Category Archives: Food

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp With Israeli Couscous & Broccoli

Last night I decided to make a recipe from my Weight Watcher Weekly handout and it was nothing short of delicious. It’ll definitely be added to the rotation for future meals! Therefore, I wanted to share it with you. I am always looking for more ways to get fish and shrimp onto our meal plans. We eat chicken A LOT! 😉


Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Couscous and Broccoli

{Weight Watchers Weekly ~ May 10-16, 2015}

4 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided

1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous {got it at Trader Joe’s}

4 cups broccoli florets {got it pre cut in a bag}

2 tsp EVOO, divided

1 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined

1 large shallot, minced

2 tbsp minced garlic

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1/4 cup dry white wine {I used Chardonnay}

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp grated lemon zest

3 tbsp minced fresh basil {I used thyme}


In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups broth to a boil over high heat. Add couscous and broccoli to pan; cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until broccoli is tender and couscous is cooked, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick sauce pan, heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook, flipping once, until lightly seared and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side; remove to a plate.

Add remaining teaspoon oil , shallot, garlic, and hot pepper fakes to pan; cook, stirring a few times, 1 minute. Add wine; stir and scrape up browned bits from the bottom and sides of pan. Add remaining 2 cups broth and increase heat to high; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick sauce, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add shrimp to pan; stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and basil.

To serve, spoon shrimp over couscous-broccoli mixture. Yields about 3 1/2 oz shrimp and 1 cup couscous-broccoli mixture per serving. {4 servings, 9 pointsplus/serving}


I hope you enjoy.

Happy Monday!

Any Excuse To Eat Doritos

Emily Bite’s Doritos Taco Salad has been popping up all over my IG account {flipflopfoodie_ww} and I knew it had to make it onto our menu plan one week real soon.

I had it down for tonight which is usually Taco Tuesdays in our house, but since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to have corned beef & taters so decided to make this up last night after soccer practice.

I will admit at first I was a little skeptical of the Catalina dressing….I am not a huge fan of it and thought about using ranch or a more creamy dressing, but wanted to make it according to the recipe. I also wanted to make my own dressing to have more control over the ingredients. I did a simple Google search and found this one. Since it was my first time making it, I cut the recipe in half….all measurements are halved and what I used. The amount I got was plenty for one big salad with a little leftover. You could certainly double or triple to make extra to have on-hand.

DIY Catalina Dressing

1/6 cup white vinegar

1/6 cup EVOO {or any salad oil}

1/4 cup ketchup

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt

A couple shakes garlic powder

Blend with a hand mixer or an immersion blender and refrigerate until ready to use.


The salad has very few ingredients, but is full of flavor and was a total hit with 3 out of 4 family members. One family member refuses to eat anything green so he didn’t even try it. His loss!


I used:

3/4 of a large head of iceberg, chopped

1 roma tomato, diced

1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

4 ounces {45 chips} Nacho Cheese Doriots, crushed to bite size pieces

1 pound ground sirloin, browned with 1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning

1/2  cup of the homemade Catalina dressing


Toss everything together and plate it up ~ dinner is served!


Next time I think I’ll add some fresh corn, black beans, red onion and jalapeños. It was excellent as-is, but I like lots of “stuff” in my salads!

This salad is also perfect for picnics as there is no mayo in the dressing. Pack it up with the dressing on the side and mix it up right before serving.

We really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to make it again on a busy weeknight.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


DIY Acai ~ Homemade Bowl of Heaven

My first experience with acai was almost 9 years ago. I tried an acai smoothie at Hobee’s, a Bay Area restaurant where we’d often enjoy breakfast during our short stint living in Sunnyvale. It was nothing super special, as I remember, but the acai berries were shown in some studies to be richer in antioxidants than blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and other dark purple fruits, so I went with it for the alleged health benefits.

Fast forward to a couple years ago…I had an acai bowl while visiting the OC at Bowl of Heaven. It was, indeed, heaven and I couldn’t wait to find a place in the SCV where I could round up another one. Last summer I noticed Juice It Up had them and one day I treated myself to one while the kids were at VBS. Again, it was amazing, but not cheap {about $8} so I told myself it would be a definite once in awhile treat!

I had heard that Whole Foods sells the acai packs for homemade bowls and figured our local Sprouts would also carry them. Sure enough they do and last time I was there, I picked up a 4-pack. If I remember correctly, it was about $5 or $6. Each four pack will make 2 good size acai bowls or 4 smaller, but still satisfying, servings.


I order {The Mayan} when I go to Juice It Up and tried to recreate that at home with a couple modifications.

I used:

2 acai packs

1/2 cup chocolate soy milk

1 tbsp peanut butter

Blend that up in your blender. The texture is almost like that of frozen yogurt. If you want to make a smoothie, use 1 cup liquid instead.

I then topped the acai mixture with half a sliced banana, some hemp granola {also from Sprouts}, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of unsweetened coconut {from Ralphs}.



I must say that this homemade version will most definitely take care of those cravings at a fraction of the cost.


You can most certainly change up the liquid that you blend up and play around with the toppings ~ blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, Cutie orange segments, chopped nuts and even dried fruits would be delish!


I still need to blog our amazing summer vacation to NYC! Now that school is in session and I’ve had some time to get the house back in semi-order, I can hopefully sit down next week and relive our trip through a blog post. Can’t wait to share it with you.

As always, thanks for reading and we are a stone’s throw away from the weekend. Yay!


Blue Ribbon Day ~ An Afternoon at the OC Fair

Yesterday we ventured down I-5 and headed to the OC Fair. My friend Angela is well schooled in this fair and assured me it was bigger and better than our more local Ventura County fair that is also currently going on. She had gathered some budget friendly information for our trip, too.

1. Bring $5 worth of school supplies {with receipt} for entrance into the fair. Entrance also included one FREE ride. It’s a win/win.

2. Read & Ride Program {kids ages 5-11} ~ Read two books, fill out a form, turn it in and receive 3 FREE rides.

The kids obviously wanted to IMMEDIATELY hit the death traps…..I mean rides, but we encouraged {OK….MADE} them check out some animal exhibits and the area where the biggest produce is awarded and displayed ~ AKA lemons and avocados on steroids!

The girls then made leather cuffs and bookmarks. This was perfect for Elliott and she can never find anything personalized with her name. I thought this was a nice fair souvenir for only $5.

The mamas figured it’d be better to go on a couple rides BEFORE eating lunch. Holden was turned down for a ride that he desperately wanted to go on due to his height and a kind young man and his girlfriend handed over their 2 tickets so that he could enjoy 2 other attractions as they had purchased a bracelet for “daily unlimited death trap usage”!!

As you can imagine, pin pointing a lunch item can be difficult at the fair. I talked Holden out of a $13 smoked turkey leg and redirected him to a $6 piece of cheese pizza! I had spotted a place that sold sourdough garlic bread which you could order gussied up in many different fashions….I chose the buffalo chicken version and was NOT disappointed. They also had a Nutella/bacon option which I’m sure received high marks, but I went with savory and was glad I did.

After lunch the kiddos explored some sketchy fun houses and we eventually embraced redneckness by making our way to the Turkey Stampede. It actually was tons of fun and now I think the kids will be questioning what we put on the table this Thanksgiving. Immediately after that, we crossed over to the Pig Races and secured a seat in the shade. Holden was chosen as one of four pig coaches for the finals and his choice, Bob, was the grand champion! He was so cute getting the crowd pumped up and rooting for “his” pig which was #6 and wore a blue bib.

We then took our blue ribbon winner and the rest of our crew for their long awaited sweet treat for the day…soft frozen lemonade, shaved ice, deep fried Oreos and Dippin’ Dots. Believe it or not I passed up my sweet treat for an ice cold water and Diet Coke! I’d never been so thirsty in all my life. Calories saved, I guess…….

We closed our day with a bird’s eye view of the fair on the sky ride. I praise the Lord that they have enough sense to require an adult to go on this because there is NO way I’d let Holden ride with his friends. I winced the whole time watching the three 9-year old girlies in the chair in front of us, yelling at them, “Please sit back! Don’t lean forward!” Longest 8-10 minutes of my life!!

BUT, we had a great day and the kids loved it. It had been 6 years since they had been to the fair! We went to the San Benito County Fair in the summer of ’08 before we moved back to So Cal. Holden was just 18 months and Elliott barely over 3 years old!

Here are some iPhone memories…..



















Despite my newfound old lady fear of heights, I think we need to make the county fairs a permanent fixture on our summer bucket lists from here on out.

Missing the San Diego County Fair {or the Del Mar Fair for us locals} and the memories made there over the years…..

Midwestern Getaway

Last weekend I ventured to the midwest and spent 4 days in the Chicago & Detroit areas. The occasion? To celebrate the Grashanti {Hindu pre-wedding ceremony} and bridal shower for my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Anuja.

It was a lovely little getaway and it left me even more excited for their Big Day in just over 2 weeks.

I met so many of her sweet family members and was able to put a name to most of the fifteen bridesmaids!! It’s going to be ONE bridal party, I tell you.

Let me just say, the traditional Indian garb and cuisine is nothing short of fabulous. The saris that the women wear are so bright and vibrant that there isn’t a picture captured that doesn’t have several bursts of color. The spices in Indian fare are ever so fragrant and palate pleasing. If you haven’t tried Indian food, you simply must.

We spent a good part of one day driving from Chicago to Detroit. This was a great time to sit and hash out a lot of wedding logistics.

The bridal shower was held in the Detroit area and was also in celebration of Anuja’s sister, Anishee, who will be married in late August. The venue was a gorgeous home on Orchard Lake and the weather was perfect ~ a little warm if you were in the sun, but the temps and humidity were much better than I was anticipating! Again, there were many stunning saris worn and loads of exotic flavors and food served.



























This was the longest I’ve been away from my babies, but I knew they were in good hands with Jay. I loved getting texts that they were at Universal Studios, that they had talked Daddy into donuts and that they were enjoying BBQ ribs while waiting for Fourth of July fireworks. It was nice, however, to sleep in a bit and get ready each morning uninterrupted. 😉 Once my puddle jumper touched down from Phoenix, though, I could not wait to see my little family cruise up and pick me up curbside!

It’s good to get away, but it’s even better to come home.

Looking forward to doing The Big Apple with the kids and enjoying the fruits of all the labor that has gone into this special day.

Have a blessed weekend, all!

We plan to get some haircuts, check out the first summer concert in the park {Journey cover band!} and hit up Magic Mountain after mass on Sunday….gotta ride Colossus one last time before she’s gone forever.

Nighty night.


Summer So Far…

Hi Friends!

Summer’s in full-swing and we’re trying to keep busy, stay cool and check those items off our Summer ’14 Bucket List.

Since school got out 3 weeks ago, here’s a little of what we’ve been up to…


{Updated our chalkboard for Summer}


{Elliott’s dance recital ~ she performed two numbers this time…hip hop/jazz & lyrical}


{Daddy was out of town and Holden was at a birthday party, so it was just Gramma and me in the audience cheering for our little dancer}


{Early morning swim and donuts by the pool}


{A day at Magic Mountain…Ninja made this mama woozy!!!}


{My Dad, Popsi, came to visit and the kids HAD to introduce him to MOD Pizza}


{A visit to the Ronald Reagan Library}


{Sunday Brunch at Grand Central Market in Downtown LA}


{Carnitas Burrito from Roast To Go}


{Bacon, Egg & Cheese [added avo] from Eggslut}


{Almond Macadamia Iced Latte from G&B Coffee}


{Cherry Picking at Villa del Sol}


We thoroughly enjoyed our maiden voyage to GCM. Jay and I couldn’t decide between Mexican food or a breakfast egg sandwich, so we split. Both were incredible! Jay waited in line for about 40 minutes at Eggslut, but it was well worth it.

This was our first time cherry picking, too. We tried to go a couple summers ago, but waited until too late in the season. This orchard is only about 45-60 minutes from us so it made for a nice little afternoon outing. However, it was HOT and we decided to stop at the local Sonic for happy hour since Popsi had never been. We sat in our air conditioned car and sipped on blended root beer floats and cherry & watermelon slushies. I then proceeded to bake a cherry cobbler for dessert that night. Of course I did.

I just returned from 4 days in Chicago and Detroit to celebrate the upcoming wedding of my BIL, Rodney and his fiancé, Anuja. There was a traditional Grashanti {Hindu ceremony} on Friday and a beautiful joint bridal shower {Anuja’s sister is getting married in August!} on Sunday. I’ll write about that tomorrow. The trip was absolutely perfect and made me even MORE excited for their big day which is coming up in a couple short weeks!


Hope your summer has been happy so far!


Summer Bucket List ~ Twenty14

I literally threw this together in a matter of minutes. It’s usually well thought out, but you know…

Our list looks a little different this year as we will be traveling to The Big Apple for a week next month. Looking forward to sharing the bustling city that never sleeps with the kiddos. They are in for a surprise!

1. Donuts by the pool ~ Nothing better than an early morning swim and some sugar to fuel it.



2. Ventura County Fair {rolling over from 2012}


3. Concerts in The Park ~ Eagles cover band August 2nd!

4. Shave It with friends

5. Picnic in Central Park



6. Visit The Statue of Liberty

7. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge



8. Summer Movie ~ most likely going to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles {smiling through clenched teeth}

9. Thrifty Ice Cream



10. Mommy & Daddy do Whole30 for the month of August

11. Rose Bowl Flea Market



12. Grand Central Market in Downtown LA


So, there you have it.

This is one “To-Do” list that isn’t daunting.

What are YOUR plans for the summer? I’d love to hear….


{View our previous summer lists: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 }

Spring Break Eats ~ Shrimp Po’ Boys & Orange Cilantro Coleslaw

Well, we definitely didn’t starve over Spring Break.

We finally went to Toppers Pizza and managed to eat there 4 times in 5 days. I’m addicted to the salad bar, but the pizza is fabulous, too! We took Jay there yesterday for lunch as he was unable to join us in our numerous earlier visits.

During Lent we don’t eat meat on Fridays so we enjoyed a roasted garlic, fresh roma tomato & mushroom pie…


Like, WOW! Like I could never eat meat again, WOW.

I like the pizza because it is thin, but not too thin and the crust is crispy and not too doughy. They also have a nice, fresh salad bar and a different selection of dressings like maple vinaigrette and chipotle ranch.

Last night for dinner we needed something meat-free, too. While Elliott & I were getting our toes done {finally!?!} I watched an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and witnessed Guy Fieri inhale a shrimp po’ boy. Bingo. Our dinner idea was taken care of. I had also gotten a recipe from my chef friend, Leslie, for some Orange Cilantro Coleslaw that I’d been dying to try and thought it’d go well with the po’ boys.

When Googling the sammies, I got a little overwhelmed with several recipes and finally just went with Rachael Ray’s version for the shrimp and another one for the remoulade. I used cornmeal rather than the bread crumbs. I had originally wanted Jay to grill the shrimp to make them a little healthier, but then I figured I’d try the traditional way first and then if they were a hit, I’d try to health-ify them the next time around.

Let me just say, they were a TOTAL hit.


I ended up kind of making up by own remoulade ~ mayo, spicy brown mustard, lemon juice, sweet relish & Tabasco. Just dump all those things in a bowl, stir it up and spread some on your rolls before building your sandwich. I also used some super fresh Sara Lee French Rolls that were perfect for this. I heated them up slightly under the broiler first, too.

Here is how to prepare the shrimp:

Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, deveined
1/2 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal or bread crumbs
2 tablespoons seafood seasoning a couple of palm fulls (recommended: Old Bay) —–> I used cajun seasoning

Preheat 1-inch of oil in a deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. —–> I used about half that and it was plenty {shallow fry}

Pull shells & tails off shrimp. Beat egg and milk together. Salt shrimp then soak in milk batter. Mix together the flour, cornmeal or bread crumbs and seafood seasoning in a bowl. Using tongs, remove a few shrimp at a time and coat in breading. Add breaded shrimp to the hot oil and fry them 5 to 6 minutes or until firm and deeply golden all over. Place on a paper towel lined plate.

Spread some sauce onto your rolls followed by some lettuce and tomato slices. Add several shrimp and you have yourself a taste of Louisiana.

So good.


Orange Cilantro Coleslaw 

{ recipe courtesy of Leslie Babikan by way of Jo Lafferty 😉 }

1/4 cup fat free plain yogurt {I used Greek}

1/4 cup light mayo

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup orange juice {I used the juice of one orange and the zest, too}

3 tbsp. white vinegar {I used rice vinegar}

1 1/2 tsp. honey

7 cups shredded green cabbage

1 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup chopped red onion

salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients for dressing. Add cabbage, carrot and onion. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to blend flavors.

So light and summery. I love different variations on coleslaw and will be making this lots.

Thanks, Leslie!

Thanks, Rachael!

Thanks, Toppers!

Because of you all, our Spring Break eats were super great.

Back to eating bananas, yogurt, kale smoothies, grilled chicken and boring salads.

And drinking more water.

Indecisive Weather





Back to near 70*.

The January weather can’t seem to make up it’s mind. I love winter beach days, but truth be told, we need rain and I want a few more fires in the fireplace before Spring!

Yesterday we had the perfect family day. We attended Saturday evening mass so we were able to sleep in!

Elliott made Holden breakfast in bed, we dropped bags and bags off for Saint Vincent De Paul, browsed Old Navy, had lunch at a new fave, Sharky’s {Jay & I split the shrimp tempura burrito!}, took Holden for a haircut, I got our breakfasts for the week prepared {muffin tin fritattas ~ will share the recipe once I get it tweaked a bit}, Holden finished about 50% of this week’s homework, made Pioneer Woman’s Hamburger Soup for dinner and after I got the kiddos tucked into bed, I watched Sean & Catherine’s wedding! Did anyone else catch it? My favorite was the ceremony seating with the mix of benches, vintage wing back chairs and couches….love, love, love.

Back to the soup…

It was amazing and so healthy and full of flavor. Warning: there is a lot of chopping, but totally worth it.


The only change I made was to add a whole head of garlic and doubled the cayenne. 😉

It was perfect and I can’t wait for the leftovers tomorrow night.


A big hunk of crusty bread would put this over the top.

But it’s fantastic bread-less, too.

Again, original recipe found here.


What’s the weather been like in your neck of the woods?

Nuts For The Holidays

A couple months ago my friends Erin & Rachel hosted a little West Coast IG meet up with Canadian and Arizonian friends, Melisa & Rachel.

Seven of us sat around a beautiful gold & mint themed dining room chatting, noshing, making all kinds of hot nut jokes and giggling like a bunch of tweens.

Erin made an old Marta Stewart nut recipe and we all immediately spooned another helping on our plates after the first sample.

The flavors in this are indescribable. They mesh together amazingly.


Here is what you’ll need…

5 cups mixed nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts {I subbed peanuts for the pecans and used 1 cup of each nut}

Note: use unsalted nuts

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced crosswise into rings to yield about ¼ cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Here is what you’ll do…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange nuts in a single layer on baking sheet and toast until golden…8-12 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl. Add shallots and garlic to hot olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.

Fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towels and set aside.

Pour melted butter over nuts. Stir in rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, and salt. Add shallots and garlic and combine well.

Serve warm. Nuts can also be reheated in a 300 degree oven for 8-10 minutes but watch carefully.

Store in an airtight container….that is IF there are any leftover.


I haven’t started my holiday baking yet, but I did make a batch of these to take to our PTA Teacher Appreciation brunch last week.

Several people asked for the recipe so I know they were a hit. I mean, why wouldn’t they be?

I served in a bowl with a big spoon with some fancy ziploc bags on the side so they could take as a snack to their classroom.

I cannot wait to make these to snack on while our house is full of holiday visitors.

They’d be perfect for neighbors or as hostess gifts, too!

Enjoy. And let the hot nut jokes begin…..