Tuesday, March 27, 2012

No tengo ganas...but we need to eat something!

Happy Tuesday, Readers!

Last week was famazing! The weather was perfection. Bright, sunny and in the 80s. We slept with the windows open every night! Sitting here now, in my sweatpants, long sleeved t-shirt and fleece sweater, I have to ask myself if it was just a dream. It started raining this weekend and with that, the temps started to drop again to "normal" March standards.  I am not pleased.

I was feeling so stubborn about it that on Monday I went to school in skinny jeans and my croc flats. I wore long sleeves and Mi Gringito's Red Sox jacket, pero from the waist down, I was in the tropics. I regretted the fashion statement as I walked across campus to get to one of my classes.  Have you ever had cold wind hit you so hard that your skin and bones hurt? Yep...that was good 'ol Mother Nature letting me know who was boss. I've been bundled up ever since.

Not the right apparel for 40 degree weather

As I have mentioned before, I've been making bean stews every week since it was cold and it felt good to have that warm yumminess just sit in your tummy. But, since it was sweltering when I went to do groceries last week, I didn't even glance at the beans, let alone anything else that might go well in a stew.  We went out for supper last night with a great friend, but we can't do that every night -- Mi Gringito certainly is not Mr. Moneybags and I fear I could gain back all the weight I've lost so far!
He might look like this if he grew out his mustache...

So what is a girl to do? I really didn't have any ganas to put some decent clothing on and drive to the grocery store to pick anything up and everything else was frozen. I'm cool with just eating some yogurt or cottage cheese, but Mi Gringito needs some sort of sustenance. I'm pretty good at making due with what I have, so I was sure I could come up with something.  I even treated it like if I was on Chopped and I had a mystery box. I opened the freezer and just stared in there until I felt little icicles forming on my nostrils. In the back of the freezer, almost caked in ice was a bag of pre-cooked mini-shrimp I bought at the beginning of Lent, long forgotten since I've been sticking to veggie burgers on Fridays. One of my favorite Cuban dishes is Camarones Enchilados, so I figured that I could try to make my own version. My next stop was the pantry in hopes that I would find the rest of the ingredients. Thankfully, I usually keep a stash of my favorite go-to's just in case I'm ever at one of these predicaments.  I made the sign of the cross, and hoped that mixing everything I had would make a meal fit for my darling and loving husband.

Camarones Enchilados Para Los Vagos
1 pkg Frozen Pre-cooked Shrimp (any size will do, I just had mini's in my freezer)
1 6oz can Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 pkg. Goya Seasoning
Sriracha Sauce (to taste)
1/4C White cooking wine
1 Tbsp Olive Oil


  • Place the frozen shrimp in a colander and run under water in your sink until they are defrosted. This usually takes a few minutes. If your shrimp have tails, remove them at this stage.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and packet of Goya seasoning. Stir mixture for about a minute.
  • Add the shrimp and mix well, making sure the shrimp gets coated with the seasoned garlic mixture. (They should look neon orange).
  • Add the cooking wine, tomato paste and sriracha sauce*.
  • Mix all ingredients well, lower heat and let simmer for a few minutes.

*A little goes a long way so you might want to start with about a teaspoon and add more if you want more heat.

I usually serve this on top of a bed of rice.  The sauce is nice and thick so it stick to the rice perfectly.  Mi Gringito practically licked his plate clean, so I guess I did something right despite being una vaga! I thought it tasted just like the one I used to order at El Rinconcito, but I might just be nostalgic at this stage! Whatever the case, both of us ended up pretty happy with the end result!

What are some recipes you've come up with just by looking in your pantry?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Gift to Myself

Spring is around the corner! 6 days to go and boy am I yearning for it! We barely got snow this Winter and I know the temps didn't dip nearly as cold as last year, pero el mono chiflo more than once! I tell you that I have been making a variation of my bean stew at least once per week! Thankfully, it seems like the worst is over. We've had relatively warm days this past week, even hitting the 70s on Monday.  I know I have an extra Spring (pun totally intended) to my step!

I decided when I began my weight loss journey to give myself little goals and reward myself once I reached them. In the past, if I had a goal to lose weight, the prize would be food of some sort.  It's sounds absolutely crazy to me now, but even nine months ago I rewarded a hike with ice-cream. I've rewired this old noodle and I gift myself in other ways. I've rewarded myself with a pixie haircut once my face had thinned out. I've also bought some jewelry & good make-up and excellent bath & body products to show myself some love!  On the day of surgery, I told Mi Gringito that once I reached my goal of getting to under 200 pounds, I'd go for something substantial.  It was between a handbag, a pair of aviator sunglasses or a pair of shoes.

I can happily announced that I met my goal last month!

So what to choose? I own at least a dozen handbags, mostly all COACH. I have two perfectly good pairs of sunglasses, COACH and Ray Ban.  Shoes? Well, since I got a new job and am back in school, I had been in the market for a pair I could wear all day and hope to not have blisters or achy feet. It was decided and I began the shoe hunt.  My work uniform is a black top and blue jeans, so I wanted something that could stand out -- I was searching for something with some color, style and of course, comfort.  I got these:

Yes, I'm very loyal to my brands so I did not hesitate when these came on sale.  I've had them for two days and have not taken them off, except to shower and sleep.  They have a great fit and my feet don't hurt in them.  The true test will be at work this weekend, though.

You know what's another test? Making sure I get all my water and protein in by the end of the day. It seems like its a full-time job. I have to get a minimum of 48oz of water and 60g of protein. I have no problem with the liquid - since decaffeinated coffee counts as a liquid, I'm drinking the stuff almost exclusively.  Yes, I said decaf.  I haven't had anything caffeinated since October.  I'm a much calmer person and sleep like a baby, but I digress...

Protein is a bit harder to get.  In the beginning, I used to drink a protein shake daily which would give me 42g in a serving.  I soon got very disgusted with it and just shudder when I even think about it.  Pero que pasa? I forgot to inform La Suegra that protein shakes saben a rayo to me and she bought me an entire case the day after I completely swore them off. They have sat there now for over three months and I feel so bad.  I decided I needed to do something with them and came up with a recipe.  I figured that if the recipe came out decent, I'd be able to use up the shakes and get some protein in; if it came out bad, no one was drinking the shakes anyway so it wasn't a total loss.

D's Cake Batter Protein Pops
1 17oz container of Myoplex French Vanilla Protein Shake (or any other pre-made protein shake)
1 box of Sugar-Free Butterscotch Instant Pudding


  • Pour protein shake into a large mixing bowl

  • Add instant pudding

  • With an electric hand mixer, mix on Low for approximately 2 minutes or until well blended

  • Pour mix into ice-cube trays and place in freezer until set (about 2 hours)

  • Pop them out and keep in a freezer bag for storage

Makes approximately 24-28 depending how much you fill the trays. I tell you, as I mixed this it gave out an aroma like vanilla cake batter and I hoped it would taste like that once they were done...Yep! I don't know about you, but I used to love to lick the bowl clean when I was younger so this is an awesome treat for me. The nutritional stats will depend on how many pops you end up with.  This batch yielded 27 pops which came out to 15 cal and 1.5g of protein each. I also think you can also play with other flavors of pudding, but bear in mind that the vanilla flavor is very strong in this protein shake so you will always have it lingering.

I can't wait until the pretty flowers of Spring start popping everywhere! How about you? Did you feel Winter's sadness and welcome the joy of Spring?

Hasta la proxima!