Avocado Pasta + Book Review

Hi Friends!
 
The snow is ridiculous:
 

 
 

Thankfully it was Presidents’ Day, so traffic was light, but the roads were a mess. I thought for sure my car would get stuck somewhere, but I made it to work and back home without any major problems (I saw plenty of other people stuck/getting pulled out by tow trucks/etc). What a day!
 
Jason was smart and worked from home, I wish I could have done that as well. He was kind enough to start dinner for the both of us:
 

We made Angela’s Creamy Avocado Pasta. Click here for the recipe. We didn’t use basil and we used brown rice pasta – and I also think I added way too much lemon juice. (see below) 

 
I so wanted to love this dish, but it was too lemony for my tastes — I think I added too much! I squeezed every lost drop of juice from 1/2 lemon. Next time I will not use as much — and maybe next time I will add the basil — maybe that takes away from the super lemony taste? Either way it was super easy to throw together and I will attempt it again — I need to just follow the recipe more closely!
 
So yesterday I updated you on my February Goals and now I can check something else off my list:
 
4. Read 2 books 

I finished In Defense of Food last night – It took me only a few days to get through. It was so interesting and I will definitely pick up more of Michael Pollen’s books.
 
I’m not going to give a full “book report” on this book because honestly, if you haven’t read it, go get a copy and read it. I got my copy from the library (free!). It is only 200 pages or so and it is a quick read. I’ll just highlight a few points that I enjoyed reading about:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. <— could he have stated this any more straight forward?  🙂
 
Pollen discusses how we have shifted towards a focus on “Nutritionism” which is looking at the nutrients IN whole foods and putting those nutrients in processed foods. For example, instead of eating an orange for vitamin C, why not have a bowl of cereal that has vitamin C already added? Pollen explains that taking the vitamins that are in whole foods does not mean that the new “food” (in my example, cereal) is as beneficial as eating an orange. Pollen explains that foods are more than the “sum of their nutrients”. Perhaps it isn’t the fact that vitamin C is so good for you, it is how it is combined with other nutrients in plant foods.
 
He describes studies in which groups return to their ancestors’ way of life – hunting and gathering and not eating refined carbohydrates, frankenfoods, etc – and how they lowered their cholesterol, blood pressure, risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.
 
Although I have read lots of information on why processed foods are not good for your body, this book definitely opened my eyes to truly seeing HOW processed foods are making our nation fatter and sicker.  I like that Pollen gives you “rules” at the end – shop the outer aisles of the supermarket, look for foods that don’t have nutritional information (most likely a real food!), shop at Farmer’s Markets, choose foods only your Great-Grandmother would recognize, don’t buy anything with more than 5 ingredients listed, grow a garden if possible, cook your own food, etc.
 
I by no means eat perfectly, I do eat some processed foods and this is something I want to focus on cutting out. I have thought in the past that I could make most foods from scratch if I didn’t have to work – if I had more time Jason and I could eat much healthier – but I need to stop using that as an excuse. There are plenty of people out there who have less time than I do and are able to eat better (healthier) than I do. However, I do not want to ever come off as a holier-than-thou type. This is something I want to focus on — but I urge everyone to pick up this book and read it — and then decide for yourself if you need to make changes in the types of foods you choose.
 
*Have you read In Defense of Food? What did you think?
 
*Who does all of the meal planning/preparing in your house?

Let Me Eat Cake!

Happy Hump Day 🙂

Last night’s dinner was so simple and yet so delicious:

Whole wheat pasta, marinara sauce, fire roasted tomatoes, Garlic Gold and shrimp. It was so easy and tasted wonderful. But what was even better was dessert…

On Monday Gina posted about a microwave cake and it seemed so easy and looked great. So I tried it myself, but with a few changes. I used peanut flour since I didn’t have any cacao powder, and I threw in a few choc chips.

Peanut butter cake with chocolate chips! It was freakin fantastic 🙂 Thanks Gina.

***

I finally got my giveaways all packed up:

Alyssa and Jo, they are on their way to you now 🙂

***

Have you ever had a garage sale? Any ideas on how to tackle this monstrosity?

I have been collecting garage sale stuff for months now, but I cannot bring myself to go through it all and sort it. We had a sale last year and got rid of a lot, but I just can’t motivate myself to do it again this year. Look at some of our treasures:

Here’s something that will surely haunt your dreams (it sings too!)

I’m sure I’ll be flooded with emails from readers who want to buy this stuff

Maybe I should hold a giveaway for those Oxycise tapes? Wait, does anyone have a VHS player anymore? 🙂

Questions:

1. Have you ever had a garage sale? Been to one? Do you have any tips/suggestions for me? Last year I had everything sorted together: dishes/kitchen on one table, clothes on another, candles/household goods together, holiday, etc. I also priced everything clearly and made larger signs – all clothes 25 cents a piece, books 50 cents, etc.

2. What is the craziest exercise fad that you have ever heard about? I don’t know if Oxysize was ever a fad… I’d have to say the Shake Weight is ridiculous!

Ha!

Holly

Italian Sausage & Arugula Pasta

Hello!
I love that there are so many Full House fans! After thorough online research, I found that Full House was on TGIF for their first 4 seasons, then the show moved to Tuesday nights for the remaining 4 seasons. 🙂
FOOD
Tonight I made a fabulous pasta dinner. It was delicious and smelled great!
Italian Sausage & Arugula Pasta
8 oz. Italian turkey sausage
6 oz. whole wheat pasta
2 handfuls of arugula
1-2 chopped tomatoes (I used 2 small ones)
 
Start by preparing your pasta.
As the pasta cooks, crumble and brown the sausage in a large skillet.
 
 
After sausage is cooked, throw in a few handfuls or arugula and a ½ cup of water:
 
 
Cover skillet until arugula wilts. Throw in the chopped tomato and stir until the pasta is ready.
Top pasta with the sausage/arugula/tomato mixture. You could also drizzle on some olive oil if you prefer.
Finished product:
 
 
It turned out great! The sausage really makes the dish and the kitchen smelled amazing. Plus, the whole dish was really easy.
 
FITNESS
I just finished my TurboFire 45 min EZ workout. Let me tell you, EZ does not mean easy! It just means there aren’t any fire drills (1 min HIIT circuits). It definitely keeps your heart rate up.
FUN
I started The Lovely Bones last night. It is already a disturbing book to read, but I am already loving the main characters. It is definitely a much different type of book than the last book I read (one of the Sookie Stackhouse books).
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What are your plans for this weekend?