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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
Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.

Comments

  1. AnonymousJuly 06, 2010

    YUM! I love sauteed veggies mixed with pasta - I usually go with the way more veggies to pasta ratio and add a grating or two of parmesan cheese on top, soooo good! See? I CAN cook some of the things you make, heh. ;-)

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  2. Nature called your butt right out of bed this morning! I love it! Great workout today. I love kick boxing to get me motivated! Your dinner and fries look delicious. I will get on the fry thing soon!

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  3. How perfect is this?!? I have both eggplant AND squash on a grocery list for this week! Looks like I may just have a recipe for them! YUM! :)

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  4. Jessica @ EatDrinkBreatheSweat It's really hard to go wrong with loads of veggies isn't it?! And you say you're not creative in the kitchen ;-)

    Sarena @ The Non-Dairy Queen LOL - nature sure did call didn't it. Sometimes those things are blessings in disguise though.

    Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life Let me know if you give it a shot. It'd be great with grains like quinoa or barley too.

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  5. wow and what a package of assorted teas too! i love TEA <3 im sure most would agree ;)

    definitely a good run! good job! i can imagine how humid that would be, wow!

    SEITAN! <3 YAY! such a healthy nutritionally packed day :)

    xoxo

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  6. I've loved how cool it's been lately! Minus the rain. Has it been raining in Ark?

    The boxing sounds cool. Do you do it at a gym or what?

    Oh, and I made some black bean and tomato quinoa! so good!

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  7. Great box of teas. I am a huge green tea drinker and in the summer I will steep a bunch and cut lemon and place it in a pitcher in the fridge, tastes very good on a hot day ;)
    So I made your sweet potatoe fries, I just posted it on my blog. They were DELICIOUS!
    Thanks for the recipe!

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  8. Hooray! Thanks for posting your fry tips. You are really good at cutting them uniformly, I thought for sure you were using a mandolin slicer. I think I'll need to get out my slicer when I try this :)

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  9. I dont doubt your "perfect" fries but a little trick that helps is too bake them at a high hear (like 400) then turn the oven off and let them sit in the dry heat for about 30 min. The dry heat really helps! I wish I could get myself to wake up as early as you. What time do you go to sleep? see i think thats where my problem lies, I cant go to bed before 1am!

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  10. Cacaoberry green tea?! I want some of that!

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  11. consistency in slicing is key to get good results, i agree!

    as for you being a nite owl, i can see it! We shall have to go out for a drink together and stay out very late some nite :)

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  12. AnonymousJuly 07, 2010

    I had an AM run today too - so great to fit it in! Your fries look so crispy - I agree, similar shapes help them bake evenly.

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  13. I am either all about tea or tea-free. Sometimes a new stash gets me back to drinking it non-stop. Enjoy!

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  14. What a great package! I love trying out different teas (although it's a little hot for that right now, ha!).

    Your fries do indeed look perfect! :-)

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  15. Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel I really can't wait to try some of these tea flavors. The South is notorious for being humid. You get used to it to a point. But there are those days when you feel like you're swimming.

    Lisa @ I'm an Okie Hey girl, the boxing is a DVD (Cathe Friedrich). You can click the link and read about it and see a preview. It's really a lot of fun. We had some showers over the HOT weekend. Supposed to cool down into the low 90's after today. So I'm taking it you liked the quinoa??? I saw that you ate leftovers ;-)

    Bela @ It's Life, Max it Out Oh, I need to go check it out. Glad you enjoyed them and that they turned out!!

    Sarah @ The Ordinary Vegetarian Nope, no mandolin. Although I do have a really old fry cutter that my mom had when we were kids. I think it's called the Vegomatic or something crazy. Too much trouble to break out though.

    Eden's Eats Oh I remember reading that trick/tip and have meant to try it out! Completely forgot about it. I try to go up to read at 8 so I can hopefully be asleep around 9-9:30.

    Krystina @ Organically Me I know - doesn't it sound great!

    Averie @ Loves Veggies and Yoga I guess that means I either need to make it out West or you need to heat Southeast????

    Sarah @ Run Sarah Sometimes it's nice to run in the morning when you're not stuck in your head as much. It can be nice to watch the world sort of wake up.

    Joanna Sutter @ Fitness & Spice I'm hoping this new stash gets me into a habit. It all sounds (and smells) so good.

    Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg At least my office is sub-zero. It'll be nice to have hot tea to warm me up!

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  16. Uhh..I know what you mean about missing the HR monitor.I think I'm obsessed..but maybe it was a good thing to NOT have it.
    That's exciting for Jason- about doing the triathalon!!! Very cool :)
    I'm not much into tea either..but I hear it's so much better for you than coffee. I would like to try it sometime, I just feel like I might be disappointed about not feeling the caffenne effects..if ya know what I mean! :)

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  17. Fries! I could be a french fry, mmmm. You know dipping them in a little balsamic and tossing them back in the oven makes a savory crust. Fabulous tips!

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  18. How was the Japanese eggplant? A friend of mine just used one and she said it was way bitter. That wouldn't stop me from trying it though.

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  19. AnonymousJuly 07, 2010

    I have to get up at 5 to run these days! No fun

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  20. Your food pics always make my mouth water! The fries look amazing! I really think you would enjoy Food Matters, it's really eye opening.

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  21. How convenient that you posted your boxing workout today because I was asking about boxing workouts in my post today. I was really asking more about live boxing classes using bags, but maybe I should just go ahead and try the video you linked to since I don't have a class to go to right now.

    You've made realize how much I need to focus on consistent cutting when I make fries. duh. I always cut them all uneven because I'm impatient and then some of them burn and some don't get done. Thanks for the tip!

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  22. I feel naked now without my heart rate monitor! It is so weird. LOL! Oh, your fries look great! I agree with candice.. I always just hack away!

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  23. AnonymousJuly 07, 2010

    so glad you got the TEA! love the eggplant dish. also how funny that is was hard for you to run without the HR monitor. i never use one-should I?

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  24. AnonymousJuly 07, 2010

    all of that tea looks soooooo good!! I am super jealous!

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  25. I love tea. I stumbled upon Kusmi Tea in Montreal last week and they had so many loose leaf Russian teas, it was like tea heaven!

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  26. Congrats on the tea win. You know that got my attention, LOL.

    Exercise without a monitor? OMG I would be so lost. Good for you going without it. I don't know that I have it in me. I would need to get another one ASAP, LOL.

    I agree with you on the hight heat on the fries. I sometimes do mine at 450 or 475 even. Cutting them the same size is also very important. Great tips!

    Your dinner got my attention today. I haven't had pasta is so long. I think I am craving it. ;-)

    talk to you later,
    Ali

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  27. one time I ran without a HR and a watch. I didn't know long I ran, how far, etc. I was very relaxing.
    Home made fries are so much better than pre-made or restaurant. I think its the love that goes in it. hehe.

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  28. Kelly @ Healthy Living with Kelly That is a good point about the HR monitor. You have to rely on how you're really feeling not just the numbers.

    Holly @ Greek Yogurt and Apple Slices I am definitely addicted to that thing no doubt about it. I could see where you get used to the idea of coffee = caffeine.

    Nichole @ Live for the Run Good call on the balsamic vinegar!

    Lindsay @ Pancakes N Pajamas I love Japanese eggplant so much more than regular. I find it to be far less bitter - much milder.

    Madeline @ Greens and Jeans I hear you on having to run early or not at all!

    Jenna @ Healthy. Happy. Well. Aww - thanks I take that as a huge compliment!

    Candice @ ChiaSeedMe Cathe has several kickboxing workouts and that boxing DVD has a bonus bag workout if you have a bag. I don't... Yep, consistency is a big key factor whether you like them thick or thin.

    April @ Foods of April Oh I kept looking at my wrist over and over and over. It was nuts.

    Kalli @ Fit and Forty Something I almost wish I had never had one. But, I have learned to better pace myself and to also work out at different levels rather than just always maxing out my HR. I think it can definitely help when training for longer distances too.

    Kat @ Bubble Gum Gym Kat Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday I'm hoping to love tea more - more than just iced tea.

    Alicia @ Vegan Epicurean I thought you'd perk up about the tea. I need to try your tip on the steeping at room temp too.

    Lindsay @ Cotter Crunch I think the love makes all the difference too! Good call :-)

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  29. congrats on the win! Ive won one of Kalli's giveaways too!

    Love both of those meals. I'm a huge baked-fry fan, especially in the winter.

    It always feels good when you ACTUALLY get out of bed. nice.

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  30. Hi There! I just came across your blog! I must say--I love the pink! I'm a vegetarian myself and those recipes are the bomb. The pasta looks so delish and I will definitely be trying my hand at those fries! Thanks for the post!

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  31. AnonymousJuly 07, 2010

    Oh, I just love sweet potato fries - yum!

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  32. Thanks for the directions for the fries! I can never get mine to turn out nicely, so I'm really excited to try out your method!

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  33. Kenzie @ A Healthy Purpose LOL - yes it is nice to actually get out of bed ;-) I'm really excited about this win. Kalli's great isn't she!

    B Foxy Fitness Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I look forward to checking out your blog.

    Courtney @ Three Months They're really hard to beat aren't they!

    Chelsea @ The Healthy Munchkin I hope you give it a shot and let me know.

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  34. Your fries really do look pretty perfect! Mmm I love sweet potato fries. So good!! (:

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