Lemon Ricotta Penne with Asparagus

I have this nagging little habit. Every time I eat a meal that I love (especially if it is easy to prepare) I call it my favorite. My father does this with music and it drives me insane, so dear readers, I apologize.

That being said……

This recipe for Lemon Ricotta Penne with Asparagus really and truly is my new favorite meal! I want to eat it for lunch, for dinner, for snack, all day and everyday! The fact that it requires one pot, and a mere 20 minutes to make send it over the roof.

LemonRicottaPenne

Growing up, our family never ate ricotta, simply for the fact that my mother, the main cook in our house, was not a fan. In the past year, I have been introduced to this light, savory, salty cheese and an love affair is in full swing, I can’t get enough of the stuff! Nothing says spring quite like asparagus. Each week that I walk in to Trader Joe’s and they have bunches on sale for $1.99 my heart skips a beat! A burst of lemon is the true secret ingredient, taking the dish from delicious to something very special. Finally, do not skip the brine of the capers, bite of crushed garlic, or breath of oregano.

Like all great dishes, it’s the simple wholesome ingredients that make it wonderful.

I hope you get as much joy from this meal as I!

IMG_3927[1]                                                      

Hands On Time: 30 minutes                                              Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz Penne
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, one crushed, one minced
  • 1/2 c ricotta (reduced fat is fine)
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • capers
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh oregano

Instructions:

Cook pasta according to directions. When pasta is 2-3 minutes from al dente, add asparagus before draining. Reserve 1/4 c pasta water.

Return cooked pasta and asparagus to pot, add garlic, lemon juice, lemon rind, ricotta, capers, salt and pepper to taste, and stir well.

Divide pasta mixture between two dishes, and top with fresh oregano. Enjoy warm!

What are you loving right now?

Favorite Spring recipe?

Are you a ricotta fan?

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Weekend Musings

Happy Marathon Monday! I cannot wait to follow the amazing things going on in Boston for the Boston Marathon today. Go Shalane!

Phew! I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I sat down for more than 10 minutes this entire weekend! I feel like I should report a fabulous, elaborate weekend, but really, it was perfectly pleasant. From low key workouts to hair appointments, Easter celebrations, and bread baking (!!!) it was the perfect mix of “need to do” and “get to do.”

IMG_3884[1] Lettuce wraps, love of my life

IMG_3899[1] Best. Mom. Ever. Happy Easter!

IMG_3921[1] Sis and I have been wanting pedometers for ages now. I am officially addicted to counting my steps with my FitBit!

IMG_3922[1] No Easter is complete without my grandmother’s recipe for Hot Cross Buns! …Recipe coming soon!

IMG_3925[1] Easter Brunch with friends

Did you celebrate Easter? What did you do?

Have you ever used a fitness tracker? What did you love/hate?

Are you following the Marathon today?

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Five Things Friday

Good Friday morning to you! Happy Passover, Happy Easter, Happy Weekend! Ok I’ll stop. This weekend should be a fun and busy Easter filled weekend with Easter Egg hunts, church services, baking, and gatherings galore! For now though, let’s jump in to Five Things Friday!

five-things-friday

First, Beach Music It’s Back!

 

One of my favorite events in Raleigh is back for Spring and Summer, the Midtown Beach Music Series! Don’t know what Beach Music is? That’s ok, neither did I until precisely two years ago when I wandered out of my hotel in Raleigh, and literally stumbled into this weekly gathering of young professionals and families shagging (not in the British sense ;)) to this classic Carolina music. The most classic of all Beach music songs, The Embers legendary, I Love Beach Music….

Second, Links I Love 

Speaking of I Love Beach Music…. time to get ready and in the mood!

 Why 23 More Years of Nike USTAF is Bad For Our Sport

If you are have not been following the drama that has been unfolding over the past few months in professional running between professional runners, the US Track and Field Association, and Nike, this article sums it up from a competing running apparel company’s perspective. If you are at all interested in running, sports, or business in general, I highly recommend reading Oiselle CEO Sally Bergesen’s blog post!

Third, Lemon Ricotta Penne with Asparagus

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As I said on Instagram Monday evening, I know I say a meal is my favorite a lot. What can I say, I really, really, really like to eat :) When i say that this Lemon Ricotta Penne with Asparagus is my new favorite meal, I mean it in a drop what you are doing and make it right away context.

I never intended to develop this dish beyond something tossed together in my kitchen, but the moment I tasted it, I knew I had to share. The recipe will be coming next week!

Fourth, The Kinds of Others (and this delicious jam)

One of my many odd quirks is that I always have a jar of handmade jam in my fridge. The good stuff does not get used on PB&Js, recipes or other normal uses for jams and jellies. It is reserved solely for spoon to mouth action. A perk to living in the south is a strong canning and preserving culture. Sure canning is trendy now (yawn) but round here, it’s been a staple for hundreds of years!

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A former co-worker once left a jar of her homemade preserves in the break room with a note reading, “help yourself.” And help myself I did! I told her how much I adored her preserves. Two days later, I found a jar of her Strawberry and Fig (I would die for figs!) Preserves on my desk! My co-workers kindness blew me away even more than her preserves as I drew the jar that I had been saving from my pantry this week. The cherry on top…. it was just as delicious as I remember!

Finally, The Week In Fitness

Friday: 7 miles untimed,  my favorite back workout

I was able to run outside (yippee!) on a workday, which was fabulous. My Garmin however decided it did not feel like synching with the satellites, so after about 5 minutes, I had to hit the road without it, but I am guessing I averaged a 7:50ish pace.

Thursday: AM: 7 miles 3 @ 8:19, 4 @ 7:30, abs

Wednesday: Off!

Tuesday: 7 miles: 1 @ 8:19, 8 sets of 2 min @ 7:13, 1 min @ 8:19, 4 sets of 1  min@ 7:03, 2 min @ 8:19, 1 mile @ 8:19

This was a fun and challenging workout I gleaned from the pages of Runner’s World. It called for 8 sets hard where I did 4. Next time I might scale both sets of repeats to 6 so I can actually finish the workout :)

Monday: 5 miles easy @ 8:19, arms

Sunday: 12 miles @ 7:51 average pace

Saturday: 10 miles @ 7:44

Is there a type of music or dance unique to your city?

I swore I never would, but I am thinking about going self hosted as soon as I have some free time. Thoughts? Advice?

 

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Lemon Rosemary Roasted Radishes

Radishes. Who eats radishes aside from on salads? These crunchy, peppery, bright veggies area staple in my pantry and a constant presence on my salads. I have roasted just about every vegetable out there, beyond salads and sandwiches, I never gave radishes a second thought.

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Radishes

That was until I opened the March/April of Eating well, without a doubt, my favorite issue since I began subscribing three years ago to a feature on radishes. Soups, roasting, who knew these guys were so versatile!

Roasting radishes significantly alters the flavor. Their strong peppery bite is mellowed, and they acquire an almost potato-like texture. Adapted from that issue, the melding of flavors with fresh green onion and lemon create a light and simple Spring side dish, ideal to add to your repertoire!

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Radishes

 IMG_3838[1] *Adapted from Eating Well

Total Times: 25 minutes            Hands On Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb radishes, ends removed, quartered
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450.

Toss radishes, salt and pepper in a prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

Add green onion and lemon juice. Return dish to oven and bake another 5-7 minutes, or until radishes are tender.

Remove from oven, stir in butter. Enjoy warm.

What is an unexpected way you have discovered to cook a veggie?

Favorite food magazine?

Eating Well and Cooking  Light!

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Spring Is Here!

Running is a fickle beast. Some days we love it, some days we hate it. Usually, it is a combination of both.

As often seems to happen these days, I woke up Saturday morning and had no desire to run 12 miles. I think the combination of three 10 mile runs in the past week, and 10 other things I would rather spend my day doing  were rearing their heads. Instead I went for the 5 mile shake out run I knew I needed.

Would ya believe it? the first 1.5 miles made me want to stop, turn around, and walk home. The last 3.5 had me literally thanking God for my ability to run and for placing me in the city I was in, and counting every one of my blessings.

Garmin

Can you tell which were net uphill and which net dowhill? ;)

That friends, is why we love running, and why we come back morning after morning when a 12 mile run sounds about as fun as being chased by a T-Rex.

After my run, I hurried my way on to the Rock n Roll Raleigh Expo. No I did not run. This picture sums up exactly why.

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Why yes, that is a giant shoe, not a bull…

Irregardless of the RnR hoopla, I sure as heck love me a race expo! Big, small, I don’t care. A mass gathering of active people sharing the excited energy of a looming race, running (discounted) gear on all sides, how can it get better than that!?

It can, by spending the AMAZING 80 degree afternoon with this pretty lady at the Uncork the Fun Wine Festival!

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Sunday’s 12 miler was a toughie. I think it might be about time to give my quads a break. That is certainly what they were screaming for, for approximately 10 of the 12 miles :)

garmin2

Long runs require fabulous refueling. I met friends at the recently opened, Broken Egg, for brunch.

IMG_3860[1] Thanks for the picture Kara, your Instameal was far prettier than mine :)

I was underwhelmed  by the food (one of my poached eggs was cooked through #fail for a restaurant with Egg in the name), luckily the fabulouso company more than made up for it.

Sunday afternoon was spent in the most luxurious way imaginable. I finally cashed in a gift certificate for an amazing deep tissue massage (this neeeeddss to happen after every long run!) that I have been sitting on for almost a year, followed by…

IMG_3865[1] The first pool time of the season! Bring it on sunshine!

How else do you cap off a perfect day than by celebrating with an incredible friend. A long time runner, this girl is the hardest most dedicated worker I know, and she rocked her first half marathon! Obviously there is only one way to recover from such a feet…

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In closing thoughts: Tina Fey is a genius, Lindsay Lohan is a tragedy, that girl has talent, and Mean Girls is the best movie ever.

Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend, Ya’ll rock, and are insanely fabulous!

Are you a Mean Girls Fan?

Craziest race expo you have ever been to?

 

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Five Things Friday – Jorts Edition

Good Morning, and happy Friday to you! What do you have on the docket this weekend? The Rock and Roll Half Marathon is taking place in Raleigh this weekend. I am not running for various reasons, but I AM excited to hopefully score some super discounted running gear Saturday, and then convince some friends to check out a wine festival!

five-things-friday

First, Sprees Please!

IMG_3830[1] Diet Coke and Sprees…who ever accused me of being healthy?

It’s funny, the vending machines at our work are supposed to provide associates with healthier options of their favorites. Diet soda only, baked chips, granola bars (believe me I know the irony of that statement). Regardless of attempts to promote health, these scrumdidliumptious  goodies have thankfully snuck through!

I entirely blame my co-worker for letting me know that Chewy sprees are available for my enjoyment 5 days a week. Holy moly are these guys delish! The satisfying chew make them absolutely craveable…this could be a problem…

Second, Links I Loved

DIY Cutoff Shorts

If ya can’t tell by my highlighting this link alone, I attended the University of Florida where we are renowned for our jorts. I was talking with a friend this weekend about our shared need to buy new jorts this summer so this how-to was perfectly timed!

gatorjortscollage Source

This…..100% Awesome

Third, Cod with Asian Spiced Lentils Stir Fry

Cod Asian Lentil

 

This meal is without a doubt not only one of my top go-to recipes, but one of my favorite meals period! I can’t believe it took me until now to share it! In fact I had it twice this week. I know Cajun cooking calls onions, bell pepper and celery the Holy Trinity, but its hard to beat ginger, garlic, and soy!

Fourth, I Ran In the Evening…and Didn’t Get Sick!
WOB
Thanks for the pic Melissa :)

My inability to run after eating the majority of the day’s food is too well documented on CCR. That is a gosh darn shame because there are few things better than running with buddies, which for me is only feasible after work.

The happy, happy news? Swapping one of my normal breakfast meals for lunch on Thursday, I ran a wonderful, light 5 miles with my (too occasional) running group… and it was fabulous! I trul hope this is a sign of things to come because running with great people is one of life’s little joys!

Finally, The Week In Fitness

Friday: 6 miles easy @ 8:19, abs

Thursday: AM: 5 miles 2o minutes @ 8:19, the rest @ 7:18, arms PM: 5 miles @ 8:33

Wednesday: Off!

Tuesday: 8 miles, 2 @ 8:19, 6 @ 8:12

After 25 miles three days into the week, I knew cross training was in order, but after 2 minutes on the elliptical, I thought my legs might fall off. Somehow I made it through a full 60 minutes without bumping up the  resistance like I normally do and man o man was it a good thing! It significantly flushed the lactic acid out of my weary legs.

Monday: 5 miles easy @ 8:19, abs

Sunday: 10 miles @ 7:57 average pace

Amazing

Saturday: 10 miles @ 7:58

Aweful

Chewy or regular Sprees?

Chewy alllll the way baby!

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