A summer dinner and dessert

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market in Bedford, MA. 

When my friends over at Whole Foods Market asked me to put together a dinner and dessert featuring their fresh ingredients I couldn’t say no! Michael loves to cook and I love to bake so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to team up for a delicious summer dinner.

Sea scallops are on sale this week for $14.99/lb. so we definitely wanted to include those. I love scallops but they can be expensive so we tend to only get them when they are on sale. It’s awesome that they are on sale over the holiday weekend- they are great for grilling and scream summer to me! These were tender, and full of flavor.

Michael prepared scallops over pasta with grilled asparagus, peas, and a white wine sauce. We paired this with a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc a friend gave us. It was delicious. To round off the meal I made a healthy summer berry crisp for dessert. Serve it up with some vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and you have a festive dessert for 4th of July!

Seared Scallops with asparagus, peas, and a white wine cream sauce

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb. sea scallops sliced in half
  • 1/2 a bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 lb. fettucine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2/3 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Ingredients

Prep

Cook the fettucine in a pot of salted water for about 5 minutes, until almost al dente. Add the peas and cook for 2 more minutes until the pasta is al dente. Drain in a colander, then transfer to serving bowl, and cover with foil to keep warm.

While the pasta cooks, turn on the grill. Season the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill for approximately 10 minutes until asparagus is tender. Then slice on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the serving bowl.

While noodles cook, pat scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then add scallops. Increase heat to high and sear scallops, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 2 minutes total. Transfer to serving bowl with noodles and keep covered.

Add wine to skillet and deglaze by boiling, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Stir in water and cream and boil until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chives and pour sauce over scallops and noodles.

Dinner and Wine

Dinner came together so quickly and was really tasty. You could substitute olive oil for butter, and use non-fat milk instead of half and half to make it a bit healthier. You’ll end up with a thinner sauce but the flavor will still be there. We often do this when making dishes like this.

scallops

Summer Berry Crisp

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1 package of strawberries, stems removed and halved
  • 1 package of raspberries
  • 1 package of blueberries
  • 1 package of blackberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 lemon zested

For the topping

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil

Berries

Prep

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Combine the ingredients with your fingers. Then drizzle the warm oil and fully incorporate it to make a crumble.

Next, wash all your berries in a colander. Then add to a large bowl and mix in the cinnamon, cornstarch, sugar, and lemon zest.

Spray a 9×12 pan with cooking spray. Pour in the berries. Next add the crumble to the top. Be sure to slightly press down on the crumble when covering the berries. Bake for 40 minutes.

Summer berry crisp

Serve with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

crisp and ice cream

I love crisps, especially when they include fresh summer berries! You could easily make this gluten-free by using gluten-free flour. You can also substitute stevia for the sugar as well.

Crisp

A big thanks to Whole Foods in Bedford, MA for providing all of the fresh ingredients for our summer dinner. Be sure to check out the sales and specials like the sea scallops!

Enjoy!

Healthy Habits for Weight Loss: Dinner and Portions

There are a lot of reasons to lose weight and there are a lot of ways to do it.  With our wedding approaching in November we decided to make this an overall healthy year.  So in January started to focus on what we were eating, how much we were eating and set out to change some habits and lose weight along the way.  I’ll be sharing some of our new healthy habits over a series of short posts.  Let’s start with dinner and portion sizes.

I grew up in a house where my mom cooked dinner every night.  We sat down as  family, talked about our days and shared a meal together.  She made everything from tacos, to shake and bake pork chops with mashed potatoes.  We always had a fresh vegetable and salad with our meals.  My mom also made pretty much everything from scratch which helped to keep our meals healthy.  Michael grew up in a similar house and together we bonded over cooking and sharing meals.  When we moved in together, cooking dinner and having a meal became a daily occurrence.  We have always tried to keep it healthy with lean protein and green veggies but we knew this wouldn’t be enough to help us shed a few pounds.

One of the first things we changed up this year was our dinners.  Michael has always struggled with GI issues, and complained that our dinners left him feeling full at night which made sleeping uncomfortable.  So we’ve started to shift to a lighter dinner.   We’ve also really focused on our portions.  For example, Wednesday night is always taco night for us.  We used to make guacamole with 2 avocados and would each eat three tacos with extra lean ground chicken.  I’d say most nights we ate 3/4 of a pound of turkey.  Now make guacamole with  1 avocado, each eat 2 tacos and have less than 1/2 a pound of meat between us.  Most other nights we have been having a salad or soup.  Salads are topped with salmon or chicken baked in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  We’ll put some butternut squash, tomatoes, cucumber, and whatever else sounds good!  We’ve always tossed our salads with a yogurt based dressing and kept it very light so we continue to do that.   Even when we order takeout I serve out my portion and then package up the remaining serving so as not to over eat or tempt myself!

Salmon over Salad with Veggies!

Salmon over Salad with Veggies!

For me the switch was really hard to adjust to mentally.  I was afraid I’d be hungry or not get enough to eat, after all I was already at a healthy weight.  And to add to that, I’ve always been a big eater.  Growing up I always had seconds, and when I was skiing in college and burning about 2,000 calories in a single workout I had seconds.  To the astonishment of those around me I could always eat and eat and still be at a healthy weight with lean, toned muscles.  Recently though, I’ve noticed I want to eat less and I’m fuller faster.  It’s likely a product of my age and activity level but had me thinking about how much I was eating on a regular basis.  The first thing I noticed when it came to eating lighter, smaller meals was that I really didn’t miss the larger portions or second helpings.  Not one bit.  I also noticed that I was sleeping and feeling better with our lighter dinners.  Michael has also been feeling much better since we’ve started eating lighter and has had less GI issues as well.  I think the greatest change is that this habit is even translating when we go out to dinner.  We order less food, order healthier options and we don’t eat our whole serving.  It’s so unlike us but goes to show how mindful eating can make a difference…a difference you can see and feel!

Over the next few posts I’ll talk about breakfast, desserts, meal prep and more!  All of these changes are really making a difference for us.  And the positive results make us want to continue our healthy habits!

How do you monitor your portions at dinner?  Does mindful eating  help you keep your portions smaller?