Friday, May 27, 2011

sunny outlook for a sunny weekend

Totally slept through Strictly Strength this afternoon. Not too mad about it though because my upper body is so sore putting on deodorant hurt! Instead, I ended up going for a trail run with Timmy, who's home from his internship in Boston for the weekend.

We went for probably 25 - 30 minutes through a local reservation. This was my first time trail running and I am so glad I went! Granted, the nature was a killer on the allergies but the shade and all of the green was awesome. Next time I'd totally go for longer! The good thing about running with Tim today was that he helped keep my speed up. Lovely.

Came back and rehydrated with a Kennebunkport IPA while I made another whole wheat flat bread pizza with babaganoush, baby spinach, tomatoes, and goat cheese. I know- beer is a horrible rehydrater but it just tasted to good!

While I was making dinner, Colin was making a milkshake and asked if he could make it on the blog. My first answer was "uhhhh" and then Colin said "We all know my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard." How could I refuse that reasoning?!

Just made a nice salsa/salad for the horse races in Fair Hill, MD tomorrow. My dad's side of the family goes every year and set up a tailgate. This recipe is pretty fool proof- just a lot of chopping. You can swap in or out any veggies you have. Quantities are just what I had around and can be altered no problem! The dressing and original recipe are form my mom's college best friend, Nina, so I can;t take all of the credit. Enjoy this as a side dish, salad topper, or salsa.  You could also mix in with rice or orzo and some cheese.

 Summer Veggie Salsa-Salad

 2 English cucumbers (seeded) 
1 red or yellow pepper 
5 medium tomatoes (seeded)
15 oz canned black beans (low sodium, rinsed)
1 small red onion 
1 bunch cilantro
1 bag white corn
  1. Chop all veggies and cilantro. Dry cucumbers and tomatoes with paper towel or dish towel if very wet. 
  2. Thaw frozen corn in colander under hot water. Do not cook. 
  3. Toss veggies, black beans, corn, and cilantro. 
  4. Add dressing (recipe follows). Allow mixture to sit at room temperature for 30 - 60 minutes, tossing occasionally. Refrigerate and serve. Gets even better with time!

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 - 1 tsp salt 
black pepper (to taste)
3 T olive oil 
1-2 T sugar
juice from jarred jalapenos (to taste level)
  1. Whisk all ingredients together. Add jalapeno juice to spice level desired. You could also use fresh jalapeno instead but the juice is easier to adjust and helps avoid super hot bites. 

After dinner it was hanging around the fire pit outside.... with a homemade Dark and Stormy in hand!
I made the recipe for ginger beer from Jeffery Morganthaler's blog. I followed the recipe very closely with a few changes.  FYI: ginger beer is a stronger, spicier ginger ale and does not have any significant alcohol. Here ya go:

Ginger Beer
(makes 32 oz)

fresh ginger 
4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup cane sugar 
6 oz boiling water 
8 dried cloves (optional) 
20 ounces warm water (as warm as the tap will make it)
1/4 tsp baker's dry yeast
  1. Add sugar to boiling water and stir to dissolve. Cool mixture once sugar dissolves. This will make simple syrup.
  2. Grate ginger using a Microplane grater and place in cheesecloth or paper towel. You will need a fair amount of ginger root. Squeeze to release ginger juice. You need a total of 2 oz. More if you want your ginger beer spicier.
  3. Mix simple syrup, yeast, warm water, ginger juice, and lemon juice in a plastic soda bottle. I used my Soda Stream bottle. (Plastic is safer than glass in case of explosions.)
  4. Place sealed bottle in warm, dark place. Like a cabinet. Allow to sit for exactly 48 hours. Release gas from bottle at least twice in 48 hour period. 
  5. Chill in fridge at exactly the 48 hour mark to stop the yeast's activity. 
  6. In a glass with ice, add a shot of dark Jamaican rum (I used Myer's) and fill with desired amount of ginger beer. Garnish with lime.

I was REALLY skeptical about this experiment- especially because when I released the gas it didn't smell very good.  So, when I mixed my drink tonight it was an awesome surprise that it was super tasty! The cloves add an interesting spice- not usually a clove fan but I think they added a lot. I may add vanilla or some other spice next time.

This is a super easy recipe to make even though making your own soda may sound intimidating. Give it a try or come over and I'll make a drink for ya so you can taste the product yourself. Tim was my first guinea pig and he approved!

Looks like a cocktail recipe section is in the making....

This will probably be the last blog post for a few days. I am headed to the horse races tomorrow with the fam then off to the beach with Tierney,  Caroline, and Bridget. CANNOT WAIT to see all of them. My how I miss my Hoya friends! Pictures and an update to come next week of course.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Show your vets some love!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

in my past life...

I may have been a hoarder. Seriously. Last night (until 3 am) and for an hour today I worked on emptying out my room and it was not pretty. Why did I insist on keeping so many papers?! I've cleared out a ton of stuff and stiff have plenty more to do. At least my room itself looks clean now. Just don't check one of the closets.

It was soo beautiful out today- and in the 80s! Too bad this nice weather brought out something new that I am ridiculously allergic to.  Out of respect for my allergic self, I hit spinning this morning rather than running outside. 

I made a smoothie to go on my way out the door. This one was inspired by the smoothies I'd get in Mexico way back when I went there in highshcool. It has a banana, frozen pineapple, and the juice of 1/2 an orange. I drank this combo Mexico not simply for the tropical taste, but because I was totally paranoid of getting sick but also desperate for some fresh fruit. I figured these fruits had thick skin and grew on trees so they were the bets produce options. I never got sick- success! The trick with this smoothie is to freeze a peeled banana the nigh before to make a creamy smoothie. Besides the fruit I also added my last 1/2 cup of plain yogurt and a splash of milk. 

Spinning was a great workout, as always, but it starting to feel humid indoors which is worse than humidity outdoors. Guess its a good thing I won't be using the gym for the summer anyway! After attacking more of my hoarder-ific room, I made a salad of baby spinach, mango, orange, balsamic baked tofu, goat cheese, sunflower seeds, and pepitas with raspberry vinaigrette.

Had my second of two free personal training sessions at 1 pm- glad I got them in before my membership ended this month! Today we did total body rather than just upper body, which was good because my back and arms are SORE.  We did a lot of medicine ball stuff the last few days- I need to invest in one.

Napped like a baby thanks to all the activity today and now I'm just waiting for my frittata to finish. Tonight's frittata has 2 eggs, 1 egg white, mozzarella, tomatoes, asparagus, baby spinach, garlic, and roasted red peppers.

If I'm going to make it to work on time, a pre-oven frittata picture is all I can post tonight. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

just keep moving

 It felt soo wrong to go to bed when it was 80 degrees and looked like this...

 ... but somehow I did- and all the way to 5 pm! Which meant no spinning before my personal training session.  For fuel I had 1/2 a sandwich thin with mayo and two slices of turkey, as well as a smoothie. The smoothie combo was 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup pineapple, a banana, and a few pieces of fresh mango. Perfect.

Got a nice upper body workout with the personal trainer today. We stayed away from legs which was good because I got some new ideas for upper body. I REALLY wish I had a TRX because I get a great workout using my own body weight but it doesn't bother my wrists. Too bad it's just not in the budget right now!

After the gym I decided it would be horrible not to take advantage of the nice day, so a run it was. Took a new route- just over 4 1/2 miles plus a big old hill at the end. Today my head was totally in the game for the run, which is more than half the battle. Unfortunately, two minutes in my asthma was killing me from my allergies and a major cramp came on.

 Decisions decisions. I decided to keep my head in it and just push through pain. I told myself I could go as slow as I needed to as long as I kept going. I figure this is a critical piece of training for the triathalon- to just keep going- because on race day I could just as easily have a cramp or an asthma flare up and I need to be used to pushing through those kinds of obstacles. And I am so glad I did! 4 1/2 ain't too shabby.

When I got home I was hungry and these guys were hot out of the oven, so of course I had to have a few  (OK six) with ketchup.

After the smiley fries, I went out to get a few brews for the weekend down in Avalon with Tierney, Bridget, and Caroline. Picked up some Dogfishhead 60 Minute IPAs. I really wanted the 90 minutes but they would have broken the bank.

Dinner? Whole wheat flatbread topped with babaganoush, baby spinach, tomatoes, and goat cheese and broiled in the toaster oven. A yummy little pizza. Especially with the melted goat cheese.

Served with a Kennebunkport IPA.

And finished off with Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet sorbet topped with almonds, dark chocolate (yes, from my Easter bunny), and dried coconut.

Yum. Just felt in an indulgent mood... and this is why I pushed through those 4 1/2 miles today.

I attempted to make ginger beer tonight. It may be disastrous. Or possibly make a delicious Dark and Stormy. Give me forty eight hours and I'll report back!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

i say frittata

This morning I was just too lazy to make anything when I got home and there was half a while wheat everything bagel calling my name. I love bagels, but only in the New York area. fortunately (and unfortunately) that's where I live so I probably eat bagels a bit more than I should. Today, though, was a bagel kind of day so I toasted the last half and slathered it with cream cheese.

It totally hit the spot but I was still wishing I'd made eggs when I fell asleep, so I decided I'd make a frittata for dinner. Little did I know, Patrick had the same idea and I woke up to him pulling this bad boy out of the oven: 6 egg frittata with cheddar, mozzarella, bacon, Taylor ham, and potatoes. Yes, it was as tasty as it sounds. And just as unhealthy... but I still had to have a couple bites.

As much as I would like to eat like a 17 year old boy, it's just not a good idea. So for dinner I made my own veggie frittata. This is a very versatile recipe. My version had garlic, asparagus, baby spinach, roasted red peppers, sweet potatoes, basil, rosemary, and mozzarella. The spinach and asparagus went in uncooked while the sweet potatoes were already roasted. Literally any veggies or cheeses will work. Tofu or meat... especially bacon... would be good too. Get creative!


Basic Veggie-ful Frittata
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, heat 1  - 2 TBSP EVOO on medium heat in an oven-safe pan. Add chopped garlic or onion to the pan and soften. Garlic only needs a minute, onions need about three.
2) Add veggies to pan. Add uncooked veggies first and cooked veggies next and fresh greens last. If you use mushrooms, tomatoes, or other produce that has a lot of excess water, cook off the water. Add herbs of your choice, salt, and pepper. Cook 1 minute. (2 cups of vegetables is about right per person)
3) Turn off pan heat. Scramble 2 eggs and 1 egg white (or any combination of eggs and egg whites you like) and pour over veggies. Crumble cheese on top. About 1 oz of cheese is good if making for one person.
4) Put pan into oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until eggs are set. Remove immediately and serve. Do not over-bake.
I ended up eating 3/4 of this frittata- the last bit will be breakfast. It was filling and packed with protein, flavor, and vitamins. My favorite part was the rosemary-basil combination and the bubbly mozzarella. I know it looks like a ton of cheese but its really only 1 oz! This was perfect for dinner served with three pieces of baked balsamic tofu and a peach.

For the car it was yet another banana with PB and Honest Tea Heavenly Lemon Tulsi. Apparently tulsi is also referred to as "holy basil" which I was news to me since I bought this drink solely because of the mini beach scene on the label. This tea definately had a basil-y taste. It was fresh taste though and not like drinking pesto- would drink this again.

I have a personal training session tomorrow... hoping to get good ideas for strength training with items I can use at home this summer sans gym membership!

I'm playing with the overall design layout of my blog... please comment if you have opinions on what you like best!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Today was a good day to sleep... maybe too good. I slept right through GOTR! Such a bummer, but I really did need it so I guess everything happens for a reason... luckily I always set my standard 5:00 work alarm for GOTR days, just in case.

Dinner tonight was a nice big salad. I've decided I am not a big fan of dry lentils. I loved them in the Lentils Puttanesca, but as a salad topper without a sauce, they are a bit dry and leave a chalky feeling on my teeth. Now I need to find something do to with all those cooked lentils in my fridge...

Instead of lentils, I threw some pieces of roasted sweet potato in. The organic sweet potatoes from TJ's were huge this week, so I only used half tonight. The other half will be for tomorrow. Is it just me or does this sweet potato have muscles???

I roasted some asparagus in the toaster oven as I heated up yesterday's balsamic tofu. Toaster ovens are my favorite appliances. So useful, especially when you are heating or cooking something for one person. Into the organic baby spinach salad went: 1 oz fresh mozzarella, local asparagus, cucumber, sweet potato, roasted red peppers (WF 365 brand), and organic cherry tomatoes. I ate the tofu separately rather than cutting it into pieces for the salad- it doesn't stand out enough when chopped into the salad. I dressed the salad with balsamic, EVOO, and Kosher salt.

Tonight's salad was better than last night's with the absence of chalky lentils and the addition of two of my favorite veggies (sweet potatoes and asparagus). I also had a Tassimo latte and banana with PB. Lots of color  for dinner on this gray day.

I also totally impulse bought today... I stopped to get gas right by Whole Foods so of course I had to go get more of those Honest Teas for $1 each. I bought six. Oops! It was a good deal though right?! Tonight's tea was Moroccan Mint Green Tea. I like how it leaves my mouth feeling and the slightly minty flavor, but there is a bit of a bitter after taste. Drinkable but not my favorite.

cloudy with a chance of veggies

If you couldn't tell by my grocery shop, there are a TON of vegetables in the forecast for lunch and dinner this week.

As per usual, I made my lunches in advance for the week ahead of time. This week the menu is:

- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Whole wheat flat bread with Babaganoush
- Organic baby carrots
- Fruit (apricots, an apple, or an orange depending on what's in the bag)
- Greek yogurt (various flavors) w/ Hemp Plus Granola and dried coconut
- Diet Coke (got a new case!)

Yesterday I posted the babaganoush recipe, so here's the Mediterranean Chickpea Salad. It's pretty similar to Tabbouleh Transformed, but with a few ingredients swapped out and less herbiness. Really tasty with some great crunch (celery, cucumbers) and chew (wheatberries).

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

1 cup hard red winter wheat
2/3 cup dried chickpeas
1 English cucumber (seeded)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
2 scallions (chop green and white parts)
3 celery stalks
15 kalamata olives
2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
3 oz feta cheese (I used TJ's light feta)
1 cup fresh mint leaves (loose, not packed)
  1. Soak chickpeas for 4 to twelve hours, covered in water. Place soaked chickpeas in pot with about 3 cups water. bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours partially covered until tender to desired doneness.
  2. While chickpeas cook, rinse winter wheat and place in pot. Cover with 1 -2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and turn to a simmer. Simmer 45 minutes to an hour until chewy to desired doneness. 
  3. Chop cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, celery, olives and mint. Toss chopped veggies and mint with cooled chickpeas and wheatberries.
  4. Crumble feta well into small bowl. Add EVOO and lemon juice to bowl and whisk. Toss dressing with salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve cold. Makes 4-5 main dishes or 8 side dishes.

Yum. I have to admit, all of that was made yesterday since I knew today would be busy. Just didn't have time to blog about it.

Anywhoo, this morning it was spin at 9:45. I wanted to go at 8:30 but sleep won over... which meant no strength training. I'm trying though! I was well fueled with 1/3 of a ClifBar I had left over and a smoothie made with 1 cup plain, low fat yogurt and 1/2 cup each of frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, and frozen pineapple w/ some dried coconut and agave syrup stirred in at the end.

After spin, I headed up to visit grandparents (Moms and Pops). Moms is on the mend from a hospital stay, so it was nice to go for a visit. I wish I could get up there more but its been tough with work. At least I made it today before I took my pre-work nap!

I'd eaten a banana with PB after spin, which was good because I didn't get to eat until after the visit which was 3 pm. Yikes! It was a quick fried egg + egg white plus my last two pieces of Seedy Whole Grain Bread toasted with olive tapenade.

As for dinner before work, it was an Italian-style salad (everything but the cucumber was organic :)). I piled baby spinach with cucumber, yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes, 1 oz fresh mozzarella, and some French lentils w/ scallions and celery. Dressing was balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

French Lentils w/ scallions and celery
For protein, I also added some baked tofu. I marinated the tofu overnight with balsamic, EVOO, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper and baked at 400 degrees for forty five minutes. Mmm... this tofu thing is really growing on me! 

Balsamic Baked Tofu

Talk about eat your colors...

Four day work week this week. More rain expected, of course, but at least that will be great for sleeping!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

it's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fiiiiine

OK that's the last reference to The Rapture. I love REM and I just had to make the reference... plus I'm feeling so happy and sunny today because of the weather that it goes well with my mood!

This morning was the GOTR practice 5K. It turned out to be a beautiful day- sunny but cool enough to run. The race today served as a dry run for the 5K in three weeks which includes hundreds of Girls on the Run. The practice 5K is my favorite GOTR day because it is the first time many of the girls run 3.1 miles and they are SO proud of themselves after. Each one gets to run through their own finish line (pink crepe paper) and then they wear it on their neck and cheer each other on as each girl finishes. The girls today were pretty nervous when they arrived, but each one pushed herself and finished...  and all in under an hour! I ran a mile with two different girls who needed some encouragement. Seeing all of our hard work as a team pay off made my day. :)

And they're off!!! SO proud of these girls

After GOTR it was iced coffee time from Dunkin Donuts before hitting the library to take out IN Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Will have to let you know how it is. I've read food rules by Michael Pollan and it pushed me in the direction of eating how I do, so I figured I'd read another.

Then it was on to plant the herbs I've had sitting in the garage all week. I wanted to make a full veggie garden this summer and tart with seeds, but I never got myself lined up for it, so I had to buy herbs that could just be potted and skip the veggies all together

Goal this summer: keep herbs alive.

Goal next summer: grow herbs and lettuces from seeds.

Rosemary + Sweet Mint

Cilantro, Greek Oregano, Italian Parsley

Sweet Italian Basil

For lunch, I was looking for something grilled and figured I'd cook some of the local asparagus I bought yesterday (on sale!) and the last of the Apricot-Rosemary Chicken Sausages on the grill. However, I went out and found this...

So it was on to plan B... the panini grill.

The asparagus cooked in two minutes flat with just some cooking spray.

I heated the sausage in the microwave and then threw it on the grill just for some crispness on the outside. It would have burned if I tried to cook it through. On the side it was toasted Seedy Whole Grain Bread slathered with some Green Olive Tapenade from TJ's.  Tasty, fast, and pretty to look at.

After lunch it was some serious cooking. I cooked French lentils, dried chickpeas, and wheatberries while I worked on the herbs. It was perfect timing. The menu this week: Italian lentil + tofu  salad, Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, and Babaganoush. It was my first venture into babaganoush and it actually came out pretty good! I like to leave the skin on and puree until very smooth, but you can remove the skin if you prefer. Honestly though, you don't get big pieces of skin and it makes it a lot easier to make. Here it is: 


1 large eggplant 
1 large lemon or 2 small lemons 
1 clove garlic 
2 spring onions (white and green parts) 
2 T tahini paste 
salt + pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Wash and slice eggplant into rounds with skin on. Spray pan with cooking spray and make one layer of eggplant. Spray rounds and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano (or TJ 21 seasoning salute... like I did). Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, flip once in the middle of cooking. 
  3. Allow eggplant to cool until warm enough to hold in your hand.
  4. Put eggplant, juice of lemon, garlic, green onions, tahini, salt, and pepper into food processor and blend until desired consistency. I like mine really smooth. 
  5. Serve with pita chips, veggies, on a sandwich, or any you would use hummus. I'm going to use mine on TJ's whole wheat flatbreads for lunch at work.

Babaganoush: It tastes better than it looks!

The other recipes will come tomorrow, as right now I am off to swim. Have to make my last gym days count! Then its off to hang out with Liz for the night.

Before I go, if you haven't seen this proposal via movie trailer please watch. 3304 girls this is really for you...

Have a lovely Saturday. :)

priorities and zeppoles

When choosing blogging or engaging in life, I will always choose the latter! And yesterday I just didn't have time to hit the computer. So, my recap post will be mostly pictures! I woke up at 2:00 and got a haircut, I love getting my hair cut! I think getting my hair cut as much as I wanted would be an awesome perk of being a celebrity. Random perk, I know. Then it was home to have a quick lunch...

Scrambled eggs (1 egg, 2 whites) w/ goat cheese and spinach,
last 2 pieces grilled tofu, Seedy Whole Grain Bread w/ PB and agave
After lunch it was off to Strictly Strength with Ann. This was a much better strength class! I am quite sore today. It was heavy on push ups though, which stinks because my tendonitis in my wrist has been killing me. Luckily, she gave me an alternative exercise.  I got a bit nostalgic after class about the fact that my gym membership is going to be suspended for the summer come May 31st, so I ran 3.1 on the treadmill. Usually I hate the treadmill but its been a rainy week so it was actually perfect!

Then it was off to do the WF and TJ run. I went a bit off my list and TOTALLY over spent this week! About $85 even with $3 in coupons and shopping produce sales. Yikes! To be fair, I bought some staples that will last awhile (frozen edamame, frozen pineapple, chicken sausage, almond milk, roasted red peppers, balsamic vinegar), but I could have cut back a bit I'm sure. I also bought 5 Honest Tea brand iced teas because they were 5 for $5 and I LOVE them. I drank one, the Honest Mate which is mate with limeade. So refreshing post-workout and it prevented me from eating snacks instead on my drive back. 

The Loot
Once I got home I was a crazy woman trying to shower and make dinner to get out of the house and take my brothers to our church fair in twenty minutes flat.  For dinner I used up leftovers and made it right in the container I kept the rice in- brown rice, grilled eggplant, feta, spinach, and raspberry vinegarette from the fridge...  it was actualyl really good. I'd mae this as a dish, not just as a way to use up leftovers.

I know, heating in plastic is bad. I was in a rush though and
I need to invest in some glass containers.

After the fair, Kerrin and I decided to have a sleepover like the old days but I promised not to throw up (which I did all the time when I was little and got homesick.. even though she lives only a mile away). Since we're grown ups now (or are we?) we added some wine and zeppoles from the fair. Yes, zeppoles are fried dough with powdered sugar covering them, and they are delicious. Half a bottle of red wine, three zeppoles, and a movie. A perfect Friday night in. 

This morning was the GOTR practice 5K which was awesome. Will add more about that later, but now I'm gonna get some food cooking for the week and spend some time outside since its FINALLY sunny. Nothing like a little sun before the end of the world!

Friday, May 20, 2011

busy busy

Its been a busy two days, hence no entries! Its been work and sleep the last few days, so nothing exciting anyway.
I have to say, the Seedy Whole Grain Bread is growing on me a lot. It's keeping well in a plastic container on the kitchen counter and tastes best toasted. I like it with jam, cheese, or PB and agave. This morning I had the bread with PB and agave... but ended up almost all of it before my standard fried egg + egg white was ready. Hence, this picture...

As promised, here is the recipe for Vegeterian Bolognese. I decided to cook up this dish because pasta with traditional bolognese sauce is one of my favorite meals of all time. I am trying to reduce my meat intake, and since this recipe would feed me for multiple days I wanted it to be vegerertian. You could really use almost any veggies for the food processor portion. I tried to vary my colors as much as possible for added taste and nutrients.
Its amazing how "meaty" this sauce is! Pretty sure you could get non-veggie lovers on board with this pasta.
Vegeterian Bolognese
(happy to say that everything was organic except the shitake mushrooms and pasta!)
1 bulb fennel
1 red or orange pepper
1 zucchini
3 carrots
1 red onion
5 diced shitake mushrooms (bought from bulk section)
1 cup diced baby portobellos
3 TBSP tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes w/ basil
(I like to add my own basil but the least expensive organic brand was out if plain.)
6 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta (I like Barilla Plus)
1/2 cup red wine (Cook with something you would drink.)
Salt, pepper, crushed
Parmesan cheese rind

1) Prep vegetables as you normally would. If you are unfamiliar with fennel, remove stalks and slice down around core. Do not use core. Cut vegetables into large chunks and place in food processor. Pulse until well chopped but still chunky. You may need to do this in batches, there are a lot of veggies.
2) Heat 2 tbsp EVOO in large pot on medium heat. Add chopped vegetables to pot, along with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper (to taste). Saute about 3 minutes.
3) Add mushrooms and and tomato paste. Saute another three minutes.
4) Add crushed tomatoes, wine, and 1/2 cup water to pot. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Add Parmesan cheese rind.
5) Simmer sauce at least an hour. Excess moisture should evaporate to thicken sauce and wine flavor should become more subtle. Remove rind before serving.
6) Toss with 6 oz angel hair pasta. While hot, throw in a few handfuls of baby spinach if desired (it wilts perfectly without any cooking). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Dinner before work was salad. Tonight's involved the grilled tofu, zucchini, and eggplant I made on Tuesday, as well as the leftover chickpeas, fresh orange peppers, and baked sweet potatoes. I added grated Parmesan cheese, TJ's Olive Tapenade, balsamic vinegar, and EVOO. Just enough of a spin on the salad I had Tuesday and Wednesday night to keep me from getting bored.

On the side I had another piece of Seedy Whole Grain Bread, this time toasted with 1/2 a slice of provolone cheese and TJ Dijon Mustard. It was so tasty, but Dijon mustard from Trader Joe's has QUITE the kick. Its not exactly spicy on when you eat it, but whatever the kick is, it made my nose burn and my eyes water ! I have to use this stuff sparingly. The way the spice tickles my nose reminds me of horseradish- just don't be too generous with it.
I had another small cone of Ciao Bella Coconut Sorbet and a latte from the Tassimo on my way out the door. This sorbet is soooo good with real flakes of coconut. Everything about this stuff is real and the ingredients are high quality. It makes the higher calories worth it because I can eat 1/2 a serving to feel satisfied.
Going to attempt the Friday 4:30 pm strength class at the gym- I need to stick with this strength thing. Off for Friday and Saturday with our practice 5K for GOTR on Saturday morning. SO psyched! Last year, this was my favorite day. Many of the girls will run 3.1 miles for the first time in their lives. It's amazing to see how proud they are at the end. Can't wait!

oh... just an FYI... those Grown-Up Ants on a Log are same day eats. They were awesome on work night #1 but soggy and icky by night #2!