Chicken, Zucchini, Tomato Stir Fry Recipe

A Tasty and Easy Chicken Stir Fry!

A friend at work has a garden and he is such an excellen.t gardener that he often brings in his extra vegetables, as he and his wife can't eat the quantities that he grows. On top of that, somehow his veggies are often HUGE - I tease him that they are vegetables on steroids. He brought in a zucchini yesterday that was so big that I split it with one of the other girls - and took less half half of it. I decided to make a stir fry tonight at the last minute (the last minute thing is a bad habit of mine), so the stir fry ended up with what I had on hand - the zucchini, a large chicken breast and a Roma tomato.  This recipe will feed two.

I didn't even use all of the zucchini - you will have to use your jugement on how much zucchini you want - and you can be creative as well and add  squash, red peppers, snow peas,  or broccoli, depending on what you like or have on hand.

Ingredients for Chicken, Zucchini, Tomato Stir Fry
  • 1 8 oz. chicken breast
  • zucchini
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil (or extra virgin olive oil if allergic to peanuts)
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire
  • 1 tbsp Mojo marinade
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves freshly chopped garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste 

You can imagine just how big this whole zucchini was. It was over a foot long and probably a little over 2 1/2" in diameter at the center!

First I got the brown rice cooked in a rice cook per the package instructions. Easy! I sliced the chicken breast into half-dollar size pieces (when is the last time you saw a half dollar!?!) Then I  also cut the zucchini and tomato into bite size chunks.

I used a large pan (clearly if you have a stir-fry wok that will work better!) and heated the peanut oil. I mixed the worchestershire, Mojo marinade and chicken broth together, and slowly added it to the peanut oil. I let it get hot again. I then added the chicken, and salt and pepper,  and stirred and turned the pieces of chicken breast til it had just cooked. I used a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the "broth" mixture and set it aside in a bowl.

Make sure that all the chicken gets bathed in the liquid so it soaks up as much of the flavor as possible.
Next I added the zucchini and tomatoes (and any other veggies you would like) to the same pan juices and sauteed them until they were just barely cooked. I then added the chicken back into the whole mixture to heat it up again.

Almost ready to eat!

I spooned the mixture, along with some of the juices it was cooked in, over the brown rice, and it was ready to eat. I must say it came out very good (or I wouldn't have bothered to tell you about it).

Chicken, Zucchini, Tomato Stir Fry
Hope you enjoy this!

Mojo Marinade - this is a Carribean born marinade typically used for grilling, made up of mainly citrus juice flavors. I bought the bottled Bahia brand at the store, but it can be easily made from scratch. The ingredients are mainly lemon, orancge , and grapfruit juices with vinegar, garlic, onion,
cilantro and other seasonings.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
Zucchini and yellow squash are also known as summer squash and are in the same family as melons and cucumbers. Their main antioxidant ingredients are the cartenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin. Both of these are powerful in protecting the eye, particularly against macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutien also reduces inflammation in the body as well as the skin, providing anti-cancer, cardiovascular, and digestive tract benefits. Also lutien reduces inflammation due to exposure to sunlight, producing less damage to skin structure. It is high in fiber and other components that help to keep insulin levels in balance and may help protect against the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Zucchini is also high in Vitamin C. For more complete information see The World's Healthiest Foods.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes  - see this post of mine for information on the health benefits of tomatoes. It also has a great recipe for a Fresh Summer Veggie Wrap.

Please check out my Healthy, Fit, Ageless Store.  There are some great fitness, skincare, and general wellness items, as well as some great healthy recipe books. You may find something beneficial, or some great gift ideas.

Walking for Fitness and Health

Fitness Walking

When it comes to starting a fitness routine we can come up with a multitude of excuses not to exercise.
  • " It's too much trouble to go to gym."
  • " I don't have the extra money for a membership."
  • "The gym is too crowded."
  • " I don't have a full hour or more to devote to the gym."
Walking is a great alternative  to a gym, especially if you are just starting a fitness routine.  You'd don't need special equipment or a gym membership.  There is no expense involved, except that you will want  to invest in a comfortable, supportive pair of walking shoes.

Benefits of Walking for Fitness

As we get older, often we become less active when we should be exercising more.  Get into the habit of walking. Developing a walking routine many lower your risk of stroke and help you  to avoid or reduce middle age weight gain. It increases your bone strength and circulation and it reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes .  Because walking is a low impact exercise, it is easier on your joints than other more strenuous exercises such as jogging and running.

Starting Your Walking Routine

If you have not kept up an exercise or fitness regime, walking is a good place to start.  Start slow and set realistic goals so you don't become discouraged.  Develop good habits and proper procedures for best results and to avoid problems or injury.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear comfortable supportive shoes.
  • Stretch before starting out. Stretch your calves, and hamstrings, and quads.
  • Warm up of slowly. Start out at a normal, leisurely pace for the first few minutes and then pick up speed.
  • Be aware of your posture.  Keep your head up and eyes forward.  Keep your shoulders back, and tighten your abdominal muscles.
  • Cool down after a brisk walk by slowing down your pace towards the end.
  • Stretch again. This will keep your muscles from tightening and help to aviod injury.

Make the Best of Your Time While Walking

With our busy lifestyles, we can come of with numerous excuses not to exercise.  Get creative with your walking regime and find ways to multi task.
Start with a positive at attitude and convince yourself thing you can enjoy walking. If you can walk each morning, use that walking as a time to plan the rest of your day.
  • Listen to a podcast or audio book that interests you.
  • Listen to your iPod Select. music that you enjoy or that invigorates you. (This may not seem like multi tasking but if it helps you to relieve stress, or gives you more energy, it has added beneficial results.)
  • Walk with a friend.  Conversation and companionship not only keeps you motivated by improves your mental health as well.

Fit Walking Into Your Schedule

Determine a way in which you can spend time walking everyday.  Make walking a habit.  Your walking exercise doesn't have to be all at once. Several short walking sessions will achieve the same results.  Look for opportunities for short walks of 10 minutes at a time.
  • If you work in an office program your computer to remind you to take a walking break.
  •  Instead of sending an e-mail across the office, get out and walk to personally deliver the message.
  • Take a 20 to 30 minute walk on your lunch break (and eat in light, healthy lunch).
For general  health, try to walk 20 minutes a day.
To increase your cardiovascular fitness plan to walk 3 to 4 days a week at a fast pace.To achieve weight loss, plan to do both five or more days a week walking 45 to 60 minutes, and make a concerted effort to reduce your calorie intake at the same time.
To accomplish even better results try adding light hand weights, ankle weights or even a weight vest

Whether you have just started thinking of starting an exercise program, or already work out occasionally, or often, fitness walking should be a part of your overall health and exercise plan. If you are new to exercising, it is a great place to start. Then you can expand  your workouts to include a greater variety of exercises to improve your strength (using weights), agility and balance (stretching and yoga).

Disclaimer: Before starting an exercise plan, consult with your doctor to determine your limitations and to avoid risk of injury.

Some Suggestions to Get you Walking for Fitness

Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Recipe

Shrimp and Pasta with Veggies

This is a fairly simple recipe that is a great comfort food for a cold day and uses vegetables easily available in the fall and winter. Additionally it is a good meal to fight winter blues as it has the carbohydrates that we all so crave this time of year - but they are the good carbs, or complex carbs.

 A Word about Complex Carbohydrates

Whole wheat pastas, in addition to whole grains,  beans, potatoes, corn and other vegetables, are broken down more slowly that simple carbohydrates (sugars and ingredients ending in "ose" - glucose, fructose etc). Because they are broken down more slowly, they don't cause a spike in your body's glucose levels and help you feel full longer. As well, they contain more nutrition and fiber.


(serves 2 - with leftovers)

  • 8 oz. whole wheat Farfalle (bow tie) Pasta - Penne works well too
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes - cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 lb. of asparagus - cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6-8 medium sized shitake mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves of garlic - chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 pinches of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley


    1.  Bring a pot of water to boil  and cook pasta as per package instructions.
    2. When pasta is cooked, drain well and return to pot.
    3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic, onions, mushrooms,  a pinch of oregano and  1/4 tsp. red pepper. Sautée for 2-3 minutes, add tomatoes, asparagus, salt and pepper. Stir and continue to sautée for a few more minutes.  Vegetables should be crisp but cooked. Add chicken broth, stir, and turn heat on low to simmer.
    4. In a separate pan sautée shrimp, and remaining oregano and red pepper until shrimp is just cooked through.
    5. Finally, stir shrimp into the vegetable mixture.
    6. Portion pasta to plates, spoon out the vegetables and shrimp. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if desired.

    Health Benefits

    Shrimp: Shrimp are not small in their nutrient density. Shrimp are an excellent source of selenium and low-fat, low-calorie protein--a four ounce serving of shrimp supplies 23.7 grams of protein (that's 47.4% of the daily value for protein) for only 112 calories and less than a gram of fat. they are a good source of vitamin B12. Shrimp do have the reputation of raising bad (LDL) cholesterol, but it was found that they raise good cholesterol (HDL) even more.  Eggs, by comparison, raise LDL levels more than shrimp, and HDL levels less than shrimp. Also, shrimp are an excellent source of selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which protect against cancer.

    Shitake Mushrooms: Recent studies have shown the ability of shitake mushrooms to help protect us against cardiovascular diseases. They are recognized as a very good, non-animal food source of iron. Shitake mushrooms are also an excellent source of vitamins B2, B5 and B6 and six minerals - manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, copper and zinc Finally, they are a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamin D.

    • Asparagus Health Benefits - review here
    • Garlic Health Benefits - review here
    • Roma Tomato Health Benefits  - review here
    • Onions fall in the same family as garlic as have very similar health benefits
    For more information on Health Benefits of this recipes' ingredients see The World's Healthiest Foods

    Healthy Comfort Food Cookbooks:

    Have any suggestions for this recipe? Do you have a similar recipe you'd like to share?

    Fight Winter Depression Naturally

    Natural Ways to Cure Winter Depression 

    As the days grow shorter and fall turns into winter, do you tend to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and occasionally depressed? Would you love to have a solution that doesn't involve antidepressants or chemical stimulants? Here are some naturals solutions to curing winter blues without medication.

     Some Symptoms of Winter Blues

    • Your mood changes as the seasons change
    • You feel depressed (mildly or more)
    • You sleep too much
    • You have less energy  - or no energy, you are very lethargic
    • You have difficulty waking up in the morning
    • You have a craving for carbohydrates, resulting in weight gain

    Seasonal Affective Disorder - "S.A.D."

    People have varying degrees of the above listed symptoms. Those with the most sever symptoms may even be diagnosed with what has come to be called Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly called SAD. Studies have found that approximately 20% of the population may have some of these symptoms, but not severe enough to meet the diagnostic criteria. Symptoms of winter depression seem to increase in people living farther and farther from the equator.  Symptoms of winter blues seem to occur more often in women than men.

    Why does S.A.D. or Winter Depression Happen?

    Scientists have determined that the cause of seasonal mood variations and winter depression are often light related, a result of inadequate bright light and low levels of Vitamin D. The symptoms may be an evolved human adaptation that can be compared to the hibernation patterns of wild animals.

    Biological Factors Involved in Winter Depression

    A very simplified explanation is as follows:
    Melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep,  is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It is affected by light. Decreased exposure to sunlight during the winter triggers increased levels of melatonin making us want to sleep more. On the other hand, seratonin, a chemical found in the brain, is a neurotransmitter that allows us to feel more rested, energetic, and generally happy. It is also adversely affected by light. Reduced daylight means a reduction in the production of seratonin. The combination triggers the symptoms of winter blues.

    Five Ways to Battle Depression

    Since an increase in seratonin causes us to feel more rested, energetic and 'upbeat', it follows that if we can increase the levels in our bodies, then the negative effect of winter blues can be diminished.

     How to Fight Winter Blues

      • Increase outdoor activity on sunny days to increase solar exposure
      • Establish a workout regime.  Exercise itself increases seratonin levels. Ideally, you will benefit most by exercising outdoors in the daylight, but exercise indoors will still be beneficial.
      • Eat healthy foods. Stay away form sugar.  If you are craving carbs, go for complex carbs including complex carbs, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, fruits, corn and potatoes
      • Vitamin D and Vitamin B complex increase seratonin levels. Add these supplements to your diet. They have other multiple health benefits as well.
      • Use Light Treatment Photo Therapy.  Decrease fall and winter depression through regular exposure to full spectrum or fluorescent light.

    Using a Light Therapy "Box" or Lamp

    Get a light therapy lamp that gives off 2500 to 10,000 lux (the measure of illumination). Use it regularly in the morning and mid afternoon for 15 minutes to 2 hours at the recommended distance. Over a few weeks time, or less, you will feel happier and less moody. (Don't use the light therapy lamp in the evenings, as you want the diminishing light of day to allow for your meletonin levels to rise again, assuring that you will be able to fall asleep at night.)

    I recommend two different lights, each with its own advantages, depending on what appeals to you.

    I personally use this one and have been very happy with it: BlueMax 70w Full Spectrum Dimmable Desk Lamp. This one serves double-duty as a desk lamp, and is very convenient for me, as I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. It is heavy and sturdy, is very well made and has a dimmable light so that you don't have to use it strictly for therapy purposes.

    This is another that I have and use:  Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device. This one is compact and comes with a travel case. It has a clock and a light timer. It's great to take to the office, or if you travel a lot, it packs easily and is also helpful for jet lag. Read my review of the Philips goLite BLU.

    Recommended Reading for Seasonal Affective Disorder and the Winter Blues

    10 Tips to Get a Better Night's Sleep

    Tips for a Good Night's Sleep
    Do you often have trouble with falling asleep, or waking up during the night, and then have trouble getting up in the morning? Lack of sleep, (or in more extreme cases - insomnia) can bring on a variety  of undesirable symptoms.

    Symptoms of Sleep Loss or Sleep Deprivation

    • You wake up exhausted, feeling "hungover" or spacey
    • You are sleepy, sluggish or drowsy during the day
    • You are unable to think clearly or accomplish tasks efficiently
    • You feel "tired all the time"
    • You are often irritable, angry, depressed or anxious, for no
      particularly good reason
    Lack of sleep can cause your immune system to become compromised because the body has not had enough time to heal and rejuvenate itself. As a result you are more likely to succumb to seasonal
    infections and take longer to recuperate from illnesses.

    Sleep Tips to Incorporate into Your Life to Help You Get a Good
    Night's Sleep

    1. Sleep only at night.  Taking naps during the day will only make you less tired in the evening.
    2. Get on a consistent sleep/wake-up schedule. Get up at the same time on weekends as you do during the week.  This will help your body to develop a natural sleep rhythm.
    3. Exercise during the morning or daytime. Exercise in the evening does not help your body to relax.
    4. Try taking a hot bath or shower before bedtime to help relax you.
    5. Keep the bedroom slightly cooler.
    6. Read a light novel or listen to soft music to help you unwind and relax.
    7. Don't eat a big meal within two hours of going to bed. Instead, eat light, and choose food with a high content of L-tryptophan. Tryptophan helps the body to produce seratonin which is a hormone that the brain releases for a calming effect. Food such as shrimp, turkey, tuna, chicken, salmon, asparagus, cheese, eggs, kale, whole wheat, black beans, kidney beans and pumpkin seeds contain high levels of L-tryptophan. You can also try L-Tryptophan supplements in 1000-1500mg doses for the same result.
    8. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and sugar within 2 hours of bedtime. These are all stimulants.( Contrary to popular belief, alcohol will not help you to seep better, as it wears off it puts your body in a very restless state.)  Instead try drinking Valerian teavalerian tea. The Valerian root has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal herb to treat anxiety and insomnia. It will not leave you groggy or foggy feeling in the morning. Use it daily for 2-4 weeks for best results.
    9. Try taking Vitamin B3 (niacin) about 20 minutes before bedtime. Take between 100 and 500 mg. It may give you a warm tingly feeling (niacin flush) which will subside quickly. If it bothers you, lower the dosage a little. You can also purchase no flush niacin supplements.
    10. Sleep in silence and complete darkness.  Your body will produce more melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone if you keep the room as dark as possible. If you have an alarm clock with a bright face, turn it to the wall or, even better, cover it with something so that there is no light in the room. If you wake up at night you won't know what time it is, which can make it harder to fall back to sleep, knowing how soon you have to get up. You can also try taking a
      melatonin supplementmelatonin (3-6 mg) about an hour before bedtime.
    Finally if you are a person who may or may not have had a good night's sleep, but hate being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock, consider looking into a Light Therapy wake-up lamp. It wakes you in a natural way with light that increases gradually, providing a more pleasant and natural way to wake up in the morning. The Wake Up Light simulates the sunrise to help you face the morning with a better mood and energy level. It also has a power down mode that you can use before bedtime to simulate nightfall. That should help you get a better night's sleep as well.

    Natural Sleep Remedy - Raw or Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

    Sleep Better Naturally - A health Benefit of Pumpkin Seeds

    Improve your Quality of Sleep - A Natural Home Sleep Remedy

    Do you have trouble falling asleep at night in spite of being tired? Or do you wake up during the night?  Lack of sleep over an extended period of time not only affects your mental health and cognitive abilities, but also wears on your physical health as well.

    Sleep Better Naturally

    A natural solution to sleep disorders is clearly a better choice for your health than over the counter or prescription drugs.

    Roasted Pumpkin Crostini Recipe

    Halloween has past but its still Pumpkin season. Pumpkins have more value and uses than just being a happy, or scary, face for trick-or-treaters. The flesh of this member of the squash family  can be boiled, baked, steamed, pureed, mashed or cubed and roasted. And they are a healthy vegetable as well.  So look for a small pumpkin in your grocery store labeled "cooking", and give some different pumpkin recipes a try.

    This Roasted Pumpkin Crostini Recipe makes a great little appetizer before a holiday meal.  I served it to the "football fans" in my house while they were watching the games this weekend and it was a hit.

    The pumpkin and goat cheese are both healthy and vegetarian. I will list the nutritional benefits at the end of this post.

    Strawberry Mango Banana Smoothie with White Tea

    Strawberries, mangoes, and bananas top the list of my favorite fruits. Here is an excellent replacement for a breakfast that might be too carb-heavy or too time consuming. You can fix this smoothie quickly before leaving for work in the morning. With the added Greek yogurt, this delicious  smoothie is packed with antioxidants and protein. It  both fills you up and provides an energy boost. This smoothie recipe has enough natural sugars to wake you up, as well as protein and fiber to sustain you til you break for a healthy mid-morning snack.
    (The best Greek Yogurt EVER)

    Brown Rice Pasta with Eggplant Recipe

    Since I seem to be hooked on eggplant these days, (it seems I go through phases on having favorite things to eat, and then I tire of them and move on to a new temporary favorite) I was on a mission to find another dish in which to use eggplant.  Eggplant Parmesan is my all-time favorite but is very labor intensive, and I wanted something a little less so.

    I came across this recipe in an old Cooking Light Magazine, and as usual, made a few changes to it to suit what I had on hand.

    Eggplant Mini Pizzas

    On my weekly grocery shopping excursion, I always try to stick to my usual shopping list, which consists mainly of fresh vegetables, fruit and  whole wheat pastas and breads. I always search, though, for something a little different as well. This time the eggplants looked especially nice, so I got one. The next day I  realized there was no way I was going to have time to make Eggplant Parmesan. I decided to get creative and came up with these Eggplant Mini Pizzas. I think these would be a great healthy item for kids too, and they might even enjoy helping to make them.

    Best Childrens Laptop Computers - Educational Toys for Toddlers

    Educational Toys for Toddlers -  Best Childrens Laptop Computers

    I am convinced that children can start learning reading, writing phonics, and the like much sooner than society allows them. Granted, I'm not saying kids should be sent off to school sooner than we do, but I am saying that the time they are still at home could be used to allow them to advance more quickly, and be ahead of the game when they do enter school. I also think that with the importance of computers in the world these days, it is equally important to introduce children to computers at an early age as well.

    Alaskan Crab Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

      I found this Alaskan Crab Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado Recipe in a local grocery store magazine. It was originally posted in  It is healthy, light, and refreshing. I made some changes to the original, as noted.