Steak & Asparagus Wraps with Mustard Balsamic Reduction

I love it when a recipe turns out way better than you planned.  I also love it when a recipe looks pretty and pictures are really simple.  That doesn’t always happen with food (especially anything made in a crockpot) and it makes my life easier when food is pretty.

As you know, I am all about simple things in this season of my life.  Traveling, working outside of the home, training to be a nutrition coach, and trying to spend SOME quality time with my husband all demand my time and attention.  Creating elaborate meals is not at the top of my list. Steak & Asparagus Wraps | Life Healthfully Lived Continue reading

What’s Fun and What’s Not Fun

This weekend can pretty much be broken down into what was fun and what was not fun.  Luckily the fun stuff outweighed the not fun stuff and I enjoyed one of my very few free weekends this summer.

What was not fun:

  • Taking two cats on a 30-minute bus ride to the vet.  It was time for Olaf to get his one-year wellness check-up and update his vaccinations and since Dot hadn’t been to the vet since before we moved to Chicago we decided to take her too.  Bad choices all around.  Since we don’t have our car we had to ride the bus to the vet.  Neither cat was pleased with the loud bus and Olaf yowled as loud as possible for the first 15 or so minutes.  Cue me freaking out that we’re bothering all the passengers and would get thrown off the bus.  When we finally did get to the vet it was time for Dot to freak out.  She would not sit on the table, would NOT let the vet tech take her temperature, hid under the chair in the room, and growled/hissed/scratched at everyone that came near her.  The vet did manage to give her the vaccinations and Adam has a nice big scratch to prove show for it.  Olaf was just fine and barely even noticed that he was getting an exam.  As an extra special bonus, the bus ride back home was packed to the brim with Cubs fans because of course we chose a game day to go to the vet.  One bright spot of this whole ordeal was that the bus driver on the way back was super nice to us and made sure that our cats were comfortable and safe.  Overall, I never want to do that again and I’m pretty sure Dot is still angry at us for subjecting her to all of that.
Olaf Lovin'

Olaf has forgiven all and wants to be held. Now

Dot recovers

Poor girl is pooped from her trauma

  • Trying to get good food pictures with minimal space and light.  We have two windows in our apartment and because of the way our apartment is situated, we get very little natural light.  This makes taking pictures for my blog slightly difficult.  At first I thought it was impossible but I’ve gotten creative and learned how to make what I do have work for me.  It does lead to some interesting positions though.  Good thing I do yoga!

Food Photography

What was fun:

  • Going to the farmers market.  We finally got to go to our favorite farmers market.  Because we have been busy pretty much every weekend since the Green City Market opened up, we haven’t gotten a chance to go.  This weekend though we finally made it and it was of course awesome.  All the fresh fruit and vegetables make me happy and I could wander around the market all morning if I could.  Adam was happy to get his first Donut Vault donut of the season and even more excited that they had his favorite, lemon poppyseed.  It’s the only way I can get him to come with me!
Lemon Poppyseed Donut from Donut Vault

He’s trying not to stuff the whole thing in his mouth

  • Purple asparagus.  I’ve seen green asparagus and I’ve seen white asparagus, but I had never seen purple asparagus.  While we were at the market we saw these and of course I had to get them because they were purple.  Best. Decision. Ever.  They were so delicious and simple to prepare.  All I did was drizzle them with a little olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, squeeze a little lemon juice over it all and roast at 400 for 15 minutes.  They were a little sweeter than green asparagus and I could have eaten like 5 more bunches.  Too bad I discovered them at the end of asapargus season.
Purple Asparagus

I’ll try any purple fruit/vegetable

  • Fruit crisp.  The farmers market pretty much just led to all sorts of good things this weekend.  This fruit crisp is proof that you should go to the market more often!  I made Adam a strawberry rhubarb crisp with fruit we got from the market.  He deemed it delicious and probably would have eaten the whole thing in one sitting.  Which is quite the compliment.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Overall, it was a great weekend and I really loved having the free time to do some fun things and spend time with Adam.  Here’s to another great week!

What did you do this weekend?

Spring Casserole

It’s been a struggle, but I think spring is almost here.  Every time I say that we slip back into 30 degree temperatures with a chance of flurries in the forecast.  But I’m going to be optimistic and say the worst is passed and sunshine and warmth is right on the horizon.

One of the ways I’m able to stay so optimistic is that spring produce is starting to hit the shelves.  Things like asparagus, peas, leeks, and mushrooms are all emerging and signaling the end of a long winter.  When new fruits and vegetables come to the grocery store I always get excited to try new recipes and come up with some delicious meals.

I can’t take all the credit for this dish though. It was largely influenced by Keepin’ It Kind’s Pumpkin Seed Pesto Rice Casserole.  I really liked the idea of using a pesto as the sauce in a casserole.  I changed a few things up and loaded it with a lot of yummy spring vegetables. I brought it along with me to my families Easter brunch and they seemed to enjoy it.  It’s great to feed a crowd and really simple to put together, plus the leftovers are delicious!

Spring Casserole

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Slightly adapted from Keepin’ It Kind’s Pumpkin Seed Pesto Rice Casserole

Pesto Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup spinach (I used frozen but if you use fresh add another cup)
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Spring Casserole

  • 1 cup chopped asparagus
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced (any variety, I used baby bella)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice to taste

Bread crumb topping

This topping is totally optional but adds a nice crunch. If you’re gluten-free use your favorite gluten free bread. 

  • 2-3 slices bread, dried out
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. Start by making your bread crumbs.  Place everything in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until you have a crumb consistency. Set aside.

Bread Crumb Topping

Bread Crumb Topping

2. Make your pesto next.  Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender until you reach desired consistency.

Spinach Pesto

Spinach Pesto

3. Next, heat a large pan over medium high heat.  Saute the onion and leeks until soft, about 5 minutes.  Then add in the mushrooms and cook until their size reduces by half.  Then add in the peas, asparagus, rice, beans, and seasonings and heat through for another 5 to 8 minutes.  Place this mixture into a large bowl.

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4.  Preheat oven to 375. Scoop the pesto into the large bowl and combine everything really well.  You don’t want any large chunks of pesto hanging out in the mix. Then pour the mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs across the top.  Place in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.

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And that’s it!  A simple spring casserole that is easy to make and tasty to eat!

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What are some of your favorite spring vegetables and how do you like to eat them?

Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!

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