Our Favorite Pasta Brand {Plus a recipe!}

Hey there! I’m SO excited to share today’s post and recipe with you. If you know us and have been following along for a while, you know we like to have our diet mostly filled with lots of veggies, fruits, lean proteins, healthy carbs, etc. Of course, we don’t hold ourselves back from pizza, pasta, wings and ice cream, but as these foods don’t always make us feel the great or fuel us the best for our activities, they aren’t what we are eating 80% of the time. I don’t believe in cutting out foods because they are “bad”. In fact, I don’t believe that foods are inherently “good” or “bad” – they are what they are and they all have a time and place in our lives (in my opinion).

IMG_0571

That said, we will try to make healthier swaps in our kitchen for things we eat on a more regular basis. For instance, I have a banana bread recipe we LOVE that doesn’t have any added sugar. They are still sweet and so satisfying, they just don’t come with all the extra sugar banana bread usually comes with. We tend to eat Ezekiel bread and wraps or sour dough bread as these feel better for us to digest. And, we chose Jovial pasta products instead of the traditionally Barillo or Prego brands because Jovial products have so few ingredients and are easier for us to digest.

If you’ve seen my Instagram stories, I’m sure you’ve seen my post about our love for Jovial products, which is why I can’t wait to share this recipe with you. Recently, Jovial sent us the the most wonderful package filled with all sorts of our favorite Jovial products, as well as many new-to-us products.

IMG_0454

Over the weekend, I had to break open a box (while munching on the rosemary einkorn crackers, lol) and whip up something tasty … which is where this recipe comes from! It’s super easy and was all put together in about 30-40 mins, and that was without really rushing around. We’ve been enjoying leftovers throughout the week!

IMG_0560

The best part, too, is that I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY over on my Instagram page. All you have to do is leave a comment saying what your favorite pasta dish is. If you follow Jovial, myself and tag a friend, leave comments for each that you do as they’ll give you extra options to win. I will be choosing TWO winners on Monday, February 4th who will each win a $25 gift certificate for Jovial products! Trust me – you want this prize!

Ingredients

  • Jovial Farfelle Pasta (or elbows would work great, too!) – I used half a box
  • 1 package of pancetta
  • 1 small/medium sweet potato
  • 2 handfuls of Brussels sprouts
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • EVOO
  • salt & pepper

IMG_0567IMG_0561

Directions

  1. Heat a large pan on the stove, add some EVOO, chop your sweet potato and Brussels sprouts and add them to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Tip – make sure to use plenty of EVOO so they don’t stick. You can also add some water throughout the cooking process.
  2. Once the veggies are getting soft, start to bring a pot of water to boil. Add the Jovial pasta once it is boiling. Move the veggies to the edges of the pan and allow space for the pancetta and garlic in the middle. Allow the pancetta to brown and crisp up and then mix the veggies back in.
  3. Once the pasta is ready, collect some of the pasta water in a cup and drain the rest. Add the pasta to the veggies and pancetta and stir to combine. If it’s a little dry, you can add some of the pasta water and/or olive oil into the pan. Sprinkle some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pasta and veggie mixture and combine.
  4. Serve with a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top.

IMG_0568IMG_0570IMG_0573

All in all, this recipe is a relatively quick and easy dinner to put together – perfect for a busy weeknight! We absolutely loved the flavor combinations and when I say you cannot tell that the Jovial pasta is a “healthier” pasta option, I am not lying! Jovial products have become a staple in our house and I hope you love them as much as we do.

IMG_0577

Don’t forget to head on over to my Instagram post to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Jovial!

Questions for you – What’s your favorite weeknight quickie meal to throw together? What’s your favorite “healthier” alternative to use or make in the kitchen?

 

Advertisements

The Easiest Veggie & Turkey “Hash” (aka: our summer staple dish)

We eat a lot of veggies in our house. When I went shopping with my sister, she couldn’t believe we bought a few heads of lettuce, kale and spinach, which are just our leafy greens. She asked if we ate all that in a week and I said “YUP!”. RM has veggies pretty much every meal and I eat salad’s for lunch a lot so when you add it up, we plow through veggies!

IMG_1686[1]

And, while I do like veggies more than I used to (thanks to RM for being such a proponent of veggie eating, and showing me new ways to cook them so that they taste great!), the process of cleaning and chopping can be time consuming. If I had more free time, I would love to spend hours in the kitchen, chopping, cooking and drinking wine, but that’s just not realistic for me right now.

Enter my favorite time saving hack thanks to Whole Foods; pre-chopped veggies!!! Yes, it may cost more than buying whole veggies and chopping them myself, but the time I save is worth the money I save! I find these in the produce section, where Whole Foods has a HUGE selection of partly prepared produce varieties that save lots of time in the kitchen. I’m not sure what other stores have in terms of this, but I’m sure they have something!

This “recipe” is seriously SO easy, but what we love about it is that it covers a ton of ground on the veggie front, plus we add the turkey for a little protein. In terms of eating, we either eat it alone, with eggs (RM does this), on salad, in a quesadilla – there are seriously so many options! Which is key for us when it comes to meal prep – we want lots of variety so we don’t get sick of what we have in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • Chopped onions (you can buy pre-chopped or chop your own)
  • Confetti rice (this has broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, but you can use whatever you find, which might be just broccoli or just cauliflower)
  • Shredded Kale (or spinach, if you prefer)
  • Shredded Brussels Sprouts (if you want)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 lb Organic ground turkey
  • EVOO – to taste
  • Salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes – to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add some EVOO. Once warm, add the onions and let cook for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding in the confetti rice and then the kale and Brussels sprouts. Throughout the course of cooking these veggies, add in the salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes to your liking, as well as the EVOO.
  2. Once the veggies are cooked, remove and place in a bowl. Add the ground turkey to the pan you used to good the veggies and cook until it’s fully browned.
  3. Add back in the veggies and let simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Serve however you wish 🙂

See? I told you this was easy! And, really, there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to what you add and how you cook it. I’ve done it a dozen different ways and we have never been disappointed.

IMG_1685

If you find yourself short on time and not able to get in the veggie in-take you want because it takes a long time to prepare everything, I highly suggest trying this method out. While it may cost you a little more, when you think about what you’d do instead of this (maybe order out or get stuff from Whole Foods hot bar?), it’s probably worth it!

Have a great day 🙂

Questions for you: What’s your best time saving hack in the kitchen? Do you like to chop veggies or would you prefer it done for you? 

Just Add Cooking: Focus on Local Sourcing

Good morning! I’m back from the most amazingly perfect bachelorette weekend and while I plan on doing a full recap soon, I’ll just say now that it was literally the best weekend! And we are one step closer to the big day, which is the most exciting thing of all!

Today, though, let’s talk about the recent Just Add Cooking RM and I received. As I’ve mentioned before, as part of their blog ambassadorship I am able to receive one week of meals a month to try out. So far, each delivery seems to be better than the last and considering we were totally wowed after the first delivery, it’s safe to say JAC has a pretty great thing going on.

I’ve talked before about how one of the things I love the most about the company, besides having simple and delicious recipes, is that they try to source locally whenever they can. In the delivery notes overview, they list out where the products came from, which I think is a really nice touch. RM and I try to buy locally and organic, so working with a company who also values that is pretty awesome. In our box this week, we received:

IMG_4893

Pretty cool, right? And, when you’re using ingredients closer to the source, it means they’re getting to you fresher and it’s good for the environment since they don’t have to drive loads of extra miles to get the food items. You can find out more about JAC’shere. It’s really great to see a company support locally!

Let’s talk about the meals, though. We decided to go with the Breaded Pork Chops with a White Bean & Radish Salad, Lamb Skewers and a Quinoa Salad and Shaksuka, which is a Middle-Eastern dish. We cooked the meals last week in the recommended cooking order that JAC provides.

Breaded Pork Chops w/ White Bean & Radish Salad

This meal might have been my favorite meal from the delivery. We don’t get pork very often, which is strange since we both enjoy it, so it was a special treat getting to cook it last week. I’ve never coated meat with mayonnaise before breading it, but I swear it must’ve been what made the meat so -dare I say it- moist (sorry). The flavor was so good! And the white bean and radish salad was also incredible- I told RM that it’s likely going to be a staple salad that I bring to summer parties. It was light and refreshing and just a really interesting combination of flavors.

IMG_4898 IMG_4900 IMG_4905

Lamb Skewers and Quinoa Salad

Lamb is another meat that we don’t buy or cook- ever, really. We have lamb at RM’s mother’s house on holidays and I always enjoy it, which is why I thought it would be a good choice for the meal delivery. RM fired up the grill to cook the lamb which made it even tastier! The quinoa salad had avocado, cucumber and tomato and reminded me so much of this loaded quinoa salad that I’ve made a few times. Unfortunately the watercress went bad so we were unable to use that ingredient for the sauce, but I use some of the extra chives and it worked out well. I ended up reaching out to my contact to let her know about how the watercress went bad so quickly and she said that when you source local, fresh ingredients there is always a chance that things can go bad quicker than anticipated. She wanted me to share with all of you that if this were to happen to you, just can email them at customersupport@justaddcooking.com or call JAC and the team will provide them with a credit to their account for any inconvenience. These issues happen very rarely and they try to take care of customers quickly when they do.

With that said, we still really enjoyed the meal!

IMG_4909 IMG_4912 IMG_4915

Shaksuka

This meal was another big hit with us. There’s something about breakfast for dinner that always makes me happy. I don’t tend to eat a lot of eggs for breakfast, but I love them for lunch or dinner so this was a great meal to throw together one night last week. With very minimal ingredients, it took no time at all to make. Unfortunately, I walked away while the eggs were cooking and stayed away a little too long and the yolks ended up cooking all the way through. I was bummed, but it ended up still tasting really good. I never knew that combining diced tomatoes and pearled farro could make such a great base for eggs! And, I’m a big fan of “one pot dishes”, so this was right up my alley. The feta cheese on top was like icing on the cake, too 😉

IMG_4936 IMG_4944 IMG_4949

All in all, we were so pleased with the meals last week. I was able to make all of them in less than 40 minutes, which is ideal for a weeknight meal. On top of that, I love getting a chance to make new-to-us recipes/dishes and learn how to combine herbs and seasonings since that isn’t something I know a lot about. If you’re looking for a way to spice up your meals, I can’t recommend JAC enough.

If you like the sounds of everything in this post, Just Add Cooking is offering a great deal for those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to try them. With the code BUBBLY, you can get your first Just Add Cooking box for just $39. Which, btw, is 3 meals- one hell of a deal if you ask me! Click here to sign up for a free account and to pick your recipes.

Previous reviews can be found here:

Just Add Cooking {First Review}
Just Add Cooking {2nd Review}

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post but I was provided with a free week of meals in response for my review. As always, all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own- I really, truly think this is a wonderful company and I’m so excited that I get to work with them! As an affiliate, I do receive a credit when you sign up for the service using my code. Thanks for your support!

Weekending {Extended Version}: Birthday Celebrations & Marathon Monday

Good morning! I opted to not blog yesterday as I had the day off and figured a lot of you may also have it off or may even be running the marathon! Between taking my birthday off last week, working from home on Friday and then having yesterday off, I feel like I’ve been on a little vacation, which is pretty awesome. With everything going on these days between wedding planning, the BoxFIIT certification, teaching, blogging, working, etc. I feel like I was running on empty and really needed some time to re-charge the batteries. Granted, the past week has been filled with lots of things, but most didn’t involve work which helped give me that “recharge” I needed.

I’m going to keep my captions short, so enjoy the pictures!

IMG_4622

Birthday yoga!

IMG_4628

Birthday manis/pedis/lunch with my birthday buddy!

IMG_4634

Strong ladies supporting me in class. Not pictured: after class drinks at Gaslight 🙂

IMG_4635

Julian pizza from Max & Leo’s- the birthday girl doesn’t cook on her bday 😉

IMG_4638

Beautiful flowers and prosecco from coworkers who came to my class

IMG_4639

Extra bday flowers from RM

 

IMG_4648

All dolled up! Love the new bag RM got me

IMG_4649

My sister surprised me with a bottle of bubbly at dinner. We went to Committee in the Seaport and everything was unbelievably good- we couldn’t stop raving about how flavorful everything was AND they sent out a birthday treat- I highly suggest checking it out!

IMG_4650 IMG_4651 IMG_4652 IMG_4653 IMG_4654

Post kickboxing sweaty selfie.

IMG_4656

Entertaining my parents- I’m so sad that I didn’t get a single photo with them while they were here 😦

IMG_4657

Food shopping

IMG_4659

Pancake breakfast

IMG_4660

Birthday presents from my dad- picnic table, fire pit and a heck of a lot of wood. It was SO nice of them to come down not only to celebrate, but also to bring all of these things to help us have an awesome back yard/patio!

IMG_4664

4miler in gorgeous weather. I wish I could say it was a great run, but my legs felt like lead the entire time and my miles averaged 15-20 seconds slower than usual… BUT… I finished it and it felt great to be outside. Who cares about the mile times!

IMG_4667

Taking advantage of the sun and doing my thank you cards for the bridal shower gifts we’ve received outside. And then I started reading Defending Jacob, which is our new book club book. So far, I’m enjoying it, although it’s crazy that it takes place in Newton!

IMG_4672

Beer at home by myself: a rarity, but the weather encouraged it 😉

IMG_4677 IMG_4678

Meal prep for the week: a cauliflower rice & other veggie “stirfry” with a peanut sauce and then a veggie-filled quiche- both have so much flavor!!

IMG_4679 IMG_4681

Loving our outdoor patio space! Took my workout outside yesterday morning and it was amazing.

IMG_4682 IMG_4684

We walked from the Intercontinental Hotel (where RM parks his car) to the Back Bay and it was so nice strolling through Boston Common’s in the gorgeous weather.

IMG_4685 IMG_4688

We were fortunate enough to hang out at the Solas Pub (part of the Lennox Hotel) pretty much right at the Marathon finish line thanks to New Balance- drinks, food, prime spectator location?! Yes, please. So thankful for this opportunity!

IMG_4692

Watching the marathon is always a super emotional and inspiring thing. I love watching everyone who is finishing strong, but I also love how everyone is looking out for each other. The crowds roared even louder when struggling runners were trying to get to the end. Fellow marathoners helped those who were physically too beat to run on their own. Paramedics and EMT’s and all of the other helpers were there to help get people safely over the finish line. It gave me chills soaking all of that in. Such a wonderful experience.

If you made it this far, THANK YOU! I’ll be back tomorrow with a workout… and maybe even a recipe for you this week!

Questions for you: How was your weekend? Did you get outside to enjoy the weather? Did you go to the marathon or did you run the marathon? What do you have planned this week?

Weekending: Girls Night, Day Dates & Home To Maine

Good morning! Blogging here from Maine, which is a nice treat- and a lovely perk of getting to work from home 😉 The weather over the past weekend was so perfect- I couldn’t help but be in a great mood the whole time!

After work on Friday, my friend Stephanie (from work) and I grabbed a quickie drink at the new Gaslight in Lynnfield at the M Street Shops. It was such a great way to end the work week!

IMG_4310

From there, I made my way to Somerville for a girls night with my SMC girls. Per usual, we had a great time laughing, snacking on delicious food and drinking my new favorite rose bubbly.

IMG_4312 IMG_4311 IMG_4316

I started Saturday off by teaching another super sweaty cardio kickboxing class- the best way to start my day! IMG_4317

After class, RM and I went into the city for some shopping and lunching- two of my favorite SaturDAY activities. We shared a burger and salad at Abe & Louie’s and everything was fantastic!

IMG_4318

From the Back Bay, we headed to Faneuil Hall to hit up a few stores and finished with ice creams… the weather was too good NOT to have an ice cream 😉 (ok, I’m kidding. I never need an excuse to get an ice cream- duh.)

IMG_4319 IMG_4320

Once we got home, we lounged and binge-watched Breaking Bad until bedtime.

After breakfast on Sunday, I packed up and headed up to Maine. Mom and I met at the Publick House in Springvale for lunch which is always delicious (again, no picture of the food- just the booze. oops).

IMG_4327

Since it was so gorgeous, I laced up and went for a 3 miler. Thank God it was beautiful out because the run was hard- so.many.hills!!

IMG_4329

After my run, we got to work on centerpieces with a few of my mom’s friends. I wanted a simple look and I think we achieved that! The gold charger is going to be replaced with birch wood for the actual wedding.

IMG_4333

I keep looking at it and just love the white flowers! And, my dad had loads of mason jars for me to use so that was easy.

Dinner was a delicious pork chop, sweet potato, broccoli, carrots and green beans. I love being home and having my parents cook for me 🙂

And that about wraps it up! I hope all of you had a great weekend and are kicking off this week with a positive mindset.

Questions for you: What did you do this weekend? Did you get outside to soak up the warm weather? Did you have any good meals? What’s on the agenda for this week? Any workouts you’re looking forward to?