Monday, November 25, 2013

Dat Baked Rotini, tho...

12 oz rotini
1/2-3/4 jar spaghetti sauce
4 mozzarella string cheeses
4 handfuls shredded parmesan cheese
5 slices provologne cheese
3-4 roma tomatoes <<YUUUUMMMMY
baby spinach (a few handfuls)

Cook and drain pasta.
While you're waiting for the water to boil and/or cooking the pasta, dice the roma tomatoes into chunks- a little bigger than you would for salsa. Thinly slice/shred the baby spinach. Cut the string cheeses up into little cubes, about 1/2".

Add the drained pasta to a big bowl.
Add the pasta sauce- it's up to you how much. How saucy do you want it?
Add the baby spinach, tomatoes, string cheese pieces, and 2 handfuls of the parmesan cheese. Mix that up well, then dump into a greased 9x13 dish (or a pretty deep 9x9 dish).
Cover with provologne slices, then sprinkle the last 2 handfuls of parmesan cheese over the top.

Cover this with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Check the pasta mix near the end; uncover for a little while if it seems too liquidy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Elope with a Cantaloupe Smoothie!

YUM, yum yum! This one came out very good!

I thought by now I would be getting sick of smoothies TWICE a day. Believe it or not, I still look forward to them. Probably because they are always easy and almost always very tasty. And even with 2 scoops of protein powder per smoothie twice a day, I'm more than halfway through the 30 Days to Feeling Fit and still on my first bag. I still have lots of powder left and lots of smoothies in my future.

I love buying new fruits and playing around with combinations.

1/2-3/4 cup cold water
2 scoops vanilla Arbonne protein powder
1/2 scoop Arbonne fiber boost
1 cup (a few fistfulls) of spinach leaves
1 tsp bee pollen (not necessary for taste but add it if you appreciate the nutritional benefits)
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 cup Simply Orange fortified orange juice (you can probably sub more orange extract + 1/2 cup water if you don't want the 55 calories from this)
1/2 cup frozen grapes
about 1 cup cantaloupe- we had it cut into slices of various lengths and 3/4" tall; I used 5 of them.

I do this in a hand blender with a stainless steel cup....
1. Add water, Arbonne powders, spinach, bee pollen, orange extract, and OJ (or extract + extra water if you're using that) and blend.
2. Add the frozen grapes and blend.
3. Add the cantaloupe and blend, and let it go for a minute or two even after you don't see chunks- just to get it as smooth as possible.

This one is definitely a keeper and one of my favorites! And I'm not even really a fan of cantaloupe. I bet this would be good with a carrot mixed in, too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Grape, Banana & Berry Smoothie

Some of my smoothies were getting sort of boring... I guess when I'm always using the vanilla Arbonne, that will always tend to have a certain taste, and then always mixing with fruit... well, you get the idea. I've tried some varieties with apples and cinnamon, and they're ok, but so far nothing to write home (or blog) about.

Today's was pretty simple and spectacular though.


2/3 cup water
2 scoops vanilla Arbonne protein powder
1/2 scoop Arbonne fiber boost
1 cup of spinach leaves (that's a guess... I take a few fistfuls and shove it in there).
1/2 cup Simply Orange fortified orange juice
1 tsp bee pollen (not necessary but it's good for you)
1/2 medium banana
1/2 cup frozen green seedless grapes
1/3 cup frozen blackberries

Add water, arbonne powders, bee pollen (if desired), orange juice, and spinach to your smoothie cup or blender, an blend until smooth. Then add the banana and grapes and blend again. Add the black berries and blend until smooth, then another minute or two for good measure.

I don't usually add fruit juice to smoothies because I feel like it's sort of a waste of calories. Isn't it better to just add the real fruit? More nutritious and whatnot? With the case of oranges, though, I honestly found that as far as taste is concerned, the juice- to me- is better. I haven't compared different ones, but my husband bought Simply Orange to make mimosas recently, so it's just what we had around. 1 cup of it is 110 calories, which can be a lot depending on what else is in your smoothie. Cutting back to 1/2 cup gives you only 55 cals and still a good dose of the flavor. Considering my orange and banana smoothie was a total miss, and two oranges equaled a LOT of calories (I added an extra when I tasted it with just one and it had hardly any orange flavor at all!), I like the idea of getting more intense orange flavor with fewer calories with the OJ. I also recently bought orange extract, but I haven't tried any yet. If you don't want the calories from OJ, that is probably another good option.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Arbonne- 30 Days to Feeling Fit

I'm starting a new "fitness project" in February with a friend of mine who is a consultant for Arbonne. There may be some other girls joining us, too. I call it a "fitness project" or maybe a "health project" because calling it a "diet" sounds weird. "I'm going on a diet." I've never used that phrase before and I don't plan to start now. But this system is supposed to be a good way to get rid of toxins from your body and from what I've read, after you've done this for the 30 days, you no longer crave some of the bad-for-you food that made you want to start this in the first place.

Oh, and ever since Halloween and especially Christmas, we've had a crap-ton of candy laying around the house. What to do with it to keep it from spoiling? ...Eat it, of course. Now that I've gone through a few bags of Hershey's kisses, some peppermint patties, and Dove little Promise chocolates, I'm actually pretty sick of chocolate. I don't think I'll miss it.

But cheese. I'm going to miss that. For the next few days until we start the "official" program, I'm going to try and get my fill of it!

So what's the program? You order this kit from Arbonne that comes with 2 giant bags of protein (mine came last night. The bags are HUGE), a bag of Fiber boost (also a big bag), some detoxing tea, energy-fizz sticks that I think you add to water, to give yourself a little boost during the day when you're feeling tired, and some other things that I  can't remember right now.

The main idea of the program, or at least the biggest change for me, is the smoothies. You have 2 a day, with the protein powder and fiber boost, which keeps you feeling full. Then a regular healthy dinner.

I had some protein powder from a previous Arbonne order, so I sort of pseudo-started the program a bit early by having a smoothie for breakfast every day this week. It's been interesting putting them together and soon enough I'll probably make a Pinboard of smoothie recipes. I can see how having them all the time is going to get old.

Oh, but to cut back on wastefulness, I did order some stainless steel drinking straws from Etsy! Looking forward to getting those.

But back to the smoothies. As of yet, I haven't gone shopping specifically for my smoothies, but that will probably change in a week when I start drinking 2 a day for my Arbonne 30 days to feeling fit. Not specific smoothie shopping = just using whatever we happen to have laying around. Luckily we keep a lot of fruit around, just because. Some of it I don't want to put into a smoothie- like mangoes- because they're so damn good on their own and I want to enjoy it by itself... you know?

In the next week, I will probably actually do some "meal planning" or, smoothie planning. I will go look for good deals or sales on fruit and buy some to freeze for my smoothies. That way the ones we have just laying around can either go into a smoothie or just be enjoyed on their own.

Orange and Banana, take 1

And add another check into the "meh" category.

Orange and Banana Smoothie

1/2 c water
1 Arbonne vanilla protein powder packet
2 oranges
1 tsp bee pollen
1 handful of spinach leaves

I just threw everything into here and blended it together.... pretty boring.

I really wanted to try and duplicate the taste of a dreamsicle here. It didn't happen. At all. Oranges have a lot of flavor, right? I thought using TWO would DEFINITELY up the orangey factor- negative. The Arbonne vanilla powder kind of overwhelms things, which is odd since vanilla is such a mild taste. That's the reason I got the vanilla... so that I would taste more of the fruit.

I probably could have added either a handful of strawberries or mango and this would have been a PHENOMENAL drink. But I was in the mood to be somewhat of a purist this morning, so in my mind, orange = orange and I wasn't going to add anything to "fake" a flavor I was going for.

The result is little flavor at all.

Andplusalso none of my ingredients were cold today, so this was another warm one. Which isn't TERRIBLE but a little bit of chill is nice.

Wanna-Be Pumpkin Pie Smoothie that is bland as hell

Tried another new recipe last night. A few days ago I had looked at Arbonne's "30 days feeling fit" guide and they had some smoothie recipes in there. I was trying to remember one of them last night when I made a 2nd smoothie for the day, but I was lacking some ingredients. The recipe calls for vanilla yogurt, which I didn't have. But then I remembered the guide saying to avoid dairy, and isn't yogurt dairy? So I figured maybe it was best I didn't have the yogurt anyway? I don't know.

Wanna-Be Pumpkin Pie Smoothie that is bland as hell

1/2 cup water
Arbonne vanilla protein powder packet
1/2 cup Coconut milk
1 teaspoon bee pollen
1 1/2-2 tablespoons honey
2 handfuls of spinach
dash of vanilla
1/3 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin)
like a teaspoon or more of cinnamon
generous sprinkling of nutmeg

I blended all of this together in hopes it would taste like pumpkin pie.... but not quite. It wasn't terrible, just... bland. Oh, and kind of warm, since the only cold items were the liquids and spinach.

I was sipping it and kept adding more cinnamon and nutmeg, then tried to imagine I was actually eating pumpkin pie, or maybe just a pumpkin spice drink from any number of coffee places. I tried to think what would make my drink taste more like those, and it hit me: Sugar. Lots of it. It seemed counter productive to add sugar to something that is supposed to be healthy though. I was sort of generous with the honey, but that wasn't enough. If I had had the yummy vanilla greek yogurt that I usually keep around OR some vanilla ice cream, I think this drink would have been AMAZING.

But what do vanilla yogurt and ice cream have in them that my smoothie didn't have? ...Sweeteners. I'm not sure why I was so against putting some sweetener into my smoothie, yet if I had put the yogurt in there that would already contain some sort of sweetener, I would have been okay with it.

Maybe part of it is just avoiding the habit of adding sugar to things.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ANOTHER green smoothie

Still working on ideas for Arbonne shakes... I've signed up to do a "30 days to feeling fit" which means drinking 2 shakes a day!

1/2-3/4 cup of the Cucumberade I made yesterday (for reference.... basically it's lemon juice, lime juice, cucumber)
1 package Arbonne vanilla protein shake mix
1 teaspoon pee pollen
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1/2 can of pineapple chunks, including 1/2 of the juice(the small can... about 1 1/2" tall)
2 small handfuls cucumber slices
2 bigass strawberries, including the green tops
2 handfuls of grapes

I added everything but the strawberries and grapes, blended it up, then added the strawberries, more blending, then the grapes. Keep blending til smooth. This one was really yummy!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another green smoothie

I try to write these down in case I'm ever needing ideas...

This morning I made the "Cucumberade" from my Cool Waters recipe book.

Part of this recipe involved pureeing a cucumber along with a cup of water, juice from a lemon, a lime, and a teeny sprinkle of salt. (I used a key lime from my lime tree.) After you puree the stuff, you run it through a sieve into a pitcher with more water. (There is more to it than that... but I don't want to infringe on copyright by accidentally publishing their whole recipe here!)

After extracting the liquid, I obviously had all this citrus-flavored cucumber pulp left. I thought that'd be pretty tasty in a smoothie!

About 1/2 cup water
1 package Arbonne vanilla protein shake mix
Then dumped in another 1/2 cup water on top of that
1 quantity leftover pulp from making Cucumberade
2 handfuls of baby spinach
An apple

I blended everything minus the apple together first- it didn't have much flavor at that point, so I looked around to see what we had and spied an apple that's been sitting around for a couple weeks. I added the apple to give it a little extra... something. It's not a super sweet smoothie or very strong, so the flavor is quite mild in this one. But the cucumber and apple went surprisingly well together- this was a red delicious apple, not a tart one, which may explain why the pairing worked?

I think this could also work with coconut water versus plain water.