Lunch today

Greek pasta salad

Simple. Clean. Delicious

Ingredients

1/2 lb whole wheat rotini
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt/pepper
1 small bunch basil, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 can black olives
1/2 bag washed spinach
1/2 cup feta cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Set aside to cool.

Place lemon zest and juice into a bowl and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Combine tomatoes, basil, cooled pasta, spinach, and olives in a bowl. Pour lemon vinaigrette over top and toss to combine. Top with feta cheese.

Enjoy!!

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Juicing

Recently, I have been hearing so much about juice diets. I’m not one for fad diets and I truly believe that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with the occasional lean protein will keep you healthy forever. But so many people have been jumping on the juice bandwagon and after some consideration and research, I figured that I would give it a try. Since I had been really curious about this, I thought I would make a post about it incase any of you were wondering about juicing as well.

Usually, people do these juice diets as a way to detox. It is really great if you have a special occasion to attend and need to drop some pounds fast, but it is also something great to do every so often as a way to cleanse your body. Although there is no scientific research to prove this, some people have chosen to do these juice fasts as a way to heal them from certain medical ailments (migraines, depression, etc.).

Anyways, there is this really great health store/market here in Charlotte that I have driven by so many times, but never stopped in. I had heard that they have a great juice bar so today I went over there and tried one out. I got a juice that contained carrots, celery, ginger, lemon, and one apple. It was interesting. This is the type of drink that I definitely think grows on you after a while. It could be something that I eventually developed a liking to, but it could take some time πŸ˜‰ .

The flavors in the juice that I got were more savory than anything else. The carrot and celery really came through, but the apple not so much. I didn’t get much of a ginger flavor either. The lemon was definitely a present flavor which actually helped add some sweetness to the drink. Next time I might take the celery out and add something like spinach or kale – which don’t have very strong flavors. I will definitely have to give juicing another try because it really is a great healthy way to sneak in some extra fruits and veggies throughout the day.

I would be really curious to hear if any of you have tried a juice diet. Any flavor recommendations would be awesome!

I hope this was helpful and informative for anyone considering juicing πŸ™‚

Broccoli pesto pasta

I just got back from such a fun girl’s weekend in Atlanta with my mom and my sister. Even though it was just a weekend, it was so nice to have some quality time with them. We don’t live near each other anymore, so any time we all get to get together we make sure to have some fun! I had never been to Atlanta before (besides the airport πŸ˜‰ ) and I had no idea it was such a young, lively city! We stayed in an area known as Buckhead and it was great. Beautiful neighborhoods, awesome malls, delicious food…what more do you need?

This pasta is so tasty! It is some different that I thought would be a nice change from the traditional basil pesto. If you are looking for a really quick go-to dinner that has great flavor, this dish is perfect.

Ingredients
2 cups steamed broccoli florets
2 cloves of garlic
3 teaspoons salt (divided)
1 small bunch of basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pecorino cheese
1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti

In a large stock pot, boil water for pasta. add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water when its boiling.

In the meantime, add all ingredients (you should have 1 teaspoon of salt left which should be added here) except for pasta and cheese to a food processor and blend until all combined. (If your pesto seems a little dry, add some more olive oil) Once all of the ingredients are blended, remove and add to a bowl. Stir in cheese and set aside.

Cook pasta according to the directions on the pasta box. Drain and pour into the bowl with the pesto. Toss to combine. Add more cheese over the top if desired.

Enjoy!!

Dried cherry dark chocolate chip cookies

Over the past couple of years, Charlotte has gotten a few food trucks that can be seen around town at various times of the day. We have a really great pizza truck and even one that sells cupcakes. Periodically, they will park on the street that our school is on, and we always have to stop and get something from them. Well, today Mike came home and told me that there is an ice cream truck out there now. It is so hot (and if you know me, you know I NEVER pass up ice cream) so Mike, Bruin, and I took a walk up there and got some cones. They were awesome and just what I needed to brighten my day. πŸ™‚ Then I came home and ate a cookie.

These cookies are sooo good. They are soft and chewy and have the strong flavor from the dark chocolate and then the tart sweetness from the cherries which is the perfect mix. Because I can’t resist, I tried to make these as healthy as a cookie can be. But trust me – there do not taste healthy (and who can resist a warm, freshly baked cookie anyways – even if it is healthy).

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 flax meal
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/3 cup butter (I used flax butter)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T speculoos cookie butter
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, flax meal, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat butter until it is light and fluffy. Add in both sugars and cookie butter and beat until combined. Once well combined, add in the egg, vanilla extract and canola oil and beat until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Slowly add your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine – be careful not to over mix.

Add in chocolate chips and cherries and mix throughout cookie dough.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes -or until cookies are golden brown. Make sure to rotate your baking sheet halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Enjoy!!