cold weather, warm dish

sweet potato greens mac and cheese

Even though snow has fallen I haven’t really been in the cold weather mode yet but yesterday the cold to the bone feeling washed over me and I was in mac and cheese mode. Lucky for me I was on the Naturally Ella blog and found the recipe for Sweet Potato Spinach Mac and Cheese and about twenty other recipes I plan on making. The alterations I made to the recipe were mostly time and money savers and of course I added more cheese and butter.

 

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

1 medium sweet potato
3 cups whole wheat pasta or your preferred pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cup milk, I used Whole
2 cups Italian cheese blend (the premixed bag- you are looking for asiago and mozzarella)
2 cups parmesan cheese
lots of leafy greens, like a bag of spinach or tub or mixed greens is what I used

 

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

 

Peel and cube sweet potato. Mix together cheese and set aside.

 

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add sweet potato, and cook until tender, 8-12 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

 

Bring a pot of water to a boil again and cook pasta for 5-6 minutes. Pasta should still be al dente (and not overcooked!) Drain and set aside.

 

Place cooked sweet potato in a food processor with ¼ cup of milk. Pulse until smooth and set aside or use an immersion blender.
In a sauce pan, melt butter and add garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and let cook for another 1-2 minutes to cook out flour taste. Whisk in 1¼ cup of milk and cook until mixture begins to thicken. If mixture does not thicken add a little more flour, just a dash or two until it thickens up. Give it time after each addition of flour to see if it thickens.

 

 

Whisk in sweet potato puree and continue to cook until hot. Remove from heat and add half of the cheese mixture.

 

In a large bowl, add pasta, spinach, and cheese sauce. Toss until spinach is slightly wilted and cheese is covering the pasta.

 

Pour into large casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes- cheese on top should be browning.

workout wednesday

 

Zen Yoga Garage

Monday school was closed in honor of Veterans’ Day, so I had the day off of work and decided to change up my workout routine and head to Zen Yoga Garage. ZYG has come up in a few conversations and has been pretty popular in my Facebook feed for the last few months, so when I moved back I put them on the top of my “to try” studio list. I started my free week… yes, one week free with a Buddah Burn Yoga or Yoga with Weights and it pushed me and I was soaked to the bone when I left but it was a great workout and I can’t wait to go again. Depending on what time I get home today I will try the Barre of Vinyasa class and I can’t wait to try the Vindalini Yoga – Kundalini and Vinyasa Fusion on Saturday. Any classes, gyms, or studios that you would recommend in Chicago?

 

p.s. 10 Boredom-Busting Treadmill workouts

p.p.s When Harry Met Sally in Real Life.

workout wednesday

 

Starting a new job is fun and exciting but it also drains your battery taking in all the new information and meeting tons of new people. So when I started on Monday I made the goal to get out and run everyday after work.  I knew I’d be tired and yes, I have gone to bed at 9:30 pm but I’m getting out there and keeping up with my workouts creating a strong routine and a strong me. So even though you may be drained get out there and get that workout in, I promise you’ll be thankful you did.

lunch time

I have some news… on Monday I started to work full-time at a High School just outside of Chicago, IL. This means a lot of things but mostly that I won’t get to walk into the kitchen in whip up my lunch like I have this past year and I have completely forgotten how much of a chore it is to pack healthy tasty lunch. So I thought I would start sharing what’s in my lunch, this way I can share some probably easy recipes but it will also keep me on track for packing my lunch and not buying it. The first place I’m hitting for new recipes are is Yummly. The mission of Yummly is to be the world’s largest, most powerful, and most helpful food site in the world, so I think it will help keep my lunch box lively. What did you bring for lunch?

workout wednesday

 

I went for a jog on Monday morning and came back sick with the flu and it has been a pretty awful couple of days.  I will hopefully get to put my running shoes on tomorrow morning but until then I thought I would share some of the neat outdoor running gear I’ve been looking at while I’ve been a blob on the couch.  First, pretty much everything from The Four Percent’s Winter Gym Bag Essentials post, Smartwool socks, a reflective snap band, Goody’s Ouchless Ribbon Elastics, and on my Christmas list maybe one of these fancy GPS running watches. What are your outdoor running essentials?

 

weekend full of pumpkins

It is your last weekend to get your pumpkin decorating and carving on, so I thought I would share a couple of diy pumpkin decorating projects and a few pumpkin recipes.  If you haven’t done any serious pumpkin carving or designs check out this Pumpkin Carving 101 post.

 

Embroidered Pumpkins

 

Sequin Pumpkin

 

Paint Dipped Pumpkin

 

Southern Living’s 31 Pumpkin Carving Ideas

 

String Art Pumpkin

 

Typographic Pumpkin

 

Raw Pumpkin Pie Bites

 

Sweet & Salty Pumpkin Seeds

 

 

 

foam roller

 

The foam roller. It is the most unassuming piece of work out equipment out there. You use the foam roller to apply direct pressure to muscles, similar to a massage. I use mine everyday and try to hit all the areas/rolls in this how to infographic. You can also use it in core workouts, just type in “foam roller workouts” on Pintrest and you’ll get a ton exercises, like this one. If you don’t belong to a gym or would prefer to do your foam rolling at home, you can purchase them on interweb.  This is the foam roller I use and would recommend. Just make sure that you purchase a foam roller that is long enough, so you can use it in your core work out. To learn more about foam rollers check out this post, from The Four Percent. Now go foam roll!

 

Oh and have you heard about Kate Hudson’s new athletic clothing line? It is called Fabletics and has a great selections of tops and bottoms at surprisingly affordable prices. They even give you a price comparison between the top athletic brands and their line.  I’m not sure how the clothes will work out but it can’t hurt to try them out since you get free shipping and 50% off your first purchase.

 

p.s. Baking creamy pumpkin pie bars today!

 

 

socktober

Socktober Kid President

 

Kid President believes it is time we took back the internet and did something awesome and I agree. It is Socktober! A great time to start a sock drive. Better yet, gather up socks and other basic essentials, like food, blankets and hats and donate them to your local homeless shelter.  Because even though Fall may seem all pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider it is starting to get chilly out and kids and adults need our help staying warm. Click here to find your local homeless shelter. Oh and don’t forget to hashtag any of donation posts #socktober! 

 

 

weekend love

Saturday_Morning

 

This morning my niece, long time friends Betsy and Derek, and I headed to the park to enjoy some of this Indian Summer. It was a blast and I can’t believe how fancy parks have gotten since I was a kid! Have you been to a park lately? What are you up to this weekend? Well if you need anything to do there are a lot of great recipes and diys below.

 

My Tumblr, less diy more tech, fashion and beliefs.

 

Try out Vizify to create your social media inforgraphic.

 

Pretzel potstickers, I’ll probably be adding cheese and some veg as the filling.

 

My patterns are now on Kollabora.

 

Make use of those browning bananas and on sale canned pumpkin with this Pumpkin Banana Bread recipe.

 

Great gift idea.

 

Check out this Giant Pom Pom from London-based artist Eleanor Davies.

 

workout wednesday

 

I don’t know how this is going to work exactly but I’ve decided that I’d like to do a weekly post about exercise, Workout Wednesday… yes, I know I am super creative. I thought it would be a fun way to share the different resources that I have accumulated over the last year. Plus, I think it might be nice to show you all how I balance my sweet tooth and staying healthy.  This week I don’t have anything big to share but I’d like to challenge you to go to a workout class, like Zumba, Yoga, Spin, CrossFit, etc. I know it might be scary to go by yourself, so make a friend come with. If you think you don’t have the money look around for a FREE or discounted first class, they are out there! I hope you accept my challenge and let me know what class you went to.