Monday, October 29, 2012

Spaghetti time!

It's been a while since I've made homemade spaghetti sauce.  On Sunday, I was craving everything spaghetti.  Pasta, cheese, chunky all sounded delicious.  So Mr. PT and I took a Sunday drive to Kroger!

Once you make your own homemade spaghetti sauce, you'll never do Prego again.  The homemade variety is much lighter on your stomach, but heartier in your belly, if that makes sense.  And it really is not that hard!  Prep time is 45 minutes max, although you'll want the sauce to simmer on low for a while to allow the sauce to season.

You will need:

-1 lb lean ground beef
-1-3 bell peppers, depending on size (I used green, red and 1/4 yellow)
-1 medium sweet onion
-3-4 mushrooms (optional)
-1 large can crushed tomatoes
-1 medium can tomato paste
-2 cloves garlic
-Italian seasoning (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, etc)

Start by browning off your meat in a medium sized pot.

this brand had an enticing label!

Once thoroughly cooked, strain and rinse the fat off.  This sauce is hearty enough without it!

In the same pot you used before, heat some olive oil (about 1 tbs).  Saute chopped (as finely as you prefer) onions, peppers, and mushrooms.  Once the veggies are soft, add the meat back in and add crushed/diced garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add both cans of tomatoes.  Season with salt, pepper, and other Italian spices.  If it's too thick, add some water, just be sure to season accordingly.  Let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes.

About 5 minutes before serving, add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the sauce.  

Serve over whole wheat noodles and you have the perfect Sunday night for a personal trainer.

Combine with 30 minutes of exercise a day.  Don't make excuses.  There will always be an excuse.  Have kids?  Take them with you.  Work late?  Walk at lunch.  Sore knees?  Get in the pool.  The best way to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight is to change your eating habits and move.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kale season!

I stink at posting!  I apologize for my absence.  I will be better.  I promise!

It is time to buy kale!!  Flat kale, curly kale, sweet kale, hearty kale...whatever kale you like.  Buy it now when it's time to build up your iron to prepare for the cold winter ahead.

Here are 2 ways to eat kale as a side dish or main dish.  Both recipes start with stripping the kale from it's thick stem, rinsing it under water, boiling it for about one minute, then returning it to the colander to be rinsed again with cold water.

Now you are ready!

This first dish starts with olive oil, sweet onions, and mushrooms softening in a medium-high skillet with lots of garlic (1-3 cloves, depending on how much you like the stuff).

Next, throw in your boiled kale.  Let the kale soak up some of the oil and keep this simmering on medium heat.  Meanwhile, boil some more water and throw in your favorite diced potatoes.  Sweet, red, purple...whatever is available.  I opted for white sweet potatoes!

Once the sweet potatoes are tender (not too soft), throw them in with the kale and other veggies.  Let all of these ingredients simmer on medium for at least 15-20 minutes so all the flavors can combine.  Right before serving, toss in your favorite cheese.  I had some manchego, a nice dry Spanish cheese, on hand so I diced it and tossed it in.  Serve warm!


The next dish is similar but with a few different flavors.  Prepare the kale with boiling water as mentioned above.  Meanwhile, heat a skillet with garlic only.  Once the garlic has seasoned the oil, throw in a hefty handful of spinach leaves.  Allow some time for them to cook down before throwing in the softened kale.  Add a touch more olive oil if necessary.  Add about 1/3 cup of chicken broth.  It will seem soupy, but if you give it enough time, the broth will cook down and flavor the greens nicely.

Meanwhile, boil some...are you ready?...purple sweet potatoes!  That's right!  Dark purple sweet potatoes.  Talk about picking the darker, healthier veggies.  Slice them thinly with the skins left on (make sure you scrub them clean first).  Boil the potatoes until they are, again, tender but not too mushy.  Once soft, throw them in the skillet with the greens and garlic.  There should still be broth to help finish cooking the potatoes.  Allow these ingredients to cook down until they just start to get crispy.  Remove, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and you've got dinner.

Kale is so good for you and very filling!  I encourage you to get out of your vegetable and salad box and try some cooked kale.  You will instantly be hooked.

Combine with standing leg exercises.  Use a resistance band around your ankles and do forward, side, and back leg lifts, as well as walking shuffles.  Your rear will feel the burn!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What's in your pot?

Tired of those old-fashioned American style soups, heavy with cream and cheese?

Try a vegetable miso soup!

I got this idea after I picked up my vegetable share today.  My bag was full of collards, leeks, and daikon radishes.  I also had mushrooms and carrots leftover from last week!

Start with a big pot of chicken broth...I used the biggest stock-pot I had!  Bring the broth to a boil and add thinly sliced radishes, carrots, mushrooms, and leeks.  Pull chard leaves away from stems, rinse, and cut into 1 inch strips.  Add to broth.

Season with fresh rosemary, dill, salt/pepper.  Simmer for 1-2 hours.

I added about 1/4 box of whole-wheat spaghetti about 10 minutes before serving to add a little extra filler.

Enjoy with some crusty bread dipped into this wonderfully flavored broth!  The vegetables may look icky and crunchy at first, but give them some time to season the soup.  You will also feel the house get warmer and cozier the longer this soup simmers on your stove.

Combine with a long walk...for exercise and release of the stress from a long day at work!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Soup Season

This is a repeat.

But it is so worth it!

This time I used acorn squash and another un-named winter squash.  It might have been a pumpkin, not sure.

See the original recipe here!!

Combine with 10 minutes of pilates followed by 30 minutes of yoga...hummmm...