Veggie pasta & homemade pesto

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my last post! Getting grandma into gear with healthier eating habits has been quite a rewarding experience (in just a week!). So far she is really sticking to the meal plans and snacks I’ve suggested (although I’ve still given her a lot of freedom to make her own choices). She’s also doing a great job with her food journals! We sit down every few days and go over her food groups. She has increased her veggies and whole grains by several servings each day, while minimizing her processed foods and sweets. I’m so incredibly proud of her! (And psssst… she lost 4 lbs. this week!!)

The key to helping my grandmother was helping her with food prep and giving her ideas about healthy meal planning. Before, she really thought a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of processed tomato soup was a well-rounded meal. That’s the type of meal that can certainly work on occasion (holy yumminess who doesn’t love a grilled cheese dunked in tomato soup!?) but it’s definitely not the best meal choice for several times a week. Hint hint: tomato soup out of a can is not a serving of real vegetables. Okay, maybe the can says so… but come on people, really?

The hard part has been making veggie dishes that my grandfather will eat (he’s definitely a meat and potatoes type!). So I’ve had to get really creative when it comes to dealing with him. But I reminded my grandmother… just because grandpa wants a grilled cheese every night doesn’t mean you have to eat that with him! Prepare yourself a huge tasty salad, or some stir-fried veggies, or a a grilled tomato, hummus and avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread instead. For now we are sneaking veggies into my grandpa’s food… like with chocolate zucchini muffins, veggie marinara sauce, and yesterday I made him some low-fat veggie fried rice that he loved! So you can teach an old dog new tricks… promise ;)

I also made this delicious Mediterranean Veggie Pasta dish that I thought I’d share with you all. It was a huge hit at a dinner party last night too. The secret is adding some of the veggies in raw, and cooking up the onion, garlic, mushrooms and zucchini to bring out milder flavors. I also added some hearts of palm and capers, and made a citrus balsamic dressing to toss everything in. Everyone really enjoyed it!

 The second day, while enjoying this for leftovers, I added a little grilled tofu and some homemade vegan pesto for extra flavor. Talk about delicious! I prefer to make my own pesto at home so that I can control the ingredients. Most bottled pestos are saturated in olive oil (making them pretty high cal). Here’s my tasty low-fat vegan pesto recipe. 

This pesto is fabulous on it’s own! I love it tossed with whole wheat pasta or spread over a toasted baguette. It also makes a great sandwich spread.

Aside from being in the kitchen all week, I’ve also been spending an absurd amount of time in my books (blah!) but also enjoying some gorgeous Florida fall weather! It’s finally started to cool down a bit and there is just enough breeze to keep the windows open during the day.

Guess who else is enjoying this gorgeous weather?

This was taken right outside my kitchen window. There were five deer, but I only captured three in this frame. Most of them were babies. This time of year they can be spotted in the yard almost every day! They love grabbing the oranges and tangerines off the trees (which are just starting to come into season).

By the way I blame my lack of blog posts this week to a missing camera cord. Finally found it! :)

Any exciting plans for Halloween weekend? 

I will be cramming for two huge upcoming exams and maybe passing out candy to some neighborhood kids (I thought about raisins and granola bars, but I don’t want to get egged!)

~ Peace, Love & Veggies xo

Comments

  1. Your dishes always make me so hungry! :)
    Good luck on your exams! I’m heading out to chicago for a halloween party after salving away on the house all day today. Should be fun! :)
    Katelainey recently posted..My Etsy ShopMy Profile

    • Ohh Chicago! Sounds like so much fun! I spent last New Years in Chicago and it was my first time truly experiencing the city. I really loved it! It’s a big city that still has a bit of a midwestern vibe that’s totally different from the New England big cities. Have fun! :)

  2. Yummy! That looks really good!
    Aw! Cute deer :)
    Shannon @ Healthiful Balance recently posted..Eats on a Sick Day + Giveaway WinnersMy Profile

    • Thanks girlie! I love watching the baby deer, they are so beautiful and peaceful. Only downfall is they eat all of the shrubs and flowers!! haha!

  3. Yummy! Lurve me some pesto and Mediterranean dishes! :)
    Sierra recently posted..Long Time, No BlogMy Profile

  4. I’m currently on a juice fast, I don’t know why I’m looking at this.

    IT LOOKS DELICIOUS!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!

    :)

    • haha I’ve been there and done that girl! I did a 2 week juicing fast this summer and I remember that watching the Food Network and blog hopping was specifically difficult! The physical part of juice fasting was not difficult for me but the mental aspect started to drive me a little crazy! lol. But overall, one of the best experiences I’ve been through. I’ll probably do another one after the holidays! Good luck with yours!!!!

  5. Yummy! I made veggie pasta last night, but you have a better veggie-to-pasta ratio. :) i went to a Halloween party last night, but now that it’s Sunday, it’s all about the chores/housework.
    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers recently posted..Date Night & Dream VacationMy Profile

    • I can’t believe how many veggies I managed to cram into this dish! And it ended up turning out really yummy! I’m jealous, I stayed home all weekend and studied! No dressing up this year! :(

  6. This is a wonderful recipe! I love anything with pesto so I am certain I would enjoy this :)
    Tessa @ Amazing Asset recently posted..Vlog- New and Mentionable FindsMy Profile

    • I’m a pesto addict too! I spread it on everything! It’s really good over fresh slices of tomatoes. Mmmm my fav! :)

  7. I love making my own pesto…yours looks fantastic!
    Alexa @ SimpleEats recently posted..Pumpkin ChiliMy Profile

  8. Bob Somerville says:

    I made the veggie pasta last night and it was amazing! Loved the idea of putting raw and sauteed vegetables in the same dish………….even went out and bought a 12 year balsamic vinegarette for the dish!

    • Awesome I’m glad you liked it!! My mother uses aged balsamic vinegar all the time and whenever I’m at her house I make sure to have some, that stuff is tasty!! Pricey but oh so worth it! :)

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