Tag Archives: pasta

A Yummy Way to Eat Your Vegetables

Easy as…garliclemon…and salt! But really, I know many people our age and even beyond who still don’t like their vegetables. Although this is baffling to me, I still want to help them out. And my way of doing it is also easy for people who aren’t natural cooks or don’t have the time! It’s a simple, yummy way to cook your vegetables in a way that doesn’t require much skill or effort. And it might even introduce a love for cooking and vegetables! Well, at least the house will smell nice afterwards. This is the simplest recipe of them all, let’s get started! 

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Sautéed Mushrooms and Broccoli
Serves 3
A yummy way to eat your vegetables


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Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
10 min

Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
10 min

Ingredients
  1. Box of mushrooms
  2. Head of broccoli
  3. 1 lemon
  4. Garlic pepper & salt (can use regular)
  5. 4 cloves garlic
  6. 1 tbsp oil
Instructions
  1. Chop up the mushrooms and broccoli into bite-sized pieces
  2. Salt and pepper the veggies
  3. Heat up a pan with the oil in it (medium heat)
  4. Cut up the garlic or crush it. Put it in the heated pan with oil
  5. Put the mushrooms and broccoli into the pan
  6. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan while stirring
  7. After 5 minutes, put a lid over and let it steam
  8. When vegetables are tender, take out and serve immediately
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You can really serve this with ANYTHING! I chose to serve it with penne, red sauce, and morningstar. You can eat it with other grains, meats, whatever you fancy. It’s so delicious I couldn’t stop eating it out of the pan. And hey guess what–it’s CHEAP and easy to make. There you have it…a yummy way to eat your vegetables. As always…stay hungry and fit!

BONUS PUPPY PIC

A ridiculously silly picture of Noke

A ridiculously silly picture of Noke

Fit’s Food Review: La Vecchia (Santa Monica, CA)

La Vecchia has always been a “treat” or “very special occasion” for my family and I. Most of you know I grew up in Santa Monica, California, and that’s where this gem is located. Whether it was birthday dinner, graduation dinner, or someone special from out of town visiting. I always have fond memories of being so excited and sitting in the restaurant devouring their delicious warm perfectly-cooked bread. It’s my mum’s favorite Italian place in town.

On this day, our last day in town during Memorial Day Weekend, my mum wanted to take us somewhere special for lunch before our flight. She would take no refusal on HER paying for lunch and she decided on La Vecchia’s. So we went RIGHT at opening–11am. It was hard to even get in because tree cutters were blocking the entrance. Finally, we got seated (first ones in so we knew everything was going to be OH SO FRESH). Chris didn’t know what he was in for but I was so excited, basically drooling for what was to come. The waiter came right up to us and gave us water and…yes, you know it, BREAD. And their amazing dipping sauce. I was in heaven.

photo 1 (39)Each slice was as warm, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside as ever. Just as good as I remembered it. And that garlic-basil-olive oil dipping sauce is out of this world. Basic ingredients, but they do it right. Now another food I always remember from La Vecchia is the fried calamari. My mum really wanted to treat us so we got the calamari and a tuna salad. The calamari was just as good as I remember and the tuna was fresh. Awesome appetizers.

Calamari

Calamari

photo 1 (38)

When I was little, I would always always always order the angelhair pasta. It was the only pasta I would eat from here. With olive oil and garlic. Mmm! However, I wasn’t in the mood for that today and actually had a really tough time deciding. Eventually I landed with the margherita pizza which I of course could not finish. My mum got fish and roasted vegetables and Chris got spaghetti and meatballs (classic Italian dish–he always has to go for this or chicken parm to try new Italian places out).

My pizza

My pizza

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Spaghetti and meatball

Spaghetti and meatball

Close-up!

Close-up!

Overall, we were very happy with each of our dishes. The veggies were roasted to perfection for my mum and the fish was seasoned beautifully yet subtly. The pizza had a nice thin, crisp crust and the cheese wasn’t overwhelming. Great balance of flavors. Chris really enjoyed the spaghetti and meatballs because it was fresh, the flavors were wonderful, the tomato sauce wasn’t too heavy, and the pasta was cooked just right. The only tragic thing about this meal was that we couldn’t eat our leftovers since we were going on the plane! I’m still regretting that. If you’re in Santa Monica, stop by La Vecchia on Main St. for a bite to remember and a great way to stay hungry and fit!

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BONUS KITTY PIC

The only way of seeing Nymeria in pictures at night is with the flash on

The only way of seeing Nymeria in pictures at night is with the flash on

Hungry Reviews… Antica Roma (Boulder, CO)

Saturday night and I am recovering from hurting myself, Alana has a cold coming on too. We rested a lot Saturday after working a ten-hour shift so once we wake up we are hungry!

Alana wanted to take a walk to be active since we took the day off of working out. Since it was so nice out, I had no problem limping and hobbling down the Pearl Street Mall to a restaurant that I wanted to go to since our last trip in that area of town. It was a nice looking Italian restaurant called Antica Roma. When we last walked past it, I loved the decor and thought the menu was reasonably priced and had good dishes. I was only partially wrong, fortunately/unfortunately.

Alana was dressed nice and I was wearing… black sweats and a black tee covered in Sajah’s hair but it was a nice atmosphere that tried to mimic the streets of Ancient Rome, to a certain degree. The waitress was nice, energetic, and attentive. Our water was never empty for too long and she was more than willing to refill our bread and help us with recommendations. I was in the mood for pesto or alfredo and they didn’t really have either. Oh well.

Menu and bread

Menu and bread

I told myself I was hoping they wouldn’t make the same mistake that Trattoria on Pearl made… but was it really my mistake expecting decent seafood in Boulder? Why would a restaurant serve something bad? Well, who knows but moving on to what we ate.

For an appetizer, Alana got a bruschetta with avocado, goat cheese and other goodness. She didn’t like the sweet chili sauce on it but she devoured everything but the raw red onion. I got the soup of the day, which happened to be a butternut squash soup… a personal favorite. It made me quite happy. The bread was burnt bad on the outside but the inside was delicious and their sun-dried tomato dipping sauce was very good.

Butternut squash bisque

Butternut squash bisque

Alana's bruschette

Alana’s bruschette

Alana's devoured bruschette

Alana’s devoured bruschette

Then came the entrees and I don’t know how she recommended this dish as her favorite. It was a lobster and tiger shrimp aragosta on fettuccine, but it wasn’t actually. There were two small shrimp… not tiger shrimp. There were three to five small pieces of lobster claw meat that hadn’t been completely defrosted. The fettuccine noodles were as thick as Chinese biang biang noodles and they all stuck together. It really was awful, and it was one of the most expensive dishes on the menu. This place had me hooked until this point. It wasn’t as bad as Trattoria because I didn’t get sick but I don’t know why they bother serving seafood if they can’t prepare it correctly. I understand its Boulder and it might be easier getting it frozen, but learn how to prepare it. Alana got a spinach cheese dish that she enjoyed.

My dish

My dish

All done

All done

Alana's dish

Alana’s dish

We took a look at the dessert menu and didn’t like the selection so we got the bill, put our 20% tip, and took our leftovers. We had a nice walk home and got more sleep! It’s a shame I wouldn’t go back because it’s so beautiful inside.

Restaurant Review: Pastavino

Even though we are trying to limit ourselves to one food outing a week, we still treated ourselves to a nice Italian restaurant on Pearl Street. We actually tried to get to three other restaurants before landing here–all closed until dinner for some reason. So it was pretty much by accident that we found this lovely Italian place. And we were very happy that we did.

It was beautiful and sunny out–a nice change to the 10 degree weather we’ve been having. We briefly looked at the outside menu before marking their prices reasonable and dishes appetizing. The place was pretty empty, with a big bar in the front and a brick-oven in the back. It was adorned modernly, and the lighting was pleasant as it was coming mostly from the sun outdoors. We were seated at a semi-small table and waited by Isabelle, a nice 20s something girl who deserved a good tip by the end.

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(ONTO THE FOOD!) I know, I know, just setting up the scene. So I immediately spot Penne Arrabiata, which is my go-to dish if places have it. It’s a penne pasta with nice hot spicy tomato sauce poured on top. But I also have a craving for cheese…so my eyes hover over the Mozzarella Caprese.  Chris decides on another appetizer: antipasto misto (which included a various assortment of cheese, meats, olives, and veggies). So we start by ordering those two appetizers. We throw a loaf of bread in there too to get us started (we are very hungry at this point). Meanwhile, as we are chugging down the water we realize how delicious it is. I know that’s weird to see, but it was so refreshing.

AguaThe bread comes, nice and hot. It’s delicious, crispy on the outside, and warm on the inside–with a hint of rosemary. We douse our small plates with oil and vinegar and mop it all up eagerly with the bread. The other appetizers come sometime later, we’re enjoying our time slowly so we don’t really notice, and she brings out the wrong one for Chris (though we share). Chris breaks the news to her and she starts taking it away but Chris asks, “Are you going to throw that out?” She says yes and he asks if there’s any way to avoid that. She let us keep it without charging us for it and brought us our other appetizer. The wrong appetizer was fritto misto by the way, lots of calamari, scallops and such.

Bread nomski

So we do try to take pictures of all food. But...we ate the caprese too fast--oops

So we do try to take pictures of all food. But…we ate the caprese too fast–oops

Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

Antipasto MistoIt was all as it looks. We ate the caprese so fast that we didn’t snap a shot of it–each part of it (basil, tomato, and mozzarella) was just so fresh. The fritto misto was also delicious, and I got to eat the calamari because they’re wild caught! The antipasta misto was good as well, though I would rate the others higher. We didn’t really like the olives and eggplant of the antipasta misto.

Rejected

Rejected

Taking our time, feeling thoroughly relaxed and not so starving anymore, we order our main dishes. Chris gets the Pizza Salametto which is a big pizza with salami, mozzarella cheese, and basil. I, of course, order the Penne Arrabiata, even though, by this point, I’m starting to feel full. Sigh. We snack on what’s left on our appetizers until the main dishes come out. I was happy with my pasta, but it wasn’t anything special. Chris’ pizza, however, was delicious. Although, I was “full,” I kept snagging pieces from his. It was a little oily, and had poor structural integrity, but the taste was there and the ingredients fresh. Chris also got a good deal with the lunch special and got a big thing of Minestrone Soup on the side.

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IMG_2873By this point, I am full. Like, feeling a food baby coming on full. I am seated back in my chair, enjoying the tastes while Chris finishes up his soup. Once we slow down, and she notices, she pops over and asks about dessert. I shrug, saying I’m full, and Chris says, might as well look at it. So we do. Aaaaand, we end up getting dessert (of course). Chris spots a fruit tart–Sfogliatina alle Fragole. He had way too much fun trying to say it to the waitress. It comes out and it is a tower of glory. Just look at it.

YUMMDespite our being “full,” we finish every last bite. We reasoned afterwards that we were probably not just full, but sometimes you get bored of the same taste. That’s why, we decided, people tend to get dessert even though they’re “stuffed.” So we get the check, taking our time, and give our waitress a nice tip for being so good with not charging us with the wrong appetizer and being great.

Overall, we really liked this place. The only downfall was that the tables were small and they put so much stuff on the table. However, that’s not a big factor at all. The atmosphere was great, beautiful sunlight with calming music served us with a happy mood to go along with our flavorful filling dishes. We would definitely go again to get an enormous amount of food for a good price.

Small table

Small table

Salad, Pesto, and a Kitten

Weird combo? Maybe. I guess that’s just how we do things here in our kitty-filled yummy home now. Worked for us as we came out with a full-belly of nutritional ingredients and a couple of curious kittens.

Anyhow, this one’s a simple recipe for those craving fresh ingredients and tastes.

Salad:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Salt n Pepper
  • Lemon juice

Pretty standard, right? Before I jump into prep, let me tell you the story of how we got this big fat cucumber. So, Chris is doing some dog-walking up in the hills of Boulder and a kid around six years old wearing cowboy boots waves him over. Chris replies, “Sorry, I got no cash.”  The kid says, “You don’t need cash! Take this cucumber, it’s the last one!” So Chris takes it and the boy finishes up the conversation with, “Next time, bring some money and head over to that red roof over there. That’s my garden!”

Scary how six-year-olds now have business sense of offering a free sample of their product in order to gain more business for the next time around. Anyways, back to the food already!!

So you have those wonderful ingredients chopped up (except I didn’t chop the spinach). I started with the cucumber and tomatoes, kind of sliced n diced ’em.

I always remember how good tomatoes were with salt were when I was a kid so I was following that craving. I grind some black pepper over them as well as some salt. These get put in a bowl along with some lemon juice and tossed around to get the flavor soaked in. As I finished chopping the veggies, I look to my left to see a tiny black blob on the floor. Oh yeah, that’s Nymeria.

She can watch all she wants, she ain’t getting any of this. Sometimes, I think she thinks she’s a dog…which I LOVE. As I finish up the salad and Chris is stirring the penne al dente in the pot, I toss some olive oil and balsamic nectar my cousin invented (check it out). Things are looking goooood.

Meanwhile, Chris is cooking some penne al dente. I’m surprised there’s any left to cook due to his love for raw pasta.

As he’s straining the pasta, there’s a scatter in the corner. Hmmm…suspicious.

CAUGHT RED-HANDED! 

Nymeria continues to find places to view us, though I hope her curiosity doesn’t get the better of her one day. She’s quite the rambunctious one. Oops, back to the food.

So we strain the pasta, add in some pesto (we don’t have a blender yet so it’s sadly store bought–but still good) and Chris adds in some protein. Tuna from the can. Sound unappetizing? Sure does. But it really adds a good meaty texture and flavor to the dish. And satisfied my hungry belly pretty darn quickly.

Cheers.