Simple to make and delicious – Shrimp Ceviche

Wow it’s been a long time since my last post! Time flies when you’re having fun and living life.

Over the summer I learned how to make an amazingly tasty and simple shrimp ceviche dish. My brother’s girlfriend came to visit from San Diego and made us this delicious and refreshing dish for pool side eats. I’ve been meaning to share this recipe because it really is so simple and makes for a great snack or when you are entertaining.

Ingredients List

1 (1lb) Bag of Frozen Shrimp (already cooked)
1 Bunch of Cilantro
4 Tomatoes (more if you really like tomatoes)
1- 1 1/2 cucumbers
1 Med Onion (white or yellow, it doesn’t make a difference)
1 bunch of radishes (optional)
Lemons or limes (a bunch, it depends on what sizes they are & either one or both is fine. I used 2 – 3 each. It all depends on how much citrus you like)
Salt
Pepper
Avocado
Tostadas
Hot sauce

DIRECTIONS: Dice all the veggies & shrimp into little pieces, except for the avocado. The smaller the pieces the better. Once everything is diced up finely in the bowl add salt, pepper and squeeze the lemons/limes to taste. I encourage you to taste as you go. You may decide you want more cilantro, citrus or tomato etc. It’s best served chilled so cover and let it marinate in the natural flavours and juices for about 30 minutes to an hour. Once your ready to eat take your tostadas and scoop as much ceviche as you want onto it. Then apply slice avocado and hot sauce. Now you’re ready for a taste explosion! Sometimes I put the avocado on the bottom of the tostadas because it stays on easier.

If you are entertaining it may be easier to use the Tostitos Multigrain Scoops. They are a bit cleaner 😉

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

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My Excursion: Big Sur, Napa, Muir Woods and San Francisco!

I recently had a friend come to visit me which was a great excuse to do some more exploring within my new home. Below are a few shots from our little excursion:

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The Perfect Summer Meal

Turkey Burger & Green Bean Salad

One of the things I love the most about summer is the ability to BBQ when I want. There really isn’t anything that can compare. I think most people can agree. This summer I came across one of Rachel Ray’s recipes for what I consider an amazingly delicious turkey burger. As for toppings I have found that virtually anything goes. If you have something that you always have to have on your burger chances are it will go with these flavours.

However there are a few things that I do different from the recipe that I’ve decided I prefer over time:

  • I usually forego the cilantro sour cream sauce (even though I have tried it and really enjoyed it).
  • I don’t add cheddar cheese chunks to my burger mix. I find it’s hard to mix and stay together. You could try shredded cheese because that could hold. I usually just put a slice on top.

Here is what I typically use for toppings:

  • Curry Mayo (mix curry powder with mayo – as much or as little depending on your preference of curry)
  • BBQ organic yellow squash (thinly sliced and marinated in salt, cracked pepper and oregano)
  • Fresh organic hass avocado
  • Organic spinach
  • Slice of cheese (pick your favourite)
  • Organic heirloom tomato slice (I don’t put this on but my husband does)
  • Slice of sweet pickle

Now for the green bean salad – I got this recipe from one of my best friends back in Toronto. It is so easy to make and great for potluck dinners. Here is her recipe below:

Sarah’s Green Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • Two handfuls of green beans
  • Two handfuls of yellow beans
  • Can of chickpeas
  • 3 shallots
  • 3/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil (as much or as little but usually around 1/2 cup)
  • Fresh basil (6 – 10 leaves)

Trim the ends of the beans and then blanch them. The beans should be cooked but still crunchy. Sometimes the yellow and the green take different amounts of time so you may want to do them separately or just one type of bean like I did. Dice the shallots as small as you can. Cut up the basil. Once you have prepped all ingredients put them all in a bowl together and mix well. Finally add salt and pepper to taste and then let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

I hope you enjoy!

A new found love of mine….learning to golf in CA.

Since moving to California and having more golf courses than what I know what to do with, naturally I have decided that it is my calling to become an expert at this game. Not to be mistaken for a ‘professional’. I’ve played before and heck I even worked at a golf course in my home town St. Andrews By-the-Sea at the Algonquin Resort (previously owned by Fairmont Resorts) and my best friends husband is even a golf pro! So, I am not totally green to the game but growing up it wasn’t my sport of choice. I was a typical Canadian kid. On ice skates by the age of 4, figure skating and playing hockey competitively by 5 or 6 and then I gradually moved on to new sports as I got older and more coordinated.

Where I’m from it’s only golf season for about 5 months of the year and 2 out of the 5 might be quite chilly at times. Now that I am in a state that has golf year round and I’m a bit older and less competitive athletically why not take up the sport! I’ve been out with my husband for a few rounds so far this season and to the golfing range numerous times. For a wedding gift my brother even bought us each a full set of clubs! (What a guy!)

The top 5 reasons why I love golf :

  • each hour of golf you can burn up to 300 calories!
  • learning something new and continuously challenging myself
  • being outside
  • relaxing
  • quality time spent with my husband

I’m still working on my swing (as you can see above) but eventually I’ll get there! Once I do I’ll be sure to hit up some of the more professional courses in Monterey Bay Peninsula and post pics. Golf is something I’ve learned to love even more since being here so I felt it deserved a post on my blog.

A beautiful west coast sunset.

Last Thursday I spent a very special evening with my husband in Carmel, CA. We love this small sea-side community and frequent it almost every weekend! It reminds us of my home town St. Andrews By-the Sea in New Brunswick, Canada. The people are so kind and generous and the scenery is breath-taking.

Since being in CA I hadn’t seen a ‘real’ west coast sunset yet, so we braved the chilly sea breeze and walked down to the beach with our dog Charlie to catch a ‘real’ west coast sunset. Below are a few photos that I was able to capture. To view them in a larger format click on one of the images below to start a slide show. Enjoy!

Kale saute, moroccan lentil salad and sweet potato

With all the health and nutrition reading I’ve been up to I decided to try my hand at meatless Monday. Guess what?? I survived and I didn’t even crave any meat! Not only that I felt content. My meal combined a recipe from one of my favorite sites and my own concoction.

HEALTH TIPS

  • Use coconut water as a substitute to oil or butter for sautéing because it will cut the fat significantly in your recipes. It will also add a pleasant flavour and more nutrients. 
  • For your starch go with a sweet potato or yam. Both are gluten-free and healthier than any other potato.

Kale Saute 

Ingredients

            • 1 handful of cut up kale
            • 2 handfuls of spinach
            • 1 broccoli crown
            • 1 portobello mushrooms
            • 1/2 a thinly sliced carrot
            • 1/4 cup of coconut water
            • 2 garlic cloves
            • 1 shallot
            • 1 tsp of soya sauce
            • cayenne pepper to taste
            • ground pepper to taste
            • ground coriander to taste

Instructions

In a frying pan pour 1/2 the amount of coconut water into the pan and add shallots, garlic, carrots and broccoli. Saute about 5 minutes and the then add kale, spinach and portobello mushrooms. Add soya sauce and more coconut water if required. Then simmer on low heat and cover until kale and spinach have wilted. Saute until coconut water is gone. Add spices as you wish and mix evenly.

This was a homemade recipe so measurements are approximate. Use your taste-buds to follow you through the cooking. For an ad hoc recipe I was really impressed with the flavor!

Moroccan Lentil Salad

This recipe was extremely tasty! I definitely recommend to use dry lentils over the canned. They have so much more flavour. I also decided to roast the grape tomatoes instead of adding them raw.

To finish it off I added half of a baked sweet potato. Make sure to eat the skins because that’s where most of the nutrients are.

Happy veggy eating!

Ch – Ch – Ch – Chia Seeds and More!

Since being in California I’ve upped my weekly gym visits to 4 days a week. I’ve started eating way cleaner and leaner foods and I’ve been doing a ton of research on various health foods like Kombucha, chia seeds, and super greens. I’m still on the fence about the true health benefits of Kombucha. However, with personal experience and my research I feel strongly that there are real benefits within chia seeds and super greens.

When it comes to chia seeds an added bonus is that they are extremely easy to consume. They are really tiny seeds with little to no taste and because they are so small you don’t feel them when you eat them. Unlike flax seeds you can still get all the nutrients and benefits of chia seeds by eating them whole. Below are some of the claimed health benefits of this “super” seed.

Chia Seed Benefits*

  • Increases energy levels
  • Increases endurance levels
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Normalizes blood sugar levels
  • Cleanses the colon
  • Gets rid of the toxins
  • Prolongs hydration
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Helps tone muscles
  • Helps to lower the blood pressure
  • Improves mental performance
  • Improves night rest and mood
  • Lowers the risk of heart diseases
  • Improves overall health
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Absorbs extra acid, helping to get rid of acid reflux
  • Helps thyroid conditions
  • Helps IBS
  • Helps celiac disease

There are many varieties of super greens out there and the one that I am using is produced by Amazing Grass. Below are some of the claimed health benefits you will enjoy by incorporating this drink powder into your diet.

Super Greens Benefits**

  • Strengthened immune system
  • Improvement in mental focus and clarity
  • Increase in energy
  • Improvement in digestion
  • Healthier, softer skin
  • Stabilization of blood sugar level and blood pressure
  • Reduction of and sometimes complete recovery from food-related and seasonal allergies
  • Detoxification of heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins that have accumulated over time
  • Helpful in addressing chronic health conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, headaches, degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and even heart disease.

Now, you’re probably wondering how to consistently incorporate these two ‘super’ foods into your diet. Below are some ways that I have tried that work and taste great. Like I said above, chia seeds have no taste and the texture isn’t intrusive so it’s easy to incorporate them into your baking or cooking.

  • Chia Seed Drink
    • 4 oz. Coconut Water
    • 1 – 2 Tbsp of Chia Seeds
    • 8g scoop of Super Greens
    • Stir for 1 – 2 minutes and drink quickly because chia seeds will turn jelly like when in water. As well, when wet, chia seeds will expand 9 – 10 times their size.
  • Half Peanut Butter, Honey and Chia Sandwich
    • 1 piece whole wheat bread
    • 1 – 2 tbsp of organic peanut butter
    • Organic honey to taste (even though it’s organic you don’t want to overdo it on the sugar)
    • 1/2 Tbsp of chia seeds sprinkled over the bread
  • Sprinkle chia seeds on salad, into homemade salad dressings or into stir-fry’s.

With my diet turned around and the level of physical activity I’ve kept up with over the past 6 weeks I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time and I have more energy throughout the day. I can’t say that all of my health and physical success is contributed to these two ‘super’ foods but I will say that they are helping with my improvements. I’m not a trained expert in the field of fitness and nutrition but I certainly do my research to know how to treat my body so it works the best for me. Please take this advice for what it is – knowledge based on my personal experiences and research. After all knowledge is power!

SOURCES
*Chia seed benefits are as stated on http://chiaseedshealth.org
**http://drbenkim.com/greens.html  

Why I love kale so much.

Ever since I heard about the benefits of eating Kale, I’ve tried to make it a part of my weekly diet. To do this I’ve experimented with tons of recipes.

Recently I visited Whole Foods and noticed that they had Kale salad on sale. I never thought of eating this green uncooked but it makes total sense. I don’t buy lettuce anymore and only use Kale as my salad base. You won’t taste a difference.

Today I read a great article on Organic Authority’s website about the many benefits of this super green and why we need to start eating more greens as a part of our daily meals.

In Organic Authority’s article they list 7 Reason’s Why Kale is the New Beef. Here are the reasons paraphrased by me and shortened: more iron than beef, more calcium per calorie than milk, one serving of kale has 5% of recommended daily value of fiber, rich in omega-fatty acids, immune-boosting carotenoid and flavonoid antioxidants (i.e. vitamins A and C), sustainable to grow (especially compared to raising cattle), and lastly it’s an anti-inflammitory that helps to prevent autoimmune diseases.This article is worth the read. Knowledge is power and the first step in starting a healthier diet.

KALE PREPARATION TIP

For those of you that are new to this super green here is a time-saving tip on how to prepare your Kale for cooking:

  • Step 1) Rinse the bunch of kale leafs and dab them with a cloth or paper towel to dry
  • Step 2) De-spine each kale leaf
  • Step 3) Fold the two pieces left after de-spining the leaf and roll it up like a sleeping bag. Then cut once horizontally and then as many times needed vertically.
  • Step 4) Put the cut up kale in the bag you brought it home in from the grocery store and back in the fridge. Now it’s ready to use!
You’ll see that doing this each time you want  to cook with kale can be a bit tedious and discourage you from eating it more regularly so that’s why I recommend to prepare your kale as soon as you get home from the grocery store so it’s ready when you decide to cook with it or make a salad.
Enjoy eating your Kale and knowing that you’re contributing to a healthier you!

I ♥ California

I’ve said this before but I absolutely love California and all the natural beauty within. I recently did the tourist thing and completed the 17 Mile Drive. For those of you that don’t know what this is, it’s 17 miles a beautiful land, seashore, ocean and pristine golf links (i.e. Pebble Beach Golf Course). If you are going to be in central California it’s a must to do this drive. Below are some of the photo’s that I took during my drive and a few others from the surrounding area – Carmel. Enjoy!

The Lone Cypress

Pebble Beach Links

Point Joe

Restless Sea

Coastal Plant Life 

Beach front house in Carmel, CA

Stewarts Cove – Carmel, CA

A love for painting…..and a solid attempt

My best friend from New Brunswick, Katy and I have sooo much in common which is probably why we’ve stayed friends this long but one activity that we love doing but don’t engage in enough is painting. We both have no technical training but just a strong interest and the need to be creative. One night after a couple of glasses of wine we decided we were going to have an arts and crafts party. It’s exactly what it sounds like….two 20 something grown up ladies sitting at a dining room table with wine and a bunch of craft supplies from Michael’s.

Katy already painted an abstract piece of art a week earlier that was awesome! So naturally in a slightly tipsy state but creative moment we decided to paint the same thing. Below is a picture sequence to show how Katy painted this picture. If you like it give it a try! We are not the original artists to paint this and I am not sure who is but I just wanted to be clear that we didn’t create the original design…..although I am sure you could use the same technique in multiple ways with various colours to come up with something different each time.

STEP 1

Drop the various shades of paint evenly along the bottom.

STEP 2

Start at the bottom and spread the paint across the full length of the canvas.

STEP 3

Continue spreading the paint and blending all the colours you’ve laid down.

STEP 4

This is what it should look like once you blended the bottom completely. Once you get here you’re ready for the top!

STEP 5

Use the same drop and blend technique for the top of the painting as you did for the bottom. If you follow the same colour scheme we used you’ll want to use lighter blues and more white in the top part. 

STEP 6

When doing the middle yellow part you can make this as light or dark as you want but you’ll want to make sure it blends well with the top. Use the same drop and blend technique as you did in step 1.

STEP 7

One you get all three pieces done you’re really at the end where you add a dark uneven line across the length of the canvas to act as an accent colour. We did black but you could use a mid night blue or another dark shade. 

Once you’re done let it dry and put it up on your wall. It will be a great conversation piece when people come over. I loved this piece that Katy did so much I moved it with me to California and it’s up on my wall now! I love having homemade art. Means so much more!