Monday, June 23, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Zucchini Linguine

How to turn this:

 Into this:

This is actually my version of a recipe my mom used to make (back in the day before Celiac Disease).  It's super simple and a really nice, light summer dinner.  You could easy add some grilled chicken to this, but I love it just the way it is.  My favorite thing is that we are growing all the produce for this recipe in our garden, so if all goes well, I'll be able to make this with my own zucchini, tomatoes and basil! (Actually I made it with my basil this time, but the rest of our garden isn't ready) I did get the zucchini from a local co-op, along with some super yummy peaches.  Trying to to decide if I'll make something with those…or just devour them.

Anywho, back to the recipe.  

Zucchini Linguine (serves 4-6)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 zucchini (or any similar squash), sliced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (you could also use a can of diced tomatoes)
1 pkg linguine (or just your favorite pasta, but, come on, linguine rhymes)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (extra if desired)
1-2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
1 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Fill a large pot with water for the pasta and put it on high heat.
  2. When it reaches a rolling boil, drop in the pasta (be sure to move the pasta around several times so it doesn't stick).  I do cook the entire package because the leftovers are great for lunch.*
  3. Add the olive oil to a large pan over medium high heat (I use a large nonstick skillet.  Whatever you use needs to be large enough to toss the pasta in at the end).
  4. Add your zucchini slices (and your red pepper flake, if you're using it).  Usually when I make this recipe I use one zucchini and one yellow squash, but I had three different kinds here, so I used half of each.  The amount isn't crucial.  If you love zucchini, add more!
  5. Sauté the zucchini for 5-7 minutes.  You're not looking to brown them or cook them down a lot, just soften them.  
  6. Toss in your tomatoes, and add a ladle full of pasta water.  Then place a lid on your veggies and turn the heat down to medium low.
  7. Your pasta is probably ready, so go ahead and drain that, but do not rinse it.
  8. Dump the pasta into the sauté pan, add the parmesan cheese and basil and toss.  If it seems dry, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  I use tongs to toss it together, it's just easier with long pasta.
  9. Serve it up and top with extra cheese!

*Reheats easily in the microwave, but I recommend adding a bit of water to your microwave safe container as this pasta recipe tends to get a little dry.

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

30 Day Ab Challenge: Day 3 & 4

Yesterday was Day 3 on the Ab Challenge, so I did 25 sit ups, 10 crunches, 10 leg raises and a 15 second plank.  I've noticed that, for me, the sit ups and leg raises are the most challenging.  Is anyone else following along?  Which parts are you finding most challenging?

We also took a trip to the zoo yesterday, which involved a lot of walking.  Nothing fast paced, since we were frequently stopping to look at animals, but 3 hours on your feet is still burning calories.

Today was Day 4, rest day, so I spent my day working on another project: organizing.  Another one of my goals this summer is to get the house more organized so that we can more easily keep it clean.  The last few days I've been focusing on clothes.  I went through Ellie's clothes, organized and stored her baby clothes and sorted out some to give away.  Then I went through the master bedroom closet.  I do this pretty regularly, but I still managed to fill three bags to donate.  I kept one small bin of clothes that are too small.  If they don't fit by this time next year, they're out (including my favorite pants from college).

Tomorrow I'll be working on the guest/craft room.  That room is always a challenge.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

30 Day Ab Challenge: Day 2

You may have noticed I'm already a day behind on my challenge. 

Yesterday was my last day of school. I spent the day cleaning up my classroom. I wasn't required to clear out my room to the extent that I did.  I'll have the same room next year and is not being used for summer school, so I was free to leave posters up and such.  However, I want to paint over the summer and just start fresh so I took everything down.

I didn't work a terribly long day.  I was finished by 1:30. I dropped off paperwork at Ellie's school for her summer program.  Isn't the playground awesome? She's moving up to a new class and I'm so excited for her. Her best friend from he previous class will be in this new class with her.

I had big plans to work out when I got home, but I felt awful.  Seriously awful. No idea why.  So I did nothing.  Actually I took a nap.

So today we're starting back up with Day 2. I just finished it (20 sit ups, 8 crunches, 8 leg raises, 12 second plank).  Today was busy in general.  We finally got the raised beds planted! That was a workout (as was chasing Ellie in the sprinkler). 

I'm considering going to the gym tonight. Ellie didn't nap today, which saves me a struggle at bedtime. I'll either put that energy towards the gym, or a relaxing glass of wine.  We shall see.

UPDATE: I chose wine.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

30 Day Ab Challenge: Day 1

So I decided to do this 30 Day Ab Challenge.  It's like a kick-off to my summer exercise challenge.  My goal this summer is to go to the gym every single day.  Yeah, you read that right.  Every. Single. Day.  I know it's summer and I could exercise outside and nature blah blah blah, but Tennessee hates me.  I'm pretty sure it's trying to kill me and despite allergy meds, outside makes my eyes water, I sneeze, all that phlegm, and that humidity…UGH!  So yeah, screw nature.*  If I have to get sweaty, I'll take indoors and air conditioned.

Back to the Ab Challenge.  This is the entire 30 Days:

So today I'm doing 15 sit ups, 5 crunches, 5 leg raises, 10 second plank.
It seems like a really easy day.  I mean, I am really out of shape, but I know I could do more than this.  However, I agreed to the challenge, so I'm sticking to the rules.

We're also going swimming today with my brother, his wife and their daughter so…two toddlers and a pool should be a pretty good workout.

*I love nature, but only when it's below 80 (or snowing!)