Recipe of the Week – Creole Shrimp with Andouille Sausage

Creole Shrimp with Andouille Sausage

  • 5 stalks celery choppped
  • 1 ½ onions chopped
  • ½ green pepper chopped
  • ½ large red pepper chopped
  • 1 Tb chopped garlic
  • 1 package aidells Cajun style andouille sausage sliced to bite sized pieces
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 8oz can plain tomato sauce
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • ¼-1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 3 Tb olive oil
  • 2# shrimp ( I used 16-20 size)


  1. Over high heat sear shrimp in the olive oil, a little at a time without crowding the pan, and remove them to a plate.  (They won’t be completely cooked yet.)
  2. Once the shrimp is all removed add the sausage and brown it.  (This you can leave in the pan.)
  3. Add the peppers, onion,  and celery and sauté until starting to get soft, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and sauté one minute, then add the Cajun seasoning and the thyme and stir.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and scrape up any yummy bits left on the pan.
  6. Add the tomato sauce and taste for seasoning.
  7. Simmer about 5 minutes then add the shrimp back to pan, along with any juices they have released, while also adding the lemon juice and the fresh parsley.
  8. Cook 2-3 minutes until shrimp are hot.


Makes 8 servings my fitness pal

281 calories

34g protein

2g fiber

6g net carbs

Body to Baby: A Lifetime of Struggle, A Blessing and Now a Curse

For as long as I could remember I was always “chubby”. ‘Oooh my gosh! Look at those chubby cheeks!!’ Is what my mom says was a huge draw for people when I was a baby. When I was older I got into sports but before a softball game my mom would make me a grilled cheese for breakfast, this lasted well into my teenage years. “Balanced Breakfast” was never in my vocabulary except when it was taught in Health class. In one ear and out the other though.

My weight problem would haunt me throughout my childhood. I was into sports but exercise could only do so much. Then I became a teenager. A teenager with too much angst and a mother who wasn’t so much helpful on the emotional end. ‘You’re fat/that doesn’t fit right’ etc., was said to me almost daily, to where I could have become bulimic but instead I hid in large clothes, ate when I was sad and used my “bright personality” as a crutch.

Like any overweight kid there came a barrage of “mean girls” and idiot boys who also liked to point out that I was fat. By the time I got into high school I turned the whole thing into a self-deprecating joke. ‘Oh am I fat? I didn’t realize that, THANK YOU for the memo.” One time I can remember I was helping out as a backstage person for a play our school was putting on. Because I was, and still am, helpful I was putting makeup on for a guy who was part of the cast. Apparently the guys girlfriend, or the girls in the cast, didn’t care for my friendliness and I received a letter written in black eyeliner (black eyeliner I had purchased for the cast to use). The letter basically said that I was a fat cow and I should kill myself. That was one of the lowest points of my high school experience.

I graduated and moved on into being an adult. Adult stressors kicked in, work, college, boyfriends, and I just didn’t pay attention to what I ate, and then there was booze. While I didn’t drink myself into a stupor or anything when I worked the graveyard shift in my early twenties nothing was open except for bars, diners and fast food establishments. I never thought anything of it. I dated on and off and none of my “significant others” thought it was their place to tell me that I probably shouldn’t eat five tacos and wash it down with a beer on Taco Tuesday. I just kept on keeping on all along still using my personality to get me by when mentally I was still that high school nobody that wanted love and acceptance.

I tried so many times to do the gym thing, but when you don’t know what you’re doing and you cannot afford personal trainers or the classes, $10 dollars a month got me nowhere. I tried Slim Fast, Jenny Craig, and TrimSpa, you name it I probably tried it and got sick cause of it. My turning point regarding my weight loss was actually my Dad. While I learned to tune out the negative conversations from my Mom it was my Dad who made a passing comment to me while I was visiting that turned my world upside down.

“You’re getting kind of fat no?”

That was it, my dad thought I was fat…not cute chubby, but fat. It sent me into full on panic mode, I weighed myself when I got home. 290….two-hundred and ninety pounds. I cried and tried to figure out how that could even be. I gave up and gave in. I needed help.

I started my bariatric journey in January of 2013 and had my surgery in July. I remember in group therapy we had to choose one thing we would do in a year we never thought we could. I chose running a Tough Mudder. After I was cleared to work out and was able to actually eat something more than just broth and cottage cheese, I hit the ground running…hard. I signed up for Crossfit and broke myself mentally and physically. I followed my nutritionist guidelines and never stepped on a scale because I knew if I focused on the pounds lost I wouldn’t see the muscles gained. I ran my first mudder, the Dirty Girl, in June of 2014. Over the next two years I would sprinkle in two more mudders, two inflatables when finally a chipped bone in my left foot landed me in physical therapy the summer of 2016. By the time I was benched I went from 290 to 155, a size 22 to a size 8, I could squat press 200lbs. I was determined to get healed and back into the fray.

Then November came. I was still in physical therapy because I’m an idiot who couldn’t sit still and made a few things (besides my foot) worse. I was coming home from a camping trip and realized I was “late” honestly, I thought because I was camping in below freezing temperatures for 2 nights straight I froze my insides. At that point I had been married to my husband for only 6 months and I was a half a pack a day smoker, surely I couldn’t be. I was. We were over the moon excited, until I started gaining that baby weight.

I was a hormonal crying mess my first trimester, partly because of my body rebalancing for growing a tiny human and partly because to me everything that I worked hard for crashed down like a house of cards. I tried to watch what I ate but physically didn’t have it in me to work out any more than walking to and from my car to work and up and down the garage stairs. Oddly enough what I usually ate (or forgot to eat) before I was pregnant wasn’t enough, I had to think of not only myself now, so I ate more, which made me feel worse. It’s kind of hard to accept that “it’s for the baby” when in group therapy “weight was my enemy.” So I went from 165 to 215, needless to say I wasn’t happy about it but wasn’t able to do much to prevent it.

On July 18, 2017 I gave birth to my handsome little man. I am a Mom and it’s exciting and exhausting.

But now…what about me? Last time I weighed myself I was 195, good but I have 30 pounds to go to get back to a weight and a pants size I am happy with. But getting back to Crossfit is not in my cards, sleeping isn’t in my cards either and yet I keep ebb and flowing through my days, my work outs are lifting my son and the walk to and from my car. I’m still not eating great but eating less.

I have to go back to being accountable for my actions, I have to start pushing past the pain and making time for myself. But, how do we do that? How do moms of infants make time to work out? You can straighten out the “eat right ship” again, but man it’s hard when you have had chicken nachos at 2am because the “baby” wanted them.

So I guess my journey starts anew.

Submitted by Jenn M., with light editing by permission.

Recipe of the Week – Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Bowl

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Bowl

  • 2 each boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 whole zucchini
  • ¼ of a fresh pineapple peeled
  • ½ of a red pepper seeded
  • Stubbs bbq moppin’ sauce
  • 2 scallions

Based on information taken from my fitness pal (per serving, recipe makes 2 servings):

344 cal 32g protein

17 net carbs 3g fiber

14g fat

  1. Prepare grill by making a hot fire on half the grill and leaving the other side empty. (Alternately this could be roasted in the oven, in which case I would go ahead and chop up the fruits and veggies in bite sized pieces and roast at about 450 degrees)
  2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise.
  3. Season zucchini, pineapple, red pepper (keeping fruits and veggies in whole pieces makes them easier to grill!) and chicken with salt and pepper and spray with your favorite cooking spray (you need a little oil to conduct the heat and prevent sticking).
  4. I started by grilling the pineapple and veggies first over the hot coals and once marked flip and baste with the moppin’ sauce.
  5. Once second side is marked, flip again and baste with sauce.
  6. Cook a couple minutes and flip to cooler side of grill basting again. You can add as much sauce as you like, but just remember that is adding calories.
  7. Repeat the same process with the chicken.
  8. Once the veggies and the chicken are both off to the cool side put the lid on and cook until the chicken comes to 165 degrees with an instant read thermometer.
  9. The whole process should only take 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken. Don’t overcook the veggies you don’t want them to be mushy just heated through because when they are reheated they will cook more.
  10. Bring all components in and cut up into bite sized pieces and half in of two of your favorite containers for packing your lunch.
  11. Top with sliced scallion and enjoy!

Any questions or comments please post below!

Recipe of the week – Curried Lentil with Quinoa and Brown Rice soup

Curried Lentil with Quinoa and Brown Rice soup

  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1/3 cup pre-rinsed quinoa
  • 2 cup green or brown lentils
  • ½ of a red pepper
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 each carrots
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 2 each scallions
  • 1 tb coconut oil
  • 1tb curry powder
  • 1 tb garam masala
  • 1 each 5.4 ounce coconut cream
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 qt chicken stock (pick the one that contains the most protein, I used kitchen basics brand which is the highest one in my store)
  • 1tb olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tb chopped garlic

  1. Heat oil in at least a gallon sized pot.
  2. Sautee veggies, except scallions and cilantro, until they start to brown.
  3. Add spices and garlic and sautee until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add lentils, rice and quinoa. Simmer until with rice and lentils are soft, around 45 minutes.
  5. If it gets too thick add a little more water, but in the end you want it to be a nice thick soup. Once everything is soft and the soup is reduced add the coconut cream, scallions and cilantro.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, I only added about a half teaspoon of salt for entire recipe it depends on your stock.

For ½ cup of soup (recipe makes 8 cups or 16 servings):

124 calories

6g fat

5g protein

4g fiber

9 net carbs

Calculation made by entering recipe into My Fitness Pal

Any questions or suggestions post below!

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