Friday, April 10, 2009

I cook eggplant

Not being much of a gourmet, I don't try a lot of new dishes that contain ingredients I've never worked with. But a recipe on the back of a pasta package caught my eye. No, I don't make pasta from scratch (or sausage, for that matter). It was Barilla Ricotta & Spinach Tortelloni (yum) and the recipe is for Ricotta & Spinach Tortelloni with cherry tomatoes and eggplant.

At this point I was going to link to the Barilla Web site, so you could get the directions straight from the horse's mouth. But would you believe it's not listed there? Oh well, I made a couple of changes anyway. So, no pretty pictures, but here's the recipe:

Ricotta & Spinach Tortelloni with cherry tomatoes and eggplant

1 8 oz. bag Barilla Ricotta & Spinach Tortelloni
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small eggplant, salted, peeled and cubed
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
6 basil leaves, thinly sliced (2 tablespoons) (I used dried basil and it was fine. I know you purists are probably cringing.)
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste (I eliminated the salt, deciding there was plenty from salting the eggplant.)

1. Cook tortelloni according to package directions. (If you're the type to make pasta from scratch, carry on. You know what to do here.)
2. While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet.
3. Add garlic and saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
4. Add eggplant and saute for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons of basil, 1/2 cup water (This amount of water made the dish a bit runny. I would cut it by about one third.) and salt to taste. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and combine with drained pasta.
7. Top with remaining basil and serve with a multi-grain baguette (or whatever tickles your fancy.

The S.O. gave this dish his seal of approval, and I liked it a lot (despite my love/hate relationship with tomatoes). If you try it, change it, improve on it, be sure to let me know.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Watching TV this evening, an ad for Botox came on.

It's tagline is: "Freedom of expression." Immediately following that commercial was this one:

It really struck me as funny to be told I should think about having a toxin injected into my face so that I can somehow fight the aging process, then to see these images of amazing, beautiful, OLD women who are so vibrant and natural. Take that Botox.

When I grow up, I want to be an old woman.

Today's Tip

After a new really hard workout, don't go to your local bakery, thinking you'll walk out with just that loaf of whole wheat bread you went to get. No, you'll be tempted by and give in to a sausage and jalapeno kolache.

I can't imagine they are very good for you, but the kolaches taste so yummy and are fresh and local, so they can't be all bad, right? Right? Oh, who cares? They're scrumptious.

Everything we buy from this bakery is made on site, and the staff is super friendly.

Easy, my Aunt Sally's Sister

I've been working out with kettle bells pretty regularly since Christmas. Mostly, I've been working out with this DVD. But I've also created a workout of my own. I switch off when I get sick of the video or when I feel like I'm not motivating myself enough.

My good friend Kate (the Bootcamp Queen) suggested downloading workouts for my iPod. So I did a quick search and found a free workout at

Not only was it free, it says "easy." So, I figure I'll give it a go. As you can probably guess from this post's title the workout was free, but it was nowhere near easy. Granted, I tried it with my 20-pound kettle bell. Next time, (and yes, there will be a next time, because I'm a glutton for punishment, as anyone who knows anything about my history with men knows) I'll start out with the 10-pound kettle bell.

This workout is butt-kicking. From 60-second sets of two-arm swings to military presses, it works your whole body in 30 minutes and certainly gets your heart thumping. I downloaded both the 20- and 30-minute workouts (hoping for some variety) with music. The music is fine, probably not something I would listen to on a regular basis but good for this workout.

I will admit that I didn't quite make it all the way through -- I had to skip a couple exercises that are unfamiliar to me. Now I have a goal: Get familiar with all the exercises and make it through this workout without falling over.

My arms still feel shaky as I type this post.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Rock-a-bye Sweet Baby James

A dear friend died 14 years ago today. I think of him often. He was just a few years older than I was -- he was 30 when I was just 25. When he told me I would understand life better once I turned 30, I laughed it off. But he was right, even if it was just because I better understood loss. Fourteen years and many losses and disappointments later, I still think of him. With my 30s behind me, I can tell my younger friends they'll understand better once they turn 40 ... and I can smile.

He also helped me appreciate the songs of James Taylor. So, this is for him. Rest well.