Ever since I got home from the holiday vacation, I have been in a frenzy in the kitchen creating new recipes. I’m not sure if my body was just craving nutrients and fresh produce or if I went too long without cooking and getting creative with ingredients. My original plan for January of 2017 was to do a Whole30 challenge. I already eat very healthy, exercise and feel really good, however I loved the challenge of eating even better. I wanted to see how I felt without dairy, grains, beans, alcohol, etc.
I had a revelation last night – yes only four days into January – that there is only so much I can withdraw from my diet at once. Food is a favorite part of my day each day. A slice of cheese, piece of toast with peanut butter and glass of red wine were all things I would have to give up that I adore! Instead of completely eradicating, I am going to be mindful of my intake of refined sugar, dairy and carbs (pasta, bread, quinoa, oatmeal, rice, etc.) I’m going to shoot for no alcohol Monday-Friday. When I eat dairy, I’m going to think about using less. If I know I’m going to have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, maybe I’ll go for just greens during lunch or dinner. I feel much better about adjusting to a healthier diet, in moderation.
This has helped me – not forced me – to be more creative in the kitchen. Normally I would take this bowl of roasted veggies and shrimp and plate it over brown rice, quinoa or even pasta. Instead, I scooped up more of everything and filled up on the vegetables and shrimp. The reason I cleared the plate so fast was because of this delicious honey dill dressing. While it would work over almost any vegetable or salad, I loved it with the natural sweetness of the carrots, the salty and crispy broccoli and the perfectly cooked shrimp. Sprinkled with a little pine nuts for garnish, overall it was a really healthy and flavorful weeknight dinner.
If you’re looking for a way to jazz up any healthy foods this January to keep you motivated to follow through with eating better food, try this honey dill dressing! While your produce is roasting and your shrimp is thawing, you can whip it up and even make a double batch for later.
- 1 bag of pre-cut broccoli
- 1 bag of carrots
- About 24 uncooked shrimp, frozen or fresh
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 bunch of dill, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Prep the carrots by peeling the skin and cutting off the top and bottom. Slice in half if the carrots are large. Remove the stems of the broccoli if they need trimming and cut into smaller pieces so they are mostly even sized.
- Place on carrots and broccoli each on a baking sheets and drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season with about 1/4 teaspoon salt for both broccoli and carrots, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Toss the olive oil and seasonings.
- Roast for 8 minutes.
- While veggies are roasting, run frozen shrimp under cool water to defrost and remove tails. Pat dry.
- In a blender combine Greek yogurt, lemon juice, dill, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and honey. Blend until smooth.
- Once timer is up for vegetables, toss around and add shrimp to the baking sheets where there is room. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Bake for 6 more minutes.
- Shrimp should be light pink and firm to the touch, broccoli florets crispy and light golden brown, and carrots will be soft. Plate and drizzle with honey dill dressing and top with a few pinenuts.
Regardless of your philosophy on new year’s resolutions, moderation and eating healthy, I hope this year is your best culinary year yet! I’m going to run with the momentum of all these creative juices flowing in the kitchen, while being mindful of putting the best things into my body.
Love food. Love self. Love life.