Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa 1

We knew Michigan was gearing up for a hot, muggy week (warm up, lake…warm up!!). This was confirmed when I peeled off my work clothes just to throw on a muumuu to make dinner, sans all undergarments. It was just too, too hot. The house was registering at 79 degrees, but it felt every bit of 89 as I was standing over the stove making dinner. Had my asparagus not been on its last leg, I would’ve shelved the idea of cooking all together.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa 2

Before showering up to get clean for the night, Lily and I engaged in our nightly routine of hitting a tennis ball around in the driveway. And with my luck, here comes our neighbor with her kids to chat…me, still in my muumuu, sans anything underneath. I’m not easy to embarrass, but….how embarrassing. I just apologized for my attire and she laughed. Hopefully it was a genuine, “oh, I’ve been there” laugh, not a “who the heck do we live next to” laugh.

Hopefully.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa 3

Despite turning on the air last night (and as a result, sleeping like a baby after my cool, relaxing shower), muggy weeks should be filled with dinners on the grill (I have a Pinterest board committed to “Grilled Perfection” even!). Healthy dinners on the grill. We throw everything we can on the grill (pizza, meat, veggies, you name it) this time of year.

This meal I referred to as baby brain food. Healthy omega 3 fatty acids from the salmon and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat-packed avocados. This meal is low in carbohydrate and high in good-for-you nutrition. It’s also very filling and ready in 20 minutes or less. In other words, we need to have this meal again pronto. Plus, it just looks good and perfect for summer.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa 4

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
Grilled Salmon:
  • 4 (6 oz) skin on salmon filets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ancho chili powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
Avocado Salsa:
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ small red onion, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill to 400 F. Brush the flesh side of each salmon filet with olive oil; set aside.
  2. In a small dish, combine the salt, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ancho chili powder, and black pepper together. Sprinkle the seasoning over the salmon and rub to cover the surface.
  3. Grill salmon, skin side down for 10-14 minutes or until flaky and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, mash the avocado along the inside walls of a small bowl until just slightly chunky. Mix in the onion, lime juice, cilantro and salt. Serve grilled salmon with ¼ of the avocado salsa. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe from The Cookie Rookie
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 oz salmon with avocado salsa Calories: 355 Fat: 21.5 Carbohydrates: 6.3 Sugar: 0.8 Sodium: 509 Fiber: 3.5 Protein: 34.5 Cholesterol: 90

 Why is this week dragging? :(

Be well,

sig4

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles + Weekly Menu

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles 1

My family was visiting again this weekend. My dad was going to come over during the week sometime soon to begin painting baby Shea’s nursery and assembling furniture, but we quickly decided chandelier assembly and such was a two person job. So the next thing I knew, my brother was the chosen one to tag along.

My mom was debating on whether or not to join along, but we can’t have family fun without mom, so she came too.

We started the weekend off with dinner at my dad’s “favorite” restaurant – Big Boy. We live close to one and my dad rarely gets to enjoy his most favorite burger, “the Brawny Lad”, a burger coated in butter and onion on a rye bun. Mmmm…noooot.

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles 2

But, Big Boy was lots of good laughs and not-so-great food. As usual. But on Father’s Day weekend, we humor him. When we must.

Saturday was filled with hard work in the baby’s room (by the boys), and followed up with a dog event at a local winery. Dogs, live music, and wine and beer for everyone other than me…it was great. Lily made some friends and enjoyed the change of scenery. Last night, we took my family to dinner at a restaurant with a patio overlooking Lake Michigan. The weather was absolutely, positively perfect and the company wasn’t so bad either. The food, as well. ;) It was pure Michigan goodness.

We indulged in soft serve afterwards — my recent favorite :-D

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles 3

I think my brother and my dad were mighty impressed when for breakfast I produced several waffles from the freezer. When they asked what kind of waffles and I reported Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles, they were sold. In fact, I think they felt like they were fine dining. I need not tell them that these waffles are actually very simple and can thank the almond extract and my extensive you-picking for the cherries, creating the breakfast masterpiece that is Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles.

Now I just need to pick more fruit. That’s on the agenda for next weekend :-D

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles 4

Cherry Almond Muffin Waffles
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups frozen cherries, halved
Instructions
  1. Preheat a waffle iron.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the canola oil, egg, and sugar. Whisk in the buttermilk and almond extract.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a rubber spatula. Fold in the cherries.
  5. Scoop about ⅔ cup batter into the waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer's directions. Serve warm with desired toppings.
Notes
Slightly adapted from Eats Well with Others and originally, Taste and Tell
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 waffle Calories: 463 Fat: 18.9 Carbohydrates: 66.7 Sugar: 26.0 Sodium: 657 Fiber: 7.7 Protein: 9.0 Cholesterol: 55

 Weekly Menu: June 15th – June 19th

 The weekend went too fast…as always. :(

Be well,

sig4

Chorizo and Bell Pepper Breakfast Burritos

Chorizo and Bell Pepper Breakfast Burritos 1

One of my staff loves to hit up garage sales…and this time of year, they’re everywhere. She enjoys the challenge of finding specific items and so I asked her to pick up any cute, cheap baby clothes for baby Shea…if she happens to run across any. When I walked into work yesterday morning, she had a shopping bag full of clothes sitting in front of my office door. I didn’t even have my purse off my shoulder before she was pulling clothes out of the bag and holding them up to show me her finds.

It wasn’t baby clothes, however – it was maternity clothes!

Chorizo and Bell Pepper Breakfast Burritos 2

 For $6 she was able to get 5 dresses, 3 tops, and 2 pairs of pants. All in my maternity size. SIX dollars! And I loved them all!

I handed her six bucks, thanked her for thinking of me, and I had a stupid excited grin on my face all morning. Cute maternity clothes are not only hard to find, but they’re SO expensive.

I got home from work and quickly washed them, anxious to try them on. I’ve got my outfits planned for the rest of the week, too. :-D

Chorizo and Bell Pepper Breakfast Burritos 3

Just like I love people picking out clothes for me, my brother does, too. It seems like most of his closet was purchased by either my mom or I. He also loves when people cook for him. He lives just a few blocks from my parents but he eats over there most days of the week, if only for lunch.

He’s spoiled. Especially since my mom makes some of his favorite foods fairly often…one of which is chorizo. My meat-loving brother LOVES chorizo. Hard to blame him. It’s delicious.

My mom made breakfast burritos similar to these the last time I was in Chicago visiting and they were so good. I had to remake them. These were almost as good as my mom’s….almost ;)

Chorizo and Bell Pepper Breakfast Burritos 3

Chorizo and Bell Pepper Breakfast Burritos
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 6 oz chorizo
  • 8 eggs
  • ¼ cup skim milk
  • ¼ tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup (2 oz) 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 high-fiber, burrito-sized tortillas
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the diced green pepper and saute 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the chorizo and cook 5-7 minutes, breaking up the meat using a wooden spoon. Once meat is cooked through; transfer to a fine mesh strainer and drain off any excess oil.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk to combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  3. Carefully wipe the hot skillet used to cook the chorizo of any excess grease and return to a medium flame. Once hot, add the eggs and scramble for 3-4 minutes or until no longer runny. Fold in cheese, as well as the chorizo and pepper mixture. Fold to combine.
  4. Spoon ¼ of the egg mixture into each of 4 burrito-sized tortillas. Fold one side over the top (away from your body), fold in both sides (right/left) and roll the burrito, firmly packing in the contents. Cut burrito in half and serve immediately.
Notes
The burrito-sized tortillas I used were Smart & Delicious from La Tortilla Factory - they were 100 calories each.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 burrito Calories: 412 Fat: 25.0 Carbohydrates: 21.0 Sugar: 2.3 Sodium: 874 Fiber: 12.3 Protein: 33.3 Cholesterol: 399

 Busy day ahead!

Be well,

sig4

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps + Weekly Menu

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps 1

Memorial Day weekend was spent the way it should be — family, friends, cookouts, tennis, beach, reading, sun, sleep…it was perfect! If anything was lacking, it was sleep. Three days off work and only one 1-hour nap? I’m not sure whether to be impressed or saddened. The weekend was filled with too much other fun stuff to let a little fatigue get in my way.

Saturday we hosted both of our families for a total of 9. We cooked out and did the whole gender reveal bit. FYI, I will go on record saying that we are 99% sure baby girl will be Baby Shea…so that’s what we’ve been referring to her as. Any suggestions on middle names? I’m liking Shea Olivia. Any other suggestions? ;)

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps 2

Sunday was a day of rest. And reading. We even went out for a leisurely meal at 9pm after we hoped all of the weekend out-of-towners were through crowding our local restaurants. No such luck. Summers in southwest Michigan are packed with vacation-ers Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Monday included a bit of tennis, Lily’s first beach trip of the year, an interior cleaning of my car, and a dreaded trip to the grocery store. We held an impromptu get together with friends and their families totaling 9 hungry mouths yet again. Let’s just say leftovers and paper plates were involved…but at least the weather was perfect and a good time was had by all.

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps 3

While I’ll need today to recover from the weekend and as a reprieve from the kitchen, the rest of the week’s menu is simple. Quick meals. When the weather is nice, the grill and meals ready in minutes are the name of my game. As much as I love to cook, I’d prefer a tennis match or reading in warm weather. Time is (somewhat) wasted in the kitchen when there’s so few beautiful weeks in Michigan. And sometimes, I’m just lazy/pregnant…or just straight up HUNGRY and unwilling or unable to wait to eat.

The evening I threw together these lettuce wraps, I had braced myself for the push back from Mr. P. I was expecting complaints of them being “too healthy” or “not substantial enough for a meal”. But instead, this turned into a meal for 2 — mostly for him….inhaling these Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps. My mom made lettuce wraps recently, as well…and hers don’t stack up against these (sorry, ma!!).

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps 4

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 lettuce wraps
 
GREAT flavor and they come together quickly. These are perfect as an appetizer or to chow down on for dinner. This is a favorite, for sure!
Ingredients
Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Chicken:
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts. cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp peanut or olive oil
  • ¼ cup cashews, roughly chopped
For Serving:
  • 8 butter leaf lettuce leafs
  • ½ cup bell pepper, cut in thin slices
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all sauce ingredients until smooth; set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok, over medium heat, until hot. Add the diced chicken and stir-fry until cooked through and no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. Add the sauce and mix well; bring a simmer and allow to thicken, stirring often for 3-4 minutes. Stir in cashews. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Assemble the wraps by scooping chicken into the lettuce leafs and top with bell pepper and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe from Foodie with Family
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 lettuce wrap Calories: 133 Fat: 7.6 Carbohydrates: 5.3 Sugar: 3.5 Sodium: 284 Fiber: 0.3 Protein: 12.5 Cholesterol: 33

 Weekly Menu: May 26th – 29th

Hoping this short work week is less busy than the last few have been!

Be well,

sig4

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad 1

Sometimes when people ask where I’m from, I don’t know how to answer. Originally from? Currently from? Recently from? In my early adult life I’ve lived in 4 different states (Illinois, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Michigan). Originally from Chicago, currently from Michigan, and most recently from Ohio. The lovely Oklahoma was thrown into the mix after Illinois. Having a close “network” is something I’ve learned to live without. It’s something I want, but with such frequent relocation, it’s challenging to achieve.

When I’m back in Chicago, it feels most like home. There’s familiar faces and more of a network for me than anywhere else.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad 2

This past weekend when I was visiting my family in Chicago, I visited the gym twice. (In addition to living in multiple states, I also belong to multiple gyms…one of which is back in Chicago and thanks to my parent’s “family membership”). I was proud of my two trips to the gym — finding the motivation with so much else to do can be challenging.

As I was leaving the gym on Saturday, one of the front desk employees (who I know) jokingly asked if I was going to return to Ohio for the birth of the baby so the baby could be an OSU buckeye. Of course my response was an eye roll and a, “Heck no! Baby will be an Illini fan with 2 alumni parents!” A young girl who was also working the front desk overheard and shared that she attends the University of Illinois. I asked where she lives on campus and when she said her sorority house, I had to ask which sorority. When she said “Delta Zeta”…it’s possible I squealed. What are the chances, especially 2 1/2 hours from campus?

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad 3

Of course her graduation date is….nearly 10 years after mine and I found myself saying things like, “When I went to school there, blah blah blah was called blah blah blah” and “We used to hangout at blah blah blah and with blah blah blah frat.” In the end, I just felt old…yet grateful for 4 wonderful years in college that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Now, instead of bar hopping and chasing boys (one specifically who I now call Mr. P), I spend my Saturdays making salads, photographing them and posting them to Instagram, and sending them to my coworker saying, “WE HAVE TO SERVE THIS AT THE HOSPITAL NEXT WEEK!!” And that’s just what we did. Let’s just say I’m not the only one who is head over heels for this recipe. It’s uhhhhhhhhmazing.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad 4

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
This recipe makes 3 entree salads or 6-7 side salads...however, it's too good to stop after a side salad portion. Promise!
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Dressing:
  • ⅓ cup light mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp nonfat milk
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp poppyseeds
Instructions
  1. In a large salad bowl, combine salad ingredient and toss to mix.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss well to distribute. Serve salad immediately.
Notes
Recipe from The Recipe Critic
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 entree portion (1/3 recipe, including dressing) Calories: 354 Fat: 24.3 Carbohydrates: 28.3 Sugar: 17.7 Sodium: 357 Fiber: 8.3 Protein: 7.3 Cholesterol: 0

 Only 2 more days until we find out the gender of baby! Ahhh! Sometimes, time stands still :) Trying to keep busy to keep from obsessing!

Be well,

sig4