blueberry Chia Seed Jam

I’ve been on something of a hiatus lately, mostly due to being on an extended vacation. But I am back and easing back into meal planning and cooking.

I found this recipe awhile back and “filed” it to make later as we have a plethora of jams and jellies in the fridge. I figured I would hold off for awhile until some of the others were used up. And then I found a blueberry chia smoothie recipe that called for using some of this jam. Which made me make sooner rather than later.

I haven’t made the smoothie at this point but I’ve tried this on some toast – very good. I would definitely recommend making this, even if you don’t want to make the smoothie (which I’ll post about after I make it).

This was pretty simple to put together. In fact the hardest part was that the blueberry mixture was splattering all over the place and I needed to put a lid on it (cracked to vent). It took about the recommended times cooking and it definitely thickened up once the chia seeds were added and it cooled. The only change I made is I used “regular” syrup rather than pure maple syrup. Turned out fine in my opinion.  I also didn’t add anymore syrup after tasting it before the chia seeds were added.

Overall, as I said, this turned out very well and I’m glad I made it. Hopefully it works with the smoothie later.

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Apple Crisp

I have made a few apple crisp recipes over the years but after reviewing them, I elected to search for another one. There wasn’t anything wrong with those recipes but in re-reading it, there was no “wow”. And, to be honest, I wanted to see if Alton Brown had a recipe. I didn’t find one from him but this one is from the Food Network. 

This recipe was really good. Not sure that I can say “wow” but I had to work hard to limit myself to only one piece. This will be made again. 

I did make a a couple of small tweaks. First, I pulled out a bag of apples from the freezer to use. That bag had 5 cups in it which may or may not equal the 6 apples it called for. And second, I baked it in an 8x11x2 pan. Not sure how that measures up to a 2 quart dish but I think it was smaller. But, it was the perfect size. The apples, and more importantly the topping, fit very well in the dish. I got really good coverage with the topping. 

I baked it for the 45 minutes it called for. In looking at it, the middle looked a little “jiggly” (not quite done) so I put it in for another 5 minutes. It looked better after that but I opted to turn the broiler on (on low) for a few minutes to make sure the top was nice and done (and crisp). I left the door open while doing that so I could keep an eye on it. Worked pretty well in my opinion. 

I definitely recommend this recipe. 

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Easy Peach Smoothie

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I keep telling myself that I’m going to eat healthier or at least take some additional steps. Part of that is trying to be better about breakfast. Both in eating breakfast (I’m inclined to skip it most days) and make sure that what I’m eating is pretty darn healthy. Enter smoothies. I’m working to find various smoothie recipes until I’m feeling better about the general makeup of them to just start making my own. And not that it really matters, but I tend to split the smoothie recipe with my wife which (in my mind) furthers the idea that I’m doing good with breakfast. Since we have a bag of peaches we froze individually, for this purpose, I looked for another peach one. This recipe is what I settled on this time.

Overall, this turned out well although I had some issues. Those issues were 100% operator error. Did you know you can overfill a Magic Bullet?  I learned that. It became apparent pretty quickly that the recipe was going to be pretty tight in the container as the peaches filled most of it up. I had to be strategic in layering ingredients to get it all to fit. Then I decided it would be a good idea to ADD a scoop of protein powder which added to the mess as I really crammed stuff in there. I had take it apart a couple of times and make sure the stuff on the bottom (which became the top when blending) came unstuck and actually mixed in. So, lesson learned there.

I did make a few adjustments. As mentioned I added a scoop of protein powder (vanilla). I used plain Greek yogurt and went with unsweetened almond milk. I forgot to add the sugar but that was okay. It was sweet enough without it. Plus leaving it out made it a tiny bit more healthy.

I’ll make this again but will work it so I don’t cram the bullet full.

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Polenta Budino with Plum Marmellata

I decided to make this as it was a little different. The idea of making a”pudding” with polenta sounded interesting to say the least but sounded like it might be good. You can read the recipe here.

Sadly, this didn’t turn out. At least the budino didn’t. At the end, when it’s supposed to be somewhat thick, it was a soupy mess. I’m not sure why. I’ve read and re-read the recipe and as far as I can tell, I did everything correctly. It was reasonably thick after cooking it but for whatever reason adding the butter, cream, and egg yolk loosened it up and it didn’t re-thicken. Even after having it in the fridge overnight didn’t do anything to thicken it.

Now, it tasted good (very sweet) but it really wasn’t a pudding to eat with the ice cream and plums. Speaking of the plums, those worked out pretty well. Those I will save and will just put on ice cream.

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Shredded Chicken Tacos (Tinga de Pollo)

As I’ve said before, when it comes to making things like tacos, I’m something of a pushover. Which meant when I got an email recently that included several different tacos recipes, I saved every single one of them. This was the first of that list that I decided to make. You can read the recipe here

These were really good. A much different “taco” flavor (I’m looking at you cinnamon) but still really good. I did make a few tweaks. One was that I skipped the chiles and adobo completely. If you’ve read any other posts you’ll know that while I like spicy foods,mother rest of the family doesn’t. Which means more often than not, I’m adjusting the spice to be less. The other thing I did was to use 14 ounces of fresh tomatoes. We still have a decent amount coming out of our garden and I felt it more prudent to use those up than to buy a can. Even if it changed the recipe a bit. 

For toppings I skipped the cheese they called for in favor of a tiny bit of “regular” shredded taco cheese. I also left off the cilantro and extra lime. Those decisions were based on simplicity and not wanting to waste ingredients than anything else. While I,am huge fan of cilantro, others are not and I felt like I would just be throwing away some cilantro later. Oh and I used flour tortillas. 

The only “trouble” I had was after placing the (hot!) liquid in the blender and covering it and holding the lid in place, it still managed to spray out all over the counter, walls, me, etc. Maybe I should have started it on low……

Anyway, this was a great recipe and one I would definitely recommend. I made it on a weeknight. Yes, it still took an hour or so but it was made on a night where we didn’t have anything else going on so it worked out. 

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