Easy Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles + Weekly Menu

Easy Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles 1

No, this won’t be some diatribe about how the pregnant woman NEEEEEEEEDED pickles stat.

But the pickles I made (8 quarts for anyone curious :-D ) a few weeks ago are…safe. Power has been restored to my humble abode after a full 3 1/2 days without. I’ve never been so glad for Mr. Prevention’s thinking on his toes as he ran out to Home Depot at the crack of dawn last Tuesday morning for a generator. We were without power from late Monday evening until Thursday afternoon. As the days passed, areas around us…all areas around us, it seemed, had power restored and it was as if we were the lone rangers left to battle the elements and live like cavemen. It is kind of nice not having spent time straightening my hair in the past 5 days…

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My in-laws were planning to head up to Michigan for the weekend, but my father-in-law had an unfortunate freak accident which included breaking his elbow (OW!) and having surgery on Thursday (Owww). So instead, we packed up the Sentra and headed their way on Thursday after work. With leftovers (since we had no way of heating them all week long). And with pickles. And with all of the other 4th of July travelers (ugh).

My father-in-law and I not only share a love for really great IPA’s (let’s not talk about those, though…such a tease), but also know a darn good pickle when we taste one.

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The weekend in central Illinois was spent eating at all of Mr. Prevention’s favorite local dining establishments, watching a hot dog eating contest (not kidding), lounging around, watching the dogs tolerate one another, reading (good book!), Pinterest-ing, shopping for baby stuff til I could drop and finalizing our registry…and watching fireworks.

And then last night, enjoying a cookout…with pickles. Burgers, corn, potatoes, veggies…and pickles. Perfection!

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Easy Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Simply the best! My summer isn't complete without these pickles (no, I'm not exaggerating). I do not know the exact nutrition or sodium content, but the calories are very low (<10 calories/spear). Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • 1 quart wide mouth mason jar with lid
  • 4 pickling cucumbers ("cukes")
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 8 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water + more, as needed
Instructions
  1. Quarter the cucumbers into four slices each, lengthwise, or cut into ¼-inch chips. Cut the garlic cloves in quarters.
  2. In an extra mason jar or covered container, combine coriander seeds, sugar, kosher salt and vinegar. Tightly close the lid and shake vigorously until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add 1 cup water to the mixture.
  3. In the clean mason jar, tightly pack the sliced cucumbers, sliced garlic, and sprigs of fresh dill.
  4. Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers. Tap the jar on the counter to release any air bubbles and top off the jar with extra water if any cucumbers are exposed.
  5. Place the lid on the jar and screw on the ring until it is tight. Leave the jar in the fridge for at least 24 hours before tasting (best after at least 1-2 weeks, however). The pickles last up to 12 months refrigerated.
Notes
Recipe from A Couple Cooks

 My weekly menu isn’t much as I’ll be mostly fending for myself this week…

Weekly Menu: July 6th – July 10th

Not sure what’s on the agenda today, but I’m just glad it’s not Monday yet :-D

Be well,

sig4

Smoky Potatoes with Asparagus and Chorizo

Smoky Potatoes with Asparagus and Chorizo 1

It’s my birthday. I’m 29 years young today. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t really *feel* like my birthday…perhaps because the past 48 hours have been complete mayhem?

Monday night, Chicago sent us their storms. These terrible storms headed over the lake and landed right on us in southwest Michigan. We wisely retreated to the basement for an hour while the worst of it passed. Shortly after heading to bed (though not sleeping much because of the dog shaking in her boots over the storms), we lost power.

In the morning, still no power.

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Thinking on his toes, Mr. P ran out to Home Depot and Lowes (which open at 6am, by the way!) and he purchased a huuuuge generator. Of course, the unit didn’t fit in his tiny Sentra, and we had to swap cars in the Home Depot parking lot on my way to work. He quickly hooked up our 3 fridges (I know, I know…), garage door, a fan, and some other miscellaneous important things around the house.

The power issue was enough to deal with, but the storms also left a lovely tree in our front lawn that had been completely uprooted. I loved that tree and it provided a lot of shade and privacy for the front of our home. But, instead, $400 was shelled out for the tree to be pieced apart and hauled away.

Of course I never paused to remember that the cleaning lady was coming and so she showed up and Mr. P spent the next few hours moving lighting and vacuums around the house from extension cord to extension cord. What a mess of a day.

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I had high hopes of the power being back on by now, but nope. I’m blogging from my car hooked up to work’s public wifi. This is what we call commitment. My zen is off when I’m disconnected from y’all for too long, that’s all there is to it!

I had dreams of enjoying king crab for my birthday. Mr. Prevention suggested we get some last weekend when it was on sale, but without a heat source, I do believe we’ll be dining out tonight…along with everyone else in our town, and along with all of the tourists. It should be interesting…

But yes, my commitment to sharing delicious recipes goes on, power or no power. This dish was delicious. Is it a side? Is it a main? I don’t have a clue, but it has all of my most favorite foods so I was happy to call it food and enjoy. Hope you agree!

Smoky Potatoes with Asparagus and Chorizo 4

Smoky Potatoes with Asparagus and Chorizo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 as main dishes
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs fingerling potatoes
  • 6 oz chorizo sausage
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb trimmed asparagus, each stalk cut into thirds
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Add potatoes to a 2-3 quart pot of water and set over high heat, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes or until just fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan or heavy skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat, breaking it up as you cook, about 3-5 minutes. Add smoked paprika and the red onions and sauté another 3-4 minutes; add garlic and saute 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with salt, and sauté 5-7 minute or until tender.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes from the pot of water and add them to the pan. Add red wine vinegar; stir to coat and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a serving platter and squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the top of the dish. Serve hot.
Notes
Recipe from Heather Christo
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 264 Fat: 7.5 Carbohydrates: 33.0 Sugar: 2.8 Sodium: 580 Fiber: 4.8 Protein: 15.0 Cholesterol: 19

Here’s to hoping my birthday gets better and the power comes on!! :-D

Be well,

sig4

Caribbean Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

Caribbean Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa 1

I’m so thankful I haven’t had heartburn…yet. I should probably knock on some wood, right? I’ll do that…

My boss asked me about a week ago how I was feeling (it’s so true that everyone is nice to pregnant women…I kind of love it). I told him I was feeling good and he followed up with, “Any morning sickness?” I had to poke fun at him just a bit, something along the lines of, “No. No morning sickness, but that would’ve passed about 3 months ago anyway. Thanks for asking, though!” He just smiled and said, “Oh, okay. I don’t know about this stuff!”

Endearing.

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I chug along with very few (no?) changes to my diet. I thought I’d be one to track my calories and be sure I was feeding baby appropriately, but I haven’t micromanaged at all. My eating has been on par with pre-prenagncy and my hope is that will continue to manage my weight gain. That said, I *had* to have cheese fries today and they were so, so good. Best decision I made all day, even when it was followed up with a sweat session on treadmill.

My coworker offered my Rolaids afterwards as she swore they’d give me heartburn, but…nope. ;)

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Spicy foods aren’t off limits either. I love spicy foods as much as ever and after meals like this, I fall in love with my crock pot all over again. Double bonus that this recipe can not only be prepped ahead of time, but it can cook all day long. This dish can easily cook for 10 hours and the meat only becomes more tender as it cooks.

I wasn’t sure how Mr. Prevention would feel about these tacos considering there was no cheese involved, but he quickly devoured FIVE tacos. I blinked and they were gone. I served leftovers to my family during their weekend visit and my dad and brother were fighting over the last one. They even loved the mango salsa. These will most definitely be made again and again…even if antacids are required at some point ;)

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Caribbean Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 (2 tacos each)
 
Ingredients
Pork:
  • 2½ lb boneless pork shoulder, well-trimmed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Salsa:
  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup lime juice
Serving:
  • 12 corn tortillas
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, food prep, blender, or cylindrical container with an immersion blender, process the garlic, onion, jalapenos, lime juice, soy sauce, olive oil, brown sugar, thyme, allspice, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon until well-combined and transfer to a slow cooker. Add the pork shoulder and turn to coat. Cook on low 7-10 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until use.
  3. Once through cooking, remove pork from the slow cooker and shred between two forks. Pour all but about 1 cup of liquid from the slow cooker and return the pork to the slow cooker; gently mix to combine. Serve pork in corn tortillas and top with salsa.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from Sweet Peas & Saffron, marinade adapted from Gourmet by Sweet Peas & Saffron
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tacos Calories: 431 Fat: 13.7 Carbohydrates: 39.3 Sugar: 14.9 Sodium: 524 Fiber: 4.8 Protein: 38.3 Cholesterol: 100

Friday, here I come!  Not a thing on the weekend agenda :-D Hope cherries are ready for picking, though!

Be well,

sig4

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas + FlavorPrint

Spicy Chicken Quesadilla

Ever think, “Nothing sounds good to eat” or “I have no clue what to make for dinner”? Yeah, me too. All. The. Time. I don’t know how this is even possible considering I’m surrounded by food — my office is in a KITCHEN. I blog about FOOD. I’m a dietitian, for goodness sake! Food is a part of every facet of my life and sometimes I just go…blank.

When McCormick introduced me to FlavorPrint, their unique recipe generator that suggests recipes based on your flavor preferences (fondly referred to as your “flavor fingerprint”  — one of a kind, you are!), I was stoked. In less than two minutes, you can find your unique FlavorPrint by answering a series of questions about your flavor preferences…it’s that simple. TWO MINUTES –> recipe ideas you’ll love. That’s all there is to it.

As Mr. Prevention and I were chowing down on these Spicy Chicken Quesadillas Sunday night, he happened to ask where I found the recipe. “It’s funny you ask…” I said, as I went on to explain McCormick’s FlavorPrint recipe generator. Even *he* had to admit, “That’s pretty cool.”

To get started, first, make an account on the FlavorPoint website. This takes about 0.8 seconds. Super simple. 1-2-3, done.

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Answer some questions (done in under 2 minutes!) and voila, you’ve got your custom FlavorPrint! For me, this was: coffee/chocolatey, tomatoey, and cheesy…none of which are a shocker – nom, nom, nom. The more specific you are with your likes and dislikes, the better the likelihood FlavorPrint will find *the* best recipes for you.

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Then, recipe suggestions (many of them) based on your FlavorPrint (with a percentage telling you how well they match your FlavorPrint) will generate. Um, cool beans.

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I chose a recipe that featured chili powder:

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Theirs may look better than mine, but hey…the flavor was fantastic. In fact, we’re serving them in the hospital cafeteria next week. Yep, that good.

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Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1½ cups part-skim (2%) cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 5 (8 inch) whole wheat tortillas
Instructions
  1. Combine the chopped chicken, cheese, tomato, green onion, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, and oregano; mix well.
  2. Preheat an electric griddle to 350 F or heat a large, nonstick pan over medium-low heat; mist with cooking spray.
  3. Place the tortilla on the hot griddle or in the hot pan and cover ½ of the tortilla surface with the chicken mixture; fold the other half over the top and gently press down with the back of a spatula. Cook quesadilla 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and carefully flip; cook an additional 2-3 minutes to warm through.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 quesadilla Calories: 368 Fat: 13.0 Carbohydrates: 25.0 Sodium: 745 Fiber: 3.0 Protein: 38.4 Cholesterol: 99

 So, off you go to create your FlavorPrint profile to generate recipes perfectly suited for YOU. Enjoy and you’re welcome in advance ;)

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post as a contribution to the 2014 McCormick Health & Wellness Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.

Be well,

sig4

Caprese Avocado Salad

Caprese Avocado Salad 1

This baby has gone from sedentary and sleeping (I thought her and Mr. P had so much in common already ;) ) to a gymnast overnight. I was sure I felt these “flutters” people speak of around 19 weeks. I was sitting in a meeting, just typing away and BAM. I felt flutters. It had to be the baby moving. A week and then two…and then three pass by and I felt no additional movement. Of course my next OB appointment was still nearly a week away yet, and my mind started to run through all the possibilities of what’s going on in there.

None of which are good, naturally.

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And then this week came along. Week 24 as of today (60% baked!).

This baby girl is sooo active all of a sudden. Or she’s had one huge growth spurt in the past week, who knows. But I’m enjoying it. Except we’ve gone from the “flutters” I once felt weeks ago to a battle ground in my uterus. I laugh sometimes at how hard the little kicks or punches really are. Even the midwife on Wednesday couldn’t believe how hard the jab was when she had the doppler on my belly.

“Whoa,” she said. “You felt that, right?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “It feels like gas or just straight up violence!” She laughed and agreed.

Caprese Avocado Salad 3

I was also given the green light for some light run/walk action this past week. Her only stipulation was that my HR not go over 150 bpm and I stay very well hydrated. As someone who has never consistently worn a heart rate monitor (and now pants after walking up a flight of stairs, especially after no intense exercise for the past 5 1/2 months), I wanted to test out my HR with running ASAP.

Of course, I couldn’t “jog” more than 60 seconds at a 5.0 mph pace without my HR exceeding 150, soooo…I’m stuck with more of a walk, as it ends up. Such a tease…such a tease.

It’s kind of like serving a tomato without mozzarella, or worse yet, a salad with no cheese whatsoever. Cheese lovers understand…cholesterol levels do not. Regardless, caprese is not caprese without fresh mozzarella. And let’s add to that list basil. The balsamic vinegar and avocado (baby brain food!) are just perks. No tease in this salad, it has it all…including the chicken to consider this salad a meal, in the words of Mr. P.

Caprese Avocado Salad 4

Caprese Avocado Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz boneless,skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 small hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, chiffonade
Instructions
  1. To make the balsamic reduction, whisk together the vinegar and brown sugar in a small sauce pan and set over medium heat until simmering. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan, cooking 3-4 minutes per side, cooking through. Remove chicken from heat and transfer to a cutting board. Allow chicken to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  3. To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, avocado and basil. Pour balsamic reduction on top of the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe from Damn Delicious and originally, Iowa Girl Eats
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅓ recipe Calories: 495 Fat: 27.0 Carbohydrates: 22.3 Sugar: 15.0 Sodium: 332 Fiber: 6.0 Protein: 38.7 Cholesterol: 95

 TGIF!! :-D

Be well,

sig4