Monday, October 4, 2010

The Perfect Pumpkin Pasta - Or Pretty Close

Lunchtime Run & Afternoon Lifting 
It was another crazy busy day for me at work again. I guess it does make the time go by fast at least. I was definitely looking forward to a noon workout to get my mind off of work.

Jason and I had agreed on a 3-mile run at lunch. The temps were just below 70 degrees, so it was almost chilly at the start of the run. It was quite windy though. It was the kind of wind that swirls and switches directions making you feel like somehow you're always running into the wind. We went at a pretty good clip. The first mile was under an 8-minute mile despite the constant head winds. We didn't go exactly race pace mind you, but not too shabby for a lunchtime run after a leg day ;-)

I was glad that we ran during lunch too. I need to thaw out from the office where the temps were under 70 degrees as well, only no sunshine to make you feel warmer.

Since I didn't get in my chest workout on Saturday, I decided to do chest and triceps today after work. I decided to go with the pyramid method again for 2 super sets then 1 super set and finished with more push ups. For the pyramid I did 12, 10, 8, 10, 12 reps increasing then decreasing the weights with as little rest time as possible:

Wide-arm pushups - 24

Pyramid SS
Chest flye into chest press

Overhead triceps extension

Double-arm kickbacks

SS
Staggered chest press 3x12
Close grip press (for triceps) 3x8

Slow pushups (3:1 count) 3x4

I was so shaky that I really wasn't sure I could eek out the last couple of push ups. Washing my hair after the workout was a bit tricky as my arms were complete goo (but in a good way of course).

Pumpkin Time
After cleaning up, I got right onto dinner. As I've been promising, I made the Creamy Baked Pumpkin Pasta dish.

Baked Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
Ingredients:
8 oz whole-wheat rotini cooked per directions
can pumpkin puree (non flavored)
1 box firm silken tofu
4-5 sundried tomatoes reconstituted, rough chop
To taste: nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, parsley, sage, ground red pepper
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 box spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (or fresh)
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin* (or other squash seeds), roughly ground with parsley and oregano

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Puree pumpkin, tofu, tomatoes, and spices in food processor until smooth.

I large bowl, toss together pasta, pumpkin mixture, beans, and spinach. Re-season if needed.

Transfer to a prepared 8 x 11.5 casserole dish. Top with ground toasted pumpkin seeds (optional) and bake for approximately 25 minutes.

*Tip - save your seeds from butternut squash, pumpkins, or other fall squashes. Toast them up and store them in the fridge for toppings for soups, salads, snacking, or grind up for crunchy toppings for casseroles.
 
 

Wow. This was so incredibly good. It's really hard to describe the flavors. The pumpkin flavor was just right, just a perfect hint. And it was super creamy. You will never miss cheese in this casserole. The only complaint Jason had was that my toasted pumpkin seeds weren't as crisp. But for me, perfecto. I will most definitely be making this dish again. It would be perfect to take to a potluck too.