Turkey Trottin’ and Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa

Hi friends! How are you all doing?! I spent my whole vacation on cloud 9 –  I spent 2 straight days with my family, enjoyed the latter half  of my break in Atlanta with Derek’s family.

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving that began with the Turkey Trot 5K that I mentioned earlier in the week. After waking up in the 6 o’clock hour and enjoying a pre-race cup of coffee, my dad, Derek and I ventured out into the 37 degree Florida weather for our Turkey Trot in Fishhawk, a neighborhood near our home.

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We went back and forth on whether or not we should keep our jackets on while we ran. That’s how I know it’s really cold – when Derek and my dad run in long sleeves. In the end, we all decided to be wimps and run with the layers. The run never seemed to warm me up so I’m sure glad I kept my jacket on.

We ran with my dad for about 1.5 miles , and then all met up at the finish line. I didn’t pay much attention to my Garmin, and instead just enjoyed running with Derek and my dad beside me. We are all usually focused on trying to do well in our age group, so this was a nice change to run together.

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We ran mile 1 in 8:48, mile 2 in 8:07 and the last 1.1 mile in 7:54.

It was such a fun race and the turnout was great –  I’d guess about 2,000+ came out! I love seeing races grow from year to year!

After our run, we made our traditional Starbucks stop, and I realized it was my first Starbucks red cup of the holiday season. I’m pretty sure this is pitiful, since this means I haven’t had Starbucks in about a month. What was I thinking???!!!

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We rounded out the morning by decorating the Christmas tree, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, preparing my contribution for Thanksgiving dinner, and attempting to take a successful Christmas card photo.

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My family always celebrates Thanksgiving at my Aunt Suzanne and Tio Frankie’s home, and since they have the Thanksgiving meal perfected, I was asked to bring just an appetizer. I knew I wanted it to be something in the spirit of Thanksgiving, but couldn’t think of a dish for the life of me. That’s where Martha Stewart and Real Simple came into play. I found this recipe on their list of easy Thanksgiving appetizers, and it was definitely a hit at the get together (as much of a hit as an appetizer can be – we all know what we were really there for!)

Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa

1.5 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small

1 large red onion, diced

1 ½ tbsp. olive oil

2 tomatoes, diced

2 avocados, diced

3 tbsp chopped cilantro

Lime juice from 1 lime

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 450 . Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray, and roast diced sweet and onions tossed in olive oil for 20-25 minutes, or until sweet potato is lightly browned. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely.

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Once roasted veggies have cooled, add in tomatoes, avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Serve with pita chips or toasted baguette.

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I hope you all had as lovely as a Thanksgiving break as I did, and I hope your week is just as great!

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Zucchini Bites + My Tasty Week

Happy Hump Day, friends! I hope you are all having a great week thus far. I’m enjoying my time + food here in Atlanta (you’d think I came here just for the food with all I talk about it), but I’m looking forward to get home to my loved ones and Louie this weekend.

On Monday I took a break from working out – it was one of those days where I needed the break both mentally and physically. You ever feel that way? Anyways, to treat myself on this lovely rest day, I went to Tin Lizzy’s in Atlanta with three girlfriends from work, and it was delicious. I had an awesome salad topped with grilled shrimp, and loads of chips and guacamole. This made for one happy gal.
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I got back to the gym on Tuesday, and got a 4 mile interval run in, which coincided with our half marathon training plan! The run on Tuesday felt as good as the rest day on Monday did – funny how that happens, huh? Tuesday evening some friends and I went to eat at a seafood restaurant and all ordered the same seafood chopped salad and shrimp and grits. IT. WAS. DIVINE. We left feeling happy and full 🙂

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Now on to a recipe I promised you all! When I made this for my family last week, it was devoured in seconds. And the best part: this zucchini appetizer was as quick as it is healthy and tasty!

Ingredients

2 large zucchini

1/3 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 tbsp panko bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°and prepare a baking pan. Slice the zucchini into thin circular rounds. Place on baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and top each round with tomato sauce, panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes. Serve hot! (Makes about 30 pieces)

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Zucchini are one of my favorite vegetables to cook with, and pack some great nutrients. They are a good source of Vitamin C, folate and potassium – this recipe is a great dish to make when entertaining guests, and they won’t even know they’re eating healthy!

Homemade Basil Pesto

I just wanted to pop on in to share with you an integral recipe-within-a-recipe from a dish I posted last week!

Last week I shared with you all a recipe for a basil pesto and mozzarella chicken dish that I adapted from Skinny Taste. The recipe required homemade basil pesto sauce ( a skinny version, of course ) and I was so excited to make my own basil pesto for the first time! The Skinny Taste recipe was almost identical to a traditional basil pesto (only thing it lacked was pine nuts). I was so surprised at how easy it was to make, and was knocked off my feet by the way it tasted. Here is how it went down:

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cup basil
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Add basil, garlic, grated parmesan, salt and pepper to a food processor and pulse. After about 30 seconds of pulsing, begin to slowly add the olive oil. Continue to pulse until everything is incorporated. Scoop out of food processor, and serve over your meal or store in air tight container (it’s freezable)!

Makes a little over 1/2 cup of basil pesto.

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photo-99I served this basil pesto sauce atop a chicken dish last week and the basil pesto seriously stole the show!

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You have to make this or you won’t truly experience all the joys that life can bring you. I swear.

Hummus at Home

I made hummus this week and it keeps popping up in photos on the blog – I wanted to share with you guys as an easy recipe for the weekend!

Homemade Hummus

Ingredients

4 cloves of garlic

2 cans of chickpeas, drained (Reserve the liquid)

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup of tahini, plus 1 tbsp

6 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons of liquid from chickpeas

8 dashes of hot sauce

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, drop in garlic and mince. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor, and process until the texture is a course puree. Taste and season to your liking!

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Now I’m gonna be honest with you guys – this wasn’t my first time attempting to make hummus. The first time I tried last year, I thought I hit the nail on the head – boy was I proud. But after tasting this recipe, I realize that my previous attempt was a nasty fail – shout out to Mom, Dad and Derek and anyone else who ate it with a smile. I appreciate you humoring my madness.

Ina Garten’s recipe was much better than whatever I found on Pinterest last year, which lacked Tahini, a key ingredient for hummus. I’m thinking the reason I opted for a tahini-free recipe last year was because tahini costs about $8 a can. BUT DON’T FRET! There’s enough tahini in that can for about 30 “Sabra”-sized containers of hummus, so in the end, it’s definitely cost effective. If you’re a hummus fan, please try to make this simple recipe – I promise you’ll love it and probably feel accomplished when your friends ask, “you made your own hummus?!”

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In other news, Derek and I are trying to plan a trip to Boston in August to coincide with his work training in the city. We’ve never been to Boston before, and are trying to decide what to do while we’re there – anyone have ideas or pointers for us?!

Leave The Gun, Take The Cannoli

I didn’t watch The Godfather this weekend, but I did make cannoli!

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I’ve been wanting to make cannoli ever since I tried a couple of years ago with extreme difficulty. Cannoli (fun fact, singular of cannoli is cannolo) require metal cannoli “forms”, which are really just tubes to wrap the dough around in order to deep fry them into crispy shells. The last time I attempted, I made my own “DIY cannoli forms” – this was a huge mistake and the process was a mess. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered cannoli forms online to take a second whack at the endeavor. I had Derek’s help in the kitchen (he’s a master when it comes to anything that’s dough related – cue Homemade Pizza and Homemade Pasta recipes)

This time I combined 2 recipes: The first, a recipe from our family cook book, and the second, a recipe from The Food Network

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I was thrilled with the way the cannoli turned out and I plan to make a double the batch next time I make them, as it’s quite a messy process for just 20-24 cannoli!