So, tomorrow I turn 30 years old! I still can’t believe it. I mean, I still feel like I’m 20, but like I know a lot more about myself and about the world, about what’s important and what happiness means. What’s the phrase? Older and wiser? Sigh. Ok. Getting older.
I remember one time when I was young I was in my room reading a book. I must have been 8 or 9. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking to myself, one day you’ll look at yourself just like this and you’ll be 30. What will you be like? Will you grow up to be pretty? What will your life have been like? What are your husband and kids like?
It’s funny thinking about that memory now, and the answers to those questions looking back over the last 20 years. I think I would have surprised my 9 year old myself with all the things I have done in my short life. To tell myself back then that, no, you won’t have kids yet, but you will have traveled the world, had a ridiculous amount of fun, read a thousand amazing novels, gotten a Masters degree, worked your butt off and become a great teacher, enjoy each day teaching kids, fall in love with food and start a food blog, become a triathlete, and meet an amazing man that makes you feel special and loved everyday who, yes, you’ll marry in just a few months. Life will be exciting and full. However, you’ll also lose a few very important people in your life that will make you feel very sad. You’ll miss them everyday and honor their memories in little ways.
Reaching this age also makes me think of life lessons, advice I would give myself looking back, the same advice that, looking forward, I’ll follow. That some friends come and go, and not all friends are created equal. Treasure those who stick with you. Treasure your family and do not take them for granted. My grandmothers advice – there’s no rush to get married. Follow your own dreams, pursue your own goals and don’t settle for a man who is less than spectacular. Work hard, persevere, and you can do anything you set your mind to. Hold yourself to a high standard and do your best – but remember, there’s always someone who will be better than you and that is okay. It doesn’t diminish your efforts one bit.
I’m sure in 10 years I’ll find many more life lessons to add to that list. I’m sure in 10 years I’ll look back and think, wow, I would really surprise my 30 year-old self with all that I’ve done, seen, accomplished! Shouldn’t we all live to surprise our past self? Isn’t that what life’s all about, pushing ourselves to our fullest potential?
“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Albert Einstein
A healthy lifestyle is key in pursuing your goals and being your best self. And… all this thought and reflection has made me hungry, so that’s my segway into food ya’ll! This dish sums up so much where I am in life right now. It’s so, so healthy and feel-good. It’s also a party in the mouth.
I just got a spiralizer, so I was very excited to try these zucchini noodles I’ve been inundated with on Pinterest. Well, they were exactly as I expected – not really a substitute for pasta but certainly very good in their own right! Anyone who tries to argue that these noodles, or spaghetti squash for that matter, taste like pasta doesn’t understand how amazing pasta and desperately needs our help to set the record straight. If I want pasta, zucchini or squash ain’t gonna cut it. Taking that “healthy pasta substitute” out of the equation, though, zucchini noodles (and spaghetti squash!) have a little crunch and slurp that is definitely delicious, healthy and fun! I love them! If you don’t have a spiralizer, no worries – you can slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick rounds and saute them a little longer, maybe 5 – 7 minutes, before adding the pesto and serving as directed. It would taste no less delicious!
Let’s talk about the flavors at play here. You have the spinach pesto, a mix of garlic, spinach, almonds, lemon juice and parmesan. A little kick from cayenne. Really, really yummy, and a perfect match for the sweet balsamic roasted tomatoes (make extra of these – you’ll eat them off the pan!). A poached egg – need I say more? Ooey gooey egg yolk running all over. A delicious mess. With 2+ servings of veggies and 30 minutes of work time, we’ve got a win-win-win situation here folks!
Spinach Pesto Zucchini NoodlesPrint Recipe
- 2 cups packed spinach
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2/3 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan
- Pinch of cayenne
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 - 2 lemons)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large zucchini or two medium (1.5 - 2 lbs total)
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil and prepare the tomato by slicing them in half lengthwise. Place them on the baking sheet, toss in the balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn on the broiler - watch closely for a few minutes until tomatoes have reached your desired level of caramelization! Remove from oven.
While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the pesto. In a food processor, place spinach, garlic, almonds, 1/3 cup Parmesan, cayenne, lemon zest and juice . Process until smooth. Add 1/4 cup olive oil slowly through the chute while the processor is running. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and bring a small pot of water to boil. Prepare the zucchini by using the spiralizer or slicing them into 1/4inch rounds. Add a little olive oil to the hot skillet, and then the prepared zucchini. Sauce for 2 - 3 minutes (5 in rounds). and then remove from heat. Add the desired amount of pesto and stir to combine.
Once the water has come to a boil, add the white vinegar. Sir water to make a swirling funnel, and then crack 1 egg into the water. Cook for 3 minutes undisturbed. Remove from water with a slotted spoon. Bring water back to a boil, and repeat with second egg.
To serve, place pesto noodles in a bowl with the tomatoes and poached egg. Salt and pepper the egg, and top the whole thing with a little extra Parmesan. Enjoy!