Healthy Summer Ratatouille

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had an absolutely wonderful weekend! Mine was great as on Saturday I got to style the new LOFT Fall collection and take some pictures that I’ll reveal soon. The new merchandise is amazing with so many bold, rich colors and prints. I have a feeling that the gorgeous Bordeaux shade is going to be my favorite for the season. Then yesterday I got to attend the Indy Grand Prix in Sonoma with my fam! It was a fantastic race with even better company, and we ended the perfect Sunday by going to one of my favorite restaurants in Sonoma, where we went for my birthday last year.

Since I’ve been gone a lot recently, I haven’t been doing a whole lot of cooking at home. But the other night I knew that I wanted something fresh and easy while using up some of the produce I had in the refrigerator that was on its last leg. I decided to create an easy, healthy delicious meal.

Healthy Summer Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 2 Small Sweet White Onions
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 3 Zucchini
  • 3 Yellow Squash
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 C. Tomato Basil Sauce/Marinara
  • 1 T. Dried Basil
  • 1 T. Thyme

Directions:

  1. Finely chop onion (should have about 2 cups worth chopped) and mince garlic
  2. In a large pot, combine olive oil, garlic and onion. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Chop zucchini, yellow squash and carrots in chunks and add to pot. Let the veggies cook down for about 10-15 minutes or until soft.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste and add herbs, stirring until well combined.
  5. Add tomato sauce to coat all ingredients, allowing it to heat for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

This is such a delicious recipe and so incredibly easy. It tastes delicious on its own but I served mine over quick-cooking brown rice to create a complete meal. It would also be great with quinoa or even just a fresh, crusty bread. This would be also be the perfect, easy dish to make for unexpected company as it tastes much more complicated than it actually is to make!

Questions:

-What dishes do you make when your veggies are on their last leg?

-Do you like ratatouille?

Birthday Wrap-Up

Hi lovelies! Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes! I’m so sorry that I’ve been posting so irregularly lately! Things at work have been really, really busy and by the time I’ve been getting home, I’m just too exhausted to post. But it’s funny because even my short time away makes me miss this community! I’m hoping to catch up on everyone’s posts soon! (And am slightly scared to open my google reader…)

Since my birthday was on a Tuesday this year (only slightly better than being on a Monday last year) my family decided to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. We went over to Sonoma and walked around enjoying the little shops and started off dinner at La Salette, a Portuguese restaurant! My mom had heard that they had great sangria and cheese plates (two of my favorite things) so we knew we had to check it out. I first tried sangria on my 21st birthday in Barcelona and have been in love with the fruity wine drink ever since! The sangria and cheese at La Salette were phenomenal (top-3 Sangria I’ve ever had!) but the best part was my brother showing up at the restaurant, completely surprising me!

Flashback to toasting on my 21st!

We then headed over to one of my family’s favorite restaurants… Della Santina’s! If you are ever in Sonoma and like Italian food, you need to go here. We sat outside in the beautiful courtyard, under the heat lamps and I enjoyed a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio. To start, my brother and I split the minestrone soup which is amazing and not like any other minestrone that I’ve ever had! Then for my entrée, I decided to forgo their famous Cannelloni because it has veal in it and went for the Gnocchi Della Nonna in a tomato basil sauce.

I could not stop talking about how amazing this gnocchi was! As much as I love gnocchi, sometimes it can be a very heavy dish but this was just the opposite! I kept describing it as little pillows of deliciousness and my brother ended up eating quite a few bites off of my plate as well! Of course no birthday meal is complete without dessert, so we all split a piece of chocolate torte which was good but had such an intense amaretto flavor that kind of overpowered the chocolate.

Luckily, we made up for it dessert-wise on my real birthday when we had Coldstone Cupcakes. These new-to-me desserts are ice cream cake in the form of a cupcake, encompassed in a Belgium chocolate shell. I’m not even doing a good job describing it and yet it still sounds delicious! We tried all three flavors but my favorite was definitely the red velvet (red velvet cake, fudge and cake batter ice cream topped with pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

How cute are those napkins?? My mom finds the cutest stuff!

All in all, it was a lovely birthday. I got to spend time with my family which really was the best part. Plus, my co-workers gave me two bouquets of flowers, a 12-pack of diet coke, and delicious mini cupcakes! I also received an outpouring of love from lots of friends and a beautiful bouquet from one of my besties, so I felt pretty special. This weekend I’m going out with some girlfriends for a little birthday celebration and I’m so excited! And, speaking of things I’m excited about…

My parents are so amazing and got me this incredible camera for my birthday! I was so surprised and excited! As I’m sure you’re able to tell, most of my pictures are iphone ones, since my camera (which only had 6.8 mega pixels anyway) died a few months ago! But now, because of their incredible generosity, I can record things with much better pictures!

With that, I need to paint my nails and get to bed so I can get up early for another crazy busy day! Hope you all are having a wonderful week!

Questions:

-How do you like to celebrate your birthday? Big party? Intimate dinner? Etc.

-What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received? The worst/funniest?