We are in the last few days of August. Hard to believe how fast the summer flew by. This weekend my husband and I celebrate 13 years of marriage. We actually have a friend who is going to watch our 9 year old so we can go out! Not sure what we are doing yet, but I am excited for a night out, it seems like it has been FOREVER! This weekend we also have friends from Iowa that will be in town. It has been over a year since we have seen them, so I am super excited for their visit. Hopefully the weather stays nice, so we can enjoy lots of time outside.
The second week of school and I am already tired of packing my sons lunch. This is not a good sign. He has seen my Instagram feed with all the pictures of fun and creative lunches that kids are getting. And now, he wants that. For the last year, he wanted the same thing in his lunch every, single, day. This year, not only does he want to change it up (which is perfectly fine with me), he wants it to be fun and different most days. I was at the store the other day and saw one of those divided tupperwear containers on sale, so I picked it up. Now it is time to figure out what to put in it. I am just not that creative early in the morning!
I can not believe today is the last real day of summer break. The summer has really just flown by. Yesterday, I took my son to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He loves exploring there, and having fun with all of the hands-on exhibits. We have also had some of friends over to play this week. And this afternoon we are heading to the pool for our last day of fun. It seems like there was so much else I planned on us doing, but we just ran out of time. One of my husband’s college roommates is going to be in town this weekend. And one of my best friends is going to be here next week, on her move across the country. So just because school is starting, doesn’t mean things are slowing down around here.
I can’t not believe that it is May, and the summer is almost here. My son counted the days of school left the other day, and there were only 18 left! As luck would have it, I signed him up for 2 day camps this summer, and they happen to be during the first two weeks of summer break. So at least I have a little more time to get everything I wanted to accomplish done, before he is home full time. But still, I am really not ready to have a 4th grader. I just want to stop time, and keep him this age for a little longer!
Apparently I am on a Greek kick lately. Gyros on Friday and this pasta dish today. I hope that you don’t mind. Maybe I will have to make some kind of hummus this week to keep the string going…probably not going to happen, but maybe. I do have a can of chickpeas in my pantry. I have had it on my to do list forever, to try roasting them as a snack. Need to get my butt in gear and try that.
Everyone is busy on weeknights, right? We all need a few go to recipes to get dinner on the table quickly, and that the whole family will enjoy. For me chicken and shrimp are two proteins that 9 times out of 10 everyone will eat. It amazes me how quickly my 7 year old will eat shrimp, he can’t get enough! Shrimp has next to no calories, and is really good for you. So I know I am serving my family something that is good for them.
Today I am excited to bring you an authentic Italian recipe. Ginny from Cooking with Chopin, Living with Elmo contacted me about participating in a blogging book tour for a new cookbook called “A Family Farm in Tuscany” I love Italy (even though I have never been), so I was excited to see what this book was all about.
This is not just your ordinary cookbook. It is full of all sorts of family recipes straight from Sarah Fioroni, and her family. But is also full of so many wonderful stories, and background about life on their farm, and life in Italy. You get a true sense of how important food and family is to them. Plus there is a lot of talk about wine, which is never bad.
I picked your basic meat sauce to make first. I have a meat sauce that I make, but I know it isn’t authentic, so I wanted to try this out. It is wonderful. The quality of tomatoes make a big difference in the sauce. This is great to eat straight with pasta, or would be delicious in a lasagna. I can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes in this book. Fresh bread, fresh pasta, risotto, panna cotta…there really is a little bit of everything.
Breast Cancer Awareness Week continues. Today we are moving on to something healthy. Walnuts. Did you know that walnuts contain the most antioxidants of all nuts. Antioxidants help protect the body for the cellular damage that contributes to breast cancer, other cancers, and heart disease. Walnuts are also the richest in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. Plus they are a great way to get healthy unsaturated fats, which are usually found in fish.
I thought this pasta was perfect to highlight the walnuts, and get a healthy meal. It is meat free, but still filling from the nuts. You could use any veggies here. Saute them in heart healthy olive oil, and serve over whole grain pasta. A little bit of arugula mixed in would be wonderful. Arugula is a rich source of certain phytochemicals that have been shown to fight cancer-causing elements in the body. Arugula is also a great source of folic acid and Vitamins A, C and K. It is one of the best vegetable sources of Vitamin K, which provides a boost for bone and brain health. So this really could be a powerhouse of a meal.
I made this for lunch one day, and I loved it. I am honestly not a huge fan of walnuts, but sauteed in the olive oil, with the pasta, and the zucchini it was just perfect. A little crunch, and little chewy, salty, savory, and just good! I think even my meat loving husband would be a fan of this one. As soon as I get more walnuts, I will be making it for him.
This is the time of year for comfort food. As soon as the weather turns cooler, we all start craving those warm comfort foods. Today for #SundaySupper Isabel, of Family Foodie is hosting this great “Comfort Food with Lee Woodruff” event. This is sure to be a fun event. Not only do you walk away with 50+ comfort food recipes, but Lee Woodruff herself is joining us for the Twitter Chat this evening. Come join in the fun, and you will have a chance to win 1 of 5 signed copies of her new book, Those We Love Most.
I asked my husband for help with this weeks theme. He came up with a few ideas, but I thought his Jalapeno Mac n’ cheese was the best. I did add some bacon to make it even better. I seeded the jalapenos so it wouldn’t be too spicy, but if you want some serious heat; leave the seeds in. My husband loves things spicy, so I probably should have left more of the seeds in, but I needed to be able to eat it too
Now, I know mac n’ cheese is traditionally a very high calorie meal. This is by no means a light version, and could be lightened up more, I am sure. I did try to make it a little more healthy. I reduced the amount of butter from some other recipes I saw. I used skim milk, and in place of the cream I used half and half. Finally, I found a reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese by Cabot that I used. It was still creamy, and cheesy, and comforting, so I don’t think any calories were missed. Plus, if you use whole wheat pasta (or a brand made with veggies like I did), you are upping the fiber and protein.
Do you ever see recipes, and immediately make them? Sometimes I come across a recipe that is so perfect, I have to make it right away. This was one of those. Cassie made a version of this pasta, and I knew we would love it. My husband loves just about anything with balsamic vinegar, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought about doing this yet.
My husband isn’t all about lots of veggies and no meat, so I had to switch it up a little. I used some spinach & artichoke chicken sausage I had in the freezer, and just a few veggies. This was amazing. Balsamic vinaigrette is one of my favorite dressings, so adding it to pasta was only natural. The chicken sausage makes it a heartier meal, but still good for you.
I have made it a couple times already, and I know it will be a staple in our house. You could switch up the veggies to just about anything you have on hand, or what is in season at the time. Leave out the meat, and this would be a great cold pasta salad. I served with a little grated Parmesan cheese, but Cassie used goat cheese. So feel free to switch it up!