Life Updates: I’ve started swimming again. Back in high school, I was on the swim team for a time, and I loved being in the water. It was hard work, and I felt half drowned 2/3rds of the time, but I kind of loved it anyway. Despite that, I really haven’t been swimming for years now, except to take the kids to the pool to play.
It’s been a struggle for me to find exercise that doesn’t cause me huge amounts of pain, and isn’t pure torture. For those you that don’t know, I have a nerve and mussel problem with my leg/hip which is a result of complications from a major infection I got after giving birth to Tristan my youngest son. I was in and out of the hospital with the infection, on IV antibiotics for near 6 months, and could only walk with a walker for quite a while. And unfortunately, I’m still dealing with the effects of that infection today. I.E. Pain, lots of pain, occasional issues with walking normally, and did I mention pain? I don’t want this stuff to be the focus of my life, but I’ve got to admit, it’s there, you know? Especially when it comes to stuff like exercise…
Plus, there is was always the normal life logistics part of things that can make exercise difficult. I have two kids, it’s not like I have extra time on my hands. How do you make time in between the runs to school, errands, and everything else that life consists of? And even I made time what would I do with the kids while I went to the gym or whatever, anyway? And then there is the motivation thing… You all know where I’m going with all that, right?
Yeah, it’s not like haven’t been aware I need to exercise, but it’s just been so hard for me to get and keep any kind of plan or routine going with it. But amazingly, swimming has turned out to be my answer!
I have the kids taking swim lessons this summer, every weekday morning. So we all get up and go to the pool one way or another; and instead of just sitting while they have their lessons, I started swimming laps near by. Swimming laps did hurt at first, but with in a week I started getting out of the pool in less pain then I went in with. I am beyond excited. Plus, possibly most amazing at all it doesn’t feel hard to stay motivated to swim, nor like torture while I’m doing it!
time made ✓
kids occupied ✓
less pain!?! ✓
no torture ✓
I kind of feel like I’m sneaking one by someone. This is too easy and shouldn’t count as exercise. Where’s the torture? Anyway, it’s awesome.
Dinner Updates: While swimming has turned out to be totally awesome, I do have to admit it takes up so much of the day. By the time we’re back from the pool it’s time to seriously get moving with the rest of the day, and I’ve lost a lot of my morning prep time, which is when I often get my dinner for that evening figured out and prepared, or at least prepped. With the loss of time, I find I’m turning more and more, to quick, uncomplicated recipes to make sure I get dinner on the table.
In the winter one of my favorite easy (but totally delish) recipes is Fettuccine Alfredo. It’s so easy I can toss it together, like, 15 minutes before dinner. (I leave T’s ingredients separate and toss his food in a light “buttery cheese sauce” made from Smart Balance and nutritional yeast, which is allergy free for him and still yummy.) And my Fettuccine Alfredo happens to be so yummy I could happily eat it once a week. However, I’ve got to admit it’s not the most summery of dishes.
So, this past week I decided to ‘summer it up’. Add some shrimp and some Cajun spices to shake it up, and voila, we’ve got a totally summery Alfredo. And yes, it’s still supper easy to make, and delish enough to eat once a week. Serve with a nice green salad and you’re done. Much like swimming, this is totally awesome.
Cajun Shrimp Alfredo– Serves 6 generously.
- 1 lb (one box) Fettuccine, cooked following the boxes al dente directions
- 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 and 1/2 cups of milk + a splash more, as needed
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smokey paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- cayenne pepper, to taste (Start at 1/4 teaspoon and move up from there.)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 lbs, shrimp, peeled and deveined, the tail can also be removed, if desired (You can use fresh or frozen shrimp, pre-cooked or uncooked.)
- Cook the pasta, following the boxes al dente directions. Meanwhile, add the heavy cream, milk, garlic, onion, paprika, thyme, black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a medium sized sauce pot. Heat the mixture over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the mixture begins to bubble.
- Add in the grated parmesan and stir frequently as the cheese melts into the sauce. Cook over medium high heat, still staring often, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste the sauce and add additional cayenne pepper if desired.
- Add the prepped shrimp to the pot. If the shrimp are pre-cooked heat until the shrimp are warm. If the shrimp are uncooked, cook until the shrimp turn pink and are slightly opaque (about 3 minutes). Add an additional splash of milk the sauce and reduce the heat to medium low if the sauce becomes too thick while the shrimp are cooking.
- When the shrimp are cooked/hot toss the sauce with the cooked pasta. Serve hot immediately.
Note: This recipe can be made with all cream instead of the milk. I’ve chosen to go half and half to somewhat reduce the calories of the dish. If you choose to use all cream reserve a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce if it becomes too thick during cooking.