I’m all for a low, slow, and savory delicacy for a meal, but summer is upon us, so I need some quick and healthy meals in my rotation, too. I love an open face sandwich because it allows me to portion control and eat less carbs without feeling deprived.
Here are a few I’ve made in the last couple of weeks, starting with Sunday brunch on the cover. For the crispyest bacon, I baked the bacon in the oven, which makes clean up a breeze as I don’t have to worry about bacon grease splashing on my back splash and counter tops. The rest is just as simple: toasted sourdough bread, half of a large avocado, tomato, everything bagel seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Last night, I made a quick meal of smoked chicken enchiladas, black beans, and simple salad. My husband, Bryan, smoked a chicken a few days ago and after considering several options, I decided to make enchiladas. I used drained, canned black beans but amped up the flavor with onions, fresh garlic, and spices.
I decided to treat my family to some fresh fruit parfaits. I cut half of a small angel food cake into cubes and toasted them in a pan on the stove with a little butter. Then, layered whipped cream, toasted angel food cake, two of my favorite fruits (sliced strawberries and blueberries) in small glasses. Mine had chia seeds and cashew cream. It was a lovely scrumptuous treat.
A couple of weeks ago, I was craving a crab leg boil, so I dethawed the frozen crab legs from my freezer I bought about a month prior. Now, my Haitian mom would not approve of me buying frozen seafood, but it is what it is. I bought some local specialty sausage from the grocery store the day before, like it was a special occasion. It was Easter weekend.
Some dishes I’d rather the experts prepare, but I felt bold and creative this particular weekend. While in the grocery store, I was also going to buy the crab leg boil seasoning, but when I red all the processed ingredients in the packet, I declined and decided to create my own seasoning blend with my spice collection at home.
My delicious crab leg boil: onions, potato, corn on the cobb, local sausage, shrimp, crab legs, and lots of spices.
The broth was so rich with flavorful.
My husband, Bryan and I, were the only two who partook of the deliciousness. Bryan ate some of everything except the crab legs. He said he’s not that big of a crab leg fan. I thought to myself, “more leftovers for me.” However, our daughter, Elise, had other ideas. She asked me to make a seafood alfredo for Sunday’s dinner, which would be Easter dinner. Hmmm??? I hadn’t thought of that. CHA-LUNGE accepted!
This was an impromtu request. On Saturday evening, I checked to ensure I had all the ingredients, and I did. I’ve been removing dairy from my diet for health reasons, so I was disappointed this wouldn’t be a dairy free version. On Sunday, with my hands, I pulled as much crab meat as I could from the crab legs, and I chopped the shrimp into tiny pieces.
I planned to repurpose the corn, sausage, and potatoes from the crab boil for another dish like a soup, but that didn’t happen. Bryan and I added the sausage to some meals for a couple of days. Then, my week got busy, and I forgot to at least freeze the other ingredients. I was disappointed with wasting food. Sigh…
My son, Caleb, enjoyed the pasta so much that he asked me for the recipe, which he rarely does. He’s a great cook himself and works at a fancy restaurant.
In one weekend, I created two delicious meals with a star ingredient – CRAB LEGS. 🦀 I’m happy I satisfied my finicky eaters. I’m inspired to make a dairy free version of the seafood pasta one day. I’ll keep you posted.
If it’s one thing I know how to do, it’s whip up a quick and healthy meal. I have the privilege of maintaining a well stocked pantry (and fridge and freezer) with nutritious options. I’ve been working from home for 3 years, so I’ve amped up my quick meal prep in this time. Cooking soothes my mind, and filling my body with nutritious foods is my favorite act of self-care.
Here are some ideas from real meals I cooked, ate, and photographed during the week.
That’s it for this post. Who knows what quick and healthy options I’ll be creating this week!
Last April, my favorite people at Simple Green Smoothies had the audacity to come up with a 10-Day Salad Challenge and it was absolutely FREE. It’s a great time to start thinking about lighter eating. I received the recipes, including the shopping lists in an email. Initially, I had planned to just use what ingredients I had and modify the recipes as needed. Experienced home cooks like me know that recipes serve as guides. I was mostly ready, but then something happened….My niece visited from Chicago on Day 1 of the challenge. She blessed us for 6 days straight and we blessed her every day with the Austin, Texas food faves.
That didn’t stop me though because I made 6 of the salads while she was in town. It took me longer than 10 days. Of course, I captured every salad in my personal photos. I also attached the actual recipes/pictures from the challenge. And the salads are out of sequence according to my taste. I hope this post gets your mouth watering. LET’S GO!
Growing up on the south side of Chicago, we didn’t have much. The sandwich was an inexpensive and quick meal, usually made for lunch or a snack. Oscar Meyer had several options: salami, ham, and bologna….in order of my preference. A few slices fried made it special. White bread was cheap and readily available. Melted American or “government” cheese made it complete. And mayonnaise and mustard were the icing.
For variety, there was the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I always enjoyed more peanut butter than jelly. Some people think there is a science to the ratio. It’s really about your preference. I recall when I was younger, an older cousin pitted my same-age cousin and me in a battle of who could make the best PB&J. She took a bite out of each of our sandwiches. My cousin won. It hurt my feelings that I didn’t win.
I had so many sandwiches growing up, cold and hot, that I could NOT stand them anymore in adulthood. At some point, well after we moved to Texas, someone from work recommended a submarine sandwich shop, native to Austin and I quickly became hooked.
Although we lived in South Austin, I worked on the Northwest side for several years. I would go there on my lunch breaks a couple of times a week, trying different sandwiches, but I had my favorites.
As I had my own kids, I experimented with different meals and made sandwiches on occasion. By this time, I had expanded my repertoire of sandwich combinations and learned it was all in the type of bread and accoutrements (condiments and toppings).
The sandwich thing didn’t take off with my kids. Their taste buds were constantly changing. Also, my son, Caleb, was allergic to many foods including peanuts, so PB&J’s were not for him. There was that one Christmas when preteen Caleb asked for a panini press and a panini press is what he got. He was obsessed for a while, but then the obsession faded. I still have the panini press in a cabinet. I’ll give it to him when he moves out.
The next few photos I took are of decadent sandwiches I’ve made and enjoyed over the last few months. I share my food to inspire healthy and nutritious meals, not necessarily to share recipes (although sometimes I do).
Bloganuary Day 18’s prompt is right up my alley: what’s your favorite food to cook or eat? My blog is about self-care, and cooking healthy, nutritious meals is one of my favorite expressions of self-care. My Haitian mom instilled the love of cooking in me, and I’ve run far and away with it. I don’t cook traditional Haitian meals often, but my Haitian roots and methods allow me to cook a variety of delicious food with a Haitian flare.
I have a wide palate, but as of late, my favorite foods to cook and eat are soups and stews. Yes, it’s the winter season, though here in Texas, the high will be 77 degrees today, but I eat soups year round. I’ve blogged about soups I’ve made in Soups On: Fall Favorites and Bring on the soups. All photos are taken by me.
In this post, I will share some of my most recent delicacies through my photos. I also blog about cooking as self-care to inspire others to prepare healthy meals at home. I’ve gone through periods of being vegan, but now I consider my preferences to be mostly plant-based and dairy free (mostly). To ensure I’m getting the proper protein and iron, I’m back to eating meat, which is OH SO good.
The act of cooking is soothing, allows me to be creative, and gives me something to look forward to because I know what I prepare will do my body good.
Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving in the U.S. and I’m carrying the gratitude with me into this week. It’s true there is something to be thankful for every single day, even every moment, no matter how small. The Thanksgiving holiday reminds me to slow down and count my blessings. Thanksgiving kicks off my favorite holiday season.
Last year we drove to Chicago and spent the time with our family. That was so special because our time together is precious especially after my mom passed away. I think we all sense our time on this earth is limited and so we’re more intentional about making the time for each other. I like to say that I’ve been fueled up (with love) after those visits.
This year, we celebrated the holiday with friends. So many people have moved to Texas from other places so it’s not uncommon to not have family near. I was excited about cooking for friends. And it dawned on me this would actually be the first Thanksgiving in our new home. Being in a new home is and of itself something to be thankful for. We moved into our freshly built home about a year and 8 months ago so I’m not sure how long I can call it new. Whatever the case, since the pandemic we haven’t really had people over.
I made things easier on myself by keeping the menu simple. My husband, Bryan, decided to smoke the meats (turkey breast, turkey legs, and pork butt), which means I was responsible for cooking the sides.
We began prepping the weekend before Thanksgiving by taking the meats out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge. On Tuesday, Bryan seasoned the pork and brined the turkey parts. I chopped up all my vegetables for each dish and put them in baggies that I labeled. I also made a big pot of liquid gold aka turkey broth. I also roasted about 10 sweet potatoes for my mashed sweet potatoes and sweet potato pies. In my grocery shopping, I purchased some time saving items like preboiled eggs, herb croutons for the dressing, and cornbread mix. And something I’ve never done for previous Thanksgivings most likely because I didn’t have the space was use my CROCK POT. I had her set up on the island.
It was certainly a blessing to serve a bounty of food and be surrounded with loved ones and friends. Growing up in poverty, I’m reminded of how far my family has come to make a better life for ourselves and our children. What we didn’t have in financial means, we were rich in faith, hope, and love. The part of Thanksgiving that I will take with me everyday is to often show appreciation to the people who love and show up for me, to extend extra care and grace to others, to be encouraging, to demonstrate compassion to myself (first) and others, to help where I can, and to reflect more on what I do have rather than what I don’t.
It’s been a while since my last post, but rest assured, I’ve been busy doing the things that feed my soul (pun intended) and giving myself some extra grace. These last few months have been rough on my family. My beautiful mother in law passed away in September and my brother in law has been ill most of 2022.
Like many of you, I wear multiple hats as a working mom, wife, caregiver, sister, friend, boss, etc. Information on self-care is so prevalent nowadays and it’s no wonder because self-care is essential to mental well being. I believe this so much that my whole blog is about self-care. You may hear about common self-care activities: take a bubble bath, journal, go shopping, exercise, get a massage, get a manicure/pedicure, read a book, take yourself out to dinner, sleep, etc.
Self-care can actually be anything that fills you up rather than depletes you. You don’t have to do a bunch of things all the time. You don’t have to spend money you don’t have. Self-care is also not just about doing things which can be exhausting, especially when you’re under stress. Self-care can be about being: self-compassionate, authentic, aware, quiet, at peace, etc. Self-care can be about choosing one thing in a moment.
I personally have my “go to” self-care activities that fill me up (pun intended). One thing I love to do for self-care is cook. And I just don’t cook anything..I’m intentional about cooking healthy and nutritious food. It fills me up (pun intended) because I’m being creative, concentrating on the food rather than the problem, giving my taste buds and my family something to look forward to, and will be filling my body with a bountiful medley of deliciousness which will bring about a host of other benefits.
When we returned from Chicago in early October, I started a 10-Day Soup Challenge brought about by my favorite people at www.simplegreensmoothies.com.And this challenge couldn’t have come at a better time because I ate many of the calorie dense Chicago delicacies (pizza, Italian beef, Chinese food, gyros) and was in need of a reset.
Something different about this challenge is that I didn’t make it to all 10 soups. I was getting back to my home and work routine, so I was a little busy. In fact, I didn’t even do the challenge for the 10 days. I completed 8 recipes so that means there are still 2 recipes I didn’t get to. I started the challenge a day late and it probably took me 3 weeks to complete 8 recipes, BUT I DID IT. Now you get to enjoy my photos which I took myself. You can find the recipes on the http://www.simplegreensmoothies.com website. I blogged about my first soup challenge here: Bring on the soups
Keep in mind, I’ve modified the recipes in different ways and it’s been too long ago for me to remember what I modified for each one. My general approach to recipes is to use them as guides. You can do that when you know what you’re doing.
I hope these soups inspire you to cook more of your meals at home, try new recipes, and eat well.