Spinach, Mushroom & Garlic Creamy Pasta Sauce

Between the weather turning cold again (after some teasing, sunny, warm days) and the everyday stresses of life, I’ve been craving some comfort food. This pasta recipe is loaded with extra garlic and spinach to give an extra boost of nutrition to my immune system while I’m feeling “weathered”. Serve in your favorite bowl (pasta is always more fun in a fun bowl!) and you’re sure to feel comfort, warmth and satisfaction.

Spinach, Mushroom & Garlic Creamy Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 cups fresh baby leaf spinach, chef’s preference ūüėČ
  • Package of your favorite noodles – Barilla makes a great gluten free rotinni and you can’t even tell they’re gluten free

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet, add chopped onion and garlic. Saute about 10 minutes, or until translucent and starting to brown.
  2. Add mushrooms and saute another 5 minutes, or until mushrooms have softened.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauces, oregano, basil, and salt. Bring to a low simmer and let everything get happy together while you cook your noodles.
  4. Cook noodles according to package. Drain well.
  5. Add cream cheese, in small pieces, to sauce and gently stir to mix in.
  6. Mix in spinach until wilted (3-5 minutes).
  7. Serve over hot pasta.

Smacnego!

Chicken Teriyaki Lettuce Boats

When I first started eating gluten free back 12 years ago, I quickly learned tasty alternatives to replace my glutenous foods. One of my favorite alternatives to wheat products is romaine lettuce. It’s crispy, light, and makes a great alternative to wheat shells, wraps, and sandwich bread. You don’t need to sacrifice taste and texture eating gluten free.

The recipe below is a healthy, low-carb meal, that does anything but lack flavor and texture. Double bonus it has garlic (which fuels your body with antioxidants that protect your cells against damage and ageing) along with numerous vitamins and minerals.

Chicken Teriyaki Lettuce Boats

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon honey mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Head of romaine lettuce

Directions

  1. In small saucepan, bring soy sauce, honey, garlic, mustard, sesame oil, water and ginger to a low boil. Mix in corn starch, stirring frequently, to thicken. Set aside.
  2. Brown ground chicken in medium-sized pan for about 10 minutes (drain fat during cooking). After fat has been drained, add about 2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Set aside.
  3. Separate, wash and dry romaine lettuce pieces. Scoop teriyaki chicken onto lettuce, top with additional teriyaki sauce and chopped red onion. Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Enjoy!

Eat Fancy

Whatever you do today, make it amazing. Take a simple yogurt – put it in a fancy glass, top it with fruit, and enjoy it as if you’re at a fancy restaurant.

Whatever it is you are doing today, do it with a little extra care. Even if you aren’t satisfied with your job, show up wearing an impressive outfit. If you’re not happy with your home, clean and de-clutter¬†it from top to bottom. Give extra care to everything you do today – as if tomorrow may never come.

Your happiness is all in your attitude. Make the most of what you have and you’ll soon start to realize all you have in front of you. Re-direct your attitude – don’t give yourself a choice to be unsatisfied. Everything we have in life is temporary – life is ever-changing. The secret to being happy is to realize nothing is permanent and time never stops. One of two things will happen¬† when you adjust your attitude – you’ll either realize the positive side to your life, or you’ll excel and reach your goals. Endure, endure, endure. It will pay off, and worst case, prop your feet up, sit back, and eat a delicious scoop of yogurt, topped with fruit, in a fancy glass.

Happiness is…

Happiness is tuning out the negative thoughts in your head.

Happiness is tuning out the negative people in your life.

Happiness is tuning out the negativity in the news.

Feeling happy takes effort from you. You choose to be happy. You choose to tune out anything other than good feelings. Happiness has been there the whole time, regardless of the circumstances. Stop depriving yourself of what you deserve. Be happy, be positive, and don’t let anyone control your feelings or affect your emotions. It’s always been in your hands – now take control.

Avocado Toast

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

What does this have to do with avocado toast you say? I’ve been seeing all these posts about 30 day challenges and they’re not the smartest way of reaching your health goals. Just as Aristotle said, habit is what makes us excellent – healthy, happy people.

Reality is we can’t live our lives doing something good for our health for only 30 days, then slacking off the other 11 months. Make eating healthy a daily habit. I don’t eat perfect everyday, but I have made it a habit to include healthy foods every day.

Today is an avocado toast day. It takes me 5 minutes to put together and refuels my body with fiber, B vitamins, K, potassium, copper, C and E, amongst other amazing vitamins and minerals. While your toast is toasting, chop up an avocado and tomato, sprinkle a little sea salt and pepper and it’s ready to go.

Making one healthy change to your diet everyday will turn into long-term habits that make the difference for your whole life span, not just 30 days. Happy eating!

Spinach & Cheese Gluten Free Quiche

I used to think the crust of a pie or quiche was the tastiest part, but I was proven wrong once I started whipping up crustless quiche.

Not only does going crustless make this a great low carb meal, but it also cuts your cooking time in half. Gluten free and healthy as can be, this crustless quiche recipe below hits your taste buds just right and provides an abundance of vitamins and minerals from all the delicious veggies.

Quiche is great because you can change and add whatever your belly desires. Happy belly -> happy soul -> happy mind. Hope everyone has a great tasty Tuesday!

Spinach & Cheese Gluten Free Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 package frozen spinach (10 ounce) thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced white button mushrooms
  • 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1/4 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350¬į F. Grease 9-10 inch quiche dish or pie plate.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms and onion until slightly soft, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  3. In separate dish, mix beaten eggs, cheese, bacon, spinach, milk, salt and pepper.
  4. Once sautéed veggies have cooled, mix into egg mixture and pour into quiche dish.
  5. Sprinkle top of quiche with 1/4 cup cheese and bake for about 45 minutes, or until top is golden and quiche has set.

Smacznego!

Mind Control

“The mind is everything, what you think you become.” – Buddha

Is this not just the most honest statement you’ve ever heard? I know I’ve personally experienced this. You think negative, you feel miserable. You think happy thoughts, and suddenly an uncomfortable situation turns into the best day ever. It’s funny how everything in our lives seems okay when we stop focusing on the negative.

It all starts in our minds. Change your thought process and you will reach happiness. Happiness comes from your mind; not possessions, not money, not vacations, not even your partner, children, pets – nothing other than your mind.

Happiness starts from you inside, because without that initial effort in your mind to look at everything with positive thoughts (no matter what), then you won’t enjoy your partner, children, pets, money, vacations; you’ll always find something wrong with the above – and that is toxic. The difficult thing about it is you have to be the one to make the change. No one can get in your mind and tell you to be happy; you can’t read motivational quotes to change your thought process (they may motivate you, but you have to take the action). You have to think it and create a positive thought from a negative situation.

Take time and analyze your thoughts and how they make you feel. Take time and recognize what thoughts make you feel better, ugly, bitter, sick; tell yourself you deserve to be happy, you deserve forgiveness from yourself, and that you are doing the best you can. Hold yourself accountable and stop letting your emotions and negative thoughts rule you.

You deserve to feel happy. Not because of someone else, of money, friends, possessions, family, or vacations; because of you inside. Be happy with you in your mind and you will be happy with everything that you experience in your life.

“Here comes the sun, and I say, it’s all right”

Music is amazing – it makes you feel and connect with yourself, others and the world. Music heals, can be therapeutic, make us feel emotions we may not want to face, and it can even make us laugh.

Music is a form of art; just as we look at a painting and describe our take on it, we listen to a song and describe how it makes us feel. Music touches everyone  differently and brings out emotions we may be trying to avoid.

A great exercise for your soul is to play some songs, some sad, some happy, and let¬† those songs bring our your feelings. You’d be surprised what comes to you that needs to be released – and once you face your feelings you heal and can move on, and in some cases you have a much-needed whole-hearted laugh. It is not until we face our fears and our feelings that we can move past them and be happy again. The funny thing about life is we try to control it as best we can, but don’t realize that worry gets us nowhere; what should be will be, and life will move and change on the path that you pave for it.

The Beatles “Here Comes the Sun” was first released in 1969, written by George Harrison. George Harrison was spending time at Eric Clapton’s country house, avoiding having to attend a meeting at the Beatles Apple Corps organization. The relief of not being at that meeting and the arrival of spring created the beautiful work of art – Here Comes the Sun. A song that he connected with, and so many other people connected with as well, making us feel in the moment.

The beautiful thing about music is it touches everyone differently. It’s personal, deep, and makes us connect with our own souls. No matter what is going on in our world, our day-to-day lives, our jobs, families, George Harrison’s words speak the truth: “Here comes the sun, and I say, it’s all right”. Our lives never stop until we are passed. Everyday the sun will always rise and set. Time does not stop (though sometimes it may feel as it does!). If you are burdened by troubles, by health, by family, always remember good days will come. The sun will always rise and bring you warmth. Every spring there is new life that awakens. Things are going to be all right, maybe not this second, but they will again. As long as you do the best you can, are kind, are compassionate, then things really will be all right. I feel that now, more than I ever have, and hope I can give you that feeling as well.

What if I fall?

“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask  “what if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”  – Erin Hanson

So much emotion and feeling behind just a few words. Erin Hanson touches my heart – bringing tears to my eyes and pulling on my heart-strings. Words are never just words; they make us feel, dream, believe and hope.

The years ahead of me will bring much opportunity to encourage my son to be brave while at the same time reflecting on my life thus far. So many times we contemplate what the right decision is and what the outcome may be. Fear and doubt can be difficult to overcome, but I hope I can teach my son to be brave and courageous; to question life and approach it with a curious, go-getter heart.

We all have faced so many challenges, so much life. At one point or another we’ve been scared, the “what if” has crossed our minds. But what if you miss an opportunity? What if you miss a lifetime chance to do something incredible? When faced with fear and self-doubt, know that it’s part of the process of life and embrace it. Feel that fear, pat yourself on the back, take that leap of faith, and fly. And then you’ll be saying to yourself “what if I hadn’t done that” instead of just “what if”.

Pan Seared Scallops

It has been pretty cold, colder than the norm, and this cold has left me craving hot foods. So this tasty Tuesday recipe brings you delicious, hot, pan seared scallops.

Scallops are very delicate and really don’t need much seasoning, similar to my previous tasty Tuesday post about king crab legs (not sure where this seafood craving is coming from, but I sure am enjoying it!). A little butter, salt, pepper and the aromatic, bitter, warm spice of cumin is all scallops need to compliment their delicate flavor. Served over a wilted (you guessed it  – hot) spinach and bacon salad, your body will feel warm all over, no matter where you live!

Pan Seared Scallops

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium-sized scallops
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Dash of cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions

  1. Sprinkle scallops with salt, pepper and cumin (a little goes a long way, a gentle sprinkle is enough to add flavor to the already-delicous scallops). Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high temperature. Once pan is hot (fat will start smoking) add scallops to sear, making sure they aren’t touching each other (if your skillet isn’t big enough then sear half at a time).
  3. Saute scallops for about 2 minutes on one side, add 1 tablespoon butter, and flip to saute underside. Baste scallops with butter while sauteing, for another minute or so, or until scallops are firm, browned, and centers are opaque. Set aside and place foil tent over scallops to keep warm.
  4. Heat half a tablespoon olive oil over medium heat, add spinach, and keep moving spinach around for about 1 minute until wilted.
  5. Serve wilted spinach sprinkled with bacon and top with your amazing pan seared scallops.

Enjoy and stay warm!

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