Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2014 in Review

It’s time yet again to look back 365 days, reflect over things learned, experienced, tasted & tried.  This year, we ran The Scoop for its second and final season, closing up in October.  We tried a Daniel Fast and succeeded…and tried a Whole 30 Challenge, and failed.  We saw a Supermoon, vacationed in the Smoky Mountains, met a bear…

 IMG_5451

sup?”

Oh, and I made a few posts here.  Not as many as I’d like, but apparently you all liked them anyway!  I am so grateful for those who take time out of their busy lives to read my words… and I hope that the recipes and tips found here help someone!

TOP POSTS OF 2014:

10. Fried Potatoes & Chocolate Banana "ice cream" (Daniel Fast series)

IMG_4079 IMG_4107

9. Veggie Burritos (Daniel Fast series)

IMG_4032

8. Boudin-Wrapped Jalapeno Popper

IMG_4787

7. Sweet Potato Pancakes, & Red Beans & Rice  (Daniel Fast series)

IMG_4118 IMG_4130

6. Infused Water recipes & Veggie Spaghetti (Daniel Fast Series)

IMG_4064

5. Shrimp Boil Salad (Guest Post from Primo)

shrimpboilsalad

4. Bruschetta & Cajun Veggie Boil (Daniel Fast series)

IMG_4196 IMG_4206

3. Daniel Fast Prep 

[IMG_20140202_125051%255B6%255D.jpg]

2. Daniel Fast Protein sources & Surviving a Party while you're Fasting (Daniel Fast series)

IMG_4212

1. Pressure Cooker Chicken & Sausage Gumbo 

IMG_4424

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Resolutions?

So it's that time of year when we make a bunch of promises to our Future Self, hoping that our Future Self will buy in and keep them going.  But sometimes, our Future Self is a slacker who really loves pizza & peejoms.  But hey--just remember, Future Self is only human.  Much like you.  So don't be too hard on him/her.  And...don't set him/her up for failure with unreasonable expectations either.  That should help.

Did you know that "lose weight" is the most common resolution in America? (And in Britain.  But the French list "learn a new language" as their #1 resolution. Friggin' skinny Frenchfolk.)

Apparently, if I made any resolutions last year, I did not post them here.  But I did make a post about jumping on the fitness bandwagon right after Christmas last year, so let's count that.   In that post, I shared a bunch of the tools I was using to help get/stay fit, like my FitBit, some apps, food logging, etc.  And I stuck with it...until The Scoop opened for the season & I became consumed with other things.  Well--I do still wear my FitBit every day, so at least I stuck with that.  AND I lost 20 lbs of ice-cream weight, so at least that was beneficial!  AND I didn't put it all back on during The Scoop season, so double-win!  Granted, I'm still a little fluffy around the middle, but I feel a lot better about my situation today than I did a year ago today. :)

So, resolutions for 2015?  Again, I hate to set Future Self up for failure, so I'm aiming for "life-improving, but not unattainable".  

1. The 2015 Reading Challenge.  The Hubs was skeptical, but I checked my "Books I Read This Year" board on Pinterest and I did in fact finish 50 books in 2014, so this is completely doable, and might even help give me some direction when I run out of books on my Hold list & am floundering for what to search for next.  My local library has a large ebook & audiobook selection available via the Overdrive app, which is great for my 1-hour roundtrip work commute. (The audiobooks, not the ebooks.  That would be dangerous. Sheesh. PS—where’s my autopilot car, Future Self?)

2. I'm continuing with my Virtual Trek across the US.  I had a goal of getting to the MO/IL border, which would have been about 1200 miles, or 3.3 miles per day on average.  Alas, I was about 230 miles short of this goal, with an average of 2.6 miles/day.  So I decided I want to get my average up to 3 miles /day, which should put me at the KS/CO border by the end of the year.  Assuming I don't die of boredom from virtually trekking across Kansas, of course.

3. POST MORE!  I dearly appreciate those of you who've been reading here for a long time and have patiently put up with my sporadic posting for the last two years while we've owned The Scoop.  But now that The Scoop is sold, here's hoping I'll have more time to chat with you lovely people about food, family, craftiness, and the occasional cocktail. (PS--if you use the UnTappd app, feel free to friend me!  Username: feauxcajun)

4. DuoLingo every day.  Errr....Maybe every other day.  I'm trying to focus on learning Portuguese, but I also have lessons going in French, Italian, and now Irish (Gaelic).  They also have Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish & Swedish.  ALL FREE.  And it's available online and via apps (iPhone, iPad, & Android).  It's a fun game-type setup, and there's a social function so you can compete with friends.  (Username "heywood417" if you want to friend me!)

5. Volunteer more.  My schedule gets pretty packed, so a lot of the time I tend to donate $$ or stuff instead of time.  I'm not putting a number on this--"more" is probably sufficient (given that 2014 consisted of "picking up trash twice").  There's lots of opportunities in my community, so I just need to whittle out some time now & then.

I think that rounds the year (and me) out pretty well--a little bit of something for the mind, body & spirit in there.

How about you--any resolutions for the year?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Smoky Shrimp & Grits

As expected, holidays around here were hectic. I’m sure you can empathize!  But I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and filled your bellies with delicious, warm, comfy foods, and perhaps got a few nice gifts!  I hope your children & extended family didn’t completely destroy your home, and that you had a few moments to rest & put your feet up.

Today’s recipe is perfect for a cold, snowy day when you need something creamy, cheesy & satisfying.  Plus, if you use instant grits, it takes less than 30 minutes to make.  Perfect for after work when you need to throw something together on the fly that still feels gourmet—plus it’s under 300 calories per serving!

IMG_6251 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup instant grits
  • 1 cup smoked gouda, shredded
  • 4 slices bacon, 1/2” diced
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • smoked salt (to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

First, cook your grits according to the package.  If you’re morally opposed to instant grits, you can make regular, I was just saving some time.  Once the grits are fully cooked, stir in the cheese.

Next, in a large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy (6-8 minutes).  Pull the pieces out & let drain on a paper towel.  Then add the shrimp, tomatoes, corn, Cajun seasoning & smoked salt to the skillet & cook until the shrimp are done (3-5 minutes).  Stir in the green onions at the last minute, then serve over grits.

IMG_6249 NutriFacts:

 Calories 281.8

  Total Fat 5.1 g

  Saturated Fat 2.9 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g

  Cholesterol 228.5 mg

  Sodium 769.3 mg

  Potassium 366.1 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 27.4 g

  Dietary Fiber 2.1 g

  Sugars 1.8 g

  Protein 29.7 g