Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Recipe: Mami's Sofrito

Growing up, my sisters and I would help my mom do the prep work to make a big batch of sofrito (pronounced so-free-toe lol) whenever she was running low. She kept in a big plastic container in the fridge & it still amazes me that I've never seen sofrito "go bad". Well, I know that I've carried on this tradition as an adult (minus the 3 daughters to help me prep lol). It's a staple in every Puerto Rican household, well at the ones in my family! I will often use it as an ingredient in my recipes I post, so obviously, I have to share the sofrito recipe. I'm going to give you the "big batch" version & you can always scale it down.

Mami's Sofrito

WW Points Plus: 0

6-7 green bell peppers, seeded & chunked
6-7 tomatoes (about the same size as the bell peppers you pick out), chunked
6-7 yellow onions (about the same size as the tomatoes & bell peppers), chunked
6-7 heads of garlic, peeled
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed
Water, oregano, salt & pepper as needed
(Optional ingredients)
A pack of ajices dulces (small sweet peppers), seeded
Scotch bonnet peppers to your desired hotness **see warning in the notes


1. Start by putting a handful each of onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic into the blender jar. Add some of the cilantro, oregano & a little bit of salt & pepper. Add just enough water to get the blending started (I would start with 1/8 of a cup).

2. Blend until it's the consistency of a purée. If your blender isn't full if purée, keep the blender going & add in equal amounts of each ingredient through the hole in the jar lid EXCEPT the water, salt, pepper & oregano.

3. Once the blender is pretty full, pour out almost all of the sofrito into an air-tight storage container. Leave just enough in the blender jar to get the next round blended (this now replaces the water from Step 1).

4. Repeat Steps 1-3, minus the water, until you have no more peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic & cilantro left.


- This recipe is very flexible! I love garlic so I usually have more garlic than I do the other ingredients.

- If you want your sofrito to be spicy, that's what the optional Scotch Bonnet peppers are for. **WARNING** Do not seed the Scotch Bonnets with your bare hands... SERIOUSLY, your skin & nails will be burning like crazy & if you then accidentally rub your eyes - YOWZA! I speak from experience! I couldn't get it off my hands for almost a week :-(

- We use sofrito for lots of different things, including but not limited to, the base for yellow rice, marinating pork roasts & turkeys, a base for stewed beans/meats.

- The sofrito will be a bright, light green or possibly have a light reddish tint when you first make it. It will change to a darker color after a few days in the fridge. Don't freak out, it's still good & I've had a batch last me a whole year (but then again it is just me in my house lol).

- Sometimes my mom would use cleaned, empty spaghetti sauce jars to store the sofrito & give to her friends. Once you start loving sofrito, you're gonna want to share it's yummy goodness with others, so save your spaghetti jars LOL

New recipe - Spinach & Chicken Quesadillas

As I am getting back on track, I know that means I have to do a lot less eating out & a lot more cooking. Not that I can't eat out, but cooking gives me control over what goes into my food & how it's prepared. That being said, this week I got back in my kitchen and came up with this recipe for some healthy & scrumdeliumptious quesadillas that have surpassed any of the restaurant quesadillas I've had in flavor. They're also very Weight Watchers friendly :-)

Spinach & Chicken Quesadillas

Serving Size: 1 or 2 quesadillas
Points Plus Values: 4 for 1, 8 for 2**


2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast w/ rib meat
4 cups water
1 tbsp taco seasoning (I like Taco Bell's)
1/2 tbsp Goya Adobo seasoning
3 tbsp Mami's Sofrito (recipe will be posted)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 to 3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 oz shredded extra sharp 2% cheddar
1 Laughing Cow garlic & herb cheese wedge
2 Ole Xtreme Wellness High Fiber Low Carb tortillas
Cooking spray


1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover & simmer over medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken breasts and shred with two forks. Place the shredded chicken back into the simmering pot & reduce to low.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic & spinach. Cook until just wilted & remove from pan.

3. Preheat griddle to 375. Spread each tortilla with 1/2 Laughing Cow cheese wedge.

4. Measure out 4 oz of shredded chicken. You will use 2 oz for each quesadilla.

5. Lightly spray the griddle w/ cooking spray. Place both tortillas on the griddle, cheese side up. Sprinkle a little shredded cheese on 1/2 of each tortilla. Add 2 oz chicken to 1/2 of each chicken. Add half the spinach to each half. Then add remaining cheddar to each half. Fold each tortilla over the filling side.

6. When underside is golden brown, flip each quesadilla over & cook until golden brown. Then serve!!!

- You can accompany the quesadilla(s) with 0 point salsa or pico de gallo.
- Other filling options that won't change the points values: bell peppers, onions, mushrooms.
- You will have plenty of chicken left to make more quesadillas or stay tuned for my Easy Chicken & Black Bean that uses the leftover shredded chicken.

Monday, March 5, 2012

ROTW 3/5/12 - Oh So Cheesy but Easy Spinach & Hash brown casserole

I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE the Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole, but I have no idea what goes in that, nor do I appreciate that it's like 5-6 points for a tiny serving! So I decided to come up with my own :-) The added spinach serves two purposes: (1) to make it look like I'm getting more to eat in one serving and (2) to make sure I get my veggies in! Sorry I don't have a picture for this one because I cut it up and put it in containers almost immediately so that I wouldn't be tempted to eat the whole dish! lol

Oh So Cheesy but Easy Spinach & Hash Brown Casserole
Servings: 12
Points per serving: 3


1 bag Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
1 10oz pkg of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water drained
1 can 40% reduced sodium, 98% fat free Cream of Chicken condensed soup
1 8oz container fat-free sour cream
1/2 medium onion chopped or grated
4 oz Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 2qt casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix hash browns, spinach, soup, sour cream, onion, and most of the cheese (reserve some for the topping)
  3. Spread into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top. 
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until hash browns are tender.  

NOTES: I divided mine into 12 servings since I would be eating it as a side dish. My 2qt dish was actually an 8x8 square baking dish. If you want it cheesier, you can actually double the shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese in the recipe to a full 8oz, and that only increases the points value by 1 point.

Monday, August 22, 2011

ROTW is BACK - Quick 'n Easy Quinoa Pilaf

Okay, I need to get back to blogging & what better way than to share a quick easy recipe that makes for a GREAT meatless meal! I decided to turn Mondays into "Meatless Mondays" to force myself to cook more, try new ingredients and get back on track with the journey to a healthier me! This Quick 'n Easy Quinoa Pilaf is great as a side dish or main course! I added a side of teriyaki stir fried veggies to round out the meal.

Quick 'n Easy Quinoa Pilaf

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed & chopped

1/3 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced bell peppers (red, green & yellow)

1 pkg sliced baby Bella mushrooms

2 tbsp olive oil or butter

1 tbsp mrs dash seasoning (garlic & herb)


1. Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth according to the package directions**. Set aside.

2. Sauté the vegetables in the oil until crisp.

3. Add in the cooked quinoa & mrs dash and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes to combine the flavors.

** NOTE: The quinoa takes about 10-15 minutes to cook in Step 1. You can use that time to chop/dice up the onions, carrots, bell peppers & garlic OR stir fry some veggies as a side like I did!

 - Technically, one serving of quinoa is 1/3 dry, uncooked quinoa, so the 1 cup uncooked quinoa is three servings. The amount of pilaf this recipe makes is about four 1-cup servings from my experience.
 - At four 1-cup servings, the recipe builder on estimates the PointsPlus value to be 6 points. **If you make any substitutions, I suggest you enter the recipe into the Recipe Builder to make sure your points values are as accurate as possible.
 - I found the quinoa in my local Super Walmart. One box makes a good amount of cooked quinoa, but then again, I cook for just me! :)

If you try it, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fit 4 Flava ROTW 3/8/11 - Country Lovin Grits in the Oven

After spending my whole life saying "I hate grits!", I became a convert when I stayed at a bed & breakfast in a small town in Georgia for my on-campus interview at Georgia Southern. When I sat down for breakfast the morning of my interview, the owner placed a small ramekin of something that looked rather unfamiliar in front of me. Seeing as how I was staying at a one-woman operation and there were no other breakfast options in sight, I began to eat it and assumed it was some baked eggs casserole. As I was halfway through, I asked "what is this?" and she said "Sausage grits casserole". My immediate reaction was "I don't even like grits, but this is GOOD!" This is my low-fat homage to the Georgia Bed & Breakfast Sausage Grits Casserole! I hope you enjoy!

Country Lovin Grits in the Oven

1 16oz pkg turkey breakfast sausage
1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups fat-free milk
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
1 cup quick-cooking grits (5 minute kind)
1 c. half and half
1/2 c. light sour cream
2 c. 2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
2. In a large skillet on medium-high, brown the sausage, onions and garlic. Set aside. 
3. In a large saucepan, bring the milk & chicken bouillon to a boil, stir in the grits, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the half and half, sour cream and 1 cup of the shredded cheese into the grits. 
5. Stir in the sausage mixture. 
6. Pour into a 9x13in baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake until cheese melts and starts to brown. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Guess Who's Back!

Well, long time no speak folks! I have been through a LOT this past year - good, bad & ugly. I'm not going to make any promises that I can't keep, so I'm just going to say that I will try to blog as often as I can. For those of you who are either following me on Twitter or connected to me via Facebook, you may have some idea about what's been going on with me since the last time I blogged. Bear with me...

Today, I "stand" before you and confess that I allowed myself to gain back 22.2 lbs bringing my weight loss total back down to 74lbs. That damage didn't happen overnight, but it sure did happen quickly. Over the past 3 weeks, I have lost a total of 4.2 of those pounds again. I could list a number of "reasons" for why this happened, but you know what, I have already forgiven myself and like my Weight Watchers meeting leader said last week, "There are only two options: Make PROGRESS or make EXCUSES." I choose to make PROGRESS.

Notice that I mentioned this idea of "forgiving myself" in the process of making PROGRESS. This is a very BASIC principle that I was VERY capable of doing for others but never seemed to manage to do for myself. Even when I had got to the point where I had lost 96 lbs, I was still beating myself up for "letting myself get SO BIG" and "waiting so long to really put in the effort to lose the weight." As many of you can probably relate, we are often our own worst critics. I convict myself of "negative self-talk" behind the "positive outward expression" that many of you may see me do on a regular basis. Now, I don't consider myself to be a fake, phony or presenting a false image of myself in that regard. That "positive outward expression" has always been an attempt to shut up the "negative self-talk" going on behind the scenes.

The past year has been full of "BUT GOD" moments for me. God is making me into the woman He needs me to be and making the decision to give my life to Christ was the best decision I could have ever made for my mind, body & spirit. I am learning the true meaning of 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new". I AM a new creation in Christ. While I am more than happy to tell ANYONE my story of anxiety, depression, ADHD diagnosis and insomnia, I no longer lay claim to what this world has placed on me. I AM "... of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

There are days when I literally am in tears as I remind myself "I will praise thee (LORD); for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." (Psalm 139:14), for so many reasons. However, the main reason it brings me to tears is because there was a time when I believed that for everyone else but me and TODAY I BELIEVE IT FOR ME!

So what does all this have to do with Fit 4 Flava? Absolutely, positively EVERYTHING! Understand that if I don't love myself and forgive myself, I am doing this all for the wrong reasons! We all fall, but we ALWAYS have the choice to GET BACK UP! Healthful living requires a HOLISTIC approach. What good is a fit body if my mind and spirit are unhealthy?

As my pastor says, that when you confess your sins, the Lord says that He will not only forgive our sins and iniquities, but He will "REMEMBER THEM NO MORE" (Hebrews 8:12, Hebrews 10:17). So stop bringing up and beating yourself up for sins and iniquities that you have already been forgiven for! God is probably thinking "what sin are you talking about?!?" BELIEVE that you are not only forgiven but that you truly are a NEW CREATION, cleansed of all unrighteousness!

Until next time folks! God bless you all! :o)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How Fascinating!?!?

What you did is NOT important. What you LEARNED from it is! - A wise WW leader!
As I weighed in today, I was so ready for a huge gain! I kept telling myself "you know what you did last week while on spring break... you gave in to those fun-size snickers..." and I was right! I went IN on those fun-size snickers, twix, miniature reese's, & peanut M&Ms! *LMAO* They were sitting there staring me in the face, talking to me! I tried to tell them to shut up, but I'm not really a rude person, so I did what they asked me to! lol Everyday, I did my BEST to eat wisely given the constraint that someone else was constantly preparing the food! That's always a challenge, however, I know I felt GREAT about how well I faced that challenge... until those candies started talking to me! Aside from the candies, I did an awesome job. The candies were sweet talking me in my ear so good that I took a big bag of them home with me when we left Flat Creek Lodge to come back to Statesboro! I spent the rest of the afternoon that Saturday snacking on those miniature candies and the snack size bags of doritos & cheetos. A recipe for disaster...

BUT the next day (Sunday), I woke up with a whole new outlook on those candies & chips! I tied that bag up, put it out of site and mentally prepared myself to take it to work on Monday and DUMP THE ENTIRE BAG INTO THE CANDY BASKET in our breakroom! I knew that if I left that bag of candy in my house, I'd eat it and act like it didn't even count because nobody saw me eat it! Want to know how I knew? Because while @ Flat Creek Lodge, the minute I gave in to the candy, I stopped tracking what I was eating! I didn't want to admit that I was eating the candy - not even to MYSELF (considering I'm the only person who typically reads my food journal). Monday, I took that candy into the office and dumped it! I felt like getting back on track for the week to come became so much easier just with that one act!

So, what else did I learn from my candy conniption? Well, I learned that I had to stop avoiding my favorite candies like the plague! Had I not been avoiding them for months now (I honestly couldn't remember the last time I had a snickers, peanut m&m's, twix or reese cup), I wouldn't have felt so out of control when I finally did eat them! I used to buy a snickers bar, cut it up into 6 equal pieces and freeze the pieces individually and when I wanted a taste, I'd grab one, eat it and be FINE! I know for a fact I am not going to be able to go through the rest of my life without ever wrapping my lips around another peanutty caramelly nougaty chocolatey snickers bar again, and I don't have to!

All this to say, that despite my snicker/twix/m&m/reese overload, I did SO MANY other things well enough that when I weighed in after 2 weeks, I ONLY had a gain of 0.6 lbs! OH YEAH... know that I'm not celebrating the actual gain, but (1) the KNOWLEDGE of that gain and (2) that there was a time when I know the damage could have been SO MUCH WORSE but it wasn't! SCORE!!!

Oh by the way... I somehow talked myself out of working out for almost a month now! Not sure what I was thinking, but that's not important remember? What's important is that I woke up on Friday morning and said "GET YO @ZZ TO THE GYM GIRL" and I DID IT! I didn't tell myself "oh I will just wait until Monday when the new week starts" or "just wait until April"... I got my behind to the gym and worked out! I'm back in business and what I REMINDED myself of this time is that EVERY NEW MINUTE IS A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY!

Stay up folks... and in the words of Ben Zander...

1. Sit in the FRONT ROW of your life!
2. See mistakes as FASCINATING!
3. Quiet your inner voice!
5. Realize that it is ALL INVENTED!

Let's make it happen!!!