This is Amy + Michelle

This is Amy + Michelle

This A.M.

Amy and Michelle became instant friends because of the common interests they share in their love of fashion, food, music and traveling. In This A.M. Amy and Michelle will share recipes, thoughts on eats, their unique fashion style and lifestyles from Toronto to Tampa...... 1,098 miles apart!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Arroz a la Cubana

This A.M. I am surprised. I have been cooking a little healthier lately and didn't even realize until last night that several of the dishes I have made recently were gluten free. My friend Anye' who is on a 30 day gluten free challenge, text me last night for a recipe after seeing what I had for dinner on Instagram. I guess I have never been tuned into that sort of thing before.

I have really been struggling to lose weight. I am picky and don't like many veggies. I have come around to some in last 5 years but there are many that I still won't touch with a 10 foot pole. But I have been open to trying things like quinoa, chia seeds, spinach smoothies and cauliflower mashed 'potatoes'. This is were the next part of my struggle comes in: Steve is not as open to trying those things as I am. He eats a few more veggies than me but is pretty much a meat-and-potaotes-and-bacon-and-butter-and-pasta-and-fried-foods kind of a guy. I can put the most delicious looking filet, perfectly prepared, in front of him but the second he sees the side of quinoa next to it he says "what the hell is that?" So coming up with a healthy meal that makes us both happy is a challenge.

The final part of my struggle is just pure laziness and lack of motivation. I have time to pack a smart lunch but haven't been. Instead I hit the food court and end up making bad choices. I have time most mornings to work out but don't get out of bed when my alarm rings. Here is my solution: get a partner to work out with. Who did I find? Well, none other than my best friend and blog partner!

Amy and I have teamed up over 1,000 miles apart and are now texting each other every morning to make sure we are both up to do our workouts. It has actually been fun! We both post pictures on our Instagram so the other can feel included. My goal is to lose 20 lbs by April 5th when Steve takes me on a cruise out of Miami and Amy's goal is to be more toned and fit. Long term I want to be healthier (while still enjoying my comfort food faves here and there) and lose a total of 35 lbs..... Operation Swimsuit Season 2014!

I took the traditional Arroz a la Cubana dish and added a Mexican and Southern twist with the addition of hot sauce, chia seeds, cilantro and jalapeno. For me this addition of fresh, nutty and spicy flavors made the dish!

Arroz a la Cubana for Anye'

About 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1 teaspoon each of paprika, cumin, chilli powder, garlic salt
several turns cracked pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
2 cups low sodium beef broth, 1/2 cup more if necessary
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced or chopped (whichever you prefer)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
Sprinkle of sea salt, cracked pepper, additional tablespoon of oregano

1 1/2 cups white rice

Plantains, I recommend Goya frozen plantains, prepare as directed
Fried egg, seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper
Hot sauce, chia seeds, chopped fresh cilantro and sliced jalapeno to taste

In a large deep sided frying pan brown beef that has been seasoned with ingredients from lines 2 thru 4. Drain off fats and add in beef broth, pepper, garlic, shallot and remaining spices. Bring to boil and add in rice. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, checking to see if more liquid is necessary. The rice will be done between 20 and 30 minutes. Scoop about 1 cup of rice and beef mixture on to a plate with a side of 3 plantains. Top rice and beef with egg and garnish with sprinkling of chia seeds and cilantro. Add hot sauce and jalapeno to taste.

4-5 servings.

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