Toasted Mediterranean Veggie Pasta


Our exciting week continues but with a lot more cooking in the kitchen. How exciting is this? I do not even have to have Julianne in a carrier in order to make this happen.

This last weekend was filled with more events in our second home: Holland. The smaller ensemble, Lyrischkoor, had a concert and I was finally going to be able to sing.

I was able to rehearse and perform but every time someone came to say hello to me they asked me where the baby was. I find this both amusing and irritating because it almost seems like I should not be apart from the baby or like people expect me to say that the baby is in the car. Ha ha, right.

We have good friends that took care of Julianne and I promise you, every time we left her, she was a total angel. I mean, she always is an angel but I am always afraid she will cry to much or be a little much to handle. I feel like I inconvenience people.

Seriously. This is one of my biggest issues lately is asking for help. I feel as if I am a bother to people even if others offer to hold Julianne or to take care of her.

How do I get rid of this or is this a new mother feeling?

Anyway, the concert went well and Julianne was a joy. We left late Saturday night after the concert and arrived home in time to sleep and get up the next morning for church.

10 weeks and nap time with mommy
The good thing about this weekend is that we got naps. Yes, we all got naps. I love taking naps with Julianne in my arms. I alternate though so she will not get used to sleeping with only me in my arms.

11 weeks

She is almost 3 months old! Can you believe it! We slept almost 3 hours on Sunday too!
10 weeks in her bumbo
Our short week started with quick meals being prepared. Lately I feel like I have my lingo back with creating dishes the way I was before getting pregnant. I look at what I have in the fridge and I whip up something quickly. I love doing that. Many people do not but I enjoy seeing how quickly I can create a meal.

PAsta collage

This week, after being inspired by a 30-minute segment by Rachel Ray on Spanish-style pasta, I decided to give it a whirl with my own touch.

We loved this dish a lot because it had unique flavors and it was VERY filling. It was also very quick to prepare. Hope you give it a try!

Toasted Mediterranean Veggie Pasta

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)
  • 1/2 pound thin spaghetti, torn in 2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 16 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I used Rapunzel bouillon cubes)
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut in 1 -inch pieces
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
In a large cast iron pot, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil on medium to medium high heat. Add the spaghetti pieces and toast for 10 minutes until brown and aromatic.

Remove the pasta from pot and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil and saute' onions and garlic for 3 minutes or until onions are transparent. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paprika and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the chopped vegetables except for the parsley. Add the salt and pepper. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.

Add the toasted pasta to the vegetables and the vegetable broth and cook pasta according to package directions, 9-10 minutes.

Serve each dish with chopped parsley and crumbled feta.
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Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Happy Monday! February is almost upon us and I started thinking of yummy recipes I could make and just decided I should just start making some.

Ryan and I are coffee drinkers. Besides having coffee with breakfast, I usually like it in the evenings with some kind of crunchy sweet item. I found myself surprised when I realized that one of my favorite crunchy cookies happen to be biscotti.

When I go to coffee shops I usually choose a biscotti especially if they are chocolate and EVEN more when they are chocolate-covered too! Ryan is not big on biscotti because he thinks they are too dry but I made these and he really enjoyed them. I just think he is starting to take his time with realizing how great of a treat biscotti can be especially when accompanied with coffee.


Make your honey some biscotti for Valentine's Day. Add some chocolate chips to this batter or melt some chocolate, dip or drizzle each biscotti or simply sprinkle some powdered sugar.

These are SUPER simple to make and fun because they start looking like lumps of dough but then end up looking like gourmet cookies, ready to dip into a hot drink.

Forget about all the negative comments biscotti can get and make them this week!

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

by Noelle Kelly (original recipe from skinnytaste.com)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast snack dessert brunch vegan pistachios cookie

Ingredients (28 biscotti)
  • 1-2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened good quality cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup whole pistachios
  • 2 oz Earth Balance (1/4 cup), softened
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 flax seed "eggs" or 2 large eggs
  • --to prepare flax seed "eggs": 2 Tbsp flax seed meal + 6 Tbsp water--set aside for 3 minutes
Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add pistachios, and mix.
In a mixer, mix margarine and sugar on medium speed for 1-1/2 minutes. Add flax "eggs" or eggs, one at a time.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined to make a dough.
Remove the dough and using your hands, divide the dough into two or three pieces and form into long flat shapes about 8 long x 1-1/2 inches wide. Place on the lined baking sheets and bake 20 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, gently cut the loaves on the angle into 1/2 inch slices (a serrated bread knife works best). Return to the baking sheet fitting as many as you can on the baking sheet, you may need to do this in batches. Bake the biscotti for another 3-4 minutes on each side, less if you like it softer. Makes about 28.
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Vegan Guacamole Boca Burger and Creamy Zucchini Sandwich

Vegan Boca Avocado Burger

 Hi there! We've have lots going on this week. We are preparing for our THIRD weekend out of town. How do we do it, eh? This week has especially been rough. My Julianne has been going through a growth spurt and has been eating every hour and a half. Talk about being sore and tired!

Julianne & growth spurt

I want to thank Judy for being a wonderful friend! I do not know where I would be without the rocking chair she lent me. I work from it and I feed Julianne from it. Talk about multi-tasking! It seems to be working but boy has it been rough the last 3 days. Luckily she is sleeping at nights, even though instead of sleeping 6-7 hours straight, she is waking up every 3 hours.

My cutie

How am I doing? I feel blessed to not feel TOO exhausted. Ryan is helping a lot and we are working on meals together or he does them with my direction. He is definitely LOTS of help. I do not feel too much like a zombie. Do you think I look like one?

Tired mama

 Cooking? Yes, I did mention this earlier. We have been cooking and planning more meals because the days seem to go by so quickly.

Every other day we are either eating oatmeal or cream of wheat with some kind of fruit. Other mornings we eat scrambled eggs or an omelet with tons of veggies. I think this is key to feeling pretty awake during the day. I did take a break with Julianne yesterday and napped with her for about 30 minutes. It was very nice!

I want to share with you the last 2 lunches we have enjoyed. If you remember I told you that I really had an aversion to all vegan foods while I was pregnant. I could not do tofu, seitan, or any meat substitutes. I would nauseous. Here I finally have the baby and I have slowly be reintroducing these foods into my life.

I made a Tofu Asian Stir-Fry last Thursday and 2 days ago I made a Boca Burger using their vegan patty. It was delicious!! Ryan was not much into these patties before but he enjoyed a burger with me 2 days ago. I added some creamy avocado and Earth Balance's new mayo-substitute along with some Daiya cheese melted on it. It was delicious!

Yesterday, I felt like eating a warm sandwich. I had pinned a sandwich idea on Pinterest on my Sandwich board that I knew eventually I would get to. Big Girls Small Kitchen made a Golden Zucchini Sandwich that I knew I had to make.

As I was preparing this sandwich, which was super quick by the way, Ryan came into the kitchen thinking I was making pizza. Ha! I fooled him. I had added some Italian seasonings to the cooked zucchini that made it smell like an Italian restaurant.

Ryan does NOT like zucchini, but really, I have been trying to find different ways for him to enjoy this squash. As he took a bite of the sandwich he asked if the sandwich was made with artichokes. He did not know he was eating zucchini, granted I made it with feta cheese but this sandwich can easily be made with Daiya cheese or any other substitute.

Sorry that I do not have a better picture but my camera battery had died at that moment. You have to make this sandwich.

Warm and Creamy Zucchini Sandwich

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients (2 sandwiches)
    Zucchini Filling
    • 2 cups grated zucchini
    • 1/4 red onion, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
    • 1/4 tsp Herbamare seasoned salt
    • 6 Tbsp low-fat feta, crumbled
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 4 slices of Ezekiel bread
    • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance Mindful Mayo
    • 4 slices tomato
    • 2 bunches of fresh spinach
    Heat olive oil in a skillet. Saute' onions for 2 minutes then add grated zucchini garlic, and seasonings and cook on medium low for 10 minutes until most of the moisture has evaporated. Add the feta cheese and cook for 3 more minutes. Toast bread and spread 1 Tbsp mayo on one slice and 1/4 of avocado on another slice. Divide the zucchini mixture between both sandwiches. Layer with tomato slices and spinach leaves and ENJOY!!!
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    Vegan Guacamole Boca Burger

    by Noelle Kelly
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients (2 sandwiches)
    • 2 Vegan Boca Burger patties
    • 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance Mindful Mayo
    • 1/2 avocado, mashed
    • 4 Tablespoons Daiya cheddar or any other cheese
    • Dijon mustard
    • 4 Sandwich thins or Ezekiel bread
    • 8 cucumber slices
    • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
    Heat patties in microwave or grill burgers on non-stick pan as packaged directions state.
    Toast bread and on one side of bread add 1 Tbsp of mayo and then add half the mashed avocado to the other slice of bread.
    Place cheese on top of patty, while it is on the skillet or melt in microwave and then place patty on bread.
    Divide the cucumber slices between each sandwich as well as the spinach leaves. Add Dijon and devour.
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    Now I am off to tend to this cutie pie! Have a great day!

      Julianne at bedtime


    9 weeks and counting

    I realize as the week goes by that my blogging is slowing down and it is not on purpose. When I thin about updating you all on our life or of even posting a recipe it is bedtime or I crave the time with my husband after the baby goes down for the night.

    We have been eating lots of yummy veggies and eating smaller meals during the day. As a nursing mother, I feel hungry all the time, but it means eating healthy foods and not junk. I am not much of a snacker but if I "see" chips or cookies around I will eat it. I totally have not been making cookies for sure.

    Breakfasts look like this:

    We have been eating fruit for dessert or even skipping it all together. The thought of putting something together OTHER than dinner is far from my mind.I have lots of yummy recipes pinned on Pinterest, but eventually I know I will try one or two soon.

    One of the yummy recipes I created to satiate my baby's feedings are Green Monster smoothies with added barley. I have been soaking pearled barley and adding them to my Vitamix. They are a meal in itself so I usually have one every other morning.

    Daddy and Julianne
    Ryan has been helping A LOT with meals. He has told me he really does not usually know what to make but if I give him an idea and walk him though recipes or meals, especially meals I have created from my imagination, then he does pretty well. I taught him how to make an omelette so now he is king of egg making. Thanks honey!

    Julianne, our baby, has been doing really well! We have stayed on a good 3 hour schedule that has worked for 4 days now. Yesterday was not a good day and I pinned it to a growth spurt because, thank God, she is back on the schedule today, so it seems. 

    The morning starts around 7:30am with a feeding and them I burp and hold her for 15 minutes. She then plays on her swing for 45 minutes and then I switch her to the play mat. She has started grabbing at toys and making more sounds. It is terribly precious! After about another 45 minutes on the mat she starts fussing. 

    I love the fact that I can pretty much detect what her cries mean. Her fussy cries end up being "I am sleepy" cries, so I swaddle her and put her to sleep. I had been having her sleep in the bassinet she sleeps in during the night but this week I transitioned her to the crib and she welcomed it! She even likes staring at her stuffed Captain Kirk doll, given to her by her uncle. Hee hee. She then sleeps exactly 45 minutes, every time! Weird!

    Julianne is really, overall, a great baby. She has one meltdown of a day and I do not do well. That was my yesterday. I really felt like she was colicky for the first time, but at the same time she is still going through congestion due to a combination of  the heater in our home and dryness. I can see she just does not like the crud coming up from her chest. This crud also affects her after eating. I think it upsets her tummy so them I really do not feel like I can help her. :-(  We started aspirating with the bulb along with some saline rinses and adding baby vapor rub to her chest, which seems to help. Anyone relate? 

    After a whole day of her crying in and out and fussing, this mama was VERY tired and I may have shed some tears, but today is a NEW day thank God and it has been a lot better. Maybe a growth spurt? Either way, I have lots of fun with her and she has started sitting on our laps while we eat dinner. it is lots of fun seeing her listen to us as we converse back and forth. She is a cutie!


    Chez Chopin CD winners

    I am really trying to keep up with announcing winners on time. 

    Sorry folks and I appreciate your patience.

    Here are the 3 winners of the Chez Chopin CD.

    Thanks to all who entered. Please email me your address!


    leafynotbeefy.com,  2:15 PM  
    My favorite genre would def. be classical (and a few opera that I've heard and liked)

    Seth,  12:27 PM  

    Following you on all of the above Noelle!
    Victoria,  12:42 PM  
    I love country!! I have recently discovered Josh Turner and love him!! Of course, my old favorites are Chris Young, Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts. I absolutely love Classical music, but not as much as country. I love Handel's Largo(from Xerxes).


    Strawberries and Cream Scones

    Strabwberries & Cream Scones

    As promised I am posting this most delicious recipe I made last night. 

    I totally have not been eating any sweets and have been eating more fruits more than anything.

    Last night I felt like baking even though it was hard taking a break from this little one:

    Julianne (2 months)

    No really.

    Ryan also felt like eating something sweet but we did not want something too sweet nor too high in calories.

    I checked my Pinterest boards and went to my Baking board to peruse recipes I have saved.

    I cam across a recipe for Strawberries and Cream Scones on King Arthur Flour's website.

    I lightened up the recipe using agave nectar, whole wheat white flour, and veganized the recipe.

    The recipe also calls for a glaze that, in my opinion made the scone perfectly sweet especially if eaten with a cup of coffee.

    If you want a sweeter scone, add a 1/4 cup more of agave. 

    You have to try these! I used So Delicious coconut creamer to sub for the half & half and it was perfect!

    Hope you try these.

    Scones part 2

    Strawberries and Cream Scones

    makes 16 scones


    • 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
    • 1/4 cup agave nectar
    • 2 Tablespoons So Delicious coconut creamer
    • 2 cups whole wheat white flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread, cut into pieces
    • 2 flax seed "egg", or 1 large egg
    • (2 Tbsp flax seed meal + 6 Tbsp warm water)
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2/3 cup diced fresh strawberries


    • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon water

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
    To make the scones: In an immersion blender or food processor, process 1/2 cup of the strawberries with the agave nectar and creamer until the mixture is smooth. Set it aside.
    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
    Work in the margarine using a pastry blender; the mixture should be unevenly crumbly.
    Prepare the flax seed "egg" and set aside for 3 minutes to set.
    In a separate bowl, whisk together the strawberry/cream mixture, the flax seed "egg", and the vanilla extract.
    Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough just barely starts to come together.
    Add the 2/3 cup diced strawberries, gently folding them in; the dough will be quite sticky.
    Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets; each scone should be about the size of a golf ball.
    Make the glaze by stirring together the sugar, water, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle some atop each scone.
    Bake the scones until they're just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, 15 to 16 minutes on a baking sheet.
    Serve scones warm. Or allow them to cool completely, and store airtight at room temperature. Just before serving, reheat very briefly in the microwave, or for 5 to 10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil, in a preheated 350°F oven.
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