All Posts by Lauren

Prosciutto Wrapped Cod with Lemon Rosemary Sauce

Salty prosciutto, flakey wild-caught cod, fresh lemon juice and fresh rosemary sprigs come together to make this Prosciutto Wrapped Cod an absolutely irresistible and easy dish to make.  If you're bored with the usual baked fish with breadcrumbs and butter recipe (like me), this is just what you need!

I'm always seeing things wrapped in bacon, which is quite similar to prosciutto - call it the bacon of Italy? - yet it doesn't leave you feeling like you just ate a pound of bacon grease.   Continue reading

Lightened Up Chicken Piccata

So many recipes out there for Chicken Piccata call for close to a full stick of butter!  And while that does make the flavors of the sauce richer, it's certainly not making my FitBit food log very happy...

In this Lightened Up Chicken Piccata, we still incorporate butter, but just a little bit, like 2 TBS worth, and that's it!  The richness and flavors are still deliciously lemony and perfect, but without the extra calories from all that butter.

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How I Stopped Obsessing Over What I Ate & Became Happier and Healthier

It wasn't too long ago that I would visit my food login dashboard every night and start logging food I hadn't even eaten yet, scrutinizing every gram of fat, calorie, protein, sugar, carb - you name it, I obsessed over it.  A few things happened:

Short Term:  I was unhappy and mean to myself, trying to find some way to lower my carbs and up my protein to get it just right.  I would come home starving and tired, scarf something down (because by that point I didn't care), then do it all over again.

Long Term:  I gained weight and developed an unhealthy relationship with the idea of food.  Even though I was working out three or four times a week, the amount of stress I put on myself was enough to cancel out all the work I did at the gym.

Does this sound familiar?  Learn how to turn this attitude around and become happier and healthier right now!

Starting a New Chapter

Before I could change anything artificial, it was important to refocus my energy into a more positive approach and learn to love what I have and not what I want.  So I started a workout routine that I actually enjoyed doing, got myself a Fitbit for Christmas and learned how to cook meals that tasted good...not "healthy".

By being in an almost meditative state during my workouts, I am better able to understand my body and know what it needs rather than what it wishes for so that I only give it nourishing foods instead of whatever has the most protein.

Once I changed my perspective on my body and fitness, it was time to take a really good look at what I ate, how much I ate and how I ate it.

What I ate wasn't a huge issue, although I'm kidding myself when I think I wasn't eating tortilla chips on the couch at 9pm right before bed and having almost 600 calories worth of snacks during the day.  These days, I may still be eating 400-600 calories of snacks, but I'm not coming home feeling starved - and you know why?  Because instead of eating popcorn or chips, I started eating homemade fruit salads or roasted veggies or a piece of dark chocolate.  All real foods with real nutrition.  I stopped planning so much and just packed my lunch bag with only real, whole foods.  Now my skin is healthier and I feel better.

The biggest obstacle was how much I ate.  As much as I thought I was being good, portion control was out of control.  As I mentioned earlier about being in a meditative state, I learned how to listen to my body and stop before I'm stuffed.  I recommend spending at least five minutes every day in a quiet room either stretching, sitting, lying down and closing your eyes or any other quiet activity and just relax!  You'll feel better after day one!  Just remember to leave the phone, tv and computer out of it!

How I ate food was also a big challenge.  I usually felt rushed, stressed or bored when I ate which is probably why I gained weight and felt so crazy!  Now I treat food, even snacks, as an event.  I sit, relax and enjoy every bite.

Keeping Up

Remember that to eat healthy and stay happy, you've got to change it up once in a while!  Make a healthy batch of cookies or grab a latte or have a burger!  All of those things can come from naturally sourced ingredients.

Once you cut out the other crap, you'll start to forget it even existed.  Just don't deny yourself and know that as long as you're eating real & whole foods, you're getting the right nutrition and your body will be happier because of it.

Crispy Cajun Fish Sticks

Those nights of eating fish sticks heated up by the babysitter when I was little are all coming back to me.  Fish sticks just became adult food.  

Frying these up in my kitchen while snow and ice encrust every possible surface outside, and smelling the warm aromas of cajun seasoning and cornmeal sizzling in a hot pan, made me downright nostalgic for the south.

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Buttery Rock Lobster

One evening while we were in Costa Rica, one of the locals stopped by the house on his bicycle lugging a big cooler on the back full of freshly caught rock lobsters.  One kilo was $12 and you just can't say no to that.

The thought of devouring freshly caught lobster sounded so good to me, and what easier way to cook it than with loads of garlic and butter?

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Costa Rican Gallo Pinto

Gallo pinto is considered a Costa Rican breakfast staple, which is partly why I categorized this as breakfast, but gallo pinto can be enjoyed at any time of day!

It is a traditional dish meaning "spotted rooster" because the dish looks like, you guessed it, a spotted rooster.  

There are two rules I have learned about real, authentic gallo pinto.  One, you should always use day-old cooked white rice, and two, you HAVE to use traditional Lizano sauce.  It's the only way.

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Cajun Crevalle Jack

If you know how to cook a crevalle jack properly, then the outcome will be wonderful.  They get a bad rep for being too fishy, but when cooked in lime juice, garlic and a few spices, this fish turns into an absolute delicacy.

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Vegetable & Bean Tostada’s

Whether I am going close to home or 1000's of miles away, I always scope out the food scene.  It's in my blood.  My parents know what they will order from a restaurant days before they even go.  We talk about this together all the time.  We are foodies at heart.  I love to read menus from far away restaurants and I love to research what kinds of food are going to available where I'm going, so that I can prepare myself to cook wherever I am.

In this case, I am sitting on our porch in Costa Rica, feeling the warmest yet comforting breeze come off the Pacific ocean, with the jungle behind me and birds and butterflies and monkeys all around me.  And all I can think about of course, is food.

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Roasted Vegetable Paella

Paella is one of those comforting dishes I like to make when I want something with a little more kick.  Very similar to a risotto, paella is a Spanish dish that uses spices such as saffron and paprika.  It is a slow cooking process, usually taking about 30 minutes total, but the finishing product is always delicious.

I love to sprinkle shredded manchego cheese over the top for a little kick.  Manchego is basically the Spanish version of a parmesan cheese, giving the perfect nutty, peppery flavor to this dish.

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