Thursday, February 28, 2013

140.0…Caprese Pasta

Caprese salad is one of my favorite things to order in an Italian restaurant. I love the flavors of the tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese together. When I saw this recipe for Caprese Pasta, I knew I had to make it.

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It was easy to throw together and the flavors were great together. The only change I would make would be to possibly double the sauce and add more spices.

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Caprese Pasta

Adapted from Juanita’s Cocina

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. penne
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. cubed mozzarella (I used mozzarella pearls)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped thinly

Instructions:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions and preheat oven to 350.
  • While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce in a small saucepan. When the sauce is warm, stir in the cream, parmesan, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes or until the parmesan is nicely melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Halve the grape tomatoes, cube the mozzarella, and slice the basil into thin strips.
  • Once pasta is cooked, drain and add it back to the pot you boiled it in. Add the cream sauce to the pasta and mix well. Add the grape tomatoes, the mozzarella, and the basil to the pasta mix and stir until well-combined.
  • Pour pasta into a 13x9 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until dish is warmed through and cheese is melted.

Printable Recipe

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My husband’s friend is staying with us and he enjoyed the dish. It definitely looks nice when it comes out of the oven! I served the pasta with a Caesar salad.

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For dessert, I made my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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Fun with Histogram. :)

Breakfast this morning looks just like all my other yogurt parfaits but this time the yogurt was pineapple Chobani. I still used my favorite granola: Coconut-Sour Cherry Granola.

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After I took the kids to school, I hit the gym for an hour. Afterwards I ran some errands and stopped at Wahoo’s for lunch. It’s been awhile since I’ve had my favorite fish tacos!

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Tonight is Hot Wing night, my friends. Get excited.

What was the last new recipe you made? Success or no?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

140.4…Consistent

You know what’s hard to find sometimes?

Restaurants that consistently delivers fabulous food. Every. Single. Time. This describes Mia Francesca in Del Mar perfectly. I’ve never been disappointed with the food. Not once.

Mia Francesca was were my husband and I had dinner last night.

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Their menu always changes so I’ve never had the same thing twice. Well…that’s not exactly true. They always have their bruschetta. And it is fabulous.

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I could eat this entire board, or two, for dinner.

I couldn’t decide between a couple menu items but when the server described their halibut special I was sold.

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Halibut with avocado, tomatoes, onions, asparagus and a balsamic glaze. When the plate arrived, I immediately thought that I would never be able to finish it. Who was I kidding? I almost ate the whole thing. I left a couple of bites so I didn’t seem like an animal.

Mia Francesca definitely one of my favorite restaurants. We really need to eat there more often!

For breakfast this morning I made an egg beater sandwich on a toasted English muffin with shredded cheese. I had some strawberries on the side.

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After I took the kids to school, I went to the gym for an hour of cardio and about 20 minutes of weights. Good workout today!

Lunch was Jersey Mike’s. Their sandwiches are simply amazing. I ordered the turkey and provolone “Mike’s Way” (lettuce, onion, tomato, oregano, olive oil and vinegar). I also add their hot pepper spread.

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Just looking at the picture makes me want another one. 

I went to a dentist appointment and then picked up the kids from school. My husband has a friend staying with us for a couple of days so I thought I’d bake chocolate chip cookies. Off to bake!

Is there a restaurant that you like that is always consistent?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

139.4…Back To Class

Last night I went over to Lisa’s house to watch The Bachelor with a bunch of our friends. I never ate dinner because I wasn’t very hungry after lunch at Smashburger. Lisa had out a bunch of snacks so this was dinner:

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I’m not complaining.

Breakfast this morning was a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and a side of strawberries.

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After taking the kids to school I stopped at Starbucks for a latte.

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Then I did something I haven’t done in a long time.

I went to cooking class at Great News. Whoa. I haven’t been to cooking class since before I broke my foot.

Today’s class was taught by my favorite instructor, Phillis Carey, and was entitled: Stimulating Cooking with Coffee – Savory and Sweet.

The first recipe was Coffee-Brown Sugar Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Coffee Bourbon Sauce.

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The sauce was really unique because of the coffee flavor but it was delicious and spicy!

The second recipe was Coffee Brined Boneless Chicken Breasts with Bacon, Coffee, Jalapeno Jelly Sauce.

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This was was my least favorite. It was a bit too salty for my tastes. Phillis did say that you could rinse the brine off the chicken before cooking it. I think I would do that if I were to make this recipe.

The next recipe was Short Ribs Braised in Coffee Ancho-Chipotle Chili Sauce on Cheddar Polenta.

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This recipe was my favorite. It was basically a plate of comfort food. I loved the short ribs but the cheddar polenta stole the show.

The next two recipes were dessert. Lucky me! The first one was Coffee-Caramel Crème Brulee.

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Fabulous. As was the next recipe: Chocolate Cappuccino Torte (3 layers-Brownie, Cheesecake and Chocolate Glaze).

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How could that be bad!?! It was very rich and decadent!

As if all that wasn’t enough, my husband and I are going out to dinner tonight. Maybe I should hide my scale?

Have you ever taken a cooking class?

Monday, February 25, 2013

141.2…Burger Crawl Part Two

Saturday night was my friend Patty’s birthday party. My husband was out of town so I rolled solo.

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Just me and my wine. I managed ok. :)

Patty’s party was so fun. We danced all night and ate tons of the delicious food Patty made. 

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Caesar salad, lasagna, caprese salad and tortellini. Everything was wonderful. Patty’s son made all the desserts which somehow escaped my camera. Sad face.

Breakfast Sunday morning was an egg beater sandwich on an English muffin with shredded cheese.

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After breakfast we hopped in the car and drove to Los Angeles for the day. I took my kids over to my sister in law’s house to hang with their cousins and I went to visit my parents. It was my other sister in law Stephanie’s birthday on Saturday so we all got together to celebrate.

We hung out with my dad (who’s doing pretty well for those of you that have been asking :) ) and snacked on cheese and crackers.

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Our family’s tradition is for the birthday person to choose dinner. Stephanie requested Hamburger Hamlet. I had a bowl of lobster bisque and split the wedge salad with my mom.

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We also had birthday cake. Duh!

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I LOVE grocery store cakes. I’m not gonna lie. I think they are the best. This one was especially good. 

After the festivities were over, I picked up my kiddos and we drove home.

It was a bit rough getting up this morning, I’ll have to admit. Crazy weekend…not enough sleep….lots of bad food. I’d like to say I made up for it today but not so much…..

Breakfast was healthy though….

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Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt, Coconut-Sour Cherry Granola and mixed berries.

After I took the kids to school I worked out. Today was my favorite class, Cardio Muscle.

I undid all my workout efforts at lunch. Today was round number  of our “Burger Crawl” experiment. Round number one was The Habit. Today we tried Smashburger. Smashburger handcrafts their burgers, smashing them down, searing them and seasoning them to order.

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My Smashburger of choice today was the Spicy Baja: fresh jalapenos, guacamole, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, chipotle mayo on a spicy chipotle bun. 

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Oh yeah. You want one huh???

Verdict:

The burger was just plain awesome. The meat was so flavorful and cooked perfectly. I like how the patty was thin. You could tell all the ingredients were fresh. The jalapenos made it super spicy which I love.

The fries were good. I can’t say they were the best fries I’ve ever had but they were still good nonetheless.

Between The Habit and Smashburger….Smashburger wins hands down. Stay tuned to see where we go next month!

What was the best thing you ate all weekend?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

139.6…Carb Loading

That’s basically what I’ve been doing for the past three meals. Like I’m about to run a marathon or something. Even though I don’t run anymore.

Last night I ate the last of my sister in law’s meatballs and sauce with a giant bowl of pasta.

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There’s nothing like going to bed after a big bowl of carbs.

Guess what was for breakfast this morning? A plate full of large round circular carbs.

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AKA pancakes.

I took my son to tennis lessons and then made lunch. This time carbs were present but did not occupy the entire plate.

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Tuna sandwich, carrots and ranch dressing.

Tonight I’m going to a friend’s birthday party. Tomorrow I’m taking the kids to Los Angeles for the day to visit family.

Need to get dressed now….enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Would you be able to live without bread, pasta, etc? Not I.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

139.4…Portion Control

Portion control is so important when you are trying to lose weight. I’ve lost about thirty pounds over the last few years and I attribute most of it to portion control. Everything in moderation is my motto.

Most of the time I’m pretty good at portion control. It’s a whole lot harder at restaurants. It’s especially hard for me at my favorite restaurant, Firenze Trattoria. We went there last night and I’m afraid to admit that portion control went out the window.

I enjoyed a glass of wine while my husband and I split a Chopped Caesar salad.

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I was debating between two dishes and finally chose the Pollo Piccata. The debate was about the size of the dish. It’s probably a good two serving sizes and I finish the ENTIRE plate every time I order it. It’s too good not to!

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There’s two pieces of chicken there. Yes, I ate it all. I knew I would. Portion control out the window. But…I don’t eat like this every day. It’s all about moderation.

If you struggle with portion control, I found a great article to help you understand what portion sizes should be. Visit Everyday Health and they will put it all in perspective for you. Did you know that the correct portion size for rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper? I didn’t!

Breakfast this morning was Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt, Coconut-Sour Cherry Granola and mixed berries.

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I took the kids to school and then volunteered at a big school carnival that I’ve been helping to put on.  The kids had half day so they wanted to go to McDonald’s for lunch. I had a grilled chicken sandwich and fries. I couldn’t pass up the fries today. But….I only ate half! Portion control right!?! :)

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Looking forward to a relaxing Friday evening!

Do you have issues with portion control? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

139.2…In A Rut

Do you ever get stuck in a food rut?  It happens to me pretty often actually. Sometimes it’s just out of convenience but other times it’s because I love a certain food so much.

Let’s start with last night. My husband was out of town so the easiest thing for me to do is heat up leftovers. Lucky for me, I had some more of my sister in law’s meatballs and sauce to heat up.

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Another thing that never gets old for me was my breakfast this morning. You’ve seen it a thousand times.

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Toasted English muffin with peanut butter and strawberries. I definitely get into a breakfast rut often.

After taking the kids to school, I stayed to volunteer for a bit and then when to my nail appointment. I stopped for lunch next door at Luna Grill.

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Not only do I eat lunch at Luna Grill almost every time I get my nails done but I also ate there on Tuesday. And I ordered the same salad.

I did come home to find something exciting from Cascadian Farms for me in the mail!

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Can’t wait to try all my new goodies!

Tonight my husband and I are going out to dinner. Where to you ask? To my favorite restaurant, Firenze, of course where I will probably order something I’ve had there before. :)

Do you get into food ruts? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

138.8…Shopping and Sushi

Last night I attended Bunco at Lorna’s house. We chatted for a bit before dinner.

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Turkey rolls, veggies, hummus, brie, crackers and prosecco.

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Dessert was a mini chocolate chip cupcake from Cupcake Love.

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Not a ton of pictures to share because I forgot my big camera at home. But a great time was had by all, I assure you. Thanks Lorna!!

Breakfast this morning was scrambled egg beaters, mushrooms, red bell pepper, green onion, salsa and shredded cheddar cheese.

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I took the kids to school and then went to the gym. Afterwards I changed and Alicia picked me up to head off to Fashion Valley mall. We stopped at Love Boat Sushi for lunch.

I started with a miso soup which was just what the doctor ordered on such a cold day!

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We shared some tuna and yellow tail sushi:

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As well as two rolls. Wasabi Roll:

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Albacore Delight:

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Freaking awesome. I could eat this every day.

After lunch we did a bit of returns/shopping and then headed home. Shopping and sushi…..is there a better day to be had??

I picked up the kiddos from school and came home. I’m looking forward to a quiet night in tonight!

What is your ideal day?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

138.2…Comfort Food

There is nothing I like more than comfort food. My personal favorites: macaroni and cheese, pizza, and pasta….especially spaghetti and meatballs. My sister in law makes a mean “gravy” and meatballs. Lucky for me, I have a Tupperware full of it in the freezer. Say hello to my dinner last night:

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With a Caesar salad, it is the perfect comfort meal to me!

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After dinner I went over to Lisa’s house to watch the Bachelor. I managed to avoid most of the treats except for yogurt pretzels and wine. The wine was a given. :)

Breakfast this morning was Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt with Coconut-Sour Cherry Granola and mixed berries.

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After I dropped the kids off at school I helped finish the project we started yesterday. I stopped afterwards to pick up lunch at Luna Grill.

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My favorite Greek salad with a chicken kabob.

Tonight is Bunco! Yippee!!

What are your favorite comfort foods?