workin’ hard in the kitchen

I woke up at 5:15 this morning. 

No alarms were needed to wake me up.  Just the warm and comforting thought of a hot shower and a hot bowl of oat bran.  Mmm…

Using my basic oatbran method in the recipe page, I also added in some dried cranberries and topped it all off with some lightly salted mixed nuts (ah-mazing!!)

Trail mix meets oat bran.  In one yummy, delicious bowl.  Worth.  Waking.  Up.  For. :mrgreen:

The kitchen of the High School was b-b-b-busy this morning!  I immediately threw on some gloves and got to work.  After pouring out 1/2 c. portions of peaches, I helped make pizza.

It was so much fun stretching out the dough and swirling on the red pizza sauce.  The olive oil and herb mixture that was placed around the crust smelled absolutely heavenly!  I also made some calzones, which was the “special” of the day.  Fun! 

All of this working in the kitchen immediately brought me back to my days of working at an assisted living facility.  It was hard work, and at the end of the day I would always be physically and mentally exhausted.  Completely.  But there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing people enjoy the food that you worked hard to put together.  Especially when they actually enjoyed it…haha. ;) 

Four hours into working at the high school, and I was oh-so-ready to dig into my lunch bag!

First, a morning snack: an apple and a cheesestick

I like to use up leftovers.  This explains my lunch. :mrgreen:

  • 1 c. cooked brown rice (leftover!)
  • about 1 c. of sauteed summer squash & zucchini (leftover!)
  • about 1/2 c. roasted turnips (leftover!)
  • 1/2 c. kidney beans
  • salsa and parsley

Brown rice is so versatile and makes for an awesome lunch when mixed with veggies and a protein source.  I devoured every last, delicious bite.

Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. yogurt + 2 T. Pumpkin Flax Granola + Almond Butter

 Return Of The Tofu Press!!!

Wait.  That’s not tofu.  Oh, you’re right.

That would be frozen, dethawed spinach.  I’ve heard that the tofu press works well with those kinds of things, but I’ve never actually tried it.  Until tonight, that is, while making a spaghetti pie. 

This baby worked like a charm. :D

Mom and I both had the late afternoon off today, so we both got our hands dirty in the kitchen.  It was fun having a cooking companion. :D

On the menu: Vegetarian Spaghetti Pie (hint: call it Spaghetti Pie if you have family members who are still wary of eating vegetarian dishes ;) )

Vegetarian Spaghetti Piecourtesy of Eat Well, Live Well Cookbook…with some tweaking

  • 8-oz. whole wheat spaghetti noodles, uncooked
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and separated
  • 1/2 c. onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. green pepper, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1-10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook spaghetti in boiling water according to package directions; drain.  Add oil, eggs and 1/4 c. of mozzarella cheese.
  3. Press mixture onto the bottom of a 14-inch pizza pan coated with nonstick spray.  Build the edges high to form a crust.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. In a nonstick skillet cook the onion, green pepper and garlic until tender.  Stir in the tomatoes, water, tomato paste, basil oregano, and salt.  Set aside.
  5. Spread ricotta cheese over top of spaghetti crust.  Layer mozzarella cheese on top.  Layer the spinach on top of this and then the tomato mixture.
  6. Cover the pie with foil and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 2-3 minutes.

Makes about 6 servings.

Meanwhile, while the spaghetti pie was baking, I threw together a larger than life salad.

Complete with yellow & red tomatoes, EVOO, sea salt, black olives, ‘shrooms, carrots, cucumbers and celery.  Fresh, fresh, F-R-E-S-H!!!

About 20 minutes of baking time later, and this came out.

Melty.  Ooey-gooey.  Saucy.  Rich.  Fresh.

Not even being a pasta fan, I am in love with this recipe.  It very closely resembles a vegetarian lasagna, with the red sauce tasting much like a marinara.  So yummy.  I think the overall recipe could use some extra vegetables (mushrooms, summer squash, etc.) to reach perfection, but it’s well on its way.  Feel free to mess with this recipe and make it your own. :D

I get to go in an hour later tomorrow (8′oclock vs. 7′oclock!), so I have high hopes for a morning run.  I’m not at all looking forward to running in the winter, but I’m absolutely loving my chilly autumn runs. :D

Question: What was your favorite job that you have ever had?  For me, it was definitely working at a service dog training facility.  Playing with & training golden retriever puppies all day and getting paid for it?  Um…yeah.  It doesn’t get better.

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14 thoughts on “workin’ hard in the kitchen

  1. your oat bran looks so fluffy and delicious – it’s been a while since i’ve had a hot bowl of oat bran!! i ought to fix that.
    i love the spaghetti pie idea, too. spaghetti is my least favorite form of pasta but i have a pack left still, and ironically, i almost used it in tonight’s baked pasta! haha. but this looks like it would be much more suitable.
    my favorite job is my current job! and actually my only job i’ve ever had, save for mucking stalls. it’s in a photo lab :)

  2. Fave job was a job as a waitress in a hippy veggie cafe, i loved it, the staff, the customers, the food, the ethos of the place, soo good. Have u seen the Jamie Oliver show about trying to change the meals in american elementary schools, google it, I d think u might enjoy it,
    xx

  3. Favorite job I ever had was working at Starbucks. Oh how I miss that job! So much fun!! Though I don’t miss the insane hours I had to work since they open so early and close pretty late!

  4. My favourite job was working at a horse barn teaching riding lessons, running camp and doing chores. I was there riding every day already, so getting a job there didn’t feel like work at all. I ended up spending more time there than I did at my own house!

    That oatbran looks so amazing! I keep meaning to add dried fruit to my oatmeal during the cooking process, but I haven’t quite gotten around to it yet. I’ve been dreaming of cinnamon-raisin oats :) Hah.
    <3 Tat

  5. Your breakfast looks so soft and fluffy!! Mmmm… I can’t say that I’ve had a favorite job because I’ve only had two, and while they both taught me a lot, they weren’t incredibly fun. ;) I hope that changes the next time I have to get a job! lol

  6. Your job/internship sounds so fun!!

    I’ve never had a GREAT job, but working in regional transportation planning in Toronto for my first co-op placement was pretty neat.

    Mmmm trail mix-y oatbran. What a perfect autumn breakfast.

  7. Your spag pie looks so delicious.

    I love your bowl in the oat bran pics — with the pine trees. Do you remember where you got that from? I love dishes like that.

    My favorite job was working for Pier 1 in high school and college. I loved setting up the displays, helping customers pick out furniture and smelling all of the candles :)

    • I picked the dishes up at Kohls! They usually have a lot of different dishes like these to choose from. :D

      I would love to work at Pier 1. It must have been awesome getting an employee discount at such a fun place! :D

  8. Your morning sounds so cozy! It makes me want to skip my morning workouts and eat oat bran right out of the shower. :-)

    My favorite job was a lifeguard. For 6 summers (while in high school and 2 years of college) I was a lifeguard at a little community pool. It was my home-away-from-home and I still miss it every summer!

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