Fresh and Tasty Pico de Gallo

Looking for something fresh, tasty, and easy to serve with all sorts of things. Can be a side dish, appetizer, or a meal in itself. Then try Pico de Gallo

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

This makes a lot and plenty to share with friends and family. Decrease each ingredient if you do not want to share with anyone or save for later.

  • 10-12 Tomatoes
  • 1-2 Jalapeños
  • 1 large or 5-6 small Orange Bell Peppers
  • 1 bunch of Cilantro
  • 1 Lime
  • 3-4 Garlic cloves or garlic powder if you do not want to eat the chunks
  • Salt and Pepper

The Cooking Part …

Dice all of the above ingredients. Mix together in a big bowl. Cut the lime in half and squeeze over the top all other ingredients. Mix well. Salt and Pepper to taste.

What to serve with …

The picture above is what I served mine with today – over the top of my breakfast salad. The salad itself includes: 2 kale leaves, 1 chard leaf, 1 scrambled egg, 1 slice of bacon, and 4 sautéed brussel sprouts. Topped with pico and Newman’s Own oil and vinegar salad dressing. More traditionally, put this stuff on just about anything. I like mine on tacos, over sourdough toast, or with sliced cucumber chips / tortilla chips.

Easy Alfredo Sauce with Shrimp, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Zucchini

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Butter
  • Parmasean
  • Pepper
  • Pre Cooked Shrimp 
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini 
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • Parsley to color and garnish

The Cooking Part …

In a sauce pan melt the butter over low to med heat, when it is melted add the heavy whipping cream and parmesan. Stir off and on while the cheese melts and the ingredients blend. 

Sauté the broccoli and cauliflower in olive oil. I like mine al dente . When you feel like they are done enough for you, add the zucchini and cook a few more minutes. While these cook, I stir the sauce and thaw the shrimp. Add the shrimp as the last piece and sauté just long enough to heat through. Mix all together on the plate and garnish with parsley. 

What to serve with …

Sometimes I also add a pasta, if I am feeling like I need some extra carbohydrate. It’s been good over all pasta (regular and gluten free) options we’ve tried. A little French bread with butter and garlic was yummy too, … And of course … salad goes with everything.

Eggplant Chips

Eggplant is not high on my list of foods I should make sure to eat, However these were delicious! Plus after we ate the first batch the second took about 10 minutes. Quick, healthy, and easy. What’s not to love.

From the kitchen of my friend Claudia …

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Salt &pepper 

You can also add other spices – chili powder, turmeric, etc. 

The Cooking Part …

Cut the eggplant into small thin pieces. Coat in olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so. I also like to broil instead of bake to get the crunchy option. However, make sure you pay attention. Broiling on high makes it really easy to burn them very quickly. 

Hormones Help Our Mood

Looking for some ideas on balancing or boosting testosterone? Last week we were discussing how testosterone and estrogen can impact our ability to manage and discern our and others’ emotional states. Here’s a guest post from the folks over at www.testosteronerd.com

Looking for some ideas on balancing or boosting testosterone? Last week we were discussing how testosterone and estrogen can impact our ability to manage and discern our and others’ emotional states. Here’s a guest post from the folks over at www.testosteronerd.com

Steamy Creamy Cinnamon Milk

Looking for a yummy sugar free alternative to hot creamy drinks this winter. Try this super simple sugar free option.

As I write this, my town is predicted to get 2 feet of snow over the next few days – YEAH! And this is the perfect sugar free drink to sip while the blizzard roars outside my window.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Half and Half, Heavy Whipping Cream, or Whole Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Turmeric

The Cooking Part …

Mix all the ingredients to your liking. Heat on the stove or in the microwave. Drink while warm.

I like half and half. Heavy whipping cream is good too, but sometimes to heavy for me. You could also use whole milk and a little coconut oil to add more body and a little more silk to the drink.

What to serve with …

I like it all by it self. A great drink to sip, especially when it’s cold outside.

Cream Cheese, Cucumber, and Pepper Snacks

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

Get as much of each as you want to eat

  • Crisp Cucumbers
  • Cream Cheese
  • Bell Peppers
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

The Cooking Part …

  • Slice the cucumbers
  • Slice the bell peppers
  • Spread a little cream cheese on each cucumber slice
  • Top with a pepper or two
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Eat and enjoy!

Cilantro Lime Butter Chicken

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Heat oven to 350 degrees if you are going to bake. You can also do this on the stove top with a frying pan.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breasts – thawed, trimmed if you want, and enough for each person in your party to have 1 servings (3-4oz).
  • Limes – 1/2 sliced and 1/2 for squeezing
  • Cilantro – leaves chopped, stems removed
  • Butter or coconut oil – enough to cover the bottom of the pan, extra if you want it melted on top of chicken for serving
  • Melt the butter in the pan of your choice.
  • Arrange the chicken breasts in the pan
  • Squeeze 1/2 the lime over the chicken
  • Sprinkle with 1/2-3/4 of the clinantro
  • A little salt and more pepper than salt for cooking

The Cooking Part …

  • Cook until Chicken is done. I usually bake for 30 min or cook stove top for 10-15 min on med each side. I use a meat thermometer because it is easier for me to make sure it is done. I also set a timer to remember to flip or check.
  • Once done I cover and let rest about 5min while I finish prepping the sides, salad, and get the service ware ready.
  • Serve hot with extra slices of lime on top of each piece and a sprinkle of cilantro. Sometimes I add a dollop of butter too.

What to serve with …

I usually serve with any of these: roasted/baked potatoes, rice, asparagus, cauliflower, salad, and/or black beans. Enjoy!

Delicious and Simple Baked Salmon

In this easy to make main dish, I often stick it in the oven – make sure the timer is set loud enough – and then I work out while it cooks. Helps balance my life – good food and healthy body.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

This one is super easy and allows you to go do something else while it cooks … Like Workout!

Ingredients Needed: Salmon filets, butter or coconut oil, rosemary in whatever form you have, I like ground for this dish, black pepper – I like the kind I can grind

  • Get some salmon – make sure it is thawed out (I often forget this step and end up with frozen items :). Enough for everybody to have a portion (3-4oz piece, size of a deck of cards).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a baking dish with foil (if you want easy clean up)
  • Melt some butter or coconut oil – enough to cover the bottom with a little layer of liquid. I just put the oil in the baking dish and throw it in the oven while I get the salmon ready.
  • Arrange the salmon in the baking dish skin side down
  • Cut a lemon in half. Squeeze one half over the filets.
  • Sprinkle Rosemary over the tops of each piece
  • Grind fresh pepper over them
  • Cover with a piece of foil and bake for about 30 min depending on the thickness of the fish. Should be flaky and light pink inside.
  • Garnish with fresh lemon slices from the 2nd lemon half cut earlier

Pair with salad, roasted vegetables, rice pilaf, or baked potatoes to make a full meal.

Note: if it is to dry melt some butter over the top and note for next time cooking. Shorten the time.

Why Blessing a Meal Matters

Ever wonder why so many spiritual traditions have a ritual designed around blessing the food you consume? Although they are different, many serve the same purpose. To get you to a place of parasympathetic response before you eat. Thus upping the chance that you will get the nutrition you need and be better prepared to survive.

This is the nervous system state you are in when you are calm, feeling centered, connected, and safe. It is often called the “rest & digest” state. In this state your neuro-chemistry is working in your favor to help decrease the stress load on the body. Food items are chemicals that must be broken down to be useful. For the body optimal digestion happens when the body can focus on this task (not stressful events and vigilance) and work to give you the nutrients you need.

If you are stressed when you eat, the body cannot focus on breaking down your food well. It has to maintain vigilance to survive your environment. Events like driving your car, fights with family/friends, office politics, watching the news, worrying about household tasks to complete – can be stressful events your body is attempting to manage instead of focused digestion.

What is physically happening when you are stressed

When your body is stressed you are activating your hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis). This is the circuit that manages your stress chemicals. When it is active the body has to attend to the adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones because they are being pumped into the system for a reason. The body knows the “fight & flight” feelings they create are about keeping you alive aka … are important. So the response to them dominates the rest and digest option.

When you are working to digest food under a high stress feelings, the body holds calories (often depositing them around your middle). This is because it is concerned that it may need these extra sources of energy for escape. You might truly feel like you need to escape from the office board room during your working lunch, however you probably do not want the calories you are consuming during it contributing to your muffin top.

Reasons to say a blessing over your food

To optimize our food choices we must be in a state of calm when we eat. Saying a prayer, blessing, thank you, or even just taking a deep breath before you eat helps the nervous system calm down and be better prepared to digest and use the food you are about to take in.

Try this little experiment on yourself. Next time you eat find a comfortable spot that you enjoy being in, sit down, spread your food in front of you so you can examine its textures, colors, smells. Take a deep breath and say a small blessing (can be as simple as thank you) before you eat. Acknowledge how you are feeding yourself to take care of you and then enjoy. Pay attention to your level of fullness as you eat and take a break or stop eating when you begin to feel full. Enjoy the space you are in and notice the colors, sounds, why you like it, what makes it interesting and unique to you. After 5 or 10 minutes decide if you would like to continue eating and what you would like to add to your meal. Then enjoy. Note your experience of the food while you ate and how you feel for a few hours and/or days after.

Contrast this experience with the rushed, harried, absentminded, and overwhelmed experiences you have had or had since the experiment above. Which meal nourished you?

You might find, practicing a nourishing meal experience more often may be the key to successful weight loss, positive mood states, and overall better life balance.

Share your experiences with us by commenting on this post in our FB community. I think you’ll find a common experience and support to continue to feed yourself well even when it is not an easy task.

Food & Mood Connections … what are you noticing?

What you eat impacts how you feel.

What have you noticed about eating and feeling?

Have you found any links between how you feel and what you eat?

This morning, my husband and I had a long conversation about caffeine, sugar, and stomach acid. It’s interesting to think about how these chemicals (both external and internally produced) impact my body, my mood, and my capacity to deal with day to day operations of my life. 

Where in your daily routine are you noticing the links between your food intake and your mood output? Join the conversation on Facebook: StacyReuille.com and tell us about your experience.