Tonight’s DInner: Cajun Shrimp

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Its a cold and blustery day here in New York. Its hard to believe it is April and last week was so warm you could wear shorts. Today its in the 40s and so windy it takes your breath away!

We definitely needed a hot meal for dinner. I’ve really been trying to eat healthy and I was in the mood for something spicy so I decided on “Cajun Shrimp”. I’ve tried several recipes over the years but this one is the winner–quick, easy, little prep time and…delicious!

I normally serve it over Brown Basmati rice but it could easily pair with couscous, quinoa, grits–basically any grain you have on hand. They could even be a great base for a wrap.

SO …the recipe:

Start your rice first, I use an Aroma Rice Cooker and the brown rice takes about 30 minutes. Do your vegetable and shrimp prep while this starts cooking. The shrimp literally take about 5 minutes to cook so you have plenty of time.

Cajun Shrimp–serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon paprika

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Optional: white cooking wine

1-Place all spices in a zipper bag, shake to mix. Add cleaned shrimp and shake to coat.

2-Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Once heated add shrimp. Make sure they have room around them so you can flip them. Cook about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through.

3- I serve over rice but you can serve over grain of choice, each serving is about 5 oz cooked shrimp.

Optional– add a small amount of cooking wine to deglaze the pan and spoon over shrimp.

The shrimp goes great with steamed green beans but serve with a vegetable of your choice.

I can honestly tell you there are never any leftovers from this recipe! Enjoy!!

Not in the mood for Cajun? How about Thai Curry? Check out Katherine’s Shrimp Curry and some of the other Seafood recipes for even more options!

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Modesty–has it become extinct?

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Maybe its just me but I have an issue with modesty, or  really its the lack there of.

I see so many people that have no problem exposing more skin than the world really needs to see.  Maybe I’m too modest but I don’t think that women and teenage girls need to practically bare their chests to be considered attractive. Whatever happened to leaving something to the imagination?  I think much of the image problem is the media, both print and TV/cable that promote the idea that being sexy means showing as much cleavage as possible to be the norm.  Seriously-do I really need to be able to look down your shirt to find someone beautiful? There just has to be a limit to what is considered appropriate exposure.

When you look back on old pictures of starlets and those in the public eye you saw more than just skin; there was class. Sexy was an idea, a feeling of confidence in your self worth. It was there, just not the “in your face begging to be noticed” kind. Clothes were more tasteful and gave a hint, not over exposure. Just tight enough to be playful and suggestive but still modest.

So what has changed in the last few decades? I think alot has to do with music videos and reality shows–you can get away with a whole lot more on a cable show like MTV or Jersey Shore than on public TV where things are more closely regulated.  I remember my niece (who babysat for us) not understanding why we didn’t allow the girls to watch or listen to Britney Spears or other singers like her. We had to explain that was not the image we wanted our girls to think was normal and acceptable behavior. Don’t even get me started on what cable shows promote as normal and acceptable behavior for women.

We need to claim back what is considered sexy. Strong confident women who know their own worth. Clothes that accentuate our curves and individual beauty without showing all we have. Sexy is an attitude….I think its time to make it classy again!

House cleaning is evil….

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I will be the first to admit it: I really dislike housework!! I would rather do almost anything else instead of being stuck in the house cleaning. I mean you just need to do it again and again …and rarely is the whole house clean all at once, atleast not in my house.

I think the thing is we have too much stuff and not enough storage areas. Either that or my house is suffering from “flat surface syndrome”….it seems that as soon as I have a flat surface, whether a counter, hutch, table or whatever, someone feels the need to put something on it.  I’ve noticed this in many a house and wonder if there is a known cure.

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a clean house!! I am amazed by the people who have houses that actually look like something out of a magazine.  I love the fresh smell of floor cleaner like Murphy’s Oil soap and freshly washed linen. The thing is I have so many other things I would rather be doing:  gardening, walking, hiking, reading, sewing/quilting. Then add in the family and spending time with them. Oh and work–can’t forget that either!

So what to do? I could nag everyone in the house…but I don’t think the hubby or my two teenage daughters would appreciate it as they have things they would rather do as well that are more important in the long run; exercise, homework, decompressing after a tough day at work / school. Or I can accept that the ‘perfect house’ is just not a reality for us and deal with the clean clothes in laundry baskets (rather than in drawers) and try to corral the paper clutter of mail and magazines in a basket and just enjoy my life. I have a plaque that reads “This house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy” and I might be able to live with that…atleast until a rainy day happens.

What is your feeling on housework: a good thing to do or an evil that must be stopped? How do you deal with it either way?

(my thanks to the creator of the image which I found on google images)

I’m not perfect ….but I am ok with that

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Years ago I was so into fitness and “being healthy” that it was all I thought about–meal planning down to what my snack would be, exercising at the gym and then extra walking at home, measuring/ weighing my food and body….you get the idea.

Then Life intervened and I was caught up in work, family and home….and little ‘free time’ to myself in which to exercise. I would go through spurts of being really active with doing nothing–kind of an “all or nothing” mentality.

Fast forward to now. It took alot of thinking and understanding to acknowledge that being healthy is not the same as being thin and ‘perfect’. That I needed to claim responsibility for my own health and make it a priority in my life. I started by trying to eat better by making small changes that I could live with like cutting back on the sugar in my coffee but not eliminating it altogether. Eating more veges and fruit–generally making better choices.

I started walking 30 minutes 3 times a week then added the bike. Then I progressed to running intervals….and my body complained–loudly and creakily. Time for reality–I’m not going to be a runner, atleast not now.  So what to do?–re-think exercise. By understanding that my body sees only being active, and not the specific activity, I added in ‘non traditional’ activity like gardening, yard work, carrying firewood–and you know what? My body did not care-I continued to lose weight and inches because I am moving more and eating better.

So I am not perfect–and you know what? It ok; I’m strong and feel healthier than ever. And the best part–my husband and both daughters are also focusing on their health as well. THIS is something we can all live with and make a permanent part of our lives. Its about making the best of the situation you are given, dealing with the choices and moving on. If today was not a great health day, then we refocus and make tomorrow a better one.

Its all about balance because it ALL counts.

(image is not mine, it was found on googleimages–thanks go to its owner)

On being ‘at home’ with myself…

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Perhaps its a sign of maturity or of personal growth but I am finding myself at a cross roads of sorts;  I am becoming more aware of who I am–and who I am not. Its a strange thing to learn to accept your faults and be okay with them. I would be lying if I said I am totally alright with this….it means a true acceptance of not being perfect in my own mind. It means learning about my “true name” and all the things that make me who I am.

At forty seven you would think I should have a handle on what makes me tick but I find that it changes with each new experience and I would prefer to “go with the flow” and see where Life may take me rather than having a concrete plan I must abide by; although I am goal oriented I find that goals once set can become a hindrance to looking beyond them.

So this is my Quest; my reason for introspection: to become comfortable in my own skin–to be “at home” with myself.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences as they may help me understand more about myself along the way.

Hello world!

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So what does it mean-“being at home with myself”?

To me “home” has always been a place where you can go and be yourself; you can leave the world at the door and allow your true person to emerge. The face that you show to the world can be set aside for a time and you can discover who you want to become.  It is being able to retreat to the ‘quiet place inside ourselves’ where dreams are born and memories endure.

But why is it so important to “feel comfortable in our own skin”? For me it is part of understanding myself; if I can understand the reason behind my thoughts, beliefs and actions I can accept who I am and allow others to do the same. When you believe in your decisions and thoughts you allow yourself to grow and adapt more easily into new ideas and ways of thinking–confidence allows you to entertain other outlooks without being threatened because you know who you are at your core being.

 

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