Pining for pesto

It’s been an entire year without pesto. That should be a crime. In fact, it must be in Italy. I keep pinning pesto recipes (pesto mashed cauliflower, pesto and grilled veggie sandwiches…you get the point) so the craving has certainly been on my mind. Pesto is extremely easy to make with just basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, romano cheese and some pine nuts. In the interest of time, here’s a decent store bought choice.

I scored a free box of gluten free pasta this week (courtesy of Wegmans), and when I needed a quick dinner to make, I knew it was going to be some version of pesto pasta salad. The resulting recipe was quick, simple, relatively inexpensive, and a new favorite in the house.

In a Pinch Pesto Pasta

Time: 25 minutes

Feeds: 4 people (or in this case, 2 huge servings with seconds and one small plate)

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces pasta (I’d suggest whole grain for you gluten types or quinoa pasta if you’re g-free too)
  • 1 pound chicken sausage (I used Amylu Organic Chicken Sausage, found at Costco)
  • 1 large bag/five overflowing handfuls fresh spinach
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup pesto (for the sake of time, I cheated and went store bought)

Directions:

  • Grill chicken sausage, turning frequently so they don’t burn
  • Skewer tomatoes and place along outside of grill, furthest from the heat, turn frequently as well
 
  • Cook pasta according to box directions
  • While the above is cooking, rinse your chickpeas and de-stem your spinach.
  • Place spinach leaves in bottom of colader
  • In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, grilled tomatoes, and sausage (cut into bite sized pieces). Add half the pesto and mix well
 
  • Drain pasta over spinach in colander (this will wilt the spinach for you, so simple!)
 
  • Once drained, add spinach and pasta to other ingredients.
  • Stir in pesto, add more to your liking, and enjoy!

You honestly cannot get much more simple than that. Whether you’re out to impress, feeding a large crowd or just one picky eater, this recipe will definitely do the trick (although you may want to double/triple the recipe). It’s also not very time consuming (about 25 minutes), which is the perfect solution if you’re entertaining or whipping up a dish for a potluck this summer.

Remember the more spinach, tomatoes and chickpeas you use, the healthier each serving will be. I’m always trying to get my family to eat more veggies, but we had zero leftovers, so you could say it worked! I’ll be making this again in Long Island next week, it was THAT good. Come to think of it, I’m not certain the good people of Italy would be too hot on gluten allergies either. Good thing I’m not italian.

~A~

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Nobody told me…

…that it’s national camping month!!

And believe me, I do. Sadly, I don’t have any plans for a camping trip within this last week though, my tent experience was a month early this year. Maybe I’ll pop up the 2 person in the backyard? I suppose I could always strategically place it next to the raspberry bushes for optimal late night snacking.

With a harvest like that, I have a feeling I’ll be able to manage a few more stomach aches before I take the drive north at the end of this week. Fruits basically have no calories, right? Raspberry bushes aside, this past week has been thoroughly exhausting. I had a few late nights (11:30 pm…wowww) which did me in <– admitting that makes me feel way older than I am. Despite the lack of energy, here are a few highlights:

More yummy beet and goat cheese salads. This time with walnuts and basil.

Driving down Snickersville Turnpike with the top down on a gorgeous (and scorching hot) afternoon.

Adding chia seeds to my breakfast of greek yogurt, cheerios and strawberries. Chia seeds are not only an added punch for your fiber intake, but they help you to feel full much longer.

Diving into Esther with some beautiful and inspiring girls. It amazes me how spending this focused time together allows us to challenge and encourage each other further in our faith. Pretty awesome.

Willing myself to get out for a run in the absurd humidity and heat this week. The fact that you can almost see your reflection in my forehead is pretty cute, huh? Sure, I managed to make it out the door, but I may or may not have only dialed my energy up to mediocre. Small victories, right? 80 degrees and 90% humidity isn’t for everyone.

This week ended with the last minute run around, hair pulling and excitement that’s entirely characteristic of planning events. Come 6am Monday, I’ll be headed to a golf tournament being put on in support of Boulder Crest Retreat. I’m crossing my fingers that I haven’t forgotten anything too substantial. If you’re still wondering what Boulder Crest is, take a peak at the video below.

Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not at hand. -Thomas Aquinas

~A~

What now?

It’s here!

Today marks an exceptionally important day on the calendar.

Today was the official start of summer! I see a lot of grilling, neon nail polish, ice cream, beach walks, spontaneous trips and funky hats in the near future. Along those lines…to celebrate, here are just a few of the things I’m getting pumped for:

My whole family in Long Island. We haven’t all been at the beach together since this shot a few years back, and we haven’t been at the beach house all together since I was in 9th grade

Fireworks. They don’t need to be on the 4th either; I go on the least busy night in order to sit as close as possible with nothing around me…so that as far as I can see its just the light exploding in the darkness. It’s the noise, the anticipation, the surprise and the uniqueness of each explosion that will never get old. I’m in awe everytime, wide-eyed and smiling.

Fresh fruit and vegetable stands! (Wickhams is a personal LI favorite for peaches)

Visiting one of my best friends, James (Pook). We’ve known each other since age thirteen, and although we rarely see each other, he’s one of the few people whom I can pick back up with in an instant. He’s my “if we’re not married by the time we’re 30…” friend. The funny part? We haven’t spoken in weeks and he texted me as I was typing this up. God moment for sure.

Driving with the top down on the regular.

Obviously, there are A LOT of things missing from this list. Summer is the perfect time for adventures (well, next to Autumn), and I plan on having my fair share. What do you have planned for this summer? If your answer is “not much” get cracking! Stop waiting around for your dream life to smack you in the face; either be grateful for and happy with the life you’re living or change it, step out of your comfort zone and start living the life you love. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God ~1 Corinthians 10:31

~A~

Love is in the air

Right now you’re probably all like “Why such a big smile? And what’s she got in her hand??”. Well people, they’re beets. While paroosing through running around like a maniac at Wegmans yesterday, I didn’t know I’d finally found true love when I stumbled across these:

Love Beets!!! They’re cooked, prepped and seasoned little beets that are ready to eat, right out of the container if you’d like! A little wary my first time around, I picked up the vinegar variety hoping for the best. One bite this morning and I was all like…

How obsessed were you with this song when it came out? Do the chokers, mom jeans and frosted eye shadows make you miss the 90′s? Girl pop aside, Love Beets are the jam.

I remembered the goat cheese at home in the fridge and instantly had a salad idea tossing around in my mind. Spring lettuce, broccoli, granny smith apple, almonds, beets, goat cheese and red onion. 

Have you tried beets yet? If you’re not sold, check out this older post for some nutritional highlights and another simple, beetastic recipe. Instead of trying my hand at a new recipe tonight as per usual, I’ll be hitting up the gym and starting a new bible study/small group with some lovely ladies. We’re going to be using a Beth Moore study on Esther. I’ve never done any of Beth Moore’s studies before and I must say I’m kind of excited. If you’ve tried them, let me know your thoughts! But before I go, I wanted to leave you with some laughs c/o Cosmo Magazine. Be sure to check out the list below.

~A~

“Girlie Stuff Guys Don’t Get” 

  • Pricey Gym Clothes: Um, they cost more than your gym membership. That makes no sense.
  • Space Heaters: There’s nothing wrong with being chilly, but it’s cranked so high that it feels like Satan’s furnace. Also? It’s April.
  • Neon-Colored Phone Cases: Are you afraid thieves might not notice your iPhone?
  • Caftans: You look like a 14th-Century Ottoman sultan
  • Tights as Pants: Although we don’t understand why you think flimsy, skintight, sometimes see-through fabric replaces pants, we wholeheartedly support your right to believe it.
  • Emoticons in Texts: Typing eight frowny faces after telling us you’re running late doesn’t make us think you’re sorry. It makes us think you’re an emotional wreck.
  • Decorative Soap: You have little bars shaped like seashells, hearts and stars near every sink in this place, but we aren’t allowed to use them. Then when we’re in your shower and really need suds, we’re forced to use your Mango Moisture-Replenishing Hair-Conditioner Mask to clean ourselves because we can’t find any actual soap.
  • Bobby Pins: How many of these things do you wear? We find them everywhere.
  • Gigantic Tote Bags: We get that you need to carry a lot of stuff around with you. But you don’t need to carry ALL your stuff around with you.
  • Bed Skirts: Your mattress doesn’t need cute clothes.
  • Brunch: Chances are, we spent the previous night in a loud, crowded place full of drunk people. We don’t want to do that again the next morning but with eggs.
  • Long Baths: Lying in a lukewarm tub of your own filth? No thanks.

Falafel, fifty shades of nasty.

I try not to discriminate against foods based on the way that they look, which is why I picked up falafel at Costco a week back. Remember when I was all excited about the possibilities falafi (is that plural?) held?

Since pita is a no-go, a greek salad and hummus seemed like an appropriate avenue to take these little morsels. A bit of olive oil, salt & pepper here, some feta there…

The presentation was there. The taste?

Not so much. Look people, I tried. What did we learn? If it looks like it could be found in the dog park, it probably tastes like that too. I’m pretty sure my Grandma would be disappointed in my review, and so for her benefit, I’ll use my manners “I do not care for Costco falafel.” I’m sure that authentic falafel or the homemade variety has every possibility of being much better, so this may not be our last run-in. Let’s just say we’re going to put this food to bed for awhile and focus on old favorites instead:

^^Balsamic and Herbed Salmon, Sauteed Spinach w/ Yellow Squash & Lemon, and Short Grain Brown Rice. Obviously, this was much easier to stomach. But, speaking of putting things to bed, what’s up with this book?

Fifty Shades of Grey is what happens when you own a kindle, don’t read reviews, impulse buy and judge a book by it’s cover. I VERY mistakenly thought I was buying some sort of New York Times best selling murder mystery trilogy. Obviously I was in for a serious surprise. That’s why Fabio is on 99.9% of romance novels, you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re about to read Fifty Shades, strap on your galoshes because you’re about to be knee deep in trollopy ways and philandering.

Between the falafel and the book, I’m off to the grocery store to pick up some actual food followed by bible study to undo the obvious damage Fifty Shades has done to my otherwise spotless frame of mind. 

And the humility award of the day goes to….

~A~

Questions for you:

  • Did you read 50 shades? Rave or rant? What do you think of all the hype?
  • What’s the best book you’ve read lately? (I’m in the market for a new read and am hearing good things about “Heaven is for Real”)
  • Have you ever made falafel? Do you know of a good recipe or a interesting way to serve them?