Zucchini "Pasta"

Since giving up pasta for lent (and trust me I loooove me some pasta) I have been trying to get creative with ways to substitute meals that normally call for the delicious carb. So far, I have used and fell in love with spaghetti squash and then, I found a recipe for zucchini pasta. Huh, I thought, well why not give it a try. My friends, I would never stear you wrong with a recipe, good gracious was it delicious!  

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil, plus leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Sea salt
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise, slices cut into 1/4-inch-long strips

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, basil, and oil. Season with salt. Let stand 20 minutes. Toss with zucchini and garnish with basil.
Now, I added a little Maggie touch to the original. I didn't have fresh basil so I added a cup of fresh chopped spinach and about a tablespoon of dried basil (a good tip- over the bowl, rub the dried herbs between your hands into the dish, it will enhance the flavor) I also shaved up a whole cucumber. To beef up the dish, I reused from the night before some quinoa and black beans. Mixed it all together and added some salt & pep. BOOM. Delicious.
And this is leftovers I brough to work yesterday. Same meal but I added half of an avocado, some extra cherry tomatos and a whole lot of spincach.

Overall, I don't miss pasta as much as I thought I would, and so far I've lost 2 pounds since eliminating it. I find refreshing to feel full after a meal but not lethargic and wanting to take my pants off from being bloated.

Recipe orginally from: whole living

9 days

In 9 days it will be March 1st.
I made a pact with myself mid February that on March 1st I would start this running regimen.


I always have wanted to run; I think it sounds like the most enjoyable thing. To wake up, strap on your sneaks, head out the door and just go. To be in sync with the pavement while your feet pound against it. I don't know, but one thing I do know is every time I see a person running, I envy them and their commitment. I want beautiful toned legs that I'm not ashamed of, and dread wearing a bathing suit or shorts. I'm sick of that Maggie, I don't want to be her any longer. I'm sick of trying to hid my body's imperfection, when I could just eliminate the issue.

I also made a pact to myself that no longer will I purchase boxed food, eat anything that has artificial flavoring, refined sugar and carbs, cut down on going out for food. I have made it a solid three weeks. You know what? I feel a change from within, my skin is clearer, my moods more stable and I don't feel as sluggish. I no longer live to eat but rather eat to live.

I've been debating going vegetarian again, and I'm still stuck at the cross road. My decision is leaning heavily towards to not think about putting a label on what I choose to eat. Within my three weeks of being a part time vegetarian I've severely cut out red meat and have turned to chicken and salmon more, and when I choose to eat meat, poultry or fish it will be strictly local. I don't have an issue with the food itself but how the animals are treated on the farms where they are raised.

I truly no longer crave sugar or refined foods since eliminating them, sure that bowl of delicious mini chocolate bars 10 feet away from me at work may taste good but they do nothing good of me. I'm sick of that immediate guilt I have when I over indulge. By no means am I depriving myself though, I make a mean homemade chocolate pudding with avocado, cocoa powder, agave nectar and chia seeds; some of you may say "gross" but as an experiment the first time I made this, I didn't tell J. what was in the pudding. His response was "this is the most delicious chocolate pudding I've ever had". HAH. I tricked a trickster. Epic win.

When my Dad heard that I wanted to start running, his response with a grin was "I'll give her a week". I'm not saying or thinking this is going to be fun. I know it will suck at the beginning, I will be tired and sore, but I think the end result will be worth it. I want to cross off a 5k race from my bucket list.  

I've struggled and battled since 2002 with my body, from being 160 whopping pounds to a mere 105. I don't want to dread some articles of clothing, I want to proudly walk into my closet and throw on whatever and feel confident. I'm itchy for change.
   

Long weekend plans

My birthday gift from J./ A vast variety of seedling packets of different herbs and veggie greens.

Oh boy oh boy do I have big weekend plans! hah. J. will be tied up at a trade show all weekend which means.. I will have the farmhouse all to myself. Which leads you all to think, what would Maggie do for three glorious days off all alone? well, today is your lucky day my friends, because no longer will you have to sit and wonder what I do.

I'm taking full advantage of this alone time to do my normal routine, grocery shopping, half-assed vacuum job, but wait for it, EARLY SPRING CLEANING! have I mentioned ever how much I love the first early round of spring cleaning? no? oh, well I do. I like taking every single of item of clothing I own, throwing it in a pile, analyzing it, pondering, thinking "well, I have not worn this in 2 years.. buuuuuut I might want it "someday", then proceed to refold everything and put it away with care. The intentions of donating clothes are always there but I never can go through with it (hence the 2 bags of salvation army donations that have been lurking in the trunk of my vehicle for over a year) 

But wait, it gets juicier. I (intend) on scrubbing the bathrooms till they shine, steam clean the floors, take every book off the bookshelves and dust behind them! A thorough cleansing of my house in much needed. It's like saying "Hey, winter! I'm sick of you, so I'm going to pull out all of my spring ammunition to really show you whose boss. Take that!" I really know how to stick it to that grouchy old man winter.

I can blast my Bon Iver pandora station, crank up the stoves, prance around the house in shorts to really get in the vibe of spring.. and once everything on my lengthy list is kaput, it's cooking time! I have a plethora of fabulous recipes I've been itchy to create and after the house is cleaned, the food is cooked, the puppies have been loved, it's time to rest my old bones, plop down on the couch (or bed) curl up and watch some netflix. BOOM. I just took it to the next level. 

What does everyone have on their weekend agenda? 

XO
Maggie

Frustration with social media


Along with the millions of my fellow bloggers, we all strive for a similar goal, for people to read our blog and for our audience to care about our lives. When I type that out it makes me feel a little pathetic, like I'm jumping up and down screaming "look at meeeeeee! care about what I'm doing!", which I pray it does not come across as. I use this form of writing to keep my mind sharp, to challenge myself daily through writing while attempting to be clever or creative, to document my life, and whoever wants to come along for the ride is more than welcome.

There comes a point when I get frustrated; that I don't get so many page views, or don't have double digit followers, or anyone knocking on my door asking to sponsor me and you know what? it bums me out. I'm only human. It then occurs to me, that so many of my idols of the blogging world have a few factors down:

1.) They've been around for 4+ years and have well established themselves in the blogging community. They too once upon a time may have felt the same as I do at moments.   

2.) My favorite fashion bloggers have CRAZY money to shell out on clothes. To be honest, these days I'm lucky enough to have $10 left over from my paychecks after paying bills and buying groceries.

3.) My location is not ideal. I don't live in NYC, or DC, of Cali. I live in Maine. The. boonies. of. Maine. Thus not a lot of activity going on to document.

4.) I'm not that great at photography. I really don't really have mad skills to share.

5.) Facebook, this blog & instagram suck up enough of my time, I can't imagine trying to maintain another social media site (twitter I may never understand you.)

To elbrate on the last point, sometimes I feel that I'm shelling out so much of Maggie to social media that I'm not living. Of course I enjoy updating my sites, if I didn't I would deactivate FB and abandon the rest. It's such a competitive world already, and maybe this blog is not as successful as I wish it would be but again, there is a real world out there and I don't want to spend all of my time plugged in just for the sake of attempting to get famous.

Thank you for listening to this ridiculous rant.
OH and Happy Valentines day, you love boats.

XO
Maggie

Two amazing documentaries

Many of you do not know that I studied nutrition in college (then switched back to my original major, business) I decided that my love for healthy eating and lifestyle was not strong enough to pursue as a career.

Many of you also don't know that for two very long years I was a devoted vegan, then a vegetarian, pescatarian and then said the heck with it and jumped right back on the meat eating train. I learned a lot over those years and would not change my past eating decisions for all the tea in China. 

For the majority of the time, I eat healthy, sure I have my moments where I indulge in one too many chocolates or decide a Reuben is the best thing for lunch. I don't drink soda at all, I avoid most boxed/ processed food and anything that sounds "too good to be true" I run the other way. J. could give a statement that when I come home from the grocery store, the fridge is usually bursting at the seams with fruits and veggies, which leads him to say like clockwork "did you purchase any real food?" which then comes to dinner time and I wind out some amazing dish which leaves him speechless ;)

Over the weekend while being snowed in I decided to give my Law & Order SVU addiction a break and watch something else. Good move, Maggie.

I started out with "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead", which is a 60 day journey of an Aussie man named Joe Cross who travels to different states in the US on a juice detox and spreading the word of juicing! He ends up meeting a man named Phil who was in desperate need of help. I laughed, I cried! I now really want a juicer.


 Second was "Hungry For Change". Much like "Food Inc" this movie terrified me from foods I normally don't eat, but also makes me want to shake people who choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle.


 I recommend both. If you have Netflix, they're available for instant viewing. 

Even as a veteran healthy eater, these documentaries opened my eyes wider. Since Friday, I've been juicing regularly but not every meal (which I plan to do a one week juice detox this summer, when I have my own veggies from the garden and not shelling out crazy money at the grocery store) I'm starting to view food differently, not just to curb my hunger but rather fuel. I've been eating very clean for about 6 days and I've lost 4 pounds, have more energy and decided to have a cheeseburger for lunch yesterday, which an hour later led to a terrible headache. Overall I felt slow and lethargic. It was an interesting experiment. I'm not giving up meat, dairy or grains, I can't live like that; I don't like to put restrictions on myself, because it just leads to failure and disappointment.What people don't (or maybe they do?) understand when they go on a diet is it will not last forever and any weight you lose during that period of time, you will gain back and then some. Drop the word diet and change it to lifestyle, it will make all the world of difference. Also, any pill, supplement, food that promises weight loss or anything that sounds "too good to be true", look at the ingredient list.. if you can't pronounce the items on the back it's not worth the money. 

I realize I may come across as pretentious or that I'm preaching, and I'm sorry for that. This is something I'm passionate about and whole heartily wish people would try rather than turn their noses to a healthier lifestyle because they think it's too much effort, or inconvenient.

Super bowl Sunday

This is not a post about football, silly people!

This is a post about a crazy stupid, delicious, (and figure friendly to boot) recipe. I'm really loving these types of dishes lately, base of protein, and mixing up the veggies and herbs. Lets start from the bottom of the bowl, shall we?

Bowl Ingredients:
1 cup Quinoa (with 2 cups water)
1 can black beans
Hefty handful of cherry tomatoes.
Half of yellow onion.
1 clove garlic.
Handful of baby kale.
Handful of spinach.
2-3 springs of cilantro.
Juice of half of a lime
Salt & pepper to taste.

Guacamole Ingredients:
2 avocados.
1 garlic glove.
Other half of yellow onion.
Hefty handful of cherry tomatoes.
Juice of other half of lime.
Salt & pepper to taste.


I recommend you make the guac first, it needs about half an hour in the fridge so the flavors all marinade beautifully together.

Cut open two avocados, remove pits and scoop out into a medium size mixing bowl.

(Good tip for the next few steps below, just go ahead and chop, mince, dice for both recipes and put half aside for the main dish. Way efficient.) 

Chop up all of that yellow onion, put half aside for later.

Mince up those two cloves of garlic real fine, put half aside.

Cut the two hearty handfuls of cherry tomatoes down the center and the dice up into thirds, put half aside.

Throw the avocados. tomatoes, garlic & onion all in the mixing bowl and carefully mix and mash. Add the lime half of the juice of a lime, salt and pepper to taste then put into a container with a lid and put in the fridge.

Now for the main dish:

Quinoa: (I prefer the Trader Joe's (white or red variety) brand- I used white last evening) Add the quinoa and water to a medium sized saucepan and bring 2 cups of water to a boil over medium heat. Cover and lower temp to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Once done, fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, open can of black beans, dump into a strainer in sink. Rinse thoroughly and shake out excess water. They can sit there until needed at the end.

I'm going to assume you all chopped. diced, minced the veggies before hand so they're ready to go, but if not then follow the next three directions. Put all veggies aside until further notice.


Chop up half of your yellow onion.

Cut the cherry tomatoes down the center and the dice up into thirds.

Mince up that glove of garlic real fine.

Roughly chop up the cilantro.

Once quinoa is finished, relocate to a realllllly large mixing bowl.
Add the beans, tomatoes, cilantro & tomatoes.

In a frying pan, add 2 tbs of EVOO, add your onions and saute those bad boys for about 4 minutes, then add the garlic. I'm warning you, keep a close eye on this procedure for about two minutes and stir constantly, if the garlic burns- it will be bitter and nasty. For the last minute add the kale and spinach to the pan so they wilt ever so slightly.

Once finished add in with the rest of ingredients and give it a few nice big churns, add a little salt and pepper and lime juice and churn again so all the flavor mix nicely.

Put some in a bowl, add some guac, a little salsa, some Greek yogurt (don't make that face! it's way healthier and tastes the same plus sour cream is not allowed in the house.. don't ask) and BOOM. Diner is served. 



Easy chicken & rice stew

A very fitting post for today, could not have planned it better myself, kudos to you Blizzard Nemo. All hail being snowed in! bring on movies in bed and putting around the house.

I have an addiction to chicken and rice soup, but not just any.. Whole Foods Market chicken and rice soup. I've been determined to recreate their recipe. So here you go my little hens, not as good, but pretty darn close.. and I'm not the best organic supermarket in the country. 

What you will need:


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock or broth (8 cups for you of those who can never remember what a quart equals)*
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup long grain wild rice
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts*
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • What to do:

    Place a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Saute for about 6 minutes, until the veggies are softened but not browned, I'm serious- be careful, if the garlic burns it will taste terribly bitter. Pour in the chicken broth and water- bring to a boil. Add in the rice and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low until the rice is tender-about 75 minutes. I decided to let this bad boy simmer on lower heat at a longer temp, this gives the rice ample time to cook and for all the ingredients get to know each other well.

    Beware, this will make your house smell amazing but taste even better.. seconds or thirds are almost a must.

    (*I used a the meat from a roast chicken I cooked a few days ago, which the stock came from as well- recipe of both to follow.) 


    This recipe was roughly based off from Two Peas & Their Pod.





    The first "green juice" I've ever made!

    There is a beyond beyond amazing juice/smoothie/soup bar in Portland called, The Maine Squeeze (they have two locations now: Moulton Street in the Old Port and second floor of Public Market House in Monument Square) It is one of my favorite places in the entire world; at $5-$7 a smoothie, it can tend to be very pricey. SO I decided that I would venture into the world of homemade green juices and smoothies. Can't hurt, right?

    The recipe below is based off of Dr. Oz's Green Drink, but I added a few of my own ingredients that I had laying about the fridge. I'm going to be honest, I love the earthy flavor of this- but if you are looking for something sweeter feel free to add a banana, a touch of honey or agave nectar.

    - 2 apples chopped up with skin on. 
    - 1 handful spinach. 
    - 1 handful kale. 
    - 1/2 beets (reason for dark color, otherwise it would be a lovely shade of green)
    - 2 ribs chopped celery. 
    - 1/2 teaspoon peeled ginger root. 
    - 1 bunch parsley. 
    - juice of one lime. 
    - juice of 1/2 lemon. 

    Throw all that jank up in yo' blender and go on witcha bad self until it's smooth. 
    Enjoy my loves.

    XO
    Maggie

    Putting my hobbies to good use

    While on vacation from Beautifully Simple, I spent many days thinking of where I wanted this blog to go. What was the theme? oh yeah.. I hate themes, should it just be a generalized lifestyle blog? I want this to be a fashion blog but no one to take the photos and mirror shots are LAME sauce.

    I think I'm finally getting close to what I want to focus on. I want this to still be a lifestyle blog, because in all honesty, I love my farmhouse and think it's a pretty cool transition to document that is underway but with renovations at a standstill there is no subject.I promise when work begins I will have thorough coverage of it in every painful teeny tiny details right down to what paint color we used.

    I'm sure everyone who follows me on Instagram or is a Facebook friend has noticed that I like, nay love to cook and then proceed to take photos of my dishes. I get a lot of messages from people about recipes I post so I want to start posting them on here and take photos of the step by step process with the end result. I will need to get nerdy and put a "recipe" column at the top so they will be easily locatable and knowing my obsessive love for organizing they will be broken up into categories and labeled properly (ex. gluten free, vegetarian, poultry, etc.) My culinary senses are coming back to life and I'm itchy to take on new recipes that I would never dare try.

    I would love some feedback with this decision, and again this will not a strictly food blog.

    XO
    Maggie

    I feel old

    My coworkers surprised me with the yummiest bagels ever in existence & a little nutella treat. 

    After a sleepless night in our house, a very rocky start to this morning with a trip to the ER (J. will be fine- I don't want to go into details) I have survived and made it to another year. Let me tell you, I feel wiser all ready and no one has sung to me, my day is looking up after all. Also, 24? what the what?


    And to everyone and their well wishings to me, you guys are amazing. Truly. I feel so loved. Thank you! thank you! thank you!

    Is it nap time yet? 

    XO
    Maggie 

    On the eve of my birthday


    I have a confession, I don't like birthdays. Oh you don't either? okay good. I rarely ever drink booze, so going out and getting hammered is not my idea of fun and expensive dinners are nice and all, but honestly, I don't want to spend a fortune when there are much more important things money could go to. I especially do not like the fact I was born in the middle of Winter; ever since I was a little girl I always felt like I was supposed to be a Autumn baby (no rhyme or reason to it, just felt like it was meant to be)

    23 was decent, but I'm excited for 24. I'm finally moving out of my "early 20's" which I don't like being in the category of, being an old soul and all (but I still look like I'm 18? Sigh.) I feel that I'm slowly turning into the person I've wanted to be. I'm becoming quite a little chef, I have a beautiful farmhouse, a wonderful man in my life, a godson on the way, three stinky yet lovable substitute babies, and an extremely supportive family. My life is good, currently complicated and beyond stressful, but good. I'm ready to embrace what this age has in store for me, the lessons to be learned, the feelings to be felt, the memories to be made.

    And those my friends, are some of the best birthday gifts a lady could ask for. 

    Ready or not, 24, here I come!

    XO
    Maggie

    Saturdays are made for..

     
    Seriously, this was a breakfast masterpiece.
    Sleeping in till 8am.
    Breakfast burritos.
    Bon Iver pandora.
    Iced coffee despite it's February.
    Getting all of your errands done so you can schlep around your farmhouse for the remainder of your weekend, and to avoid all things Super Bowl.
    To soak up the last few days of being 23.

    How do you like to spend your weekends? Please feel free to share!

    (Ps. I just want to say how happy I am to be writing this right now, which validates why I continue to do this and a break was much needed. I missed this! I hope you all missed it too!)

    XO
    Maggie


    « »

    Beautifully Simple All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger