Recent Tasties

Hallo!  I've been making some pretty tasty food lately, and I thought I would share a couple of healthy things I've made this week.

As you all know, I absolutely LOVE going to the grocery store.  I love seeing all this food ready to be taken home and eaten, and I love even more when I have a good amount of money and can get whatever I want.  This usually results in me going home with lots of junk - sugary cereals, cookies, huge blocks of cheese that I eat straight out of the package, etc.  I'm well aware of that habit, and so the last time I went grocery shopping I went with a list (recipes on one side of the page, ingredients on the other) and told myself I was only buying healthy food.  I came home with eggs, greek yogurt, kale, organic romaine lettuce, gold potatoes, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, mango, avocado, lemons, limes, bell peppers (green, red, and yellow), jalapenos, two huge jars of salsa, black beans...the list goes on.  I did get cheese, but only Mexican crumbling cheese that I'm not inclined to eat on its own, and sliced sandwich cheddar from the deli that I had sliced ultra thin so even if I eat two or three slices of it I'm not actually eating too much.  I've been doing my best to only eat at home (although I do admit to eating a lot of Taco Bell...it's cheap!) and as a result of this healthy eating I've definitely noticed a downward trend in my weight the last two weeks.  I've been putting on freshly-laundered jeans to find they fit the same way they used to after I had worn them for a week and stretched them out.  I haven't been getting any exercise...that I do need to work on.  But I guess my point here is that eating right is really the key thing for me.  I have felt so great these past couple of weeks - I have more energy, it's easy to get out of bed in the morning, my sugar cravings have been pretty much nonexistent even as TOM comes for me, and I haven't had much depression at all.  That's a pretty big deal for me, and at least a little proof that you can change your life by changing what you eat.

So, on to my two tasties!

I've realized that having leftovers in the fridge that I can easily turn into other things helps me a lot when I'm staring at the fridge with no idea what to make, ready to bolt to Taco Bell.  I love Mexican food and would happily eat it for every meal (and pretty much have been).  Last week I whipped up a solid ton of sofrito chicken to use in various Mexican-style meals.  Sofrito is a cooking base used often in Latin food, made of tomatoes, garlic, peppers, oil, scallions, and sazon (pronounced sah-ZONE, a Mexican spice mix found in the Latin aisle of your grocery store).  I absolutely adore Skinny Taste, a WW-friendly website with a solid ton of healthy recipes, many of them Latin-inspired.  I go to this site whenever I need something new or want a healthier version of an old favorite.  Gina, the lady who runs it, has a seriously amazing sofrito recipe that can be found here.  Note - I did not follow the Sofrito Chicken Stew recipe, just the directions for the sofrito that she lists first.  I put my sofrito in the blender and pureed it so I could simmer my chicken in it (I'm kind of an anti-chunk gal).  I made the amount of sofrito she makes in that stew recipe, and cooked just shy of two pounds of cubed chicken in a skillet and then simmered it in the sofrito, adding fresh cilantro from my cilantro plant at the end.  I shredded it up and used it in burrito bowls, quesadillas, and taquitos.  It was SO good, and so easy.  By the way, you can make a huge amount of sofrito and then freeze it to use later - a great way to use up leftover cilantro before it goes bad!

Here are some pictures of taquitos that I baked in the oven with my sofrito chicken:

In the taquitos I put my chicken, some sliced peppers and onions (I probably should have sauteed them first, I bet my taquitos wouldn't have exploded), black beans, and mexican crumbling cheese.  I sprayed the tops with cooking spray and baked at 400 degrees until the tops were crispy.  The bottoms were still a little soft, but they were still so good (perhaps the only downside of corn tortillas, they don't get crispy like flour ones do, but I prefer them anyway).  I ate them with some spicy habanero salsa I got from the store.  Divine.

My second tasty for this post is spinach smoothies!  I've been making these for breakfast.  I usually make enough to fill one old spaghetti sauce jar that I've repurposed into a water bottle (I knitted a cozy for it and keep it in my purse - awesome, and super cheap.  I'm not gonna spend 20 bucks on a plastic bottle if I can help it).  Three or four times a week I'll make a smoothie and hard boil two eggs and that's my breakfast.  It's quick, tasty, keeps me full for hours, and I get a couple servings of spinach that I wouldn't eat otherwise.  I can't think of a better breakfast.  My smoothie bases are always two huge handfuls of spinach, about half a cup of fat-free greek yogurt (mmm, probiotics), five or six ice cubes plus a splash of water if I need it, and then whatever fruit I have on hand.  If the spinach taste comes through too much I add a little honey.  Today, I made my smoothie with the above ingredients, plus about a cup of pineapple and a mango (mango not pictured).

That's my smoothie in the jar.  It was green today because the yellow pineapple and orange mango get overpowered by the green spinach, but I kind of love the color.  It's fun.  If you use berries (either fresh or frozen) the smoothie comes out purple - a great way to trick picky kids or hesitant boyfriends ;).  I don't really measure these ingredients out - I just kind of throw it in my blender and go, adding more of this or that if I feel like it.  I love using greek yogurt in these smoothies.  Sometimes the taste of the yogurt is too much for me to eat it straight, but it gives a nice tang to the smoothies that reminds of me of the smoothies I used to make at the ice cream parlor I worked at in high school.   Back then we made our smoothies with frozen yogurt and they were always tart, sweet, and delicious.  Honey helps mask the taste of the yogurt too.  I personally wouldn't use regular yogurt because it lacks the protein the greek yogurt has, but to each their own!  I love how you can change these up, using whatever fruit you have in the fridge.  They're a great way to use fruit that's starting to get too soft or spinach that's on its last leg of life.  I know if you use frozen bananas the smoothie gets a more milkshake-like consistency.  Just experiment and see what you like best - have fun with it!

I love my smoothies!

Om nom nom.

Got spinach?

Also, crappy webcam pictures for the win. I hope you guys try out these tasties!  Have a wonderful day!

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