a simple dish

Reason why my sister is my best friend, number one million and three

cat not included.

 Nicole makes a different pancake flavor for each new month of the year.  And while banana chocolate chip, maple walnut, and pumpkin rank high on my list of favorites, I don’t think any can compare with the gingerbread pancake.  It’s a little like eating a spicy gingerbread cookie for dinner.   :mrgreen:

Last night, Nicole had me over for dinner and a movie.  We plopped ourselves on the floor, watched Home Alone 2, and ate our fill of gingerbread pancakes, scrambled eggs and fresh fruit for dinner.  It feels a lot like Christmas. 😀

(If you’re dying for a batch of gingerbread pancakes too, she posted this recipe on today’s blog post: click here.)

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 Over the weekend, my dad grilled a couple of  ‘beer can chickens,’ and we’ve had heeps of leftover meat sitting in the fridge ever since.  Aside from using it for salad toppings—or just picking at it here and there—I really wanted to make a meal of it.  A simple, nutritious meal that I could get on the table quickly, after a long day of battling it out at the supermarket.

This meal *screams* simple.

(1) Diced chicken and halved pea pods sitting—waiting—in a colander.

(2) A simple sauce simmering.  Whisk, whisk, whisk.

(3) Hot (cooked) fettucine poured over chicken and pea pods.

(4) Everything poured back into pan, along with sauce and pineapple.

(5) Stirred gently.  Meal served.

 

Simple, simple, simple.  I love it when meals are fast, healthy and tasty to boot.  This is especially important during the holidays, wouldn’t you say?

Turkey and Pasta with Peanut Sauce—as seen in Better Homes and Gardens.

This meal could easily be made vegetarian, if you take out the meat and maybe add in some baked tofu.  If you do decide to go vegetarian, I recommend doubling the sauce and letting the tofu sit in some of the liquid before tossing it all together.  You could also double up on the veggies as well.  Sauteed red or green bell peppers would be a lovely addition. 

And while this simple dish is best served immediately, it reheats decently well for lunch the following day.  Enjoy! 

  • 6-oz. dried fettuccine or linguine
  • 2 c. fresh pea pods, cut in half
  • 1 c. cooked turkey or chicken, chopped
  • 1 c. chopped fresh pineapple OR one 8-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1/4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 T. all natural peanut butter
  • 1 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T. lime or lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, place pea pods and turkey or chicken in a colander.  Pour hot cooking liquid from pasta over pea pods and turkey or chicken in colander; drain well.  Return pasta, pea pods and turkey/chicken to the hot pan.  Add pineapple.
  2. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan, stir chicken broth into peanut butter.  Heat and stir with a whisk until peanut butter melts.  Stir in soy sauce, lime juice, red pepper and garlic.  Heat thorough.
  3. Add sauce to pasta mixture.  Gently stir and toss to coat.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you doing any traveling for Christmas or are you the one putting on the feast?

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a bowl of soup

I love cheesecake.

I love rich, creamy, lemon infused frostings.

I love butter.

I love all of these things and more.  Which surprises some people.  You have to admit, it is just a little ironic for a dietetics student to be totally into these sorts of things.  You know?

I guess you could say that I’ve found the common ground between my deep desire to be healthy, strong, and confident, while also indulging in all of the things I love.  Intuitive eating.  It’s a process.  A life long journey.  And, speaking from one friend to the next, let me tell you: it’s completely worth the effort. 

Speaking of indulging in all of the things I love, nothing is more suiting for a post-holiday lunch than a hot vegetable soup. 

I consider most of my vegetable soup recipes to be the beginning step.

A red bell pepper is added here.  A zucchini is added there.  Some extra seasoning, a sprinkle of salt, a dash of pepper.  Most of the time, no two soups are exactly alike.  This is true.  Most of the time.  And yet, whenever I make this particular soup, I pause for a second, carefully considering what I want to add. 

And then it hits me.  Nothing.  I don’t want to add a thing.  It’s perfect, just the way it is.  To think I found this simple recipe in a grocery store handout. 😉

On the side, I broke up the last of my quinoa burger, added some freshly chopped spinach and tomatoes, added some hot sauce, and dunked my tortilla chips.  I loved the soft, nutty nexture of the quinoa burgers against the salty crunch of the tortillas.  Yum!

Minestrone Soup

This soup gets better and better with age.  Flavors meld.  The cabbage sweetens.  It’s a beautiful thing. 

In other words—for best results—make this soup at least one day ahead and enjoy it to the fullest on the following day.  This is a lovely soup filled with nutrients and flavor.  Perfect for a cold autumn afternoon. 😀

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 quart low- or reduced sodium broth, chicken or vegetable
  • 2 cups white beans, cooked
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Add onions, celery, and garlic.  Saute until tender but not browned. 
  2. Add basil and oregano.  Stir for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add chopped zucchini and carrots; cook for another few minutes.  Pour in chicken or vegetable broth, cooked beans and tomatoes. 
  4. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer.  Alow soup to cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add water as needed.
  5. Add chopped cabbage and parsley and cook for about 10 minutes more.  Add pepper to taste.
  6. ENJOY!

 

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Have I ever mentioned how much I love Black Friday??? :mrgreen:

Nicole and I were up at 4 this morning.  Ready by 5.  Shopping by 6. 

Breakfast was taken to go.  Hair was thrown up in a ponytail.  Shopping adrenaline gave us energy.

I.  Love.  Black.  Friday. :mrgreen:

I especially love it when we both walk home having found great deals and wonderful memories. 

Stores were filled, filled, filled with awesome 50% discounts, so of course we went a little crazy on clothes we needed (and loved!)  I even had a little bit of left-over money for some fun accessories! 😀 

And new clothes for presentations and other prefessional things.  😀

The day was long, but we never actually grew tired.  Shopping adrenaline carries far.  And—at the risk of sounding like crazy, hardcore Black Friday shoppers—we’re already planning our trip for next year. 😉

Question: Do your workouts change as the cold weather comes along, or do you stay pretty constant throughout the year?

feeling inspired

Nicole is a planner.  An organizer. 

She’s not that last minute Christmas shopper who frantically buys something just to buy something (*cough*cough*like me!*cough*cough).  No.  She puts thought into each selection.  She’s that person who wraps your gift so elegantly you don’t even want to open it.

So when she called me up and asked if I wanted to go into Boston this weekend, in order for her to finish up her Christmas shopping, I of course said YES!  Maybe some of her organization and Martha Stewart-ness would rub off on me in the process.  One can hope.

I realize that this is my third straight weekend in Boston.  I think I might be falling in love with the place.

I also fell in love with a giant Christmas bulb.

And these two fluffy lovebugs.

I think I need a dog in my life. 😉

And—is it just me?—or are guys getting more and more creative with proposals these days? 

The ice sculpture on the right read, “Will You Marry Me?” 

There’s always something to see in Boston.  Maybe that’s why I love it so much.  People watching is one of my favorite hobbies. 😉

However, today was not just about people watching.  Or eating.  (Although we did plenty of both—hello, cheesecake factory!)  Today, we each had a mission.  To either (a) finish our Christmas shopping or (b) to leave feeling inspired.

Nicole left Boston with all of her Christmas shopping completed.  Done!  And I left Boston feeling inspired not to be that Christmas Eve shopper this year.  It was a successful day! :mrgreen:

Until next time Boston!  I will see you again shortly.  This time, with my very own Christmas list. 

Question: Are you a last minute gift buyer for birthdays and holidays, or do you plan ahead?

Friday Foodie

I am the queen of clumsy this week.  In case you don’t believe me, let me convince you.

It started on Sunday when I walked into a large, bright neon cone in the hospital.  My sister let out a laugh and simply stated that it could have been worse and at least I didn’t walk into some poor, innocent child.  Then it happened at the grocery store, when I grabbed one apple only to have 10 more follow along, each in a different direction.  But since I don’t have 10 arms, I decided to try my hand at juggling.  This resulted in having a little boy laughing, a mother looking shocked, and the poor produce employee looking sad (or angry?)  It wasn’t pretty.

I won’t even mention the moment when I leapt for the ringing phone, only to realize that my foot was tangled in my laptop’s battery charger.  I found myself lying face down on the ground with a loud “garumph”.  I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, so I did both. 

Queen of Clumsy.

Anyhow, at least it’s Friday and a whole new weekend is here.  This clumsy phase can’t last for too much longer (knock on wood.)

On to the eats!!!

Friday Foodie #1

My sis and I both shared wide-eyed expressions when we spotted these small packets of Honey Peanut Butter at whole foods.  We share a love for honey roasted peanuts (in fact, this was a very serious conversation topic that we had while on our 5-mile morning walk,) so what’s not to love about the nut butter version, right? 

Love.  Pure, sweet love.  I slathered it all over my whole wheat bagel and each delicious bite was savored.  I also served a grapefruit on the side, and this breakfast kept me full until lunch rolled around.  I need to find a place that sells large containers of this wonderful peanut butter blend! 😀

Foodie Highlight #2

I’m obsessed with salads.  They are such a form of artwork, yeilding to whatever suits your fancy at that moment in time.  Today I wanted simplicity with a bit of excitement (i.e., feta cheese!)  Along with some cornbread, this lunch made the most satisfying summer meal.

Foodie Shopping Highlight #3

I realize that I’m listing many obsessions in this post, but here’s one more to add to the list: starbucks soy mocha frappucinos.  My sister and I are—well—obsessed.  It’s true.  I think we’ve gone about 3 times in the past week and a half.  And today my sister surprised me by buying us each an insulated cup for all of our ice coffees and smoothies.  Can you imagine how excited I am?  Can you imagine all the crazy smoothie ideas that are now running through my head?  Can you imagine how proud I’ll be when I hand over my reusable cup to the barista as I order my tall mocha soy frappucino?

Can you imagine that I’m so incredibly excited?

This.  Is.  The.  Best.  Cup.  Ever.  I love it!

Foodie Highlight #4

VOSKOS!…

…turned into THIS!

I was dining solo tonight, so I took advantage of this and made myself a yogurt & oat mess.  I’m falling quickly in love with Voskos yogurt (this plain, nonfat flavor was so silky and smooth!)  I’m also kind of obsessed (oops, here I go again) with the PB&Company Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter.  I bought the jar last week and it’s quickly diminishing.  It’s a little too sweet for my morning oats, but I love it as a snack—or in this case, as part of dinner.

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 Voskos Organic Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves
  • toppings: 2 T. Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola (another obsession, but I’ll bet you already knew that 😉 ), 1 tsp chia seeds, sprinklin’ of coconut, and a dollop of PB&Company Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter

Sooo creamy and delicious.  Exactly what I wanted for a dinner on the deck.   

Happy FRIDAY and I hope you enjoy a fresh, new weekend!

Question: When dining solo, what is your meal of choice?  Usually scrambled eggs, oats, or some form of a grilled sandwich.  Unless I’m in the mood for cooking, and then it’s fun to whip up a whole new recipe—just because.