August 1, 2016

Meatless Monday: Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Loaded Vegetarian Sweet Potato | Hard Parade Blog
I think I'm a little late to the stuffed sweet potato game but better late than never, right? While I don't think I could ever fully commit to a meat-free lifestyle, I do like taking at least one day a week to eat vegetarian. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years when I was a teenager and back then, blogging wasn't a thing so finding tasty meatless meals was tough. Add a nut allergy to the mix and suddenly options were very limited. Nowadays, there are tons of meat substitutes, vegetarian food bloggers, and entire organizations centered around eating meat free (hi, Meatless Monday!) so it isn't hard to stick to a meat free eating plan.

Get to the point, right? Here's a filling, vegetarian meal for your meatless needs.
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July 27, 2016

Grilled Caesar Salad with Shrimp & Avocado

Grilled Caesar Shrimp Salad with Shrimp & Avocado | Hard Parade Blog
Okay, I know what you're thinking - salads for dinner in the summer? Groundbreaking. But this one is different: the greens are grilled, the Caesar dressing is homemade, it's topped with avocado and it comes in at 10 SmartPoints. A healthy Caesar salad, you say? YOU GOT IT.

If you're squeamish or simply don't like the taste, you can absolutely omit the anchovies from the dressing but I highly recommend leaving them in because that's the core of a tasty Caesar dressing. Wondering where to find canned anchovies? Look by the canned tuna and you'll find it.

Grilled Caesar Salad with Shrimp & Avocado
Recipe modified slightly from Weight Watchers
Serves: 2 | SmartPoints: 10
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp anchovies canned in oil, drained and mashed into a paste (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, large (16-20)
  • 1 light English muffin, toasted and diced
  • 3 romaine lettuce hearts, cut in half longways (hot dog way)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic clove, salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, parsley, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and anchovy paste. (PS: To make anchovy paste, dice 2 or 3 anchovies then smoosh them around on a cutting board until a paste forms). Slowly stream the olive oil into the bowl while mixing. Pour the dressing into a large bowl.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook the shrimp, about two minutes on each side. Be sure to season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the large bowl with the dressing.
  3. While the shrimp are cooking, toast an English muffin to desired doneness then cut into little croutons. 
  4. Using either a grill pan or an actual grill, grill the romaine hearts until they wilt slightly and get nice char marks. Once they've cooled down a bit, chop. Add the lettuce to the large bowl with the dressing an shrimp and toss gently. 
  5. Divide the lettuce and shrimp mixture evenly between two bowls and top with the croutons, avocado and remaining Parmesan cheese. Crack black pepper over the top and serve!
Grilled Caesar Shrimp Salad with Shrimp & Avocado | Hard Parade Blog

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July 25, 2016

Hey, What's Up, Hello.

Thanks to Fetty Wap for the opening remarks and a hearty HELLO to my one reader who may or may not have forgotten about this little blog that takes up the teeniest amount of space in the world wide web. What can I say? Since November, things have been BONKERS and small things like blogging my weeknight dinners and the occasional outfit have fallen by the wayside in favor for larger initiatives like traveling for work, getting promoted at said work, running a half marathon, training for another half marathon and taking a much deserved vacation with my BF.

THAT BEIN' SAID, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things, if you'll have me. Before we get back to old times, let's do a rundown of some things that have happened since we last 'spoke.'

ONE: Weight Watchers updated their plan to be called SmartPoints and lemme tell you - I did not like it, for a very long time (I often still don't). It focuses on healthy fats and proteins (which I'm not knocking!) but really penalizes you for sugar and sweet treats, which I simply cannot give up. Case and point number one:
TWO: Because of ONE above, I stopped tracking. For a long time. Because of this, I lost my healthy eating track record and any motivation to use my brain when eating food (read: many crab rangoon were consumed. And pizzas. And beers. And glasses of wine.) Case and point number two:
THREE: Because of TWO (which was because of ONE), I gained back some hard-lost weight and I am not thrilled, to say the least. Obviously I am in control of both TWO and THREE, so I'm not going to complain much here. Case and point number three: photo not pictured due to insecurities. 

So, HEY, WHAT'S UP, HELLOOOOO, I'm back. Let's do this. (I'll be updating Points values of current recipes to reflect the new SmartPoints, but gimme a break - one step at a time). Catch you on the flip side! (Hopefully not in another eight months...)
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November 11, 2015

Chicken-Udon Noodle Soup

It looks like fall is actually settling in here in New England. I can't stand fickle weather (maybe I shouldn't be living in NE then?) - I just don't like when it's cool for a few days then it swings back up thirty degrees! Besides, I definitely look my best in fall/winter clothes ;)

I'm writing this post on a chilly, drizzly day, which is just perfect for this warming chicken-udon noodle soup. Can I just say, I LOVE noodles but I'm very particular about them. There's a certain threshold for thickness and the udon is right at the edge. The kind I used were chewy and absolutely divine but any thicker and I think they'd be unmanageable in the soup.
Chicken Udon-Noodle Soup
Recipe modified from Cooking Light
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups soup, 2-oz. noodles | PointsPlus: 8
  • 1 3-oz. package shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 scallion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6-oz. fresh udon noodles
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp agave (or honey)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  1. Remove stems from the shiitake mushrooms and set them aside. Thinly slice the mushroom caps and set aside. Combine stems, chicken stock, crushed garlic cloves, and scallion pieces in a large saucepan (I used our amazing Cuisinart enameled dutch oven). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Strain stock through a fine sieve over a bowl and discard the solids.
  2. Cook udon noodles according package directions, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  3. Heat the large saucepan over medium-high heat and add canola oil, swirling to coat. Add set aside sliced mushroom caps and saute for a few minutes. Add minced garlic and ginger, saute for a minute or two. Add white wine and cook for 4 minutes, scraping the pan to loosen the bits stuck to the bottom. 
  4. Add stock to the pan, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add shredded chicken, soy sauce, honey, and salt and pepper, simmering for 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated through. 
  5. Divide noodles evenly among 4 bowls and add 1 1/2 cups soup to each bowl, sprinkling with green onions for garnish and extra deliciousness. 
Anyone else looking forward to fall? I just love soup weather! AND SWEATER WEATHER!
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October 19, 2015

Meatless Monday: Brown Rice Miso Bowl with Kale and Eggs

Brown rice miso bowl with kale and eggs

Hi, remember me (probably not)? It may have been QUITE a while since I've posted here but this summer had a ton of moving parts and it was hard to focus on anything having to do with this blog - especially healthy eating. After starting my new job and moving into a new apartment in a new part of Boston, I had a tough time staying on track with my good eating habits. Let's just say, it was a summer full of takeout, drinking, and not thinking about Points or my ever-expanding waistline...

But now that summer is officially over and fall is in full swing (YAY) I am back at it and getting back to this blog so HAAAAAAAAI! I'M BACK!

I was just saying how fall is my favorite time for eating because the food is so filling, warming, and delicious. I love fall flavors and can't wait to start cooking casseroles, stews, and slow cooker meals again. Before we fall into fall food (hehehe) though, I want to share this ridiculous miso bowl that I made for a Meatless Monday dinner. It's made up of some of my absolute favorite things: rice bowls, eggs, kale, and miso and I think you're absolutely going to lerve it.
Brown rice miso bowl with kale and eggs

Brown Rice Miso Bowl with Kale and Eggs
Recipe from Cooking Light
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup rice mixture, 1 egg | PointsPlus: 10
  • 4 tsp rice wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 3 tsp water
  • 2 tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups thinly sliced kale
  • 1 cups thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 8-oz. package precooked brown rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup water (more/less depending on how you poach)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (white or black)
  1. Combine 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, miso paste, and 3 teaspoons water in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. 
  2. Combine remaining rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, soy sauce, and sugar in a large bowl. Add kale, radishes, and scallions (leaving some scallions aside) to the bowl, tossing to coat. 
  3. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and remaining sesame oil to the pan, swirling to coat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice, saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted. Stir in kale mixture and remove pan from heat. Add the brown rice/kale mixture back to the large bowl, stir in the miso mixture, and cover with tinfoil. 
  4. Gently poach the eggs according to whatever directions you prefer!
  5. Place 1 1/4 cups brown rice/kale mixture into two shallow bowls, topping each with 1 egg, sesame seeds, and set aside scallions. 
Brown rice miso bowl with kale and eggs

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