Archive for May, 2013


Okay, I am having a little fun with the title, but recently I made some whiskey shrimp and it turned out delicious.

Like that picture? Did it move a little? Hehehe. For those of you that have liked my Candysbrain blog facebook page, you may have already seen this. For everyone else– bon apetite! (and…. you should like my facebook page).

Again, none of my recipes are ever exact. Play with it. Have fun. Make up your own version.

Whiskey Shrimp:

1 pound fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 oz. heavy cream
2 tblspoons butter
salt and pepper
(approx.) 2 shots whiskey
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Lemon zest (1/2 to 1 lemon)

Start with very hot pan on stove. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, add shrimp to hot pan with a little olive oil. Sear on both sides (1-2 min.)
Drink some whiskey
After the shrimp is slightly browned on both sides, remove and set aside.
Add garlic and red pepper flakes to hot pan (might want to turn down slightly, garlic burns fast) with a little more olive oil.
After approx. 1 min. add the whiskey to ‘de-glaze’ the pan. Remove from flame while pouring whiskey or risk losing your eye brows.
Let the whiskey cook in pan while using wooden spoon to release any brown bits from bottom of pan.
Drink some whiskey.
After 1 min. add the heavy cream, bring to boil, reduce to simmer.
Add lemon zest
Put shrimp and chopped chives back in the pan.
Drink some more whiskey.
Cook for another 5 mins. Garnish with more chives.

Eat and enjoy! Seriously so good.

militarySo, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to say about Memorial Day and was coming up short. I also have been trying to focus and honor my feelings lately. I noticed that when I thought about Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, or just soldiers in general- I get a sick feeling in my tummy. It is an uncomfortable and almost queasy feeling deep in the pit of my stomach. Because the feeling is unpleasant, I don’t want to stay ‘in that space’. I want to move on and think of something else. Well, that kind of thinking will not lead to growth, so I stayed….

What I realized is that feeling is sadness, fear, and guilt all piled on top of eachother and wrestling in my tummy.

Sadness because I cannot imagine the loneliness and isolation of a lot of the families. I cannot imagine missing the birth of a child or the countless milestones that happen while you are away. I cannot imagine being the spouse at home, trying to hold it all together. I can’t imagine sacrificing years of your life for the greater good. I cannot imagine coming back to find that everyone else just kept living their life while you were gone.

Fear because I cannot imagine how I afraid I would be if I were in their shoes. Whether I were the soldier in the middle of hell, or the spouse at home, fear would run my life. I cannot help picturing what I would be like as a military wife. I think I would be crippled by my fear of losing my husband every damn day. It makes me cry right now just imagining that scenario.

And lastly guilt. Guilt because I didn’t do. Guilt because I wouldn’t do it. Guilt because I have the freedom to say that I wouldn’t do it. And, probably most importantly, guilt because I don’t do enough now. I don’t do enough to reach out and support our military. I don’t do enough to thank our military. I don’t spend enough time in this uncomfortable space honoring our military.

Here are 4 websites that you can check out:

Please use the comments section to provide other links that people can check out. Also, please share what you personally do to support our military and their families. Thanks!

The Promise of a New Day

I love mornings. Not in the way that some people do. I don’t spring out of bed; I’m not up early enough to see the sun rise. But, once I am up, I love the first 20 min. I pour my coffee, put on PBS for the kids, and get my head together. I think about my intention for the day. I think about my focus for the day.

I know that today I want to have a fun and relaxing day. And you may be thinking, “DUH! We all want to have a fun and relaxing day.” The difference is that I am consciously choosing this as my plan. I will not agree to run around and do a bunch of errands. I will not accept an offer of play dates. I will not get worked up along with my son if he is particularly sensitive. I will not get frustrated with my daughter who is sassy beyond her years. I am not going to commit to an overly complicated meal plan. I will not spend more than 30 min. in the kitchen.

super will<

I am going to go for a nice long walk with the kids. I am NOT going to worry about how slow we are going. I am going to play in the back yard with my kids. This is going to involve tag, hide-n-seek, ninjas/fighting/swords/super heros, bubbles (god-forsaken-bubbles), and maybe a picnic. Later on, this is also going to include mommy drinking a summer ale in the driveway while my kids fight over who gets to use the red scooter and who gets to use the green scooter. But, I know their fighting/whining is coming. It is inevitable. Today I am choosing to not let it bother me.

ellie scooter

Today I am choosing to have a fun and relaxing day!

me and dishHi everyone! Again, I apologize for the delay. I have had a broken computer AGAIN! I am not sure why our computer sucks so much, but luckily we have smart friends that are easily bribed (you know who you are). Here are some random thoughts and announcements and a recipe.

1. Attention everyone! I have reached my goal weight! I have officially lost 15 pounds since going wheat free/paleo-ish and want to shout it from the roof tops! I will probably be posting on the weight topic soon. Today is about food.

2. I cannot tell you how many people have read what I have written and responded with: RECIPES PLEASE!!!! If you know me well, you know that I am incapable of sharing recipes because I have never once in my life actually followed a recipe! This is why I am a good cook and a horrible baker! Ask my sister-in-law… Here are some ‘approximate’ instructions.

3. I will continue to share recipes so please stay tuned. On the other hand, these meal ideas are meant to be served as-is! Yes, this sausage dish would be delish on bread or served over potatoes, but that defeats the purpose. I promise you- if you cut out anything ‘white’ or that ‘can be white’, you will feel better. (i.e. rice, pasta, bread). Fat is not bad unless combined with the bad carbs. Good fat is good! Your heart and brain NEED fat. (the fat on your thighs is un-related)

4. I have had a bunch of people concerned about fruits and nuts. To be clear: people ALMOST NEVER get fat on fruits and nuts! They are getting fat on everything else. Should we eat more veggies than fruit? Absolutely! Should we avoid bingeing on nuts? Of course! I have been eating more fruit and fats/nuts than ever before (in my whole life) and have been losing weight. I swear, cut the crap (i.e. processed foods, junk, fast food, soda, etc) and you won’t have to analyze another part of your diet—ever!

Tonight I made one of my husband’s favorites: sausage with peppers and onions. As I mentioned above, this dish is delish with rolls or potatoes, but you really don’t need them. I have heard from many-a-woman that they ‘would love to cook this way but my husband/kids would hate it!’ Well, some parts suck for everyone. Husbands and 5 years olds seem to be the most obnoxious! But, if you make GOOD food with lots of FLAVOR- your husband won’t mind! Your 5 year old is still going to complain. In fact, they are going to complain about anything except chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Get used to it! Expect tears! Know that you are molding a future ‘foodie’.

This is my ‘mise en place’: pronounced ‘miz on plas’. In our American words it means our ‘set up’. I am a crazy busy working mom who is trying to keep it together at the end of my rope with this ‘healthy-gluten-free-paleo-cooking’. The more prep (or mise en place’) you do ahead of time, the less time you will spend in the kitchen.

mise en place

***Candy’s brain tip: If you struggle with technique when it comes to recipe ideas….watch the food network! If you only watch one show, watch either- bobby flay, secrets of a restaurant chef, or the barefoot contessa. Ignore the bread/biscuit/pasta recipes. If/when you are at a goal weight you can play with these recipes too.

Here is what I made tonight:

1 lb. Mild Italian Sausage
2 Grn. Bell Peppers, 1 orange
1 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
3 basil leaves
salt, pepper, Italian herb seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes (optional but great for spice!), parmesan, and olive oil

Brown the sausage first: hot pan, little olive oil, approx. 2 mins per side.
Remove sausage and add sliced onion and peppers, seasonings/red pepper. Saute for approx. 6 mins or until soft.
Add minced garlic. Saute for 2 mins. Don’t let garlic burn. Add diced tomatoes and chopped basil.
Bring to boil and then add sausage back to pan. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins. covered.
Add parmesan right before serving.

Please enjoy! Please tell me what you think! Please don’t make fun of the cheesy picture of me and my dish!!!! I love answering cooking or chef questions so please ask me!

willI am lucky enough to work for a company that is committed to continuous improvement. They are trying to create an environment of constant learning, evolving, and growing. Today I spent 3+ hours talking about feelings in room of about 150 people. Of course going into a meeting like this there is some apprehension and, if you’re like me, excitement. I realize that I could spend every day of my life in the pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment and still never know all there is to know. That is why I get all jacked up before these meetings and try to soak it all up like a sponge. Thru the training you learn how to be a better manager, sure. But, the best part is that I learn to be a better mom and better wife and better ME. It is thru these trainings that I have accepted the fact that I am in control of what shows up in my life. It is thru these trainings that I have accepted that I DO have enough time. It is thru these trainings that I have accepted that every experience is a learning experience.

Anyway, back to feelings…..

My son Will is a basket (case) full of emotions. He cries constantly! (Picture Anchor Man “I’m in a glass case of emotion!!) At least a few times a day he has to take off his adorable glasses and wipe his big brown eyes. I’m telling the truth when I say that one time he literally started crying because the chocolate milk at the restaurant was delicious. Well, after 5 years of this, my husband and I have begun to see this as a ‘problem’. We, in our grown up minds, have labeled “good” reasons to cry (i.e. fell and scraped my knee) and “bad” reasons to cry (i.e. I don’t want chicken for dinner). We have even been asking Will, “Now Will…. is that a good reason to cry?” Part of this correction is because in our minds he needs to learn the difference between something serious and not. Part of it is because we are sick of it. Then, there is a small part of me that worries about what will happen if he is 12 and still cries every time something doesn’t go his way.

Notice the highlighted words: our, we, me. This has nothing to do with me! This is about Will and his feelings. He is sad and therefore he cries. Simple as that. He doesn’t over think it. He doesn’t analyze it. He has a feeling and he feels it. He is not hurting himself or others. He is simply releasing that emotion. Who am I to say what is or isn’t a good reason to be sad? What do I expect him to say, “Well Mom, when Ellie took my toy it made me sad because I feel like ever since she was born she gets everything she wants and I have nothing of my own anymore and I guess that makes me feel vulnerable. Thanks for listening, glad I got that off my chest.” No, he is going to cry.

And the scariest part is, he is probably more enlightened than we are. I have 31 years of ‘society’ telling me what is an acceptable way to show my emotions and what is not. I am a girl so I try really hard not to cry at work because that would make me look ‘weak’. If someone hurts my feelings I pretend that I’m tough and I make a joke because I don’t want to be ‘too sensitive’. But you know what happens? That sadness, hurt, anger, etc. just comes out later and usually in a situation that doesn’t deserve it. We’ve all been there: your boss was a jerk and you go home and yell at your husband. Not Will. He gets in a fight with one of the neighbor boys, he cries for about 25 seconds, and then he’s over it. He gets up and moves on. He can go from tears to tag with smiles in under a minute! He doesn’t over think it. He doesn’t analyze it. He has a feeling and he feels it.

I think as parents we could learn from our kids at least as much as they can learn from us. Why do we take our kids mood/behavior/words/feelings so personally? Is it because we are grown ups and we feel the need to give meaning to everything? When Will is whiny, or he’s having a rough time, it’s not about me! It’s not about him trying to ruin my day (even though it seems like it sometimes). He is not concerned with how his behavior is affecting my ‘vision for the day’. He is simply feeling his feelings. We (parents) are in control of how much this behavior affects us. We can control how we react to their behavior. We have so much influence on our children. Are we teaching them that sadness is bad? That fear is bad? How is this going to affect them as adults?

I’m not sure where to go from here, but just being a little bit more aware of this truth makes me feel better. Somehow, I am less fearful. I think it is still important to teach the lessons but not try to control how those feelings show up for him. Real life example: Will starts crying because he doesn’t want chicken and veggies for dinner. I’ll take his glasses, encourage him to breathe, and let him cry. I will also explain that even though he is sad and even though this is not what he wants for dinner, this IS what we are having because it is healthy and mommy worked very hard at preparing it. He can keep crying if he wants, it is not “bad” and he’s not in “trouble”, but it is also not going to change the outcome of what I am serving for dinner.

And, for myself, I am going to take it easy on judging myself. I won’t label my feelings as weak, or bad, or selfish, etc. I will try not to over think it. I will try not to over analyze it. I will just have a feeling and feel it.

Recently a friend had a big event coming up and wanted to really focus for 3 weeks on slimming down and eating perfect. She asked me if I would come up with a meal plan for her to take the guess work out of it. For her, I really focused on cutting out salt and dairy because this was a short term strict ‘diet’. For the average person, eating this way is already cutting out SO MUCH salt/sugar/bad fat, that you don’t really need to focus on limiting more. I eat a lot of fat now: avocados, meat, nuts, oils, etc. If you have high blood pressure or really have a lot of weight to lose, you might want to limit the salt and dairy too.

My intention with this post is to give you ideas for real life, something that you could maintain moving forward. This is NOT a short term plan to lose weight. This is a life time plan to improve your health, have more energy, have fewer digestive problems, and yes….lose a little bit of weight. (If you are not a cooker and need more specifics, just ask. I love talking about this shit! I will help you.)


Eggs- limit salt and dairy. A little cheese is okay, but make the cheese count! Good quality, full flavor!

Spinach, tomato, peppers, mushrooms, lean meats, etc. (You can pre-make these either in quiche form or in a muffin pan, and heat up when ready. I like to do a quiche with peppers, onions, broccoli, and spinach, with smoked gouda. My husband likes omelets with sundried tomatoes, feta, mushrooms, and spinach. My kids like scrambled eggs with ‘flat turkey’ (aka lunch meat) and spinach.)

Smoothies- Use plain full fat yogurt, milk, fruits, and veggies. Here are a couple I like.

Yogurt, milk, banana, almond butter, spinach, chocolate syrup (yes, I know, but I like it), and ice

Yogurt, milk, banana, apple (skin on), almonds (5-7, raw, no salt), cinnamon, spinach, and ice

Yogurt, milk, banana, raspberries, spinach, and ice

Chicken/apple sausage (Applegate farms, I love these!)- eat with a handful of berries

Apple with Almond butter, and hard boiled egg

Lunches and Dinners:

Turkey Burgers with lettuce, tomato, avocado, sprouts, etc. No Ketchup! No mayo! (Sear on each side and finish in oven since turkey burgers get so dry). I also like to chop up a granny smith apple really finely (skin on) and mix it in with the meat to keep it juicy and add fiber.

Chicken or Tuna salad over greens (no additional dressing besides the mayo and lemon juice in the chicken/tuna)

Turkey/cheese/bell pepper roll ups (3 slices turkey, 1 slice of cheese divided in 3, and 3 strips of a bell pepper in the middle), with an apple or berries, and some nuts (pistachios, almonds)

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup. I buy the low-sodium one in the health food aisle in the rectangle carton. I then add a bunch of shredded chicken, a can of diced tomatoes (use fresh in season, no salt added if from can), red pepper flakes for heat, and avocado (add when serving).

Chicken Breast with homemade quac (avocado, red onion, cilantro, and tomato-not salsa unless its fresh- and lemon juice)

Chicken/apple sausage again with either 1. Raw carrots/broc/celery with yogurt based ranch, 2. Celery and almond butter, 3. Pistachios and fruit

Pork tenderloin and veggies

Chicken and veggies

Burgers over portabello, tomato, avocado, sprouts, carmelized onions, spinach, butter lettuce, and/or anything fresh that you like.

Stuffed peppers: ground turkey, onion, cheese, spinach, pablano pepper, diced tomatoes

Skirt steak sliced over big salad, hard boiled egg, veggies, avocado, olive oil and lemon juice dressing (or oil and vinegar)

Chicken pesto over greens or with roasted veggies (Roasted veggies= broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and kale= so yummy!)

Steak with chimichurri (You can google recipes for chimichurri, its very simple. If you’re not familiar it is usually a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, and a bunch of fresh herbs/spices).

Chicken legs with chimichurri (I don’t love chicken legs but my husband does. Any chicken cut is great for this. The bone-in cuts will be juicier, but cook slower).

I didn’t separate lunch and dinner b/c there can be so much overlap. This diet should be combined with lots of exercise and water.

Also, I’d like to be clear on one thing… No soda! Not even diet. Soda is always bad. It causes cravings, and is filled with chemicals. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: Besides water, coffee, and a little bit of milk…if it doesn’t get you drunk, don’t drink it. J