Todd! Who’s Gonna Win Tonight? by Ree

I explained over on The Pioneer Woman Cooks today that I’ve become somewhat obsessed with Snapchat lately, and that I’ve been enjoying posting Snapchat stories of the things I’m cooking here and there.

But I also like posting Snapchats of my walks, my dogs, my kids…whatever is going on!

At the end of my walk yesterday, Todd rolled up-I mean, Captain America rolled up-to greet me.

It’s so nice to have a superhero on the ranch!

Alas, Cap’s basketball prediction did not come to pass. Our beloved OKC Thunder lost to Golden State Warriors in Game 7 last night, and our heads are hanging low this morning, right along with most Oklahomans I know. It was a tough, tough loss, and I tossed and turned all night. I kept having dreams about saber tooth tigers wearing Golden State jerseys.

They were mean, mean, mean kitties! Ha.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.


P-Widdle Diddle

OKC Thunder Fan for Life


chicken gyro salad

chicken gyro salad

Last week, because we are edgy, rebellious and pretty much the dictionary definition of renegades, we broke the law. We decided we’d had enough of having an outdoor space and no fire-breathing apparatus to exercise our American-given right to burn food on in the summer months and brought home the tiniest, safest and most docile grill ever manufactured, basically the fluffy kitten of the barbecue landscape. As I figure we’re going to be asked to remove it any moment now, all of my previous summer goals have be redirected to the following: enjoying every second of it while it lasts. We are going to grill everything. I am halfway to fulfilling my fantasy of setting all my food on fire.

prepping the chicken

We started with chicken, however, because in real life I am not exactly Francis Mallmann (I’m sorry to disappoint). We had a small crowd for dinner last Thursday (in advance of this guy’s guitar recital) and because we are officially at a point when I find cooking anything extra, no matter how wiped out I am, still more appealing than finding a restaurant that can accommodate 6 grown-ups, a 6-year old and a 10.5 month old fireball. I bet the restaurants thank us, too.

… Read the rest of chicken gyro salad on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. |

permalink to chicken gyro salad | 57 comments to date | see more: Chicken, Cucumber, Greek, Greens, Grilling, Onions, Photo, Salad, Summer, Tomatoes, Weeknight Favorite

9 Helpful Tips To Avoid Weight Gain on a Cruise

I just returned from a 10-day cruise and set out to avoid the usual weight gain associated with cruising. I actually lost weight on this cruise and am sharing some helpful tips on how I did it...

My family and I just returned from a 10-day cruise aboard the new Carnival Vista which started in Barcelona and ended in Athens. What an incredible experience sailing and eating my way through the Mediterranean. Like most people, gaining weight on a cruise is incredibly easy. I put on 5 pounds during my first cruise a few years back and losing those pounds was a challenge so I made it my mission this time around not to repeat those mistakes and can happily report that my efforts were a success (I actually lost 1 pound!).

This doesn’t mean I sacrificed enjoying great meals and cocktails while on vacation, after all I was there to taste authentic European cuisine (yes, I ate mozzarella, gelato and pizza in Italy, wine and macarons in France, spinach pie in Greece, etc.) and have lots of fun. If avoiding the dreaded weight gain while cruising is a high priority for you I’ve created a few simple strategies to help you find balance as you navigate the abundant sea of buffets, restaurants and watering holes available during your cruise.


Photo Credit: Andy Newman

1. Balance is key.

There are certainly lots of temptation on a cruise – buffets, cocktails, dessert, pizza, cheeseburgers, ice cream, lava cake! But there are also tons of healthy options, so it’s about making the best choices and keeping your portions under control. The dining room on most cruise ships usually serves smaller portions, and may even offer a low calorie dessert option. Sharing dessert is also a great way to have a taste without overdoing it. The buffets also offer plenty of healthier options such as carving stations, salad bars, fresh fruit, oatmeal and omelet stations, whole grain breads, eggs, vegetables, soups and more. Load up on salads, veggies, soup and lean proteins. Don’t rush through your meals, relax you’re on vacation! If you eat at a moderate pace while enjoying the company you are with, before you know it you will be full and satisfied and wont be as tempted to go back for seconds.

2. Eat off the spa menu.

salad bar

Rather than indulging in burgers and fries for lunch I opted for the salad bar. Many ships have a spa menu such as the Vista’s Serenity Salad Bar which had all the fixins such as a variety of fresh lettuce and herb options, quinoa, chia, veggies, etc. Yum!

3. Eat fresh local seafood.


Take advantage of the fresh fish and shellfish both on and off the ship whenever possible. This was easy to do on the Vista, in my travels in Greece at Rhodes and Crete, I ordered grilled octopus and grilled calamari at quaint restaurants. Back on board the ship, the dining room often offered a catch of the day from the Port of Call. Carnival’s Bonsai Restaurant has incredible sushi for a low price and new to the Vista, their Seafood Shack also offers the local catch of the day prepared fresh and served anywhere on board, anytime, any style, any sauce. My oldest daughter loves Bronzino so we ordered this earlier in the day (fresh from Naples) and it was prepared, grilled perfectly and conveniently sent to our dinner table.

4. Avoid the all-you-can-drink package and skip the sugary drinks.


Cocktails are calorie-ridden and they add up quick. When you purchase the drink package, the mentality is that you need to get your money’s worth and chances are you’ll order a drink even if you don’t want one. Many cocktails, especially the umbrella drinks are loaded with sugar, fruit juice, creams, etc. Instead opt for a wine with dinner, and if you really want a pina colada, treat it more like a dessert and stick to just one. For those who love carbonated sugary sodas my husband says the best kept secret is simple….”Get the seltzer with fresh lemon”! All the effervescent, bubbly goodness without all the sugar.

5. Pack your sneakers and your gym clothes.

Carnival Gym

Again, I do believe in balance so enjoying a cocktail or dessert with dinner isn’t the end of the world. Instead, hit the fitness center and work it out! Where else can you work out while enjoying those beautiful ocean views while sweating off those calories. Take advantage of the on-board gyms and fitness centers.

6. Use the track.


On most cruise ships you’ll find an outdoor track on the promenade deck where you can walk or jog laps. What can be better than a track with an ever changing ocean-view landscape! On the Carnival Vista, 7 laps around the track was equal to a mile.

7. Skip the elevator and take the stairs.

I did a ton of walking on the ship in order to get from my room to the pool, spa, dining, kids camp, shows, comedy clubs, the bars, etc. front to back, bottom to the top. Taking the stairs whenever possible is a great way to get to your destination while burning some calories along the way.

8. Track your steps and set a goal.


Using a Fitbit, pedometer or a phone app that tracks your steps (my iPhone comes with a free Health App that does this) set a goal for yourself and stick to it. Traveling through Europe I did a ton of walking (especially in Rome), so take advantage of excursions that allow you to get in some exercise enjoying your destination.

9. Burning calories while having fun aboard.


Photo Credit: Andy Newman

Ping pong, the sky course, the pool, sky ride, basketball, mini golf, the sport square – there’s so many ways to stay active while on board, take advantage of everything the ship has to offer and most of all don’t forget to have fun. Bon Voyage!

I hope you find these tips useful for your next cruise! Have you been on a cruise? Do you have additional tips you can share on how you navigate the seas while watching your waistline?


Photo Credit: Andy Newman

Disclosure: Carnival Cruise invited me as Press to experience their new ship, the Carnival Vista. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Skinnytaste possible. All thoughts are always my own.

Asparagus and Lemon and Basil Ricotta Stuffed Salmon Rolls with Lemon Sauce

Asparagus and Lemon and Basil Ricotta Stuffed Salmon Rolls with Lemon Sauce

Looking for a new way to enjoy some spring/summer asparagus? How about this asparagus and lemon and basil ricotta stuffed salmon rolls with lemon sauce? I came across the idea for ricotta and asparagus trout rolls in the latest edition of the All You Need Is Cheese magazine and as soon as I saw it I knew that I would need to try it! I am always looking for tasty new ways to include fish in my meal plan and you really can’t go wrong stuffing some with plenty of cheese and asparagus! This recipe takes the ends of salmon (or trout) fillets, and stuffs them with a mixture of ricotta, fresh chopped basil and lemon zest along with the asparagus and the combination is simply brilliant; it just screams summer-y goodness! I added some parmesan cheese to the mix which is just packed with a mild flavour that brings everything home! The salmon rolls are served with a simple sauce with a base of broth and lemon juice and I added a touch of butter because the lemon butter flavour combo is so good! You can optionally (I highly recommend it!) serve these salmon rolls topped with a fresh asparagus and basil pesto and you could also serve them with a fresh basil marinara sauce. No matter how you serve these asparagus and lemon and basil ricotta stuffed salmon rolls with lemon sauce they are sure to be the talk of the dinner table this summer!

Read the recipe »

Stopping to Remember by Ree

Every year on Memorial Day, I like to link to some of the photos from the “Coming Home” contest I held on Pioneer Woman Photography many years ago. The photos were (and continue to be) a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by our troops and their families. They bring tears to my eyes every year.

In honor of Memorial Day, I’ve listed a small handful of specific veteran-related organizations below for those of you who feel moved to help. The ones I listed have high ratings with Charity Navigator (the vast majority of their donations goes directly to helping the recipients rather than on administrative costs).

Thank you again to those who shared your beautiful photos back then.

And thank you to the men and women who have bravely served our country, and the families who have sacrificed so much. You are loved and appreciated!




By Katie_Mihalak.





By Skyerphooey.




grand homecoming

By Joiedevivrephotography.




Home from Iraq first time meeting daughter!

By Erin Dietrich1.




Home from Iraq

By Tiffanynewmanphotography.





By carots23.




115 (2)

By MissFranciePants.





By Thia Photographie.





By Brandy Edwards.





By Stephanie Howell.





By RangerPrincess.




Homecoming 2007

By Gwenshep.




Welcome Home Son

By Katie_Mihalak.




KristeeandJason 002

By Lil-Bee.




United States Army Military Funeral





christiBy BJG.


Military Organizations

Operation Homefront

Supporting our troops and helping the families they leave behind.

Homes for Our Troops

Building specially adapted homes for our severely injured veterans.

The Navy Seal Foundation

Honoring our warriors. Supporting their families.

Armed Services YMCA

Making military life easier.

Folds of Honor Foundation

Through scholarships and other assistance, we give back to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country. (As of January 2013, Folds of Honor had awarded 3,800 scholarships.)

Lots of love,


Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 30)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan Week 30. Healthy dinners for the week!

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 30)… I am working hard to get back into my normal routine after an AMAZING trip to Europe on my Carnival Cruise but it is so hard after visiting so many beautiful countries! As soon as I returned, I was off again this weekend to shoot some videos with Delallo in Jeanette, PA which I will be sharing in the months to come.

Monday is Memorial Day and that means it is the unofficial start of summer!!!!! I am ready for some sun and sand! I know some schools are already out for the summer so the countdown really is on!

Pictured below is The Skinnytaste Meal Planner where I plan my dinners for the week (you can of course use any meal planner). Meal planning is a great way to get organized before heading to the supermarket to get ready for the week! My breakfast is usually something quick like eggs with fruit, a smoothie or avocado toast. We’re a family of four, so if a recipe serves more, it’s either packed up for everyone’s lunch or eaten the next day as leftovers. If you would like to see some of the previous week’s dinner plans, click here


Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 30)

Monday: Spicy Black Bean Burger with Chipotle Mayo with Quick Cabbage Slaw

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken with Black Bean Mango Salsa and Salad

Wednesday: Mediterranean Boneless Pork Chops

Thursday: Grilled Pesto Shrimp Skewers with House Salad

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday: Dinner Out

Sunday: Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables


cucumber yogurt raita salad

cucumber yogurt raita salad

If you needed another reason to add to the list of why you’d probably never want to be cornered at a party with me, I should tell you I’m more than a normal level of fascinated by the intersection of tomatoes and cucumbers in salads around the world. And I want to talk about it.

what you'll need

finely grated garlic

Because, seriously, can we go on a cucumber-tomato salad summer world tour? From the classic Greek salad (horiatiki), to the Palestinian/Arab/Israeli salads in their infinite variations, their close cousins, the shepherd’s salads (shirazi in Iran, çoban salatası in Turkey, shopska in Macedonia and Bulgaria), plus the kachumber in India and all of the variants, like fattoush and I’m going to need one of each. I was particularly struck by what Ottolenghi said in the intro to the fattoush salad in his Jerusalem cookbook, that freshly chopped vegetable salads like this are served with every meal and that friends visiting London often complained of feeling like they ate ‘unhealthily’ because there weren’t fresh salad with each meal.

adding jalapeno, ginger, salt

… Read the rest of cucumber yogurt raita salad on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. |

permalink to cucumber yogurt raita salad | 3 comments to date | see more: Cucumber, Indian, Photo, Picnics, Salad, Summer, Tomatoes, Vegetarian

Summer Holiday Long Weekend Recipes

Summer Holiday Long Weekend Recipes

The first of the summer holidays is upon us and that means that it’s a great time to pull out some of my favourite recipes for such an occasion! When the weather is nice it’s hard to resist heading outdoors for summer festivities and whether you are doing barbecue, going out for a picnic or just eating a meal in your backyard you are going to want to have some tasty recipes at the ready! Very often the centre piece of the meal is going to be grilled meat such as burgers, chicken, fish, ribs, etc. but don’t forget the side dishes and with all of summers bounty available you are spoilt for choice between all of the vegetables, fruits and berries. Of course there is always the classic BBQ pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw which just screams summer and if you have a smoker it gets even better! Whatever your plans are for the holiday, make sure that it is filled with plenty of tasty food!

Read the recipe »

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow Cookbook: Cover Reveal

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow Cookbook

I’m over-the-moon excited to FINALLY share the cover design and concept for my second cookbook, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes

Since my first cookbook came out, I’ve gotten tons of requests for more slow cooker recipes and quick dishes that take 30 minutes or less from start to finish. I’ve been listening and wanted to fill Skinnytaste Fast and Slow with the easiest, tastiest, most convenient healthy recipes-ever. And that’s what I did! This book has a total of 140 nutritious, flavor-packed, figure-friendly recipes-60 for the slow cooker and 80 that cook in 30-minutes or less!-so you can get a great homemade meal on the table any night of the week.

Here’s a sample of what’s inside…