Avocado Shrimp Salad

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Ingredients for Cajun Shrimp:
1 lb medium shrimp (31-40 Count), peeled & deveined
1 tsp cajun spice
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Ingredients for Salad:
1 medium romaine lettuce (5-6 cups chopped)
½ lb (3 medium) Roma tomatoes, sliced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
½ English cucumber (or 3 small), sliced
2 avocados, peeled, pitted & sliced
1 cup corn kernels (from 2 freshly cooked cobs)
Ingredients for Cilantro-Lemon Dressing:
Juice of 1 large lemon (3 Tbsp)
½ small bunch of cilantro (1/2 cup finely chopped) or parsley
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt or ¾ tsp table salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
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How to make Avocado Shrimp Salad:
  1. Pat dry shrimp with paper towels & place in a medium bowl. Add 1 tsp cajun spice, 2 pressed garlic cloves, a pinch of salt & stir to combine.
  2. Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp butter & once its melted & hot, add shrimp in a single layer. Sauté 2 minutes per side or just until cooked through. Transfer to a plate & set aside.
  3. Chop, rinse & spin dry 1 medium head of romaine lettuce. You should end up with about 6 cups lettuce. Transfer that to a large mixing bowl. Now add 3 sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, sliced cucumbers, 2 sliced avocados & 1 cup cooked corn.
  4. To make the dressing, start with 3 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice, now finely chop about ½ cup of cilantro & stir that in. Add 3 Tbsp of olive oil & extra virgin has the best flavor. Season with 1 tsp salt & a generous pinch of black pepper & stir that together.

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Source: Natasha’s Kitchen

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles

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Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles

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Need:
1 8oz of philly cream cheese
1 regular size jar of your favorite Peanut Butter
1 Bag of melting Chocolate/chocolate bark
1/2 Cup of Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Nuts (optional)

Do:
Take your cream cheese, powdered sugar & peanut butter in your mixer & whip together using your paddle attachment (you can hand mix if you would prefer) until fully incorporated. Once combined, use your hands to create little balls, about an inch/inch & a half each
Roll each ball in the Graham Cracker Crumbs, then press them into each ball with your fingers (you dont want loose crumbs). Place each of the balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 1-2 hours (or until solid, if you can wait that long).
Place the melting chocolate or bark in a bowl & microwave for 90 seconds. Stir &, if needed, heat an additional 15 seconds until it’s smooth & creamy. Watch it closely, keep stopping to stir (it burns easily if you use this way).

I recommend using a double boiler, easier & you always get perfect melting chocolate. Using a fork, dip the balls into the melted chocolate. Tap your fork on the side of your bowl to remove the excess. Place back on your parchment lined sheet. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Keeping It Together

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“True strength is keeping everything together when everyone expects you to fall apart.”– Unknown

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Zesty Vegetable Lasagna

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Total Time: 2:10
Cook: 1:30
Level: Moderate
Serves: 15

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Need:

2½ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup pecorino romano cheese
3 clove garlic
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 large Egg
1 tsp. salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. cremini mushrooms
1 large onion
2 red and yellow bell peppers
12 oz. fresh baby spinach
4½ cup marinara sauce
1 lb. no-boil lasagna noodles
1½ lb. fresh mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Make the fillings: Combine the ricotta & Pecorino Romano cheeses, garlic, herbs, & egg with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt & pepper & the crushed red pepper in a bowl & set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms & cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onions, & peppers & cook until slightly softened, about 4 more minutes. Add the spinach & remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Toss & cook until spinach is wilted & tender, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Assemble the lasagna: Heat oven to 350 degrees F°. Pour 1 1/2 cups sauce into a deep-dish lasagna pan. Layer 5 lasagna noodles over the sauce. Top with half of the cooked vegetables & a third of the mozzarella. Layer with 5 more noodles & spread half the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with 1 cup of sauce & add another layer of noodles. Add the remaining vegetables, another third of the mozzarella, & a layer of noodles. Spread on the remaining ricotta mixture, 1 cup of sauce, & the last layer of noodles. Add the remaining sauce and mozzarella.

Cover with foil & bake until bubbly (about 1 hour & 20 minutes). Let the lasagna cool slightly before serving.

✴Timesaver: Make penne with vegetables: Toss 1/2 cup of the ricotta with 1 pound of cooked penne. Stir in the sautéed vegetables & serve with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

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Chester Bennington, Linkin Park, and Suicide

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Recently, things have been insane. My depression is off the charts and I know that my feeling super sick isn’t helping at all.

One thing that has rocked my world is the death of Chester Bennington. I know that I am not the only saddened Linkin Park fan out there but naturally, their influence on my personal life is what is on my mind.

The whole band is amazing, but Chester was the lead singer and “front man,” so naturally all eyes are on him.

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Linkin Park has played a major role in my life since the truly entered the scene back in 2000 (even though they formed together in 1996). Honestly, they got me through high school, hands down. I wouldn’t have made it through without them. I remember my senior year alone, I listened to “Numb” every-single-day.

There is so much irony in Chester’s death. He was the lead singer of a band that kept me from taking my own life and now, Chester took his life. He put himself out there. He put his demons on display for everyone and slayed them. He let me know that I wasn’t alone and that there are others out there who understand me and the things I was dealing with and continue to deal with.

He’s always been a huge inspiration for me and a reason why I put myself out there. He’s a huge reason why I feel comfortable putting my demons and secrets and incredibly painful experiences up front and center.

I’m not afraid to let people know I’ve been sexually abused, I’ve been in domestically violent relationships, I have no relationship with my family, and so much more. I’m not afraid to say, I battle depression, anxiety, PTSD and again, so much more.

It’s okay to NOT be okay and Linkin Park has helped me deal with a lot of that.

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Knowing that Chester is gone is heartbreaking. When I heard the news, I seriously felt my heart stop and then drop. I can only imagine what his family, friends, and bandmates are going through. I’m only a fan and I’m crushed.

For those who don’t understand depression, I urge you to educate yourself. You may see warning signs in people you know and be able to help in ways you never thought possible.

It’s terrible and it can’t always be controlled with medication, therapy, a mixture of both…it’s a monster. It’s a beast and it can one hundred percent take over making you feel completely helpless. Suicide is something that has crossed my mind MANY, MANY times. It’s crosses depressed people’s mind all the time. When depression takes over, it’s scary and as someone who deals with depression every-single-day, sometimes I don’t realize just how bad off I am.

Even though I’ve contemplated suicide, planned it out, and was ready to leave this world but I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to die. However, I didn’t want to live anymore either. Thats where cutting came in. It changed the internal pain up external and helped me refocus.

It’s still earth shattering. He saved so many but we couldn’t save him.

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http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/chester-bennington-a-voice-of-pain-and-anger-for-a-generation-w493596

Linkin Park Honor Chester Bennington’s Fearlessness and Big Heart in Emotional Letter: ‘You Touched So Many Lives’

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