Spiced Shrimp with Ginger Rice and Peas

For the most part of last week, I took a break from cooking.  I really think the weekend before had done me in!  I got back on the wagon for tonight’s dinner and whipped up something light in calories.  I need to look good in my bikini when I’m in the Bahama’s soaking up the rays!

Spiced Shrimp with Ginger Rice and Peas – 362 calories

Yield: 4


4 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 scallions, white and green parts seperated and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 cup long-grain white rice

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 cup frozen peas

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

lime wedges, for serving


In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high.  Add scallion whites and ginger and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3 minutes.  Add rice and 1 1/2 cups water and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until rice is tender, about 15 miutes.  Remove from heat and top with peas.  Let stand, covered, 5 minutes, then add scallion greens and fluff rice with fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss shrimp with cumin and coriander and season with salt and pepper.  In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque throughout, about 4 minutes.  Serve shrimp with rice and lime wedges.

I served this dish alongside some fresh spinach and a splash of Panera Bread Asian Sesame Dressing.

Thanks for stopping by!



I want CAKE!

Jim hollered from the basement… make me something sweet please!!!!  YIKES, I just had a big breakfast a few hours ago and didn’t bother with lunch as I was still full.  But there was a little spark of hunger that cake would fill.  I really should have chosen a cake I didn’t LOVE.  That is  my secret to trying to eat healthy.  Make things I like or that my family likes better and I can do with just one small piece and not the whole thing! 

Alas, I went for everyone’s favorite here a pineapple cake with coconut, almonds and brown sugar.  As I type this I am picking out crumbs from my keyboard.  I can’t get enough of it… there goes the 10 pounds I have lost!

Pineapple Coconut Cake

  • 1 package vanilla cake mix (I only use Trader Joes mix, it is AMAZING)
  • 3/4 of a 16 oz bag of frozen pineapple
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 a stick of softened butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 handfuls of coconut
  • 2 handfuls of unsalted almonds chopped
  • Pam to coat your 8x8x2 pan

Mix your cake as directed on your box.  Defrost your pineapple and chop it rough so it is in small pieces.  Drain as much of the juice as you can, you can squeeze it in a paper towel to really get the juice out.  This is an important step as this step adds more moisture to your cake and too much and it won’t bake well.  Add pineapple to your cake batter.

Next, make a crumble with the brown sugar, butter and flour.  Incorporate this well and add coconut and almonds and sprinkle over the cake batter.  Bake your cake according to the directions on your box mix.  You will have to add a good 10-15 minutes depending to accommodate for the pineapple and crumble.  Check your cake with a toothpick in the middle.  When it comes out clean you are good to go!

Couldn’t wait for a final shot; had to cut in.  This is a dense very moist cake.  You can see that my cooling rack embedded itself into my cake when I turned it out!  No worries, chop a little coconut and sprinkle on the top and add whipped cream when you serve.  I guarantee you no one will mind (or even notice) the little divots!


Candis aka West

Anniversary Strata a la Clarke

Yesterday was my 16th anniversary!  I am so excited because both my husband and I remembered the date!  We usually remember our anniversary days/weeks later and laugh that we did it again… forgot the date.  Well something must be turning in our relationship that “the date” is more important!  It is not that we didn’t want to remember; we are moving at a million miles an hour all the time.  I guess we are finally remembering to take time for each other.

Enough of that  mushy stuff… let’s get cooking!  Breakfast, the most important meal of the day!  I totally subscribe to this notion and love to make pancakes, french toast, omelets and other breakfast goodies.  Lately I have been hooked on creating the perfect strata recipe. 

Not familiar with strata?  It is basically an egg casserole that you fill with bread, eggs, cheese and other goodies.  It is baked for a long time to get the eggs set.  I love making a baked version for breakfast parties, but on a Saturday morning post a Friday night of fun… who wants to wait for baking?!?  Here’s a quick easy way to have a fancy breakfast in 20 minutes!

Strata a la Clarke

Step 1-

  • 4 slices of bread cut into 1 inch cubes
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder

Heat olive oil in a 10 inch skillet (one that can also be placed in an oven).  Toss in your bread and sprinkle with garlic powder and toast the bread till done.  Remove when toasted. 

Step 2-

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • diced ham
  • cheese
  • salt, pepper
  • spray olive oil

Spray your skillet (bottom and sides) with olive oil spray.  Next layer in your toasted bread, ham and cheese.  Whip your eggs with milk and sprinkle salt & pepper to taste, pour on top of the layers. 

Turn on your broiler on low and make sure you have a rack a good 12 inches or more away from your broiler.  On a medium flame (stove top) start cooking your strata for about 5 minutes, just untill you notice most of it setting up.  Place skillet into the oven and let broil for 5-7 minutes depending on how you like your eggs.  Remove from your pan carefully not to break it; I use a very flexible spatula and work it under till it is free and slide on a nice serving dish.  You want to do this as it will continue cooking on the bottom and it will end up with too much of a done crust.

And that is it!  We served ours with toast (my homemade bread) with lots of my homemade apple butter.  We topped ours with giardiniera.  Not familiar?  We eat it by the jars full here in Chicago!  It is an Italian mixed pepper, olive, veggie condiment swimming in good olive oil!  There is a HOT and a mild version… we like them both!  We add it to pizza, sandwiches, eggs, anything that needs a kick!

Hope your Saturday morning is as yummy as our has been!


Candis aka West

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast is my favorite time of the day.  Did you know it’s also the most important meal of the day?  If you didn’t know that, you need to come out from the rock that you have been hiding under.  In all seriousness, it really truly is.  It’s important for children in the ways of brain development and their growing bodies.  It also plays an important role in weight loss.  For more information, check out this site.  I always eat breakfast.  I have to or I will be one grumpy Mama.  My typical go to breakfast is Grape Nuts, I love to spice them up if I have raspberries and blueberries on hand.  This week though, Luke went shopping with me.  We were in the produce aisle and Luke being raised so fantastically says to me, “Mama, I want crepes this week for breakfast.”  I said “Hey kid, great idea, go pick out some fruit that you would like to go in your crepe.”  Off he went in search of the perfect concoction.  He brought back, Melissa’s crepes, pineapple, apples, strawberries and banana’s, whipped cream and strawberry cream cheese.  Interesting!

Breakfast Crepes

  • Melissa’s crepes – found in the produce section
  • Strawberry cream cheese or nutella
  • Fruit of your choice
  • Whipped cream
  • Powdered sugar

This is so simple, lay out a crepe, spread strawberry cream cheese or nutella over the middle section.  I chose strawberries this morning, slice them up very thinly, I cut up a banana and added it too.


Dollop a dab of whipped cream on top and roll it up.

Slice some more fruit up for the top and dollop some more whipped cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Breakfast is served!

What’s your favorite breakfast?  Do you like sweet or savory?

I wish you all a beautiful day and thanks for stopping by!



Communication – the key to a successful marriage!

My husband and I have been married for almost 15 years now. Wow!! Time sure flies. And I can honestly say we have a great marriage.
I mean I do have the normal complaints of a wife. I complain when he forgets to make my coffee, when breakfast is 15 minutes later than usual, when the house isn’t clean as it should be etc etc
I get especially upset when he is watching his favorite show and I talk about my day and he just won’t listen. But I talk about it anyway.
Last week for instance, when he was watching his favorite show, knowing he is not listening, I told him about how I really liked the combination of green beans, sweet peppers and mushrooms in a dish. What I did not mention was that it was a LOT of effort and a LOT of dishes for me to go through the giant bags of each of those that he had gotten me from Costco. I mean, why should I tell that? It’s not like he listens right!? But one thing I am sure I did not mention or mean to mention was Africa.
Africa?? Why Africa you ask? Because, for my luck, he actually listened to me this time. He surprised me this past weekend with giant bags of, you guessed it, green beans, sweet peppers and mushrooms. Here’s where Africa comes into the picture. I can feed entire Africa using vegetable bags from Costco.
He came home with them and was so happy to have purchased my favorite things that I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I will be A-OK if I never ever eat green beans, mushrooms and sweet peppers. Like EVER!

And so here I am, plowing through my stock, dish after dish, while the whole time wanting to ask my husband “You chose to listen to that conversation?? What about the others which I actually wanted you to listen to?”
So you see my dear friends, always communicate with your significant other. Tell them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Or else, you will end up like me cooking through giant bags of “Oh no..not this again!!”. I am going to have to have the “vegetable” talk with him this weekend!
Sometimes though I am glad he listens. Like the other day, during his other favorite show, I complained about badly needing a mani-pedi and today he got a gift certificate for the same.
Maybe he is buying me giant bags of vegetables and a mani-pedi certificate so that I will just let him watch his show in peace. Could it be???

On that note,

Good night.

Who Want’s Pot Roast?

Up with the birds today. I had made a decision that I would start getting up earlier since spring is almost here. I need to cultivate some good habits before the weather turns and getting up earlier to accomplish something sounded really good!

It is 5:30am, I have been up for a total of 10 minutes and I am board already!  No noise, no one to “play with”, can’t make too much racket.  Hey, where is that crock pot?

I have always wanted to be a crock pot girl.  I want to prepare meals while I am at work. I want to walk into the house with the unbelievable smell of roast, chilli, cocovan… oh the thought of it all!  Pot roast is now on the menu!

Crock Pot Roast

  • 3 lb chuck roast
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • olive oil
  • 6 carrots
  • 10 mushrooms

Sprinkle your roast with salt, pepper and garlic powder and brown in a little olive oil in a hot pan.

Once browned place in your crock pot and sprinkle the dry onion soup mix on top of your meat.  Next layer on the cream of mushroom soup.  Pour your water along the sides of the roast, not over top of the roast.  Place carrots as a ring around the roast and finally your mushrooms on the top of your roast.

Oh my goodness… isn’t it pretty!

Turn heat on low and let cook all day!  Mine was on from 6am till 6pm. At 6pm I removed the roast and the veggies and added some cornstarch (1 tbls starch to 4 tbls water) and made a nice gravy.  Dinner is served!

It was so tender.  It fell apart as I placed it in the serving dish.  I left the noodles to the side of the roast.  My girl LOVES roast, noodles and cooked carrots.  BUT she doesn’t like them all mixed up.  So for her we offer a fancy presentation in a large serving bowl so she can make sure to dress her plate without anything touching.  I am lucky that she eats whatever is presented for dinner.  But she has to keep it all separate.  I am good with that!

Tonight she did dip a noodle and a piece of bread into the gravy.  She declared that is was SO SO… I think we are making progress on the gravy front!


Candis aka West

No more soup for you!

Recently I had my health screening done. And while I got all greens on the various tests, I got one orange. Yep. You guessed it! Mr Health Screening Person told me to put the fork down, run around the block 10 times and lay off the cookies. Well, he didn’t tell me all of that, but he told he told  me that at my current BMI, I am “at risk” for disease. Alrighty then!!
SO..I am trying to eat lesser and maybe walk around the block once.
In keeping with this plan, I ate a light dinner this evening. I made sesame pasta with green beans, mushrooms and sweet peppers. I will be sharing the recipe on my blog about my cookbook. The boys really enjoyed the pasta. Seems like a keeper to me.

Sesame pasta with mushrooms, green beand and sweet peppers.

And then I headed out for my walk around the block. Actually, I went to my favorite grocery store and bought my favorite things!

All my favortie things.

After I came back home, I ate some fruit for dessert.

Fruit for dessert

Then I patted myself on the back for doing so good that I went ahead and made oatmeal cookies. They have oats in them. That’s counts as healthy right!? It does in my book. I hope you are not reading this Mr Health Screening Person.

As you can see, I make the cookies large enough to where the mere act of picking up a cookie is a work out in itself!

All this talk of walking and working out is making me tired…

Good night.

Radhika aka East.