Healthier Bang Bang Shrimp

Hey guys! It’s been a while. & Quite frankly it’s because I’ve fallen off my healthy eating wagon and haven’t had much motivation. Between colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, and any other goo in our house, it has been so hard to find time. I’m sorry I haven’t been around for any of you faithful readers. But I’m back and with the support of my husband and friends I’m going to get back on my clean eating train! Join me.. again!

This recipe comes from a few weeks ago when we had bought some shrimp but didn’t want the typical shrimp on the grill in some butter with a side of vegetables. I had heard of people talk about bang bang shrimp. Shrimp covered in some spicy sauce didn’t sound very appetizing to me, but I gave it a try. It was delicious & so different than any shrimp recipe I had ever had.

The recipe my husband had found just called for sweet chili sauce, which is something we have never kept on hand. Actually I had never even heard of it, so I found out what was in a sweet chili sauce, looked through the cabinets and found a lot of the ingredients & went to town. It also called for siracha sauce, but I’m a wimp when it comes to spice and for that reason we also don’t have that on hand. Haha, so good ole Franks hot sauce it was. All of it combined turned into such a good combination. It was such a good summer light recipe.

We also paired our shrimp with some plain white rice, but with some of the left over sweet chili sauce drizzled, soooooooo good. The other side we had was broccoli. Odd I know. This is my second year doing a raised garden & this was the first year I grew broccoli. The broccoli pictured was a first cutting from the garden. Have you ever had FRESH broccoli from the garden? So much more tender and such better flavor.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe if your looking for a different way to enjoy some shrimp! Don’t give up on me, I’m going to keep posting!

Healthier Bang Bang Shrimp

1lb shrimp cooked in a tbls butter
2 tbls mayo
1 tbls plain greek yogurt
2 tbls sweet chili sauce (homemade)
a dash of franks red hot sauce

Combine the mayo, yogurt, sweet chili sauce and red hot sauce in a bowl set aside. Melt the butter in a non stick pan, heat it and then throw the shrimp in. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side until pink and no longer see through. Toss the cooked shrimp into the mayo mix. Serve.

Sweet chili sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar (granulated only)
1 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbls water

Heat everything except the cornstarch mixture in a pan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then pour in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Then quickly remove it from heat and let cool.

Bang bang shrimp

Our Version Of Jambalaya

First disclaimer: If anyone has had real authentic southern Jambalya, I apologize. We may be botching this entire recipe.

Craig introduced me to Jambalaya a couple years ago. It was another one of those recipes that I shuttered at. Vegetables, tomatoes, rice, chicken, andouille sausage, did I mention the onions & peppers. I was completely scared to try it. I imagined it was going to be way to spicy for me and how was I going to stomach eating those peppers.

Little did I know, it was going to become a stable recipe in our home. Now from what I understand, true Jambalaya is served over a bed of jasmine rice. Please someone who knows true jambalya tell me if I’m wrong. We mix our rice into the mixture of vegetables & chicken & sausage.

We also don’t always use chicken & sausage either. In this most recent version that I’m going to be sharing with you, we used leftover pulled pork & andouille sausage. It by far, was my favorite way to make it. We have also made versions of it with shrimp, just chicken, or just sausage before.

This recipe seems to have a lot of prep to it, cutting the vegetables, cutting the meat, cooking this, then adding this. But it is all worth it. The whole thing takes about an hour & a half to make. So make sure you save this for a day you have plenty of time. It will also make a lot of food! For the two of us, we have left overs for at least two more days.

During cooking
Finished product

Jambalya

  • Servings: 8
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Our take on a southern staple, lightened up to our liking.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbls olive oil
  • 2 peppers diced (we prefer one yellow & one red, green is good in it too)
  • 1 onion small diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • cajun seasoning (we use Tony’s)
  • 1 package of turkey kielbasa diced
  • 1/2lb of pulled pork (this is where you can sub 2 chicken breast cubed)

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. In a seperate bowl pour a good amount of cajun seasoning on the kielbasa & pork (or chicken if using) set aside.
2. Sauté the peppers, onion & celery in the heated pan until soft. Add in the garlic, bay leaves, and brown rice, stir to combine all.
3. Add in the seasoned meat from step one at this point. If you’re using chicken breast, use this time to cook your chicken until done. Cooking the chicken at this point will help get the flavors of the peppers & onions as well.
4. Now add in the chicken broth. Make sure you keep an eye out for those bay leaves. You’re going to want to take them out before serving.
5. Bring this mixture to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Find your two bay leaves, remove them and serve!

Mixed Berry Baked Oatmeal

Anyone else feel like they get into food ruts? I have been feeling that way for a week or so now, especially with breakfast food. Normally for me my breakfast consists of one egg & usually two turkey sausage patties. Lately that just feels a bit old to me.

I also realize that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Eating breakfast helps start your day & gives you energy. (At least that what the internet says.) I tend to eat a pretty small breakfast, like I mentioned above & it usually suffices until 11am, for lunch. I always feel when I eat a less than stellar breakfast, like a last minute frozen Mickey Mouse waffle, I’m hungry with in an hour.

Another thing I’d like to add into my breakfast routine (and overall healthy food) is fruit. I’ve never been a huge fan of fruit unless it’s blended up in a smoothie.

Overnight oats seem to be big thing right now, never been a huge fan of oats either. I always prefered Cream of Wheat. Anyone else have that growing up? One of my favorite breakfasts… I’m going to need to make that soon.

Anyway, I decided to try baked oatmeal for a change. There is always a big bag a of frozen mixed berries in our freezer, so I decided to use that in the baked oatmeal. A quick 10 minute prep & 35 minutes in the oven and this breakfast was ready. This was so delicious, I was super surprised I would like it. Even Craig said it was a winner. The oatmeal portion had a slight cinnamon flavor to it, the mixed berries on top made it taste similar to a berry cobbler. SOOOOO Delicious!

This will add a twist to your typical morning routine. You could even make this ahead of time & bake it. Save it in an airtight container and cut you a piece in the morning. It is delicious after a quick warm up in the microwave the next morning!

Enjoy this mixed berry baked oatmeal.

Mixed Berry Baked Oatmeal

  • Servings: 6
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Quick berry baked oatmeal, only sweetened with honey & berries

Ingredients


* 2 cups quick cook rolled oats
* 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (sub butter if needed, just less healthy)
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 cup honey
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup milk
* A dash of vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries (you can use your favorite frozen fruit)

Directions


1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together except the mixed berries. Divide the berries in half. Half of them need to be mixed into the oat mixture. The other half is for the top.
3. Our the oat mixture into a prepared 8×8 baking dish. Spread the remaining berries ontop of the oats.
4. Bake for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday Fun Facts

1. It’s Friday. That’s a fact Jack! The weekend is here thank goodness.

2. I am a huge ice cream lover. It’s probably my favorite dessert of all time. And I’m a simple ice cream kind of gal. I love vanilla with sprinkles or chocolate chips. So I finally bought myself an ice cream maker. Bought it for my online baking class I’m in, but now that I’ve figured out how to make it. I’m going to try for some healthier ice cream recipes.

3. I’m growing a vegetable garden this year, I started one last year but this year I’ve added another raised bed. I’m super excited. Last night was the first time we’ve been able to eat something straight from the garden. We used the romaine lettuce I grew. (Had no luck with lettuce last year.)

Peek at that beautiful lettuce.

4. Thank goodness for coffee this week as well. My daughters allergies were going crazy & on top of that had a cold. She then gave her cold to us. I lucked out only getting a sore throat, so I non stop drank hot coffee to help! I am loving my coffee with 1 Splenda packet & a splash of oat milk for creamer.

5. It’s going to be hot here this weekend. Our only plans are a birthday party tomorrow & enjoying the sprinklers and new kiddie pool we bought. not sure about food this weekend.

6. Anyone out there reading this? Let me know if you have any fun plans or any recipes you’re looking for on here! Maybe I can use that to motivate myself for cooking this weekend.

On that note. Enjoy this short post, have a wonderful weekend!

Tortellini Soup w/Veggies on a chilly day

Happy Wednesday friends! Half way there again. Not sure about you, but I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE W.E.E.K.E.N.D. It’s supposed to be hot and sunny, I’m looking forward to a weekend with friends & being outside. So it’s kind of an oxymoron that I’m sharing a recipe most prefer when it’s cold & rainy.

As I’ve stated from the beginning, I’m not 100% healthy all the time. Thank goodness. Not sure how some people do that and not have any cheat food or desserts or ice cream….

I even still roll my eyes & slightly vomit in my mouth when I read a recipe that is completely filled with veggies & chicken. Seriously, who loves to eat that all the time?! Not this gal. Do I force myself to eat more vegetables? Absolutely. Do I still cry like a toddler when I have a serving of green stuff in front of me? Some times. Okay, not a toddler fit, but you get the idea. Anyone else out there stuck in between wanting to be super healthy but still eat “normal”? It’s okay, I’m pretty sure its normal & probably the majority of people.

When my husband brought this recipe below home & told me what was in it, I was VERY skeptical about it. Vegetables, spinach, & tortellinis in soup form? Nah not for me. But I was willing to try it. One of my favorite recipes now. I love to get or make a loaf of bread to enjoy with this. Save this recipe or come back this fall when weather cools down for a good comfort food.

Vegetable & Tortellini Soup

  • Servings: 6
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Delicious creamy soup filled with some vegetables & tortellinis


Enter your recipe notes here.

Ingredients

*1/2 white onion chopped
* 4 medium sized carrots chopped small
* 1 zucchini chopped small
* 3 cloves garlic minced
* 1 pound Italian sausage
* 1 tbls Italian seasoning
* 1- 8oz can petite diced tomatoes
* 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
* 1/4 flour
* 1 cup heavy cream
* A bunch of spinach (I really don’t know how much we use… just use how much you think is necessary)
* 1 package of tortellini (we prefer the family size cheese, but this is also preference)

Directions

  1. Add your chopped onion & carrots to a large Dutch oven (or large pot) with some olive oil over medium high heat. Cook until starting to get soft. Next add in your zucchini, garlic, and the sausage. Let the sausage cook completely.
    2. Once the sausage is browned, add in your Italian seasoning. Also dust the vegetables & sausage with the flour. Now add in your diced tomatoes & chicken broth. Let this come to a simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
    3. Now pour un the heavy cream & your package of tortellini. Let this cook for about 5 minutes or until your tortellini is cooked through.
    4. Here is where you will add the spinach. Once again, the amount is up to you. I think this the coolest part to watch. Adding a handful of spinach and watching it wilt down to nothing. (yeah, I’m a dork)
    5. Once you spinach is wilted down, you are ready to eat.

Nutrition


Per Serving: 500 calories; 33 g fat; 29.5 g carbohydrates;
20.3 g protein; 124 mg cholesterol; 1300 mg sodium.

Sunday Morning Healthy Biscuits & Gravy

During the week our breakfast is usually very simple & quick. Eggs & protein & toast. On the weekends we try to do more elaborate breakfasts.

My favorite breakfast to eat of all time is biscuits & gravy. I pick it almost every time we go out for breakfast. I think it is just such a good warming comfort breakfast.

Since I love it so much and want to eat it so often, I decided it was something I wanted to try and make healthier. Full disclaimer here: I CANNOT, I repeat CANNOT make gravy to save my life. I leave that part up to Craig. He is excellent at it. I stick to the biscuits. For the biscuits, I’ve been experimenting with homemade biscuits for a while now. I tried whole wheat flour instead of regular flour. Healthy zero calorie butter instead of sticks of butter. I *think* I’ve finally found a happy medium. I had found an organic, coconut based shortening, that is now my only healthy substitute in the biscuit recipe. Honestly, I cannot even tell it’s a “healthier” shortening.

For the gravy, we used organic turkey sausage crumbled up and for the cream part of the gravy, just use vanilla almond milk. Simple easy changes. I will say the texture of the gravy is a little runnier than average, but I say that’s just a preference for everyone.

I have no nutritional facts for this recipe as it can very from person to person. It will also change depending on what type of milk you use or if you change any ingredients. I hope you enjoy this version of biscuits & gravy as much as we do. Let me know how it is.

Biscuits & Gravy (healthified)

  • Servings: 4
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Weekend Breakfast deserve this heart warming recipe


The biscuit recipe makes about 8 biscuits, but the gravy only is enough for about 4 biscuits.

Ingredients

  • For the biscuits***
  • 2 cups AP Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 cup milk (for best results, use whole milk, if you don’t have whole, low fat milk will work)
  • 1/2 cup very cold shortening
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Whisk together your dry ingredients together.
  2. I recommend a stand mixer (with a dough hook) or wooden spoon for this part. Slowly add chunks of your cold shortening into the dry ingredients. Mix until all the shortening is covered and your dough looks crumbly.
  3. Next add in your milk and egg. And mix for just a few minutes, until your dough is no longer sticking super wet.
  4. Take your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5-6 times. Then roll out to desired thickness.
  5. Cut your biscuits out using a round cookie cutter or whatever cup you have around.
  6. Cook in a oven that has been preheated to 425 degrees for about 14-16 minutes. The biscuits will be golden on top.

Ingredients


***For the Gravy***
* 1/2 tube of breakfast turkey sausage
* 1/4 cup AP flour
* 1 – 2 cups almond milk (or your preference)
* dash of cayenne pepper
* salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Brown your sausage. As soon as it is brown, dump the flour into the same pan onto the sausage. Mix that around and make a roux.
  2. Now slowly add in your milk. Here you may not use all the milk listed, or you may use more. This part is totally how you want the consistency to be. Bring this mixture to a simmer while constantly stirring.
  3. Add in your seasonings to taste. Careful with the cayenne.
  4. Most important step, now take a biscuit break it in half & pour your gravy on top of the biscuit. Enjoy!

Random Friday

Happy Friday everyone. Thank goodness it’s finally here. After a long work week, I am READY for this weekend and hope to enjoy the beautiful weather here.

I don’t have any true recipes today or pictures. My kiddo isn’t feeling great so I wasn’t quite focused on pictures of food. Tonight our dinner consisted of left over pulled pork on tostadas. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat left over pulled pork.

We just get those pre-made tostado shells, slab some refried beans on the shells, then the pork. On top we crumble some queso fresco cheese and bake it all for about 15 minutes. Not the healthiest, but easy enough for an evening spent with a sick kid.

Oh I didn’t mention, the best part was the Green Chili Jam we put on top of the tostadas after we pulled them out of the oven. It’s this great jam we discovered in 2019 at a Food & Wine festival we attended in Louisville. This restaraunt Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen was offering some little tacos with this nasty looking green stuff ontop. I was not into trying it, but Craig grabbed one so I sucked it up and tried one. Guys. It was the best little taco I’d ever had and the green chili jam on top was to DIE for. We immediately bought some from them and continue to buy little jars of the jam for our pork, tacos, salads, and so much more.

Anyway , sorry I got way off topic about some green jam. It’s just so good (all natural & gluten free too).

My biggest tip, take it slow. If you’re wanting to start eating healthy, start slow. It’s taken me a really long time to get to the point I’m at today with eating a lot healthier. I’m not a huge fan of just going cold turkey on things. I just think it leads to craving that item so bad you end up breaking and divulging into that again. Now I’ve had a few items that I have completely cut out “cold turkey” style. But that was because of health/tummy issues I was experiencing and just did a process of elimiantion to get rid of things to see what made me feel better.

Once I quit putting so much “yucky” food into my body, the better I started feeling. Now when I have fried food, fast food, even dairy, it almost makes me feel bloated or just yuck. Don’t get me wrong, I still chow down on some french fries, or ice cream, just not as often as I used to.

I try to go by a 90% good food & 10% crap food philosphy. The one day a week bad food, cheat day, thing doesn’t really work for me. Not sure why, but I just feel so restricted.

I hope this helps someone out. Let me know what items you want out of your food. Or throw out any food you have planned for this weekend! I’m all about sharing different foods & ideas!

What I Ate Wednesday

In case you were wondering what I ate today, I’m here to share it. If you weren’t wondering, (which is probably the case), well, here we are. Just kidding. This post is designed for ideas about what to eat. I often find myself having no idea what to eat, feeling like I eat the same thing over & over & over.

My goal was to take pictures of all my food, but I’m a little disorganized sometimes. I’d actually lose my head if it wasn’t attached to my body, true statement. So instead I’ll share as much as possible about my day.

Morning

Coffee, sausage links w/one over medium egg.
As soon as I was up, my first thing is coffee. One cup of coffee, one Splenda packet, and a splash of Oat Milk.
I did manage to try some Organic Breakfast Chicken Sausage links this morning. I’m usually not a fan of any type of sausage links, but your girl here is also up for a deal at the grocery story and these were on sale. I also just don’t typically enjoy sausage links, they have too much of a maple flavor for me. But these were rather delicious along with my over medium egg.
Sorry, no picture of this, I’m rather grumpy in the mornings (before coffee) and once I broke my egg yolk in the skillet, I was not okay with taking a picture.

Lunch

Leftover Maple Dijon Sausage & Veggies
These leftovers are the best. I started following a blog called What Molly Made when I did my clean eating last year. I made her Maple Dijon Sausage & Veggies and absolutely cannot stop talking about it or eating it. My husband even made it at the firehouse and it was a hit there. Such a great recipe! Heres the picture before we dug in.

Dinner

Grilled chicken & veggies
With the weather changing, our grill is starting to get its use. Not sure if other people feel this way, but food is so much better cooked on the grill. Tonight, Craig prepared sweet potatoes, asparagus, and chicken breast for the grill. Simple seasonings for the vegetables, salt, pepper & garlic. He seasoned the chicken breasts with a Spiceology seasoning & it was delicious.

That is it for me for the day. One note, we DID NOT finish all that asparagus. That was A LOT.
I always start with eating my vegetables before the rest of my food. It’s really helped my vegetable intake.

Hopefully you’re mid week went over good. We are halfway through the work week y’all! Looking forward to the weekend and warmer weather.

Potato Soup

I grew up as the kid who hardly ate anything. If it wasn’t chicken nuggets, hamburger (ketchup only), or ice cream, I probably wasn’t eating it. As a teenager, I began broading my horizons, bacon cheese fries drenched in ranch, buffalo chicken wraps, soaked in ranch and all the french fries in the world.

It didn’t take too long for me to figure out I needed to eat better. I won’t get into the boring details of my healthy food journey, but I can tell you one thing. I NEVER, and I mean NEVER, imagined I would be okay with cauliflower or even potato soup.

I grew to love potato soup, just loaded with lots of bacon & as much cheese as possible. Then I realized just how unhealthy it was. So last year, when I did a whole food/clean eating diet, I found a recipe that called for cauliflower in the potato soup. I was completely grossed out but forced myself to try it.

I haven’t looked back since. To me, this soup tastes NOTHING like cauliflower, and it is so creamy just like a typical potato soup. My daughter even gobbles it up, and that kid will NOT eat cauliflower of anysort. She asks for this soup all the time. In my opinion, if a toddler enjoys it, it’s a win win.

If you want, top your soup off with sour cream, shredded cheese, and even bacon.

Cauli-Potato Soup

  • Servings: 4
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Healthier Potato soup, you won't even realize it's good for you

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into equal size pieces
  • 1 tbls olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme (I used ground)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 large russet potato (or 2 medium, or 3 small, your preference) chopped into small pieces
  • whatever toppings you’d like

Directions

  1. Saute onions & garlic in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes until softened (you’ll blend them in later in the recipe) over medium heat. You can use a large sauce pan or a large dutch oven pot.
    2. Add in the chicken broth, cauliflower, and seasonings including the bay leaf. Let this all simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft enough to mash. *IMPORTANT. Find the bay leaf and take it out. DO NOT BLEND IN THE BAY LEAF*
    3. Once the cauliflower is soft, you can either use an immersion (hand held blender) or pour your soup into a blender and blend until smooth. I use a hand held. Just be careful, the soup is super HOT.
    4. When the soup is blended (and back in the pot), add your diced potatoes.
    5. Let this simmer for another 20 minutes until your potatoes are tender & soft.
    6. Serve with any additional toppings on of your chosing. Enjoy!

Nutrition


Per Serving: 187 calories; 4.2 g fat; 34.2 g carbohydrates;
7.5 g protein; 3.7 mg cholesterol; 760 mg sodium.

Healthier Spinach Artichoke Dip

I’ve already wrote this blog post once. I’m just not sure where it went of course! Typical me. Seriously, if my head wasn’t attached to my body, I’d probably lose it. I’m always, ALWAYS, a hot mess.

I know summer isn’t really the time for “hot” dips, (hence the reason I wrote this post weeks ago when it was chillier out, *insert eye roll here*) but this dip is one of our favorite. Usually we make it on Sunday afternoons when we don’t really want a huge dinner or some game on television Craig wants to watch.

Spinach Artichoke dip has become my favorite. I’m not a huge fan of buffalo chicken dip, it always makes my stomach hurt with that spicy hot sauce in it. I know I’m a wimp, but just regular hot sauce makes my eyes water.

Healthier Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • Servings: 6
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Healthier version of the popular Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 10oz fresh spinach wilted down w/1tbls butter
  • 1 block fat free (or 1/3 fat) cream cheese
  • 3/4 plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco crumble cheese
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped artichoke hearts
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 1.5 qt baking dish with non stick spray, set aside
  2. With a wooden spoon, mix the cream cheese & yogurt together until smooth. Then add in the parmesan & queso fresco cheese until smooth.
  3. Now add in your freshly wilted down spinach. I like to do this with the spinach still warm to help melt all the first few ingredients together. After that spinach is in, add in your chopped artichoke & garlic. Also add in your salt & pepper to your liking during this part.
  4. Once all the ingredients have been mixed, sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, then for an additional five minutes, turn your broiler on low & let the top cheese melt until browning.
  6. Enjoy!

Nutrition


Per Serving: 275 calories; 18 g fat; 3.5g carbohydrates;
19.7 g protein; 44 mg cholesterol; 751 mg sodium.