Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Asparagus Pasta Bake (With or Without Meat)

Happy Wednesday- we're halfway there :) This week, I really feel like spring/summer is here! The weather is warm (80-90 degrees by the end of the week in Charleston!!) and the first farmers market is hitting downtown on Saturday. Given this, I felt inspired to make a spring-ish pasta dish. This dish can be made with or without meat. I made Josh's version with ground turkey.

  • 1 bundle of asparagus chopped
  • 1/2 box pasta (desired shape)
  • ~2 1/2 cups pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 7-8 ounces part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (if desired)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2-1 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add turkey, and cook through until no longer pink.

Cook pasta to al dente (according to package directions). In the last two minutes of cooking, add in the chopped asparagus. Drain, but do not rinse.

In a bowl, mix together ricotta and pasta sauce.

Then add all other ingredients and mix well.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and fill with mixture.

Top with mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes.

I love pasta dishes. You can make a large dish and eat it throughout the week.

How are your workouts coming this week? Are you taking advantage of the weather and getting in some outdoor runs? My teaching schedule is still pretty heavy, so I haven't been able to squeeze in any outdoor runs (but I hope to next month!). I have enjoyed walking Frank more frequently, which is leading to one tired bulldog:

Enjoy the rest of the week!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mexican Fiesta & Brunch

How was your weekend? Mine turned out to be very nice. I taught Attack Friday night and then did dinner with Josh. Saturday morning, I taught Step & Pump, worked around the house, and then we had friends over for a Mexican dinner. I laid out all the fixings: jalapenos, sour cream, Mexican cheese:

...Pinto beans that I made up in the slow cooker (put dried beans in slow cooker, cover with water + ~1", add in chopped onion and desired spices (chili powder, cumin, etc), cook on high 2 hours, low for an additional 4-6 hours). Excuse the dark picture:

Onions & peppers, prior to cooking:

And after:

Corn & shredded lettuce:

White & whole wheat tortillas:

And for the meat eaters, grilled chicken:

and flank steak:

I just seasoned the meat, Josh was the grill master!! Our friends brought over some beer & chips and salsa. It was a fun night :)

Sunday morning, I slept in a bit and then headed to brunch at Charleston's Cafe. I was supposed to meet up with another local blogger, Christina, but she and a friend got locked out of their car and couldn't meet up with us :(. Fortunately, we still had delicious eats! We brought our friend Jeremy along and he tried one of the Southern breakfast items, Dewees Island Potato Casserole (bed of chippers, onions, peppers & mushrooms, eggs, turkey, bacon & cheddar cheese topped with a spicy tomato cream sauce, served with a biscuit).

Josh had his usual three grain pancakes:

And I had my usual Granny Apple Parfait

The rest of my day was spent weeding the yard, running some errands, and relaxing with Josh & Frank :).
Is it Monday already?? What are you looking forward to this week?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ICBINB Fridge Makeover & Oatmeal Cookies

Happy Sunday!! What are you up to today? I am getting ready to go brunch with a fellow blogger (more to come!!). Should be fun stuff :)

Recently, I received a fun Fridge Makeover Kit from the folks at I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. The kit included a reusable shopping bag, grocery shopping gift card, cleaning sponge, a disposable camera, grocery list note pad and fun recipes.

How often do you clean out your fridge? I try to give mine a general wipe down every week, but I'll admit...I only clean out the full fridge every great once in a while.

To get started on my fridge clean out, I leaned on the guidance from the ICBINB team:

"As part of the Reach Right campaign, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is dedicated to encouraging healthier lifestyles and healthier food choices. The Reach Right mantra is our reminder that healthier foods and recipes are doubly satisfying when they taste great. Enjoying nutritious foods helps you choose them more often. Veggies with lots of fresh herbs and flavor. Succulent fresh fruit. Nutty whole grain muffins. These are great examples of foods that satisfy your cravings and your drive to do the best for your health. Here are a few steps and supporting links to get you on the fast track to a happy, healthy fridge and a better health and better tasting food regimen:

1. Start with a clean-out! "

The before shots:

We were seriously lacking on produce at the end of the week:

So, I got to cleaning. Dirty drawers:

Clean drawers:

And then I hit up step 2. and went food shopping using my new bag:

Re-organized the fridge and filled it with lots of goodies:

and produce (this is only about 1/4 of our produce, the rest is in the cabinet/fruit bowl)!!

And hit up Step 3: Start Cooking/Baking!! ICBINB has some great recipes on their website, but I opted to make my Big Oatmeal Chip Cookies to give to my blogger friend at brunch:

I made half of the batch with chocolate chips and the other half with Nestle Toll House butterscotch chips:

And packaged them up in some of the fun boxes my MIL got me with my initials on them:

Off to Brunch at Charleston's Cafe! Enjoy your Sunday :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Has your week been treating you well so far? Mine has been pretty good. Tomorrow I have to do a presentation at work about what I do, so I'm a little nervous for that... Otherwise- easy,peasy! For dinner tonight, I wanted to make a Vegetarian Split Pea Soup. I used Ina's recipe as the base, cut the recipe down, and used vegetarian vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.

  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions (~2.4 oz)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup medium-diced carrots (~4.2 oz)
  • 1/2 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes (~2.15 oz)
  • 1/2 pound dried split green peas (I actually ended up only using about 0.4 lb)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, split peas, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 60 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper.

Prior to blending:

After blending:

For me, this made 3- 1 cup servings. I tried to calculate out the nutritional information and came out with the following (don't hold me to this ;)):~260 calories, 4.2 g fat, 0.9 g sat fat, 22.2 g protein, 16.5 g fiber. It is slightly sweet and very tasty.

Off to teach Attack! Have a wonderful afternoon/evening.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pump 73 & Veggie Enchiladas

Ah, Sunday! I used to dread Sundays!! Then Josh and I started our Sunday morning brunch out tradition- now, I'm loving it! This morning was a very special Sunday because we were launching the new Body Pump (73) at the gym! We gave it a rocker theme with big eye makeup & hair. I stink at doing hair/makeup, but gave it my best go!

It was an extra fun launch for me because my parents came down so my Mom could take the class! Here is a picture of myself and the other three instructors I launched with:

And a few action shots from the launch itself. The class was larger than I thought it would be (we launched at 10 AM and I figured many people would still be at church):

Chest track:
& lunges:

Overall, the launch was FABULOUS! Myself, my parents, Aunt & Uncle, cousins & Josh headed out to the usual Charleston's Cafe for brunch afterwards. We then did a bundle of work around the house. Later in the afternoon, Josh and I enjoyed some snacks and tried another flavor of Galaxy Granola that the company sent us, Not Sweet Vanilla.

On top of Greek yogurt:

I loveeeee this flavor. Very simple and (obviously) not too sweet- just how I like it! Fabulous and crunchy!
After some more house work, I made up dinner- Vegetable and Bean Enchiladas. I cooked up some yellow squash and jalapenos. When they were nice and tender, I added some spinach, cumin, and pinto beans and cooked the mix until the spinach was wilted.

I then packed the mixture into some Whole Wheat tortillas and topped with Enchilada sauce. I baked them at 375 for 15 minutes. I threw some 2% sharp cheddar on top and then baked for another 5 minutes. The outcome with TJs refried black beans:

Very tasty! Do you love or dread Sundays (or a little of both)???Any exciting plans for the week?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Triple D Experience: Jack's Cosmic Dogs

How has your weekend been so far? Mine has been very nice. Friday night, Josh and I just relaxed around the house. This morning, I taught Body Step & Pump and then went food shopping. Afterwards, Josh and I ran some errands, relaxed, and then met a friend at Jack's Cosmic Dogs for dinner.

I remember the first time Josh and I drove by this place, we both thought it looked weird and sort of dumpy! We soon after found out it had been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network!
We finally made our way over there tonight to give it a try. Josh got the traditional Earth Dog with ketchup:

While I got the Bunny in a Bun (grilled carrots) without the coleslaw, plus mustard:

Both Josh and I enjoyed our dinners (actually, it was really dinner part 1- I knew since we were going to a hot dog restaurant for dinner I'd be finishing off dinner part 2 at home ;)), but we weren't really BLOWN away. The restaurants design is very cool, but the service was super slow. We also thought it was pretty expensive for hot dogs. We're glad we went and had the experience, but probably won't go back.

Jack's Cosmic Dogs on Urbanspoon

Tonight, we're doing a few things around the house. I also just baked up a batch of Jamaican Coconut Cornbread to bring to the other instructors at our Body Pump launch tomorrow:

I got the idea to make this from someone else, but I can't remember whose blog it was! So thank you to whoever brought this recipe to my attention!
Quick question: If you have a dog, what kind of food do you feed him/her? I have been feeding Frank Iams for some time, but am thinking about switching it up. I am going to mix in Rachael Ray's new food and give it a go. I gave Frank a few pieces today and he seemed to REALLY like it. You can get a free sample here.
Enjoy your Sunday!!