Scintillating Scallops

seared scallops

When I was a kid, my mother would make flounder and white rice for me. Unfortunately, I was an extremely picky eater back then and I’d refuse to try other kinds of seafood.

Now that I’m older, my desire to experiment has grown exponentially and I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes: Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Sauce. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly; you can find the original recipe here.

 For the scallops, you’ll need:

  • 1 lb of dry, large sea scallops

  • 1 Tbsp Smart Balance with Omega-3

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil

  • Fresh ground black pepper

For the sauce, you’ll need:

  • 3 Tbsps Smart Balance with Omega-3

  • 1 medium shallot, diced

  • ¼ cup of herbs (I like chives, rosemary and parsley)

  • ¼ cup of your favorite liqueur (I like Kahlúa)

  • ¼ cup lime zest

  • Fresh ground black pepper

Quick tip: Chop your herbs and the shallot for the sauce before you start cooking the scallops.

Cooking directions (scallops):

  1. Rinse scallops in cold water then pat dry with paper towels

  2. Warm a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes

  3. Add oil and Smart Balance to the pan → to test if the mixture is hot enough, run your fingers under some cold water then splash it into the oil and Smart Balance. When it’s hot enough, the cold water will instantly boil off

  4. Pat scallops dry once more before placing them in the pan (spread them around the pan for best cooking results)

  5. Season each scallop with your choice of spices and place in the pan to sear

  6. Let each scallop cook for 2 to 4 minutes until nicely browned (you’ll know it’s ready when it’s mostly firm to the touch)

  7. Flip with tongs and repeat searing on the other side

  8. Transfer the scallops to a warm plate (turn the burner down to medium and let the pan cool for about 45 seconds before starting the sauce

Cooking directions (herb-butter sauce):

  1. Melt 1 Tbsp of Smart Balance in the pan

  2. Add shallots to the pan and sautee for 1-2 minutes

  3. Pour Kahlúa and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes or until it reduces by ½

  4. Mix in herbs and lime zest and reduce heat to low

  5. Add the other 2 Tbsps of Smart Balance to mixture and whisk briskly until it melts completely

  6. Return scallops to the pan and roll them in sauce until warmed through

  7. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

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Savory and Heart-Healthy Alfredo Sauce

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Every so often, I like to take a day off and unwind from the crazy journey we know as life. When I do, that’s typically when I see a sign that the passion I have for helping women learn to love their bodies and feed it right is what I need to be doing.

Yesterday, I was lounging around my apartment because we were having our umpteenth snow fall of the season and I tuned into Bethenny. One of her guests for the day was an AMAZING woman named Torrie who lost 148 pounds in 3 years. Torrie is amazing because she did it the right way: she healthified her favorite foods so she’d never have to deprive herself of anything.

I found this recipe a while back and it’s an incredible way I can keep one of my “guilty pleasure” – Alfredo sauce – in my culinary repertoire. Another great thing about this recipe is that it uses Greek yogurt so I get a nice dose of protein and keep my immune system in tip top shape!

Ingredients:

  • 4oz plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup Silk soy milk
  • 2Tbsp Smart Balance
  • 2Tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Warm a saucepan on medium heat
  2. Melt the Smart Balance
  3. Add your flour to create a paste
  4. Stir in garlic powder, black pepper, yogurt and milk
  5. Keep cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens
  6. Add Parmesan cheese and stil until melted
  7. Pour over your favorite bowl of pasta and enjoy!

Healthy and Indulgent Brownies

Finally, some no-guilt brownies :-)

Finally, some no-guilt brownies 🙂

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Greek yogurt is a fantastic substitute for other cooking fats like oils, lard, and so on.

I’ve been a chocoholic for as long as I can remember and I haven’t had brownies in a very long time because of the oil content. I decided to test how well Greek yogurt and I think I may have opened a portal to heaven!

I used the following ingredients for my brownies:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cups Vanilla Greek yogurt (I used low fat)
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup pecans

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, pecans),
  2. Blend all the wet ingredients – vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, chocolate chips (melt for 30s in a microwave safe bowl or in a small pot),
  3. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly (I did it a little too quickly and had one heck of a mess to clean up!),
  4. After you’ve combined the wet and dry ingredients, pour the batter into a pan (8x8x2 lined with parchment paper and slightly covered in olive oil to help keep the brownies from sticking),
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean,
  6. Let the brownies cool for about 15 minutes, and enjoy!

Sleep and Weight Loss

sleep and eating

We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep to let our bodies heal itself from the wear and tear from that day. What we eat impacts how well we sleep.

I’m sure there have been several studies on this, but I like to try things out for myself before I back anything… and those studies are TRUE!!

When I ate junk like soda, Kraft macaroni & cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs, candy, and the like regularly I always had problems falling asleep for more than an hour at a time. Now, that I use simple ingredients in my recipes, I sleep like a baby and I can count on falling asleep at a specific time every night!

I’ve done a little research and apparently all of the sugar and chemicals from the boxed crap we eat keeps us from falling into what science calls “Delta sleep.” WebMD defines “delta sleep” (link here) as a stage in the NREM (non-rapid eye movement) cycle where the body can repair/regenerate tissue, build bones/muscles and strengthen your immune system!

So the next time you feel a little sleepy, listen to your body and take a quick nap!

SlimVox

SlimVox

I don’t believe that diet pills should be the crux of anyone’s plan to change their eating habits, but they might be helpful if you need to lose weight but can’t work out.

A prime example is be when I was on bed rest for my back injury: I could barely move without excruciating pain, let alone exercise. Despite my limitations, I was determined to do SOMETHING to change my destructive eating habits, so I started doing research on what kinds off supplements were available to me. One day I came across SlimVox and I noticed I could pronounce the ingredients and that stoked my curiosity. The more research I did on SlimVox, the more it impressed me, so I ordered it to see how it could help me during my recovery.

Supplementing.com has a terrific in-depth YouTube review on the ingredients in SlimVox; the concept behind the development SlimVox and the fact that they used NO artificial ingredients were the main catalysts that helped me decide to give it a trial run.

SlimVox was developed by women for women because we fully understand how hard it can be for us to shed those unwanted pounds. Men say women don’t lose weight as fast as they do because we’re lazy (a MONUMENTAL cop-out, in my opinion!), but that is NOT the case. A woman’s body is genetically engineered (link) to store more fat than men just in case we get pregnant.

The women who developed SlimVox underscore this point and use all natural ingredients to help us shed those unwanted pounds, with proper diet and exercise!

My favorite ingredients in SlimVox are kelp, ginger and green tea. The fact SlimVox included kelp in the formulation intrigued me greatly. I had heard many times how marine plants like kelp and seaweed were helpful in absorbing toxins in the digestive tract and easing them out (after all, sushi rolls are usually wrapped in seaweed!). Since I had 25+ years of junk food in my system, I wanted something that could really kick-start the detoxification process.

Ginger is an incredible spice because it is an intestinal spasmolytic (something that is really good at soothing the intestinal tract and makes it easier for it to expel toxins from your system). This was important to me because during the first five months my recovery, I could not stand long enough to make a fiber-rich salad or heart-healthy bowl of granola.

Green tea sealed the deal for me because of the potent antioxidant properties that could help repair the damage from my injury (and it had just the right amount of caffeine that gave me a much-needed boost of energy while I took the time to recover from my injury).

Want a Healthy and Robust Immune System? Eat Greek Yogurt!

healthy immune system

The past few weeks money has been a little tight and I’ve been eating crappy boxed and processed foods because that’s what I could afford. I will NEVER make that foolhardy choice again!

The first week I bought the boxed/processed foods, I was pretty dismissive because I had finally changed over to a lifestyle where I no longer WANTED to eat things like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese or Oscar Meyer bacon; I preferred Greek yogurt with berries and granola. Boy, did I ever get hit with a metaphorical 2×4!! As one week turned into two weeks and then one month, two months, I got a nice little reminder of why I banished those crappy “foods” from my kitchen. At the beginning of the month, maybe around the 5th or 6th, I started sniffling a little bit and before I knew what hit me, I had my first head cold in two YEARS!!!

Earlier this week, I was able to afford better food and I made sure to buy a huge tub of Greek yogurt because I while I was sick, I found an article that indicated approximately 70% of our immune system is in our digestive tract!

As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding!” and the only word that can describe Greek yogurt is “miracle cure.” That may sound a bit melodramatic, but it’s a perfect fit nonetheless. When my cold was at its worst, I couldn’t keep my head clear for more than 2 or 3 hours (I think I went through two boxes of tissue in one day!). Sleeping was next to impossible – I was lucky to get three straight hours at any given time.

After I bought my tub of Greek yogurt, I splurged and ate about 1½ cups and it took about four hours for my body to start repairing itself. About four days later, it was as if I’d never been sick!

Heart-Healthy Pancakes

Pancakes

I loved it when I would be in the kitchen with my Mom early on Sunday mornings to her make a big breakfast that could have two or three days-worth of leftovers. While I’m sure you can create pancake batter from scratch (which is something I think I might try someday 🙂 ), I like to use Log Cabin’s ready-to-mix dry batter. I prefer this brand because they use simple ingredients and never have more than 10 ingredients (including NO PRESERVATIVES!!) in their mixes.

As I mentioned in my post about French toast, we can use the carbohydrate content in our foods to our advantage given you want to educate yourself about the different kinds of carbohydrates and your willingness to experiment with them.

Here’s my basic pancake recipe I use regularly that is under 400 calories (which includes ¼ cup of syrup!) and keeps me full for about 3 hours.

Heart-Healthy Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Log Cabin pancake mix
  • 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon & 2 tsp of ginger
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Combine pancake mix, egg, oil, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl
  2. Warm medium sized pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray (to prevent the pancakes from sticking, let the cooking spray warm up with the pan until it turns clear)
  3. Spritz a small of water into the pan to make sure it’s evenly heated (the water droplets should boil instantly)
  4. Pour pancake mix and cook on medium heat