Grilled Shrimp and Veggie Bowls

by Jessica Randhawa in , , , ,


Yesterday was a hard day. A very very hard day. By its end I felt like a failure as Mom. I felt responsible for the tantrums, my child's hitting habit and overall out-of-control behaviour. As I watched my child fling himself to the floor of his bedroom at bedtime hysterically crying because I wouldn't go downstairs and read to him on the couch, all I could think was, this is my fault. I mean, obviously. right? Why else would he be so...disturbed?

I felt defeated.

I wasn't upset at my child and I wasn't even angry.

I felt guilty. I was failing him. I mean, what else could this be?

Now that a new day has started and we are all a bit more rested (for now), our spirits are high. In fact, at this moment, we are in the car driving to our home-away-from-home for the next three nights. We are camping. The husband is excited. Octavian is excited, except when I told him we would be sleeping there for 3 nights, at which point he said, "NO!", and I'm neutral. The memories will be amazing and parts will be fun, but I will absolutely keep my eyes open for the nearest motel just in case.

According to my husband, there will be no internet where we are going. Since so much of my life revolves around social media, this is going to be very very hard for me. BUT, so very good for me at the same time. A little break will do a body good.

But seriously, please send good sleep vibes my way and I'll be sure to pass it right along to my toddler :)

Now for food...

I have been all about healthy stuff lately. The healthier I eat, the more healthy stuff I want to eat. Even my beloved chocolate peanut butter cups have been losing their appeal (although chocolate cake and I will forever be bffs). Just a year ago I would have needed to drench these delicious grilled veggies in a heavy dressing or sauce, but I'm learning that with the right seasoning (simple is best sometimes) and avocado, anything is possible.

This grilled shrimp and veggie bowl is just that- simple, super healthy and delicious. Of course, no judgement from me for additions (balsamic vinaigrette would be delicious), but the main flavor bursters come from the grilled shrimp, avocado and fresh lime juice.

So good.

No carbs necessary, but sweet potatoes would be my first choice :)

Grilled Shrimp and Veggie Bowls

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

For the Shrimp:
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large lime, juiced

For the Veggies:
4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
3 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise
2 corn cobs, husks removed
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
1-2 avocado, diced
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt + Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Gently pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and transfer them to a medium sized bowl. Add the olive oil and toss the shrimp to coat. Into the same bowl add in the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, sugar and lime juice. Toss again to coat.

  2. Skewer each shrimp onto presoaked wood or metal skewers and set aside until ready for grilling.

  3. Over medium-high heat, grill the corn cobs, zucchini, yellow squash and bell pepper halves (you can optionally coat veggies with olive oil or butter. With or without works well). After approximately 4-5 minutes flip veggies and continue to grill for an additional 4-5 minutes.

  4. Add shrimp and cook for approximately 2 minutes each side.

  5. Remove everything from the grill. Carefully cut the corn from the cob and chop the veggies. Place everything in a medium sized serving bowl, top with avocado, fresh lime juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat. 

Enjoy!

 

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Grilled Marinated Chicken Skewers with Fresh Herbs

by Jessica Randhawa in , , ,


We are leaving for a four day camping trip bright and early tomorrow morning. My husband is so excited, you would think he was five and tomorrow was Christmas morning. I, on the other hand, love the idea of four days out in nature and sleeping in a tent with a toddler and puppy, but I am simply too overwhelmed by the work that this trip requires (and we haven't even left yet). 

Octavian must sense my stress level and is up in his room refusing to nap. I am hoping that he will fall asleep in the 5 minutes or so that I spend down stairs chatting with you guys, but he's been fighting hard for 90 minutes now, so the odds are pretty low. 

I am optimistic, however, that my attitude will be much better once we're actually on the road tomorrow. I am very nervous that all the stuff we have won't fit in our car, but if we can get past that hurdle, we'll be set to go!

 

Anyway, chicken...delicious, herb marinated grilled chicken. Let's discuss the marinade-

Made of simple ingredients like garlic, olive oil and as many different fresh herbs you can get your hands on, this marinade is bursting with amazing flavors without a lot of work. The marinade isn't just great with chicken; saute with shrimp and add to noodles. So simple, but so good and it makes for an easy weeknight dinner.

(It's a big hit with the kids, too :))

For this chicken I decided to eat it with pita bread, greek yogurt and fresh chopped veggies. You can also serve with hummus or tzatziki, or with a side of rice.

 

*Update: No nap. Instead he decided to knock frames from his wall, take off his diaper and pee all over his bed.

Grilled Marinated Chicken Skewers with Fresh Herbs

Prep Time: 30 min / Cook Time: approx. 15 min / Total Time: 45 min
Yield: 4-6 skewers

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup herb marinade (recipe below)
Salt
1 lemon, juiced
Bamboo Skewers

For the marinade:
1 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2-2 cups olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 15 minutes to prevent burning.

  2. To prepare marinade- place all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and fresh pepper.

  3. Place cubed chicken pieces in a bowl and add approximately 1/4-1/2 cup of the marinade, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mix well to combine.

  4. Skewer the chicken pieces and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow chicken to marinate.

  5. Meanwhile turn your grill on medium-high.  When grill is ready place the skewers on the grilling surface, leaving space between each skewer to ensure even cooking. Since the marinade already has oil in it, additional oil is not necessary. Depending on the size of your chicken pieces, cook each side of your skewers for approximately 3-4 minutes (total of 12-16 minutes). With each turn baste with additional marinade.

  6. Check for doneness and remove skewers from the grill. Serve with pita, hummus, tzatziki, and fresh veggies.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

by Jessica Randhawa in , , ,


A few months ago O became obsessed with fruit snacks. Since fruit snacks have zero nutritional value to them, I reserved these treats for extra good behavior or moments of desperation (bribery). But every time I fed them to Octavian, the more he wanted them. And, of course, one pouch was never enough, resulting in an epic meltdown because I wouldn't let him eat just fruit snacks for dinner.

I decided to never again buy a Costco sized box of fruit snacks again, and make my own instead. 

Yes, let's state the obvious- these are not fruit snacks. These are fruit roll ups. I know. And I will get around to making actually heart or bear shaped fruit snacks one of these days, but man, fruit roll ups are so much easier. Mostly, I just didn't want to go out and buy the shape molds and didn't want to wait for them to come in the mail (since, you know, 2-day Prime shipping just isn't fast enough). 

The best part about these fruit roll ups is that they are made with only 3 ingredients- fruit, lemon juice and (optional) sweetener, such as honey. And, you can get super creative with your fruit combos, too! My favorites include,

Simple Apple Fruit Roll Ups
Mixed Berry Fruit Roll Ups
Mango Fruit Roll Ups
Mango/Peach Fruit Roll Ups
Strawberry Fruit Roll Ups
Strawberry Apple Fruit Roll Ups

And you don't have to limit yourself to just fruit.  You can also add chia seeds, fresh herbs like basil or mint and spices. I haven't taken my fruit roll ups to the next level yet, but I am fairly confident that Octavian would be happy with a little cinnamon or chili powder added to his favorite snack.

In other news, we got back late Sunday from Southern California. My big sister got married and it was absolutely beautiful. She was the most beautiful bride I have ever seen and I am so thankful I was there to share the weekend with her. I am also thrilled to say that I have a new brother (in law) and really, she couldn't have done any better. He promised me a niece or nephew by next year, he can juggle and he adores my sister, so really, what more can I ask for?

Unfortunately, this about sums up the photos I took from the weekend (not a single one with just me and my sister) since I made a point to live the weekend in the moment, rather than through my phone. But, I did catch one with my dad, the hubs and (by some miracle!) my child.

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

Prep TIme: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 8+ hours | Total Time: 8+ hours
Yield: veries

Ingredients

4 cups fruit (mixed berry/strawberry/mango), chopped
1-2 tablespoons honey (optional)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to lowest temperature, 170 degrees F (that was the lowest setting on my oven). Line 2 or 3 12x18 inch jelly roll pans with parchment paper, good-quality plastic wrap or silicon baking mats (I have tried all 3, the baking mats are BY FAR the easiest to prep and peel).

  2. Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. If desired, strain liquid through a mesh strainer into a clean bowl (this is not necessary, but if you or your kiddos prefer your fruit roll ups without seeds, this step is recommended). Discard solids.

  3. Divide mixture between your prepared baking sheets, using an offset spatula to create a very thin, equal layer. I found that tapping the side of the pan against the counter helped in equally spreading the pureed fruit.

  4. Bake for 4-6 hours, checking periodically. Rotate pan every 1-2 hours for more even cooking. Your fruit roll ups are done when the puree is dry to the touch and pliable (note: the exterior part of the fruit roll ups may dry sooner than the middle).

  5. When finished baking, remove from oven, peel off parchment or mat and gently transfer to a cutting boards. Slice into desired sized, roll with parchment paper or wax paper and store in an air-tight container for up to one week.

Enjoy!

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Dyson AM10 Humidifier Review

by Jessica Randhawa in ,


All you need is 30 seconds with my child and you will quickly learn about his obsession with fans. Actually, scratch that, all you need is 5 seconds on the phone (Facetime) with him and you'll know that he doesn't just like fans, he LOVES them.

Nana- "Hello, Octavian. How are you?"
Octavian- "You have a fan?"

If you're smart, you will say no. Now, just in case I didn't get a chance to warn you about this, get your comfy shoes on because he will have you running all over your house (or hotel or office or grocery store) showing him each and every fan you have (he will also ask if you have a lawnmower, weedwacker, hedgetrimmer, etc. but we already knew that).

A couple months ago I needed to run to Target. Honestly, I probably didn't need to go to Target, but Target is my happy place (at least until I get to the checkout), so I found something we needed and convinced myself I just had to buy it. Immediately. Since Octavian had different idea in mind for his afternoon (destroy the house and beat up the dog), I bribed him with a trip down the fan aisle.

"Octavian, c'mon, let's GO! We can go check out the fans and you can tell me which one is your favorite. Yay! Hurrrry up, buddy before they're all gone". He ran to the car squealing with delight.

Whatever works, right? 

Truthfully, we really did need a new fan for Octavian's room. The one we bought him the previous summer broke (not surprising) and the small one we had sitting in the garage was super loud (not surprising again). Not to mention my child's self-control around most small machines and appliances? he has none, zero, zilch, nada. Even after getting shocked by an electrical socket (yes, we have the child safety things, but he can take them off), he still tries to plug and unplug everything. Fans? Well, he's determined to get his adorable chubby little fingers chopped up by the blades if it's the last thing he does.

So yes, finding the right fan for my child room that would be safe was a challenge without a solution.

Or, so I thought.

Well, there we were, finishing up in Target, getting ready to checkout with a cart FILLED with stuff we did not need (typical), when Octavian reminds me, "Mama, we go look at da fans?" Crap, I was hoping he had forgotten. "Oh ya, buddy! Thanks for reminding me!" I turned the cart around and walked to the fan aisle. 

After walking the aisles about 10 times and describing each and every fan to him (meanwhile thinking to myself the whole time, no no no), I turn the corner and see it. I see the fan of all fans. The fan that will ensure my child grow up with all his fingers.

And then I got closer...

Wait, WAIT, could this be? A fan PLUS humidifier in ONE!? Yes, yes! It's true! and it goes by the name, Dyson AM10 Humidifier. It was beautiful.

I had to have it. immediately.

Seriously, though, knowing the humidifier was also going to be an issue once flu and cold season rolled around, the fact that I could get 2-for-1 was like all my dreams had come true. This fan may not have been Octavian's first choice, but it was white (his color request), so I call that compromise.

So what really makes this fan so special?

 

  1. Kills 99.9% of bacteria - Ultraviolet Cleanse technology kills bacteria before hygienic mist and hydrated air is projected into the room.

  2. Generates long-range mist projection to distribute hydrated air evenly

  3. The Dyson humidifier uses Intelligent Climate Control to measure both the temperature and the moisture in the air to create a comfortable environment

  4. Night-long comfort - Sleep timer and up to 18 hours of continuous use.

  5. Whole room hydration - Projects hygienic mist and hydrated air evenly throughout the room.

In other words, it delivers 99.9% bacteria-free, hydrated air in winter; and high velocity air to cool you in summer.

Now, all this amazingness doesn't come without two teeny TINY faults. 

  1. I wish the water tank was a little larger. That said, larger means more bulk, so it's a catch 22. A full tank still gets us through the night, but not 2-3 nights like other humidifiers I've owned.

  2. The display light is quite bright. This could potentially keep me awake at night, but I place a small cloth or small square of masking tape over the light just before bed and remove it in the morning. No biggie.

TOTALLY worth the water tank size and light considering everything else this fan offers. I have heard some people say that it is louder than they expected, but the sound is so smooth, it's like the best white noise ever (and I have tested many many different white noise apps and machines).

Overall, I couldn't be happier with this product. While it may be on the pricier side, it is worth every single penny.

See for yourself here!

    This post has been sponsored by Dyson; all thoughts and opinions are mine.

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    Honey Mustard Chicken and Bacon Salad with Fresh Mango

    by Jessica Randhawa in , ,


    Octavian has officially entered into the "why" phase. You'll know your tiny human has entered this stage of curiosity when you hear them question why? after every single thing you say. 

    For example, I needed to call my credit card company the other night because they sent me a card with the incorrect middle initial for my name. I was folding about 5 loads of laundry on the floor while on the phone with the representative when my child comes over, sits on the pile, puts his feet in my lap and smiles.

    O- "Mama, whatcha doin?"
    Me- "Talking to the credit card man."
    O- "Why?"
    Me- "Because Mama needs to get a new credit card."
    O- "Why?"
    Me- "Because they sent me a credit card with Mama's old name on it. I need a new one."
    O- "Why?"
    Me- "Because the one Mama has won't work and I need a new one?"
    O- "Why?"
    Me- "Because I need it to spend money."
    O- "Why?"
    Me- "Because this is what I use to buy things sometimes."
    (pause)
    O- ...thinking, thinking... "what you gonna buy me?"

    And his curiosity extends to just about anyone he talks to, including his (as of this coming weekend) Uncle Dave. Octavian's new favorite thing is Facetiming his Auntie Jen-Jen in the morning over and over until she picks up. When she picked up this morning, Uncle Dave was literally walking out the door for work.

    Dave- "How ya doin buddy?"
    O- "You have a fan?"
    (I've been working on his phone manners and encouraging him to say hello before asking about fans and gardening equipment)
    O- "Good. Whatcha doin?"
    Dave- "Going to work."
    O- "Why?"
    Dave- "To make money."
    O- "Why?"
    Dave- "Because the bills won't pay themselves."
    O- "Why?"
    Dave- "Hey, buddy, Auntie Jen-Jen is gonna show you a fan."

    Yes, if I had a dollar for every time I heard the words why, Mama, and no, I would be very very rich.

    Good thing my little "helper" is so stinkin cute; I mean those eyes...

    His favorite thing to do is "help" me whenever it's time to take food photos. Since I have a room filled with lots of breakable dishes and camera equipment and other food props, it's basically Octavian's favorite room in the whole house. All he needs is 10 seconds in my office and I guarantee something will spill or break (just yesterday I found a jar of sesame seeds opened all over the table, floor and on a plate). Usually I keep the door locked, but he has a sixth sense for these things and just knows.

    Whenever I take photos he is either napping or someone is home to play backup and entertain him (usually Nana). Sometimes, however, he gets loose; usually when Dad is on duty and just has to go to the bathroom right NOW. He storms into the room, announces his presence (literally), "I'm here!" and continues with the promise that he will "just sit and watch with my eyeballs. I won't touch anyting". 

    He never sits. And as he says he won't touch anything, he's grabbing the roll of parchment paper and watches unravel on the floor.

    Fortunately for this salad shoot (which just so happens to be one of my FAVORITE salads and photos ever) he found a packet of old fruit snacks sitting on the table, distracting him from his usual path of destruction.

    So, this salad, it's got all the good stuff, you guys.

    First, and foremost, bacon. Just in case you can't see it, there's bacon. I usually save bacon for rare occasions and dishes such as this salad. You guys, bacon is the perfect salty complement to the honey mustard salad dressing. You'll also find thick chunks of juicy chicken, sweet corn and creamy avocado, ripe mango (because I'm a sucker for tossing fruit in salads), spicy red onion, protein packed hard boiled eggs and, of course, cherry tomatoes. This salad has everything you could possibly want in a salad.

    You may be wondering if it's too much? NO, no no no. But, you can always add or subtract as much as you'd like depending on your own personal preference. I love eating this salad after a week of long hard workouts- it's packed full of protein, fresh veggies, fruit, and good healthy fats (minus the bacon).

    Honey Mustard Chicken and Bacon Salad with Fresh Mango

    Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 20 minutes / Total Time: 35 minutes (approx.)
    Yield: 3-4 servings

    Ingredients

    For the Marinade/Dressing:
    1/3 cup honey
    4 tablespoons whole grain mustard
    2 tablespoons creamy dijon mustard
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup water (more if needed)

    For the Salad:
    1.5 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts
    4 thick-cut slices of bacon, cooked and chopped into small bits
    Romaine Lettuce
    Butter Lettuce
    1/4 cup red onion, chopped
    10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 cup cooked corn kernels
    1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
    2 hard boiled eggs, shell removed and sliced
    1 large mango, pitted and chopped

    Instructions

    1. In a medium bowl, whisk together ingredients for the marinade/dressing until fully combined. Place chicken breasts in a shallow dish and pour half of the marinade/dressing over the top. Place remaining half of dressing in a container and store in the refrigerator for later use. Carefully coat chicken in the marinade and refrigerate chicken for at least 2 hours if possible.

    2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat the pan (you can also grill or bake the chicken if you prefer). Add chicken (you may need to cook in two batches to prevent overcrowding) and cook until each side is golden and the chicken is fully cooked (time will vary depending on thickness). Once cooked, remove to a separate plate and allow to rest until ready to serve.

    3. If your bacon is not yet cooked, add bacon to skillet and cook until brown and crispy.

    4. Meanwhile, prepare your salad- in a large bowl start with lettuce followed by onion, tomatoes, corn, sliced avocado, hardboiled egg, chopped mango, bacon bits and, finally, sliced chicken. Dress your salad with the remaining marinade, adding 2-3 tablespoons of water to dressing until desired consistency is reached.

    Enjoy!

    Recipe inspired by Cafe Delites.

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