Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheesy Mushroom Pasta Bake

Some time ago, we received some Bertolli pasta sauce through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.We received a jar of Arrabbiata sauce, which I used in a pasta/shrimp dish several weeks back. We also received a Four Cheese Rosa sauce.

Cheesy Mushroom Pasta 01

I finally put the Four Cheese Rosa sauce to good use the other day. The sauce was quite rich, so I decided to make the focus of the dish mushrooms.

Cheesy Mushroom Pasta 02
Cheesy Mushroom Pasta 03

I boiled some whole wheat penne pasta, and, while the pasta was boiling, I sautéed a mountain of sliced mushrooms in some olive oil. I seasoned the mushrooms with a little salt and pepper as well as dried basil (I didn’t have any fresh basil at the time). 

Once the pasta was done, I mixed the pasta with the sautéed mushrooms and then added about half the jar of the sauce. Next, I poured the mixture into a casserole dish.

Cheesy Mushroom Pasta 04

You can never have too much cheese, so I added a bit more Parmesan cheese to the top! :-)

Cheesy Mushroom Pasta 05

I baked the pasta for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Here is the finished dish:

Cheesy Mushroom Pasta 06
Cheesy Mushroom Pasta 07

It was a tasty, quick meal, and we enjoyed it with a big salad. Thank you Bertolli and Foodbuzz for letting us try these delicious sauces; they helped me make quick, tasty dinners. :-)

Questions: Do you like cheese? If so, what’s your favorite cheese? If you don’t eat cheese, do you have a favorite “cheese alternative?”

Be well,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fun With the Trike and Weekly Meals

The toddler has been practicing riding his trike, and he finally “got it.” It was so much fun seeing him pedal away yesterday evening…

Trike 02
Trike 03
Trike 01
It’s been a while since I’ve posted our weekly meals on the blog (but I still planned them on my white board even when I didn’t post them). Here we go with this week’s meals:

Tuesday: Salmon with dill, lemon, and a bit of butter. Brown rice and a salad. Similar to a recent meal… But instead of sautéing the cabbage, I’ll make a spicy Asian slaw with cabbage, cucumbers, and carrots. The dressing will have have a little peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and spicy red pepper paste. I’ll top the slaw with cilantro and peanuts.

Wednesday: It’s Wrapped Up Wednesday: Spring rolls with tofu and shrimp.

Thursday: Quesadillas on sprouted grain tortillas. We’ll have fresh salsa and a bit of fresh guacamole on the side. I have found that when I have plenty of salsa and a little guacamole, I am happy with very little cheese on my quesadilla… :-)

Friday: It’s Salad Friday. One of our salads will be a Caprese Salad; I have missed delicious mozzarella, flavorful tomatoes, and fresh basil…

Caprese Salad 01

Question: What’s on your menu today or this week?
Be well,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Peer Pressure: How Influenced Are You By Others?

I spent the last few days at a conference. I had a great time and got to meet up with friends from grad school as well as various people I have worked with over the years. I am also excited about revamping my classes and trying out new ideas that I picked up at the conference.

While at the conference, I couldn’t help notice how many unhealthy temptations there were and how little people moved. The conference was in a convention center with two levels. To get from one level to the other you could take very long stairs or escalators. It was surprising to me that almost everyone stood in lines to take the escalators and hardly anyone took the stairs. We sat for most of the day, so a little movement was certainly much needed in my opinion. I also overheard several people asking their friends if they wanted to take the stairs, but each time the friend said “no” so they all took the escalator. I took the stairs every time and felt like I desperately needed the movement…

There was also an endless supply of candy and sweets in the exhibit hall. It was amazing how people repeatedly grabbed handfuls of candy and kept eating them throughout the presentations. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a little candy. However, I’m wondering how many people were mindful of what they were doing and how many simply followed what everyone else did.

And the same behavior continued after the conference ended and people gathered for drinks and finger foods. There was a lot of greasy food and people just kept eating, and some even joked that a conference wasn’t a conference without stuffing yourself.

In the past, I would have easily bought into the thinking that a conference was a “special event” and it was okay to “let loose” a bit. The problem was that I had come up with way too many special events. Also, having a good time doesn’t have to involve unhealthy food. My friend and I split a veggie sandwich and a small, truly delicious brownie for lunch followed by an iced latte “to get us through” the afternoon. :-) And after the conference we enjoyed a glass of white wine before heading home where I had a healthy dinner. I truly didn’t feel deprived and had a wonderful time.

Question: Have you ever been influenced to eat more and/or unhealthy foods by people around you? What are your strategies to make healthy choices when everyone else isn’t? For me, the key is to be mindful and have a plan beforehand. For example, I had a very firm plan that I wouldn’t eat greasy “bar food” when we got a drink after the conference.

Be well,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dinner with the Prevention RD

Nicole from Prevention RD was in town for a conference, and last night we got to meet up for dinner. It was so nice to meet Nicole in person! I enjoyed hearing about the conference she had attended and her job. We also talked about blogging. :-) Unfortunately, the toddler is getting worse again, so Nicole had to listen to his medical history for quite a bit of the evening… Sorry, Nicole. I hope to be more fun in October when you’ll be in town again! :-)

Here are some highlights of our evening:

Nicole 01
Nicole 02
Nicole 03
Nicole 04
Nicole 05
Nicole 06

Questions: When was the last time you went out for dinner with a friend? What did you order? Make us drool… :-)

Be well,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Easy Meal and Family Fun at the Park

I love our meals lately. Somehow, our meals in the past couple of days have just “magically come together.” Well, I still made them, but somehow it was truly effortless. While I’d like to say that all of our meals are that way, that would not be true. I think the reason I enjoyed the meals so much was because they were low-key, quick, and happened without “too much thinking.” One of our “no think” meals was wild salmon, sautéed cabbage and chard, and brown rice.

I chopped the cabbage and chard and then sautéed the mixture for about 10 to 12 minutes (until it was soft but still had some bite to it) and then seasoned it with low sodium soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Quick and easy.

And the salmon was just as quick. I sautéed it skin-side down for a few minutes and then turned it over and sautéed the other side. Then, I flipped it back and seasoned it with salt, pepper and dried dill. Next, I added the juice of one lemon on top of the salmon. I finished the dish by adding just a bit of butter on top of each piece of salmon and let the butter melt.

Here is my plate:

Sunday Fun 01

After lunch, we spent the afternoon at the park with my brother-in-law. The toddler really loves having his uncle around… :-)

Sunday Fun 08
Sunday Fun 02
Sunday Fun 03
Sunday Fun 04

Sunday Fun 05
Sunday Fun 06

Question: What was your last “no think” meal? Do you find cooking relaxing? I enjoy cooking on the weekends, using all the wonderful produce from our CSA box. I love having time and just seeing what happens. Weeknight dinners can be a bit more stressful… Planning and keeping things simple helps to make weeknights stress-free and calm (most of the time).

Be well,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

CSA-Inspired Lunch

Yesterday, I decided to make lunch centered around the contents of our CSA box.
I started by roasting some veggies.

CSA Lunch 01

I cut the veggies into bite-sized pieces, tossed them with rosemary/garlic olive oil, and roasted them for about 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

CSA Lunch 02

Once the veggies were done, I tossed them with a some cooked quinoa, and seasoned the quinoa salad with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

CSA Lunch 04
I also made a salad with the lettuce from the CSA box. I added some sliced radishes, spring onions, and an avocado. I seasoned the salad with a simple olive oil/lemon juice vinaigrette. So simple, yet so good. This was definitely the freshest salad I have tasted in a while.

CSA Lunch 03
For the boys, I also marinated some organic chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, a little salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary. Then I just sautéed it.

CSA Lunch 05

My brother-in-law is in town right now, and we really enjoyed our simple lunch. Good company makes any meal so much better! :-)

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What was the best thing that you ate this weekend? We had a great time hanging out with my brother-in-law, and the toddler loves spending time with his uncle. It’s so sad he doesn’t get to see him more often… Best thing I ate? I had some REALLY good dark chocolate… :-)

Be well,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reasons to Smile

It hadn’t been my plan to take such a long blogging break. When I initially decided to take a break, it was because work had gotten really busy. Unfortunately, the toddler got really sick around the same time and has been battling several infections at once. None of us has gotten much sleep over the past few weeks, but we hope that the toddler has finally beaten the infections.

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when things don’t go so well, and I think it’s important to focus on the positive things (that’s why I started this blog in the first place…). While I haven’t taken many pictures lately, here are a few things that have brought a smile to my face over the last few days…

Smiles 01

The above picture is today’s CSA deliver:
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Meyer Lemons
  • Strawberries
  • Red Radishes
  • Avocados
  • Asparagus
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Celery
  • Red Butter Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Red Spring Onions
  • Sweet Potatoes
Smiles 02

There is nothing better than basil and tomatoes…

Smiles 03

I’ve been making a lot of salmon salad with capers. It’s easy, quick, and tastes great. Here is what I use:
  • 1 can boneless, skinless wild salmon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi mayonnaise
  • Capers
I often eat the salmon salad on a bed of lettuce for lunch. The other day, I had some bread and made little sandwiches with tomato slices and basil.

But what really makes me smile is seeing the toddler playing… :-)

Smiles 04
Smiles 07
Smiles 05

Smiles 06

Question: What are some of the reason you smiled today? I hope your weekend will be filled with smiles and laughter… :-)

Be well,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Time to Take A Break

Life is getting hectic again, and I will have to take a little break from blogging for a few days. But first, here are some photos of our brunch yesterday.

Easter 001
Easter 02
Easter 03
Easter 05
Easter 06
Easter 07
Easter 08
Easter 10
Easter 11
Easter 09
Easter 01

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What was the best thing that you ate? 

Be well,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thanks, Cuz, for Inspiring My Latest Meal for Wifey

[Guest post by hubby.]

Hi There. Hubby here. Hope each and every one of you out there is doing wonderfully!

Yesterday for lunch, I had a chance to harken back to a fond teenhood memory of a sleepover at one of my older cousins' home. He prepared breakfast for us, and I have always remembered it - a breakfast burrito consisting of eggs and cheese. In retrospect, I must have been so impressed with seeing him cook because up to that point in my life, I don't think I ever saw a male actually cook anything among the ranks of the rather large number of family relatives. Plus, that simple meal was just delicious.

So it must have been in his honor that I happened to prepare my version of a breakfast burrito for wifey and me. Instead of just eggs and cheese, I added a few extra elements. Also, we had this breakfast burrito for lunch instead of during its namesake.


Hello there colorful bell peppers, tomato, eggs, cilantro, turkey bacon, sprouted wheat tortillas, and especially you sharp Cheddar cheese... Sorry avocado, just missed your appearance.

Fried up bacon, eggs, and bell pepper; Chopped up cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado.

The Cheddar was busy shaving.

Wifey can't wait to meet you all...

My turn to meet you up close and personal.

Who was I kidding? After a few bites, I added an extra bacon and just a wee bit more cheese.

This meal is simple to prepare, but I learned a lot. I was so surprised at how quickly (at least for me) it all came together, having never really made a breakfast burrito before. I did heed wifey's advice to crack all the eggs into a bowl before frying them up in the pan. But everything else I really wanted to figure out and do on my own. And I did. I also really, really enjoyed all the aspects of making this very simple meal.

I didn't need all the peppers; just the orange one was enough. Next time, I'll definitely chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces. And aside from having to adjust the amount of bacon and cheese, everything was all good in my humble opinion.

More importantly, wifey seemed to really, really like it based on the fact that she said, "I really, really like it."

Cheers Everyone!

~Grateful Hubby