Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Perfect "Fries" and Perfect Pasta Dish

Running and Boxing
This morning I was really wanting to get up and run while it was fairly cool. I woke up around 4 am and then dozed in and out until 5-ish. I decided I was just going to forget it and reset the alarms. However, Heath decided he needed to get up and go potty, so I ended up getting up after all.

This was my first run without a heart rate monitor in at least a year. I did have a stop watch, but couldn't remember how to get the stupid thing to work. So I just went by the actual time - started at 5:49 am and hit mile 3 at 6:15 am. It was so strange not knowing what my heart rate was at. I can sort of determine my pace by where my heart rate is. It was still a good run, though super humid as we have rain starting to move in for the week.

I ended up doing MMA Boxing at lunch. It was a great (and greatly needed) energy boost. I didn't have time to finish up with abs, so I had to do those after work.

Tea Heaven
When I got home, I found a nice goody package waiting for me in the mailbox. I recently won a Zhena's Gypsy Tea giveaway from Kalli @ Fit and Forty Something. I am not normally a big green tea drinker. I drink iced tea with dinner and water throughout the day. I want and need to drink more green teas and have found that I really do enjoy them when I do take the time to steep a cup. So, I'm taking some of these goodies to work with me tomorrow.
I really can't wait to try out some of these flavors:  pomberry, blueberry vanilla, cacaoberry... Thank you Kalli!!

Pasta Night
Jason has a triathlon in two weeks that he's trying to get prepared for (especially the run and ride in the heat aspect). So, he ran at lunch then planned a bike ride after work. I decided to make something rather simple for dinner. I was wanting veggies, veggies, and more veggies. Jason brought home some locally grown Japanese eggplant the other day, so I thought I'd definitely use that. I decided on an Eggplant and Squash Pasta.

Eggplant and Squash Pasta
8 oz whole-wheat pasta (such as rotini or penne)
2 Japanese eggplants, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
Capers (to taste)
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt) or approximately 1 1/2 cups fresh diced with juice
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 tbsp tomato paste (depending on desired sauce consistency)
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
Homemade Chickn' Seitan
To taste: salt, pepper, basil, parsley, oregano, nutritional yeast flakes

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In large skillet, saute onion and garlic until just soft. Add in eggplant, squash, and zucchini and cook approximately 3 minutes then add in remaining ingredients and let let sauce slightly thicken. If sauce gets too thick, add splash of white wine or vegetable stock.
 This definitely hit the spot for a veggie-laden dish. It felt like summer and would be perfect room temperature as well.

Perfect "Fries"
I had quite a few comments asking how I made my "fries" so perfectly. I guess practice makes perfect as I make them all the time! But, here is all I do:

Preheat oven or grill to 425 degrees.

I think part of the key is to cut the "fries" consistently. After cutting them into consistent strips, I spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray with non-stick spray and sprinkle with whatever seasons you prefer. I use a blend that I keep on hand: cumin, red pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss the potatoes to coat and again make sure they are in a single layer.

Bake or grill for 20 minutes then use a spatula and flip. Bake another 20 minutes or until done. The grill does typically take just a little longer and the sweet potatoes are often a bit softer than in the oven.

But that's all I do.