Monthly Archives: January 2012

Jello Legs + Mango Sorbet

Today was one of those days when my workout made me feel completely mentally energized. I went to the gym feeling scatterbrained from the day, and left feeling calm and renewed.

As the title implies, I did a leg workout and by the end of it, they felt a little jello-like (but in the most awesome way possible!). I’m sharing it with you in hopes that you’ll try it out and get the same results.

I don’t like when I read about workouts and am not sure what certain moves are, so I did a Google search to plug some images in here from around the web that show what exercises I’m talking about. Also, I take very minimal time in between reps and sets to feel the maximum burn and keep my heart rate up. After I did my leg workout, I hopped on the treadmill for an interval run routine (also included below).

Exercise #1: Squats with dumbbells

 

 

Exercise #2: Split squats with dumbbells

Exercise #3: Good Mornings with bicep hammer curls at standing position

Exercise #4: Wall Ball Squats

Exercise #5: Jumping Lunges

Exercise #6: Butt Kickbacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just love the last chick’s outfit?! And here’s my run workout, which I must say, I dominated. Part of me wanted to keep going but then I remembered that I’m trying to slowly get back into a run routine without re-injuring my calf. Once I stopped and listened to my body I realized that the ankle on my bad leg was hurting, so ending at 30 minutes on the treadmill was probably a smart idea.

Now onto dessert! If you like sweet fruity treats, this recipe is for you.

Mango is rich in antioxidant compounds and a good source of Vitamin A, B6, C, E and potassium.

Mango Sorbet

2 cups frozen mango chunks

1 TBSP agave nectar

1 1/2 TBSPs lime juice

Thaw mango for about 15 minutes.

Put mango, agave, and lime juice in food processor and process until smooth.

Pour mix into a glass bowl and stick in freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes, then enjoy.

Stats: 170 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g protein

I’m about to face-plant into my bed, good night!

Oo-la-la! French Onion Soup

Unfortunately, I have a bad sore throat going on. And what do I enjoy when my throat is feeling funky? Tea, ice cream, throat drops and soup. For dinner tonight, I resisted the urge to eat ice cream as my meal and tried making a recipe for French onion soup that I found in Fitness magazine. I’m so glad that I did because this soup came out so yummy! Here are the ways this recipe is healthier for you than what you’ll find at most restaurants:

– The traditional cheese used is Gruyere; use Swiss or Provolone instead to reduce fat

– Calls for wheat bread instead of the typical white bread

– Uses a lot less butter than usual French onion soup recipes

French Onion Soup 

Makes 2 servings.

  • 1 TSP butter
  • 1 1/2- 2 large onions, thinly sliced (I think 1 1/2 was plenty but if you like it more onion-y, use 2)
  • 2 TBSPs water
  • 2 TBSPs of sherry or white wine
  • 1 TSP dried thyme
  • 1/2 TSP black pepper
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 1 quart beef or vegetable stock (Swanson vegetable broth)
  • 2 slices whole-wheat baguette, toasted (2 oz of Trader Joe’s Organic Petite Pan Pascal whole wheat bread for each)
  • 4 slices Provolone or Swiss cheese (Sargento Provolone cheese deli style thin sliced)

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter, heating until it foams, and then add onions.

Reduce heat to medium. Once onions are light brown, deglaze the pan: Add water and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the
pan with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking onions. When the bottom of the pan starts to turn brown again, deglaze a second time with sherry or white wine. Cook until onions turn a dark golden color, about 20 minutes.

Add thyme, pepper, and salt, then slowly pour in stock and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Ladle soup into 2 ovenproof bowls and top each with 2 slices of cheese and a slice of toasted bread. Put bowls on a baking sheet, place under broiler, leaving the door slightly ajar. Broil until cheese is bubbly, about 2 minutes.

If you’re like me and don’t own ovenproof soup bowls (I knew I missed something on my wedding registry?!), just throw each bowl of soup in the microwave to melt the cheese, between 30-45 seconds.

Nutrition facts per serving: 390 calories, 12 g fat, 15 g protein, 51 g carbs

So happy I have leftovers to eat!

 

Oatmeal Raisin Krunchers

Whew, what a busy weekend I had! It just flew by.

Some of the other military wives and I got together last night at Lips, a restaurant that features drag queen entertainment. My face hurt from laughing so much at the show.

Need I say more? It was hilarious!

After a long hike today with a girlfriend and the puppy and then running some errands, it was dinnertime. I was in one of those moods where I couldn’t decide what to eat, wasn’t starving, and just felt like picking on some things. I settled on a random dinner of hummus + celery, apple with sprinkled cinnamon, some Trader Joe’s English cheddar with caramelized onion cheese and a hunk of multigrain bread.

A few hours later, I wanted to eat something sweet. I decided to try out a recipe from Sun-Maid Raisins that I had ripped out of a magazine.

These oatmeal raisin bars are good as an after-dinner treat, or to stash in your bag for a snack in case you get hungry while you’re on the move.

Raisin Krunchers

Makes 8 bars 

1/4 cup peanut butter (Peter Pan reduced fat)

1/4 cup honey

4 TSP light brown sugar

1/2 TSP vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups toasted rice cereal (Rice Krispies)

1 cup old-fashioned oats, dry

1/2 cup raisins (Sun-Maid)

Line a square baking pan with foil (If you’re like me and don’t have one: I used a 13×9 pan and covered half of it with the mixture).

Place peanut butter, honey, and brown sugar in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 2 minutes until bubbly & heated through.

Remove from microwave, then add in vanilla and stir until smooth.

Add cereal, oats and raisins. Stir lightly until mix is evenly combined. Press mixture firmly into pan.

Cool at room temperature or refrigerate. Cut into bars. A few of my bars got a bit crumbly and started to fall apart, but I think they’ll still be yummy!

Nutrition stats per bar: 175 calories, 4 g fat, 32 g carbs, 4 g protein

Food for thought: “Your body is a temple, but only if you treat it as one.”  -Astrid Alaud

May your week start off well!


You’re Stronger than You Think

I spent the day in Temecula, CA, at what’s called a Spartan Race. I went with my friend Jackie, whose husband and friends were taking part in the event, which consisted of a 9 mile run with 28 obstacles. The mountainous scenery made for a challenging run for participants, and a beautiful lake was the backdrop for the race. Here are a few shots from the day:

Watching the participants cross the finish line, there wasn’t a person who didn’t look completely exhausted. They had to run up steep hills, roll through mud, scale walls, crawl under barbed wire, and who knows what else. I’m sure that some of them thought they couldn’t finish it, and I know there were people who got terrible cramps or aches during it. But you know what? They kept on going, kept pushing themselves to go further. I can guarantee that every person who crossed that finish line thought the pain and hard work was worth it in the end.

This is the kind of intention and determination I want to bring not just to my workouts, but to everything I do in life.

Us human beings are resilient creatures. We are so much stronger than we think, so much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. Whatever goals you’re striving towards, continue to push yourself to keep going, to do more and be better. And remember, no matter what setbacks you’re experienced (and we’ve all had them), every moment is a chance to turn it all around.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wholesome Eating When You’re On-the-Go

Happy Friday!

Earlier I read an issue of Fitness magazine with Brooke Burke on the cover. The article discussed her tips for staying fit. I don’t know about you, but when a 40-year old woman whose given birth to 4 children and looks like that is talking about what keeps her in shape, I make sure to read. Though she’s undoubtably genetically gifted, this chick seems like she is dedicated to staying in great shape. Her diet secret? She never skips a meal.

I strongly agree with Brooke on this one. Not only do I make sure to eat 3 meals a day, I typically have 2 snacks as well. Eating small meals frequently  prevents you from getting too famished and craving unhealthy foods. Skipping meals puts your body on a path towards fasting and signals the metabolism to slow. Um, no thank you!

I know that one of the reasons people say they skip meals is that they’re too busy to slow down and prepare something. But here’s the thing – eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday doesn’t have to equate to slaving in the kitchen, or hitting up your local fast-food restaurants on a daily basis either. Although I admit that working from home makes meals easier, I usually am too busy trying to check things off my to-do list to spend more than a few minutes throwing together breakfast or lunch. I got to thinking about what my go-to foods are when I need to grab something quick or eat on-the-move.

A favorite of mine is bars – protein bars, cereal bars, granola bars. I carry them in my purse at all times in case hunger strikes while I’m out and have no healthy food options available.  One look into my cabinet and I realized that I quite possibly am bar-obsessed.

Note to self: Do not buy any type of bars for at least a month.

Something else that I always seem to go for when I need a quick, nutritious meal or snack is yogurt. Full of probiotics, aka active good for you bacteria, yogurt is low-fat/fat free and contains a good amount of protein in it (especially Greek yogurt). I love to add fruit, nuts, and/or granola to jazz it up. Here are some yogurt combos I’ve eaten recently:

Vanilla Greek yogurt with fruit & nut granola and wheat germ

 

 

 

Vanilla yogurt with fresh kiwi and almond flaxseed granola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caramel Greek yogurt with chopped apple, sprinkled cinnamon, and honey apple butter

 

Chocolate yogurt topped with a chopped up banana cinnamon muffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of healthy meals thrown together in a flash, my dinner tonight is a good example of this. I was hungry and wanted something to eat quick. I recently bought a can of Trader Joe’s organic vegetarian chili to try out and figured this was a good night to do so. I love that the list of ingredients is all foods that I know, with no foreign chemicals and things I can’t pronounce – always a positive sign!

I heated up a cup with a serving of reduced fat cheese, and had some whole wheat crackers and celery on the side for dipping.

I give this dinner a thumbs up as a fast and yummy, yet healthy meal.

Sure, wholesome eating might sometimes take a bit of effort and planning, but I believe it’s doable for even the busiest people out there if they make it a priority. After all, when there’s a will there’s a way.

What are your favorite foods to eat on-the-go? 

A 2012 Resolution in Action

A certain spoiled puppy was pretty happy she got to run around at the park for a bit this afternoon:

Something about Harley sitting next to me in the passenger’s seat looking out the window and making that face like she’s ecstatic with life cracks me up.

I was rewarded for my playtime efforts by getting some peace and quiet for the rest of the afternoon:

Moving on to food, I threw together a nutrient dense side as part of my dinner tonight, which I’m deeming fruity guacamole for lack of a better term. Did you know avocado is a fruit? I just found this information out recently. For some reason I always thought of it as a veggie. Add avocado to my list of “fruits” that I think of and refer to as vegetables (bell pepper and tomato are also on that list!).

Fruity Guac  

1 avocado 

1/2 fresh mango

1/2 medium apple (I used a Pink Lady but think a Granny Smith would be great in this)

About 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 TBSP lime juice

Mixed up salt to taste, if you don’t have it then regular salt is fine too

Chop up fruits and combine in a bowl. Add the basil, lime juice, and salt, and mix well.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving facts: About 175 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g protein, 21 carbs. These fruits are all great sources of vitamins, and the avocado provides some good for you monounsaturated fats. The best part is you can whip it up in about 2 minutes flat. I think it’d be delish as a snack with some tortilla chip or crackers, but tonight I ate it with a whole wheat Mexican cheese and tomato quesadilla.

One of My 2012 Resolutions in Action   

At the beginning of the month, I jotted down some things I wanted to do this year (starting this blog was one that I quickly got to!). Most of them had to do with self-improvement or continuing to do positive things, but one of the resolutions was a bit unique from the others. I know this might sound silly but…

I vowed to be a little less nice to people who are acting obnoxious and impolite.

I’m not sure if that’s weird, but sometimes I think I’m just too nice. Perhaps it’s just not being assertive enough. I think it has to do with me feeling like I don’t want to sweat the small stuff in life. So if someone is being rude, I think, ‘Oh well, just ignore them. Don’t let it put a damper on your day.’ Though I still believe in not letting people effect your mood in that way, especially with trivial stuff, I also think it’s not being bitchy to tell someone if they’re being inconsiderate.

I’ve gotten to test myself with this twice so far this year, and interestingly enough, both times were the same exact situation with different people involved.

My gym has a big aerobics room where I frequently exercise. Anyone can go in there and do their own thing. Sometimes there are people in there practicing dances of some sort – I’ve seen hip-hop, break dancing, belly dancing, and ballroom style dances, among others. It’s sort of entertaining to watch if I’m on the bike. However, people seem to think it’s acceptable to blast their music super loud while they’re practicing, disregarding the fact that other people are working out right next to them.

In the past, I’ve just ignored it and gotten slightly annoyed with not being able to hear the music coming from my headphones. Not to mention that they usually play the same song 137 times as they practice one dance.

But today, I spoke up. These 2 girls had their computer hooked up to some speakers, and I swear, it was as loud as it could possibly get. For the first few minutes, I just tried to focus on my workout and ignore it. But then I remembered my resolution. I literally  was 10 feet away from them and had to say ‘excuse me’ THREE times because their music was so loud. I nicely asked if they could lower it a bit. Just like what happened last time I was in this situation, the girls just stared at me, gave me dirty looks for a few seconds, and did not even murmur an ‘okay’, but you know what? They turned their music down.

I had a crazy awesome workout this evening, one that might not have been as amazing had I not been so focused on what I was doing and was instead thinking about how I wish I could hear my gym playlist to keep me going. As Charlie Sheen would say, WINNING! 😉 

Pancakes & Pasta

I randomly came across the above image today and thought I’d share. There’s so much truth to that statement. After all, being healthy and physically, mentally, and spiritually balanced is at the core of finding happiness in your life, right?

As my title suggests, I have 2 recipes to share with you today. I’ll get down to breakfast first.

Yum, I’m a huge pancake lover. As with everything I make, I try to create pancake recipes that are both healthy and delicious. This one hits the spot and makes the perfect portion size for breakfast (ok, I might have eaten it for lunch yesterday!).

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pancakes

Serves 1.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup all natural whole wheat flour

1/2 banana, mashed 

1/4 cup Quaker old-fashioned oats, dry

1/2 cup Blue Diamond unsweetened almond milk (or, as always, regular milk can be used)

1 TSP (organic) brown sugar

A dash of salt

1 TBSP chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli semi-sweet)

Warm a skillet over medium heat. Coat with non-stick spray.

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Mix well.

Pour batter onto pan, making 3 pancakes. Put chocolate chips on each cake.

Cook on each side until lightly brown. Top with butter, syrup, jelly, or whatever your heart desires. I love them plain or with a tiny bit of light butter.

Nutrition Stats: 330 calories, 10 g fat, 10 g protein, 65 g carbs

Mmmmm, pasta. My dinner last night is what I think of as the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink dish. When I throw this meal together, I use every and any veggie I have in my kitchen that’s about to go bad soon. Yesterday, this included cherry tomatoes, zucchini, red bell pepper and spinach. I use a bit of olive oil to add some flavor and healthy fats to the mix.

Pasta Primavera

Serves 1.

2 oz of multigrain angel hair pasta (I used Barilla Plus)

1/2 zucchini

1/2 red bell pepper

7 cherry tomatoes (random amount, I know!) 

Handful of raw spinach

A few fresh basil leaves

1/2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP white cooking wine (I used Holland House)

1/2 oz Romano cheese, optional (I used Il Giardino)

Salt & pepper to taste. I love using mixed up salt in this recipe.

Boil water in a medium pot on high heat, then cook pasta according to directions.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil and pasta to cook, chop up all veggies into bite sized pieces.

Warm cooking wine in a skillet on medium heat. Add all veggies except basil and spinach to the pan, then sauteed until softened, around 5 minutes or so. Stir the veggies, then add the spinach and basil and cook just until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.

When pasta is done cooking and drained, return it to the pot. Pour veggies onto the pasta. Add olive oil and any seasonings in, then mix it up. Put pasta in a bowl, then grate the cheese on top.

Facts: 390 calories, 12 g fat, 17 g protein, 53 g carbs

Blog Changes

Just a quick note to let you  know that I’m in the process of figuring out how to increase the functionality of my blog. I’m very new to all of this and am trying to figure out just what I’m doing! I want to add a ‘print recipe’ button so anyone can easily print a recipe out without the rest of the post, but for now, I’ve created a ‘print & PDF this’ button. This way, you can delete unwanted text & images, and keep whatever text you want to print out. It’ll have to do for the moment, but there will be bigger and better changes to come very soon!

On a final note… 

There were 2 milestone birthdays in my family this week. Yesterday my grandpa turned 80! And happy birthday to my baby brother Danny!! He turned 21 today and I’m sure he’s out celebrating like the crazy college kid that he is. Love you both!

A Running Workout for Those Who Hate to Run

My Deal with Running

I’ve been athletic and exercised on a constant basis my entire life.

But for some reason, I’m just not a runner. I’ve never enjoyed it. And that’s coming from me, who actually loves to workout. Even as a kid playing soccer, I remember feeling like I was going to die after we ran sprints. Not much has changed since then.

The first time my husband deployed, I decided that I would add running to my workout routine as something new. Even though I disliked the actual running, I loved how I felt after a hard (well, hard for me!) run. I wasn’t training for anything in particular, but decided I would build up my running endurance and then figure out a specific race/distance to do. I got up to running 5 miles at the end of my workouts, and I thought I was doing pretty good. I would get in a zone, blast music into my headphones, and push myself to keep going. But one day I got a bit too much in the zone and maybe pushed my body a little too hard…

I had just ran 6 miles and as soon as I stepped off the treadmill, I knew something was wrong. When I got home, I was feeling strangely sore and saw that my calf was really swollen and red. After much procrastination in getting it checked out (I waited way too long…lesson learned: go to the doc immediately!), I found out I had torn my calf muscle. I went to physical therapy, iced it like crazy and took it easy (ok, not really easy, but easier than I usually do). And here I am, coming up on 2 years since my injury, yet it’s not fully healed.

What I’ve learned is that it doesn’t bother my calf to do short bursts of running. It only gets ridiculously sore when I apparently put too much strain on my leg muscles for too long. You might be wondering why I even would try to run since I don’t enjoy it and have a nagging injury that gets aggravated by it.

Well, the answer is that it bothers me to think I can’t do something. I like a challenge. So now, I’ve decided I’m going to do an interval run just once or twice a week and see how the injury feels, and hopefully, slowly progress. Yesterday was the first time I’ve run on the treadmill in months. It went pretty well, and my calf feels totally fine today!

With that, I give you the I-loathe-running-and-need-a-workout-that-flies-by-so-I-can-feel-good-when-it’s-over interval run routine. Doing intervals really does make time fly by, and research has shown that there are tons of benefits to doing them, including increased endurance, the ability to burn more fat than if you were working out at a steady pace, and helping to avoid injury and overuse.

You might also find it necessary to blast whatever song you find motivating on repeat during your run. Yesterday for me this was Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”:

Then, here’s the recipe for my favorite smoothie to have post-workout to give your body some nutritious and delicious fuel (it’s great for a pre-workout snack as well).

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Ingredients:

1/2 banana, fresh or frozen

1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder, I use Designer Whey

1 cup of Soy Slender chocolate soy milk (or any kind of milk you prefer)

1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

1 TBSP peanut butter (I use my favorite PB – Peter Pan reduced fat)

Ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender, then enjoy! I swear, it tastes like a milkshake. I have been known to get people hooked on this smoothie!

Stats: 280 calories, 11 g fat, 21 g protein, 25 g carbs

Back to doing some work, then tonight I’m meeting with my book club. We read The Hunger Games this month, and I absolutely LOVED it. From the middle of the book on, I didn’t want to put it down. I highly suggest reading it and can’t wait for the movie to come out! Anyone else read this book and fall in love with it? 

Starting Your Day Off Right

Happy Monday!

Rewind to yesterday: I started my Sunday off hiking with my pup at a nearby park.

There’s just something so serene about hiking in a great park, whether it’s sunny or not. It’s so peaceful for me!

The rest of my day was full of football, and I’m quite a happy girl because THE GIANTS ARE IN THE SUPER BOWL!!!

Besides being glued to my TV all afternoon, I made a dinner worth sharing: hhomemade tomato soup! I am a big tomato soup fan, and I usually buy the organic Trader Joe’s brand. While eating some of it last week, I decided that I should try to make my own. That very day as I was flipping through a magazine, I saw this advertisement:

(My apologizes, blurry photo courtesy of an iPhone shot.)

I decided to give it a go!  I tweaked some of the ingredients a bit, and will probably do a bit more perfecting the next time I make it. The recipe is from an agave nectar ad, and ironically, I feel that the agave nectar might be optional. Next time, I plan on first tasting the soup before adding the agave to determine if some added sweetness is needed. It was easy to make, ready in half an hour, and leftovers can easily be thrown into tupperware to bring to work the next day or eat as a quick fix dinner.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup 

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 1 fresh garlic clove
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 TBSP agave nectar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, add celery, onion and garlic. Pulse on high until pureed. Pour puree into large saucepan. Don’t rinse the food processor.

Add the butter to the vegetables and saute over medium heat about 10 minutes or until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, broth and half the chopped basil. Stir, then bring to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium/low. Allow to simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cut cream cheese into a couple of cubes and place in food process, along with 1 cup of hot soup. Process on high until cream cheese is dissolved, about a minute.

Add cream cheese mixture, agave nectar and remaining basil to hot soup. Stir until combined, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Stats per 1 cup: 150 calories, 6 g fat, 6 g protein, 18 g carbs

My breakfast today: cantaloupe and cottage cheese

As I was eating a nutritious breakfast this morning, I got to thinking about how the way you start your morning really sets the pace for the whole day. If you wake up rushed and stressed, that feeling tends to linger on. It’s also true in the opposite sense – if you do a few minutes of meditation or go for a run first thing, your mind and body will be stronger throughout the day. It’s the same principle with what you eat for breakfast. If you shove a doughnut in your face, or any other food that does nothing for you nutritionally, you’re setting yourself up for a day of crappy eating.

By eating a healthy breakfast, you’re empowering yourself to make better, more conscious food choices (and hopefully life choices in general!) throughout the day. I challenge you to start your day off right and eat a healthful breakfast all week long!

Goat Cheese & Veggie Penne

Last night my friend Tiffany and I ate dinner at a place called Crepes & Corks, a cute restaurant and wine bar in Del Mar. San Diego
Restaurant Week is going on right now, an event in which 180+ restaurants in the area feature prix fixed menus at discounted prices. We split a bottle of wine and each had a salad for an appetizer, crepe for our main entrees, and gelato for dessert – for $30 each. So much fun! I had the veggie garden crepe, which was filled with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, grilled onions, spinach, and mozzarella, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. I’ve attempted to make crepes before, but they wound up being more like pancakes. I think I need to figure out the secret to good crepes and try to make em again sometime soon – and hopefully recreate this dinner! I love how crepes are so light and you can fill them with whatever your heart desires. YUM.

Today my face was feeling sore due to dental work I had done yesterday and I also had a weird sore throat thing happening, but I still wanted to do some type of workout. I decided to do a low impact gym sess, and low impact to me = elliptical time. I don’t do the elliptical very often because I feel like I get better cardio in with other forms of exercise, but today it was exactly what I wanted. Instead of just plugging away at one level the entire time, I decided to switch it up every few minutes. If you’re a regular elliptical goer, you might be interested in changing your workout up a bit and trying something like what I did today:
Now onto my dinner creation tonight and the title of this post. Quick and easy to put together and full of all kinds of healthy goodness, throwing in a small amount of pine nuts give this meal a crunchy kick. Serves 1.
Cheesy Veggie Penne
What you Need:
2 oz of multigrain penne pasta, I like Barilla Plus (that’s 2/3 cup dry) 
1 oz goat cheese, I used a Trader Joe’s fresh goat cheese medallion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
Around 2 cups of baby spinach, coarsely chopped (I’m estimating here since I used 2 large handfuls)
1 TSP olive oil
1 TBSP dry toasted pine nuts
Salt, pepper, and dried basil leaves to taste
  • Cook pasta according to directions. While that’s cooking, heat the olive oil up in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  • Add tomatoes to the skillet and cook for just a minute, then add in the spinach. Cook just until spinach is wilted, then remove from heat.
  • Once penne is cooked and drained, pour it back in the pot.
  • Add the veggies to the pasta, then spoon in the cheese in a few different chunks so it can easily be spread throughout all of the pasta.
  • Flavor as desired with salt, pepper, and dried basil leaves, then mix the whole thing up well. Throw the pine nuts on top, and enjoy!

Nutrition stats: 407 calories, 17 g fat, 18 g protein, 48 g carbs.

I think last night’s scoop of gelato has started me on an ice cream kick. I’m off to my favorite fro yo spot to treat myself, then I’m watching my latest Netflix movie, Water for Elephants. I’ve seen it once before and love both the book and movie.
And since I’m a big New York Giants fan and my team is playing tomorrow in the divisional championship game to get to the Super Bowl, I can’t resist saying GO GIANTS!! 😉