Fruits and Veggies

My two week no dessert challenge is almost over! With the exception of the fourth of July (which I planned on), I haven’t had ice cream, chocolate, or any kind of dessert in two weeks. It’s been especially difficult to go without ice cream since it’s the middle of summer and that’s practically all I can think about. I do think it has been good for me though; I’ve regained some of my self control and realized that I can actually live without it. When I started changing my diet last year, I measured serving sizes for just about everything I ate and that really helped me know what was appropriate to eat. As time moved on, I thought I could eyeball what was appropriate, but that’s easier said than done. I was falling into the routine of saying “Oh, just a little more won’t hurt,” but that’s a slippery slope to get started on, so I’ve started measuring things out again so that I don’t slide into over eating. It’s been working out pretty well and I plan to do it with desserts when I start eating them again (can’t wait for some frozen yogurt tomorrow!!). I’ve also increased my running a little and I’m finally planning on running a 5K in August. I’ll let you know how that works out (if I make it that is). Anyway, I’ve posted a few things about summer recipes and I thought I’d continue with a few more. Farmer’s markets and produce stands on the side of the road are great places to find fresh and delicious produce  during the summer. It’s a limited time offer that I think everyone should take advantage of. Here’s what I’ve come up with for this week, hope you enjoy!

Panko Shrimp with Chive Aioli
This was a totally new recipe experience for me. I’ve never used Panko bread crumbs and I’ve never made any sort of Aioli (whatever that is). It turned out really well and of course, it was easy. Now I’m not totally positive about the healthy aspect of Panko Pan Fried Shrimp, but I have heard Panko is better than the traditionally used flour and deep fryer. The Chive Aioli is mainly a spiced up greek yogurt, which I was quite iffy about before I made it, but I actually really liked it a lot! This recipe is on the higher end of the calorie count though (430 for a serving of shrimp and sauce), so I paired it with fresh tomatoes that I got from a produce stand and wild rice. Tomatoes this time of year are practically irresistible, I love eating them plain with a little salt and pepper or on a yummy BLT. I followed this recipe exactly and I think it turned out great, I’ll definitely make be making it again. Click here for the recipe.

Summer Texas Hash
Texas Hash is a recipe that my mom has made for us ever since I can remember. Normally it contains brown rice, ground beef, canned tomatoes, green pepper, onion and cheese. After picking up an assortment of veggies from the produce stand, I decided I would revamp it summer veggie style. I kept the brown rice, ground beef, green pepper, onion and cheese then added a few things. I used fresh whole tomatoes instead of canned and added eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini and a sweet pepper. As you can see in the picture, I got a little carried away with the amount of vegetables so I had to use this huge pan. I definitely had leftovers, they’re in the freezer for me to take out when I’m feeling lazy some day. You could really add any vegetables or beans that you like to this casserole. I browned a pound of lean ground sirlion and used one bag of cooked brown rice. You’ll also want to pan sauté the veggies before putting everything in the pan. I didn’t really measure my vegetables, so I would recommend putting them in the baking pan you plan to use as you go so you can determine how much you need. I had a smaller pan but too many veggies, so I had to move up to this monster pan. Anyway, this one is pretty easy to throw together on a week night, you just toss everything in a pan, top with cheese and bake at 350 until the cheese is melted.

Patriot Pops
In my search for festive fourth of July recipes, I came across this one from Lauren Conrad. It looks and sounds like a dessert, but in my opinion, it’s more of a healthy snack. The only dessert like ingredient is 2 tablespoons of honey, which I didn’t think added too much in the grand scheme of things. I stuck to her recipe but used light coconut milk instead of regular. The greek yogurt makes them a little tart but the fruit balances it out nicely. It’s basically just frozen greek yogurt, mixed with some cottage cheese and coconut milk. If you’re not a fan of greek yogurt, you may not like them. I’m not the biggest fan of it, but I thought they were pretty good. Plus, they only have about 50 calories per pop! Click here and scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

Summer Crafting
I’ve caught a crafting bug from Pinterest and I can’t resist sharing my newest creation. I’ve never been the creative or artsy type and I definitely can’t draw, paint, or do anything of that nature. However, I recently discovered a few easy projects that even the least artistic people can do. First, I needed something to go on my living room wall. I have a big pretty mirror but nothing to complement it on either side, so I found an idea for covering small canvases in scrapbook paper. I got four canvases and picked out different scrap book paper that kind of go together and basically wrapped the canvas like a present using modge podge. Second, I figure if I can wrap those in scrapbook paper, what else can I do? I have a small bright orange clock that I got as a gift several years ago, but orange doesn’t quiet go with anything I own, so I found a light green scrapbook paper pattern that I like and covered the clock too. It looks great! My third and favorite craft so far is my Mississippi String Art. I saw one made for another state and had been wanted a piece of Mississippi art for my house, so I decided to make one. It was so easy and it looks way better than I thought it would. Someone has even offered to pay me to make one, I can’t believe it!



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