Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Green Vegetable Pasta with Tomato Sauce

It's time for the Tasty Tuesday link up today! Just click here to be taken to the main page.

My contribution this week is a pasta dish that is very versatile, as you can use whatever green vegetables you have on hand.

The ingredients are very simple. You will need:

1 1/2 cups of shell pasta (I used gluten free)
Green vegetables of your choice (I used asparagus and celery)
Parmesan cheese
Homemade marinara sauce (recipe below)

The forst thing is to make the marinara sauce if you do not have some already on hand. I really like a recipe from Saute 1 tsp minced garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil for one minute, and then add a can of crushed tomatoes, a bay leaf, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and you have a yummy sauce for your pasta. This sauce easily doubles or triples, and freezes well.

Boil the pasta according to the package directions. Steam or saute your green vegetables while the pasta cooks. Drain the cooked pasta and stir through the marinara sauce and cooked vegetables. Serve with some Parmesan cheese on top. Simple and tasty!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Project Life 2012

I decided this year to bite the bullet and do the Project Life Challenge. This has many names- Project Life, Project 365, Photo a Day, Day2Day etc. The main idea that I have taken from all of these is to take a photo a day and scrapbook it! Sometimes I get discouraged that I am so behind, but at least if I have one photo scrapped from the stand out days (as well as my day to day life) then I will tend to feel a bit better about my albums.

I am creating my album digitally so all it takes is ten minutes an evening to upload my photo, drop it into my software and place it on the page. I am using the Storybook Creator Plus Click and Fill Pages to make this task even easier, as I have a variety of photo layouts to choose from and I can fill them with whatever digital papers I choose, rather like a paint by numbers. I then can tweak it a little bit to suit the week with embellishments, text and other bits and pieces. Here is an example of my first week.

This is the original template I used from the Click and Fill III Predesigned Pages:

And here is my finished page using the Cheerful Digital Power Palette:

As you can see, I made a few changes, but this was so easy and a lot less stressful for me then trying to put together a cohesive page from scratch. I hope to share my layouts with you each week so that you can see the versatility of the Click and Fill pages, and also maybe get some inspiration if you are taking a photo a day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tasty Tuesdays- Beef Parmesan with Fettucine and Balsamic Parmesan Asparagus

As part of one of my resolutions for 2012, I am participating in Tasty Tuesdays, a great idea from a fellow blogger. Every Tuesday (although it will probably be early Wednesday here as the blog like is American) I will post a different recipe and link up to a lot of other recipes posted by other food bloggers. I have gotten some great recipe ideas from some of these links and I hope you will too!

All the recipes can be found here:

This is one of the go-to family meals I love to make, adapted from Allrecipes to suit my low FODMAP lifestyle. Best of all, it only takes 40 minutes to prepare from start to finish, and you have a perfectly good meal incorporating meat, veggies and carbohydrate.

Beef Parmesan with Fettucine and Balsamic Parmesan Asparagus. Serves 2 (plus a toddler!)

  • 2 tenderised beef steaks

  • 1 green bell pepper

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

  • 1 tablespoon mixed herbs

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil for frying

  • 1 can or jar of your favourite spaghetti sauce

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

  • 1/2 packet fettucine (I used gluten free)

  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil for the pasta

  • 12 thin asparagus spears

  • 1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil for the asparagus

  • 1 tablespoon shaved Parmesan cheese

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Balsamic vinegar

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.               
    2. Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and mixed herbs.
    3. Coat meat with the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, and quickly fry the meat. for no more than 2 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the meat.
    4. Chop up the capsicum into thick pieces and grate the cheese while the meat is frying.
    5.  Place meat in a casserole baking dish. Place peppers on top of meat, and pour marinara sauce over the top.
    6. Bake at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes.
    7. Meanwhile- start on the asparagus. Place asparagus on a baking sheet after snapping off the woody ends. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer. Spread Parmesan cheese over asparagus, and season with freshly ground black pepper.       
    8. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta.      
    9. When the meat has been cooking for 15 minutes, take it out of the oven and sprinkle over the grated cheese. 
    10. Place the meat back in the oven, as well as the asparagus, and leave both to cook for another 10 minutes.
    11. Boil pasta until al dente, approximately 7 minutes (slightly longer for gluten free pasta). Drain, and toss in the garlic infused olive oil. For a stronger garlic taste, season with garlic powder.
    12. Serve meat and sauce atop a mound of pasta. Drizzle the asparagus with the balsamic vinegar and place on the side.   
    Doesn't it look yummy?     


    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    A Year In Review

    What a year 2011 has been! I thought it would be interesting to go back over the year's highs and lows- sometimes we forget to reflect upon the things that have bought us joy, taught us lessons and shaped us into the people we are today.

    January: My beautiful son started walking on New Years Day. He has not stopped since!

    February: The devestating earthquake on 22nd February is forever etched into my memory. I ended up making a scrapbook to tell the story of our experience. A lot of the images still bring me to tears and make me realise how lucky I was.

    March: My husband, son and sister all went to Wanaka to get away from the aftershocks and take some time out. It was mine and Malcolm's first time in Wanaka and we loved every minute of it!

    April: My son Lucas got to meet his new cousin for the first time after a rough week in NICU. Liam Stuart is such a cute wee fellow and a great addition to the family. Lucas loves hanging out with him!

    May: Malcolm's workplace of nine years was finally torn down in May after the February earthquakes had deemed it unsafe. Malcolm had a chance to go in for the last time to retrieve any supplies before they moved into their new premises.

    June: Another significant earthquake month- two good ones in a row left us all on edge for the whole month. Our ceilings were badly damaged and our pantry got a good shaking up again!

    July: Finally something fun- we had a massive dump of snow in Christchurch that meant a two day holiday for our family. Lucas was not too sure about playing in the snow, he preferred to be cuddled up beside Dad in the warm house.

    August: My wonderful husband celebrated his birthday with friends and family- and homemade cake of course!

    September: My husband and his brothers and Dad all pooled together and put up a new fence for our house in a weekend! It looks great and helps keep Lucas safe in the yard.

    October: This time it was my birthday month! Unfortunately Lucas came down with chickenpox four days before my birthday, so we celebrated at home with Thai takeaways, wine and a movie.

    November: This was the month I discovered we were going to have our second child! The baby is due in July and I am very excited. Yes, I had to take two tests as I didn't trust the first one!

    December: Lucas turned two! He had a Wiggles themed birthday party and got some great new things to play with, including a guitar and lawnmower that he adores. I made the cake as a multicoloured marble cake in the Wiggles colours, and all the food was Wiggles themed.

    I cannot believe how fast the year has gone! I hope you all have a wonderful 2012 with lots of exciting new memories to be had.
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