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My Favorite Green Beans

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Today I woke up dark and early (the sun was not even close to being up) and got ready for my day at work.  We were doing the holiday floor set.  That’s right, HOLIDAY!  Things in the retail world happen sooo early when it comes to holidays.

Because of my crazy early beginning of the day, my eating habits have also been skewed leading to a lack of vegetable and fresh food intake.  By dinner time, I was craving something green.

I absolutely love green beans, and just happen to have some on hand.  I decided to prepare them using my favorite method, I “blanched” them.

Blanching a vegetable is a method of cooking by plunging the vegetable into boiling water for several seconds or several minutes and then quickly placing them in ice water.  This leaves the green beans a vibrant, green color, and super duper crisp!

 

Blanching Green Beans Step By Step

This method is quick, easy, and almost fail proof!

Begin by placing a large saucepan on the stovetop full of water and letting it boil.  While waiting for the water to boil, pop off the ends of the green beans, discard the ends and rinse the beans.

 

Once the water is boiling, dump all of the beans into the boiling water.

Set the timer for 4 minutes.  Let the boiling water do it’s magic.  While the beans are cooking, get a bowl of ice water ready.

Once the 4 minutes is over, submerge the green beans in the ice bath.  Strain with the strainer.  The beans are officially done!

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I then added my green beans to a totally new, delicious, and definitely repeatable recipe.

Garlic Pumpkin Pasta (Inspired and adapted by Hungry Girl’s Totally Pumpin Fetticini)

Makes three servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Packages of House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles
  • 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk (you can use plain soy milk or lowfat dairy milk)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or boullion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup blanched green beans
Preparation:
When using Shirataki Tofu Noodles, they have a certain order when they are first opened.  Rinse and drain the noodles.  Place in a microwave safe dish and microwave for one minute.  After microwaving, squeeze all of the excess liquid out of the noodles with paper towels.
In a smaller bowl combine the milk, pumpkin, garlic powder, salt and pepper and set to the side.
In a smaller sauce pan, heat the chicken broth, onions, garlic, and cheese wedge.  Wait 2-4 minutes for the broth to mostly evaporate.  Cook a little longer until the onions and garlic are slightly browned.  Once browned, add in the pumpkin and milk mixture to the onion and garlic.  Stir and thoroughly combine.
Add noodles and green beans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Brian and I both gave this dinner “two thumbs waaaay way up!” (Aladdin anybody?)
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Brian’s friend, Jenny, was also over to study with Brian before their exam tomorrow.  She gave the meal a two thumbs up as well!  She said “I would eat it again!” 🙂
Taking a study cookie break!
Hope you all had an amazing weekend!

It’s all in the Sauce

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Ok, so my camera is still not working :(.  It wasn’t super nice, but it was still my little camera and I hate that now I have to buy a new one.  I plan on purchasing one on Saturday when I am home during the day. Until then, I am borrow Brian’s.   Any advice on what might be the issue with my current one?  The lens part is stuck out and will not go back in.  I am able to review pictures when I turn it on, but I am not able to take any…poor camera.

I ate dinner before Brian came home because I was hungry and figured that he could heat his up.  Following a suggestion from one of my friends I tried the 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce from Oh She Glows.  This is a recipe that has been “on the list” to try for about a month now, but avocados are always so darn expensive.  This week they weren’t too bad, and they had a deal on purchasing a pack of 4, and I had another avocado recipe that I have been wanting to try.

I honestly don’t even think this recipe took 15 minutes to prepare!

15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce (originally seen on Oh She Glows)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice (or half a lemon’s worth)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • black pepper to taste
Preparation:
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Place on top of cooked pasta and steamed veggies (or at least that’s what I did…volumize with veggies!) and mix in.  This meal is so delicious and creamy without being overly heavy.  I also think it would pair well with salmon.
After Brian gets back and eats dinner we are going on a bike ride!  I had planned on doing pilates before heading back to Indy, but waking up in the 3am hour just kind of deterred me away from that idea for some reason 😉 so a bike ride will be a great way to be active on this “rest” day!

Volumize with Veggies

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I was really in the mood to bake yesterday, but didn’t exactly have the time so I made the dough yesterday stored it in the fridge and baked up the cookies today. I wanted to make something healthy that tasted really yummy so I found a recipe for Super-Charge-Me Cookies They were a little more crumbly then I had anticipated, but the sweet maple flavor made up for the mess!  I think that my favorite part about these cookies is that I can make the same cookies each time, but put different mix-ins.

I changed a couple of things in the recipe based on the ingredients I had in my pantry.

Super Charge Me Cookies (Original recipe from Dreena’s Vegan Recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried chopped apricots and dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter (can be any nutbutter)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients (oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, and baking powder) in a large bowl and mix well.  In a separate smaller bowl combine the flax, syrup, peanut butter, vanilla, and oil and mix together until smooth and combined.  Once all of the wet ingredients are combined, pour over the dry mixture and stir until completely moistened but be careful not to over mix!  If you want to refrigerate the dough over night like me to bake at a later date, simply put the dough into a plastic container and store in the fridge.  Otherwise divide the dough into large cookies and shape into round cookie shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.
Lunch
While I was baking, I made myself a light lunch…because I simply had to try the Super-Charge-Me cookie dough!
A small plate of veggies and hummus…yum 😉
I then went to work…and forgot to take a picture of my outfit!  Oops.  I work tomorrow and I promise I will post my outfit then.
Dinner
After coming home I was tired and ready to put on some PJs and make a quick dinner.  Pasta sounded quick and easy, so I whipped up a batch of veggie pasta with homemade pasta sauce.  Last time I made the sauce I didn’t give a very detailed “how-to” so here is the step-by-step process:
Pasta Sauce
Step 1:
Chop up about 1/4 cup onion (or more depending on your preference) and 1 or 2 garlic cloves.  Place in a pan on medium heat.  Stir until the onions and garlic become translucent.
Step 2:
I added salt and pepper and fresh basil to the onions and garlic and stirred for 1 minute.
Step 3:
Add one giant can of tomato puree (not tomato sauce) and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.  This is where you can get creative and add whatever you think should go in your pasta sauce.  I add ground red pepper for spice, salt and pepper to taste, Italian seasoning, and oregano….to me, oregano is what makes pasta sauce taste Italian.
Step 4:
Put on top of your pasta dinner!
When I eat pasta I like to use a little tip I call “Volumize with Veggies.”  I feel like it is soo easy to go overboard and load up my plate with way more than a serving of pasta.  By filling my plate with veggies, I am getting vitamins and nutrients without that heavy weighed down feeling in my stomach. When I do this, I steam a bunch of veggies (tonight it was kale, spinach, cauliflower, artichoke hearts, and broccoli slaw) put the veggies on the bottom, top with Al Dente’s whole wheat flax blend pasta, then top with sauce.  Filling and nutritious!

Look at those veggies hiding!

Brian really likes to have garlic bread with his pasta, but all of our bread went moldy 😦 so I got creative and made garlic pita!  I took half of a Joseph’s pita, topped it with garlic, mozzarella, and parmesan.  He said it was a great sub for the real stuff.

garlic pita

After dinner, Brian and I watched the finale of Next Food Network Star and now are ready for bed.  Gotta get some beauty rest before we start the week!

Eggplant Parm…Saucy

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Tonight, I taught Core Intensity with this workout:

Core Intensity

We completed the routine in 30 minutes

Abs (30 seconds per circuit with 10 jumping jacks between each station, repeat for a total of 2 run throughs)

  • side crunches (do the opposite side the second time)
  • clam crunches (upper and lower body)
  • side plank dips (imagine you are in a toaster and can’t touch the sides)
  • regular crunch with 8lb weight held above head
  • lie on side, bend knees and crunch up in a sideways v
  • put exercise ball between calf and back of thigh, lift ball of the ground and twist knees to the opposite shoulder
Back and Butt (30 seconds per circuit with 10 jumping hacks between each station, only do circuit once)
  • arm rows with 8 lb weight
  • wall sit
  • bicep curl with back step lunge
  • swimmer
  • back extension
  • squat, overhead lift with 5 lb weights
STRETCH!
Cycle 45
I then taught spin with this workout:

Warm Up 5 minutes: start pedaling with your gear at a low resistance, This is our workout so work where you are comfortable

  • Imagine you are on an open flat road, evenly press pedals, keep the knees over the middle toe, make sure shoulders are relaxed

Hills 7 min:

  • Climb hill for 1 min 30 seconds adjusting gear twice
  • Stay seated and raise gear up 2 notches for 1 min
  • Recover/race pace for 30 seconds
  • Climb back up the hill 2-4 gears and sit (30 seconds)
  • Stand and increase to high resistance for 1 min
  • Recover/race pace for 30 seconds
  • Stand high resistance 1 min 30 seconds
  • Recover/race pace for 30 seconds

Birthday Drill 6 min:

  • Begin at standing jog at high tension
  • When I call out the month of the year, if it is you birth month sit for 30 seconds until I call the next month 

Sprints 6 min:

  • 4×15 sprint
  • 2×30 sprint
  • 45 sec sprint
  • 15 sec recovery
  • Repeat once

Jumps 3 min:

  • 4 up 4 down 1 min 30 sec
  • 8 up 8 down 1 min 30 sec
  • repeat once

Abs:

  • 15 slow controlled crunches
  • 15 side crunches on each side
  •  20 total bicycle crunches

Cool Down

Dinner

After teaching those classes I was more than ready for dinner, so was Brian after a long day of studying and class.  I purchased mini eggplants from a farmer’s market that I had planned on making eggplant parmesan with…and tonight was finally the night!  The recipe I use includes a recipe for a deeelicious sauce, but I actually used the sauce I made a couple of nights ago since I already had it on hand.  My dad is such a sauce person, especially when it comes to marinara, when I made this dish for my family the first time he couldn’t stop raving about how much he loved the sauce…because of that I knew the recipe was a keeper.

So cheesy!

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp evoo
  • 6 and 1/4 cup canned, diced tomato
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp parsley
Preparation for Sauce:
  • In large sauce pan, saute onion, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, pepper, and red pepper in evoo until onion is soft.  Add diced tomatoes and simmer.
  • Add remaining ingredients except parsley and boil.  Reduce heat and summer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Stir in parsley and stir frequently.
Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients:
  • about 1/2 lb of eggplant
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 Tbs milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • Marinara Sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 1/3 cup cooked whole wheat pasta
Eggplant Parmesan Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut eggplant into 8 slices about 1/4 inch thick
  • In small bowl, beat egg with milk.  Dredge eggplant slices in flour, then milk mixture, then breadcrumbs
  • In large saute pan, saute eggplant in evoo cooking spray over med-high heat for 3-5 min per side.
  • Transfer the cooked eggplant to baking dish.  Top with marinara and sprinkle cheeses over top.  Place in oven until cheese is bubbly.
Serve 2 eggplant slices with 1/3 cup cooked pasta and 1/2 cup cooked broccoli.  4 servings.  380 calories a serving.
Brian and I had a bunch of little pieces instead of two large pieces, and we had steamed green beans and broccoli…simply delish!
After Brian and I took Bella on her evening walk, we worked out some wedding details…hopefully I will have some news to share with you all soon!