Monday, May 28, 2012

What'cha Grillin'?

It's Memorial Day. And so many of us celebrate with cookouts and barbecues. Normal fare around here is ribs, brats, burgers, and steaks. But I have a lot of healthier recipes in my arsenal and thought I'd share a few. When I started bringing healthier alternatives to cookouts I really thought it would just be for me and everyone else would stick to the more traditional stuff. But, it turns out, lots of folks really like the healthy stuff if someone takes the time to prepare it. So I thought I'd share....

Grilled Shrimp
This is one of my all time favorites. I've been making it for years and everyone loves it. Leftovers are great the next day tossed in pasta or just cold in a wrap. Although, if I want leftovers I have to double this recipe.
2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1-1/2 TBS hot pepper sauce
2 TBS tomato paste
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
5 cloves of garlic - pressed or minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Make sure your shrimp are all nice and clean. If you are using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them for at least 20 minutes so they don't burn on the grill. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together. Toss the shrimp in with it and let it marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. Then cook them on the grill - about 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on how hot your grill is. Tip: When I'm preparing for a party I will skewer the shrimp before putting them in the marinade so all I have to do is throw them on the grill when people get there.

Fish in Packets
I don't really have recipes for this. It totally depends on what kind of fish I have and what kind of mood I'm in. Here are some examples:
Traditional: Tilapia fillets with thinly sliced or julienned veggies.I like zucchini, red pepper, carrots, and mushrooms. Place everything in a packet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Add some sort of liquid like chicken broth, white wine, or melted butter. Seal up the packet and grill for about 15 minutes. There is no need to flip the packets.
Asian: Salmon fillets with honey, soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, mined onion, and pressed (or minced) fresh garlic. I usually add a little rice vinegar and fish sauce for the liquid, but you could use chicken broth too.
Southwest: Tilapia or other white fish. Top with black beans, corn, and salsa. So easy! And you don't need to add any other liquid.
Italian: Grouper or any other fish. Season with Italian seasonings, add petite diced tomatoes, diced onion, diced bell pepper, and a little Italian dressing.
The possibilities are endless. But you get the idea. Just fish, veggies, seasonings, and some sort of liquid. Use good, heavy foil. Don't flip the packets. And use a spatula, rather than tongs, to move things around so you don't let all those yummy juices escape.

Grilled Peaches
Super simple. Just cut peaches in half, remove the pit, and grill for about 5 minutes. I really don't think they need anything else. But I have made them sweeter for the kids by putting the peach in foil (cut side up), filling the center with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, and then grilling that way.

Grilled Pineapple
1/4 cup maple syrup (Use the good stuff here. Real, actual, maple syrup - not that nasty pretend stuff.)
3 TBS of melted butter
Fresh pineapple cut into rings
Mix the syrup and butter together. Put the pineapple and syrup mixture in a freezer bag and marinate overnight. You can get away with just marinating them for 30 minutes, but I just like to do as much ahead of time as possible. Grill them for 3-5 minutes per side until they are caramelized. So yummy!

This is my kids' all-time favorite grilled veggie. They ask for it ALL the time! And its super easy.
Just toss fresh, trimmed asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill it for 5-8 minutes turning until the asparagus has grill marks and is tender.

Grilled Sweet Corn with Roasted Red Pepper Butter
Okay, this one isn't as healthy. But my rationalization is that the roasted red pepper means I'm eating my corn with less butter. Right? It makes sense to me. And it is SO good.
1-1/2 sticks of butter, softened
One jar of roasted red peppers, drained
Combine butter and roasted peppers in food processor until well blended. Put butter mixture onto plastic wrap and roll into a log shape. Put into fridge so it can set up.
Soak corn, in husks, for about 30 mins to an hour in a sink full of water. Then place on the grill directly. The corn steams in the husks. It takes about 20 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is. Just keep turning them. Some of the husks may burn a little - that is normal. The corn inside will be perfect. I've made sweet corn a bazillion different ways. This is the best - and the easiest. After the corn is cooked the silk will come out easily in one swoop. Peel back the husks and you're good to go. Slice up the butter you made and enjoy!

I don't have pictures for you. This was just an impromptu little post and I'm actually not grilling today. But these are recipes I make pretty frequently so I will snap some pics next time and add them to this post over the coming weeks.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I rarely feel disappointed in others. Mostly this is because I don't have very high expectations of others. I realize this may not be the most healthy outlook, and really - not even very nice, but that's just how it has been for awhile. And, frankly, my underestimation of the human population has served me well in two ways:
  1. I rarely allow someone else to influence my mood by disappointing me. 
  2. I am truly amazed and inspired when people go above and beyond expectations. 
Of course there are cons to this way of thinking. Mostly, I have a hard time trusting people and I don't delegate well. This makes me a control freak and frequently leaves me feeling overwhelmed at the amount of tasks it takes to get through each day.

Recent events have caused me to step squarely outside of my comfort zone and trust some friends more than I normally would. And, sadly, I'm feeling that rare case of disappointment that I've spent so much effort trying to avoid. It sucks. And I hate it. And I regret allowing it to happen.

But I'm trying to stay positive. So I decided to take the time to reflect and see what I could learn about myself through all of this. During my reflection I realized that this stupid emotion called disappointment is so jarring to me because I just don't let enough people get close enough to have that power.

Also, I have no problem feeling disappointed in myself. 

I guess this explains why my first reaction was to hook myself up with some really good ice cream and feel sorry for myself. Yes, in hindsight this appears to be a stupid idea. But at the time it was brilliant. And comforting. And made me happy. And the familiar feeling of disappointment in myself seems easier to deal with than feeling betrayed by a friend. But we all know that dealing with someone else's bad judgement call by making my own bad judgement call is not the way to go. It worked in the short term. But, clearly, is not beneficial to my long term goal.

My quest to get back into shape has moved slowly. I am gradually getting back into my good eating habits. And I'm feeling better because of it. I'm already behind on my training program though. Wanna guess how that makes me feel? Yeah. Disappointed.

According to this equation I need to either lower my expectations or raise my reality.

Or both.

So the summary of my deep thought of the day is that: You can't let the actions of other people derail your vision. You should have reasonable expectations. High expectations mean nothing if you don't have the reality to back it up. And people are surprising. Most good. Some bad. I can't control that. I do, however, buy the ice cream.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Refusing to Fade Away

It has been months since I posted. And they have been some pretty rough months. During that time I've written a few posts in my head, but sadly, its not the thought that counts when writing a blog.

My time has been consumed by some pretty heart-wrenching family drama. I wish I could say that I've dealt with the stress well by keeping up an exercise schedule, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I have comforted myself and my kids with oodles of baked goods and dinners that consist of some sort of cheesy, creamy goodness. I haven't had a full night's sleep since December 18th. My body is showing the signs of all of this neglect.

I've seen bloggers disappear in the past. Some I've reached out to because I truly loved reading them every week. And I wonder how they are doing on their journey and what caused them to fade away from the interwebs. I don't want to be one of those that fade away. But I think I may understand a little why they do. Taking a hiatus is sometimes necessary when life demands. And when your blog is about your choice to live a healthy lifestyle or strive toward a goal - it is sometimes easier to stay gone than to admit defeat.

But I miss my blogger friends. And I miss my real-life runner friends. I don't feel like I'm "part of the club" anymore. It seems we just don't have much to talk about when there are no plans to make for the next race that is coming up. I get jealous about those status updates of smiling faces with medals around their necks while I'm sitting at home in my pajamas drinking a third cup of coffee to fuel me after a long night. I'm happy for them, but sad for me at the same time.

As overwhelming as circumstances have been, I realize I'm doing myself no good in my current state of pity-partydom. And there have to be others out there who have experienced major setbacks like this and still managed to climb back on the wagon. So, while I don't feel great, I do feel hopeful. I'm looking at a printout of a 30 week training program mocking me on the bedroom door. And the decision has been made.

I'm starting from over from scratch.

Square One.


I can't muster up a whole lot of excitement right now. But I do have enough determination to at least take the first step.

And I just really want to be one of the cool kids again :)