AcroYoga Workshop and Pasta with Bacon and Greens

Over the weekend, I attended an AcroYoga workshop hosted by Queen Street Yoga. 3 hours of intense work-shopping. The workshop started with some of the less scary exercises to get us warmed up. Check out this super awesome people-stacking (plank pose)!

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

At one point, I tried to be the third person in the stack. Turns out it’s not so easy for a person of average height…

Chair pose – it was surprisingly hard to get to this pose, but fairly easy (at least for me) to maintain once there.

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

Transitioning from one pose to another was probably the most difficult part. It took a lot of strength (and trust) for both the “base” and the “flyer.”

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

Throne pose was probably my favourite one to learn at this workshop. It was stable. As the “flyer,” there was a lot of stretching and core work.

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

The class was so much fun! I got to catch up with a few of my yogi-friends before and after class. Learned some new yoga poses. Got a good workout. And most of all, had a lot of fun while learning! If you ever have an opportunity to try an Acro-Yoga class, give it a try! It’s very different from a more traditional class, but tons of fun.

Understandably, at the end of three hours I was exhausted… so I went to Dad’s for dinner (and had a long walk with the dogs). Thanks dad! I probably would not have made a nutritious dinner on my own that night, I very much appreciated having someone else cook for me. 🙂

What does this have to do with the dish I’m sharing today? Absolutely nothing. Except that, after this class, I was craving a meal that was both healthy and filling, which reminded me of this pasta that I made a few weeks back and am just getting a chance to share with you today.

Pasta with Bacon and Greens

Ingredients

  • 500 grams whole grain spaghettini – approximate cost $1.50
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.40
  • 6 slices of bacon, diced – approximate cost $3.00
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.15
  • 3 fresh eggs – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – approximate cost $1.00
  • 4 tablespoons sea salt – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cup Cookin’ Greens Athlete’s Mix – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 zucchini, sliced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 300 grams crimini mushrooms, sliced – approximate cost $1.25

Method

  1. Cook the bacon pieces in a wok over medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the bacon pieces to a plate when crispy.
  3. Bring a pot of very salty water (about 4 tablespoons of sea salt) to a boil.
  4. Cook spaghettini according to package.
  5. Add diced onion to the wok, cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add minced garlic to the wok, cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  7. Add slices of crimini mushrooms, cook until softened (about 4 minutes).
  8. Add slices of zucchini and Cookin’ Greens Athlete’s Mix, cook until softened (about 3 minutes).
  9. Return bacon to the wok and mix well with the vegetables.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Combine fresh eggs, Parmesan, and olive oil in a mixing bowl, whisk until completely combined.
  12. Place the cooked spaghettini in a large mixing bowl.
  13. Drizzle with the egg mixture, stirring constantly so the noodles are covered in the sauce and the egg cooks (pasta should still be hot).
  14. Add the vegetable and bacon mixture and mix thoroughly into the pasta.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 3 servings (approximate cost: $3.57 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

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Spaghetti with Shrimp and Roasted Vegetables

While Bryan was home for a between school terms vacation, I found I needed to be a bit more creative with my leftovers. I’m used to there being two of us at each meal. Two people taking leftovers as lunches. Usually, leftovers don’t last more than a day or two. With him away, I found myself getting bored of the leftovers and wanting to make something new.

Instead, I reused the leftovers, presenting them as an entirely new dish. It made cooking for one a little less boring. Meal-time more interesting. And, of course, gave me something to talk about on this blog. (I was a bit worried that, with Bryan on vacation, I would run out of blog material.) I’m happy to say that, even with him away, I kept up (mostly) healthy eating habits and ate a home-cooked meal most evenings.

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

  • Handful of whole wheat spaghetti noodles – approximate cost $0.75
  • 12 shrimp – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1/4 large spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.10
  • 50 grams button mushrooms, sliced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1/2 zucchinis, sliced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 green pepper, sliced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/4 red peppers, sliced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/4 orange pepper, sliced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/4 yellow pepper, sliced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 14 grape tomatoes – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.20

Method

  1. Roast the vegetables.
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
    3. Add the onion pieces and cook until softened.
    4. Add garlic and continue to cook until garlic is fragrant.
    5. Remove from heat and transfer to a large baking pan.
    6. Combine onion mixture, mushrooms, zucchini slices, sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme in the baking pan.
    7. Mix well.
    8. Bake vegetables for 7 minutes (or until  they begin to soften).
    9. Remove from oven and add the peppers and grape tomatoes.
    10. Mix well.
    11. Turn the oven temperature to broil.
    12. Return the vegetables to the oven.
    13. Cook for another 5-7 minutes (or until the vegetables begin to brown).
    14. Remove from oven.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package (while the vegetables are roasting).
  3. Cook the shrimp.
    1. Place shrimp in a baking dish.
    2. Bake until shrimp (shell) turns pink.
    3. Remove from oven and turn the shrimp.
    4. Return to oven.
    5. Bake until shrimp is cooked through.
  4. Assemble the pasta!
    1. Divide the pasta noodles between two serving bowls.
    2. Divide the roasted vegetables between the two serving bowls.
    3. Top each serving with shrimp
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $3.70 per serving).

Monday Link Parties

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Shrimp and Fiddlehead Pasta

It’s just about the end of the season to purchase fiddleheads. They have such a short season, I’ve only seen them available in stores and markets in the spring. Particularly, the month of May. After that, they disappear for another year. I tried fiddlehead ferns (or, frequesntly referred to simply as fiddleheads) for the first time last spring. Not because I was cautious of trying them, but mostly because I didn’t know how to cook and enjoy them. I gave them a try anyway, and sautéed them with garlic and butter. They were delicious!

They look like this:

That’s the first batch of fiddleheads, sautéed with garlic and butter, that I made this season. Before I had read more about preparing and serving them. They tasted wonderful despite not trimming the brown spots.

This spring, I decided to browse recipe blogs for more exciting ideas for serving fiddleheads and more information on preparing them.

To prepare fiddleheads:

  1. Soak fiddleheads in a bowl of cold water to remove dirt.
  2. Remove from  bowl using a slotted spoon.
  3. Empty bowl and rinse out dirt.
  4. Repeat at least once more.
  5. Trim the brown spots from the cleaned fiddleheads.
  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  7. Blanch fiddleheads for 2-4 minutes.
  8. Remove from boiling water and place in an ice bath.

My favourite was the Fiddlehead Pasta from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes. The original recipe is vegan, so I made quite a few adjustments to suit our meal preferences.

This isn’t the most cost-effective dish I’ve made. In fact, it’s a bit more on the expensive side of what I would usually cook… but it’s delicious and perfect to serve if you happen to have an occasion to celebrate and want to cook at home instead of eating out. (I think my excuse was making it through my first conference.)

Shrimp and Fiddlehead Pasta

Adapted from Fiddlehead Pasta (Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, shells removed (otherwise it takes a long time to eat!) – approximate cost $10.00
  • 1 pound fiddleheads, rinsed and brown spots trimmed – approximate cost $5.00
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons butter – approximate cost $0.15
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 lemon, sliced into four wedges – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 package of whole grain spaghettini (or your facourite type of pasta) – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Prepare the fiddleheads (clean, trim, blanche, and move to ice bath).
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. Add salt and pasta.
  4. Cook according to directions on package.
  5. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  6. Add olive oil and minced garlic, cook for about 1 minute.
  7. Add shrimp and fiddleheads and cook until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through (about 5 minutes).
  8. Add chili pepper flakes and lemon juice.
  9. Serve fiddleheads and shrimp over pasta and with a lemon wedge on the side.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $5.18 per serving).

Guacamole Sauce Over Spaghetti Noodles

A few weeks back I bought everything to prepare guacamole for dinner… or so I thought! Turns out I forgot one of the most important ingredients: the tortilla chips. At that point, I was hungry and didn’t want to make a trip to the grocery store. I have this bad habit of spending too much on items I didn’t necessarily mean to buy if I go to the store while hungry.

Instead, I started browsing through recipes I’d bookmarked to see if there was something else I could make to use up the three perfectly ripe avocados that were on the counter. That’s when I came across the recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta from Two Peas and their Pod. The original recipe calls for everything that I already had on hand to make the guacamole, and I decided to make a few adjustments: I added some tomatoes for colour (also, because I had them and they looked like a delicious addition), and a few slices of bacon (really, what doesn’t go well with bacon? I also wanted to add some meat to make the dish more appealing to Bryan).

Initially, I had a few hesitations about this one. Could pasta and guacamole really go together? Was I about to use the avocados that I had been looking forward to for a few days while they ripened on my counter in a dish I wouldn’t enjoy? Was I about to ruin the original recipe by making a few changes to include ingredients I had on hand?

How did it turn out? Delicious!

Would we make it again? Definitely!

What would I do differently? For one, I’d make a smaller portion. Half of what the recipe calls for. This was way too much food for two people. And because the avocado turns brown quite quickly, it doesn’t keep for more than a day.

If you do try this and want to save a portion for later, cover the leftovers with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap firmly against the pasta/sauce so that there is very little air in contact with the avocado. Then, cover it was foil so the avocado is kept in a dark place. Then, put it in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours.

What is your favourite way to enjoy avocados?

Guacamole sauce over spaghetti noodles

Adapted from and inspired by Creamy Avocado Pasta by Two Peas and their Pod

Ingredients

  • 4 servings of spaghetti – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 ripe avocados – approximate cost $3.00
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice – approximate cost $0.25
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 tablespoons dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $2.00
  • 8 slices of bacon – approximate cost $2.50

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I like to bake it in the oven to avoid grease splatters) and, if desired, crumble the bacon when completely cooked.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package (prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking).
  3. Prepare the avocados by removing the pit and scooping out the delicious green “meat” into the food processor (alternately, you can use a blender).
  4. Add the lime juice, garlic, cilantro and sea salt to the food processor.
  5. Process (or blend) until smooth.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine one serving of pasta and sauce, tossing until the pasta is well coated.
  7. Place in a serving bowl and top with tomato slices and bacon.
  8. Repeat for the remaining servings.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes  4 servings  (approximate cost: $2.40 per serving).

Day 21: Comfort

We’re running low on groceries and trying to make it to Monday without having to make a trip to the grocery store. With “comfort” being today’s #MarchFoodPhoto I thought I would make Mac & Cheese. But when I got to the fridge… I realized we were out of milk. And more importantly, we were out of cheese! I know what’s going on my grocery list for next week.

So I improvised, using a few things available in my cupboard and fridge. The resulting casserole is actually quite tasty. I miss the cheese a bit, but I think if I had used fewer breadcrumbs, I wouldn’t miss the cheese at all. Bryan tells me this pasta is “tomato-y.” (Shhh… Don’t tell him it was whole wheat pasta!)

Macaroni and Tomato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat macaroni – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (do not strain juices) – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 jar of your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce (I used Prego) – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 large eggs – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 cup cream – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 package of hot dogs, sliced – approximate cost $3.50
  • 3/4-1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Boil the macaroni in salted water for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Drain the pasta.
  3. Preheat the over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. In a 9×13 baking dish, stir together the cooked pasta, canned tomatoes, pasta sauce, and hot dog slices.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork.
  6. Add the cream to the eggs and whisk until combined.
  7. Stir the egg mixture into the pasta mixture.
  8. Top the pasta mixture with breadcrumbs, making sure to cover the pasta in an even layer and that no noodles are exposed (otherwise they will burn).
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes (the breadcrumbs should begin to brown).
  10. Remove from over and let set for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 8 servings  (approximate cost: $1.16 per serving).

Uncooked tomato sauce served with raw zucchini or spaghetti noodles

This tomato sauce is among my favourite dishes. It’s easy to make, healthy, tasty, and versatile. There’s so many ways to present it and it can be enjoyed for either lunch or dinner.Since finding the recipe on TheKitchn last summer, I’ve prepared the sauce a number of times with slight variations each time to suit whomever is enjoying the dish.

Here are a few variations you can try:

  • Make it a raw meal by making zucchini “noodles” with a spiral turner
  • Serve with cold or hot spaghetti noodles
  • Make it vegetarian by excluding the meat
  • Include a salty, cured meat such as prosciutto, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • Use a blender to puree the ingredients into a sauce-like consistency (do this after marinating the mixture)

This sauce is fantastic because you can make a large portion, set some aside in a dish and pack it for lunch. By lunch time, it’s marinated enough to enjoy! You can also let it marinate all day and simply prepare your choice of pasta when you arrive home and dinner is ready in 15 minutes!

Try not to put the tomatoes in the fridge at any point. I find that chilling them takes away from the flavour of the finished meal. However, I do always store the leftovers in the fridge and let it warm to room temperature before enjoying.

Uncooked tomato sauce

Adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 pint of mixed tomatoes (any combination of yellow, orange, pink, green, etc.) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 medium-sized Roma tomatoes – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 10 leaves of basil, cut into fine strips – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 cup olive oil – approximate cost $1.50
  • Salt to taste – approximate cost $0.05
  • 200 grams of meat, such as prosciutto or bacon (Optional) – approximate cost $3.50
  • Parmesan cheese (optional) – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Slice all of the various tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place garlic, basil, and olive oil in a large serving bowl. Stir mixture well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow mixture to sit on the counter for 3-4 hours.
  3. Place tomatoes in olive oil mixture. Stir mixture until all tomatoes are coated with oil and garlic is evenly distributed throughout the sauce.
  4. Recover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the mixture marinate for 2-4 hours (leave on the counter).
    1. Note: If you don’t have time to marinate the basil in the oil before adding it to the tomatoes to marinate, you can skip this step and mix it with the tomatoes immediately. But there’s more flavour if you can include the step.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles or spiralled zucchini “noodles” (for a raw dish) and, if desired, top with more fresh basil leaves, meat of your choice, and Parmesan cheese.

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $1.55 per serving of sauce without meat, or $2.13 per serving of sauce with meat).

You can use almost any tomatoes you have on hand, but having a small variety of tomatoes tends to give the dish more flavour. If you’re not using smaller tomatoes, use 6-7 medium-large sized tomatoes.

Raw Cucumber and Tomato Soup turned into Pasta Sauce

Ever since the Raw Food Workshop, I’ve been searching for ways to incorporate raw food into my repertoire. I’ve started following a few new-to-me blogs looking for ideas and searching through their archives.

If you’re interested in learning how to prepare raw foods, check out:

Please send me your suggestions if you know any other raw food blogs that I should look into!

Raw Cucumber and Tomato Soup

Adapted from Raw Food Passion

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado – approximate cost $1.50
  • ½ English cucumber – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 tomatoes – approximate cost $2.50
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 dash of sea salt (more or less to taste) – approximate cost $0.10

raw cucumber and tomato soup

Method

  1. Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.34 per serving)

Unfortunately, this soup didn’t go over very well. Neither B nor I seem to be fond of cold soups. I made a Gazpacho soup last summer and our reaction to both of these soups was about the same: it seems more like a sauce or a chip dip than a meal itself. I’m sure this is very tasty if you have a taste for cold soups. However, I will not be making this again.

We both dislike wasting food, so I attempted to transform this soup into a pasta sauce. I can no longer call it raw, but at least everything will be eaten. This sauce very much tastes like the remnants of the soup, but with a few adjustments, I think we will be able to finish it off in the next few days.

Cucumber and Tomato Uncooked Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado – approximate cost $1.50
  • ½ English cucumber – approximate cost $0.75
  • 5 tomatoes – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 dash of sea salt (more or less to taste) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 cloves of garlic – approximate cost $0.25
  • ½ teaspoon of chili peppers – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 pint of assorted tomatoes (grape, cherry, yellow, etc.) – approximate cost $3.00
  • 200 grams of prosciutto slices, cut into strips – approximate cost $3.00
  • Spaghetti noodles – approximate cost $1.50

uncooked tomato and cucumber sauce

Method

  1. Combine avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, sea salt (or, the Raw Cucumber and Tomato Soup), garlic, and chili peppers and blend until smooth and move to a mixing bowl.
  2. Slice assorted small tomatoes and add to the blended mixture
  3. Cook spaghetti noodles according to package and drain.
  4. Assemble pasta – I let the noodle cool slightly before placing them in my bowl, followed by a generous helping of sauce and topping with a few slices of prosciutto.

Makes about 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.71 per serving)

Turning the soup into a pasta sauce wasn’t a perfect solution. It tasted better than the cold soup and prevented waste. If I have make just the sauce and wasn’t trying to salvage a dish, I would have left out the cucumber and avocado. I also found that the flavour was better the next day when I ate the leftovers for lunch. (Or maybe I’m imagining it?) B was not a fan.

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