Tag Archives: arugula

Pasta Shells with Easy Arugula Cherry Tomato Sauce [vegan]

Sometimes keeping it simple is the best.

Every Easter when I was growing up – and really, almost every other holiday – my family would go over to my grandma’s for a big family get together. I’ve talked about my amazing grandma before, but she loved to cook for everyone – and she pretty much always overdid it with how much food she made.

There would be a ridiculous amount of dishes for everyone to enjoy. From a giant antipasto salad and homemade breads, to a gigantic spread for the main course, to probably half a dozen desserts, complete with her annual bunny-shaped Easter cake, my grandma always spent days preparing. She also always made me eggplant parmigiana because I loved it (and later on, I developed an allergy to it, probably from eating it too much!).

One type of dish that my grandma made for holidays was a simple pasta. It was usually designated as a go-to for the picky eater kids in my family, but everyone typically wound up scooping some onto their plates. She would often make a cavatelli pasta with just a homemade tomato sauce. It was maybe her most simple dish, but we all ate it every time.

Today, in honor of the upcoming holiday and my grandma, who we lost just about three years ago and I miss so damn much, I wanted to share an easy pasta dish. This one comes together in 30 minutes or less, and the stars of the sauce are heirloom cherry tomatoes and wild arugula.

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Arugula Pesto Linguine with Tomato & Zucchini

Saturday was one of those days when I was all about checking things off my to-do list.

Finish schoolwork. Check. Vaccum. Check. Dust. Check. Do laundry. Check. Fold laundry. Check. Clean bathrooms. Check. Walk the pup. Check.  Do an at-home workout. Check. Purchase a car dog seat cover so that my pooch doesn’t ruin my car. Check. 

When Saturday evening rolled around, I decided that it was a nicely productive around-the-house day, and now it was time for some weekend fun. My hubby and I had plans to go to a luxury movie theater with another couple, but first, it was time to check this off my mental checklist: Make an awesome dinner using the farmer’s market pasta sitting in my cabinet. 

farm market pasta

The week before I had met a girlfriend for a smoothie date, and afterwards we walked around the Carlsbad Farmer’s Market.

Acai Vitality Smoothie

I went home with some fun finds, including zucchini blossoms (more on those to come!), big delicious apples, yellow zucchini and said roasted garlic linguine pasta. I’m a sucker for some good pasta, and couldn’t resist nabbing a package to try – especially since I hadn’t come up with a good pasta recipe in awhile. The result was this bright and beautiful looking dish, if I do say so myself…. 😉

pesto pasta-5

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Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan & Cherry Tomatoes

Hi there!

Whew, Monday came so quick. The weekend just whizzed by for me! A lot of time over my weekend was spent doing house stuff, including buying a pool vacuum – it took us a few weeks to get the pool in order but now we’re all good! – and looking for patio furniture that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I also spent Sunday evening on the beach with this little maniac  cutie….

Harley dog beach

…and had my first tennis workout in quite awhile! My hubby is making fun of me because I’m so sore today since I hadn’t played in awhile. I always get sore when I do an unusual workout, and my forearm, hand, obliques, and back are certainly achy today!

I’d like to play tennis more often now that we live down the street from some pretty decent courts. I’m in no way a great tennis player, but I find it to be a fun way to break a sweat and get some cardio in! Hopefully I’ll improve with some practice. 🙂

Tennis

Now onto food….

Arugula Salad-1

So I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me when I say that spring and summer just scream salad. It’s when some awesome veggies, like corn and cherry tomatoes, are sweet and delicious, and it’s an easy way to throw a nutritious meal together quickly.

While sometimes I throw everything but the kitchen sink into my salad creations, other times I like to keep my salads simple. This was the case one night last week when I was baking a couple of sweet potatoes and thinking of what salad to make with it. Enter today’s recipe:

Arugula Salad-2

I’m a fan of the combination of salty parmesan with earthy wild arugula & ripe cherry tomatoes, drizzled with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and white balsamic vinegar.

Arugula Salad-3

It’s a perfect side dish to eat while hanging out on your patio with a glass of wine in hand, which is exactly what I did.

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan & Cherry Tomatoes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups of arugula
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TSP lemon juice
  • Cracked pepper & sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl.
  2. Shave the parmesan cheese into the bowl. (I used a vegetable peeler.)
  3. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and place into the salad bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Drizzle over the arugula salad, and add cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.
  5. Divide into 2 bowls and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl, Calories: 150, Fat: 11 g, Saturated fat: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Sugar: 2 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 7 g

 

Questions: Do you get super sore when you do new forms of exercise? Are you an arugula fan?

Keepin’ it Simple & Delicious: Arugula Goat Cheese Crostini

Hi there!

My Sunday morning has definitely started off on the right foot: I awoke to a message from my best friend saying that her and another girlfriend of mine are coming to visit me next month (YAY!), decided to have a living room yoga/stretching session in my PJs while my hubby and puppy still snoozed, and then I made a nice green monster smoothie to get my veggies & fruit in. Now I’m sitting here blogging to you in quite a fabulous mood. 🙂

This weekend has been a nice low-key one for me thus far. That should continue throughout today, as my only Sunday plans are cleaning and errands, exercising crazy Harley girl, and perhaps a mountain biking trip with Adam (I know I know, I was just talking about my foot injury in the last post – but I’m feeling out what workouts I can and cannot do, and will see how my foot feels during and after biking) and reading by the pool. I kicked off my weekend on Friday evening with an appetizer-style dinner eaten with Adam on our patio with a cool breeze drifting through.

crostini-3

Sometimes I just love making a few appetizers as my main meal. I guess I’m like a little kid in that I love noshing on some finger food. The idea to have an app-dinner night started while nabbing some groceries at Trader Joe’s and passing their fresh bread section.

crostini-1

Yum, I could eat a whole loaf myself, all on its own. But how could I do that when I had just picked up tons of gorgeous produce?

crostini-2

So instead, I decided to keep it simple: slicing the baguette, brushing it with EVOO, baking it until lightly crispy, then spreading creamy goat cheese on top. After tossing arugula and cherry tomatoes with sea salt and EVOO, I topped the crostini with the veggie mixture and voila, my delicious appetizer was ready!

I also whipped up some hummus, which I spread onto red endive to make lettuce cups, and served with pita bread as well.

crostini-4

Arugula Goat Cheese Crostini
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • 6 oz baguette (I used a half-baked rustic baguette from Trader Joe's)
  • 1½ TSBP extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 oz creamy goat cheese
  • ¼ TSP sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the baguette into 15 thin slices. Brush both sides of each slice with 1 TBSP of olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven until lightly browned (around 10 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, quarter the cherry tomatoes. Throw into a bowl with the arugula, sprinkle with ¼ TSP sea salt and drizzle with remaining ½ TBSP olive oil.
  4. Once bread has gotten toasty, remove from oven and allow it to slightly cool.
  5. Spread goat cheese evenly on one side of each slice. Top each with arugula/tomato mixture, and sprinkle with additional sea salt if desired.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 5 crostini, Calories: 250, Fat: 11 g, Saturated fat: 4 g, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 8 g

 

If I’ve put you in a crostini-making kind of mood and you’re looking for more recipe ideas, I wrote a post awhile back about crostini combos here.

Hope that you enjoy the rest of your day!

Eating Pizza Before Noon

Today I ate breakfast early due to a conference call first thing this AM. Because of this, I found my stomach growling around 11 AM for lunch. I had pizza on my brain… and not just any pizza, leftovers from a new pizza recipe I came up with last weekend!

Instead of using tomato sauce as I usually do, I came up with a healthy pesto to spread onto the dough. Though I’m a big cheese lover, I let veggies take the center stage with this tasty pizza.

Veggie, Goat Cheese & Arugula Pesto Pizza

Makes 8 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 ready to bake whole wheat pizza dough (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 c arugula
  • 1/4 c fresh basil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • 1 c zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 c purple cabbage, shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 TBSP water
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out your dough on a flour-dusted surface with a rolling pan. Place on a pizza pan (I lightly spray mine with cooking spray beforehand).

In a food processor, combine arugula, basil, garlic cloves, lemon juice, oil, the water, and a pinch of salt & pepper. Pulse until a thin paste forms, then spread onto the pizza crust using a butter knife or spoon.

Evenly place zucchini, tomatoes, and cabbage onto the pizza. If you’re using creamy goat cheese as I did, spoon bite-sized chunks onto the pizza. If you’re using crumbles, simply sprinkle them evenly on top.

Lightly season salt & pepper on top, then pop into the oven until lightly browned, around 15 minutes.

Per slice: 190 calories, 8 g fat, 7 g protein, 27 g carbs

Where I was on this day… 

Sometimes when I realize the date, I start thinking about what I was doing on that day in past years. Today is the wedding anniversary of my brother and sister-in-law. Here are a few pictures from 3 years ago today:

with the lovely bride

Adam (my then boyfriend) and me

with my family

with my mama

The biggest changes since then: Adam and I were just dating. I obviously didn’t know it at the time, but he had already bought a ring and was just waiting for the right time to pop the question. 🙂 I had just finished my degree, and was still living in Jersey. I’m now a military wife, public relations professional, and mother to a very spoiled dog living in California. Plus we welcomed a new addition to my family last year, and I now have a little munchkin of a nephew. So much can happen in 3 years!!

Question: Do you ever think of what you were doing on that date in past years? 

Off to volunteer at the Humane Society!

Jumping on the Watermelon Salad Bandwagon

Happy Friday! First off, I’ve got to share what I’m munching on…

I made oatmeal peanut butter banana cookies from PB Fingers , with just a couple changes. First, her recipe makes four dozen cookies. I do NOT need 48 damn cookies in my apartment with just me here! So, I made 6 instead, which was a smart move… these babies are delicious and I could probably eat a dozen if I made that many! I also subbed her egg for a flax egg and added chocolate chips to mine (because in my opinion, desserts are always better with chocolate chips added in). They came out so yummy, so if you’re looking for a cookie recipe, make these!

Moving on to dinner…

Now that summer is around the corner, I keep seeing watermelon salads popping up everywhere. I find it to be an interesting salad mix and have eaten it a time or two while dining out, but had never made one at home. Lately I’ve been keeping watermelon around to make watermelon smoothies, but tonight I decided to use some to make a salad. Me being typical me, instead of looking up a recipe for it, I rummaged around my kitchen to find what seemed like (and turned out to be) a winning combination. I couldn’t decide between using arugula or spinach, so I threw both into the mix:

Watermelon, Feta, Arugula & Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large handfuls of arugula
  • a large handful of spinach
  • 1 c cubed watermelon
  • 1 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 TBSP toasted pecans
  • about 5 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • mixed up salt & pepper

Stats: 300 calories, 24 g fat, 10 g protein, 17 g carbs

Have a wonderful weekend!

Ballet Boot Camp + Strawberry Arugula Salad

Happy Hump Day!

This evening I volunteered at the Humane Society and got to play with puppies like this cutie:

Because I had a full day of work to do and knew I wanted to make it to volunteering, I squeezed in a workout at home today. I’ve been wanting to try a barre workout, and I keep seeing The Barre Method studios popping up around here, but I just haven’t made it to a class yet. Today I tried a Ballet Boot Camp Challenge workout I found in Prevention magazine. The article claims the workout is so effective because: “It strengthens your deepest belly muscles, pulling in your waist like a corset, while lifting your butt, trimming your thighs, and toning your arms. It also whips into shape your perfect-posture muscles, so you’ll strand straighter after a single session.” Sounds good to me!

If you’re interested in trying it out, you can find the workout I did here. I warmed up with 5 minutes of cardio, where I did jumping jacks, skaters, mountain climbers, and jogged in place. Next I did all the exercises in the workout, followed by a few sets of pushups, and finishing up with a few minutes of stretching. This workout took about half an hour, and although it wasn’t a heart pounding type of sweat sess, I definitely felt like it was a good toning routine. Plus, I felt sort of graceful and ballerina-ish doing it! 😉

Someone obviously took out a bunch of her toys and was in the middle of my exercising. As soon as I put my dumbbells down, she laid her tennis ball on top of them, naturally…

Good Eats of the Day 

I always love me a big, flavorful salad. Today I threw together one, and chomped on it while I worked for at least a good half an hour:

Strawberry Arugula Salad

  • A couple large handfuls of arugula
  • 1 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 TBSP of slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 TBSP [blackberry] balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt

Nutrition stats: 290 calories, 21 g fat, 11 g protein, 20 g carbs

Off to relax a bit, good night!

Peanut and Broccoli Pasta & A Pizza Combo for One

Today’s Fitness Highlight

A lot of the time for the cardio portion of my workout at the gym, I cycle on a spin bike. My gym just got new spinners that are more high tech than the old ones, telling you how far you’ve cycled, how many calories you’ve burned, etc. I took advantage of this new training tool and instead of biking for a specific amount of time today, I set a distance goal… and I spinned 15 miles with the resistance set at a decently high gear. Go me!

Food

In case you don’t know, I’m crazy about fruit. My usual fruit staples include berries, bananas, apples, mangoes, and kiwis (and I suppose avocado is technically a fruit, and one that I eat often!), along with others that I will randomly buy in season.

I’m also a veggie fan (It only makes sense, as I am a vegetarian!), but I don’t eat them as often as fruits. I gravitate towards combining fruits with so many of the foods I tend to eat all the time – yogurt, cereal, smoothies, with peanut butter, you name it. In fact, sometimes the only time I eat vegetables is at dinner. In an effort to up my veggie intake when I feel like it’s lacking, I make sure to include some in my breakfast or lunch. When I realized that yesterday the only veggie I ate was corn in a tofu wrap (Unless salsa counts? Anyone?), I wanted to amp up my veggie count today. This afternoon for lunch, I did just that with some fresh broccoli. I had leftover Japanese noodles from my creation a few days ago, and came up with a super yummy combo. Luckily I have one more serving of noodles left, so I have a feeling that I will soon repeat this exact meal:

Peanut Pasta with Broccoli 

  • 1 cup of Japanese noodles (or 2 oz angel hair pasta will work), cooked
  • 1 cup of fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 TSP roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 TSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP peanut butter

Steam broccoli in a small pot (with a few inches of water at the bottom) and let it cook for a few minutes under tender. Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl.

Once broccoli is done cooking, take the veggies and strainer out of the pot. Scoop out 2-4 TBSP of the water used to steam the broccoli (depending on how saucy you want your pasta to be), and pour it into the bowl with the peanut butter mix. Whisk until everything is combined.

Combine broccoli with noodles, add sesame seeds, and pour sauce on top.

Nutrition Facts: 390 calories, 11 g fat, 16 g protein, 62 g carbs

To continue my goal of eating a good amount of veggies today, my (so delicious!) dinner also included some greens:

Arugula, Feta, & Cherry Tomato Mini Pizza

  • 1 whole wheat pocket bread (The brand I use is Goglanian’s. I also know that Whole Foods has em.)
  • 1 large handful of wild arugula
  • 1.5 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 TSP avocado oil
  • 1 TSP [blackberry] balsamic vinegar
  • Mixed up salt & pepper

First, I threw the pocket bread in the toaster to make it nice and crispy. Meanwhile, I sliced my tomatoes.

Once your “dough” is done toasting, top with arugula, cheese, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle oil and vinegar on top.

Nutrition Stats: 330 calories, 14 g fat, 17 g protein, 41 g carbs

I’ll leave you with a picture of probably the best part of Harley’s day – getting to lick the bottom of the peanut butter jar! I’m such a nice mom.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins + An Easy Pasta Dish

Happy Friday!

I’ll get right down to the good eats of my day, because quite frankly, they rocked.

The muffins I made this morning are tasty – so tasty that I planned one eating one and somehow wound up inhaling two! I love banana + chocolate chips.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes a dozen muffins

Ingredient List:

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour 
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, plus extra as needed
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tin with muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar.
  3. In another bowl, mix oil, milk, vanilla and bananas together.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. If the mixture is dry, add a few more TBSPs of almond milk. Mix in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour evenly into muffin cups and bake for around 20 minutes, or until browned

Stats per muffin: 170 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g protein, 30 g carbs

For lunch, I decided to use up the last of my arugula and make a big salad.

In the mix:

-a pile of arugula – 1 TJ’s goat cheese medallion – 3 California Calimyrna figs –

– 2 TBSP slivered California almonds  –

I love how salads take forever to eat. I was (& think I still am) in a snacky mood and this meal just kept going and going!

Stats: 290 calories, 16 g fat, 10 g protein, 34 g carbs

And lastly, my yummy dinner, whipped up in 15 minutes flat…

I randomly bought some locally grown broccoli rabe last weekend at the farmer’s market, and let’s just say I will definitely be getting some more of it tomorrow. Broccoli can be hit or miss with me – sometimes I’m not a fan and sometimes I love it. I like eating it regardless because of all of the health benefits (Hello Vitamin A!), and my broccoli rabe tonight was mild and delish.

Angel Hair with Broccoli Rabe 

Serves 1

  • 3 oz multigrain angel hair pasta (Barilla Plus)
  • A bunch of stalks of broccoli rabe
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP Pecorino Romano grated cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP white cooking wine
  1. Boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to directions.
  2. Meanwhile, warm cooking wine in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and let it cook for a minute or two, then add broccoli. Cook until tender. If it gets dry, add more wine or water.
  4. When pasta is done, strain it, then pour back into pot.
  5. Add broccoli and garlic to the pasta, then sprinkle in cheese and add in olive oil. Mix it all up and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Stats: 440 calories, 12 g fat, 19 g protein, 61 g carbs

My Girlfriend’s Coming to Town 🙂 

I’m getting very excited for the weekend, because tomorrow one of my best friends in the entire world is flying in to visit me. More about that tomorrow!

Clearly we love each other