Aside

Hello Loves!

My summer classes have officially started, so I may not be as on top of my blogging game as I would like. Hopefully though, I can prove myself wrong.

I need to get back to reading (currently eyeballs deep in Economic Institutions), but I wanted to share a link to an article that I think everyone – but New Englanders in particular – ought to read. It’s wildly upsetting and depressing to me, so I hope if I can spread awareness maybe these atrocities will stop flourishing. It takes place in Massachusetts, and being a Rhode Islander, it hits particularly close to home.

Anyway, click here to read.

Some people just suck.

However! To lighten the mood after you read this, check out this bad boy. I think I know what I will be buying one of my sisters for her birthday…

Cat Carrierx’s and o’s, as always.

Cat Hoodies and Evil Zoos

Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

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Bonjour!

I wanted to share with all of you a fabulously delicious recipe that I came across (here) the other day. It’s an amped up and slightly healthier version of the Italian classic: stuffed shells. However, instead of simply stuffing these shells with a cheese concoction, they are filled with ricotta, Parmesan, ground turkey, artichoke hearts and a few other tasty ingredients. I also whipped up an arrabbiata sauce to drench them with; it is divine.

Stuffed Shells w/ Arrabbiata Sauce

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

For The Shells

Ingredients
– 1 (12-oz) box jumbo pasta shells
– 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 pound ground turkey
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
– 1 (8 to 10-oz) can artichokes hearts
– 1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
– 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
– 5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce (recipe follows)
– 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally (check the package instructions for times).  Drain the shells and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper.

4. Cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of the Arrabbiata sauce.  Take a shell in your hand and stuff it with the turkey/artichoke mixture, about 2 tablespoons per shell.  Place the shell in the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining shells until the baking dish is full.  Drizzle the remaining 4 cups of Arrabbiata sauce over the shells and then top with the mozzarella.  At this point, you can freeze the shells for up to a month by covering the baking pan with plastic wrap then aluminum foil and placing it in the freezer.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes for frozen shells or 20 minutes if you bake them immediately after prepping.

For The Sauce (makes about 6 cups)

Ingredients
– 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
– 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 5 cups jarred or homemade marinara sauce

Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.

2. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Mmmmmm

Pretty yummy looking, right? Happy cooking, friends! :)

Breakfast Salad

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Hello Beauties.

Happy Monday! I’m currently posted up in bed after a busy day at work and enjoying the sunshine. It’s finally feeling like spring = happiness. I even treated myself to a tasty Eggs Benedict at the Breakfast Nook II while studying for the GRE’s this morning in celebration of the sun.

I have this recipe for a breakfast salad I have been meaning to share (and make myself again), so without further ado, here she is:

Ingredients:

– 1 medium sized sweet potato, diced
– 2 hardboiled eggs
– ½ small red onion, diced
– 5 strips of bacon, diced
– 1 avocado, diced (or mushed, depending on preference)
– fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

1. Boil eggs – 10 minutes will yield hard eggs.
2. While eggs are boiling, cook bacon in coconut oil.
3. After 5 minutes of cooking bacon, add your sweet potato and onion.
4. Cook until the sweet potato is a light gold.
5. Once eggs are cooked, peel and dice them.
6. Add avocado and lemon juice; mix ingredients together.
7. Divulge ;)

Simple stuff, right? It’s a fantastic way to start your day since it has the macro-nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates) your body needs along with some colorful micro-nutrients, too!

My go-to breakfast that I make virtually every morning is 2 eggs over easy with cheese on some sort of bread that has either avocado, hummus or fresh salsa spread on it. I also add ketchup and hot sauce because I like the taste and we can’t always eat perfectly. This is quick and easy, but I think tomorrow since I have the day off I will get a little crazy and make this salad instead. Anyone have any good staple meals you eat to break your fast?

Until next time!

Gettin’ Juicy

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Good Day! (It feels too late to say morning, yet too early to say afternoon.)

I made some juices to kick start my Thursday, and naturally I photographed them, so I figured I would share ’em with all of you for potential recipe inspiration. I’m going climbing in South Boston at noon for the day, so it was the most opportune time for me to stack up on my micro-nutrients.

Here’s the first one, which happens to be a personal favorite:

C'est ParfaitThe ingredients are as follows: Gala Apples, Parsley, Beet, Lemon, Ginger and Carrot. I call this one the “C’est Parfait”… it means “it is perfect” in French and, well, it is.

C'est ParfaitNow, I obviously used a lot of ingredients to yield a solid amount of juice because I tend to make extra for la famille, but if anyone needs or wants the ratios for personal sizes, just let me know.

Here’s the second one. It’s not as sweet and tantalizing as the C’est Parfait, but this one packs a nice health punch and really gets those juices flowing – pun intended.

Juice 2This one doesn’t have a name in my mind yet, but the ingredients are as follows: Cilantro, Tomato, Red Pepper, Lime, Parsley, Jalapeno, Celery, Garlic, Spinach and Kale. It’s sort of reminiscent of a Bloody Mary, so maybe a name like the Juicy Mary could work? I don’t know. Ideas are welcome!

Juicy Mary?Now I know having Garlic in a juice may sound weird and unappealing, and at first it may be strange, but you really actually start to enjoy the zing it gives you. I also only add one clove so it’s not overwhelming, yet you still get all the glorious benefits that garlic has to offer – and believe me, there are plenty.

Well, I’m off to climb. Have a great day! Stay fabulous.

Earth Day Sprouting

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Hi Friends!

As you may or may not know, Earth Day was on April 22nd, and to keep up the good vibes, I planted some old seeds that I had leftover from my Vermont days. To be honest, I was a little nervous as to whether or not the seeds would actually sprout, since those things are said to have expiration dates.

Nevertheless, I collected a wheelbarrow full of very old horse manure – which is now beautiful compost equipped with earthworms (!!!) – tidied up the window boxes in front of my house and planted within them large handfuls of the “expired” seeds. I also up-cycled old protein scoops that I have been hoarding for some time now and planted seeds in them to hopefully sprout indoors.

Window Boxes

Lo and behold, I have some sprouters! Never underestimate the power of a little seed and it’s will to grow. I’m a happy camper; let’s hope some make it to adulthood and eventually, into my belly ;)

We Have Babies!

We Have Babies!

The above photo is the up-cycled protein scoop – crafty idea, huh? I thought so. However, at the aggressive rate that the Dinosaur Kale is growing, they won’t be in the scoop for long! The last time I tried growing Lacinato (Dino) Kale, they made it pretty far, only to get devoured by deer a few days before cultivation. Mer. Wish me better luck this time.

Enjoy the rest of your day, babes <3