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simple lentil bolognese

It’s the start of a new year!  The perfect time to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle after the holiday season.  One of my goals is to start cooking more and it is easy to do that when you have a full stocked fridge and pantry.  Another easy way to get back in to cooking is to plan simple quick meals for the week.  That way, when you get home from a busy day at work, you will already have a simple menu planned.  Try to plan meals that will take you no longer than 30-45 minutes from start to finish because that is the key to wanting to cook after a busy day (it would most likely take you that long to get takeout anyways!).

On the menu tonight – Lentil Bolognese.

Ingredients (serves 6-8):

  • 1 lb whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 zucchini
  • 6 white mushrooms
  • 2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Start by putting 1 cup of lentils in a pot (or rice cooker) with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, until tender.

2. Next, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add your pasta and cook until al-dente, about 7-9 minutes.  Drain, rinse with hot water to prevent sticking and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, get to work chopping your veggies! Mince your garlic, onion, carrot, celery, zucchini and mushrooms.

4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add your onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

5. Add your chopped carrots and celery and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender.

6. Then, add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until just tender.

7. Add the 2 cans of tomatoes and tomato paste and cook on medium-low heat until warm.

8.  Add cooked lentils and basil.

9. Mix everything together and simmer until ready to serve.

10. Serve warm over pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.

This makes a terrific weeknight dinner because it only takes about 40 minutes to prepare start to finish and tastes delicious!  Vegetables make super simple dinners and when you pair them with beans or a grain (or both!), you add protein to keep you satisfied.

This recipe will serve 6-8 people.  You can cut the recipe in half, or make the full recipe and save it for leftovers.  It keeps very well in the fridge or freezer!

Tuna Bean Pasta

I have been doing a great job of sticking to my goals over the past few weeks!  I have been doing cardio 4-5 times per week and weight lifting or doing a mini bootcamp 2 times per week.  My cardio includes running, walking, elliptical or an interval workout.  I already feel so much better mentally and physically by making working out a priority again!

But, my goals didn’t stop there.  Cooking more and eating healthy real food has been even more of a priority for me.  I have only been shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store (except for a few items) and picking up delicious fresh fruits and veggies each week.  It is really easy to eat healthy if you only have healthy foods in your house.  I used to be so good at this (check out my pantry here!), but after having a baby I got a little off track.  But, I’m back!!

My pantry is re-stocked and I am getting back in to cooking delicious and healthy meals for my family.

It is the end of the week, so our fridge is looking a little bare, but that didn’t stop me from making a delicious lunch!

Tuna Bean Pasta

serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are 🙂

Ingredients:

-1 can tuna, white albacore

-1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

-1 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked

-1 cup frozen broccoli, thawed while cooking pasta or in microwave

-2 tbsp dijon mustard

-1/4 cup relish

-pepper to taste

-avocado for garnish

Throw everything in to a bowl and mix!  Viola!  A simple, delicious, healthy meal!!

This meal was delicious.  If you like tuna, it is a must.  You could even serve it over a bed of greens to get in more nutrients.  It would be a perfect meal after a long day at work, or something that you could make and grab for lunch each day.

With the addition of the avocado, this meal is a great balance of protein, veggies, fat and carbs.

Try it!!

how to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight

It’s been over 7 months and I still have a bit of weight to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Yes, it’s frustrating that it is taking so long, but I can’t say that I have done too much these past 7 months to help matters.  Yes, I have been going on long walks and eating healthy when I can, but not like I used to.  Before having our baby, I was extremely motivated to workout and eat healthy.  Now, I still want to do those things, but it is hard to get motivated and even harder to find the time!  My motivation has changed from being motivated to be the healthiest that I can be to being the best mom that I can be.  But, what I have realized is that being my healthiest is helping me to be the best mom to my daughter.
Everyone talks about ‘losing the baby weight’, but no one tells you how hard it is to find the time to exercise.  From sleep loss to just taking care of another person, there really isn’t much time!  Over the past 7 months, I have learned that I need to make time for myself.  It may not happen every day, but each week, I need to set aside some time for me.  It will benefit everyone!
Exercise is awesome.  At times, it is definitely hard to get motivated, but once you do get out there and exercise, you feel so much better inside and out.  However, the key to really losing the weight is nutrition.  You can exercise all you want, but if you continue to eat poorly, then your body will hold on to that extra weight.  I have been walking, jogging and trying to eat healthy since our baby was born, but it is time to kick it up a notch!  So, my goals each week are to:
  • run 3x per week
  • weight lift & light cardio 2x per week (walking, elliptical, etc)
  • eat some type of veggie with lunch & dinner
  • eat fruit with breakfast and for snacks
  • I also love to take long walks with my husband and daughter, so that will be thrown in there as well.
The nutrition part shouldn’t be that difficult for me because I really do love healthy food.  But, I need to get back in the kitchen to make sure that I know what is going in to my food, and my body.  My downfall for the past 7 months has been sweets.  I can eat healthy all I want, but the sweets are what get me!  Now, I don’t want to completely give them up and I don’t want to go on a diet (if you haven’t figured out yet from my blog, i’m not a fan of diets.  I believe in a lifestyle change, not a diet).  You should want to eat well…and I want to eat well and set a good example for my children.  Plus, good food tastes good!
My daughter has been eating solid foods for the past month or so, which has made me really want to get back on track.  I want to teach her the best eating habits, exercise habits and lifestyle habits as possible.  Mmmm…sweet potatoes!
Michael Pollan said it best: “you can eat as many sweets as you want, if you make them yourself”.  Homemade treats taste better anyways, and you won’t make them everyday, so why not induldge when you do?!  With the holidays coming up, this could be tough.  But, as long as I eat healthy and get enough exercise each week, I am not going to worry about it.
Another goal of mine is to blog more.  Blogging keeps me on track because I love to come up with new recipes, easy weeknight meals, and easy food to bring on the go.  Blogging will hopefully motivate me to do that!  But, honestly, this is the only motivation that I need…
I hope you continue to follow my journey!

a fresh (and healthy) start

I am finally back on track with my eating and feeling great!

The past week, I have been starting my day off with a glass of fresh squeezed juice.  I have been feeling dehydrated, tired and just crappy lately, so starting my day off with a lot of vitamins and nutrients is a great way to start the day.  I feel re-energized!

Beets, carrots, apple, 1/2 lime and a knob of ginger were in the mix.

Refreshing and delicious on these hot and humid summer days!

Juice is a great way to get a natural boost of energy and essential vitamins in to your diet.  The calories do add up, but a glass every morning or every few mornings won’t do any harm as long as you eat healthy the rest of the day.  Healthy eating makes me have more energy and feel much better about myself.  And, now that I have a little one to raise, it is important to me to get her on a healthy track right from the start.

On Saturday morning, we took Hayden out for a walk through the trails at Elm Bank in Wellesley.  It was a gorgeous day; perfect for some exercise!

After our walk, we toured the gardens, including the children’s garden!

And, we had a picnic on the grounds and relaxed.

Once home, I made up a batch of Angela’s Veggie Burgers and we had a delicious meal!

These burgers are delicious!  Jam packed with oats, beans, nuts and carrots, these burgers are filling and healthy!  I piled my burger high with cheddar cheese, avocado and a slice of tomato.  And, served them with sweet potato fries and corn on the cob.

What a perfect day!

another month goes by

Well, clearly time is flying over here!  I can’t believe that it has been another month since I posted…and that my baby girl is now 3 months old!!!

She has changed so much over the past 3 months, but I have noticed the majority of changes over the past month.

Hayden – 1 month old

Hayden – 2 months old

Hayden – 3 months old

She has her own little personality now!  She is smiling all the time and “talking/cooing”.  And, this past week – she has been sleeping 8-10 hour stretches at night!  A huge change from the 2 hour stretches that we were getting only 2 months ago.  Time flies!

Now that 3 months have gone by, my husband and I have vowed to get back on track with our eating.  We haven’t been eating poorly, but we have been getting a lot of takeout because it is just so much easier.  We are now on more of a sleep schedule with our daughter, so it should be easier for us to make this work.  It is hard to get back on track!

I have run a few times over the past month, but I am ready to make that a priority again (behind being a mom, of course!).  Being a mom means that I need to set a good example for my family.  Healthy living is important to me, therefore, it needs to be a priority.  I want to get back on the road…and back to the kitchen.  Summer is the perfect time to do both with the longer days and nicer weather, it is easy to stay motivated.

And, this baby girl is even more motivation to get back on track!