Monday, December 12, 2011

Spin Rant and Creamy Italian-Style Spinach Pasta Bake

A Bit of a Spin Rant
Monday, you are not my BFF. I try really hard to not be negative about Mondays. But the fact is, I am. They mark the end of a weekend, the end of free time, then end of getting to sleep in just a little bit extra.

I tried to get excited about this Monday because it was supposed to be in the lower 50's and sunny. In other words, I was planning on running after work. Luckily, I did think to pack my bag for spin just in case. That "just in case" happened. I think part of my sciatica issues are with sitting most of the day. I have been noticing more and more that I am in pain more throughout the week than on the weekends even with long runs.

As much as I wanted to run, I knew it wasn't going to happen. Period. So I changed my mindset to spin. Then I found out my fave instructor wasn't going to be teaching. Not only was my motivation lacking overall, but I was doing my Plan B workout as it was. And now a different instructor? Can we through another wrench into this Type A Gal's plan?

Those of you who do spin know that instructors make or break a class depending on attitude, on energy levels, and on the type of class they conduct. Can I just say that I loathe low-ceilings/hovers and triceps pushups???? OH and front and backs and jumps. Sorry, you just don't do pushups on your bike while out for a ride. You pretty much don't do low ceilings or front and backs either.

I'll stop complaining. It wasn't a bad class, it was just not what I was hoping for on a motivation-less Monday when I was already switching gears (get it...gears...bikes...teehee). How do you react to changes in your planned workout? Or instructors? Part of me wanted to just call it a rest day to be honest. Of course, I am glad I went. Glad I got the workout done.

Kitchen Motivation was Last Night
Even though I managed to get to the grocery store and had a full fridge, I went with something fairly simple for dinner. I just didn't feel like making anything too involved. So, I went with my Spicy White Chili with Tempeh. Basically you just throw it all into a pot and let it simmer away.

Definitely a Monday kind of meal. Though, part of me feels a little bad for not using some of the fresh veggies I picked up. I have beets to use along with butternut squash, kale, asparagus, poblano peppers, portobello mushrooms...so many goodies to choose from this week.

So, not creative tonight. However, last night I did end up getting a little creative. Well, sort of. Jason keeps mentioning pasta. Last night he also mentioned a casserole. So, I used my silken tofu trick for making a "cream" sauce in order to make a baked pasta dish.

Creamy Italian-Style Spinach Pasta Bake
Ingredients:
4-5 oz whole-wheat rotini or penne
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes, drained
1 package firm silken tofu
6-7 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
To taste: salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
3-4 artichoke hearts, diced
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Daiya Vegan Mozzarella (optional or cheese of choice)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook pasta per package directions.

In a food processor, puree tomatoes, tofu, garlic, nutritional yeast, and seasonings until mostly smooth, some tomato pieces are fine.

In a large bowl, combine artichokes, spinach, beans, pasta, and sauce. Stir well and re-season if needed. Stir in just a small amount of the Daiya then transfer to a prepared glass casserole dish. Top with more Daiya and bake approximately 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted.
 
It might not have been the prettiest dish, but looks can be deceiving. This turned out so good. It was rich, creamy, decadent feeling. The sundried tomatoes added just a hint of a tangyness to the sauce. Definitely a dish I'll be making again. 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Run (Plan B Spin)
  • Comfort dinner
  • Relaxing on couch