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basic pasta sauce

Don’t forget to enter my chia seed giveaway that is going on – only 6 more days!

Happy weekend everyone!  How has your Saturday gone?  I love Satudays, and this one has not disappointed.

Jon and I slept in this morning, and then got up and headed out to our favorite running spot.  We have a small “lake” out north of town that has a 3.1 mile asphalt path all the way around it.  We actually did most of our marathon training out there last year.  Anytime we mention to someone that we once ran around it over 6 times they think we’re crazy.  And we probably are.

Anyways, we only made it around once today.  The wind was blowing about 30 miles per hour, and coming off the lake it was chilly!  But I have to say it felt great.  I have been having a hard time getting motivated for running lately, and I think I needed a good, solid, happy run to cure me!

We didn’t get going until about 11am, so I decided I need a little carb boost for energy.  I popped about 5 of these little guys

High in carbs and all the sugars are natural.  No added sugar for this girl!

A couple hours later we decided to hit up Panera for lunch.  Since it was about 1′clock and I’d had almost nothing to eat all day (so abnormal for me!), I upped the ante a bit and went for a pick two: half a Mediterranean Veggie sandwich (hold the feta please!) and a cup of black bean soup.  Against my initial better judgment I also had a whole grain baguette.  I guess my body needed the carbs!

After lunch I spent a little extra time at Panera getting some grading done while Jon went home to work on some design projects.  I have to say that grading is by far my least favorite part of teaching.  Getting through those essays was brutal today, and I still have half of them left!  Guess I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow afternoon:(

One afternoon of grading, a Starbucks soy latte, and some Lost watching later, we decided to cook up some dinner.  Tonight was another “eatin’ cheap” creation.  Very simple – “Basic Pasta Sauce.”

Ingredients:

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
3-5 button mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
minced garlic
italian seasoning
oregano

Add chopped onion and garlic to skillet and cook until onion starts to get soft.  Next, add diced tomatoes, both cans of tomato sauce, chopped mushrooms, 1 tbsp italian seasoning and 1 tbsp oregano.  Mix together, then cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

While this is not a ground-breaking recipe, I love it because it is so fast, easy, cheap and it pleases the palate.  Leaving the meat out of the sauce reduces cost, and bulking it up with veggies is great for taste and satiety! If cooking only for myself, I would have added some chopped squash and zucchini, but Jon isn’t a fan so we stuck with mushrooms and onions.

Jon poured his sauce over whole wheat spaghetti, and I went with bulgur as my base.  Often times I’ll sub in bulgur for spaghetti because it has fewer calories and has 8 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.

I also had a side salad of mixed greens, chopped carrots, cucumber, onions and chia seeds with balsamic poured over the top along with garlic bread – aka ezekiel toast with Earth Balance vegan butter, garlic powder and nutritional yeast.

This piece of toast x 3.

This meal really filled me up with all the volume foods and veggies!

We are off to rent a movie we’ve been wanting to see called Brothers.  Has anyone seen it?  What movies have you guys seen lately that you loved?  I’m always up for suggestions!

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back to business

Today was a pretty good day, especially considering I only got 6 hours of sleep last night.  I am starting to really feel it now, though, so I’m gonna keep this short and sweet.

Today was my first day back on my challenge full swing.  You can check out the challenge, as well as my update for today on my “20 day challenge” page.

Lunch today was easy, as I had made up a huge amount of soup yesterday.  I am probably going to get really sick of soup by the end of the week.  I really enjoyed it today, though!

I added all of the following into a giant pot and let it heat through until the veggies started getting soft.

chopped squash
onion
diced tomatoes
brussel sprouts
corn
zucchini
black beans
chick peas
vegetable broth
chili powder
garlic powder
ground red pepper

After it cooked for awhile, I added about 1/3 of the mixture to my food processor and puree’d it for about 2 minutes.  I also added a bit of water to the mixture.  I then dumped it back into the pot, and continue letting it all cook for about 30 minutes.

It was fantastic!  I really love this soup, and it’s a good thing because it made A LOT!

Next up is tonight’s dinner.  When I got home from work I opted out of going to the gym and instead decided to give Jillian’s Micheal’s 30 day shred video a go.  I hadn’t done it in forever, and let me tell you, it was brutal!  I had almost forgotten how tough her 20 minute workouts can be.  If you haven’t ever tried her videos, you should definitely check them out.  They’re a great workout if you want serious intensity, but don’t have a lot of time.  I digress.

By the time I finished working out and took a shower, I was famished and I really couldn’t feel my arms or legs. haha.  So, I decided on something super quick and easy.  Enter black bean burgers.

Black bean burger on an ezekiel bun with a bit of leftover homemade guac, hummus, alfalfa sprouts, pickles and tomato.  With a side of steamed brussel sprouts – my fave!  This meal was awesome!! Especially considering it took all of about 6 minutes to make.  Win win!

Well, that’s all for today.  I’m off to bed to try to make up for last night.  Making up sleep never really works for me unfortunately, but I can always try!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

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weekend highlights…

…minus Valentine’s Day.  I’m saving it for the next post.  I think it deserves it’s very own:)

Saturday Jon and I got up and got to work cleaning the house.  It always takes forever to deep clean the entire house, but it’s so worth it because we both feel so great when it’s done!!  After that I packed up all of my school stuff, and we went up to his office to work.  Jon is in his busiest season at work, and my job in general is busy season because I’m a 1st year teacher.  So, we knew we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the rest of the weekend unless we knocked out some of our work.

Here are some food highlights from the weekend:

Lunch on Friday (because I took off to stay home and work) was a Joseph’s Protein pita filled with avocado, spinach, zucchini, squash, pickles and nutritional yeast.  I had it with a side of hummus for dipping and a sliced pear with sprinkled cinnamon!  So fresh and so delicious, yet so simple!

Friday afternoon I headed to the coffee shop to have a change of scenery while I graded.  I took along an AB banana roll up – a Joseph’s pita (should there be a limit on these things?) smeared with almond butter and sliced banana, all rolled up!  Transportable and tasty!

This was today’s snack on the way home from work.  It was the most beautiful apple I’ve ever eaten.  I picked this baby up from a certain store that Jon took me to on Valentine’s Day.  That’s just a little teaser for tomorrow’s V-day post.  I also had a certain kind of nut butter smeared on it that I’ve been wanting to try for ages.  It may also have come from this certain store.

Apologies for the picture quality…this bowl was so much better than it looks.  I often borrow a camera that takes beautiful pictures from Jon’s work, but lately I haven’t had it so the iPhone has had to suffice.  boo.

And finally, tonight’s dinner.  I was having a serious craving for a giant bowl of veggies, and that’s exactly what I got.  A little too big perhaps:)  I tossed together cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, squash, onions, carrots, mushrooms and spinach.  I sprayed it a few times with Braggs, and dumped in a small handful of raw cashews.  I also added a few pieces of Tempeh that I picked up the other day as well (more to come on that).  This was the second time I’ve ever had Tempeh, and the first time I made it I did not care for it at all!  I’m so glad I gave it a second chance, though.  It was really good in this stir fry with just a bit of Braggs sprayed on.  I’ll definitely be highlighting it again in the future once I decide on another way to cook it.

Well, that’s it for the highlights.  Unfortunately, I have got to go do some serious grading.  Blah.  I’ll be back tomorrow, though, with a fun post on what we did and where we went for Valentine’s Day!  Hope everyone is having a great President’s Day!

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potatoes au grautin

Tonight I made a clean version of an old favorite, and it was delish.

Growing up my mom used to make potatoes au grautin from the box on occasion.  Honestly, it wasn’t too often that one would find a processed or “boxed” food on our kitchen table.  My mom always made homemade meals from scratch, and she prided herself on feeding us mostly healthy food and everyone coming together at the table for a family dinner.  At the time I never really understood why I had to come in from playing outside to sit at the table with everyone, but now I’m so thankful for those memories, and I won’t have it any other way with our (future) children.

But back to the occasional “PAG.”  I used to love those cheesy little spuds, but of course nowadays they don’t exactly fit into my repetoire of clean foods.  So, tonight I veganfied (?) them!

Alongside a tasty mushroom burger…

Indulgence at it’s finest.

I started out by slicing a sweet potato up, sprinkling the rounds with ground red pepper and garlic powder and baking them for about 20 minutes.  Next I mixed up some toasted pine nut hummus, nutritional yeast and water to make my new favorite humnut sauce.  After the potatoes were baked, I arranged them on a plate and poured crack the sauce all over them.  Yum!  Next time I would bake the sweet potatoes for a little bit longer because they were a little too soft for my taste.  Otherwise this meal rocked!!

For the mushroom burger, I just sauteed some portobello mushroom wedges in balsamic vinegar until they were cooked through and soft.  Chopped onion, tomato, avocado and smushed it all between an ezekiel bun.  I may also have added a teensy bit generous spoonful of humnut sauce to the burger as well;)

That’s all I’ve got for tonight.  I took the day off from school tomorrow because I am so buried in grading I can’t even see my way out.  With sophomore projects and junior research papers both piled high along with several random assignments that are waiting to be graded, I just needed a day at home to catch up and breathe.  So after a workout with the hubs bright and early, I’ll have my head in the books papers all day.

It’s going to be a busy weekend even with the day off.  Jon is cooking something up for Valentine’s Day, but we’ve planned on keeping it low key because we’re going to Dallas for a couple of days over Spring Break (only 4 weeks away!) as our real Valentine’s celebration.  I can’t wait.  I live for having days on end with nothing to do but explore and hang out with my favorite person!

Hope everyone is having a great night.  TGIF (almost!)

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vegan love

Happy Monday evening!  Sabai di mai ka (just felt like throwin’ a little Thai in)?  Things are going pretty well here.  Sometimes it is sorta refreshing when a day doens’nt go just like you planned, ya know what I mean? This morning I got up, got ready for work and off I went, thinking that today would be just like any other day.  But by 10 o’clock, it was snowing hard enough that I decided to get a cover for the classes I teach after lunch and go ahead and make the hour trek home.  The bad news is that it turns out I really didn’t need to leave early because the roads never got bad (I feel like an idiot a little bit silly).  The good news is that I miraculously got squeezed in for a doctor’s appointment I’ve been needing to have, and I got a little extra grading done on my research papers.  Score!

I also had an awesome day of eats!  It all started this morning when I decided to have the hubs put a little twist on my usual green monster.  Don’t worry, it was still green:)  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic to prove it, but it really was…promise.  This combo was excellent.  I will def. be having it again in the very near future.  I the sweet husband combined:

a couple big handfuls of spinach
chia seeds!
half a banana
1 cup soy milk
1/2 tbsp almond butter
1 big, heaping spoonful of canned pumpkin
sprinkle of cinnamon
ice

Wooooweeeee this was good!  I tell you what, I am hooked on pumpkin.  The flavors of the pumpkin, cinnamon, banana and almond butter totally hit the spot.  I was going to have him add a bit of nutmeg as well, which I think would be a great addition, but we didn’t have any on hand so that will have to wait.  You may have noticed that I left out the usual Amazing Grass.  I really did miss it, but as discussed in this post, I’m trying to cut back a bit.  I may just start having it a couple of mornings a week as a special treat:)

For lunch I swung through Whichwich on my way home.  I hadn’t had a good ole’ tomato and avocado from there in ages, and it totally hit the spot!  I always get the same thing (don’t fix it if it ain’t broken, right?) – tomato and avocado on wheat with lettuce, bell pepper, red onion, pepperocini, pickles and crushed red pepper.  I could so down another one of those right this second….but I won’t.

I snuck in a couple of snacks while grading research papers – first, a tall soy latte from our local coffee shop and then a mix of yogurt, almonds and a few puffins before going to work out a little later.  I don’t usually eat two snacks in the afternoon, but that’s just how it worked out today – like I said, nothing went as planned!

Okay, now for din din.  I got this idea from HEAB the other day, and I just tweaked it a little bit.  After cutting it in half, I put a spaghetti squash in the oven on 375 for about an hour.  After it was done, I scooped out all the insides.  Then I mixed a bowl full of “spaghetti” with some steamed turnip greens (microwave for about 30 seconds with a tad bit of water) and the most amazing, creamy, vegan sauce I’ve ever had!  This sauce, I believe, was created by Mae.  I just remembering reading somewhere about her “humnut” (hummus + nutritional yeast) sauce, and while I didn’t know what proportions she used, I knew I had to try it anyway.  So, I basically just scooped about 2 tbsp of  roasted garlic hummus into a bowl and added 3 tsp of nutritional yeast (my new wonder drug:) and a little water for thinning.  I then poured the sauce over the squash and greens, mixed it all together and topped it off with a sprinkle of black pepper and pine nuts.

(So sorry that the picture is kind of rough.  I only had my iPhone.  Sad.  This meal deserved better.)

Now, I can honestly say this is one of the most indulgent tasting vegan meals I’ve made thus far in my vegan journey, and it was so simple.  It took me longer to type out what I did, than it actually took to do it (not counting oven time for the squash)!  Seriously!  It was to die for.  It really did taste like a healthified version of mac and cheese.  It was so creamy!  I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you.

Sorry for the lack of pictures on this post.  Too many words, too little pics.  I’ll do better next time;)  I hope everyone is staying warm and having a great week so far.  I’m pretty stoked because I’ve got overnight oats “doing their thing” in the fridge right now.  It should be a tasty drive to work tomorrow!  Have a good night friends!

BTW…I am so enjoying the Sarah Bareilles station on Pandora right now.  Try it out if you get a chance!

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