Spaghetti Squash and Marinara Sauce Recipe

Have you ever used spaghetti squash as a spaghetti substitute? I feel like I have seen recipes for it all over lately, so I decided to finally give it a try myself! I used my basic marinara sauce that I have been making for a few months now. I add whatever I feel like or have on hand, and make it nice and spicy! Again, I eyeball my ingredients, and make everything to taste, so I did not include exact measurements below. It turned out really well! Both me and the boy thought the texture and taste of the squash resembled a lot like noodles, and the sauce tasted great with it! I think it was a healthier substitute for us, and helped us stay on track and feel less guilty since we have been eating low-carb low-sugar lately!

Recipe 

Simple Spicy Marinara

Ingredients:

  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • Chopped garlic
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 5 mini red/yellow peppers
  • Olive Oil
  • Italian Spices
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 spaghetti squash

Sauce Directions:

Cook the the onions, peppers, garlic and spices in olive oil until tender. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or too. Add red wine now if you would like. Add Crushed tomatoes and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add spice to taste.

Squash Directions:

Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. Drizzle flesh with olive oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Cook at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Scrape out flesh gently with a fork. Pour sauce over squash and enjoy!

I served mine with some fresh parmesan on tip and a simple tomato cucumber balsamic salad on the side. It was delish!

Your’s Truly- M

Sunday night & a pizza recipe

There has always been something special and exciting about Sunday nights. For me, it usually involves tidying up the house, doing laundry, and lounging around. It has always given me time to reflect on the past week, and make a mental to-do list for the new week ahead. Lately, my boyfriend and I have started a small tradition to make a nice hearty meal on Sunday nights, then to sit down and enjoy it while watching my personal favorite show…60 Minutes. Yes I realize this sounds like the life of an 80 year old couple, but it is just such a nice relaxing time that we can share together.

So this week, I wanted to whip up some homemade pizza. Since we are still trying to eat healthier, and we are on a budget, I went with Cookie & Kate’s Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe. It turned out pretty good, and it was SO easy! The recipe makes enough for 2 small pizzas. My only suggestion would be to hand press the dough out into it’s shape. On my first pizza used my “rolling pin” aka a wine bottle to flatten the dough and it stretched too thin. Since this isn’t a very fluffy dough, it turned out more like a flat-bread. We did one pizza with pesto and mozzarella and the other with brie and this maple cream. We love baked brie with the maple glaze on a cracker, so I knew that we would love it as a dessert type pizza.They were both amazing.

Do you have a go-to Sunday meal? Or a pizza dough recipe you love?

Your’s Truly- M

Mexico vacation recap

So the week after last, I spent the week in Cozumel, Mexico with my family on vacation. It was amazing to say the least. My dad is the type of guy to thoroughly research every restaurant and beach on the island, so it was nice going to some more local, less touristy spots that he found. We stayed in a rental house in a gated community with a beach area and pool. It was beautiful, clean, I felt very safe, and my family all had plenty of space.

For most days, we would go out for 2 morning dives, then return to our house by noon. We dived with a company called Challenge Diving, and they were amazing. Such nice guys, especially on my first dive when I was anxious because I haven’t been in 2 years. They served us fresh tropical fruit in between surface intervals, and they were just fun to hangout with all week! To try and explain what scuba diving down there is like would be impossible. It is quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. We saw hundreds of colorful tropical fish, coral reefs, sea turtles, eels, sharks, lobsters, crabs, and so many other things that I can’t even name. I plan on writing a post more on scuba diving in the future, so stay tuned!

Anyway, most days were spent on the beach, I ate a LOT of veggie tacos and fajitas and drank a LOT of Sol’s, mojitos and margaritas. But I must admit, that the best part of the trip was just my family being together for a whole week. As cheesy as it sounds, now that my older sister and I are on our own away from home, and my younger sister is off at college, we rarely spend more than a holiday weekend together any more.It was just overall, a really nice, relaxing, and adventurous week!

If you want to know more about Cozumel, please let me know I would love to talk more about where we went and what we love about the island!

Your’s Truly- M

We were nominated for a Libster Award!

We were so happy to hear that we were nominated for the Libster Award by the amazing Tiny Bows! You can find the official rules here. Basically, she asked us some questions, we nominate 10 more bloggers and ask them some questions! So here are our answers for her questions, we answered some together, and some separately.

  1. What made you decide to start a blog?

We are both young professionals, who just relocated to a new city, and we wanted to connect with other young women who might be going through the same things as us!

 

  1. Who, or what is your biggest blogging influence?

Our biggest blogging influencer would have to be instagram. When we see a great outfit, or a photo of a dish that looks delicious, we want to know how to make it, and where to find it! I think that our passion for wanting to know more encouraged us to elaborate on the things that we share on social media.

 

  1. How do you decide what to write about?

We are inspired to write about topics that add positivity to our lives. Whether it be a new product that we love, a fun time with friends, music or healthy recipes, we blog about what makes us happy.

 

  1. When did you start blogging/ how long have you been blogging?

We started blogging earlier this year, so it is still new territory for us. We are learning everyday, and we are so excited to keep meeting more bloggers!

 

  1. Where is the best place you have ever been, vacation, restaurant, museum, etc?

M: My favorite place.. London! I studied abroad there a year ago, and loved living in the city.

A: The best place she has ever been to was probably Hawaii! I was very young but I went with my extended family and we were able to spend a lot of time together exploring volcanoes, beaches and I attended a traditional luau!

 

  1. What is the best dish you have ever eaten?

A: My favorite dish… hmm! I love to eat! But I really enjoy sushi when I have the chance to eat it.

M: My favorite dish… it would have to be pad thai, it is the perfect mix of carby, sweet and spicy!

 

  1. What is your biggest fear?

A: My biggest fear would have to be not being able to spend enough time with my family and friends. Life has the ability to get in the way of what really matters, and I hope I never lose time with the people most important to me.

M: My biggest fear would have to be living life with “blinders” on. I try to take the time to cherish the small happy moments each day, but when life is busy, and you get into a routine, that is hard!

 

  1. What is your hidden talent?

A: My hidden talent would have to be a

M: My hidden talent is scuba diving! I just came back from a trip to Mexico where I was able to go a few times.

 

  1. What is your biggest accomplishment?

A: My biggest accomplishment would be graduating college, and a week later moving away from my hometown and creating a new independent life in a new city. I love the spontaneity of that decision and I feel I have continued that mentality since moving.

M: My biggest accomplishment is definitely graduating college with a job in place! Much like A, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity where I could comfortably move away from home, and finally be “an adult”…kinda 🙂

 

  1. What is your favorite time waster? (be specific: mine is either cross stitching at the moment… or borderlands… borderlands is going to win at time wasting tonight)

M: 100% instagram. I could scroll through instagram all day, everyday. I follow a lot of healthy living/weight loss blogs and they are a great inspiration!

A: My favorite time waster would be social media, and in general the internet! I love the power of the internet. I love to read blogs, reddit, instagram, twitter.

Okay, so now we nominate:

  1. https://thesimplebeginner.wordpress.com/– lifestyle and everyday things
  2. http://tobeherown.com/– Yoga and healthy living
  3. http://livinghealthierlife.com/ – Healthy living, motivation and recipes
  4. http://lonestarlauren.com/– Fashion& everyday things
  5. http://lucycowlin.com/– Beauty, fashion and lifestyle
  6. http://ashleyforrerwellness.com/ – Healthy eats and fitness/wellness
  7. http://runningandsunshine.com/– Running, healthy living and everyday things
  8. http://semisweettooth.com/ – Lifestyle, fitness, and a little sweetness
  9. http://atouchoflovely.com/– Food & lifestyle
  10. https://eunicakes.wordpress.com/- Fitness and recipes

 

Our Questions for you:

  1. What encouraged you to start a blog?
  2. What is your favorite part about blogging?
  3. What is the meaning behind your blog name?
  4. What is one thing you miss from your childhood?
  5. Do you prefer coffee or tea?
  6. What is something that is an important part of your morning routine?
  7. What is your favorite clothing item?
  8. What is your favorite season?
  9. If you could take a weekend trip somewhere, where would it be?
  10. Must have beauty product?

Now it is your turn to nominate another 10 bloggers, go!

Your’s truly- M&A

Trader Joe’s Favorites

Good Morning!

Today we talk Trader Joe’s, my most favorite grocery store! First and foremost the employees at Trader Joe’s are extremely enjoyable to be around. Always smiling, and are attentive and happy to start up a conversation and offer suggestions. I truly just enjoying being at their retail locations! Grocery shopping can be a chore (at least it is for me) and Trader Joe’s makes it easier for me to care about the food I am eating.

So now that I have taken it upon myself to take more responsibility for what I am eating, I will share some of my favorite Trader Joe’s healthy options. I will make this a weekly post with some of my go-to items!

1. Trader Joe’s NonFat Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt. I love this item because its 0% milk fat and you are getting the most out of your greek. I like that these yogurts are blended – not fruit on the bottom (other flavors include mango, strawberry, black raspberry, pomegranate, honey). 5.3 oz yogurts are .99 cents and a great edition to any lunch.

photo 2 (2)

2. Trader Joe’s Very Green Smoothie. This item packs a lot if Vitamin A and C, and is made with banana, mango, kiwi, and pineapple purees, juices and dried greens blend (which adds bonus nutritional value). This drink does have a lot of sugar, so drink in moderation. I like to take a sip as I am out the door to start my day.

 photo 1 (1)

3. Trader Joe’s Kale and Greek Yogurt Dip. I love this dip with veggies! It’s a reduced guilt find that packs the nutrition of kale and spinach, and is great for lunches with raw vegetables. Only 30 calories for a tablespoon!

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4. Trader Joe’s Fruit Bars. These bars only have TWO ingredients: Apples and Coconut. These bars kind of taste in between fruit leather and dried/dehydrated fruit. This is a quick snack I keep in my desk and gym bag to rid any sugar cravings. These hold a more hefty price tag at .99 cents each, but when choosing snacks these are a great option if you don’t have a piece of fruit with you and is not a processed granola bar.

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Cheers to health!

-A

How I beat the winter blues

Living in Central NY, our winters are long and brutal. This winter has been especially bad, most days temperatures have barely reached positive numbers. On top of the cold, we get hammered with lake-effect snow and wind. Lake-effect snow is a whole different animal than normal snow, it comes down quickly, and hard. And the worst part is, that sometimes our winters continue through March. It is like we can’t see a light at the end of the freezing cold tunnel. This time of year, I know that many of us get grumpy, antsy and just frustrated with the weather, otherwise known as the “winter blues” , yes it is a real thing.

So, I have decided to make a list of some things that I do, to help me feel a little cheerier in the dead of winter 🙂

  1. Drink hot-tea throughout the day. There is something very soothing and warming about sipping hot tea. Usually it is something as simple as a green tea bag and a slice of lemon for me.
  2. Enjoy indoor activities. Sounds silly, but knowing that you have to bundle up and brave the weather keeps many people at home in the winter, not partaking in as many social actives, which can lead to “cabin fever” or in my case, the urge to want to re-decorate my apartment.  Go see a movie, go to one of those indoor trampoline or go-kart places, go out to dinner.
  3. Have friends over for a movie night. You can stay in your sweatpants, and encourage everyone to bring a snack. You can still hangout with your friends and save some money.
  4. Bundle up. Have no shame wearing bulky sweaters, fuzzy socks, and lots of layers. I find that no matter what, if I a cold I am miserable. I made the decision to upgrade my winter coat this year, and it was the best money I have ever spent.
  5. Hit the gym. Going to the gym a few times a week is a great way for me to warm up, and I always leave feeling positive, and good about myself.
  6. Turn off the Netflix and read. Yes, binge watching  is tempting this time of year, but take the time to join your local library and read some books. Personally, I find the act of reading a book just as relaxing as watching TV, but I feel better after, knowing I expanded my vocabulary, learned new things, and all the great things reading books do for you. A few weeks ago I picked up “The Happiness Project” and I stopped watching TV before bed, so far I find myself sleeping much better.

So, is there anything that you do to help stay warm and optimistic in the winter?

Your’s truly-M

What’s Up Wednesday: Easy Mid-week recipe

Good morning! This week has been hectic, COLD, and snowy.. and all I have wanted is a warm cup of soup and a cozy blanket. So if you have a crazy week and need a quick, easy, and healthy recipe I have the one for you! Below is a great take on corn chowder in under an hour. Soups usually take hours, but this one is a nice stand in when you have less time during the week to make a healthy meal. The prep is what takes the most time in this recipe, so you may need to devote a small amount of time ahead of when you want to eat to make this soup.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups of corn kernels (if frozen defrost under hot running water)

1 small onion – diced

4 slices of turkey bacon – chopped

1 tbsp flour

2 large baking potatoes (peeled and cubed)

photo 2 (1)

32 oz chicken broth

1 cup skim milk

4 oz of reduced-fat cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and bacon.

photo 1

Cook 5 to 6 mins until the onions are soft, but not caramelized. Add the flour and cook an additional 2-3 minutes stirring continuously until the flour coats the onion and starts to stick to the pan. Add the potatoes, half the corn, and the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the skim milk and cream cheese and mix until blended. Add the remaining corn and salt and pepper to taste!

*If you prefer, after adding the skim milk and cream cheese you can blend the soup in a food processor or with a stick blender.

I wish you all warmth!!

-Cheers

A