Sunday, March 27, 2011

Favorite Friday!

Our kitchen is about to get bigger!  We're moving to a new and bigger apartment and couldn't be happier.  Our new kitchen has a dishwasher, double sink, disposal, and normal size oven.  We're looking forward to more cooking and new recipes now that clean up won't be such a bother!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Favorite Friday!

Happy Friday!  Today I want to share with you something I use everyday and love, love, love.  (Disclaimer: a family member works for the company, so I wouldn't have normally bought this product myself initially, but if this family member stops working for this company, I will still be a lifetime purchaser and user.  I definitely do NOT get any benefit from posting this, and it's highly unlikely said family member reads this blog.)

CamelBak bottles.  My favorite bottle is their new Groove stainless steel bottle in white.  It looks way cool, and feels really substantial, yet light.  The best feature of the bottle is that is has a small filter that's used as you suck up the water.  For me, that means I can bypass the Brita filter in fridge and just fill up my bottle from the tap whenever it runs low.  Super convenient and healthy.  I drink way more water with this puppy sitting on my kitchen counter always ready to go.

At work I use the Better Bottle, which is bigger than the Groove, and is BPA Free plastic.  It's cute, and super convenient.  I keep it in front of me to remind me to keep hydrated.  Which, unfortunately, means more trips to the bathroom, but still totally worth the health benefits.  As it gets low, I head to the filtered water faucet at work and filler' up!  The best part is that I don't have to worry about unscrewing a lid, or the bottle tipping over - which would be very, very bad in my world.

No matter what bottle you choose, choose one and use it.  It's better for the environment and for your health.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Consistecy is the Key

I've noticed definite benefits in my life when I've exercised my will power to achieve consistency. 

I've seen it help me with my running.  When I stick to my training program, instead of rearranging the order of my workouts I notice I feel stronger.

I've noticed it with my relationships.  When I was really consistent calling my parents every Sunday when I lived out of state I felt a stronger bond with them.

I've noticed it with chores.  When I get into a routine, I think less about how I don't want to do something and I just do it without really thinking.

I've noticed it best with waking up early.  The more often I get up at the same time each morning, the less I think about it, and the easier it becomes.

Consistency is really, really hard.  I find that I have spurts of it, a few months in a row here or there.  But I'm always striving to maintain.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Inside-Out Lasagna

 Adapted from recipe on RealAge.com

I loved this recipe, while the HubLub liked it enough to be willing to eat it again sometime in the future.  This is a two-dish meal which saves time in the cleaning department :)

8 ounces whole-wheat rotini
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 - 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (processed to desired consistency)
6 cups baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 - 1 lb ground turket

Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8-10 minutes or according to package directions.  Drain, set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Brown ground turkey with onion, then add garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so).

Add tomatoes, spinach, and crushed red pepper.  Increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring once halfway through, until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes.

Add the pasta to the sauce and divide among 4 bowl.  Dollop each serving with 3 tablespoons of ricotta.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Favorite Friday

One of my favorite kitchen tools is the simple spatula.  I've had cheap ones and some nice ones from Crate & Barrel and William Sonoma, but they all had the same problem, the handle would loosen from the silicone head and get all gross and eventually fall off, or the silicone would start to deteriorate.  On a trip to Target I found exactly what I was looking for, a spatula that was one solid piece.  I got a medium and small one, in purple, the only color unfortunately.  I love having a small spatula on hand for all those small spaces.  The spatula is good quality, holds up just fine, has a good grip, a nice weight to it, and the price was reasonable.  I'm a big fan!

For some reason Target online does not have the spatula I got, so the photo above is one that is very similar, which you can get it here on Amazon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Make Your Own Microwave Popcorn

I like popcorn as a semi-healthy snack alternative, or when watching a movie.  Microwave popcorn is usually the most convenient, but not the healthiest.  I've had an air popper in the past, but it can be a hassle and difficult to salt.  Until recently, my preferred method was popping it in a pot on the stove in some oil.  But now, I've found the best of all worlds - making my own microwave popcorn.  This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown's Plain Brown Popper recipe.

DIY Microwave Popcorn

1/4 cup popcorn kernals
2 teaspoons popcorn oil
1/4 teaspoon popcorn salt

Mix ingredients together and pour into a brown paper lunch bag.  Staple closed (staples will not spark in microwave, it's okay).  Lay a paper towel underneath the bag to make clean up easier.  Microwave for approximately 2 minutes 20 seconds, or until there are a few seconds between pops.  Carefully remove bag from microwave and cut open with a pair of scissors.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Favorite Friday!

Each Friday I like to feature something that makes my life easier.  This week I'm really grateful we started using paper plates.  It seems like a wasteful thing to use paper plates instead of our regular plates, however, it saves us so much space and time when it comes to cleaning (since we don't have a dishwasher and a small countertop and sink).  I try to recycle the plates when I can, since we don't have composting at our apartment, so it helps me not feel so guilty.  I have to admit, when dinner is done and I go to recycle the plate instead of piling it in the sink to be handwashed later, a smile comes to my face.  It's a little bit of freedom.