Creamy Pineapple Sorbet

Creamy Pineapple Sorbet 1

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Quick and easy – who isn’t on board with that?

Creamy Pineapple Sorbet 2

Speaking of which, quick and easy is the name of the game when it comes to this Creamy Pineapple Sorbet. I saw the recipe on Pinterest with the sorbet so cutely piled into a pineapple half. ALMOST too pretty to eat. So picturesque.

And impressive.

My sorbet nearly didn’t make it from the blender to the ice cream maker, much less to the freezer before I was going at it with my spoon, anxious to taste. Piling it into a pineapple? It’s highly unlikely that I could exert such self restraint.

Creamy Pineapple Sorbet 3

I debated on whether or not to use the heavy whipping cream in the recipe, but decided to stick to the recipe. Heavy whipping cream is sinfully delicious at a whopping 50 calories per TABLESPOON…but it really does take this sorbet to new places with its creaminess (as well as keeping it from freezing rock solid). Thank goodness a little bit goes a long way. Besides, it’s the only source of fat in this fairly sinless dessert.

As the temperature and humidity remain at uncomfortable heights here in southwest Michigan, especially for this almost-8-month-pregnant Nicole, it’s a task to keep my evening sorbet portions in check. Regardless, I’ll be making more this weekend ;)

Creamy Pineapple Sorbet 4

Creamy Pineapple Sorbet
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 (1/2 cup per serving)
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ½ cup whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Freeze ice cream maker according to directions before beginning.
  2. Combine pineapple, sugar, and water in a blender and puree until smooth or nearly smooth. Add whipping cream and pulse 10-20 times to combine; transfer to the fridge for 1 hour to chill completely.
  3. Pour chilled mixture into the frozen ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer sorbet to a freezer safe bowl and freeze for 2+ hours before serving. Sorbet may require 5-10 minutes to soften before serving.
Notes
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 104 Fat: 4.1 Carbohydrates: 17.7 Sugar: 14.7 Sodium: 5 Fiber: 0.8 Protein: 0.4 Cholesterol: 16

 Busy day ahead and already looking forward to the 3 day holiday weekend!

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Be well,

sig4

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice + Weekly Menu

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice 1

My heart is completely and totally torn right now. Do I want summer to continue…or am I ready for fall?

I can’t enjoy the jet ski that Mr. Prevention purchased so timely (NOT!) a few weeks ago. Pregnancy aside, the weather so far this weekend has been sauna-like…sans the sun. What the heck, weekend? Let’s keep the temps, shed some of the humidity, and puhhhlease, take the mosquitoes with you. My toes are begging you as they are littered with swollen, itchy skeeter bites and this 2 showers-a-day business really wears a woman out, let me tell ya.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice 2

This summer just seemed to FLY by. Next weekend is LABOR DAY, people. How did this happen?!

…How did I survive summer without melting into a puddle? I’ll never know, but there were a few close calls.

Thanks to the intolerable weather yesterday, we spent about 4 hours in Babies R Us. Sadly, that is no exaggeration. Mr. Prevention had gone back and forth on whether or not he was going to tag along and within an hour he was sorely regretting his decision. That said, I am feeling pretty prepared for baby Shea (and super impressed by my couponing skills). Not really prepared, because how you can you ever been 100% ready for a newborn, especially as a first time mom…but at least we have all the essentials. Now it not only looks like a pink bomb went off in the house, but there’s pack-n-plays and swings occupying what used to be nice, empty space that kept our home seeming fairly clutter-free.

That’s all in the past, I imagine.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice 3

So with summer coming to a bittersweet end, it’s time to enjoy what summer has to offer. Like blueberries and local greens. In a really unique salad, that is, without a doubt, a little far-fetched…but soooo delicious (500 farmers market-goers tested and approved!).

Because next weekend starts college football. And my chili contest. And a 3 day weekend (!). And September…as in, the month before my due date making me very, very pregnant, very, very anxious to meet our little girl, and at the same time, very, very sad to see another Michigan summer come to an end. We tolerate the winters to savor the summer, guys. That’s no lie. So for a few most days, I’m soaking up summer.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice 4

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 5 oz fresh arugula
  • ½ cup brown rice, prepared according to package directions and cooled
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1 oz (about ¼ cup) blue cheese
  • 1 oz (about ¼ cup) slivered almonds, toasted
Dressing:
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (I used a blueberry balsamic)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, cooked brown rice, blueberries, and basil; toss well.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all dressing ingredients in a food blender, food prep, or cylindrical container to puree with an immersion blender; blend until smooth.
Notes
Dressing recipe makes 1 cup of dressing which will dress this salad x4 (1/4 cup per 5 ounces of arugula, basically). The nutrition information reflects the recipe's actual use, which is ¼ of the dressing recipe.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 salad (1/2 salad recipe, ⅛ dressing recipe) Calories: 423 Fat: 20.5 Carbohydrates: 37.5 Sugar: 7.0 Sodium: 416 Fiber: 7.5 Protein: 10.5 Cholesterol: 13

I have a ton of tomatoes and basil, hence the pizza. I have lots of blueberries and grilled chicken from the freezer, hence the fruit & quinoa salad, as well as the blueberry pizza (have the goat cheese that needs to be used up, too!), flank steak in the freezer that is nearing the end of its freezer life expectancy, and 2 dozen farm fresh eggs that will be made into chilaquiles (along with homemade salsa using home grown tomatoes and jalapenos!). I’m a woman on a mission this week!

Weekly Menu: August 24th – 28th

 Be well,

sig4

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers 1

They always say you want what you can’t have, right?

Well, I’d kill for a cold IPA in this muggy August weather. And sushi? Oh lord, does some sushi sound phenomenal right about now. And don’t get me started on luncheon meat. I never had any desire to touch the stuff before pregnancy and now, I wish it were a staple in my diet. You know, without it being heated and all that jazz…but I make it work. Turkey sandwiches have been my one and only true pregnancy craving, after all.

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers 2

But who wants just a plain’ol sandwich? Not I. And of course I try to stay away from too much of the “good” stuff — cheese, mayonnaise…you know what I mean. I try to pile my sandwiches high with lots of good-for-you stuff like veggies that provide not only texture and nutrition, but big flavor. Even bigger flavor when you think outside the box and can incorporate something garlicy, spicy, or pickled.

NOW we’re talkin’.

Pickles are a great option, but I wanted to take things further…

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers 3

…and appease that spicy-lovin’ husband of mine…along with using up some of the MANY jalapenos and banana peppers our garden is turning out now that summer is actually…well, summer.

I used a basic refrigerator pickling concoction of salt, sugar, and vinegar but added to it McCormick Whole Peppercorns, McCormick Crushed Red Pepper, and McCormick Minced Onion. I was also happy with the variety of the cucumber and pepper combo — something mild, medium, and hot to balance the other ingredients out perfectly. Now, I just need to make more to last through the winter and to keep my sandwiches from being anything but boring.

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers 4

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • ½ Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups white vinegar
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 6 banana peppers, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. In a wide mouth one quart mason jar with lid, combine the sugar, salt, peppercorns, minced onion, crushed red pepper, garlic, and vinegar; shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds or until sugar and salt are well-dissolved.
  2. Add the cucumber, jalapeno, and banana pepper slices to the jar and top off with water that fills the jar nearly full to the brim. Fasten the lid and gently shake the jar to mix contents. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 days and up to 6 months before consuming.
Notes
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post as a contribution to the 2014 McCormick Health & Wellness Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.

If you’re new to pickling, rest assured that unlike canning, it’s incredibly simple and can incorporate ingredients you already have on hand – everything from spices to fruit to herbs. Get creative – there’s no right or wrong! McCormick has some great quick pickling recipes to try. Of special interest to me are the Easy Kimchi Slaw and the Asian-Style Pickled Vegetables, which show off the versatility of pickling, going beyond toppers and venturing into slaws and salads. Yum!

And, now I want pickled anything for breakfast ;)

Be well,

sig4

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese 1

Last week, this was the only meal that was actually prepared from my weekly menu. I was transferring the meat I’d purchased to the freezer for a later date (i.e. this week and hence why I have no weekly menu — it’s the same as last week’s) and trying to appease the irritable and sick Mr. Prevention.

Which, by the way, thank you so much for humoring us both with the tomato soup question on Facebook. Only that man can make a can of sodium-packed soup taste like water. But, a mean grilled cheese rounded it out to be an acceptable meal.

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese 2

The next evening, I was all prepared to make tacos…when he informed me that “Chinese take-out sounds good”.

This is not what a pregnant woman who needs soapy water and/or lotion to remove her wedding and engagement rings should be up to. My fingers continue to look like turkey links/bratwursts and my shoes are all getting so tight. I need to be nixing the salt…or at least consuming meals with less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium, at the very least. Not eating salty take-out Chinese food.

But, whiny sick husbands get what they want. Today, he should be back to 100% and we can be back to our regularly scheduled lives. And meals.

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese 3

But last Sunday, I made this Caprese Macaroni and Cheese. It looked…fantastic. And simple. I figured it had some serious potential, as well as some serious potential to be a bit lack-luster (don’t you hate when dishes LOOK amazing but fail to ‘wow’?). However, it did not disappoint.

Cheese, cheese, cheese, and caprese…what’s not to love? Especially with the generous portion coming in at 466 calories and a respectable 8.2 grams of fiber!

The original recipe called for pesto, but I lightened things up a bit with using big tomatoes, some additional (whole wheat) pasta, and fresh basil. The result was truly epic. We can’t wait to make this again and for the first time in a LONG time, we were fighting over leftovers.

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese 4

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 10 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 20-30 basil leaves, chiffonade and divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Bring 3-4 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta, stir, and cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together milk, vegetable broth, flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring sauce to a low boil over medium heat; simmer for 4-5 minutes or until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and pour over hot, drained pasta, along with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella; mix well.
  4. In the bottom of a 2 quart baking dish, spread tomato sauce on the bottom to coat completely. Add half of the macaroni mixture over the tomato sauce, top with half of the tomato slices, ⅓ of the basil, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with macaroni, ⅓ of the basil, remaining 1 cup of mozzarella, and tomato slices, in that order.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ⅓ basil before serving.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Diethood
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅕ recipe Calories: 466 Fat: 17.2 Carbohydrates: 56.2 Sugar: 8.0 Sodium: 721 Fiber: 8.2 Protein: 30.4 Cholesterol: 40

 Early meeting, busy day :(

Thanks for all the sweet comments on Baby Shea’s nursery!! :-D 52 days!

Be well,

sig4

 

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 1

I’m soon-to-be 32 weeks pregnant and starting to feel every bit of it.

My stomach capacity is lessened due to the size of baby. I’ve been making my dinner plate, only to share half of it with Mr. Prevention. I wish it were more often that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but that certainly seems to be the case as of late.

So it probably goes without saying that I’m out of breath nearly all of the time…or so it seems, and the back pain is still very much so present. I told my trainer today that I was ditching him next Monday in lieu of a massage. He didn’t even give me a hard time about it, either. A mama-to-be has NEEDS.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 2

Speaking of needs, I continue to read about the importance of exercise in pregnancy. Exercise has many benefits, of course, but aiding in a successful delivery tops the list of perks for me…especially after attending our first child-birthing class last week. Tonight, the couples will be split up so the ladies learn all about breastfeeding and the guys are united with new dads to go through a “Daddy Bootcamp”. It should be interesting…

I digress. I’ve been keeping up with workouts quite well. A lot of core and strength workouts with my trainer, along with elliptical and biking for cardio. Walking continues to be the one workout that causes the most strain on my lower back and the less I can walk, the better I feel. Sadly.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 3

Along with walking, we can add standing to the list of activities that wear on my back throughout the day. My job has me up and down all day long, which has been helpful in keeping me moving, but without excess. But by the end of the day, I’m ready to be a couch potato. Literally.

Dinner has to be quick and easy. HAS TO BE. Otherwise, take-out is sounding better and better all the time (and why I continue to crave lunch meat, I’ll never know…all I wanted yesterday was a Beach Club from Jimmy Johns and I probably haven’t had one of those since college).

Quick and easy dinners are something like this Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry — one pot meal that’s ready in 30 minutes or less. Yes…please! Of course the flavor was great, too…and healthy to boot.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 4

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 (not including rice)
 
A new take on classic stir-fry...plus, a meal ready in minutes!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 4 tsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp hot sauce
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed and stalks cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow squash or zucchini, sliced
  • Hot cooked rice, optional
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, whisk to combine the cornstarch, chicken broth, peanut butter, lime juice, dijon mustard, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper.
  2. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; remove chicken and keep warm.
  3. In the same skillet, heat remaining teaspoon of oil. Once hot, add the asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes. Next, add the bell pepper and cook 2-3 minutes before adding the squash/zucchini. Cook vegetables until crisp-tender. Return chicken to pan and stir sauce; toss vegetables and chicken with sauce to coat; cook 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice, if desired.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 308 Fat: 11.5 Carbohydrates: 18.0 Sugar: 8.8 Sodium: 351 Fiber: 4.3 Protein: 32.8 Cholesterol: 55

 Busy day…busy WEEK. But can’t wait for our baby shower on Saturday! :-D

Be well,

sig4