Pasta Bolognese Per Request

Hi friends! I hope everyone is having a good Monday so far…

It’s time to recap a super awesome Sunday that was spent with my husband and the dog. It started with BOGO coffees at Caribou. I stuck with a decaf coffee with sugar-free hazelnut (num) and Dana went for the Milk Chocolate Mocha with a shot or two of espresso.

Let the Father’s Day fun begin! Today was all about the hubby. Moose even made sure to get his dad a sweet card for Father’s Day. How thoughtful, right?

For breakfast I made myself a pb banana sandwich (I ate half of it before remembering to snap a photo). I ate my banana ‘wich and sipped on my coffee while we cut coupons.

Once again, the coupons were completely lame this week. We cut two measly coupons. TWO. And they were for household type things so they weren’t even exciting.

Next, we hit the Sunday usuals: Target and Costco. We stocked up on some good eats and even bought Mooser a new chicken. His last one had to be tossed due to a terrible stench that really raunched up his breath each time he played with it. Gross.

We got a few things done around the house, I completed a relaxing yoga session, and then I made Dana a special Father’s Day sandwich.

This beautiful creation is made up of:

  • Two pieces of whole wheat bread
  • 1 slice of lower-sodium turkey breast
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • Sliced tomato sprinkled with onion powder and pepper
  • Mustard
  • 1 drippy egg.

All grilled to perfection with love.

I LOVE making special meals for the ones I love.

In the afternoon, we had to run a few more errands which included plans to take the pooch out for a walk around the lake. Our plans were hindered when the clouds opened up and mother nature watered our grass from 1:00-5:00 pm. I wasn’t sure if it was going to let up, so I decided to head down to our treadmill to get a little walk in just in case. I walked for 35 minutes while watching The Blind Side. Such a great movie.

Towards the end of my workout, the skies had cleared up and Moose really wanted to take his dad out for a Father’s Day walk :wink:, so we headed out. It had cooled off quite a bit after the rain and the sun was even peeking through. It was a perfect evening walk with my guys.

Since today was all about the dads, I told Dana he could have whatever he wanted for dinner. His decision: Pasta Bolognese. My version of course.

I started by sautéing 1 cup diced yellow onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1 cup of chopped mushrooms in a light amount of garlic infused olive oil. After about 3 minutes, I added a jar of No-Added Sugar Ragu, added a shake of garlic powder, basil, and oregano. I gave this a stir, covered, and let simmer while I prepared the rest of the meal.

In a separate pan, I started browning up a package of lean ground chicken and began boiling my water for the pasta. Once the meat was browned, I sprinkled it with oregano and garlic powder. I like to flavor each part of the dish when I can. I added the meat to the sauce, then finished the sauce by adding about 3/4 cup of chopped green olives.

Once the pasta was finished cooking to al dente, I drained it and served up two heaping plates full of pasta and Bolognese sauce and topped with parmesan cheese.

Great decision, honey.

After dinner, we just had to have dessert because it was Father’s Day after all. So what did we decide to do? Head to the Frozen Yogurt shop down the road of course. Jeez louise this is the third Sunday in a row now that we have done this. We are getting a lot better at controlling our frozen yogurt pour and limiting the toppings at least. Last night we spent $7.00 between the two of us which was our cheapest fro-yo purchase yet.

Last night I chose non-dairy, non-fat Valencia Orange Sorbet mixed with the tiniest bit of sugar-free vanilla fro-yo (to get the orange creamsicle effect). I topped it with gummies and was extremely happy with this combo. You are probably aware by now that I usually opt for the chocolately, rich toppings when it comes to my fro-yo and ice cream, but I am trying to cool it on the dairy, and since the only sorbet flavor option they had last night was orange, I didn’t think topping it with cookie dough and brownie pieces sounded very appetizing. The gummies were just perfect.

Any time I eat gummies I am reminded of my childhood, and my college years. Growing up we had gummies as a special treat, and through my college years, my girlies and I would buy a huge bag of mixed gummies from the grocery store when we were having a girl’s night in. Sweet memories.

What a great Father’s Day weekend with my papa on Saturday, and Dana on Sunday. We will be celebrating Father’s Day with Dana’s parents next weekend. Let the fun continue.

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I keep forgetting to tell you all, that last week I DID reach my June Yoga Challenge weekly goal. When I posted on Friday I had only completed two yoga sessions and my goal is three per week. Well, you better believe that after I posted on Friday I hit up the yoga. I am really loving it and am feeling pretty sore from it as well. Work it baby!

I still need to share that awesome Lemon Blueberry Bar recipe with you all that I made on Saturday. I didn’t forget! It’s still comin. Have a great Monday.

My Day of Small Meals

I have officially taken on the June Yoga Challenge along with Courtney at SweetToothSweetLife and other lovely readers and bloggers.

(You can click on the above photo if you want to check out Courtney’s page)

Basically, the challenge is to incorporate more yoga into your life. You set your own goal as to how you wish to do so. Courtney’s challenge was to incorporate three yoga sessions into her weekly routine. It doesn’t matter how long the session, or at what difficulty, just as long as you do it keeping your own personal goal in mind. Or, you can create a different type of yoga-related challenge, such as mastering a new pose or trying out a new yoga studio for the first time. It’s up to you.

On Fridays, we all check in with our weekly yoga status updates and motivate eachother through those weekly updates as well as through twitter. It’s always more encouraging and motivating working out with others, and this is a fun and different way to do it!

At first I was thinking my goal would be to incorporate one yoga session into my weekly routine, but considering I have already tackled two yoga workouts in the past two days, I figured I could create a heftier goal. I am going to also have a goal of completing three yoga sessions through the week. I am finding I am enjoying this workout first thing in the morning; it is very relaxing and allows me to mentally and physically relax as I begin my day.

The other part of my challenge is working around this big dude who likes to sit directly next to me on the carpet during yoga time.

And inevitably he just HAS to go outside during this time.

He keeps me smiling at least. 🙂

My brain and body could really use the stress relief from yoga. Thank you Courtney for creating this and motivating me to get yoga’ing! It’s always a good idea to set fitness goals for yourself, and I look forward to continuing this challenge.

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Food Recap from Yesterday

I had a day full of small meals and snacks versus three bigger meals and small snacks in between. I prefer to eat this way, but my work situation doesn’t really allow for this type of structure. Well, our schedule was a little different yesterday and it just so happened that it did work out for me. So, here it goes.

Breakfast: Cream of Wheat with cinnamon, brown sugar, and bananas with a cup o’ decaf coffee with cream and stevia on the side.

Snack: the rest of the banana from breakfast with PB2

Snack #2: Unphotographed tuna noodle salad at work

Lunch: Lower-sodium turkey breast, hummus, and avocado wrap

A spoonful (or two) of peanut butter…

Pomegranate no-added sugar applesauce…

Snack: Unphotographed peanut butter M & M’s at work

Dinner: Cooked spinach, pureed black beans, cheddar cheese, and avocado with salt and onion powder

Lastly, pretzels with honey mustard dipping sauce, and then I made myself I small batch of PB2 with honey to finish’er off!

I love these kinds of days! I get to eat all day long. I was extra hungry yesterday too so this worked out perfectly.

I slept much better last night by the way and am very thankful. I had a rough night of sleep the following night and was hoping it wasn’t going to be a reoccurring theme.

Alright, I’m off. Happy Thursday everyone.

Question of the Day: Which do you prefer? Small meals and snacks throughout the day/grazing or 3 larger meals?

I prefer grazing throughout the day but like I mentioned, work doesn’t always make that possible. I feel like my energy level is so much greater when I am eating smaller meals throughout the day and I am able to regulate my blood sugars more evenly versus many highs and lows which makes for a happier me overall.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Haaapppy Hump Day! I AM so happy because I just found out last night that will be attending my first ever healthy living conference this August! I will have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful healthy living bloggers who I have been following forever, meet fellow blogging friends, learn about how to improve my blog, talk about healthy living and food, and soak up every other bit in between! I am on cloud 9 seriously. I cannot wait. WOOOO!

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Yesterday I briefly mentioned how I will be gearing my workouts towards lower impact activities, at least for a couple of weeks until I get my colitis under control. I notice that my body doesn’t respond well recently to running and jumping which makes sense as I am putting a lot of impact on my body (organs included I guess). This might explain my not so beautiful half-marathon experience.

I absolutely will continue to be active through this all. My activities can include: walking, biking, yoga, elliptical, swimming, strength training and more. I will just be limiting my running and jumping exercises for a short time.

Let’s talk about yoga for a second shall we? I haven’t always been a huge fan of it, and I think the one of the reasons why is because I’m not good at it. I am embarrassed to say as a former dancer that I can no longer touch my toes without bending my knees and have lost all flexibility whatsoever. Well, what’s the best way to get better at something? Practice.

Yesterday, I flipped to OnDemand yoga on the TV and found a workout called “Gentle Yoga.” That sounded nice, and guess what? It was nice. It was a little slow moving at first which is something one has to get used to when you’re used to doing majority cardio type exercises. I focused on my breathing like the woman was telling me to do, and took the 36 minutes to really relax and stretch and listen to my body.

Wow. If I can actually let myself be patient enough to ease into yoga, I think I could really benefit from it and even enjoy it! I would love to regain flexibility and I KNOW yoga would help me with this. Also, I believe that if I can learn to manage my stress more effectively, including yoga and breathing exercises, I can heal faster. I am really hoping to try and add yoga into my weekly routine. Maybe start off with a goal of one time per week, see how I am liking it, then increase to two times per week. Huh, I like this idea! A fellow blogger Courtney at Sweettoothsweetlife, started a June Yoga Challenge and although I’m a little late on the ball, I just may join in. I never thought I would say it.

After my relaxing yoga, I headed out for an easy 30-minute walk, and then it was time for breakfast. Do I even need to tell you what I had? You could look at my last whole entire month of breakfasts practically and learn real quickly that breakfast was indeed a bowl of Cream of Wheat cereal mixed with cinnamon, stevia and just a touch of brown sugar. This is my ‘makes my tummy feel fine’ breakfast and it’s a must on days I have to work; for now at least.

We had a potluck meeting at work over the lunch hour and I didn’t snap any photos mostly because my plate wasn’t very colorful or pretty. Continuing to stick with the low-fiber meals, I managed to find a few options that I was able to enjoy: tuna noodle salad, turkey wrapped mozzarella (courtesy of moi), and a piece of the most fabulous homemade lemon blueberry bread.

I had an evening shift at work and managed to munch on five handfuls of peanut butter M & M’s (my absolute favorite alongside Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups OMG) throughout the course of the afternoon. I ate a banana around 5:30 which held me over until I got home at 7:30. I’ve mentioned this before but whenever I work later, I can never figure out what sounds good to me for dinner when I am home. I am in deed hungry, but I just can’t put my finger on what it is I’m hungry for. So I usually end up having a few small snacks.

I began with a piece of toasted Spelt Bread from Trader Joe’s with peanut butter and jelly.

After that I moved on to a small serving of Fage Non-fat Greek Yogurt with maple syrup, a half of a pair, and one more spoonful of peanut butter. That would have to do. I crawled into bed and read my book but the strangest thing happened to me last night…I could not get tired for the life of me. I read and read and read and instead of getting my normal droopy eyelids after about five pages, I just got more energy as I went along. At about 11:00 (already one hour past my bedtime), I decided I should shut off the lights and try and sleep. I laid in bed for almost 3 hours before finally falling asleep. Then, every time I woke up in the middle of the night I felt like I was ready for the day and full of energy. Is this what insomnia feels like? I didn’t like it. I hope I survive my day today, keeping in mind I am off the caffeine. Yikes.

Recipe Time!

Moving on….I mentioned this past weekend that I was busy in the kitchen whipping up a batch of pureed butternut squash soup. Well, here it is ladies and gentleman. Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (makes about 4-6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups butternut squash, skinned, seeds removed and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 48 oz. reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. If you have an option for convection roast, use that, if not standard 350 roast or bake is perfect too.
  2. Lightly grease large baking pan with olive oil; place squash, carrots, celery, onion and garlic on pan; use hands to stir and coat veggies with olive oil.
  3. Roast or bake in oven for 25-45 minutes. Baking times vary greatly depending on cooking method (convection roast, roast, bake, etc.). You should be able to pierce the carrots easily with a fork when roasting time is complete, and onions start to take on a sweet scent.
  4. On the stove top, in a large soup pan, add vegetables and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add thyme and sage; stir.
  6. Using an immersion blender or standard blender, puree soup until smooth.
  7. Return to pot; add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Spoon into bowls,  garnish with fresh herbs and serve with whole grain bread or croutons.

After the soup was cooled, I ladled the soup into 6 Ziploc baggies and froze them for an easy and healthy meal in minutes.

Have a great day!