A few weeks ago I was perusing the internet, as I’m usually always doing, and I came across a blog called The Pioneer Woman. I kept thinking to myself: Why does that sound so familiar? After clicking around on her website I was practically drooling all over my keyboard just looking at the pictures of her delicious meals. It didn’t dawn on me until the next day while I was flipping through my usual channels on TV (HGTV, TLC, HGTV, Food Network, HGTV, ABC, HGTV again). Then I saw her! She has a show on Food Network also called The Pioneer Woman. Duh Viktoria. That week I ended up making one of her recipes for Benjamin and I, which we promptly devoured all 6 (YES, SIX) servings of. Since my aunt was in town last week and loves shrimp just as much as I do I made the dish again, but this time with a slight variation.

For the full recipe, check out the link: Penne a la Betsy but I’ll give a quick run through of what we did.

First, cook the pasta. We didn’t have any Penne on hand so I made Farfalle (bow ties) and Fusilli. Obviously, follow the directions on the box and keep the pasta warm.


Meanwhile, I roasted some garlic in the oven and chopped a small onion.

IMG_2419  IMG_2420

Heat equal parts olive oil and butter in a pan and quickly cook the shrimp. Make sure to not overcook them! Once cooked, pour them in a bowl along with all the yummy juices.


Press the roasted garlic out of their shells and crush into a paste. Heat some more olive oil and butter in the pan and add both the onion and garlic.


After a few minutes of sautéing add white wine and let that simmer. I underestimated the amount that I was making (double the recipe) and ended up having to switch to a larger pan at this point.


Then, add tomato sauce and season.


Next, add cream. I used half and half in an effort to make this dish lighter but I’m sure it would taste just divine with heavy cream. Make sure not to let the sauce boil after adding the half and half. I made this mistake the first time I made this and it ended up curdling. In the end it still tasted great, but didn’t look as good.


Add basil. I would’ve preferred fresh but we only had dried on hand. Still, the world must go on…


And finally, add the shrimp. Make sure to scrape out all of those yummy juices from the bowl, you’ll want every last drop!


Lastly, toss the pasta in with the sauce and enjoy! Bon appetit!




Hang on to your mouth because you’re about to drool!

I was browsing around online earlier this week and came across a site called Skinnytaste. I’ve clicked through countless pages of recipes, and am still clicking and saving along the way. I have a list about THIS long now of things I want to try. Benjamin was nice enough to make one of the meals for us earlier in the week. Eating healthy was a big concern of mine before we came out to Hawaii. I wasn’t sure how we were going to do it. Benjamin came out about a week before I did and was told to report to me what our living arrangements where going to be like. You can’t imagine my joy when he sent me a picture of a full kitchen. You see, our temporary housing was only supposed to have a fridge and microwave. A full kitchen makes a big difference. Granted, its an outdoor kitchen, and pretty poorly stocked but its ok. We bought some dishes from Goodwill and have been making do with that. I’m just happy that we can cook our own food.

I have a very sensitive stomach and have to make sure I’m eating as wholesome as possible (i.e. no preservatives, additives, high fructose corn syrup, etc.). Ideally, everything I eat should be as pure as possible. So for example, if I wanted to eat a roasted chicken it’s ingredients should be just chicken, oil or butter, spices, and some chicken broth for gravy. It’s shocking how much crap goes into all the food we eat, but that’s a whole other can of worms. But, if you are interested the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser is a great read. His writing is objective and informative, much different than Morgan Spurlock’s movie Supersize Me. Everyone’s response is usually the same when I suggest the book: “Oh yeah, I’ve seen the movie, the Supersize Me one.” Let me tell you that this book is far better and explores in depth the awful stuff we put in our food. Eating healthy can do MILES more for your health and weight loss than any diet program.

Back to where I was. Yes, the chicken. I’m so sensitive to these additives that I can get a serious stomach ache if I happen to eat them. My mom bought a roasted chicken from Albertson’s a few months ago, which is a rarity because she usually makes her own. She was saying how delicious it was and what an easy meal it is until I picked it up and started reading the ingredients to her. You really don’t want to know. Next time you’re at your local grocery store though go ahead and pick up a roasted chicken and start reading the ingredients, you’d be surprised. (One exception is Whole Foods, last time I checked their chicken was good to go). I always make it a point to know what I’m eating and how my food is made. By no means do I eat super healthy though. I’m an extremely picky eater. Like, REALLY picky. There are a total of about 3 vegetables that I’ll eat. And I’m a total carnivore and carbo-holic. My favorite foods are high in fat, carbs, and sugar. Or probably all three. But, I just can’t say no to pasta drenched in a luscious cream sauce. Or donuts…

Needless to say, I was so thrilled to find this site. There are so many healthier options of my favorite foods and even more of foods I want to try. She has recipes for everything from green smoothies to martinis, salads to desserts, thanksgiving to cinco de mayo, and so much more. We’ve only had the Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmigiana but will definitely be trying much more in the very near future. You’ll see I’m a little obsessed with chicken and shrimp. Any of the chicken recipes could easily substitute turkey breast as well, another favorite of mine. Keep in mind that I’m not a fan of vegetables, but she does have a million options (maybe not literally, but a lot!) if you do like them. Here are some of my top picks:

One of the best parts is that she includes nutritional information with her recipes. So you’ll know how many calories are in what you’re eating, along with protein, carbs, fiber, sugar, and sodium. For anyone in Weight Watchers, she also includes their points system.

Let me know if you try any of the recipes!