Tag Archives: pasta

SAY CHEESE- Jessamyn’s New Favorite Thing of The Week!

STOP- before we go any further, I need to ramble about a product which has slowly but surely taken over my life. It is perfect in every way, and while it’s not a food, it definitely falls into the category of great skin care (a recurring theme recently- check out my Stages of Beauty product review and my Six Tips for Jealousy Inducing Skin).

Anyway, I don’t think anyone likes having dry lips. I HATE it- my friend Whitney and I have always joked that we should buy stock in blistex– we’re both completely obsessed with having satin-smooth lips. I usually try to have at least three tubes/pots in my possession at all time- one on my night stand, one in my wallet, and one in my backpack. Because my name is Jessamyn, I manage to lose my lip balm at a rate of one/week, so I end up spending way too much money on this particular product. In fact, because of the loss equation, I tend to only buy really cheap tubes- blistex or chapstick, mostly. I mean, I don’t mind losing a $0.99 tube of blistex, but I get PISSED if I lose my $2.99 tube of Burts Bees. However, as a token of appreciation for my work on 1776, one of my new favorite people was nice enough to buy me a truly awesome gift to feed my lip fetish:

body shop mango lip butter

I don’t usually shop at the Body Shop– I tend to think it’s a bit overpriced. However, this lip butter is enough to make me a regular customer. Butter is the only proper descriptive word- it’s literally like rubbing dairy fresh beurre on your pecker. The mango odor is very realistic- none of that sticky, sweet fake mango flavor that cosmetic companies usually favor. And it’s long lasting- I can involuntarily lick my lips multiple times and my lips won’t get patchy. While it’s DEFINITELY not cheap ($8.00), if you can afford to splurge this should definitely make your short list. Personally, if anyone ever gives me a gift card (HINT HINT) this is a Body Shop product I would not hesitate to buy again.

Ok, I didn’t mean to ramble about skin care products AGAIN, but what can I say? I’m obsessed.

Anyway, there was a four-way tie for this week’s New Favorite Thing. The tie was so intense that I will need to write separate product reviews for the other three items because they were all just that tasty and handy. Major emphasis on the ‘handiness’ because since my schedule is so hectic, I need foods which can move at my pace.

Anyway, anyway, ANYWAY: What’s my new favorite thing of the week?

annies parm pasta

Ok, I love macaroni and cheese. If you were spontaneously quizzed about my food preferences, this is probably the factoid that will jump to mind immediately. However, though my love of homemade baked macaroni and cheese is well documented, I have to admit something- I freaking HATE boxed macaroni. I mean, I’ll eat it. What kind of stereotypical fat kid would I be if I turned down boxed mac and cheese?Smile Forget about stereotypical fat kid: what kind of former college student and four year dormitory resident would I be if I didn’t admit to (over)indulging in easy mac from time to time? But, as an adult, I would never buy boxed mac and cheese voluntarily.

For one thing, it’s SO bad for you- I mean, regular mac and cheese isn’t traditionally healthy either, but if you’re going to fall into a cheese coma, shouldn’t it be from freshly grated cheese and not questionable cheese ‘powder’?

Also, it…doesn’t taste good. Yeah, I loved to eat it poolside with hotdogs after an afternoon of hanging out by the pool with my childhood friends. But I’m an adult now. And as an adult, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I don’t like it. I’m not judging anyone who always stocks up on Kraft mac and cheese when it’s 10/$10 at your local supermarket, but I have developed a serious aversion to these products.

Therefore, I’ve been a bit skeptical of Annie’s Organic boxed pastas. I’ve heard good things, but would I be able to shift my way of thinking to accommodate Annie’s?

First of all, you should check out the Annie’s philosophies. Their list of core values is really awesome:

  • Annie’s is real, authentic, and trusted by consumers.  As a company we strive to build upon this legacy with every decision we make.
  • Annie’s only makes products that taste great; they delight our consumers.
  • Annie’s uses only simple natural and organic ingredients, no icky additives or pesky preservatives.
  • Annie’s sources only from places and people we trust, with high emphasis on quality, as well as agricultural and environmental sustainability.  We believe in transparency.
  • Annie’s is a socially responsible company, and through our actions and programs, we spread awareness and act as a positive role model for consumers and other businesses to do the same.
  • Annie’s and its valued employees treat consumers, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and each other, with the same high degree of respect, fairness, & honesty that we expect of others.

How does this fit into their food? Well, unlike other boxed pastas, you can recognize every ingredient on the ingredient list– In fact, check this out:

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC WHEAT PEACE PASTA, ORGANIC VALLEY ® ORGANIC PARMESAN CHEESE (ORGANIC CULTURED PASTEURIZED MILK, SALT, NON-ANIMAL ENZYMES), ORGANIC WHEY, ORGANIC VALLEY ® ORGANIC CHEDDAR CHEESE (ORGANIC CULTURED PASTEURIZED MILK, SALT, NON-ANIMAL ENZYMES), SALT, ORGANIC CORN STARCH, ORGANIC CREAM, ORGANIC GARLIC, NATURAL SODIUM PHOSPHATE, ORGANIC ONION, YEAST EXTRACT, ORGANIC WHITE PEPPER.

This week Annie’s box pastas are on sale at Whole Foods, and I decided to give it a  try. I went to the grocery store after a fairly intense exercise session, so I was pretty famished by the time I lugged all my (reusable!) bags home. I ate my pasta with a Lightlife Smartdog (my fave) and a GIGANTIC serving of steamed baby bok choy and peppers. For the record, both the baby bok choy and the smart dog were DELISH. But the star of my dinner plate was the Annie’s Peace Pasta and Parmesan. Seriously, if I didn’t know it came out of a box, I would have thought it was homemade. The sauce was really delicious- it says the addition of butter is optional, but I threw in some earth balance to thicken it up and it was a great addition. Also, I’m generally a little put off by pasta with funny shapes- you know, spongebob squarepants, and the like. However, the little peace signs are absolutely adorable and they actually help the sauce stick to the noodle. Excellent idea, Annie’s.

All in all, this dinner hit the spot and Annie’s Peace Pasta and Parmesan deserves a fair share of the credit. I can’t wait for summer pool parties, where I will definitely have to introduce all my friends to the beauty of Annie’s boxed pasta. Oh, and smartdogs. We will definitely be eating smartdogs. Smile

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Filed under food, Jessamyn's New Favorite Thing of The Week, product review

The Winter Blues and a Delectable Avocado Pasta Dinner

Well, the Winter Illness Monster has settled into my house for the second time in three weeks. Am I being punished for not getting the flu shot? Or does this have something to do with wearing tights and skirts all winter long? Yeah, probably.

For whatever reason, my nasal passages are stuffed to the brim and my voice has decided it doesn’t want to come out and play. I’ve been forced to take a sick day. Downside of a  sick day? I’m incapable of leaving my bed. Upside of a sick day? While I can’t talk, I can still blog- as long as my typing doesn’t interrupt my c0nstant nose blowing.

I absolutely adore avocado, and was entranced by an avocado pasta dish that Angela of Oh She Glows blogged about a few weeks back. I finally got around to making this delicious dish a few nights ago. It tastes very decadent and creamy when it’s really simple and fairly healthy. The healthy fats in avocado make the pasta taste like a Fettuccine Alfredo hybrid, but without the heavy cream and cheese.

222011 008

Naturally, I adapted the recipe to ‘Jessamyn’ standards, which typically results in a key element being forgotten or dramatically distorted. In this case I used a bit too much garlic- in her recipe recap, Angela definitely says to limit the amount of garlic you use if you’re not too fond of the flavor. I love garlic, so I scoffed at this direction- I should not have scoffed. My sauce was very garlicky- I mean, it was still good, but I should have been a little less generous with the aromatics.

15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

(Oh, you want Oh She Glow’s Original Recipe?)

Yield: Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted

1/2 lemon, juiced

2-3 garlic cloves, to taste (USE 2 IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SMELL LIKE THE INTERIOR OF A GARLIC PRESS)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

~2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 oz of dry whole wheat pasta

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Make the sauce by placing the pitted avocado, salt, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor; process until smooth and creamy.

3. When sauce is thick, creamy, and delicious, reserve two healthy scoops (about 1/4 cup) in a serving bowl. Pour the rest of your avocado sauce in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for no more than 1-2 days.

4. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into the serving bowl. Toss with sauce until fully combined.  Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

The trouble with avocado is that it does not keep well after being exposed to the air. Therefore, I ate my avocado pasta for a couple of different meals in the days immediately following it’s preparation. This would be a really nice meal to share with someone else- If you choose to do this, simply double the pasta and serve all the sauce at once.

I served my pasta with turkey meatloaf cups which I adapted from a Weight Watchers Recipe. They are really easy to make, freeze very well, and can be used in a multitude of ways (for example, yesterday’s lunch consisted of a meatloaf sandwich).

Jessamyn’s Turkey Meatloaf Cups

Yield: 9 Servings (You can stretch the meat into 12 muffin cups, but 9 makes a healthy portion)

Ingredients

cooking spray

1 pound uncooked ground turkey breast (I used 93/7)

1 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 large onion(s), finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

3 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), finely minced, or more to taste

1 egg

1 tsp low sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp sherry cooking wine

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and coat 9-12 muffin holes with cooking spray

2. Place turkey in bowl; season with salt and pepper, mix until incorporated and set aside.

3. Place oil in a large frying pan and cook over medium heat; add onion. Sauté onion over medium heat until wilted and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add soy sauce and sherry.

5. Add onion mixture to turkey and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Drop by heaping tablespoons into prepared muffin tins until 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake muffins until center seems firm to the touch and turkey is completely cooked through, about 22 to 27 minutes. Yields 1 muffin per serving.

I sometimes chuckle when I read meatloaf recipes because the whole concept of meatloaf is to create a meal from what you have. I only used onion and garlic because that’s what I like in my loaf- however, you can throw in whatever aromatics, spices, or vegetables you have on hand and enjoy the hell out of your creation. Meatloaf gets a really bed reputation because of bad casserole concepts in the 1950’s. However, it’s actually a really great opportunity for food creativity.

Here’s what my finished plate looked like:

292011 013

It might look a little monochromatic, but it was DELICIOUS

I ate my meatloaf cups drizzled with mustard because I’m weird like that.

(And yes, I photographed my dinner on top of my record player, one of the many makeshift photo studios in my apartment. Haters Gonna Hate.)

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Filed under food, meal planning, recipes, Weight Watchers