Thursday, July 28, 2011

We Have Moved!

Hey party people! We have moved to a brand spankin' new blog today! You can now visit our new blog at

Please mark our new address in your bookmarks! What are you waiting for...head on over there and enter to win a $25 girl card from Sunflower Farmers Market!

Tonya & Brenda

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gettin' skinny on vacation

Vacation - just the word send shivers up my spine and brings longing to my heart. Whether its a quick weekend trip some place close or a three week journey around the world, its the chance to relax, recharge and have some fun. Unfortunetly it can be a diet killer though.

There is a completely different set of rules when we're off having fun. New restaurants to try, new dishes to sample and lets not forget trying the regional cuisine. Food can be an amazing part of a vacation and its certainly something my family takes very seriously. In fact, when we went to Florida about 11 years ago, the first thing we did when we set foot in Epcot Center was to haul ass to Italy to eat Italian food. True story. In fact, we basically ate our way around Epcot, sampling the treats in EVERY country. French pastries, English fish and chips, Mexican nachoes, American funnel cakes, Chinese fried rice.....are we seeing a pattern here?

I'm traveling back to Denver and I'm so excited to hit some of my favorite food haunts and try out some new ones. Already this trip I've had delicious pizza from Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs and Thai food from this hole in the wall place with my good friend Damon.

Mountain High pizza from Beau Jo's. Two thumbs up indeed.

Believe it or not there is a way to have a fab vacay and enjoy delicious food and still stay on track. There is no vacation from kicking fat's ass and we must continue to persevere, even while away from home.

As you well know, I've been on my {TAIslim program} for about a month now and feel fab. This stuff is amazing and it has already changed my life. And its so easy that I can take it with me and its not a huge deal. The answer to staying skinny on vacation is:


O.M.G., right? Right. These little beauties are smaller than a cell phone and hold a two ounce serving. I have a couple of them stashed in my purse and break them out when I sit down at a restaurant. I've already used them and they work great.

Although that pizza looks super fattening, when you're only eating one piece, its not going to kill you. After I drank my TAIslim2go, I got a big salad from salad bar (see picture for proof of its existence) so by the time the pizza came, I was feeling full (thank you TAIslim) and only had one piece. It was the perfect lunch - I had pizza and a salad from one of my favorite places in the world and left there feeling satisfied and good. Win, win, people.

I found some other great tips off its Facebook page for staying on your program while on vacation.

  1. Bring along healthy snacks such as unsalted nuts, popcorn, and dried fruit. In the car? Pack a cooler with fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, sugar-free pudding cups, sandwiches with lean meats, unsweetened tea, and plenty of water. Skip calorie-heavy flavored coffees and soda.
    (I LOVE this idea and did this on the drive over. We munched on low-fat string cheese, red pears and water. Not only was it good for us, but also way cheaper than gas station snacks.)

    TAIslimmer Tip: Pack milk, ice, and whatever you use in your SHAKEs in a cooler, along with a bag of SHAKEs and blender bottle. If there’s no cooler, pick up what you need for your SHAKEs at the market. Keep SKINNYs™ handy.
  2. Follow your meal plan at least 90 percent of the time. Select healthy food choices; plan ahead by downloading menus of restaurants along your route and destination(s). Look for restaurants, such as Chili’s, Olive Garden, and P.F. Chang’s, that feature healthy items.
    (Just remember to have fun and enjoy your culinary vacation. Food should be fun and can create memories.)

    TAIslimmer Tip: TAIslim 2go™ makes bringing along TAIslim liquid convenient and hassle-free. Single-serving bottles easily fit in your pocket, purse, laptop bag, cooler or car console.
  3. Continue to exercise. Walk before and after meetings; strive for at least 30 minutes daily. Visit the hotel fitness center and/or pool or get a guest pass to a nearby gym. Bring along dumbbells or exercise ball for in-room sessions or go for a run.
    (Even if you're not hitting the hotel weight room, you're probably still exercising by walking around attractions. Wear your pedometer and try to get your 10,000 steps. You might be surprised how much walking you do on vacation. Swimming in the pool, even just messing around with your kids is also great.)

  4. Get adequate sleep. Try to get a solid 7-8 hours per night. When your body is well rested, you have the renewed energy for optimum functionality. Sleep affects your metabolism, so obtaining adequate, restful sleep is a very important aspect to weight loss.

    TAIslimmer Tip: Don’t skimp on sleep. Short-changing your body of rest can negatively impact your weight loss progress.
How do you stay on track while having fun on vacation? I will keep you posted on my fun trip! Loves to you all! Keep up the good work fighting the fat!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Doing something that actually works...

A few days ago I had the most unpleasant thing happen to me. My wire in my damn bra broke and every time I moved I got poked in the boob! Now I know that there was quite a bit of pressure on that poor little wire, but still I was annoyed. How dare it break! So I marched my chubby self to Lane Bryant in search for a new bra. My old one didn't quite fit right anymore so I had the sales girl do a fitting for me, and off I was to try some bra on. I was quite shocked to find out that my new bra I just got fitted for was 4 INCHES smaller than my last one. You read that right...I went from a 44 to a 40! Hells yes!!!

So last night I was curious is I had lost inches anywhere else. I have lost 2 inches in my belly and and inch in my thighs. My butt was the same still, but that is always the last place I lose...and I am ok with that. I like my big butt!!!

You want to hear a little secret...I haven't exercised in 3 weeks. Not because I didn't want to, but with moving I just haven't been able to. So how am I dropping the weight. One word. TaiSlim. Brenda and I are both 100% against crash diets and TaiSlim is not one of those. It really is amazingly easy to do and it is changing our lives. My husband has been doing it for 2 months and he is wearing shorts he hasn't worn in 2 years. It really works and I love it.

We are having a Taislim party at my sisters house on July 29th and we would love to see you all there. If you can't wait that long to hear about this amazing product we would love to tell you more about it. Just leave us a comment and we will get you more information or you can visit our Taislim Website.

This post is kind of sounding like an infomercial but that is not my intention. I am just so excited about my new weight loss and I couldn't wait to share!!!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

A necessary evil

Ok people. You hate it, I hate it, your next door neighbor hates it, and even your clean-freak mom hates it. You know what it is: housework. Yes, it is a necessary evil. It must be done, because hello, have you watched Hoarders on TLC? Yeah, that’s why. So what does house cleaning have to do with exercise? Well, let me enlighten you. Here are three little household chores you can do to burn fat and build muscle.

1. Wax on, wax off while you wash the walls.
Yes the Karate Kid Master knows what’s up. Cleaning walls is awful work, and very tedious, but it can also be a great upper body workout. Use pressure to really clean the walls and at the same time, work the muscles of the shoulder as well as the bicep and triceps. Apply pressure to the wall and really concentrate on the muscle groups doing the action. Be sure and switch arms to get an even work out, and try switching an up-and-down motion with a circular motion to work a variety of muscles.

2. Mop the flo. Whether you’re on your hands and knees or using the handle-mop, you can still get some burn. When on the floor, use the same motions you used while washing the walls. Round and round, up and down, all the while sucking in and flexing your abs. When you’re prone (on hands and knees) you can really create a good core workout at the same time you’re working your arms. When you’re standing, really push and pull that map to use arm and core muscles.

3. After-dinner delight. After-dinner dishes are the worst. You just prepared the meal, everybody scarfs it down and you’re left with the dishes. What a perfect time to get a little burn going on your calves! While you scrub, do calf raises, alternating the direction of your foot. Turn your toes in (pigeon toed) and then out, then straight forward, doing sets of 20 or more per position. This will give you all the more motivation to show off those rocks hard calves in the sexy heels you’ve been wanting.

There you have it. You’re such a multi-tasker aren’t you! As always, you might want to get a little warmed up before your workout, so run up and down the stairs a few times to get your heart beating (or to chase you child running with scissors). Get a hot bod and a clean house at the same time? Yes please!

Post by the lovely and talented Emily Fonnesbeck

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bountiful Baskets

My good friend from high school Chantelle Ray turned me on to the greatest thing ever! We all know its important to eat fruit and veggies but as a mom, sometimes I feel like my entire food budget goes to produce. The solution: Bountiful Baskets

Chantelle is uterlly amazing to me and she wrote up some information about this program and how it has made a difference in her family's life. 

Have you heard the news?  The USDA has changed the Food Pyramid to a Food Plate.  It’s a great visual and so incredibly easy to teach your children.  ½ of your plate should be filled with fruits and veggies, ¼ with whole grains and ¼ with low fat protein.  Then add a little dairy on the side.  Easy enough to follow…unless your monthly food budget is tiny.  A few weeks ago a good friend of mine was annoyed that her hubby had dropped her weekly budget.  How could he expect her to ONLY use $150 last week and $200 this week?!?!  I didn’t tell her that her weekly budget was pretty close to my monthly budget.  Because of this, we lived on lots of cheap, unhealthy processed and caned foods.  There was absolutely NO WAY that we could ever use the Food Plate as a guide.

Here is what I got in my first basket. All this for $15? Somebody pinch me!
Back in November a good friend introduced us to Bountiful Baskets and it has completely changed things in our house.  Bountiful Baskets is a produce co-op that brings together the purchasing power of over 15,000 people in 11 states each week. For a contribution of $15 we get a TON of fresh fruits & vegetables.  This co-op changed the way our family eats and we fell in love with it immediately!  Bountiful Baskets has made healthy eating affordable for our family.  Now it’s a piece of cake (heehee) to follow that Food Plate.

Our eating habit is not the only way Bountiful Baskets has changed our lives. We have been blessed by this co-op so much that I wanted to share it with others. I also want to teach my children the value of service and the importance of making good food choices.  BB is an amazing way to do all of this.  It’s run completely by volunteers.  Even the 2 ladies who started the co-op and work a crazy number of hours on it don’t make a penny. So, I got trained, found a site and opened a new drop off location.

Here’s how it works:  On Monday morning each week, people make their contributions online at  A conventional basket is $15, an organic basket is $25 and there are usually 5 or 6 other items you can purchase if you want.  The “add ons” change each week, but you can get things like 9 grain bread, a “tropical pack,” “Mexi pack” or a case of apples.   

Then we wait until Saturday morning.  Under the direction of a Volunteer Site Coordinator a few participants meet the trucks arriving at their pickup location and help unload and distribute the produce evenly into 2 baskets for each participant - one for fruits and one for veggies. About an hour after the truck drop time the rest of the participants show up to get their baskets transferring their share of the food into their own basket or bag and take it home to enjoy.   

My kids LOVE helping with the distribution. They're not old enough to handle the produce, but there's plenty of other things for them to do. One week during my training the boys were busy crushing boxes... but took plenty of time to play in them as well. (We all know boxes make the best cars and planes and trains.)  I love that it’s teaching them service and the value of helping our community.

These are Chantelle's little cuties. Aren't they adorable? I think so!!
Also, BB has changed one of their policies and we wanted to make you aware of it:

"We thank you all for participating in Bountiful Baskets. With the recent growth of the co-op we are now requiring that you provide a printed confirmation or have an electronic copy of your confirmation number before we can allow you to get your produce and extras. We realize some of you may not have brought your confirmations today. We understand and can be more understanding while we implement this new policy but next week we won't be able to release produce or extras without a confirmation number. Thank you for your understanding. This is to protect you and the co-op from any problems and helps us better resolve any possible issues."

To read how BB has changed other people’s lives, go to this post on facebook – prepare to be amazed!

If you want more information, check out the website and click on New Participants.

Here’s to happy, healthy eating!

Thanks Chantelle! I have used BB for a few weeks now and it has been wonderful. The savings are amazing and the produce is a good quality. Have you used BB? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fat's ass just got kicked

That's right kids, there are five, count them FIVE less pounds on my body as of this morning bringing my grand total to 11. Please, please, keep your applause down. I stepped on the scale today and wasn't expecting much. When my stupid scale finally registered my weight (after about six attempts, piece of crap) I couldn't believe it!

I walked out of the bedroom dragging my jaw on the floor. O.M.G., right? Right.

I've been talking about my new {program} for about a month now and I'm really starting to see the results! The program is called TAIslim and it is incredible. I've already lost a few inches, so much in fact I've had to throw away two pairs of pants. O.M.G., right? Right.

So now I have three choices - walk around with out pants (a viable option in the summer but hard to explain, especially at City Council), buy new pants (hard to do with no money) or transform a pair of fat pants that still currently fit into capri pants. And number three is our WINNER!

In my closet there are two pairs of jeans and two pairs of corduroy pants. I took one pair of each, hacked off about 10 inches (I'm short along with being fat, what can I say) and then used my mad sewing skills to produce two new pairs of cute capri pants (see not so flattering picture below).

Please excuse the weird wet spot on the front of my pants, the damn sprinkler got me.
I'm never going back to my fat clothes, EVER. Ever. Ever. So what's the point of keeping them around, clogging up my closet. My fat clothes will soon become the ugly white trash neighbors that live near you who don't keep their yard up and bring the whole neighborhood down. My skinny clothes will deserve a beautiful place to live. Burn down the trailer park, the white trash fat clothes have to go.

We're going to be having a TAIslim open house in the end of July. If you are even slightly interested in finding out more about this product, please plan to attend. This product will change your life if you follow it (and its painfully easy), you will feel better and feel better. O.M.G., right? Right.

Oh, and keep my dear sister Tonya in your prayers. She's struggling a little right now and could use the good vibes!

Love you all! Please don't stop now, we're making so much progress! Don't let fat get the better of you! Fat's ass needs to be kicked and our faithful readers are just the people to do it! Kisses!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I have let my dear sister carry this blog for the last 2 months. Not that anyone is complaining much because she is one funny biotch, but this blog is called Chubby Girls not One Chubby Girl. So I am going to make a bigger effort at updating much more often. I do have wonderful excuses why I haven't updated this blog, a vacation to Disneyland with my bff who has ugly cancer, traveling to Michigan for an AMAZING wedding shoot and moving back to UTAH!!! We are finally settled into out new, teeny tiny apartment and now I can focus on weight loss and this blog.

I haven't done as well with weight loss as my sister has in the past two months. We have started a new wonderful {PROGRAM} but Brenda has been so much more diligent than I have about it. I have lost about 5 lbs and 1 inch. Which is still great, but not as good as my favorite sister. She as been so diligent and has done great. I love my sister so much and I am so proud of her for being able to throw away some of her fat pants! Well done sister!!!! xoxo

The next time I blog it will be with better I had to go shopping because my pants don't fit anymore!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy Independence Day! This is one of my favorite holidays. I love the colors, the fireworks and I love celebrating our Nation's independence. I think its easy to take for granted all the freedoms we enjoy as American's. I know I'm guilty of it sometimes. As I sat in sacrament meeting yesterday at church and listened to person after person talk about why they are grateful to live in America, I realized how proud I am to live here and how lucky I am.

Since this is Independence Day, it's also a great day to declare your independence from the fat! Ambush fat just like the colonists ambushed the English during the Revolutionary War. Install your own Paul Revere in your head so that when you're tempted to eat something bad for you, that voice will kick in screaming "The fat is coming! The fat is coming!" Declare that this is the year you win your independence in the battle against the fatness.

Today, I spent some time cleaning out my fridge (my least favorite household job next to vacuuming) and when I saw all the produce I had in my fridge that had gone bad, I got a little bugged. Sometimes I feel produce comes to my fridge to die. I buy it, with the honest to God intention of eating all of it in my journey to be healthy.

But then as I stand in front of the fridge looking for something to eat, staring at the whole fruit and veggies, the battle rages inside my head and it goes like this:

"Hmmmm...I think I'm hungry. Oh look, a whole watermelon (or fruit/veggie of your choice). It is hot outside and that does sound good. But, hmmm....I don't really want to cut it up and then I'll have to clean it up. It would just be easier to eat this bag of chips. Yeah, chips sound refreshing."

For Hell sakes, right? Another problem is for the Midge. When she's hungry and I'm working, I'm usually not taking the time I should to make sure she's getting the right snacks all the time. I'm usually telling her to grab an apple, string cheese or granola bar. Then she usually grabs what every candy she can find. Do we see a pattern here?

I found this great idea on Pinterest from Real Simple Magazine a while back and I got inspired. I headed over to the Dollar Store and bought some cheap baskets to do this. They've been sitting on my counter for about two months. Today, as I'm declaring my independence on the fat, I decided to do something about it. While Bridget ate breakfast and played with Playdoh, I cut up pineapple, cucumbers and celery and put them into snack bags. I also washed some grapes I bought from Bountiful Baskets (More on this tomorrow) and put them into snack bags. I added some whole apples and some string cheese.

Bridget looked at me like I was crazy (I get that a lot from her) and asked what I was doing. When I told her it was a basket full of snacks she could get herself, her little eyes lit up. What a great mom you are, she said (in my mind this is what I heard). So I cleared a space in the fridge and we are ready to go.

(Yeah, this is a bad picture. I sure wish I had a sister who was a professional photographer and could take these pictures for me. Sigh.)
 As I was trying to figure out what to put in there, I got thinking about all the options. Carrots would be great in there, as would sliced peppers. Cantaloupe and watermelon might be tricky but I'm going to try it. What else would you put in there?

On to some very exciting news!! As you know, I've been on a new {program} for about a month now. I'm feeling great, am down about 10 pounds and have lost about two inches! Tonya's husband has lost three inches and down about six pounds. As you know, I don't believe in diets or anything that changes your habits so drastically you have to stay with it or get fat again. This stuff is not like that.

Tonya and I are so impressed with this product we're having an open house on Thursday, July 7 at 7 p.m. at my house. There will be a short presentation and my friend Ben will be on hand to answer some questions about it. Tonya and I are going to whip up some of our favorite low fat snacks and will have recipes to give out. We will also be giving away a fridge basket so you can start to get organized!

Food, healthy and your two favorite girls ever? Could you be luckier? I think not. If you are serious about getting healthy, I urge you to come spend an hour with us and learn about this amazing {program}. Plus its nice to get together with other people going through the same struggles you are. Its basically the coolest support group out there. Love it.

Please e-mail me at if you have questions or give me a call at 801-312-0088. We need a head count for the food, so if you're coming, let me know!

Love you guys, keep kicking fat's ass!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A disclaimer

After the great comments I've been getting, I felt like I needed to post something. I'm not a doctor or health care professional, just a fat girl figuring out what works for her. When making a lifestyle change, its important to be safe about it.

Tonya and I will NEVER tell you how to live, eat or what to do. We are here to share what's working for us and try to give you tools to help yourselves. Regular contributor (and lovely cousin) Emily Fonnesbeck said this in her comment and I agree with it whole heartedly:

"If you're going to do it, you have to do it ALL THE WAY. 
Meal replacement shakes are just that- a replacement for a 
meal, and they can contain a lot of calories. This isn't an issue 
unless you can't say no to other foods. You can't drink a meal replacement shake and then 3 hours later have a huge snack 
because you're starving. Personally, drinks only work for me 
in the morning, but even then, by 11:30 I am really hungry."

I feel the same way. I can't replace two meals a day with shakes, I feel like I'm starving. Breakfast works good for me but a few hours later I usually have to have some fruit or a low-fat string cheese to take the edge off. The right kind of snacking is good and I feel it does go along with meal replacements.

The bottom line is, try things out and see what works best for you. The whole point behind a lifestyle change is adopting something you can live with. If you're comfortable with your new lifestyle, your ability to maintain it increases exponentially. Love you all, thanks for listening!

Meal replacement shakes - yay or nay?

If its a fad diet and costly, I've tried them all. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Adkins, Myoplex shakes, SlimFast...the list goes on and on. Why keep trying them? The never ending hope that one of them will work, one of them will help me get skinny. One of them will save my life. It sounds a bit dramatic but in reality its not. I'm not healthy, not even close. My blood pressure is high, I'm pre-diabetic and I'm just fat, which is hard on the joints. The only thing I have going for me (besides me good looks) is my cholesterol is freakishly low (thank you Ballou genes).

Today while I was avoiding work and stalking Facebook I ran across an article posted by iHerb. It's an online health supplement store and its Facebook feed has lots of interesting tips and recipes. It had an {article} about meal replacements (shakes and stuff) and talked about did they really work. And the short answer is: yes.

This is a great article, especially if you're weighing the pro's and con's of using meal replacements. It talks about how they work and why, the studies to support the findings and also points out that meal replacements alone aren't the magic solution. But paired with a sensible diet and exercise, they can help fight the fat.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, my oppinion on the whole subject (I know you all too well). I haven't always been a fan of these but lately, I've started to think they might be just another part of this tricky process. They are by no means a way to live solely, but as part of a plan, why not?

Over the past two weeks I've been talking about my {new program}. So far none of you have asked me about it, which surprises me. Either you're just checking out the website or no one is actually reading this. GASP! It has to be the first, right? Of course!

This program uses meal replacement shakes and I've learned how to incorporate them into my diet and not turn into a starving, half crazed bitch (well, most days). A little one percent milk, half a banana, two tablespoons of almond butter and the chocolate drink makes a lovely breakfast. This morning I'm enjoying a vanilla shake with 2/3 cup of frozen blackberries. The frozen fruit gives it a nice texture and who can argue with the benefits of fresh fruit? No one I tell you.

Since I started this program, I've lost about four pounds but more importantly - inches. Being the moron I am, I didn't measure myself before I started but I know over the last two weeks, I've lost at least an inch or more. My fat pants aren't quite as comfortable anymore and not for the usual reason. They slide down my butt, un-tucking my garments in the process. They look baggy and not at all attractive. On a whim, I decided to try on some old pants I've been holding onto that I haven't been able to wear for six or more years. A long time, right?

They still didn't fit, but another inch or two off and they will fit like a glove. Like a glove. I love gloves and can't wait for that to happen!!! Then the realization hit - O.M.G., this program is actually working. I thought this would never happen. But it has and I'm so excited!

I leave for vacation in a few weeks and I'm determined to be wearing these pants when I am there. For the first time in...forever, I actually think it will happen. Man, today is a good day, despite Bridget throwing up in the pool at swimming lessons. Epic fail on that one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer dessert love

Desserts are a tricky thing for me because I know the majority of them are bad for me, yet they call to me, begging to be consumed, the little bastards. My cute friend Maren Nielsen (who's about as big as a matchstick) got me hooked on ending a meal with something sweet. In my 20's, that wasn't than big of a deal. Now that I'm 35, it's much more significant.

I've come to realize though there are ways to indulge in the sweet creamy goodness desserts offers without throwing yourself off the healthy living bandwagon. For me, a little goes a long way. I read in the South Beach Diet book once that you are better off having a serving (1/2 cup) of a high quality premium ice cream than the same size serving or more of frozen yogurt. The thinking behind it is the higher fat content makes you feel satisfied so you eat one serving instead of 20.

If you can stop at a half a cup, I think this works. Some days I feel like a serving needs to be a pint of Haagen-Dazs, so you can see how this way of thinking could cause a huge potential fail. My personal solution is to keep ice cream out of my house and there fore eliminating the potential for failure (from that threat, at least).

I've been on {my program} for almost two weeks now and I'm feeling great. Tonya's husband Alex has already lost three inches off his waist after just a week! Holy cow sapphire, as Bob would say. I've noticed a huge difference in the way I eat, especially when it comes to sugar and sweet cravings. This program is awesome because its not a meal supplement, but helps you feel full faster and more satisfied.

But I digress, back to dessert. Have you ever tried Panna Cotta? It's a milk based gelatin that at first sounds disgusting. But its actually really good! I found this recipe from a recommendation from my ultra cool friend and lifestyle guru Stephanie Brubaker and decided to give it another try (seriously, if you haven't been to her blog, you are missing out. She is fabulous.) This is the second time I've tried Panna Cotta. The trick to it (like any dairy based product) is the more fat, the better tasting. Now if this were a perfect world, heavy cream would be as good for you as broccoli is and your favorite shoes would just show up in your closet.

The first time I used one percent milk to make it. Yeah, it wasn't good. It was like eating ice milk, not satisfying at all. This time instead of cream, I decided to use half and half. The results were a huge improvement with out killing my day. Paired with some fresh blackberries and it was heavenly. I love that its only 227 calories for a serving. The fat content is a little high at 14 grams so I would indulge in this sparingly. But its better than a 600 calorie piece of cheesecake, right?

Panna Cotta
From David Lebovitz
Serves 4

2 cups half and half
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 Tbsp. cold water

Heat the half and half and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. (If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)

Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil (you can skip this step if you're not planning to unmold it and eat it from a cup). Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, about two hours. If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without unmolding. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 227.4
  Total Fat 14.1 g
      Saturated Fat 8.7 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 4.0 g
  Cholesterol 44.8 mg
  Sodium 49.7 mg
  Potassium 229.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 22.4 g
      Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
      Sugars 12.8 g
  Protein 3.8 g

  Vitamin A 9.8 %
  Vitamin B-12 6.7 %
  Vitamin B-6 3.4 %
  Vitamin C 14.4 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 1.9 %
  Calcium 13.9 %
  Copper 3.2 %
  Folate 4.0 %
  Iron 1.6 %
  Magnesium 4.9 %
  Manganese 23.4 %
  Niacin 1.2 %
  Pantothenic Acid     4.4 %
  Phosphorus     12.3 %
  Riboflavin 11.7 %
  Selenium 3.5 %
  Thiamin 3.6 %
  Zinc 4.8 %

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grillin' and Chillin' recipe | Surf and Turf Tacos

Happy Friday everyone! With the temperatures finally starting to stay consistently nice in Salt Lake, its definitely time to start thinking about all the yummy things to cook on the grill. There's nothing I love more than a juicy steak and some kind of seafood. I'm a big fan of the surf and turf.

This recipe was developed a few months ago for Cinco de Mayo but I was pretty sick then so you're getting it now! Surf and Turf tacos consists of marinated grilled flank steak and a zesty shrimp and avocado salad. The flavors are mellow and its perfect for those hot summer nights.

Flank steak is a staple at our house because James loves it. I usually prepare it with soy sauce and do an Asian style marinade. When I told James about this idea, he was skeptical at first. This is how the conversation went:

Me: I'm making flank steak tonight with a Mexican marinade.
James: Are you adding soy sauce to it?
Me: Uh, no. Mexican, not Asian.
James: Why aren't you using the usual marinade?
Me: Because I want to try something new.
James: But why? I like the other, can't you just do it that way?
Me: (By this time, I'm almost ready to strangle him) You'll eat it this way and like it so just shut your pie hole (said in the most loving way possible, of course)

Seriously, he can be such a pain some times.

I'm happy to announce he really liked it and we've had it several times over the last few months. This is the ultimate make ahead meal because you can allow the steak to marinate for days and it just gets better (the first time I made this it literally sat in my fridge marinating for almost four days). The shrimp and avocado salad is easy to make ahead too. Even after you mix the ingredients together, the lime juice keeps the avocado from turning brown and disgusting.

Mexican Flank Steak

1 flank steak
3 beef bullion cubes
1 ½ cup cold water
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. peppercorns
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

For Marinade:
Add all ingredients (except bullion cubes) to a re-sealable plastic bag and mix well. Dissolve the bullion cubes in 1-2 tablespoons of water in the microwave and add to the marinade. Add the flank steak and massage it into the meat. Press all the air out and seal the bag. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least six hours (over night is best). 

To cook:
Remove the steak and discard the marinade. Grill it for about 3-5 minutes on each side until it reaches the required doneness. Remove from the grill and cover with tin foil. Allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it thinly against the grain (if you don’t slice it against the grain, it will be tough).

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

1 pound shrimp
2 limes
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
½ Tbsp. butter or olive oil
Handful of chopped cilantro
1-2 avocado’s, cubed
¼ cup salsa
Kosher salt and pepper

Prepare shrimp:
Devein and shell the shrimp and season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Place shrimp and garlic in a hot skillet coated with butter or olive oil. Squeeze one lime over the shrimp as it cooks. Cook until the shrimp is pink and firm, but don’t overcook. Throw in the cilantro, mix well and remove from heat.

Allow shrimp to cool completely before roughly chopping.

For Salad:
Cube the avocado’s and mix with the cooled, chopped shrimp and salsa. Add the lime juice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper accordingly. 

Super easy, right? I served these little beauties with tortilla's, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and some raw onion for James. These are pretty figure friendly but the tortilla's can add a lot of fat and carbs. I would recommend either choosing a low fat or whole wheat tortilla or using butter lettuce in place of the tortilla.

This is the first time I've bought butter lettuce but I've fallen in love! It's a little pricey (about $4 for a head) but its uses are endless! I didn't miss the tortilla at all and actually really liked the lettuce. I'll post more about this next week. 

Here is the nutritional content for the steak and salad (be sure to factor in any add on's like tortilla's, cheese and sour cream). These recipes serve four combined.
  Total Fat
18.1 g
  Saturated Fat
5.6 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat
1.9 g
  Monounsaturated Fat
8.2 g
231.7 mg
332.3 mg
917.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate
8.7 g
  Dietary Fiber
3.3 g
0.6 g
47.3 g

  Vitamin A
8.2 %
  Vitamin B-12
79.6 %
  Vitamin B-6
38.9 %
  Vitamin C
28.9 %
  Vitamin D
43.2 %
  Vitamin E
9.0 %
8.2 %
26.0 %
13.8 %
30.6 %
20.8 %
9.2 %
46.3 %
  Pantothenic Acid    
13.9 %
49.0 %
16.6 %
91.7 %
13.7 %
38.1 %