All posts by jennene74

Hmmm... About me... Let's start with I am a mom of two children. I work part time in a bookkeeping office. The rest of the time I try to find a balance between running my children around, maintaining my house and caring for my family, while working out and having a healthy lifestyle. Oh yeah, and I box. (No that's not a new craft. I box in a ring with boxing gloves. ) To keep a healthy dose of girly in my life I also dance. Tahitian dance. (If you've never seen it... You should. Its every bit of sensuality, grace and beauty you can imagine.) I love to cook. I started cooking thinking the easier the recipe the more mundane and less interesting it would be. So my meals became more and more complex. I've since altered my perception of cooking. ;)

BBQ’ing Weather

This week the weather was amazingly beautiful. It was an incredible preview of what summer holds for us. Being in the Pacific Northwest great weather like this doesn’t happen too frequently in the spring. It put me in the mood for out door activities like running in shorts (I went on my usual run only I ended up stopping every mile or so to take photos of new buds on trees or spring flowers) or going on a walk and BBQ’ing. Yep, you heard correct. BBQ’ing. I have a stand by recipe that I love to grill on the bbq. I use this recipe so often that my cook book automatically opens to the correct page. It is chicken kabobs. And depending what you serve them with, it is a very healthy dinner.

Chicken Kabobs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, halved
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus 4 sprigs for garnish (optional)
1 lemon cut in half
8 large white mushrooms, brushed clean and thickly sliced
1 red onion, thickly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. If using wooden skewers, soak four of them in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill. Trim any visible fat from the chicken. Cut the meat into 2 inch squares; you should have 32 in all.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, basil, and the juice of one lemon half. Reserve a 1/4 cup of the oil mixture. Add the chicken, mushrooms, and onion to the remaining oil mixture and toss to coat lightly.
  3. Alternately thread eight 12 inch skewers with the chicken pieces, mushrooms, and onion.
  4. Arrange the skewers on the grill rack or on a broiler pan about 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Grill or broil, turning the skewers to brown all sides and basting occasionally with the reserved oil mixture, until the chicken and vegetables are tender and the chicken is opaque throughout, 10 to 12 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half over the chicken and vegetables; garnish with the fresh basil sprigs if desired. Serve immediately.
  6. I usually serve this on a bed of brown basmati rice. Serves four.

Recipe compliments of Williams-Sonoma Meats and Poultry.


Fabulous Fresh Foods For the Family

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you wished you could press the reset button? Or even better the fast forward button so you could quickly just glide through all the stress and challenges of the week? This week everyone in my family (everyone BUT me thankfully) was incredibly sick with a minimum of five days of fever, pink eye, and ear infections. Then to top it off, halfway through the week my daughter came home from school with lice. So after an insane amount of cleaning literally everything and bagging toys that couldn’t be washed (and I admit a long nap) and my regular schedule of work, work outs, and chores and errands, I sat down and thought about what food I could make for my family that would encourage wellness. I set off for the grocery store with a stir fry in mind with fresh vegetables to counter all the medicine being consumed.


Shrimp Stir Fry
6 tsp. canola oil, divided
4 Tbsp., plus 2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce, divided
3 Tbls minced garlic
1/2 cup sugar free apricot jam
3-4 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined, medium in size 31-40 count
4 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
8 scallions, minced
2 large red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 lb snow peas, strings removed
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Whisk together 3 teaspoons of the canola oil, 3 teaspoons of the low sodium soy sauce, garlic, and sugarfree apricot jam in a large bowl; add shrimp and toss to coat.

Lightly coat a large skillet or wok with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Add shrimp and cook until pink approximately two minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Heat remaining oil in the same skillet over high heat; add ginger and cook 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, scallions, Bell peppers, Snow peas, and red pepper flakes and cook until vegetables are tender crisp, about four minutes. Stir in shrimp and remaining soy sauce and toss to combine. Serve hot.

Hope you enjoy this meal with your family too. Have a great week and stay healthy.

Homemade Grabola Granola

Here’s something fun and convenient. A healthy snack that is so easy to grab and put in a baggy, serve with milk as cereal, or serve with yogurt.

Home made Grabola Granola

20140317-073937.jpg4 cups rolled oats
2 cups unsweetened shaved coconut
1 Tbsp salt
2-4 oz. honey (however much you like)
1 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped or whole
1 cup pecans, chopped or whole
1 cup cashews, chopped or whole
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1-2 cups dried fruit of your choice

Combine all the ingredients, except the dried fruit, and toss thoroughly so the olive oil coats everything. Spread ingredients on a baking sheet and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes of baking, remove from the oven and stir granola and re-spread on the baking sheet. When finished baking remove from oven and cool. Add the dried fruit of your choice and combine. I usually use dried apricots, you can use dried mangoes, bananas, apples, or even cranberries.

Let me know if you try it and what you think. Have a great week everyone and stay healthy!

Not Fast Food, Foods Made Fast

This week seems to be a mad dash from one place to another. I don’t have time to breathe, much less cook. Since Saturday we’ve been on the run and to top it off, this week is my daughters birthday week. Now I have added errands like purchasing cupcakes and delivering them to school and the gym, birthday parties and dance. But we need to eat even when we are so busy it feels as if our heads will spin off.

We are doing ourselves a disservice by not eating. Our bodies require the fuel to keep going… Did you know that if you don’t eat food you may lose weight at first but you are more likely to gain more weight and more quickly once you do start eating. Your body goes into “starvation mode” thinking that there isn’t enough food and stores even more fat in reserve against future lean or starvation periods. Do you see where I’m going with this? You need to eat, but preferably not from fast food restaurants, but from healthy foods that can be put together fast. I’ll include a few quick easy ideas for a light lunch and snacks you can grab through out the day.

image from Just Pinch Me

Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie
1lb. Strawberries
1 cup Fat free plain Greek yogurt
1 Orange
1 Banana
2 Tbsp. Wheat Germ

Using a food processor. Combine fruit till smooth. Add yogurt, wheat germ and honey to taste (about 1 tablespoon) and process till smooth. Can be kept for a few days. Makes about 2-3 servings.

Apple Pecan Yogurt
1 Apple diced (Braeburn and Fuji are my favorites)
1 cup fat free, plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. Chopped pecans
1 tsp honey

Serve the yogurt with the diced apples and pecans. Drizzle with honey.

And finally something more savory.

fuji apple chicken salad 2
image from Barefeet in the Kitchen

Grilled Chicken and Apple Salad
1-2 cups of mixed green salad
4 oz. Grilled Chicken (I usually just grill it with a little salt and pepper and olive oil)
1/2 Apple, diced
2 Tbsp Chopped Pecans
1 Tbsp Blue Cheese (optional)
1 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinaigrette (optional)

Serve chicken, diced apples, and pecans over a bed of mixed greens. Top with blue cheese and dressing if you choose. I enjoy this salad both ways.

Berry Breakfast

To go along with the our featured articles breakfast theme, here’s another recipe for you to try.


If you don’t have time to cook in the morning and it’s a mad dash out of the house (and let’s face it, we all have those days), try this quick, easy, HEALTHY breakfast.

1/2 C fat free cottage cheese
1/2 C mixed berries, thawed if frozen
1/2 C whole grain cereal such as Kashi Go Lean or Grape-Nuts.

If you want to increase the amount I suggest going up to 1 cup. Mix together and enjoy.

Fabulous Food for the Family

Let’s talk about food. I’ve given  my topic a lot of thought this week… in fact I think I’ve over thought it.  There is just so much to say about food.  So I’ve decided to begin on a personal note.

I love food.  I love to make a recipe and tweak it so it’s better.  A little richer, tastier or healthier.

Honestly though, I don’t have any time to “play” with my food. (I love that I’m allowed to “play” with my food as an adult). Who has the time to cook and really enjoy it with the business of family activities?  In fact during the week it’s more of a “chore” to cook. I realized that something had to change in order for me to enjoy cooking and to continue making food for my family they would enjoy. The other side of the coin would be eating out all the time and that is just not going to happen.

Through the weeks I’m going to share ideas for healthy, easy food to eat and how to make it work so you don’t have to cook for hours each day. On that note, let’s start with breakfast.  I typically am not a morning person.  I have a hard time even thinking about what I’m going to cook if I haven’t had my six shot latte. I began asking friends for ideas on what I could cook, which lead me to my favorite breakfast – a spinach, portobello mushroom omelette. This is such an easy recipe. You can even make the bulk of it in advance to last you for several days. There’s minimal cooking in the morning if you are on a tight schedule and it’s healthy.

Spinach Mushroom Omelette

1 medium onion (I prefer sweet onions)
8 – 12 oz fresh spinach
2 – 3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 egg
1/2 C egg whites
salt & pepper to taste
feta cheese (or low fat swiss if you don’t like feta)
avocado, sliced for garnish

I usually make the filling of the omelette in advance for the week. To do that chop your onion and portobello mushroom. Saute your onion till it is caramelized, then add the mushrooms. Saute them till the juices are released, then add the spinach and cook until it is wilted.  Add salt and pepper to your taste.  Refrigerate until you are ready to use or use it right away.

Now it’s time for the omelette.
Mix your egg whites and egg.  Typically one egg equals a quarter of a cup of egg white. I usually add half cup of egg whites and one egg. Whisk your eggs together and add salt and pepper to taste. Add oil to your pan and bring the pan up to temp. When the pan is up to temp add your eggs.  Let your eggs set up on the bottom of the pan then gently start swirling the uncooked eggs to the side of the pan. Then gently lift the edges of the egg and let the rest of the uncooked egg slide to the bottom of the pan.  Once the egg has set gently slide your spatula underneath the egg and flip it over. Warm your mushroom, spinach and onion mixture for a few seconds in the microwave. Now you can start adding the mushroom, spinach, and onion mixture to one side of your cooked egg.  Sprinkle with the feta cheese and fold the other half over. You can garnish your omelette with sliced avocado or fat-free sour cream. Breakfast is served.  

Now that I’ve had a healthy breakfast and have energy to cook let’s get started cooking for the rest of the day.

Check in next week for more ideas and let me know if you tried the omelette and what you think!