Michele Joan

Wife, Mother, Blogger & Author

Summertime Green Bean Salad (S)

greenbeansWith summer gardens in full bloom, I’ve been enjoying lots of delicious fresh picked vegetables thanks to my father-in-law’s huge garden.  With green beans and cucumbers bountiful this time of year, I made this tasty, yet easy green bean salad I thought you might like to try!  It fits on my Trim Healthy Mama diet as an “S” meal.


1 lb fresh green beans, snapped into 1-2 inch long pieces

2 large cucumbers

4 tomatoes, diced

4 shallots diced

1 cup feta cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste

Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (I use aldi brand – 4 gm fat, 2 gm carbs per 2 Tbs)

1 cup sliced almonds


Boil green beans for 8-10 minutes until tender.  Remove from heat, strain and put in ice water to stop the cooking process (this will leave you with some nice, crunchy beans).  Add cucumbers, tomatoes, shallots and feta.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with light balsamic vinaigrette and toss.  Chill for at least one hour or overnight.  Sprinkle almonds on before serving.  Enjoy!

Other great additions to this salad can include walnuts & fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Looking for a full meal?  I added some thinly sliced tuna steak to the top – delicious!!

Summertime Green Bean Salad was first posted at http://www.michelejoan.com

This post is linked to Gwens-nest.com and Stacymakescents.com Trim Healthy Tuesdays Link-up.


Vacationing Trim Healthy Mama Style


Just when I thought summer was going to slow down a bit and we were done traveling, we got a wonderful surprise; we were about to go on the biggest trip yet! My husband called me on a Thursday morning and told me friends of ours graciously offered us a week in their condo on the ocean in Hilton Head, South Carolina that they were unable to use.  The only downside was we had to leave in less than 48 hours!  We couldn’t turn this offer down, but as the queen of planning for our household, I  was really wondering if I could pull of continuing with our new Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle on such short notice!

Once you get accustomed to eating the carb monitoring, no sugar, healthy plan, it gets much easier.  However, going out of your elements on a vacation makes things a little more difficult, especially because one of our favorite things about vacation is going out to eat!

I am so happy to say that the trip was magnificent, one of our favorite vacations.  I think I could have stayed the rest of the summer!  Not only that, but with a little bit of planning, I was able to eat a healthy diet and enjoy myself.  Here is how we did it:

First, make a plan.  Since my husband and I are already at our goal weights, we decided we would stick to the plan strictly during the day, but crossover at night and allow 3 meals of the 24 to be “total cheats”.   My goal was to enjoy ourselves, but not get sick by overindulging!

Second, pack up as much Trim Healthy Mama food as you can.  Since this was a surprise trip, I had just done my weekly grocery shopping.  I packed up 2 coolers with Greek yogurt, eggs, egg substitute, stevia, light cheese wedges, lean lunch meat, Joseph’s Pita and Lavash bread, Trader Joe’s sprouted bread, almond milk, natural peanut butter, tuna, tons of veggies and fruits as well as other plan approved foods.  This made breakfast, snacks and lunch time easy for me.  I loved getting up every morning to enjoy a breakfast like a delicious egg, mushroom and spinach wrap with a cup of hot coffee with heavy whipping cream while sitting on my balcony overlooking the ocean.  After a morning at the pool or beach, I’d return to our room for lunch for a tasty lean turkey sandwich with Greek yogurt and sparkling water.  Dinnertime was the challenge as we went out every evening, but since we were on the ocean, I decided to try different kinds of fish each night.  It was glorious to have shrimp, lobster, crab, mahi mahi, tuna, salmon, mussels, oysters and scallops to enjoy!


Third, when you cheat, you don’t have to go crazy!!  I think in the past when I have dieted, I lived by the philosophy, “Well I’m off the diet, so I might as well enjoy it!”  I would totally pig out and feel so bloated and sick.  This time, I decided on the nights I would allow myself to enjoy the fine dining, I would keep it small.  Just 2 pieces of pizza, a few hushpuppies, or a couple of adult beverages.  I thoroughly enjoyed everthing and did not get sick.

Finally, don’t forget to exercise.  My friend jokingly told me before I left “Exercising on vacation is overrated!”  Before this trip, I totally agreed.  I never understood the people who spent hours on their vacation in the exercise room or running.  I thought vacation meant a break from everything!  However, since I have been seriously exercising 5 days a week, I knew taking a break for over a week would make it tough to start back up.  Since I had just started this new exercise program called “Pretty Fierce Lean Out” by Lindsay Brin of Moms into Fitness, I tossed the 11 DVD set into my bag with some hand weights and hoped for the best.   It was the best decision!  After my tasty THM breakfast, I’d pop in my DVD and get an awesome workout.  I’d feel more energized for the day and was burning tons of extra calories.  I not only enjoyed the trip, but came back with a flatter stomach!

Bottom line, with a little planning, you can have a healthy and enjoyable vacation!

This post is linked up to Gwen’s Nest and Stacymakescents Trim Healthy Mama Tuesday Link Up.


Crockpot Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Ten years ago my husband and I did a mission trip for Mustard Seed Communities, an organization who carew for abandoned, disabled children in Jamaica.  It was a beautiful experience, and while we were there, we had the opportunity to enjoy the traditional local food.  On our “day off” from work, we took a trip to a small island and the staff made us a delicious meal of Jamaican Jerk Chicken.  We fell in love and have been trying to replicate the taste ever since!  When we returned to the states, we searched for the perfect jerk flavor and found it in Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning


Recently my mom made this delicious crockpot Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe for a party and it was a huge hit!  I was delighted to see that this flavorful seasoning contains zero fat, one carb and zero sugar per 2 tsp, making it a perfect choice for my Trim Healthy Mama diet!  Its so easy with only 2 ingredients and can be a perfect S, E or FP meal depending on how you serve it.  Chicken thighs have 4 grams of fat per 4 ounces, so stay under that for a fuel pull.  Enjoy a little more on a Joseph’s pita for an S meal or serve 4 ounces or less on some quinoa and a delicious E meal is ready to serve!

The super simple recipe:

Layer 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs in bottom of crockpot.

Spread one tsp Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (Hot & Spicy) between the three pieces (its very spicy, so stick to the 1tsp unless you want it really hot!!)

Cook on high for 4 hours.   Shred the chicken and enjoy!

jerk chicken

We ate ours on Joseph’s Pita bread with sauteed onions and peppers.  Super delicious!

This post is linked to Gwen’s Nest and Stacy Makes Cents Trim & Healthy Tuesday Link Up.

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Spinach Salmon

spinach salmon1

This week I’d like to share an old favorite recipe on mine.  I was thrilled when I looked through my recipe box and realized it would work nicely as an “S” meal on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  It’s become our #2 favorite meal next to the Cheeseburger Quesadillas from Gwens-nest.com

This is a simple recipe that makes a delicious meal to share with others when you are bringing a meal for a new baby, surgery or gathering!

Spinach Salmon


1 Large Salmon Plank (I purchase from Aldi for 6.99)

fresh spinach

roma tomatoes

sweet onion

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

fresh squeezed lemon juice


salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven on 350 degrees.  Place large piece of foil on cookie sheet.  Lay salmon plank on foil.  Season with salt & pepper.  Add thin pats of butter across the plank.  Top with thin sliced roma tomatoes, fresh spinach and sweet onion slices.  Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Season again with salt and pepper.  Cover in foil and tightly wrap the edges to keep in steam.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Cooked Spinach Salmon served with a side salad.

Cooked Spinach Salmon served with a side salad.

Note: This recipe may also be made with individual salmon fillets for a smaller family.  I did a little taste test and made 2 fillets of Alaskan Wild Caught Salmon from Fresh Market (19.99 for 6) and they taste was unbelievable.  If you can afford it, I would highly recommend, but my family still enjoyed the inexpensive salmon from aldi!

Thanks to Gwens-nest and Stacymakescents for the Trim Healthy Mama Tuesday Link Ups!