One Pot Mushroom and Tri-Color Pepper Pasta

One Pot meals are all the rage. Have you noticed? I’m jumping on this bandwagon. Come join me? 

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It’s apparent to me that I follow trends. Not so much that it’s all I do but I keep up. Have you checked out the new One Pot cookbook from the kitchens of Martha Stewart? She’s always been on the front end of emerging food trends. She has a great staff.

It’s funny because when I was a kid I ate a lot of one pot meals. Yet it wasn’t a trend. It was Hamburger Helper. 

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This isn’t my first one pot meal. HERE and HERE are two delicious recipes you might be interested in.

This one pot pasta comes together so quickly because I used frozen mushrooms and peppers. Birds Eye carries these and I couldn’t be happier. I think prep time took under 10 minutes. Total time in kitchen including setting the table under 35 minutes. 

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Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup frozen mushrooms (I used Recipe Ready)
  • 1 cup frozen tricolor blend peppers (I used Recipe Ready)
  • 12 ounces dry pasta
  • 2 cup jarred marinara sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil (optional and highly recommended)
  • shredded parmesan cheese (optional and highly recommended)

Directions

  1. To a large pan add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Then add garlic, mushrooms, and peppers. Heat over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. 
  2. Add pasta, marinara sauce and water. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15-17 minutes or until pasta is al dente. 
  3. Add salt, pepper, fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese. 
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Coconut Super Spinach Smoothie Bowl

Have you heard? Smoothie bowls are perfect for breakfast and with a handful of toppings, you have one healthy bowl of goodness. 

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I’ve been making smoothies for several years and as far back as 20 years ago I was juicing vegetables and fruits. I’d like to say I know my way around a good smoothie combo. So when I started seeing recipes all over the place for smoothie bowls, I knew I was in. 

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This was perfect because Organic Girl recently introduced their Super Spinach! and they graciously sent me a sample. It’s a great mix of baby spinach, baby bok choy, and baby kale. Tender greens make for a lovely smoothie bowl. Check out the Organic Girl website to find out where to purchase. 

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I was talking to a friend of mine about smoothie bowls and she likened them to a cold soup. At first I thought it was a good description but I think it’s more like cereal or cold oatmeal. Add some toppings and you are set. Try a smoothie bowl for breakfast this week and discover what you’ve been missing.

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Makes 2 large or 4 small servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Super Spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen banana chunks
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soaked chia seeds
  • (click here to learn how to soak chia seeds)
  • slivered almonds
  • coconut flakes
  • dried pineapple chunks

Directions

  1. Place Super Spinach, frozen blueberries, frozen banana chunks, coconut milk, and soaked chia seeds in a blender and blend well. Serve immediately with slivered almonds, coconut flakes, and pineapple chunks. 
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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Berry Cookies

Just 7 ingredients and 30 minutes is all you’ll need to enjoy these made from scratch peanut butter cookies. I can see it now, you, baking homemade cookies. It’s good stuff!

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I wish I could say this was my grandma’s recipe for peanut butter cookies. You see when I was little she would make these crispy, flat, oh so full of butter and sugar peanut butter cookies that I loved to devour.

I enjoyed watching her plop each one on a cookie tray that looked like it saw a lot of action.  She’d carefully smash each one gently with her fork making lines that gave them their cute little ridges.

Sadly I never got the recipe. I was too wrapped up in being a kid and then a young adult, a big adult and just never got around to it. Anyway these are my healthy version of what my grandma made. If she were here she’d probably rib me about not using butter and lots of sugar. Oh and oats she’d have something to say about that. I guarantee it. 

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When you put one of these little morsels in your mouth, the first thing you’ll notice is the stickiness of the peanut butter. They become gooey after a few chews. Then there are a couple of mixed berries in each one that lends them a slight tart flavor. 

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I kept them in an airtight container on the counter for a couple of days. Well, that’s how long they lasted. I went back regularly to see how many were left. Between having to share them with my taste testers and my “checking” they dwindled away quicker than I thought and now I must make more. 

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These cookies go great with some yogurt for breakfast or can be swapped in for an afternoon snack. I’ve also had them stand in as  dessert. A small cup of vanilla ice cream and these cookies crumbled on top. You get the picture!

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Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond milk plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried berries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together self rising flour, salt, and quick cooking oats. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl add peanut butter and maple syrup. Heat in microwave 1 minute. Add almond milk and stir to combine. Add liquid to dry ingredients. Stir in berries. 
  4. Using a tablespoon, place cookie dough onto cookie sheet approximately 2 inches apart and smash down each cookie lightly. I used the palm of my hand and that seemed to work pretty good. 
  5. Bake 17-20 minutes. Cool and enjoy! These will keep on your counter in an air tight container for a couple of days. 
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7 days of Homemade Veggie Burgers

I like veggie burgers. What I don’t like are many of the ones on the market with a laundry list of ingredients. Yuck! Here are 7 of my favorite and I hope you try them. This first one rivals any store bought any day. Yes, I’m being bold. I love the texture and taste and when my favorite guy tells me it’s really good well of course I believe him. He’s not one to sugar coat it. 

Red Bean And Almond Butter Burger

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Lentil Quinoa Burgers with a Buffalo Dressing

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Black Beluga Lentil Burger

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Open-Faced White Bean Burger with a Mushroom Gravy

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Black Bean and Bulgur Burgers

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Easy Black Bean and Oat Burger 

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Rice and Lentil Burgers

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Sesame Soba Noodles with Asian Inspired Dressing

Are you up for trying a noodle that is made from buckwheat flour and has a nice nutty flavor? Soba noodles are becoming easier to find in your local grocery store. Try some today! 

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When I go into a produce market and have a few minutes to spare I like to browse the aisles because you never know what you’ll find. I found myself in an aisle full of noodles. You’d be surprised at the variety. I was almost overwhelmed with the choices.

I picked up a few different packs before I settled on soba noodles. I live in an area where I can shop at several different grocery stores and they are all within a short distance from my home. It’s a nice luxury. Sometimes I toy with the idea of giving up city life and then I snap out of it. I’m a city girl and that’s all there is to it. 

The funny thing is I was actually looking for udon noodles.  I really like Japanese Pan Noodles from Noodles and Company so I was going to try and replicate that but I ended up buying soba noodles and they are definitely different from udon but in a good way. 

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I recommend serving this meal shortly after you prepare it because I had some for lunch the next day and the noodles really soaked up the other ingredients which made the noodles a bit more sticky than I like. If you like sticky then go for it. I like wet food as quoted by some friends. 

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Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1-12.8 ounce package organic buckwheat soba noodles (I bought these at my local produce store)
  • 1-18.25 ounce Veggie Stir Fry Mix (I bought this at a big name grocery store)
  • 3 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 5 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoon sesame oil (plus 2 teaspoons for cooking vegetables)
  • 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. 
  2. Meanwhile, place tahini paste, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and salt in bowl. Mix together and set aside. If you mixture won’t blend as easily place in a blender to combine. That’s what I had to do because my tahini would not blend well with just a spoon.
  3. Add two teaspoons sesame oil to pan and throw in veggie str fry. Cook on medium heat 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn heat to low and add sesame seeds. Cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Place pasta in a large bowl, pour in tahini mixture and add vegetables. Mix together and serve. 
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What I’m Eating

Here’s a peek into what I’m eating and taking photos of each day. Some of the photos are from my Canon DSLR camera and some are from my android. 

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This photo was taken for a photography class I took recently and I love it. Love crunch granola with fresh berries and plain yogurt is one of my favorite breakfast ideas. 

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I served this last Monday with a side salad. It’s a couple cans of drained and rinsed black beans, several cups of instant rice, a cup or two of mixed vegetables and a few choice spices. I use cumin, salt, pepper, tamari, and a bit of cinnamon for spice up the beans. You could easily make this for veggie taco night and add cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and hot sauce. 

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Here’s a pile of vegetables I roasted and was able to serve several times throughout the week. It’s nice to plan ahead because it makes for easier meal preparation. Check out a few Roasted Vegetables recipes HERE and HERE and HERE. Is that enough? 

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This was a Monday night dinner. It’s my recipe for Roasted Vegetables. They are just as good each time I make them. The salad is a simple bagged and chopped romaine lettuce mix. I added some chopped celery for lots of crunch. The Tahini Maple Syrup dressing recipe is soooo good. I found it here. I’ll be making this again!

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I made this meal for one of my taste testers and favorite guy for lunch. Heats up nicely at work. It’s always a good idea to use ceramic or glass for lunches that will be heated in a microwave. The bowl pictured above I bought at a thrift store years ago.

So the meal is Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Brown Basmati, a nice pile of fresh baby spinach and a heap of Tasty Bite 1 Step-1 Minute Madras Lentils. My favorite guy threw a bunch of shredded cheese on it. Not pictured.

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This was a Friday afternoon lunch that takes minutes. No joke, minutes to prepare. No excuses here about being bogged down to make a nice lunch. I used Green Giant Healthy Heart Steamers. This was the barley, sugar snap peas and julienne carrots. It’s 140 calories for a package. The sodium could be better but I don’t have issues with blood pressure so I’ll make the sacrifice. This did prompt me to make a bunch of barley this week. So that’s good? Right? The potato pancake is Dr. Praeger’s Sweet Potato Pancakes. I have raved about these before. These are delicious and cook up so quick. 

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I had this last night. It’s a black bean and almond butter burger. I used my recipe for Red Bean Almond Butter Burger. A nice serving of Roasted Vegetables is always a good idea. They reheat nicely. I found this easy recipe for Cheddar Potatoes and dinner is complete. 

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Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte and where to find Halloween mugs

My season started when I found this mug and I filled it with one of my favorite fall drinks. Try this easy to make and not filled with a ton of calories pumpkin chai tea latte. 

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Sometimes all it takes to get my creativity going is a new mug. It’s funny because over the years I’ve come to terms with the fact that I like cheesy mugs. There is something about a happy face mug or a mug with a silly character on it that brightens my day. Then add a little sweet crunchy treat like biscotti and I’m all set. I love my new mug!

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Makes 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie mix
  • 1 Tazo chai pumpkin spice tea bag

Directions

  1. Pour water, milk, and pumpkin pie mix into mug and heat in the microwave 2 minutes. Microwave ovens vary. Mine is 900 watts so I need to heat for two minutes. If your microwave is more powerful check after 1 minute 30 seconds. 
  2. Add tea bag and steep for 4-5 minutes. Squeeze out tea bag and discard. 

Where to buy Halloween mugs

I’ve been on the hunt for halloween mugs and you wouldn’t believe how hard they are to find. The one pictured in the recipe above I found at a thrift store for $1.00. You can buy it at Crate and Barrel for $3.16.

I googled halloween mugs and there really isn’t a lot to choose from. I originally went to several stores hoping to find some but surprisingly there were only a few to be found. It seems owls and a set of skulls from Williams Sonoma are the popular halloween mug of choice this year. Not interested. 

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Pier 1 has an adorable jack-o-lantern mug but I was in the market for a set of 4 different mugs. I was on ebay for a while but they have just gotten so over priced that I can’t convince myself it’s worth it to shop on ebay. I found this frankenstein mug. I wanted to get it for my favorite guy but the price was over the top. They are asking $14.99 plus $12.18 for shipping and it has chips. Just can’t do it. 

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After looking around for a while ( a week or two), I found this adorable set of 4 different mugs. They sell for $29.99 but I found a coupon on line for 30% off so it averaged out to just under $7.00 a mug. 

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They showed up a week later and unfortunately the quality of two of the mugs was pretty crummy. I called customer service and the first time they disconnected me immediately. I called back and the man I spoke with was very nice. I told him about the quality of the mugs and he offered to send me replacements at no charge. Phew! I hope these are better because I really do like these mugs. I think my favorite is the mummy. Like I said cheesy mugs brighten my day!

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Quick Chicken and Rice with Green Beans

This simple, tasty and healthy chicken and rice with green beans makes a perfect bring to work lunch. 

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It’s not always easy coming up with titles for recipes. You want to give as much detail as possible but you don’t want one that is so long it’s not worth reading. So I had a few ideas for this recipe. My first question for myself was do I emphasize the green beans or the chicken? Do you have that problem when writing recipes? How do you decide? 

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I love this recipe. I’m all about trying to get the food made quickly most days. If I don’t I find myself snacking during the process if I’m really hungry and then end up eating more calories than I should. This doesn’t always happen but there are those days when I’m ravenous and I think it’s usually when I haven’t gotten enough sleep. 

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This recipe relies heavily on food that was made ahead of time. I try to make extras of basics to save myself time in the future. I am a fan of make ahead because it gives you some freedom from the kitchen a little sooner just when you might need it. 

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Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cheese
  • 1-8.8 ounce package ready to serve whole grain brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked chopped chicken
  • 1/4 cup cooked chopped turkey bacon
  • 1 cup steamed chopped green beans

Directions

  1. Heat a medium saucepan on low-medium heat. Add butter and melt. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Pour in milk and continue whisking until combined. 
  2. Sprinkle in cheese and mix until cheese is melted and combined. Set aside. 
  3. Meanwhile heat rice according to package instructions. This will take about 90 seconds. Place chicken, turkey bacon, and green beans in a bowl. Heat in microwave 2-3 minutes. Microwave ovens vary. Mix together rice, chicken, turkey bacon, green beans and cheese sauce. Mix together and serve hot. 
  4. Serve this with a light salad. 
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Matchstick Fries with Pea Pesto

There is no better way to eat fries. These are baked in the oven for 30- 35 minutes and you are on your way to potato bliss. 

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Potatoes are currently in season here in the Midwest and I am so happy. I love potatoes. Usually in the form of chips and fries, Oh and Mashed Potato volcanoes are a favorite request around here. 

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This recipe is so easy and works great as an appetizer. The pea pesto takes these fries to a different level. Yes, fries are good with ketchup but this pesto is thick and full of flavor. 

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I dipped three at a time. Don’t you? Who eats one fry at a time? 

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Serves 3-5

Ingredients for Matchstick Fries

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, cleaned and sliced into thin matchsticks which are about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. 
  • 1/4 cup Spanish olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions for Matchstick Fries

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Cover two baking trays with foil and spray generously with oil. 
  2. Place fries in large bowl and pour oil on top of potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss to combine. Place on trays and heat in oven 30-35 minutes, flipping once during cooking. 
  4. Serve with Pea pesto.

Ingredients for Pea Pesto

  • 1-1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions for Pea Pesto

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Serve with Matchstick Fries.

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