Parmesan Tilapia: Pale but Passable

In order to help keep costs down, we’ve been buying our meat when it’s on sale or in bulk size packages. Consequently, we have a big box of tilapia taking up room in our tiny little freezer and it turns out that we’re not that fond of tilapia. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not BAD. It’s just not good. It’s one of those things that we kind of want to cover up most of the flavor. Of course, neither of us are fish fans, so that doesn’t help us any.

This week, when tilapia came through our meat rotation we went searching for a recipe and stumbled across this. This recipe had several things wrong with it (according to my picky taste buds, anyway), so here’s the recipe we ended up going with:

Parmesan Tilapia
5 tilapia fillets (4 ounces each)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup Miracle Whip

1. Mix the Parmesan and Mircale Whip together. Set aside.

2. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Spray with vegetable oil spray (like Pam). Place the tilapia on the aluminum foil. Season with salt and pepper. Broil for three minutes.

3. Remove from broiler/oven. Flip tilapia over and top with Parmesan mixture. Broil for another three minutes. Enjoy!

I ended up REALLY liking the sauce, but wishing that it was on something else. A tuna patty, perhaps, or maybe salmon. Just something else. Of course, it didn’t help that it didn’t LOOK appetizing (which, after thinking about it, wasn’t that surprising–after all, it’s a white sauce on a white fish). We’re not giving up on the sauce, but we’re going to move on to something else the next time tilapia rolls around for dinner. I would, however, be interested in knowing how people think this recipe tastes if they actually like tilapia.

To my readers: How important do you feel the LOOKS of food are to the TASTE of food?

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Breakfast Burritto Recipe

Yesterday was once again a free day. They keep coming around so quickly that I can’t believe it, but I suppose that’s a good thing. If I hated what I was eating on my “diet” days, then free day would take forever to show up.

This was by far the “healthiest” free day we’ve had so far and I had the best reaction to a free day so far–I wasn’t sluggish or crabby or anything. Here’s what we had: breakfast burritos, 1 Jacks pizza for lunch (it fed all four of us easily!), 1 Wal-mart’s Take and Bake chocolate chip cookie package (which is actually six cookies), Jared had cheese and crackers for a snack (with a normal serving size, no extra for it being free day), we had popcorn for a late afternoon snack, Skinny Cow ice cream (the four of us ate a total of two 100 calorie caramel something or others), and some hot dogs. I admit it still wasn’t healthy, but it also wasn’t an exorbitant amount of calories. It’s exciting and it gives me hope that we will very soon be down to a free “meal” plus one dessert on free day, and then maybe not long after that we won’t need a free day at all.

I did want to share with you the breakfast burrito that Jared made for me, because it was super good.

Breakfast Burrito:
2-3 eggs, scrambled
sliced onion
a sprinkling of bacon bits
shredded cheddar cheese
whole wheat tortillas
sour cream
jalapenos, to taste

Make the scrambled eggs as you normally would, including the onions and the bacon bits. Add the shredded cheese and let it melt. Meanwhile, spread some sour cream on your tortilla. When the scrambled egg mixture is done, place it on top of the tortilla, top with jalapenos, wrap and enjoy!

To my readers: What do you like to add to your scrambled eggs?

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Firecracker Dark Chocolate Bar: Bold and Beautiful

You may not think of chocolate as being a healthy food, and it is certainly high in sugar, however chocolate is not bad for you either, if you keep serving sizes in mind. In fact, dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and is full of antioxidants (which help “gobble up” free radicals). Eating a small bar of chocolate, a truffle, or a piece of a traditionally sized bar of chocolate can also help to signal the end of the day to your mouth and your mind–providing a sweet note to close out your eating and help control cravings.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you are by now familiar with the fact that I am fond of spicy foods. So imagine my delight when I was walking through my local Wal-mart and my eyes fell on the “Firecracker” dark chocolate bar. Not only is it dark chocolate, but it’s also got salt, popping candy, and CHIPOTLE in it. Sweet and spicy at the same time? It was too good to be true. I had to try it.

Dark Chocolate with Chipotle, Salt and Popping Candy
There are two servings in a bar, 190 calories per serving, and 19 grams of sugar per serving. Each bar–each BITE of the bar–also has an insane amount of flavor. The dark chocolate flavor itself if very subtle, but definitely there. It’s a kind of slow, soft flavor that introduces your mouth to the party it’s about to have. Then–if you’re being patient and allowing the chocolate to melt in your mouth–you’ll get a hint of salt, a delightful popping sensation, and then a slow steadily growing heat. For those who like chocolate and heat, this is a slice of heaven, wrapped in blue and just waiting for you to enjoy it!

To my readers: What’s the most unusual candy you’ve ever had?

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Chipotle Mashed Cauliflower

As a fan of mashed potatoes, and a fan of wanting to eat healthier, I’ve been looking forĀ  substitutes to mashed potatoes. One such search led to my adventure with mashed poturnipoes (which you can read about here) and my second foray into the “mashed potato substitute” universe caused me to stumble across Chipotle Mashed Cauliflower recipe (adapted from a free recipe card that I found at the local Wal-mart).

5 cloves garlic (or up to a whole garlic bulb if you are a fan of garlic)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bag of frozen cauliflower florets
3/4 package of cream cheese (we used whipped cream cheese spread)
4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut off pointed end of garlic cloves (or bulb if you are using a whole one). Place garlic on heavy-duty aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Fold up the foil to create a seal. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool. Squeeze pulp from garlic into food processor.
3. Meanwhile, put the bag of frozen cauliflower and 1 1/2 cups of water in a pot. Cover it and steam on high for 20 minutes.
4. Place cauliflower in the food processor with the garlic, add in cream cheese, milk, and chipotle peppers.Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

We had this the same night we had the Tempting Turkey Burgers. Not only was it delicious on its own, but it was a very good compliment to the burgers. This is definitely something we’ll be eating again, both with the burgers and with other things. And I’m very much encouraged by the success of both of my mashed potato substitutes. I look forward to seeing what else I can find.

To my readers: What “substitutes” have you found for mashed potatoes?

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Tempting Turkey Burger

All right, so I know I already did a turkey burger recipe and that it’s a totally tasty recipe that I would recommend to anyone, but…well, Jared did an off-the-cuff turkey burger recipe last night that outdoes just about any burger recipe he’s ever done. So, of course, I had to share it with you. Here it is:

Tempting Turkey Burgers:

1 pound of ground turkey
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon Lowry’s seasoning salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce and 3/4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar OR 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup bread crumbs (or however much is needed to result in a good “patty” consistency meat)

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced and caramelized in approximately 1/4 stick of butter
Slices of mozzarella cheese

1 part horseradish
2 parts ketchup
(make as much as needed)

1. Mix all burger ingredients together. Let “rest” for ten minutes while you caramelize your onions. Portion out into six patties.

2. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Place patties on aluminum foil and broil for 5 minutes. Flip over and put slices of mozzarella cheese on top and place back in the oven/broiler for 2 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, toast English muffins to act as buns and mix your sauce.

4. When the cheese is melted, remove your burgers from the oven/broiler and place on an English muffin. Top with onions, a piece of lettuce, and your sauce. Enjoy!

It was SOOOO good. The only issue was in eating only one portion of it. I look forward to having it again in the future–and everyone else in the family seemed to feel the same way.

To my readers: What toppings do you prefer on your burgers?

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Avacado Salsa

Several months ago I was looking for an avocado recipe. I stumbled across Rachel Ray’s avocado boat recipe. It was very scrumptious. However, over the past several months it has morphed into an avocado salsa (recipe to follow) that goes excellently with Wheat Thins.

Avocado Salsa
1 Haas avocado
1/8 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
hot sauce to taste (we prefer Louisiana Hot Sauce in our household)
Wheat thins

1. Cut open the avocado, remove skin and seed, and chop avocado into bowl. The easiest way to get the avocado out of it’s skin is to cut a line all the way around it. Twist the two halves. This will result in the avocado splitting in half, the seed left on one side. Scoop out the seed with a spoon and then scoop the avocado out of it’s skin with the same spoon.

2. Combine the chopped onion, avocado, and tomato.

3. Drizzle with olive oil and hot sauce.

4. Stir gently with a spoon. This makes two healthy-sized portions. If you only need one portion, use half the avocado (leaving the half with the seed in it as the seed helps prevent browning).

This is one of my favorite snacks right now. It’s healthy and fresh tasting, plus it has a salsa feel to it, while also feeling new and unique. The wheat thins add a nice crunch, sweetness, and saltiness as well. This really has everything–everything I look for, anyway. It’s also easy to make and my husband likes it as much as I do, even though I make sure that it’s got some good hot sauce flavoring to it. This is a definite keeper that is sure to make many more appearances in our household.

To my readers: What’s your favorite use for avocado, other than guacamole?

Posted in Dinner, Healthy, Lunch, Recipes, Snacks, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Importance of Sleep

So, this is a pretty obvious statement I’m about to make here, but sleep is VERY important to accessing the healthy food highway. Just like in real driving, where a well-rested driver is essential to the safety of everyone in a vehicle, sleep is important to anyone attempting to drive on the healthy food highway.

How do I know this, you ask? Is it the scores of research that says the average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep every night or that being sleep deprived for three days in a row creates reaction times like those of a drunk person? Nope. I know this from personal experience.

Last night we stayed up 1 hour later. Just 1 hour. And today, I feel sick, tired (of course), sore all over, and most distressingly I am craving EVERYTHING. Sugar, carbohydrates, pop, sweets, salt, anything spicy…everything. This is not a good place to be when attempting to increase my exercise level once again or when trying to eat healthy. And it’s not good for my children to see how badly I want the bad food. Hopefully, they’ll instead notice the fact that even though I want those things and even though I’m kind of mopey as I try to find other foods, the fact remains that I am finding other foods. Or at the very least, they just won’t notice any of it. They are only 3 and 1 1/2, after all.

Still, the lack of sleep makes the difficult things (like resisting cravings and making smart choices) even more difficult and makes the fun things (like posting on the blog and playing with my children) draining and and a chore instead of being an uplifting, energizing experience.

For those of you who’d like a little more than this sleepy post from me, check out a review I wrote on the movie Fat Head, which can be found here, and then check out the movie itself or click on over to the blog that goes with the movie. It’s all worth the time, trust me.

To my readers: How do you get through your sleep deprived days? What ways have you found to ensure that you get everything done in a day and STILL get enough sleep?

Posted in General Philosophy | Tagged , | 2 Comments