3.16.2015

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta



After a brutal winter filled with record breaking snowstorms and temperatures, the snow is melting and it is a blistering 50 degrees! Spring is finally coming to Connecticut and I can hardly wait.

Part of my menu planning is to rotate recipes depending on the season. March is when I stow away all my heavy winter recipes and start making light, fresh meals.

Spring is the perfect time to detox and shed some of the weight and toxins you accumulated during the winter. During the spring, I use more seafood and seasonal produce (greens, asparagus, sprouts) and less fats, meats and dairy.

Most of the changes I make are small, like growing alfalfa sprouts at home and adding them to sandwiches and salads, or adding some greens to smoothies or omelets.
This is a really good time eat light and fresh since so many of the fruits and veggies in season are designed to help you detox and lose that extra weight accumulated from heavy winter foods. For example, herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, spring onions), asparagus, greens (spinach, dandelion, chards, etc.) are full of nutrients and actually help you gently detox your body. Just including them in your meals makes a big difference!

However...
I have to be honest with you and admit that I really, really don't enjoy eating greens. I've tried sauteing beet greens, chard, and spinach and I just don't like them. I really like a spinach salad with some flavorful dressing, but overall I have a love-hate relationship. This spring I'm going to try and be creative with greens and I'll post any recipes I find that aren't gag-worthy :)

One of my all-time favorite spring recipes is this Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta. Excusing the small amount of dairy, the recipe is perfect for spring time; light and refreshing (especially if accompanied by a spinach salad). This recipe has been on my favorite list since before I was married, and quickly became a favorite with Aaron.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Adapted from Food Network

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, dill, and shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes.
Serve over brown rice.



3.11.2015

Twenty-Somethings

Today I hit the 20 week mark in pregnancy, which is exciting for me because it marks the halfway point. It's all downhill from here!

It's also special because Sawyer is 20 months old (as of last week). My two babies are both twenty-somethings :)

In celebration of these milestones I thought I'd give a short update (or not so short since I've been MIA lately...)

So, the first trimester felt like a really bad dream. It was so real while I was going through it, but now that its behind me I think it seems more like a distant memory. It all started around 7 weeks and I was nauseous ALL DAY and threw up 2-5 times a day. There were a few days I only threw up once, but those were rare. A few times I threw up blood from wearing out my esophagus. Yeah, those were dark times. But, at 16 weeks it left as quickly as it came. I can't tell you how beautiful it is to feel like a normal person again!

I felt the baby first move at 15 weeks. It was a definite roll that was unmistakable. Ever since then it has been an active little one. Aaron has felt it move on a couple occasions, I love to see the grin on his face when we both feel the baby kick or roll around. It's this special moment the three of us share together. 

We went to the anatomy ultrasound a couple weeks ago. I was sooo close to finding out the gender this time (Aaron said he would rather wait, but ultimately it was up to me). When the time came to find out the gender I changed my mind. It just wasn't as exciting as I imagined it would be, at least not compared to finding out the moment the baby is born.  I'm sure for other people it is an amazingly exciting moment, but for me it was lacking a lot of the excitement I felt when I was about to meet Sawyer for the first time. 
I remember pushing him out and Aaron yelling, "It's a boy!" He was then immediately handed to me and he was all mine. I could hold, touch, smell, and gaze at him all I wanted.  I didn't have to wait 5 months before getting to hold him and look at him. That's the part that was disappointing for me at the ultrasound; I realized that once I found out the gender I wouldn't be receiving my little boy or girl, I would get a crappy B&W photo and go home and dream about what it would be like to hold my baby girl/boy. I would want to pick a name, but how can you pick a name when you've never actually met the person? When you've never looked into their little face and seen what they are like.

I once peeked at my presents before Christmas because I couldn't stand the suspense, but it didn't make me feel better. I knew what I was getting, but it didn't change the fact that I couldn't play with it until Christmas. After that I never peeked again. It was much more exciting to open my gift and be able to play with it right then. That's how I felt when I was at the ultrasound, I realized it would be that Christmas all over again :)



Sawyer is the apple of our eye. We feel like we love him so much our hearts might burst. My favorite time of the day is sitting on the rocking chair and going over his day with him. He looks forward to this ritual and as soon as we sit down and I asked "how was your day?" he starts spewing out words and phrases that describe his day. I love it. It's so fun to see what things really stood out to him. 

He still loves to read all the time, but he is anxious to get outside and get moving. Because he's such a lightweight we got kind of indulgent and left our ways of baby led weaning. We started to feed him whatever and whenever he wanted. Ironically, this made him more picky and he just wasn't gaining weight. Finally, I put my foot down and decided he was going to eat what we were eating and cut his snack intake to 1-2 snacks a day. Well, guess what? He gained a pound in only 2 weeks. Turns out that he needed a little structure and needed to feel hungry at meal times to eat well. I guess the French were right (again).

Some of the biggest news is that we are in the middle of purchasing a house! If all goes well we will be closing the end of April. We really, really love the house and feel so blessed we found it just in time. I'll post more about it (along with pictures) when we actually move in.