Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken Pasta

Yummy recipe I tried last night.  Thought I'd share. Enjoy.

Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken Pasta

Prep time:  35 mins
Cook time:  20 mins
Total time:  55 mins

Serves: 4-5

  1. 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (or chicken thighs if you prefer)
  2. 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise (get a BIG one)
  3. 12-15 artichoke hearts, cut in half (I used jarred artichokes that were in olive oil for more flavor)
  4. ⅓ cup walnuts
  5. 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 4-5 tablespoons vegetable broth
  7. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  8. ½ cup fresh parsley
  9. ½ cup fresh basil
  10. juice of 1 lemon
  11. salt and pepper, to taste
  12. 3-5 cups of spinach (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 405 degrees (not 450, stop questioning me)
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until squash gives when you poke the outside of it.
  3. Use a spoon to remove the excess seeds then a fork to thread the strings from the squash. To make spaghetti, duh.
  4. But while the squash is baking, make the pesto and chicken.
  5. Place a large pan over medium-high heat, add a splash of fat and 1 minced garlic clove. As soon as the garlic becomes fragrant, add the halved artichokes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cook until slightly browned and tender on all sides.
  6. Once artichokes are browned, add them to a food processor along with the walnuts, olive oil, vegetable broth, and second garlic clove. Puree until smooth.
  7. Then add the parsley, basil, lemon, and salt and pepper. Puree once more until smooth. Taste and add more lemon and salt and pepper to your preference.
  8. Once pesto is done pureeing, add the chicken to the same pan that you sautéed the artichokes in.
  9. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
  10. Once chicken is cooked through, add in about ¼ of a cup of the pesto to the chicken along with the spinach, in the pan and mix well to coat. Cover and let cook for 2-4 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
  11. Then add the threads of spaghetti squash to the pan (or a large mixing bowl if you need more room). Mix spaghetti squash, pesto, and chicken all together.
  12. Serve with some fresh basil on top.
  13. Love pesto in a new way!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy Birthday friend

"Life is an awful, ugly place without a best friend." 

Madi... I'm glad you're mine.
Happy Happy Birthday.

more of madison's birthdays hereherehere and here

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Letters to Finley

Dear Finn,

Tonight was the first and most likely not the last time you broke a girls heart. My heart.
Since you've been born we have had a unique connection. In a way I have always felt like you were sent here for me. We have jokingly called you "my barnacle" or "mamas boy" but secretly I have always loved your unwavering affection for me. There is something about the way you put your arms around my neck and give me a squeeze or your wet slobbery kisses. I have always relished being the only one able to comfort you. For almost a year I was the only one who really fed you, put you to bed. because of nursing we spent a lot of time together. Wherever I go you go and that's way it has always been... Until now.
Tonight, was like any other night. I started to put you to bed and that's when it started. You scram and called for your daddy. I tried to hold and snuggle you against my chest and sing our nightly songs and you pushed me away. Your looks of disinterest tore through my heart. What happened? I have always been your moon and stars and tonight I was clearly just mom and you wanted dad.
I know it's silly to feel so broken over a toddlers bipolar decision of which parent was his favorite tonight. But I am. It was a change in the tide. My baby is growing up. You are growing up and I'm going to have to accept that, but it's hard. Your babyhood has been so wonderful and I have loved every moment of it. I'm sad to see it go.

Today we are embracing change as you grow into a boy.

Love you always,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Got Oatmeal

Remember my oatmeal recipe from yesterday? My good friend/"pen pal" Lauren, who has two cute boys and is striving to create a healthy life style for her family too put some of the ingredients to good use and created a cookie recipe. I'm excited to try them.  Here is what she writes:

You will need:
- Two ripe bananas   – 1 cup rolled oats   – 1/4 cup flaxseed  - 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
Mush all the ingredients together and scoop out onto lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Yes, I cheated a little here and added chocolate chips but these would be good without them.  You could also add cinnamon and raisins for more of an oatmeal cookie flavoring.
My husband was in love with these.   He described them as “Cliff bars but so much better” (and WAY better for you!).  These were incredibly simple to make, and an awesome breakfast on the go!  Looking forward to discovering more simple solutions to eating cleaner and healthier!  


Green Smoothies

If your kids are anything like my kids its torture to try and get them to eat ENOUGH veggies and fruit. Of course they will down a clementine here and there, an apple or banana but veggies are the hardest.  I'll admit I'm kind of the same way.  If it isn't drenched in ranch I'm not a huge fan unless its cooked.  So I started looking into green smoothies.  What better way to entice them into eating something healthy if it is also a "milk shake", right?  I started my search on Pinterest, where else. I was a bit leery about spinach and kale but I gave it go and it was quite yummy.  Here is our first green smoothie attempt.  The "immune booster" because boy could we use some immune boosting in these parts.


Boosting your immune system is a great way to stay healthy, especially during cold/flu season. The stronger your body is, the faster you get back on your feet. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables contain immune-boosting antioxidants. On top of that, you can add probiotics, olive leaf extract, and elderberry extract to keep you in fighting shape all winter long.  This smoothie is so easy, there is no room for excuses. Let’s get our families healthy right now!
2 cups spinach
1/4 cup carrots
1 banana
1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup water
2 cups frozen strawberries (I defrost them first because the flavor is more intense)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Additional immune boosters: powdered probiotics, olive leaf extract and elderberry extract (amount varies depending on how many people are drinking the smoothie)

I found the children's acidophilus at whole foods in the freezer section and the extracts from Harmons.  I'm sure Whole Foods has them too, I just wasn't in the market for extracts when I was at Whole Foods purchasing the acidophilus.   
So, there you have it... a salad in a cup. Yum.