January: The Most Well-derful Time of the Year

January is one of my very favorite months of the year. It seems like everything is focused on wellness. Healthy living-related content is everywhere you look: morning news, magazines, social media, you name it.

One of my best friends has organized a 30-Day Clean Eating and Fitness challenge as a reset. I agreed to participate even before knowing the specifics. I need to do some serious penance for all my food and beverage-related sins in December ASAP.

Because we’re all grown women with jobs and responsibilities, she kept the guidelines straight-forward:

  • No processed food.
  • No sugary drinks/sodas (focus on drinking water…though I’ll definitely be drinking sparkling water, too).
  • No alcohol.
  • No fried foods.
  • Avoid refined sugar.
  • Avoid desserts, snacks and treats.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes 3-5 days each week.

Though it will be tough, I think I can successfully pass the test. I’ve been doing okay with working out, so I’m already moving in the right direction there. With food, my focus is cooking at home primarily and having a plan for times when convenience is paramount (e.g., weekday breakfasts and weeknight dinners). I’m also figuring out a plan for having healthy snacks, like this fruit platter, on hand during snack-vulnerable moments (e.g., 3 p.m. at the office and anytime on the weekends).

A snack platter I made on Saturday featured fruit from my Hungry Harvest box. We ate about half of the kiwi, orange and Fuji apple slices on Saturday and the rest on Sunday morning pre-breakfast. Snacking on fruit all weekend = a win-win.

Throughout January, I’ll share some of my strategies and recipes, like the Curry-Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea and Shrimp recipe below. I technically made these before the challenge started, but I got a new Hungry Harvest box on Thursday and had kiwi, apples, oranges and a big ol’ head of cauliflower, that needed purpose 🙂

The challenge runs from January 7 through February 6. If you’re looking for a new year’s reset, join us and let me know how you do!

Curry-Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea and Shrimp

serves 4

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, sliced lengthwise with root end in tact (this holds the onion layers together during roasting)
  • 1 red pepper, stem and seeds removed, sliced lengthwise then halved crosswise
  • 2 t. garam masala
  • 1 t. curry powder
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • 1/2 t. red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 t. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (I used canola), divided
  • 1 pound shrimp (I used Large 21-25/pound size), thawed, peeled and deveined
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped in small dice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large sheet pan (I used a 17 x 11 sheet) with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.

Put all veggies and chickpeas in a large bowl. Put the shrimp in a smaller bowl. Make the spice mix: Mix all spices, from garam masala through salt (but not the ginger), in a small bowl.

Season the shrimp: Use 1 1/2 t. of the spice mix to season the shrimp along with 1 T. of the oil and all of the chopped ginger. Toss to coat the shrimp and set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes.

Add the remaining spice mix to the veggie/chickpea mixture along with the rest of the oil. Spread the veggies/chickpea mix onto the prepared pan and then roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes (stirring after 12 mins). Push all the veggies to the side, leaving roughly 1/4 of the pan exposed. Place the marinated shrimp in the exposed area in one, flat layer. Try to spread the shrimp out so they have room to roast. Return the pan to the oven for another 9 minutes.

Remove from oven and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary. To serve: Divide the veggies and chickpeas in 4 shallow bowls. Divide the shrimp between the bowls. I served this with a quick raita (1/2 c. plain yogurt mixed with 1 T. chopped parsley and 2 T. shredded cucumber) and quick picked onion (thinly sliced red onion mixed with a couple squeezes of lime juice and a sprinkle of salt then left to sit for 15 minutes). For a touch of natural sweetness, I topped it all with a sprinkle of raisins that I’d rehydrated in hot water for about 5 minutes.

Yummy yum.

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