Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Pepper and Sausage Pasta

Sweet Sausage Pasta

The weather has turned cool this week which has left me hungry and craving hearty foods. I opted for a pasta dish, partly because my boys are still working out after school in addition to putting in time outside in the field and are starving when they come in, and because I needed a good carb fix. Don’t worry, I didn’t go all out white flour pasta. That would just be silly. I found this quinoa pasta at the grocery that is both gluten free and pretty tasty. The link is for elbows, but I used penne. It’s chewy and like al dente, but heartier like a whole grain pasta. It tastes like regular pasta, too. My boys ate it without complaint. They actually ate less of this than regular white pasta. That’s always good!

The kale was a last minute touch. The peppers and onion just weren’t enough with the sausage. It needed more. I had some fresh kale from the garden and knew that was the answer. Again, my boys ate it and my oldest gave me the “Mom of the year hug” as he likes to call it. I’ll take it! It’s filling, but incorporates your veggies, proteins and carbs all in one. Yes, the calorie count is a bit higher, coming in at 517 per serving. It also makes great leftovers for lunch the next day, if there’s anything left!

Here’s the run down.

1 package of sweet Italian turkey sausage, cut into bite size pieces

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped finely

4 kale leaves, washed and cut into small pieces

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

olive oil

12 oz quinoa pasta

8-10 heirloom tomatoes, quartered

fresh basil (I used 3 leaves) chopped small

fresh parmesan cheese, about 1/2 cup

salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. DON’T OVERCOOK! It turns into mush if you do.

While water is on to boil, add olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) to a non stick skillet and add onion, peppers, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, but not translucent. Add sausage. Cook through. When sausage is almost completely cooked, add kale. Put lid on skillet and steam kale with veggies about 1 minute. Add drained pasta to sausage mixture. Then add tomatoes, fresh basil, and parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste (I added pepper but no salt to mine).

Enjoy!

Using Adversity to Fuel Goals

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I spend a lot of time diffusing situations with kids; teaching them how to deal with people they don’t like, telling them there will be people they don’t get along with in jobs along the path of life. It’s true- there are those people in life we don’t see eye to eye and must work with despite the challenge. It’s not easy. Often times it really sucks. You can’t just make someone behave the way you wish. We tend to expect more from adults than children but those habits are formed when we are children.

Then after a particularly crappy day, you get a phone call from a friend who gives you a completely different perspective on the situation.  And she makes you laugh. A lot. Then your kid comes in and says something that completely makes you swell with pride and love for his entire being. Then you realize you had something to do with his awesomeness. Yeah. Darn them.

All of this had me thinking. I’ve worked really hard to surround myself with positive, uplifting people, yet, given the chance, there are those in my life I’d very willingly remove. I don’t have the power to change the people, however, I do have the ability to change my responses to those people. I have the ability to change my routines to better deal with the stress of dealing with the negative situations and feelings. In fact, lately I’ve poured my energy outside of work into my diet and exercise (and maybe the Nutella jar…) and I’m finally see some progress in my fat loss. Channeling that energy into something bigger than myself- in this case working out my physical reaction to negative situations- led to big gains in my goals. I know if I don’t workout and get the negative feelings out of my system my entire day will be negatively affected. What a powerful motivator! A co-worker and I have been using Beachbody On Demand workouts matching our moods- this week has been a lot of sculpting, weight bearing, and tougher cardio work with Body Beast, Hammer & Chisel, and P90X3 MMX and CVX workouts. I’ve followed up with several 4-5 mile runs- It’s been a helluva week! Those days I go home absolutely exhausted and wake up ready to take on the next day. What an empowering feeling!

Bottom line is this: We can’t always control all of the negative influences in our lives, but we can change our responses to them. We choose how to let it affect us. Finding an outlet or some other positive (Read: not Nutella) coping mechanism can make all the difference in how we react to the negativity. We can choose the friends we spend time with outside of work. Ask them for help and words of encouragement. Enlist them in your workout group or positive support system. It’s amazing what those positive forces can do to help cope with the not so pleasant. After all, the only behavior we can truly change is our own.