Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado and Tomatoes

This shrimp ceviche recipe is a perfect low-carb and low-cal dish that uses fresh ingredients and is super filling. You can eat it straight out of the bowl or with some tortilla chips on the side. It’s also super simple to prepare; just chop everything up and toss it in a bowl. Total prep time is about 20 minutes. And for a large bowl of the ceviche, about 1/3 of the recipe, it’s only about 350 calories. Eating healthy ain’t so bad, huh? Enjoy!

shrimp ceviche text

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound jumbo, cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, chopped into thirds
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut into fourths
  • 2 avocados, sliced into thick chunks
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon serrano pepper, finely diced, seeds removed (you can add more to your recipe if you want your ceviche spicier)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the red onion, lime juice, and olive oil in a small bowl and let marinate for 5-10 minutes. While the mixture is marinating, chop up the tomatoes, avocados, and cilantro. Next, you’ll want to dice up your serrano pepper, but be very careful while you’re removing the seeds and dicing it, as the heat of the pepper can burn your skin if you’re not careful. It might be a good idea to use gloves or a plastic baggie over your hands while handling the pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, avocado, tomato, and serrano pepper. Add the red onion, lime, and olive oil mixture and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper and the cilantro, then toss one more time.

Serves: 2-3

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Veggie Enchiladas with Black Beans and Greens

I don’t know about you, but I love enchiladas. Anything with a bunch of melted cheese inside or on top, rocks my world. However, since I’ve been trying to eat healthier these days, I’ve had to restrain myself from using too much cheese in my dishes. I’ve also been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my recipes too, which tend to make meals way more “calorie friendly.” This veggie enchilada recipe, for example, contains only 400 calories for two, whole enchiladas, which isn’t bad for enchiladas.

What I love most about this tasty enchilada recipe, other than the fact that it’s low in cals, is that it’s super easy to make. The total prep time for everything was about 20 minutes and the baking time was only 15 minutes. If you have your enchilada sauce made beforehand, it will speed up the process even more. Enjoy!

Veggie Enchilladas

Black Beans and Greens Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup cooked, dried black beans (if you use canned beans, just rinse them before using)
  • 2 1/2 cups raw, chopped veggies of your choice (I used shishito peppers, kale, and red pepper)
  • 1/4 cup of cheese
  • 2-3 green onions, finely sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • small corn tortillas (I used La Tortilla Factory hand made style corn and wheat tortillas – only 80 calories per tortilla)
  • 6 tablespoons of enchilada sauce (see recipe below, or you can just use store bought sauce)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic and shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Then add the chopped veggies, black beans, and salt and pepper to the pan and saute for about 3-5 minutes.

Fill each tortilla with about 3 tablespoons of filling, roll, and place seam side down in a small baking dish. Please keep in mind that by using small tortillas, they might be a bit tricky to roll. Just use a small enough baking dish so that you can tightly pack them all in. You can also use medium sized tortillas for this recipe if you wish. Just add more filling to each tortilla.

Pour about 6 tablespoons of sauce evenly over the top of the rolled tortillas, then sprinkle with cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then top with green onion and cilantro. This also goes well with a dollup of sour cream and sliced avocado.

Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 can tomato sauce, 8 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth (you can skip this if you don’t have any and just add water)
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt to taste

This recipe calls for about 6 tablespoons of enchilada sauce. If you’re short on time, then just buy a bottle or can of enchilada sauce at the store. Trader Joe’s makes a good one.

Directions:

Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is hot and starts to bubble a bit. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is mixed together. Feel free to add more chili powder or cumin if you feel that it’s lacking flavor. I normally don’t measure out these ingredients. I just experiment with it until the flavor is just the way I like it.

Serves: 2-3

Zucchini Bake with Layers of Sauce and Cheese

I’ve been trying to eat healthier these days in preparation for my upcoming trip to Thailand in April. Woohoo! My goal is to shed about ten pounds prior to the trip, but it’s been quite the struggle. I work out pretty regularly — I practice yoga, I hike, and I run, but I still haven’t had much luck with the weight loss. If only I weren’t so obsessed with food.

I started tracking my calories on this cool little website called My Fitness Pal. They have an online calorie and exercise tracking tool that you can use, or you can download the app on your phone. It’s pretty cool! And I’m already starting to notice a difference on the scale. Yay!

I don’t want to deprive myself of food, but at the same time, I know that I’m capable of making healthier choices when it comes to my eating habits. This zucchini dish, for example, is a great alternative to eggplant parmesan, without all the calories and carbohydrates.  And it tastes delicious!

Zucchini Bake

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large zucchinis, thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 26 ounce jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I love Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara)
  • 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, cut up into small chunks (you can add more or less, depending on how “calorie friendly” you want this to be)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • basil (optional for garnishing)
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in a large, oven proof pan over medium-high heat (I used my non-stick Scan Pan for this). Pan fry the zucchini in batches, until golden brown on both sides, about two minutes per side. Add more oil in between batches if needed so that the zucchini doesn’t burn or stick to the pan.

Once all the zucchini has been cooked and removed from the pan, take the pan off the burner and put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. I like a chunkier version of sauce, so I like to mix a jar of my favorite tomato sauce in with a can of diced tomatoes. This works out especially well for this recipe and makes the sauce super thick and rich. Please note that you won’t end up using all of the sauce in this recipe.

Next, layer some of the zucchini pieces over the sauce, then top with some mozzarella and parmesan. Then do another layer of sauce, zucchini, and cheese, like you would layer a lasagna.

Once you’ve layered all the ingredients, put the pan in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese and sauce is bubbling. Garnish with fresh basil or serve as is.

Serves: 2-4

Pacific Grove, CA Trip – Summer 2014

Pacific Grove holds a very special place in my heart. My family has been vacationing here since I was a young girl, and whenever I come back to visit it triggers so many beautiful and wonderful memories from my childhood.

andrils cottages

Pacific Grove is a little, quaint beach town with charm and beautiful weather. It’s a little on the chilly side due to the constant fog, but it’s not so bad if you have a sweater handy. It isn’t touristy either, compared to Monterey, which is a big reason why I like it here so much. You can rent a little inn or cabin near the water and get plenty of peace and quiet. And Monterey is only a 10 minute drive away, so if you want to explore a busier town with more to do, then you’re very close.

The inn that we stumbled upon this past weekend was a total bargain. We stayed at the Sunset Inn in Pacific Grove on a Thursday and Friday night and only paid $117 per night, which was a really good price. Most of the cottages and inns in the area were going for well over $200 per night.

What’s so nice about this place is that it’s about a 5 minute walk to the beach and a 15-20 minute walk to downtown Pacific Grove. All of the units had been recently remodeled too, unlike several of the cottages in the area. Each room came with a fireplace, refrigerator, and a little patio area out front.

sunset inn pac grove

Right down the street from our inn was the Point Pinos Lighthouse. Too bad it was closed the times we went to visit, but it still looked pretty cool from far away.

lighhouse sign

lighthouse

We ate out a TON on our little trip, but that was our ultimate goal, to hit up as many tasty restaurants as possible. Our favorite restaurant in downtown Pacific Grove was this little place:

red house pacific grove

The food at the Red House Cafe was delish! It was very fresh and flavorful, and the staff who worked there were super friendly and accommodating. We actually ended up eating here twice, once for breakfast and once for dinner. We will definitely be back! My favorite dish on the menu would have to be their crab cake benedict. It was SO good! I’ve never had a benedict served on a croissant before. What a brilliant idea!

crab cake eggs benedict

They also make the best hot chocolate.

hot chocolate red house cafe

We also stumbled upon this cute little bakery in downtown Pacific Grove called Pavel’s Bakerei. They supposedly have the best pastries in town, but we got there too late, so the selection was limited. The pastries were still super delish though!

bakery pacific grove

We discovered that there’s a path that runs along the beach from Pacific Grove to Monterey. It’s a bit of a walk, but it’s very scenic. From our inn to Monterey I’d say was a good 3-4 miles. Make sure you bring comfy shoes and a sweater!

pacific grove beach

pink flowers

I thought this sign was so weird. Do people really molest butterflies?

butterflies

Once in Monterey, we stopped at this breakfast spot called First Awakenings, which was super good. Word of advice–Don’t fill up on hot chocolate! Save room for the food instead because they bring out a lot of it.

hot chocolate at first awakenings

When you’re in Monterey, you must walk through Cannery Row. It’s beautiful and there are tons of shops everywhere. It’s extremely touristy, but if you go on a weekday, it shouldn’t be too bad. Ghiradelli was one of my favorite shops on Cannery Row. Hmmm, I wonder why. Could it have to do with chocolate? 😉

ghiradelli

Gotta get a hot fudge sundae! You just gotta!

sundae

Oh, and Oceans 18 blacklight miniature golf is a must while in Monterey. It’s SO much fun! Yeah, yeah, it’s probably for kids, but who cares!

mini golf

The Fisherman’s Wharf isn’t too far from Cannery Row. Maybe another mile or so away. There are a bunch of good restaurants on the wharf, so if you’re hungry, you definitely want to make a trip over there. This is another touristy spot though, so watch out for crowds.

wharf

I was on a mission to find the best clam chowder in Monterey and I’m pretty certain I found just the place. The Old Fisherman’s Grotto has won awards for their clam chowder several years in a row.

fishermans grotto

We also lucked out and got a window seat right on the water. How romantic!

clam chowder

You know what else is romantic? When your boyfriend picks flowers for you. 🙂

beach flower

If only I wasn’t so full from everything I ate that day, I would have gotten some candy from the candy shop. I’ve been to Carousel Candies in the past and they make some really good treats.

salt water taffy

Overall, I feel like we did so much on our trip to Pacific Grove, but at the same time, I feel like we missed out on many fun places because we ran out of time. There is just so much to do and see there. Which is a good thing because it just gives me one more reason to come back.

 

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

I wanted to try out my new Scanpan that my boyfriend bought me from Sur La Table last week, which is an awesome pan by the way. I had some asparagus lying around, along with a package of prosciutto, so I decided to combine the two and fry them up in my new pan. What I like so much about this dish is that it’s very flavorful and has a nice crunch to it from the fried prosciutto, and the grey salt that I added at the end. It’s also super easy to make and low carb.

asparagus wrapped in proscuitto

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of sliced prosciutto
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • grey salt (or any type of course salt like kosher salt)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Trim the ends off of the asparagus. Then take the prosciutto and cut it into 3 pieces, widthwise. Take all the asparagus and wrap each one individually with a slice of the prosciutto. It’s okay if some of the pieces break or don’t wrap around perfectly. It will stick to the asparagus once you start to cook them in the pan.

Pour the olive oil into your saute pan and turn your burner onto medium high heat. Once the olive oil is heated, about 1-2 minutes, add the wrapped asparagus and season with pepper. Cook on both sides until prosciutto is crisp and asparagus is tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve on a plate and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Serves: 2-4

Brussels Sprouts Hash with an Over Easy Egg

I love making all kinds of breakfast dishes, especially if they involve eggs. Eggs are my fave, especially when they’re served over easy. Normally, I like to make a side of potatoes with my eggs, but since I’ve been trying to eat fewer carbs lately, the brussels sprouts serve as a nice substitute. To make the sprouts a little more flavorful, I threw some diced pancetta into the mixture, along with some shallots, butter, garlic, and white wine.

eggs and sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of pancetta diced
  • 1 medium shallot diced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, stems removed and chopped (I used a bag of Trader Joe’s shaved brussels sprouts, which is 10 ounces)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 splash white wine

Directions:

Heat up the olive oil in a pan on medium high heat and add the pancetta, diced shallot, and chopped garlic. Saute for a couple minutes until the pancetta starts to slightly brown, then add a splash of white wine. Once the liquid starts to evaporate, about 30 seconds later, add the chopped brussels sprouts, then season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil to the pan if the hash is starting to stick to the pan too much. You can slightly turn down the temperature also, in case you’re afraid of burning the dish. Make sure that you continue to stir the hash until it’s done.

While the hash is cooking, get another pan, put it over medium heat and add the butter. After the butter melts and starts to bubble, add the eggs. Make sure that your heat isn’t up too high, because you don’t want to brown the butter. Crack the eggs into the pan, season with salt and pepper, wait a couple minutes, then slowly flip each one over once or twice until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Your hash should be turning golden brown around this time. If not, you can turn up the heat so that you can get the hash slightly crispy and darker in color. Once the hash is done, scoop some onto a plate then top with your over easy egg. This recipe makes about 4 small servings, but 2 people could easily finish it, especially if you only cook up 2 eggs, instead of 4.

Serves: 2-4