Mid week recipe…Avocado dressing!

I’ll admit, I’ve been slacking on my recipes and research in regards to my goal of writing my own cook book.  As most of you know, I cook by taste, smell, and texture vs. exact measurements.  In the last year or so I’ve really tried to quantify my ingredients and document my journey in regards to my love for food.

But then came marathon #3 training, and my goals have since fallen to the back burner (haha, get it?) unfortunately.  So I’m back at it, with a goal to publish ONE recipe (at least) each week.  Who’s ready for our first week’s exciting recipe?  Ok…it’s not that exciting, but it’s simple, tasty, and a healthy choice for a mid week meal.

Avocado dressing/puree’

In a bowl place the following:

1 avocado

1 tablespoon of low fat sour cream

The juice of one lime

Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder to taste

1 pinch of dried cilantro

Mix well until a creamy consistency is achieved.  Serve over fish, chicken, or on your favorite salad in place of dressing.  YUM!

This entire dish took 10 minutes to prepare!
This entire dish took 10 minutes to prepare!

Doesn’t get much easier than this, and my entire family enjoyed it thankfully!

What’s on your plate these days?  Do you find it hard to balance work, training, and other hobbies?

Thanks, y’all!!  Hope you enjoy this recipe!

❤ Michelle

Recipes, Uncategorized

Mexican spiced chicken stew over gluten free rotini

As part of my effort to compile all of my recipes this year (I started this effort in 2014), I will be blogging more of the magic food I create in my kitchen.  Please keep in mind some of these recipes may seem almost too simple…But that’s the joy of cooking-especially on week nights!  Creating simple, healthy, and tasty meals without having to really think!  Win WIN, right?

I think so!

Tonight I had approximately 40 minutes upon arriving home from work to create a tasty dish before piling the family in the car to attend my youngest Mover’s school production.  That’s plenty of time, right?  Even better, I was able to speed walk for 2 miles at an incline while this yummy goodness simmered!  Triple win!

Pic credit: tobreatheistowrite via google
Pic credit: tobreatheistowrite via google

On the menu was:

Mexican spiced chicken stew served over gluten free rotini pasta.  This is a great dish on a cold, damp, winter evening!

Top with crème fraiche, sour cream or yogurt!
Top with crème fraiche, sour cream or yogurt!

Here’s what you’ll need:

One package of boneless skinless chicken thighs (feel free to use white meat if you prefer, to me the dark meat has so much more flavor)

Four cups of vegetable stock, separated into three cups/one cup mixed with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken

One russet potato, peeled and cubed (sweet potato would be great too, I just didn’t have one!)

One white onion, diced

One large carrot, halved and chopped

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2-3 teaspoons (to taste) of taco seasoning (I buy pre-made from my local mart)

2-3 teaspoons (to taste) of chili powder

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Crème fraiche, sour cream, or yogurt and chives to garnish. (This helps cut the heat of the stew)

Here’s what to do:

Take a Dutch oven or soup pot and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat

Add your chicken, and season with salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, taco seasoning and chili powder.  Sauté until cooked through, and add your three cups of stock and vegetables.  Mix well, and add your additional one cup of stock that has been mixed with cornstarch.  Bring the stew to a boil.

As the stew cooks, you will need to continually taste and season accordingly!

Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

I served over gluten free rotini pasta cooked according to the package instructions, but this dish could definitely be served on it’s own.


Question!  What are some of your favorite weekend night meals? How do you balance work, kids, and healthy cooking?

❤ Michelle



Carrot soup with a little kick!

My co-workers and I love, LOVE, love to talk about food.  Today was no different, so when one of my coworkers started talking soup-my ears perked up quick! I LOVE soup in a probably not so healthy way, especially in the winter time.  She mentioned making a carrot soup with curry….”HMMMM,” I thought…that sounds AMAZING.

I will admit the underlying effort to lose the belly fat that this winter has given me as a not so sweet gift fueled my motivation to head to the grocery store after a very busy day at work. I picked up a bag of “horse carrots” as my youngest calls them, shallots, and some fresh herbs so I could make my OH so yummy soup for dinner.

This was such a hit, and you can omit the crème fraiche if you desire!
This was such a hit, and you can omit the crème fraiche if you desire!

Here’s the recipe and what you will need:

6-8 large “horse” carrots, pealed and chopped

2 shallots, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

6 cups of organic vegetable stock-low sodium if possible

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 pats of unsalted butter

1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil

Seasoning: Tumeric, Curry, Cayenne pepper, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnish-Crème Fraiche and chives

Get a large sauce pot and heat to medium high heat.  Add in your butter and olive oil.  Add all the veggies, and sauté until soft.  Add your seasonings, but just a pinch at a time to ensure your get the right flavor.  Next, add your stock, and bring to a boil.  Reduce down to a simmer and let cook for about 25 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat, and puree with a blender or immersion blender until smooth.  Return the soup to the heat, and let simmer for a few additional minutes while you ensure the seasoning is just right.  Garnish with crème fraiche and chives, and serve!  I accompanied the soup with a yummy shrimp salad (dressing free-just marinated the shrimp in lime juice, salt, pepper, and evoo!) that was the perfect pairing for this spicy soup!

Can I get a YUM!?
Can I get a YUM!?

Question-are you a soup eater?  What is your favorite kind?  Do you enjoy making your own soups?

Thanks all, I hope you have a wonderful week!

❤ Michelle

food, Three things, Thursday


Three Things Thursday!

Ok, so my Three things Thursday post is going to go a little like this:

1. I’ve been at my current job for nearly 10 months now.  I’m finally settling in, feeling more comfortable, and really making connections with my staff, peers, and Pathology staff.  I’d been told a pay raise was in the works, as my annual merit raise was pennies since I was only with the hospital technically one quarter of last year (June 30th ends the fiscal year for our hospital).  Today when checking my pay stub, I saw that my raise kicked in and I smiled.  It’s not huge, but it made me feel really good that my hard work is recognized.  YAY. Every little bit counts!

Pic credit:
Pic credit:

2. Today marks the 2 week anniversary of my self mutilation – aka Christmas injury.  You can read about it here: I am happy to report that for the first time in 2 weeks, I was able to take a REAL shower without my uber bandaged thumb.  The wound is healing NICELY, I am able to cook again, and am looking forward to RUNNING next week!!!  Tonight is the first time I have a regular Band-Aid on the wound, but will probably add more padding when I leave the house-just for safety purposes.  It’s still very tender, hasn’t closed completely quite yet and is still very bruised.  But…it gets better every day, and soon I’ll be back it all with full force, despite lacking a slice of my digit LOL!!


3. We are currently experiencing Polar Vortex #2 with our 3rd day in a row of a crazy artic blast.  Temps have plummeted, schools closed, and winds are blowing at top speeds. I also just found out that I’ll be back on single Mom duty for the next month and a half while my husband travels off and on… SOOOO….What does that mean?

COMFORT FOOD!!!!  Here’s my take on a healthy beef stroganoff:

What you’ll need:

1 lb of beef chuck roast, cubed, and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.  Place in a bowl, and sprinkle a 1/8 cup of flour (I used gluten free, Namaste brand-my fav!!) Set aside.

1 can of low fat golden mushroom soup/1 cup of low sodium beef stock.

1 white onion, diced

3 gloves of garlic, minced

2 cups of mushrooms, chopped (I used Shitake, but any brand will do)

2 tablespoons of low fat sour cream (add this at the VERY end)

4-5 splashes of Worcestershire  sauce

Thyme, chives, and parsley-pinch of each

1 cup of gluten free rice (or the rice/pasta of your choosing), cooked to package directions

Preheat your wide sauce pan with EVOO at medium to high heat. Cook your beef until golden on each side-do not cook through.  Remove from the pan, and drain the grease.  Add a touch more oil, and sauté your onions, garlic, and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

prep work!
prep work!

Add back in the beef, and increase the heat just a touch.  In a separate bowl, add the mushroom soup and stock and mix well.  Pour over your meat.  Add 4-5 splashes of Worcestershire  sauce.  Season by adding the Thyme, Parsley, and Chives.  Lower the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes (I use this time to cook my rice).  Add in the sour cream in the last 2 minutes, stir well and get ready to plate. Taste for seasoning, serve, and enjoy!!!

Fancy?  Nope..Yummy?  You bet!
Fancy? Nope..Yummy? You bet!


Time for 3 questions!!!

How do you handle recognition/raises at work?  Is it frigid where you live?  What’s your favorite comfort food?


Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!

❤ Michelle


food, goals, moving forward, running, strength

Two things, Tuesday…Gluten Free goodness and more!

Something…is different. But we will get to that a bit later.

Topic number one is….DINNER!
As I spoke about in my last post, I am working making quick yet healthy meals during the week since my work hours no longer allow 2 hours of prep time and cooking in the kitchen.
Although I am not gluten intolerant (at least by what I know medically) I do know that avoiding it has helped my IBS tremendously. I try to buy all gluten free pasta, quinoa, rice, sauces and dressings when I can find-them which is more times than not as the selection has truly grown 10 fold in the last few years. I picked up some gluten free soy sauce last weekend, and figured a nice stir fry was in order for dinner tonight.
What you will need:

A Wok for the stir fry
A sauté pan for the chicken
1 pot to boil your water for the noodles

1 package of skinless chicken thighs, cubed into 1 inch pieces (place in a bowl)
ADD to the chicken:
2 teaspoons of Chinese all spice seasoning, pinch of kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Mix well, and set aside to marinate

What is in your fridge? The selections are limitless!
I used:
2 cups of shitake mushrooms, sliced
6 radishes, julienned
1 baby Bok Choy, sliced at an angle
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
2 cups of fresh broccoli
2 scallions, chopped, and set aside for garnish

One package of Gluten free rice Pad Thai noodles

Next, fill 4-5 cups of water in your pot to boil for your rice Pad Thai pasta…
Then, quickly sauté your chicken in a skillet until cooked through, and set aside, should take about 10 minutes.

Your water should be boiling now, but before your drop in your pasta, heat some light oil (avocado or Grape seed) in your Wok on high heat.
Drop your pasta in salted boiling water (cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente), and then stir fry all of your veggies in your Wok. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, and a dash of the gluten free soy sauce. The last 2 minutes add your chicken to heat through
Drain your pasta, and serve the delicious stir fry mixture over the top! Garnish with the reserved scallions, and serve! Quick, and easy and on the table in about 30 minutes.

Topic number 2…are you ready?
I have been retired from the Air Force for almost 3 years now. In those 3 years I have felt lost, tired, and have lacked more motivation then I care to admit. Frankly, it was tough to hang up my uniform, and put on a different ‘hat.’
It’s early to judge…but so far, I am really liking my new hat. I am letting go of things I can’t control, and embracing the future.
It is a pretty cool feeling…

Sweet dreams, Movers…

❤ Michelle


Shrimp and pasta with some zing!

Tonight I’ve prepared an easy, quick, and healthy meal for my family. I like to call it shrimp with a zing…you’ll see why as you read along!

What you’ll need:
1 bag of precooked large shrimp
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small white onion, diced
6 mushrooms, sliced
Red pepper flakes to taste for some ZING
1 jar of gluten free marinara sauce-I get mine from our local market (Caputos)
Oregano, basil, parsley, kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 box of rice pasta

Boil water for the pasta….cook time is about 10 minutes, so I start this first.
Sauté the garlic, onions, red pepper flakes and mushrooms for about 3 minutes or until the onions become soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper, and add in your red sauce. Next add in your oregano, basil and parsley and simmer for about ten minutes…while the sauce simmers, salt your boiling water and drop in your pasta.

Lastly, add your shrimp for the last few minutes, just to warm through.

Serve the shrimp sauce over your pasta, and ENJOY!

❤ Michelle

dedication, food, goals

Throw in the towel, or run/cook? I choose to Move

There are some days in our lives, where we just want to throw in the towel and hide under the covers. Today…was one of those days of me. My 3 a.m. alarm seemed to be a little louder than normal, and my covers seemed to have an extra tug to them, enticing me to hit the snooze button just one more time.
Subzero temps called for a 3rd day in a row of long johns, and as I pulled them on accompanying them with scrubs, I struggled getting myself movin’.
Yet I made it through the work day successfully, and after picking up my youngest Mover I did dinner prep, and hit the treadmill for a couple much needed miles.
Dreadmill miles, are NEVER easy for me….just sayin’….

Great part of the dinner recipe, is that I used left over chicken. Score! I hate wasting food!
So for the chili, I use Sawyer’s Gluten free mix, but any will do.
Sautee 2 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion, and one bell pepper for about 3-4 minutes. Add in 4 cups of water, and season with kosher salt, pepper. Bring to a boil and add in your chili mix. I added dried cilantro as well. Simmer for about 25 minutes, and drop in about 2-3 cups of cooked chicken (breasts or thighs). Cook another 10 minutes, and serve!
I made my own “tortilla chips” by taking spinach tortillas, cutting in strips, and drizzling with extra virgin olive oil, and seasoning with kosher salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes!
Dinner was a success, and I spent the last the last 3 hours applying for jobs. Win/win!