Clams and Shrimp with Jalapeño, Lemon and Basil

View from the Carriage House Window

A few years ago, I met with an amazing nutritional counselor who is like a nutritional “detective”. She identifies toxins and metals that are in your body, along with any vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and she puts you on a short-term detox plan that for me included eliminating wheat, dairy, alcohol and red meat, and adding things like zinc, detox tea and Penta ultra-purified water (room temperature). As usual, I was looking to lose those extra 10 pounds that had made themselves quite at home for the past 10 years or so. The key, I found out, was to eliminate dairy and wheat. ACK! I love cheese & crackers! And pasta, oh how I love pasta…. Lasagna, the food of the gods…. Pizza, my favorite food EVER. Those are verboten, at least until I reach my goal, and then only every once in awhile. Time for a little spring cleaning…..

You may wonder why I’m featuring this gorgeous picture of a tree in NJ on this particular post. My niece Lauren took it from the carriage house where she lives. It reminded me of a reawakening, of the joy that comes from being outdoors, breathing in the clean air, making clean living choices, making a new start. A window has opened, and look at what awaits! Healthy living combines the best of what is right in front of us; and Spring is the absolute best time to take advantage of the locally grown fresh produce and all of the outdoor activities that don’t cost you a dime.

But first, let’s deal with switching out of winter eating (i.e. “hibernation”) mode. Where to begin? Each of us has different nutritional needs. For instance, I need protein. A bowl of cereal and fresh fruit will NOT cut it for me! I’ve added a scoop of my vanilla protein powder to my oatmeal, and that helps. Or I may have a few chicken sausages on the side. But typically my breakfast is a protein shake with ½ of a container of non-fat Greek yogurt. I end up with 29 grams of protein, and because I add fresh or frozen berries, I also get a quick energy injection.

The Blood Type Diet has some fascinating information about the differences in dietary requirements specific to your blood type. It’s not the be-all to end-all, but I found that the descriptions pertaining to my blood type were dead-on. I always “thought” that I needed a steady diet of protein, but once I read the book it was a definite “AHA!” moment for me.

Day 1 of my weight loss adventure was just “okay”. I messed up on one of my appointments, and that threw my plan for lunch off a bit. I ended up just throwing down a protein shake at 12:15, making myself scrambled eggs at 3:30, and snacking on slices of leftover chicken and avocados at 6:30. I did consume my full amount of H2O. Yesterday I had lunch OUT; I carefully avoided the bread basket, and ordered a spinach salad with grilled chicken on the side. I haven’t scheduled in extra exercise time, so I’ll have to make it a priority today. My 1-hour workout at the gym included only 20 minutes of mild cardio, and 40 minutes of upper body weight training. Looks like a brisk walk to the beach will be on the docket later. Mike will be so happy!

As promised, I’m including one of my favorite dishes that I’ve served at dinner parties. If you want to make this into a meal, I suggest serving a salad first (lightly dressed), and cooking up some Quinoa “spaghetti”. Bristol Farms and Whole Foods carry a brand that I really like: “Ancient Harvest”. It’s in a turquoise box, and it’s delicious. This recipe as written was only for the clams, but the sauce is so delicious, I made some shrimp on the side and increased the sauce. It was a winner for sure!!

I buy frozen peeled, cleaned, tails-off shrimp at Trader Joe’s, and Manila clams at Bristol Farms. I haven’t tried substituting the butter-flavored grape seed oil for the butter (in the sauce) but I’m sure it would be just as delicious.

Clams and Shrimp with Jalapeño, Lemon and Basil
8 servings
adapted from Bon Appétit July 2004

2 Tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon minced jalapeño chiles
1 cup canned tomato sauce (Hunt’s All Natural)
½ cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 pounds littleneck or manila clams, scrubbed and purged
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1½ Tablespoons grated lemon peel

1 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil
(I recommend Wildtree Butter-or Garlic-flavored G-S Oil)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 lbs. Shrimp, shelled and deveined

Melt butter in a very large pot over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and jalapeño; stir until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add clams; cover and boil until clams open, about 9 minutes (discard any clams that do not open). Transfer clams with slotted spoon to large serving bowl and keep warm. Keep sauce hot.

Meanwhile, heat grape seed oil to very hot in large heavy skillet or wok. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds (no need to add garlic if you’re using the garlic-flavored oil). Add shrimp and quickly stir-fry for one minute. Add shrimp to sauce, combine well. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. Transfer shrimp to separate serving dish with slotted spoon.

Add basil and lemon peel to sauce. Season with pepper. Split sauce between clams and shrimp and serve hot.

Clams and ¼ cup sauce: 289 Calories, 3 g Fat
Shrimp and ¼ cup sauce: 210 Calories, 6 g Fat

Enjoy! And PLAN to get out and get moving! I have current weather for NJ, Seattle and Manhattan Beach on my dashboard, and it looks like TODAY will be mild and dry in all 3 places. There’s no time like the present.


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