Recipe: Mediterranean Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Shrimp

Remember last week when I teased you with the pic of, what could possibly be, my favorite Pinterest recipe yet?
Mediterranean Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Shrimp!

This dish is SO good, and makes about 6 servings. It's flavorful, healthy and just all around YUM!
Oh, and some even better news? I got everything for this while I was at Target. Double win!
The original recipe did not have shrimp in it, so if you don't like/want shrimp, just take out that step!

What You Need:
-1 lb. shrimp (no tail, deveined)
-1 box whole wheat penne
-1 cup feta cheese
-2 tsp. minced garlic, divided (mine was from the jar)
-3/4 C. sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, chopped
-1/2 C. pine nuts
-about 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
-2 Cups baby spinach
-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-salt to taste, if desired (I omitted this)

What You Do:
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions in a large pot. Drain and return to pot.

2. While the pasta is cooking, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a frying pan along with 1 tsp minced garlic. Let it heat up over low-medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the shrimp and cook through. Set aside and keep warm.

3. Using the same pan, add another 1 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan, and another 1 tsp. minced garlic. Let it heat up, and add in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and the oil from the jar, the black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Continue to saute for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes soften.

4. Add the shrimp back into the frying pan and mix. Cook another minute.

5. Add the contents of the frying pan to your cooked and drained noodles in the pot. Turn the heat onto low.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, toss to coat, and heat for another minute or two. Add in the pine nuts, and baby spinach, and mix. Turn off the heat, cover the pot with a lid, and let the spinach wilt a bit, about 2 minutes.

6. Add the feta cheese on top, and mix.

7. Serve it up and enjoy!

I promise, you're going to love this dish! It is going to be added to our menu to make on a regular basis!

Under the Weather

I'm not feeling so hot today, so no fun posts from me.
(which is a fitting statement, since it's also really crappy rainy weather outside today, too)

Check back tomorrow cuz I've got that yummy recipe posting up here then!

Off to attempt to make it through the day....

I confess....

It's Fridayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
I'm doing jumps for joy over here. Since you can't see me, I wanted you to get the full blown picture in your head!

Ready for some fessin'?

I confess that....

......I made one of the most delicious meals on Wednesday night that I've made thus far. It's SO tasty and yummy, and not too difficult to make. I'll be posting the recipe soon, but to tease and tantalize you I'm gonna post this pic:

.....I got another Kindle Paperwhite sent to me because I didnt think the font was as clear as it was supposed to be. I could still read it, and it was fine, but everyone raved about how crisp it was and mine wasn't. After spending that $$ I wanted to get the whole sha-bang!

.....I've been getting several compliments at work lately, and it is seriously nice to hear, and to feel appreciated and respected. It's been a LONG time since I've felt that way at a job.

.....I'm the go-to person at work to find out how many days of school are left (36 if you wondered...and I started counting back around 55). So...I might be good at my job, but I enjoy a summer break as much as the next guy!

....on Pinterest, I always seem to see a yummy looking meal or treat, and right next to it is a workout plan or quote. It's like I'm being tested.

....the fact that cicadas are going to be popping up around here soon, freaks me the eff out! They are gross, they swarm and make loud noises. Ew! I'm not looking forward to that. At. All.

....MG is taking Spanish lessons through work, and when he comes home and practices, I have a hard time not laughing at his pronunciation of things. The good news is, I may laugh, but I DO correct/help him, and then drill him on the correct pronunciation like the good speech therapist that I am (he said something about how now he knows how it is to be a kid in therapy with me hahaha). I'm a good gf, I swear :)

.....I always tell myself I'm going to try and workout on Fridays after work. And then Friday-after-work comes along and I'm sitting on my couch in sweat pants.
Womp womp.

And on that note, I'm gonna hustle through my day so I can get home and sit on my butt workout. Yeah....right! :)

Happy Friday!

Just Workin' on My Fitness

If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that the title of this post is also the name of my workout board.

Lately I've been trying to kick my butt into gear to get more toned up by going to the gym more regularly, but I've felt a little stagnant.

I've noticed in the last 2 months it hasn't been as easy for me as it was in the past to tone up on the quick, so I've been trying to incorporate some different things into my workout routine. A good friend of mine (hey P!nky) reminded me that my body might be getting used to my routine of elliptical and ab work.

Remember back when I was getting ready to go to Mexico? And it was RIGHT after Holiday season? (cue scary sounds, screams, etc) I found a video on Pinterest from Dr. Oz with Shaun T (from the Insanity workouts), and MG and I decided to incorporate this 15 minute routine into every other day of the week for two weeks before we went. Let me tell you, it really kicked my butt into gear and got me toned! Evidence--->

Below is the link to the page. I was nervous to get into Insanity but after doing this video for about 2 weeks, I felt like I might be able to tackle some of the regular Insanity workouts (mayyyybeee...)

Source: via Jenn on Pinterest

I've also been using Brooke Burke's video Tone and Tighten (you can get it on Amazon here) to get an all over workout, and it really helps. I have trouble doing this one more than once a week (or at least not within 2 days of doing it) because I hurt so bad that it's hard to walk normally afterwards (but while doing it, it's not that painful). It's a good butt kicking...literally. I also like that there are different options to customize the workout (warm up, upper body, lower body and core, along with a cool down), so you can select which ones you want to do. I really love Brooke's energy--she's encouraging and just looking at her body while she's doing it keeps me motivated to try and look like her!

On top of these, and doing the elliptical, I've been trying to up my water intake every day. Some days I do better than others. And some days I end up running to the bathroom like every 30 minutes it seems. But it's worth it and my body feels good. Plus, it helps me to not want to snack as much.

My main problem area is my lower tummy (right below my belly button) and my sides. Again, I know I'm not overweight, but I'm just not where I want to be, and not as toned as I'd like to be/been in the past.

What do you do to work on these areas/overall? 
Do you think you have the balls nerve to try the Dr. Oz/Shaun T workout? If you do, you won't regret it, and you'll feel really good after! Pinky promise!

WILW and Oh How Pinteresting!

It's the middle of the week, which means it's time for some of my fave link ups with Jamie and Michelle!

I'm loving the irony that the county I work in decided to spray chemicals Monday morning (and then we weren't allowed to go outside of the building for an hour and a half).....which was Earth Day. Last I checked chemicals and Earth Day didn't really mix....

I'm loving reading on my Paperwhite. It's so nice to be able to change the light setting when I need it (which is more often than I realized since MG likes it to be somewhat batcave-like in our place in the evenings). I also like the feel of it. Totally worth it in my opinion!

I'm loving that the anchor dress that I bought last week totally looks just as cute on as it did on the model online!  Super happy with that purchase, and with being able to add another cute dress to my wardrobe selection!

I'm loving that we can buy yummy watermelons again! I love watermelons, and I especially love combining them into a yummy slushy drink. I'll post that recipe soon! It's to die for delicious!

I'm loving that I'm trying another meal from Pinterest tonight--keeping my fingers crossed that the trend of yummy dishes from there continues! If so, I'll share that with you all, later on, too!

And, for that reason, among many others, I love Pinterest!

This week I've been pinning...
Love love love
Parmesan Crusted Salmon Yes please!
(Adding this to the "To Try" list now...)
I love the ceiling in this place, the colors, everything!
I'll keep dreaming that one day maybe we'll be able to afford a place like this...maybe...
Covering a cork board with burlap. Love the decorative touch!
I. Die.
Pretty sure my heart just melted into a pile of mush!
haha, if only it worked that way! :)
 Follow Me on Pinterest Check out the other stuff I've been pinning!

Happy Wednesday!

Recipe: Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

Have you hopped on the quinoa (keen-wah) train yet?
It took me a bit, but I'm convinced! And if you're not yet, I've got a great recipe for you to try, especially if you like Mexican flavors.
This will easily make 6 good sized portions (the original recipe says 8).
I added some modifications from the original recipe. 

What You Need:
-1 cup of cooked quinoa (roughly 1/4 cup dry quinoa, cooked following the directions)
-2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
-2 large sweet potatoes, shredded
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-1 heaping Tbsp. ground cumin
-2 eggs
-2 cups salsa
-liberal pinches/dashes of salt, pepper, onion powder

What You Do:
1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Meanwhile, I suggest heating up the sweet potatoes for a little bit in the microwave (poke holes!) to soften them a bit, and help get the cooking process started. Use a food processor/magic bullet type of instrument to shred the sweet potatoes (trust me, grating it yourself will be torture).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, black beans and sweet potato. Add in 1/2 cup of the cheese, the cumin, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

3. In a small bowl, combine the egg and salsa, and whisk together.

4. Add the salsa mixture to the bowl with the quinoa. Stir it together so it's evenly mixed.
The original directions did not say to mix evenly, but do it. It's important for even flavors.
5. Spray a casserole dish (I used a 9x13, the original recipe says 9x9) with non-stick cooking spray. Add the mixture into the casserole dish. Coat with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese (or add in a bit more, like I did :)

6. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. 

7. Add your desired toppings--we chose sour cream and jalapeno slices which added a nice flavoring to the whole dish.

If you don't like sweet potatoes, you can't even taste them in the meal, so I'd give it a try anyway. I love sweet potatoes but I couldn't taste it in there at all.

Also, the leftovers are even better than the first night since all of the flavors sit and blend in with everything.
Happy healthy eating!

Low Key Weekend

Happy Monday!

I tell you, I could have slept another hour or two this morning. But, alas, my alarm went off and I had to get my hiney moving to start another day/week!

My weekend wasn't too crazy. Friday afternoon I had a semi-stressful meeting at work which went past the normal school hours, and then had to rush back home to get my hair cut (I wasn't missing another appointment). The haircut turned out great--my hair really needed a trim and some styling.

MG was busy with the AC guys...luckily we were able to get the AC fixed, buuuut, it cost $700. Ouch! Needless to say, we were both a little stressed from the day, so we went to Lost Dog Cafe for a pizza dinner. During which, we discovered that a beer we had been trying to find last year, was back! And, we got the last 6 pack at the restaurant! Winner!
Hell or High Watermelon
MG wanted to go buy a new pair of golf shoes, so he tortured me drove us to Dick's. During this time, I reminded him that the next time I drag him shopping, I'd better not hear any complaints :) The whole time we were there I was streaming the news since the capture of the Boston bomber was underway.

We went home to relax and watch the rest of the events unfold, and the eventual capture of the bomber. Wooohoo! 
And then, after all the stress of the day/week, and the excitement over the capture, I proceeded to fall asleep on the couch. Party animal, over here!

Saturday MG went golfing with his buddies which meant for me: Bravo tv marathon!! During which I discovered the show LA Shrinks. I had seen previews for it but wasn't interested enough at the time to tune in. Lucky for me, Saturday was a marathon so I got all caught up, and actually really liked the show!

{{Speaking of reality shows, MG informed me on Friday that Ready for Love has already been cancelled, and they're not sure that they are even going to air the rest of this current season. I was bummed cuz I really like the show, and at least wanna find out what happens with the current people!}}

I also spent some time reading and took Cooper for a long walk. Perfect Saturday to recover from a long and stressful week!
Later that night MG and I went out with a couple friend of ours for dinner in DC and then went to our other friends' 30th birthday celebration which was a LOT of fun. SO much fun that I forgot to take pictures. D'oh!

And then, Sunday was errands, laundry and relaxing. 
Cooper tried to help us fold the sheets....
MG seems to have come down with a cold so he's been sniffling all over the condo, trying to recover. Fingers crossed he gets better before I catch whatever he has. Since, we all know, I appear to have the immune system of an ant this year (thank you, preschool!)

And now, it's time to start another week. At least I have a yummy meal to come home to tonight. Speaking of which, I'm gonna post an AWESOME recipe tomorrow, and it's uber healthy so come back and check it out!
  Mingle 240

I Confess...

It's Friday....Hallelujahhhhhh! 

Ready for some confessions???

I confess that....

.....I have a hair cut appointment today, which I've had to reschedule twice due to a friend's bday party, and having our friends over for dinner last night. My hair needs a good cut and style, desperately! I can't wait!! our place, we have 4 Kindle devices now. Two are mine, and two are MG's. Talk about being surrounded by technology! But....I'm LOVING my new Kindle Paperwhite! And now I can really lend my "lending" out a Kindle (Got ya, Amazon!!...altho they probably got me, since I bought another Kindle...) took every ounce of my being not to fly off the handle at the secretary in the main office of our complex. After a week of trying to get a repair person to come and look at our AC unit (and being put off, or told they would call back and never did, every single day), the chick copped an attitude with me when I came by the office on Wednesday to ask what was going on. And then, in a snotty tone, told me that the guy was "doing it as a courtesy" anyway, and that now it's our responsibility. And, she lied that he called and left a message for us 2 times (neither of us have missed calls or voice mails). When I said it wasn't true, she claimed she was there when he made the call. UGH. I hate people like that--and all the while, we could have just had a company come out and fix it if they had been up front with us in the first place that they weren't going to do it! Sorry,  #NeededToVent

.....I can't stop buying dresses online. When I see a cute one, and it's a reasonable price, I want it! I love Spring/Summer and I love wearing dresses to work, or out on the weekends. I can't help it. (I might need an intervention soon!) 
{first 3 images via; last image via}
I bought these this week, and got the first 3 (with shipping) for $72 total, and the last for $29. First one I'm thinking for a summer wedding I have, the second one for bridal shower/date night, etc., the third one for work and/or every day summer time, and the last for every day spring/summer. It's ok, right?? (both of those shorter dresses will be longer on me since the models are taller than me....don't want my hiney exposed!!)
Ok...maybe I have a problem....haha

....I'm trying to eat better and get in better shape, but I'm finding it harder than in the past. And I'm having an even harder time coming to grips with the fact that it might have something to do with me turning 30. Drats. Come on, good genes....keep on keepin' on!!  
In the meantime, I'll be in the gym/working out, on the regular! (Hold me to that, please?)

....hearing from a 2nd grader that I "look beautiful in that dress" melts my heart. It's little things like that, that just brighten my day and make me appreciate working with kiddos even more! (and maybe getting compliments about my dresses contributes to my dress buying problem, too haha, jk)

....I wish our complex pool would open up earlier than the week before Memorial Day Weekend. They're filling the pool, and I can see it when I go to the gym, which is just a constant reminder that I wanna be in/around it. (Maybe if their workers weren't so busy avoiding phone calls/doing their job, they could open it earlier....just sayin'....#BitterPartyOfOne)

....I'm really glad it's Friday and I have a weekend of fun and relaxing ahead!

Hope you have a spectacular one to look forward to, too!

Book Review: Ten Tiny Breaths

I've been a bit of a reading machine lately. Having my Kindle when I go to the gym has made my workouts go by faster, and kept me on the reading train.

This week I finished my recent read: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Here's Amazon's summary:
Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D. Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair. But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

This book was a quick read for me. I found it pretty easy to read, and I wanted to find out about Kacey's past, and see the relationships in her life develop. I did kind of guess where the book was going, but that didn't ruin it for me. 
Parts of the book I wasn't sure how much I believed Kacey's character, until later on in the book, when things from Kacey's past started to make more sense to me. Overall, I liked the book.
If you're looking for a light read about a troubled past, with some romance, this is a good one for you.  It's definitely a good pool-side read.

WILW and Oh How Pinteresting

It's Wednesday, so you know what time it is! Linking up with Michelle and Jamie today:

I'm loving that MG and I are having one of our couple friends over for dinner at our place. We usually just go out to dinner with our friends, so I'm excited to cook and entertain! #FeelingLikeABigGirl

I'm loving that I've been better about sticking to my workout goals for the week. And I've been trying to eat better during the week, too. 30 ain't no joke, and I gotta make sure this girl stays fit! 
Might be busting out the quick 15-min. Shaun T workout to jump start my body into action again.

I'm loving that the weather has been SO nice. It's been feeling like Spring and we've been able to keep our windows open. Which is a good thing since the condo people still haven't come to fix our AC unit #jerks

I'm loving that MG and I are going to Charleston, SC in June to visit some HS friends of his. I've never been to Charleston but I've heard nothing but good things about it, and I can't wait!

I'm loving that I bought this cute dress the other day on sale for $26. I'm hoping it's as cute when it gets here as it is online!
I'm loving that my Kindle Paperwhite is gonna be waiting for me when I get home today. Can't wait to play/read with my new toy!

And, as usual, I'm loving Pinterest!

Here's what I've been pinning....
Amen! Right, teachers??
Salmon with spinach, roasted red peppers and feta
Looks like the perfect light Spring/Summer meal to me! 
Super adorbs dress! 
I want these!!! SO dainty and cute! 
Ugh, the cuteness!!
Sadly, some days this is true, lol
Follow Me on Pinterest Check out the other stuff I've been pinning!
Happy hump day! 2 more days til the weekend!! Whoop whoop!!