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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