It’s June…Time for sun, bright colored outfits, coconut smelling lotions and big smiles…Happiness is here!
Happy Summer to all!
OMG! This was amazing! Full of flavor and just delicious….Every day Real Simple sends me the daily recipe and I usually end up making about 30% of the recipes (that’s pretty good) Yesterday I saw this one and loved the idea of a “fresh” tasting pasta. The mint is just lovely and of course the shallots! I ended up using 18 ounces of pasta instead of 12 (I also added more of everything else too) and it was gone! All 18 oz for only 3 people! Brian was thrilled with this one and so was Juju (minus the green stuff.) I really love the idea of a simple and easy pasta!
Fettuccine With Peas, Shallot, and Herbs
* 12 ounces fettuccine (3/4 box)
* 1 10-ounce package frozen peas
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 6 shallots, sliced
* 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
* kosher salt and black pepper
* 1/2 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan (2 ounces)
* 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
* 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the peas during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water, drain, and return the pasta and peas to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
3. Add the shallots, garlic ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Toss the pasta and peas with the shallots, ¼ cup of the cheese, and just 1/2 cup of pasta water for now (read tips).
5. Fold in the parsley and mint. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese and serve.
Although the recipe originally called for a 1/2 cup of pasta water, I used about 1 1/2 cups but I would only add a 1/2 cup at a time and really allow the pasta to absorb it. You may not need it all (since I used more pasta) but it really helps so that your pasta doesn’t dry up and I would rather have it and not use it then vice versa.
Toss in ½ cup toasted walnut halves when combining the pasta and peas for crunch, flavor, and extra protein.
After reading a few “home” magazines such as Traditional Home and House Beautiful, it would be pretty easy to get bummed out about your own home…Check these GORGEOUS places out…
While the actual design and architecture of all these homes is probably fabulous, I think it’s also about the accessories! Notice the orange Hermes blanket in the first photo, the numerous plants and pillows…Each photo is highlighted by plants, flowers and other pretty little things that just give it that pop!
Got me thinking about my house! Here are my favorite ways to accessorize!
I love to add flowers in fun personal spaces such as your bathroom…
Also love to have small silver frames with neat pictures of people I love…
That’s all for now…I need to keep reading for ideas to spruce up the outdoors. I lack imagination there!
My buddy Carrie was talking about my blog this past Tuesday at book club and as she spoke I suddenly realized I missed the good ole blog! I haven’t been here in over a month and some days I miss it and others I just don’t (no offense to you at all!) I do have a few things to share with you…One, I seriously love Peonies. Honest…I am weak for them.
I picked these beauties up at Bristol Farms a few weekends ago and they made me so happy. Tis the season for P’s! Go out and get a lovely bouquet of what you love because it does add life to your home.
Juju is growing so fast…
I have been making very healthy meals lately…My cousin asked me if I let Juju eat junk and the answer is YES! Of course, he’s a kid! But if 60 percent of the time we can eat healthy foods that nourish all our bodies then I’m totally satisfied. Tonight we made Salmon Po’ Boys…
Super easy! Here is the recipe I followed from the Eating Well website: I left out the mayo and grilled the onions in the oven for one hour at 300 degrees.
Blackened Salmon Po’ Boy
* 1/2 small avocado, pitted (see Tips for Two)
* 1 tablespoon reduced fat mayo
* 1 teaspoon blackening or Cajun seasoning
* 8 ounces salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 2 portions
* 2 crusty whole-wheat rolls, split and toasted
* 1 cup arugula
* 1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1. Preheat grill to high. Oil grill rack (see Tip).
2. Mash together avocado and mayo in a small bowl with a fork.
3. Rub blackening (or Cajun) seasoning on both sides of salmon. Grill until just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
4. To assemble the sandwiches, spread the avocado mixture on the bottom halves of each roll. Top with the salmon, arugula, tomato and onion.
Even Juju ate a bit…
I promise to share details!
Look good to you or just eh? Maybe not as good as a cheesy casserole or a rib eye steak with some french fries and salad dripping with ranch BUT this is longevity…What I mean is this is the kind of food my family can easily eat that is healthy and will keep us vibrant. We’re not vegan or even vegetarian (yet) but we do want to start making better decisions concerning food.
I’ve gotten pretty decent about making nutritious dinners primarily because I’m determined to feel better. The last few years I lost my way in that aspect. Cheese, cream, sugar, carbs and ranch dressing were what my diet composed of and I promise you that my health suffered. I think that I’m pretty resilient to this damage but I’m hoping that my family and I adopt better eating habits. I was the first to add fruit to each of Juju’s meals but I wouldn’t touch one myself. I easily used 7 grain bread on his peanut butter and jelly but dug in to French baguette because it was warm, doughy and comforting. Why did I neglect myself so much? While there is NOTHING wrong with eating white bread and ranch, it should not be 90% of your diet. Right??? I would also get up early to fix Brian and Juju a wonderful breakfast but yet I would eat a protein bar standing up while they sat at the table and enjoyed each others company.
I did it to myself…
Anyway, here I am ready to give my body the nutrition it needs and deserves and this is why I roasted veggies tonight, made some delicious whole wheat pasta and barbecued some amazing chicken!
Here is exactly what I did so I would have it super easy tonight:
Woke up at 6:45 am, made coffee, peeled and chopped carrots, chopped shallots and garlic, washed my broccolini, green beans, asparagus. Placed all the veggies in a large ziploc bag with lemon juice from one lemon, a few tbs of olive oil, Maldon sea salt, pepper, dried rosemary or any other dried herbs you may like. Placed the Ziploc in fridge.
Placed 6 chicken legs in a bowl with some low fat buttermilk I had in the fridge, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, Maldon sea salt and pepper, covered and that went in the fridge too.
Boiled water for my whole wheat pasta and when that was cooked and drained, I added 3 cloves of crushed garlic, olive oil and sea salt. Placed in a tupperware and in fridge!Tonight all I did was set the oven to 425 degrees, lay the veggies on a baking sheet and cooked for 25-35 minutes. Set my pasta cold on a serving dish topped with Parmesan. Brian barbecued the delicious chicken and DONE! Dinner was healthy, easy and very good!P.S Loving Maldon Sea Salt!
The sun disappeared a bit but nonetheless we’ve taken advantage of this lovely Spring-ish climate. Friday night we ate dinner outside with Brian’s friend Andrew and I made baked spaguetti and mozzarella, grilled sausage and a simple salad. The boys sat out till 10pm eating and talking while Juju and I hit the sack early after 20 minutes of Nemo. I got this recipe from a blog my gal pal Cassie sent me this week. It reminded me of something my Grandma would make so I had to start cooking! Everyone liked and we are still having the leftovers today. Brian suggested I add more garlic next time, but a chopped yellow onion would up the flavor as well. Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella
2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves smashed and peeled (The recipe called for 2 but we LOVE garlic and 4-5 was perfect)
3/4 pound spagetti
2 cups diced mozzarella (I tossed this with the pasta but also topped with thin slices of mozza)
Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, rosemary did the trick as well)
1. Preheat oven to 400*
2. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
3. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until chopped.
4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high and add garlic and cook until fragrant.
5. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.
6. Add Italian seasoning and salt to taste.
7. Cook until sauces starts to thicken
8. Meanwhile, cook pasta for 5 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot.
9. Add tomato sauce and half of the mozzarella and toss to combine.
10. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
11. Bake until cheese is golden. About 20-25 minutes.
This is my go-to salad every week… Butter lettuce, 3tbs of Champagne vinegar, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 crushed garlic clove, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup of good olive oil… Mix all ingredients but olive oil and lettuce, then slowly whisk the oil last. Drizzle with a spoon on top of lettuce.
Here are some of the ways we’ve improved the health of our home and our bodies…
I love to clean, it’s almost like therapy but I never thought about all those toxic fumes in the air from the Windex, Pledge, bleach etc until recently so we’ve switched to almost all GREEN cleaning products and it feels great! Martha Stewart has a decent line which I’ve been using but there are a ton more available at your local Target or grocery store. Sometimes they don’t have much fragrance so I add a few drops of lavender oil in the bottle to give it a pretty smell!
Take 1 cup of couscous and boil in 3 cups of salted water for 20-25 minutes, drain well and place in a bowl, squeeze one whole lemon, drizzle some olive oil, add sea salt, pepper, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp thyme and 1 crushed garlic clove. Mix well and serve… DELICIOUS!!!!
In addition, each evening a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil followed by one squeezed lemon in 6 oz of water is recommended to improve the circulation of the liver.
Ok so here is the downside, I can’t give up Diet Coke yet so I guess I still have a way to go. Oh well, one thing at a time
Whole Living magazine has a page in every issue that I just love…I rip it out every month, carefully fold it and stick it in my purse for those moments in my day when I need a little inspiration. Here is an example you may like…
10 Thoughts of living in the NOW!
1. The shape of your life reveals itself moment by moment.
2. In refusing to forgive old hurts, you live them over and over again. Learn to let go.
3. Opt for quality over quantity. Value is revealed over the long term.
4. Real awareness is not about hanging on to the moment, but realizing it’s there.
5. No one knows what the future will bring, put you’re energy in the now.
6. Resist the urge to over analyze everything, live each moment instead.
7. See a rut for an opportunity for change.
8. Any moment can bring an awakening to what really matters.
9. Take comfort in the uneventful, it prepares you for what is to come.
10. Living well requires a focus on the present, not just a promise for tomorrow.
I find it so strange that we were having such warm weather in January and that on the first day of Spring, it’s pouring rain! I went with lentil soup tonight because of the chill and much to my surprise Juju ate it! I’ve been pretty pleased with his healthy diet lately and credit it to not making a big deal at dinner time. Tonight he saw the soup and said, “Juju no like” and my response was, “that’s fine, you don’t have to eat.” Well, guess what? He ate. Hmmmm, I can’t figure that one out but it’s working! This lentil soup is HEALTHY, HEALTHY, HEALTHY. I feel so good knowing that my family had a super nutritious dinner tonight!
Lentil Soup Serves 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
4 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 cup of small, dry pasta
1 can of tomato paste (usually 5-6 oz)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce; optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, breaking them up with a spoon, for 5 minutes.
2. Add broth & 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Stir in the sweet potatoes, kale, lentils, thyme, pasta, tomato paste, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. You may need to add more water.
3. Spoon into bowls and top with the Parmesan, if using.
Well, our fridge finally arrived after 2 long weeks and for our first dinner back home we kept it super simple and very healthy. Brian and I really need to eat healthier and I’m determined to make dinner more nutritious. Butter, cheese and pasta should be a special treat not a daily indulgence. What do you think of this? This salad took me 5 minutes to compose…Delicious! We grilled some chicken with it as well…
I can (14 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 plum tomatoes, sliced and halved
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
2 cups baby arugula
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Champagne vinegar
Combine beans, tomatoes, basil, arugula in a medium bowl with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil and vinegar and drizzle on top. Enjoy!
My fridge comes today after almost 2 weeks! We’ve been without one for that long! I can’t believe it…We’ve also been at Panera Bread almost every single night. Poor Brian starts to gag when he walks in because he can’t take it any more but Juju and I? Oh we love, love, love it and we order the same exact things every night. I get the chicken Ceasar salad/no cheese (because of my high cholesterol) with diet coke and Juju gets macaroni and cheese with a smoothie made from low fat yogurt and berries! I am so thrilled he’s drinking it by the way. Starting tomorrow we are eating in “for the rest of our lives” Brian probably thinks and I would say that’s a fair request… I’ve been pondering the upcoming menu a lot in my mind and this is what I’ve got so far:
Between us, I will miss having the fridge-less days, two weeks off was such a nice break. I am hesistant to admit it but it’s the truth.
Hope everyone has a nice Friday!
When I turned 30 this past October, I had the sense that this year would be a year I would never forget. I didn’t think it would be the best or most exhilarating, but I knew it would shape me. I started exercising, taking vitamins and really working on my “inner” health. I read O magazine every month and flip all the way to the back to read the “What I know for Sure” column. Oprah is very inspiring and what she has to say always resonates with me. I found the following on her site today and read it a few dozen times hoping that it makes a mark on my memory…
Top 20 things that Oprah knows for sure
1. What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what.
2. You define your own life. Don’t let other people write your script.
3. Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only you give it power.
4. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. (A lesson from Maya Angelou.)
5. Worrying is wasted time. Use the same energy for doing something about whatever worries you.
6. What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.
7. If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough. (From the German theologian and humanist Meister Eckhart.)
8. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.
9. Failure is a signpost to turn you in another direction.
10. If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, the world will not fall apart.
11. Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie.
12. Love yourself and then learn to extend that love to others in every encounter.
13. Let passion drive your profession.
14. Find a way to get paid for doing what you love. Then every paycheck will be a bonus.
15. Love doesn’t hurt. It feels really good.
16. Every day brings a chance to start over.
17. Being a mother is the hardest job on earth. Women everywhere must declare it so.
18. Doubt means don’t. Don’t move. Don’t answer. Don’t rush forward.
19. When you don’t know what to do, get still. The answer will come.
20. “Trouble don’t last always.”
Images taken from theloveshop.
I found this hanging up in a doctors office and just loved it…
This is a good reminder to all those who lovingly parent their children in the best way possible….
21 Memos From Your Child:
1. Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not have all I ask for. I am only testing you.
2. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it, it makes me feel secure.
3. Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
4. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly big.
5. Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
6. Don’t make me feel all of my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.
7. Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way, sometimes.
8. Don’t be upset when I say “I hate you”. It isn’t you I hate, but your power to thwart me.
9. Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need.
10. Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
11. Don’t forget that I can’t explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I’m not always very accurate.
12. Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken.
13. Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.
14. Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
15. Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real to me and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
16. Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.
17. Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither.
18. Don’t ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you.
19. Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult to keep pace with me, but please try.
20. Don’t forget I love experimenting. I couldn’t do without it, so please be patient with it.
21. Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding and unconditional love, but I don’t need to tell you that, do I?
Recently when my friend Doudou came over she saw the numerous cookbooks I have so she went on to ask “Which one should I get?” Hmmmm…..That’s a good question. When I started learning how to cook, I could not buy enough cookbooks. I love to read and have really learned a ton from the tips that the authors give you. So anyway, here is my answer to Doudou:
|Pollo Alla Cacciatora is delicious! Also try Naan Pizza! One of the first cookbooks I bought. I love Nigella!|
|Donna Hay has great cookbooks and so pretty to look at but beware she tends to have very simple instructions so sometimes you need to research if you’re not familiar with the process.|
|At first I wasn’t sure about this fairly new Martha book but I quickly changed my mind! Great menu suggestions…|
|Funny enough Doudou got me this for my birthday last year and it’s fantastic!|
|And the best for last… This has quickly become my FAVORITE cookbook ever… To think I was anti- Ina! Almost everything is delicious! A must have!|