Posts tagged ‘pasta’

Fire + ice

Good lord, has it been hot in Chicago lately. I have taken to wearing either next to nothing (while at home only, of course), or workout/wicking clothes most of the time because it’s literally like an oven outside this week. Yesterday’s heat-inspired outfit at least looked somewhat put-together:

I feel like my head looks awkwardly huge here…but yeah, that’s my new Lululemon CRB (cool racerback), a hat to cover up the major sweaties/greasies and some cool, comfy LOFT shorts. Flip flops were obviously worn as well.

This was worn as a work from home outfit, but my working was intended to be at the Caribou nearby. Unfortunately, I got there and paid for a drink before finding out that their WiFi wasn’t working! I feel like that is kind of a big deal for a coffee shop where people sit around and work, so I was pretty annoyed that they didn’t have some sort of sign up or something. Small potatoes, but still. Hmph.

I decided to just go back home and finish my work there. I had rented a Zipcar at 6 o’clock to run some errands, so I didn’t want to waste time walking around to another coffee shop when my apartment was much closer. Still though, I hate being cooped up inside all day. At least it was a good day to hide out in the AC.

It was also a beautiful night for colors in the sky.

Isn’t that incredible? I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it looked at dusk.

Even though I have AC in my apartment and it stays pretty cool because it’s so small, I haven’t wanted to use the oven at all — something about hot food or standing over a steamy pot just makes me want to gag. Tuesday night, I made an Amy’s frozen veggie lasagna that was actually really good. I can’t remember what I ate on the side, but it was some sort of vegetable….

The portion size seemed just right (enough to feel slightly indulgent and filling, but not too huge where it was overly filling or had too many calories). The veggie filling was also nicely bulked up, and while I would have preferred whole wheat pasta, the organic ingredient list was nice. I highly recommend it!

Last night, I went all cold and picked up some sesame tofu (marinated but I don’t think they were fried) from the Whole Foods prepared foods case. For some reason I don’t really like the way sesame oil smells, even though I like how it tastes, so the smell kind of put me off and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m so glad I tried it though — it was AMAZING!

(Sorry for all the crappy camera phone pics). I know this doesn’t look like much, but I promise it was delicious. If you see these, definitely give them a try! I also picked up a lemon-lime Zevia because I was craving soda. To continue with the no-cook theme, I made another massaged raw kale salad. This time, it was just kale, olive oil, sea salt, white balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. I topped it with grape tomatoes.

I love how easy this is to make, plus I feel like I’m eating superfood when I make it (I guess I am!). It’s perfect for hot nights.

So this morning, I finally got to see my doctor regarding the knee pain I’ve been experiencing. I’ve had knee problems for a long time, but they’ve never really interfered with my life like they have been doing lately. I know it’s in part due to my increased running, but I know that that’s just what intensified the problem, not what caused it.

I got up early to work from home for an hour or so, then headed out to see the doc before going into work. My doctor confirmed my suspicions in that it’s not my IT band and likely not my actual knee that’s causing the problem, but it’s actually “further upstream” in my hip. My right hip is tighter and slightly higher up than my left, causing a misalignment and subsequent knee pain. Some physical therapy focusing on hip stabilizing and strengthening, as well as strengthening my gluteus med muscles, should really help, so she wrote me a scrip. I can’t wait!

Doesn’t she have such nice handwriting for a doctor? I seriously love my doc — she is a D.O. as well as a licensed clinical social worker, and puts a lot of focus on holistic health, and always recommends natural and healthy alternatives like yoga, whole foods and natural supplements. Please let me know if you live in Chicago and would like a recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about her!

When I got to work, I had not one, but two Amazon packages waiting for me. I seriously have a problem! I worry someone is going to nominate me for Hoarders soon…

One item was super-relevant to the doctor’s orders today.

She told me I need to be icing both sides of my knee for 15 minutes every day, twice a day (wow!) so I’m glad this came in the mail. I know I can use frozen peas, but it will be nice to have at least one “real” ice pack since I don’t have any. I still got a bunch of other stuff too though.

I know, I’m insane. Look at all those boxes! But I got some fun goodies, including:

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book I’ve been wanting to read forever
  • A kitchen scale which will not only be useful for cooking/baking (weight is much more reliable than volume), but also occasional portion checking
  • A 4-pack of dark chocolate roasted almonds that were WAY cheaper than at the store. Can keep some at work for afternoon snacks, some in gym bag, some at home!
  • A (not pictured) locking glass shaker bottle that I will use for transporting smoothies!
  • Another fun surprise that will be revealed soon!

Love. Love love love love love. This is a clear case of the wild hair syndrome, but whatever – I know I will use all this stuff, and I am really jazzed about the new book. I’m also super excited that Mel offered to lend me her Hunger Games books! Thanks, Mel!! :)

Just for fun, here are a few more 5k pictures.

This was my post-race brunch:

Not sure if I remembered to mention the bacon in that brunch or not, haha.

cutie-pie Amy

Amy's face describes exactly how we felt at the end

anguish!

I am going to get back to work, but I hope you are all having a wonderful day and aren’t melting in this heat. I’m going to try to make it to the gym tonight as my knee is finally feeling a little better, but I’m still wary of busting it up even more. See ya!

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July 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm 7 comments

Carb-coma

No wonder I woke up feeling like death today.

Or, more specifically,

I have a teeny apartment, and two kitties. Indoor dust and dander is bad enough as it is…yeesh. I need to vacuum more frequently, but sometimes I honestly think vacuuming makes it worse!

Dinner last night with my family (for Dad’s birthday) was great! We went to this old school Italian place in Little Italy called Salatino’s — note the checkered red tablecloth! The weather was perfect so we sat outside and enjoyed each other’s company as well as the nice breeze and the great view of the city. I ordered their homemade rigatoni dish, with San Marzano tomato sauce (the best kind!) and homemade sausage. I initially ordered it with whole wheat pasta, but at the last minute switched it back, thinking the boxed whole wheat wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as the homemade. I was right!

The portion was huge! I think I ate between 1/3 and 1/2,  but I wasn’t paying super close attention because we were having such a good time. I also had some rapini that I ordered on the side for some green. It wasn’t that great — too much olive oil, no salt and red pepper flakes — whaa?? Weird preparation.

I also sipped on a glass of prosecco throughout the night, and nibbled on 3 small pieces of tomato sauce-dipped bread. YUMMM.

Going to pick up my race packet (!!!) after work today, then hitting up the grocery store because I ran out of veggies — even my frozen backup stash!! Heavens no. Instead of writing down a second list to copy what I had on my dry erase board, I just took a picture on my phone. Because I’m cool like that. And lazy.

Technology: 1, Laura’s handwriting: 0. (Do you like how it says email grandma? Haha)

Happy Friday!!!

July 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

No greens

Hi, peaches.

Is anyone else absolutely dying from allergies today? I haven’t been able to breathe normally for most of the day, and I’ve only just now regained the use of one nostril. I know I’m not sick because I don’t have any other symptoms. Just, you know, a total inability to breathe.

Blegh!

In case you can’t picture this accurately enough, I took this little gem earlier and posted it on Twitter. Shield your eyes if you’re squeamish.

You know, sometimes I stop and wonder if these blog pictures will come back and haunt me someday….In the meantime though, I’ll just keep stuffing more Kleenex up my nose.

Mojo is currently passed out peacefully on his back, next to me, limbs sprawled. It’s making me feel sleepy and peaceful :)

this is from when he was just a little guy!

teeny Molly too, please excuse the messy room

I came home rather late tonight after running around Lincoln Park post-work to take care of some business. There may be some (more) exciting changes afoot, so I have yet another task on my plate. It’s funny — just as I was saying that I didn’t have anything going on, this new event pops into my lap. More info to come later.

When I finally got home, I whipped up a super quick  dinner. While boiling some pasta, I baked three Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs alongside some sweet potato fries in the toaster oven. No green foods in dinner today, but I didn’t feel so bad about it since I had a huge salad for lunch and a big green monster for breakfast.

After the pasta was cooked, I topped it with the new marinara I bought, and sprinkled some pecorino on top. It was sooo tasty and just the kind of simple comfort food I was craving. I munched on the fries while reading…

I finished The Hunger Games! I’m not going to go into a long review because I’m already boring myself just thinking about writing a “book report,” but it was awesome and I’m not usually into science fiction, or even really fiction for that matter. I usually read lame (not really) non-fiction and autobiographies because I’m weird like that. I can’t wait for the next one in the series, Catching Fire!

I’m debating whether I want to buy it for Kindle (a.k.a on my phone since I don’t have a Kindle — sadface) or wait and buy the paperback. I’m VERY impatient, so this will be a tough decision…

Anyway, just thought I’d pop in and say hello. I just finished a small cup of chocolate froyo I picked up across the street (mad chocolate cravings, uh oh..), and I’m going to hop into bed and call it a night. So glad it’s almost the weekend! See ya!

July 7, 2011 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Never enough hours in the day [+ pasta rosa verde]

Why, hello there.. *bats eyelashes*

I hope your Tuesday was a lovely one! Mine sure wasn’t, but I’m trying to get myself into bed and move past it…

Remember how I wanted to get plenty of sleep last night? Yeah, that didn’t happen =/ I got caught up making my lunch for today and the stinkin’ pearled barley took for-EVER to cook — even in the rice cooker! After waiting for that to finish, I still hadn’t wound down for bed and couldn’t get myself to go to sleep. I didn’t end up passing out around 2am.

Needless to say, I was tired and a big cranky pants all day.

But I still didn’t work out. What is going on with me? I feel like I’m in a funk :(

At least my lunch was delicious — with the pain-in-the-ass barley (not really, it was super easy) I mixed in some chicken thighs that I popped in the slow cooker with onions, veggie broth and poultry spice on high for about 3 hours. When I reheated it this afternoon, the chicken just fell apart and mixed in with the barley. Super tasty! (Make sure to sneak some of the chicken slow cooker juice though, or else it will be too dry). I also had a side salad. I would have taken a picture, but to be honest, it was pretty boring looking. How about a picture of a puppy instead? ;)

this is what I feel like right now

After work, I had another appointment with my chiropractor’s assistant (or colleague? I’m not really sure of her title) but she does more massage work than the crackin’ stuff. I saw her because I’ve been having issues with my sinuses, and boy did she help. I’m still feeling a little skeptical because I can’t figure out why my health insurance would pay for weekly 30 minute massages…because that’s what these are! Okay…maybe not JUST like a massage, but I always walk away feeling incredible, loose and refreshed. She spent a good amount of time massaging my face [that sounds super weird, doesn’t it?], concentrating specifically on my sinuses and temples — it felt amazing. I was honestly trying not to melt into the table…

As I was leaving, she told me that I need to be wearing a hat when it’s cold out to prevent headaches [I’m not really sure I understand this part.] I laughed and told her my mom would agree with her, to which she responded that I must be the same age as her grandson. The natural jokester that I am (hah), I laughed and asked if he was cute. Apparently that was the magic line, because within seconds she had me writing down my Facebook information and told me she would have him contact me…and she was dead serious! Bahahah! I tried to hold the laughter in and finally burst through the door outside to laugh my ass off….oh my.

Unfortunately when I left to run a few errands afterward, my hair and face were a big greasy mess from the lotion she used. I was a sight to behold, let me tell you…

On the trek back home, the weather dipped a few degrees cooler [and it was already cold, crummy and windy] and started drizzling a bit — just as my tummy was starting to grumble. The icky weather [and relative lack of all things carb/cheese loaded] had me craving something gooey and comforting, but I didn’t want to bust my calorie goals (more on this in a minute), so I decided to play around with a few things hiding in my freezer.

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frozen shrimp + frozen broccoli

See my Misto hiding in the background? ;) I sauteed about 3 oz. [this is a complete estimate] of frozen cooked shrimp in some olive oil, garlic powder and sea salt. I know you are supposed to thaw shrimp before heating it, but I always just toss it in the pan — is this bad? I don’t see the point in taking 2 separate steps!

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cheese and pasta -- now we're talkin!

After cooking about 3/4 cup of whole wheat rigatoni (my favorite pasta shape, next to orrechiette), I poured 1/2 cup Whole Foods marinara on top and mixed in about an ounce of WF goat cheese, then popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt. I then mixed in about a cup of broccoli florets, mixed it all together and sprinkled some parmesan on top. Oh goody!

cheesy

I love the combination of colors in this dish — the red and green look so tasty together!

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shrimp time

This may not be quite restaurant quality, but it’s close enough, easy as pie to put together, and pretty healthy to boot. Win!

For dessert, I had a few small squares of Green & Black’s 85% cacao dark chocolate and a bit of Malbec rose. I had thought about hitting the gym, but by the time my food had digested, it would have been at least 9pm — and that just sucks.

I talked a bit yesterday about how crummy I am feeling lately about my self image…One of the great things about living in Chicago is all the incredible restaurants + bars that are a hop, skip and a jump away. But that is also one of the worst things about living in Chicago as well — if you go out to eat/drink regularly, you are taking in a lot of extra calories!

I thought I was doing a good enough job keeping my intake in check, but apparently I have not, as I am feeling very uncomfortable in my skin lately. Add to that the jitters of dating someone new, and, well..you have a recipe for anxiety. So, dear friends…I have begun counting calories again.

BLEGH. I despise counting calories. It is so tedious, so time-consuming and so….sucky! I don’t want to know that my favorite foods are veritable calorie bombs because that means I can no longer eat them! But as any “dieter” will tell you, it keeps you accountable for everything you put in your mouth, and therefore it works. I don’t plan on doing it for long, but I feel that right now I need to get my food priorities back in check and re-learn calorie estimation and budgeting so I can still splurge on dates or weekends [or simply when I want to!]

I’ve been using Livestrong.com because they seem to have the most comprehensive list of foods. Here is a snapshot from my tally today:

This isn’t my usual intake of calories, but since I am trying to slim down, I’ve set it so I can drop a certain amount of weight per week [whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen]. The thing that I don’t understand is their goals for protein and fiber — why on earth would they imply that it’s bad to get more of those things, especially if you’re trying to lose weight?! I mean, they keep you full + satisfied — how the hell would someone eat a low calorie diet without adequate protein and fiber and still stay full? Kinda makes me laugh…silly Livestrong app, I know more about nutrition than you! ;)

The only reason I’m over on cholesterol is because of the shimpies I had for dinner, and I’m okay with that :)

They just released the Android app for Livestrong’s calorie tracker, but since it is so new it has horrible reviews and costs a whopping $2.99! I think I will wait until they drop the price and fix the bugs, thank you very much!

If all goes according to plan, my original goal of hitting the gym 3x a week (minimum) should do just fine in combination with calorie reduction for weight loss. The real trick now is going to be sticking to the numbers and getting enough sleep.

Speaking of which, lately I am really feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day. How do you gals do it, between working full time, errands, gym time, showers/prettying up, dating, friends, cooking dinner, prepping lunch….my head is spinning just writing this. It’s only Tuesday and I feel like the rest of my week is completely planned out, with nary a second to spare =/

More details to come, but some of said plans involve butterflies and pencil skirts.

I’m hitting the sack early for real this time. Night kiddos!

March 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

Cheesehead

Hello friends! I am such a bad blogger lately, my goodness! Can you ever forgive me?

I have a good reason for it though, I swear. Well, multiple reasons…one of them I mentioned here :) My, er..romantic life has taken a turn for the interesting. I’m not quite sure how I feel about sharing the details of this little situation with the world (and world meaning the three people that are reading) for fear of upsetting my future lover/boyfriend/fiance/husband (if you’re reading this — sorry future lover/boyfriend/fiance/husband! I love you!…I think), but here goes…

I happened to go out on two different first dates with two different people in the same week…and liked both of them. YEESH! It has been so much fun so far getting to know both of these people (and again, I reiterate — this is not meant to be malicious! It just happened that way!) but it’s hard to tell at the moment where things will lead…so for now, I’m just having fun, and boy, let me tell you — it has been fun!

No, not in that way you perverts…I have remained *chaste* and simply enjoyed some lovely goodnight kisses! :P

Anywho, between spending time with these two gentleman, gym time, work and fun (see below), I feel like I barely have a minute to myself these days! For example, my Saturday was filled with this stuff:

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Believe your eyes, that is green beer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as tasty as it looks (do

esn’t it kinda look like Green River soda??) because it was Miller Light! Blegh, I HATE light beer, and would much rather drink something that doesn’t taste like stale water. Thankfully, a few (or 10..) of these made their way to my belly:

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Unfortunately, there were still a few more of these:

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Neat can though, no?

We started the day off early (9am!!) with some drinks and a walk down to see the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade. It was so much fun walking around the crowds with everyone dressed up for the holiday. We have a lot of Irish people here (myself included), so Chicagoans REALLY take the holiday seriously! I couldn’t help but laugh though — the entire city seems to have decided that last Saturday was St. Patrick’s Day…not the actual holiday on Thursday! People were drinking all morning, afternoon and night (my neighbors, for example, decided to start the morning off at 6am with “Come On Eileen” playing at full volume below my bedroom…lovely) and needless to say, this town was toasted.

I can’t say I wasn’t in on the fun…

I spent most of the afternoon swigging Guinness and who knows what else, then planned on heading home around 6 to take a nap. Then my brother called and invited me to meet him at an Irish bar downtown…and I couldn’t resist (he even offered to pay for my cab — what a guy!). I stayed out much later than I had intended, as well as drank far more than I should have. I still had a great time and didn’t get sick, but I was in bed — dead to the world — by 9:30 pm and felt like I had been run over by a car, truck, train and bus (all at once, of course) the next day. It was a plain bagel and 37 glasses of water kind of Sunday…

Buuuut — I still got to watch them turn the Chicago River Green!

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After my epic day Saturday and useless day Sunday, I really needed a good workout today. After stopping home for a quick snack and to feed the kitties, I tied mah shoes and headed out the door. Boy oh boy was this a good workout! I can really see the value of rest days (although unlike my tactic, you’re only supposed to take one or two, not like…eight…) if every workout of mine was like the one today!

I felt like I had endless power in my legs that carried me through a 2.5 mile run (far for my pathetic running butt) with lots of super-speedy intervals. I felt amazing! Afterward I mishmashed a strength workout together that seemed to incorporate a lot of what I’ve been learning from Women’s Health lately. I did some upper back schtuff, squats + lunges, bicep curls, shoulder presses and even PUSHUPS! I can do pushups now! It never ceases to amaze me when I can feel AND see myself getting stronger, and it really is the best motivation evah.

Can you tell I’m in a good mood?

Said mood is surprising, considering I was in the foulest of foul moods earlier today. Really, I wanted to rip somebody’s head off…Amazing how a little sweat can turn things around, eh? :)

When I came home, I really wanted something satisfying but loaded with protein since my diet was WAY out of whack this weekend. I came up with this:

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It may not look like much, but let me tell you — this bad boy was tasty. I had originally planned on nuking some frozen broccoli, but when I took it out of the freezer, it was clear that that stuff wasn’t going anywhere except for the garbage. I hate freezer burn!

While I cooked a little bit of whole wheat pasta, I heated up and pulled apart some chicken I made last night for chicken tacos (boneless skinless organic thigh meat, simmered with onions, cumin, paprika and cayenne) and defrosted some chopped spinach. When everything was ready to go, I mixed the pasta with the chicken and spinach, then topped it with shredded cheddar, shredded lite mozzarella and a little (okay, not so little) blob of soft goat cheese, then nuked the whole mix for another minute to melt the cheese. After it heated up, I stirred it together then topped it with Garlic Gold.

Ohhhhhh man. Have I mentioned that this girl loves cheese? Yeah, because I love cheese.

Delish and easy, just the way I like it.

Now I’m off to have a glass of Zinfandel then get ready for bed. I have a chiropractor appointment bright and early!

March 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

We got through Monday!

Hi friends! Phew! Are you glad we’re already 1/5 through the week? I surely am :)

I had a nice, albeit interesting weekend. I spent some time Friday night doing the whole pizza and PJs thing to keep the mood light with a sad friend. We had a blast sipping wine and watching terrible horror movies, although I made the mistake of starting my glass (or 10) of wine post-workout but pre-dinner. Needless to say, I was a hot mess by the end of the evening. Glad I was among friends when I made a fool out of myself… *blush*

Saturday night I went out to dinner at Francesca’s Pizzeria on Clark and, as always, it was uh-mazing. If you didn’t know, I have a crazy obsession with Neapolitan pizza. I strayed a bit from my usual Bufalina (Margherita with bufala mozzarella) and got a Parmigiano with eggplant and parmesan subbed my favorite bufala for the regular mozzarella! Yum! My dinner companions each took two (albeit smallish) pieces home, but I sinfully gobbled down the entire thing. And it was soooo worth it.

 

to die-for, no?

source

That’s right, you’re reading that correctly: I had pizza two nights in a row. And I loved every second of it :D

Sunday was spent sleeping in (and sleeping late in my dictionary means LATE), hitting the gym and running errands. After a quick shower, my parents came into the city and took my brother, sister-in-law and me out to dinner! It was so much fun and the food was delish. We went to Mia Francesca in Wrigleyville, and between the three of us, got the same two dishes! So funny. I had a penne pasta with sausage, broccoli (which was subbed in place of peas, ick!) and a creamy tomato cream sauce. Of course I topped it with a healthy dose of fresh shredded parm as well :D It was good, but it was a bit difficult on my tummy because I’m moderately *gasp!* lactose intolerant!

I can handle most yogurt and a little bit of cheese, but ice cream and milkshakes, etc. are my enemies. It’s a good thing I don’t really like sweets! But this pasta from dinner Sunday night was heeeavy on the cream, and my tummy was not happy. I had leftovers for lunch today (along with a salad), but made sure to take a lactose pill beforehand :)

Chicago is on the brink of a blizzard, so everyone at work spent the day discussing how we were going to handle it. The news kept telling people to get their errands done today, because one the heavy snow starts tomorrow evening, they’re expecting white-out conditions! I should have hit the gym after work today since it’s unlikely I will get there tomorrow, but I have been dealing with some nasty knee pain that told me it’s time to give my knees a little rest. I think I am having IT band issues (a previous physical therapist had guessed this was the problem), so I made an appointment to see a chiropractor on Wednesday. Hopefully the impending blizzard won’t keep me from getting there!

Meals

For lunch last week as an attempt at redemption after my salty (semi) disaster, I made a modified version with no added salt, more veggies and shrimp! It turned out perfect. I mixed about 1/4 cup dry quinoa (whatever that translates to cooked!), two cut up kumatos, about 3 oz. cooked, peeled, de-veined shrimp (from TJ’s, eyeballed the portion), some sauteed leeks from cooking the shrimp and some fresh spinach to cook when reheated. I also topped it off with some Garlic Gold.

Shrimpy!

I just love quinoa. I can’t get over how easy it is to cook! A little after my lunch today, I cut up a blood orange for a snack.

Isn’t the color lovely? I learned today that blood oranges get their color from anthocyanins, which are heavy duty antioxidants! They prevent cancer and do all sorts of other fabulous things for your health.

I couldn’t help myself, they were so pretty!

For dinner, I switched up my recipe plans a bit since the chicken I had on hand smelled a bit funky. I’m nervous about chicken + salmonella, so I stuck it in the freezer to be inspected later… (this sounds even sillier when I type it out). I did make some shrimp though!

Spaghetti squash is surprisingly easy to make! All you do is roast it on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Then it’s time to shred, baby.

The flesh just sort of strings along as you scoop it out with the fork. It was fun!

It has a sort of crunchy texture, and a subtle, but buttery squash flavor. I popped the finished strands in the microwave to cook them a little more since it was still a bit crunchy, and that seemed to help. While that was happening, I was doing this:

Shrimpies, zukes + leeks! Can you tell that I love leeks? They are easier to slice than onions, have a sweeter flavor, and add a nice crunch to just about anything! The final product had a splash of veggie broth and a handful of spinach, some cut up red and yellow bell peppers and was topped with some Garlic Gold and an almost decadent amount of freshly grated parmesan.

How AMAZING does that look?? And see my lovely new microplane in the background? :)

It tasted even better than it looked. I think I would eat every single meal with garlic + parmesan cheese if I could. Well, maybe not my chocolate oatmeal!

It was a long day because I didn’t get very much sleep last night. I felt exhausted and sluggish at work, and had more on my plate than my brain could handle. I was very happy to head home, put on some pajamas, and pour myself a glass of wine.

It has already started snowing, so it will be quite an adventure waking up tomorrow. Although I can’t imagine we’ll get more than Tina over at Carrots ‘n’ Cake has been getting in Boston!

Bedtime for this girl. Goodnight!

January 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm 3 comments

Just asking for a tummy ache

Howdy folks!

I got into work late today because I was not feeling well at ALL this morning. I hope it was just a passing fluke and doesn’t spell out bad things for the rest of the weekend.

Part of the reason I was craving some veggie-heavy foods yesterday was because my lunch was soooo not healthy (well, mostly not healthy) the day before. But it sure was tasty.

what could it be?

Food trucks are gaining a lot of popularity in Chicago, although some goofy old law still prevents vendors from actually preparing food ON the truck, so it must all be ready to go before hitting the road. I’m sure this will change eventually, but for now, our offerings are kinda limited. Enter the Gaztro-Wagon.

tastyyyy

Please excuse my gross nail polish, blegh. I really need to get a manicure. But yes, you’re reading that right — this says pork cheeks. Sounds kinda weird, maybe kinda gross, right? It’s actually really similar to pork shoulder, or any slow-cooked pork meat. They re-designed their menu, so I haden’t tried any of their new stuff yet!

The Gaztro-Wagon makes “naan-wiches” that are basically really tasty pieces of fluffy naan which are filled with all sorts of foodie-type ingredients. I had the grilled cheese, which was pretty good, but I didn’t like it as much as their beef with blue cheese, onions, dried cherries and pecans. YUM. This had a bit too strong of a smoked gouda flavor for me that overwhelmed the meat. It probably didn’t help that I’m not a huge fan of smoked cheese or of gouda, haha, but it was still tasty.

taking a peek

meaty

Yeah, that probably either made your mouth water, or your stomach churn — there’s no in-between.

Thankfully, I had packed some salad stuff and had a big salad and a little break before eating this guy. Have to get those veggies in! But I still didn’t feel 100% later in the day, leading me to realize more and more that I really do just feel better when I eat healthy stuff. This doesn’t mean I’m every going to sacrifice my favorites though. I honestly don’t think I could live without sushi (salmon and avocado roll for the win!), Thai (pad see eiw with tofu or panang curry), tacos (fish and shrimp, mmm) and pizza (Neapolitan mozzarella di bufala). Without these goodies, I don’t think life would be worth living…

The trick is eating these things as a treat, not a regular occurrence. A work in progress I suppose!

As promised, here is my recipe for Laura’s quickie pesto masterpiece!

Ingredients:

  • 1 portion (or more if you want to multiply the recipe) cooked whole wheat pasta
  • 1 relatively healthy link of Italian-flavored chicken sausage, sliced (use whatever flavor you like — I used Trader Joe’s sundried tomato basil)
  • 3 Dorot chopped basil cubes
  • 1 Dorot chopped garlic cube
  • handful of halved grape/cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil to taste
  • sea/kosher salt to taste
  • good quality freshly grated parmesan

You may be wondering what these “Dorot” things are — and that’s the trick to the recipe! Trader Joe’s has these little ice cube trays of chopped basil and garlic that are seriously the greatest invention EVER. They make spicing up a meal a cinch, because they are small and melt relatively quickly when you toss them in. They’re pre-measured too, so no chopping or measuring required! If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can of course use regular chopped fresh (or even dried) basil and garlic, but I guarantee it it won’t be as fast or as good.

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions with some salt and olive oil in the water for taste and to avoid sticking. While pasta is cooking, slice sausage and bake in an oven at 400 degrees on a sprayed cookie sheet for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Drain pasta and put back in saucepan, then add about a teaspoon (more if you like) of good quality olive oil and a grind/shake of sea salt. Add garlic and basil cubes, and turn heat on medium-low. Stir to disperse garlic and basil as the cubes melt. Add tomatoes while continuing to stir, add more salt or olive oil if desired. Add in chicken sausage at the end, and stir to disperse. Plate the good stuff, and grate some delicious cheese on top. Enjoy!

I put loooots of cheese on mine, and had some grilled asparagus on the side. Heaven.

it tasted even better than it looks

I will certainly be making this again. Don’t mind the messy coffee table! I had just come back from the gym, which explains the Germ-X and headband. Doesn’t explain the wine though :P

All this food talk is making me hungry. Lunch time!

January 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm 2 comments


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