I started my 200-hour yoga certification about two weeks ago thinking I had all the time in the world. Even though we all need that extra hour every day to get things done, I decided to go after something I have been dreaming about doing for about year – and it’s the best decision I have ever made. My days are busy, but not chaotic. I go to Ashtanga almost every day after work and spend a good portion of my weekend on the mat, as well. We are currently turning half of our guest bedroom into a mini yoga studio so I can practice when I have to work late or can’t make it to class for some reason. I have a feeling this will look totally adorable and I will post pictures once it’s ready.
With a full-time job, a house to take care of and a hungry boyfriend to feed, these last couple of weeks have been exhausting – I don’t know how people with kids do it! Hats off to you!
So far, these yoga classes have been an amazing experience, these teachers are inspirational and have put me in positions I never even dreamed I could do. In order to keep up with the things I enjoy (like cooking), I’ve had to make some compromises. I still fully plan on cooking as much as possible, but I realized I needed to find more convenient meals in order to keep up with my routine and ensure I eat a healthy, home-cooked meal as much as possible.
Even though more of my time is being absorbed since I started certification, I surprisingly feel more balanced. This dish is one that I pinned almost a year ago when looking for quick week-day meals. It’s a one pot dish, so you know that prep and clean up will be a cinch. This dish can also be made vegan easily by omitting the parmesan or substituting it with a vegan option.
One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta (GF)
- 12 ounces gluten free pasta (I used Rotini)
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
- 1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 2 large sprigs basil, chopped
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth and NOT low sodium)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.
- Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .
- Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.
Yep, that’s it!
Nick loves alfredo sauce. In fact, I can’t remember a time when we went to an Italian restaurant and he didn’t get some sort of alfredo dish. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for my waist line) I do not share the same adoration for this sauce.
Since Nick is such a good sport about trying out my little experiments, I compromised with him and made a dish that incorporated this sauce. I recently discovered gluten-free tortellini, so I decided to make a hearty pasta bake.
I’m going to warn you, this is NOT the healthiest of dishes – I had a small portion with a big salad .:)
Baked Tortellini (GF)
-1 pkg. gluten-free cheese tortellini, uncooked
-3 cups homemade Marinara sauce
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 jar Alfredo four cheese sauce (All “Classico” sauces are gluten-free!)
-1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
-1/2 cup shredded Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In 3 quart glass baking dish, layer tortellini and marinara sauce. Put water into empty sauce jar, close lid, and shake. Pour this mixture over the tortellini.
Spoon Alfredo sauce over the tortellini. Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer, until tortellini is tender and cheese is bubbling and golden brown.
I had a request to post vegan dinner recipes more frequently – a request that I was more than happy to accommodate. I love it when readers reach out and give you suggestions on what to post so keep the requests coming y’all!
This is my vegan and gluten-free take on Pasta Florentine:
1 pound gluten free rotini or penne
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup low-sodium broth, more if needed
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 bag baby spinach
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- Cook the pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and quickly stir to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, pour in the broth and wine, stirring to deglaze the skillet. Allow the liquid to bubble up, and then continue cooking until it’s reduced by at least half (most of the surface of the liquid should be bubbling at this point).
- Turn off the heat. Add the spinach, tomatoes and cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine; the spinach will wilt as you toss everything. Serve immediately.
Mac n’ Cheese Alton Brown Style (GF)
1/2 pound gluten free elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
It’s monsoon season! The best way to enjoy the dust storms? Curl up on the couch with a pot pie, a glass of wine and watch re-runs of SVU! It’s a dangerous habit, I know…
I made a simple veggie pot pie for myself, and threw some cooked, shredded chicken into Nick’s. This recipe makes a big batch – perfect for left overs. I like to make a lot so I can freeze it for future dinners. Yum!
Veggie Pot Pie (GF)
- 4 Tablespoons Earth Balance “Butter”
- 1/2 cup Finely Diced Onion
- 1/2 cup Finely Diced Carrot
- 1/2 cup Finely Diced Celery
- 1/4 cup Gluten Free Flour
- 3 cups Veggie Broth, Plus More If Needed
- Splash Of White Wine (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
- Salt And Pepper, to taste
- Chopped Fresh Thyme To Taste
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1 whole Gluten Free Unbaked Pie Crust, (Pillsbury makes some now!)
- 1 whole Egg
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Melt the “butter” in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Stir them around until the onions start to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir it until it’s all combined with the vegetables (if using meat, throw it in now). Cook for 1 minute, then pour in the broth (and wine if using) and stir it around and let it cook and thicken.
- Once it starts to thicken add the turmeric, salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Add the milk, then stir the mixture and let it bubble up and thicken, about 3 minutes. If it seems overly thick, splash in a little more broth. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the filling into a 2-quart baking dish. Roll out the pie crust on a floured surface and lay it over the top of the dish. Press the dough so that the edges stick to the outside of the pan. Use a knife to cut little vents here and there in the surface of the dough.
- Mix together the egg with 2 tablespoons water and brush it all over the surface of the crust. (You will have some egg wash left over.)
- Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbly. To prevent the crust from getting too brown, you might want to cover it lightly with foil for the first 15 minutes of baking time. I made mine in little souffle dishes – this recipe was enough for 6 of those dishes.
I have searched the internet high and low for the best french fry recipe. Whether I was making them fried in oil or baked in the oven, I never was fully impressed with the end result. I have been duped, just like the rest of you! The pictures on these recipe websites would portray a a hot fry with crispy skin – yet the recipe would never produce what was actually in the picture. I would just end up with greasy, flimsy fries. Super sad face.
That was until I stumbled upon a recipe by the Pioneer Woman that promised to deliver crispy fries. The secret? The double-frying process.
Yes, I know that frying anything isn’t necessarily good for you, but sometimes we need to indulge to nourish our souls – then hit the treadmill later! I made these on Saturday along with a veggie burger for myself and bacon-cheeseburgers for Nick – and I will fully admit that I did not hit the treadmill later that night. However, I do fully intend to make it to yoga tonight and the rest of the week, so let’s just call it a wash, okay? Okay!
I also opted to fry the potatoes in Sunflower oil instead of the usual canola or vegetable oils for a healthier fry. Sunflower oil is a mild-flavored oil that is chock-full of vitamin E. It is 80 percent monounsaturated and has a high smoke point, making it perfect for frying anything.
Perfect French Fries
- 5 pounds Russet Potatoes
- Sunflower Oil For Frying
- Sea Salt
- Peel and rinse the potatoes. Cut them into sticks by cutting the potato in four or five vertical pieces, then cutting each piece into sticks. Place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water, then allow them to soak for a few hours.
- Drain the potatoes with a pasta strainer. Place the sticks on paper towel-lined cookie sheets to absorb all the water in the potatoes.
- Pour sunflower oil into the dutch oven (about 4 inches high) and heat on medium-high until the oil reaches 300 degrees.
- Drop the potatoes in batches (this recipe makes about 4 batches) into the oil for about 3 – 4 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Transfer soft potatoes to paper towel-lined cookie sheets to drain the oil.
- Now crank up the heat for the oil. Once the heat reaches 400 degrees, drop the batches in again one-by-one until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy.
- Drain fries on paper towel-lined cookie sheets one last time. Sprinkle them with salt and serve.
New York Style Chopped Salad with Homemade Vegan “Honey” Mustard Dressing
- 3 cups Mixed Salad Greens
- 3 cups Bibb Lettuce
- 8 whole Romaine Leaves
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Grape Tomatoes, Halved
- 1 cup blueberries
- Sliced Or Diced Bell Pepper
- Avocado, Sliced
- Cucumbers, Halved Then Sliced
- 1 bunch radishes, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- Vegan “Honey” Mustard Dressing (recipe follows
- Lay out different greens and all the veggies in small dishes.
- Have a big stainless bowl with tongs. Have everyone build their own salad by throwing what they want into the bowl. Toss with dressing, then pour tossed salad onto a cutting board.
- With two knives, quickly chop the salad so that it’s chopped into smaller pieces.
- Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
Vegan “Honey” Mustard Dressing:
- 3 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/3 Cup Agave Nectar Light
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Clove of Garlic, minced
- Black Pepper to taste
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and serve.
Yummy yummy! It’s time for brunch! I always like to serve breakfast on sizzling platters to keep them piping hot from start to finish. The ones I use, I found at an estate sale for a screaming deal. Let’s just say I make fajitas more often now…
Breakfast Potato Hash
12 russet potatoes
Canola oil, for frying
Butter, for frying
1 large onion, cut into fine dice
1 green pepper, cut into fine dice
1 red pepper, cut into fine dice
1 yellow pepper, cut into fine dice
Salt and ground black pepperMethod:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes.
- Place the hot potatoes on a cutting board and dice them into 1-inch pieces.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Next, put a tablespoon of canola oil in the skillet. Add in some butter and the onions and saute until they start to turn brown. Next, throw in the cooked diced potatoes and the peppers. Salt and pepper the potatoes, then stir them around, slightly pressing/packing them in the skillet. Cook without stirring for 5 to 7 minutes. You want to make sure the pan is hot enough to crisp the potatoes. Add more butter to the pan as necessary for moisture.
- After several minutes, use a spatula to flip the potatoes over and cook on the other side for another 5 to 7 minutes.
Always use fresh eggs. If you can’t see the difference between the “thick” white and the “thin” white, the yolks will probably break in the pan. Always deliver the eggs to the pan with a custard cup or large spoon. Avoid cracking directly into the pan. When using a non-stick skillet cook in no more than an inch of water. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, poach in a deep saucepan containing at least 3 inches of water. Always acidulate the poaching liquid with either vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per each cup of water). Bring liquid to a boil, add eggs, then remove from heat and cover. How long you ask? It depends on how many eggs. I like my yolks barely runny so I’ll cook 4 eggs for 7 to 8 minutes depending on their size. Since more eggs will absorb more heat from the water, they will take longer to cook, so for large batches always include an extra “test” egg. Always remove eggs with a slotted spoon. Poached eggs can be refrigerated in ice water for up to 8 hours, then reheated in hot water. Do not re-boil.
Orange Tofu and Broccoli (V) (GF)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon hot chili sauce or sriracha
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound extra firm tofu, weighted, drained, and cubed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- Bean sprouts to garnish
- In a bowl, whisk cornstarch and warm water. Add orange juice and zest, soy sauce, rice vinegar and hot chili sauce. Reserve.
- Steam broccoli for 2-3 minutes until broccoli turns bright green but is still very firm.
- Heat oil in a very large nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add tofu to pan and cook, browning on all sides, about 6-8 minutes total. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add broccoli and orange sauce and stir to combine. Cook until sauce begins to bubble and reduces slightly, an additional 2-3 minutes. Plate the entree, top with bean sprouts and serve with rice.