February 9, 2012

Tasty Italian

Italian cuisine is something that is very near and dear my heart. Why you ask? Well, I'm 50% Italian and my last name is kind of a dead give-away to that fact. So when I realized that I hadn't eaten a bowl of pasta in say...well... months (!!!), something just had to be done about that.

And since I have this excellent slow cooker that has not seen the light of day in a while, I felt breaking it out would be the perfect opportunity to make a delicious sauce for topping the aforementioned pasta I was missing. And what Italian dish was on my mind? Fettuccine Bolognese
Such a hearty, comfort food dish. And I packed my sauce extra full of vegetables and lean, grass fed ground meat. Result? DELICIOUS! And there are plenty of leftovers for a repeat event. So, if you're craving a warm, steamy bowl of carbs, try this recipe!!!

Print this recipe!

Bolognese Sauce

  • 1/2 pound 96% lean ground meat
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 cup carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled san marzano tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can chopped san marzano tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried basil 
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a non-stick pan over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and brown meat.

Once brown, put meat into slow cooker. In the same pan, add another 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sauté onion, garlic, carrot, and red pepper until tender and soft. About 10 minutes.

Add balsamic and red wine to deglaze pan and scrap off all of the browned bits off the bottom. Add tomato paste, and stir everything together evenlty. Allow to cook for 1 - 2 more minutes, and then add everything to the slow cooker.
sorry, its not pretty
Take whole peeled san marzano tomatoes, and hand crush each tomato before putting into slow cooker. Then add all of the remaining ingredients into slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cook on high, uncovered for two hours. Then cook covered on low for 6 - 10 hours, or as long as you can. The longer it cooks, the more time the flavors will develop.

Yield: 10 servings

February 8, 2012

Yoga and Veggie Burgers

Today has just been one of those days... or really the last three days have been. It's just one of those times, where you realize how much you have to do and how little time you have to do it in, combined with the days where nothing seems to go your way. That was yesterday for me. But honestly, it might have been time for me to have one of those days.

You see, I used to feel this way more frequently, especially in college where I probably way over-exerted myself in my extracurriculars and felt the need to be a perfectionist in my studies. Result: way too much stress that wasn't even worth it. Especially since those stress episodes seemed to disappear once I started my weekly Friday afternoon yoga sessions.
yoga on the beach = dream!
 In the beginning, I was very convinced that yoga wasn't really "exercise" and if I was going to actually go and work out, I wanted to sweat! But once I actually tried yoga, my life was changed forever. It was SO RELAXING to the point where I felt much less stress throughout the rest of the week! It was amazing! But since starting grad school, those weekly yoga sessions have fallen by the wayside. But after how I felt yesterday, I might actually have to try to go out of my way to find a weekly yoga class on the cheap. But I got through it and it was nothing that a little cry-fest and two cookies couldn't fix. And they were some delicious cookies.

And for fun, I tried out a new product! Amy's California Veggie Burgers
Result: delicious!
I prepared my burger in a skillet sauteed in a bit of olive oil. The result came out quite nicely! A crispy outside, with a soft interior. I ate mine with a bit of hummus and pesto and a mini-side of fettuccine bolognese.
You know what was the best part about these veggie burgers? They were actually made with vegetables!! And none of those bean and rice fillers....one of my biggest veggie burger pet peeves. The product had very few ingredients (mostly vegetables), low sodium, and a bit of protein. I would definitely buy these again and they are perfect for a quick lunch or dinner on the go! Check them out of their website, here!