Kung Pao Shrimp

I know you know I love love love seafood. I also like my food with a lil kick. While Kung Pao Chicken is good, Kung Pao Shrimp is even better. I prefer cashews to peanuts. To cut the carbs, sometimes, I serve the Kung Pao over my Sesame Garlic-Ginger Cabbage. With or without rice, this recipe is a spicy flavorful keeper. Adjust the level of spice for your tastebuds. And, of course feel free to use chicken or even pork. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking, how about Kung Pao Salmon? That’s definitely on my recipe creation list now!. 

Peace & Java
Prep Time: 20 min            Cook Time: 20 min               Total Time: 40 min    
      Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

Servings: 4                          Difficulty: Intermediate      Yield: about 6 cups           SP: 4


1 pound medium shrimp (41-50), peeled and deveined

1 large green bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 large red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup cashews

8-10 dried red chilies

2 green onions, white and green, thinly sliced

1 tablespoons canola or peanut oil


2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Mirin

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Kung Pao Sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar  

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon chili garlic paste, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced


1. In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauce, Mirin and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the shrimp, and toss to coat. Set aside and prepare the rest of the veggies and sauce.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the black vinegar, ginger, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, chili garlic sauce, cayenne and garlic. Whisk until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved and set aside. 

3. Chilis are potent and can really smoke up the kitchen. Turn on the exhaust fan if needed. Add the canola oil to a large work or skillet on medium high heat. Add the chilies and stir-fry about 30 seconds or until the chilies have begun to blacken. 

4. Add the bell peppers and onion. Stir-fry until a lil browned, but still crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. 

5. Stir the marinating shrimp, making sure they are coated. Add the shrimp to the pan and stir-fry until just pink. Add the Kung Pao sauce and and coat the shrimp and veggies. Add the cashews and cook 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thickened. 

6. Remove from the heat. Garnish the Kung Pao with the green onions and serve over Sesame Garlic & Ginger Cabbage or brown rice.  

1 cup of Sesame Garlic & Ginger Cabbage is 1 SP and 1/2 cup brown rice is 4 SP.


Mirin is a rice wine. It can be found in most grocery stores or at an Asian market. 

If you can’t find Chinese black vinegar, my fav is Gold Plum Chinkiang, use a good-quality balsamic vinegar. Amazon carries Gold Plum if you can’t find it locally. 

Hoisin is a Chinese barbecue sauce. You can find it at most grocery stores. 

If you can find ground Sichuan pepper, use it in place of the cayenne. 


Chicken Tortilla Soup

It’s the time of the year for fresh starts and cleansing. This zesty veggie filled soup is comfort food for the cold winter months. Though, I must admit, it’s equally tasty any time of the year. Plus, it’s Weight Watchers & figure friendly. Go soup! 

Peace & Java

Prep Time: 20 min         Cook Time: 30-45 min     Total Time: about 1 hour          Servings: 4          Serving Size: 2 cups                    Difficulty: Medium         Yield: about 8 cups.          SP:


1 large onion, chopped 

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 medium rib celery, chopped with leaves

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes & green chilies with juice 

1/2 cup canned low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup corn, frozen or fresh

1 cup chicken breast strips, cooked and roughly chopped

4 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce, minced

1/2 tableshoon canola oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon Goya All Purpose Seasoning, Lemon & Pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Optional Garnishes: avocado, shredded reduced fat cheese, fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt, tortilla strips


1. Add canola oil to a medium Dutch oven obverse medium high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, celery and carrots. Sauté, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Strain in the garlic and chipotle. 

2. Add diced tomatoes with juice, corn and chicken stock, Goya seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a simmer. Stir in chicken.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. 

3.  Reduce heat to low and cook 30-45 minutes covered. 

4. Add lime juice and cilantro to soup. Adjust seasoning if needed. 

Serve with your choice of optional garnishes. 

NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: Adjust the spice level of the soup by ramping up or omitting the jalapeño and the the chipotle in adobo sauce.  
For WW SPs: 1/2 oz avocado: 1 SP; 2 tbsp RF shredded cheese: 1 SP; 1 tbsp FF sour cream or Greek yogurt: 0 SP; 1.4 oz tortilla strips: 1SP

Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad

I’m currently working in Southern California and have discovered Xiao Long Bao, savory soup dumplings with a delicious yummy broth hidden inside various meat or veggie fillings. These dumplings are amazing! They are typically served with a side of fresh slivered ginger, vinegar, soy sauce and chile oil to customize your dim sum feast. 

In my dumpling quest, I have become addicted to a crisp cumcumber salad appetizer. This recipe is my version of this cool and crunchy simple veggie dish. As you may have gathered from my recipes, I like it spicy. If you don’t, just cut back on the chile paste. If you like it super hot, add more chile paste. Happy eating in 2017 my virtual friends. 🍴😊

Peace & Java 

Prep Time: 10 min       Marinating Time: 30 min

Total Time: 40 minutes    Serving Size: 1 cup

Servings: 4                           Difficulty:  Easy Peasy

Yield: about 4 cups            SP: 1 

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 tablespoon red chile paste

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons lime zest

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

4 small Persian cucumbers, sliced into 1 inch rounds

sea salt, optional 


1. Whisk all ingredients, except cucumbers to make dressing in a medium bowl.

2. Add cucumbers rounds to dressing. Toss well to coat. Marinate 30 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt if desired. 


I like to create a stripe effect using a vegetable peeler before slicing my cucumbers. 

Tomato Basil Toast

Quick bites rule! This post isn’t so much a recipe as a very adaptable method. It’s the new avocado toast, no cooking required. Simply smash your overripe tomatoes, spread them on the toasted bread of your choice, salt and pepper to taste and feed your belly! 

I used the last of a batch of cherry tomatoes I roasted last week for this morning’s breakfast. If you’re counting points, this toast only costs 3 SP. 


1. Warm roasted or overripe tomatoes 10-15 seconds in the microwave. Smash and season with salt and pepper or anything else your heart desires. Hot sauce anyone? 

2. Top toasted bread with spicy cheese spread-optional. I used spicy pepper jack laughing cow. 

3. Top with fresh torn basil.

4. Munch and Crunch!


Pronounced, “pick-leez,” this Haitian condiment is usually served with meats and fried foods. I discovered this recipe on Epicurious.com As a lover of spicy food, I couldn’t resist. I was unable to find Scotch Bonnet peppers in my area, so I substituted habaneros as suggested. I also replaced the shallots with red onions because that’s what I had on hand. After 3 days, I tried the Pikliz on top of my turkey burger: de-Lish!

It’s tart with a bit of spice. I didn’t find it too spicy, maybe because I didn’t have the Scotch Bonnets. I’ll definitely keep a batch of my new condiment find on hand from now on. It’s good on scrambled eggs and avocado toast too! Make a batch or two today and share with your friends.

Peace & Java


Prep Time: 15  min                 Cook Time: 0 min                       Difficulty: Easy Peasy

Servings: 16                             Serving Size: 1/4 cup                   Yield: 4 cups      SP: 0


2 1/2 cups thinly sliced cabbage, cut crosswise 2-3 times for shorter shreds (from about 1/4 large cabbage)

1 cup julienned or grated carrots,  about 1 medium carrot

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

6 Scotch bonnet peppers, stemmed, quartered

6 sprigs thyme

8 whole cloves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups (or more) distilled white vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh regular lime juice


1. Pack cabbage, carrots, onions, peppers, thyme, cloves, and salt into a 1 1/2-quart resealable jar. Add vinegar and lime juice, seal jar, and shake until ingredients are distributed and salt is dissolved. Add more vinegar if needed to just cover vegetables.  Chill, shaking gently twice daily, at least 3 days before serving.

NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: Use packaged coleslaw mix and carrots to save time and minimize leftovers.