Monday, July 23, 2012

Mmm Mmm Monday

I'm getting better about this whole healthy eating thing already, but I'm bound and determined to not lose some of our favorite flavors. We're really doing more plant-based, whole foods, which actually means no meat. Sounds so crazy. But, it's been easier than expected. We will definitely cheat here and there ... But for our day to day life, we're eating much less animal protein.
Since I'm doing so many veggies, I almost have to wait until I get in the grocery to decide what I'm going to make depending on what veggies are looking and smelling the best ... Which is not how I usually roll. The old-Rebekah tends to plan out a menu for at least a week, sometimes two. Anyway, today after going into the grocery store the tomatoes were practically calling out to me; they smelled like they had just been plucked out of the garden this morning. So I stocked up and rolled through my Pinterest files to a tomato-happy dish. Ding, ding, ding: found just what I was looking for: Creamy Avocado Pasta. This pasta includes one of my fav flavor combinations: avocado and tomato. Plus, one of my all time loves, pine nuts. It was entirely easy to put together, but still totally scrumptious. I wasn't here for the actual eating of the dinner, but Aaron said they all ate it up!

I wasn't here to see it all plated, but even warmed up for leftovers it was
Especially with one of my new favorite beverages: Sooo yummy!!

10 - 12 small Campari tomatoes, quartered (My tomatoes were the on-the-vine variety and that worked great, too!)
3 - 4 tbsp olive oil
4 servings of fettuccine noodles
2 ripe avocados, seed and skin removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted makes them SO much better!)
grated fresh Parmesan cheese
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 300 ºF.
2. Wash and quarter the tomatoes. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil, just enough to make the tomatoes glisten. Bake for 1 hour in the oven.
3. Ten minutes before tomatoes are finished, fill a large pot with water and a sprinkle of salt. Bring to a rapid boil. Add the dry fettuccine to the water and cook until al dente.
4. While the pasta is boiling, add 2 tbsp olive oil, avocado, garlic, salt and lemon juice to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are smooth and creamy.
5. Strain the pasta, and combine with the sauce in a large bowl, until all the pasta has been covered.
6. Add the roasted tomatoes, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Add some salt and black pepper to taste.
This was a big hit! It was super creamy, deliciously flavorful, and just the right amount. However I'm sure some grilled chicken or shrimp on the top would have been divine.
I still had a bunch of tomatoes left, so I served the pasta with one of my fam's favorite salads: Summer Tomatoes and Boursin. Slice up fresh tomatoes, crumble Boursin cheese over the top, some sliced scallions and then drizzle Newman's olive oil and vinegar dressing (or your fav vinaigrette) over the top. I can't get enough of it, I would eat it several times a week. Not to mention it's so pretty!
I had some whole wheat rolls that I threw on the table too ... Because I'm a bread-a-holic.
I actually made a dessert today too ... And it was a good one. I love carrot cake. Loooooove it. I found this recipe on Cooking Light and tweaked it just a bit to make it into some yummy cupcakes.
10.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
Cooking spray
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ounce fromage blanc
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 2 cups grated carrot, tossing to combine.
3. Place granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spread batter into a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
4. To prepare frosting, place softened cream cheese and next 4 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt) in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at medium speed until combined (don't overbeat). Spread frosting evenly over top of cake. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans. I chose to do cupcakes, and I baked them around 24 minutes. Yummy!

Thankful for lots of helpers! :)
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