Tuscan Pasta Salad

Thank you to Simply Organic for sponsoring this post through my partnership with Mambo Sprouts.  Thank you, readers, for taking the time to learn about products I use and enjoy!

Hey, friends!  How is your week starting out? It is looking like a busy week over here, which has honestly become our norm with work, family and finding time for fitness and friends.  This past weekend was the first one in a while that I was home for the most part.  I decided to take advantage and do tons of meal prepping for the week, and let me tell you, it has been wonderful so far!  I feel like the whole day runs so much smoother knowing that dinner is for the most part already prepped.  I get to come home and enjoy the evening with my babies, rather than running around like a mad woman trying to get dinner ready.

Which is where this pasta salad comes into play.  I made this recipe to enjoy for dinner over the weekend and for lunches this week.  It was delicious when I made it, and I think has gotten better as the flavors have continued to meld. The star of the show is this new Simply Organic Tuscan Seasoning.

FullSizeRender (26) - Copy

I have been using Simply Organic products for years, so when I was offered the opportunity to try out their new Tuscan Seasoning I jumped at the chance.

For those of you who may not be familiar with this brand, Simply Organic is a line of 100% certified organic spices, seasoning mixes, and baking flavors.  Not only are their products perfect for creating flavorful dishes at home, but they also support organic growers by giving 1% of sales back to support the organic community.

I used their new Tuscan Seasoning to create a delicious pasta salad, full of flavor and healthy, satisfying ingredients.  This pasta salad is hearty enough to serve as a stand alone vegetarian meal.  I tried the dressing as a chicken marinade as well though, and it was delicious!

FullSizeRender (33)

Instructions.png

This recipe is super easy to customize, feel free to switch out the cheese or veggies for ingredients to best suit your tastes. I would also highly recommend this dressing as a chicken marinade.  We used it as part of our meal prep, and it was delicious!

FullSizeRender (43)  Simply pour the dressing over the chicken (in a baking pan or freezer bag) and allow to marinate for an hour or two before grilling or baking.

FullSizeRender (45)

Advertisements

Weekend Recap

Hi guys, thanks for visiting this little blog here today, it is always such a pleasure to see you!  This past weekend was the first one in a while where we didn’t have much planned, and I definitely took advantage and enjoyed some down time.

I feel it worth mentioning that I did some serious Trader Joe’s shopping Friday evening.  This is worth mentioning both because I did a lot of recipe testing and meal prepping this weekend and have some yummy recipes coming up for you over the next couple of weeks. Also, because it was so easy and quick to go shopping on Friday night!  I usually do my weekly shopping on Saturday or Sunday afternoon and it is always a madhouse, but on Friday evening it was pretty quiet.

Friday evening and Saturday were pretty quiet.  I did a little picking up and reading after the kids went to bed, but was in bed pretty early myself on Friday.  Then on Saturday I taught a class and took my car in for an oil change.  The hubs and kids were nice enough to pick me up so I would not have to wait, and we were off for some family errand time to Costco.

After picking up my car, the rest of the day was spent cooking, cleaning, running errands and catching up on life.  I was super excited to find this little outfit for my baby girl on sale for over 60% off!  I had been eyeballing it for the last two months but thought it was a little expensive for an outfit that will likely end up stained, so I was stoked to see it on sale.  If you are looking, Target has had some great kid’s clothes sales for back to school.

FullSizeRender (51)
Sunday was a bit more eventful.  We were up early and had a nice family breakfast.  I made baked eggs in spicy marinara for the hubs and me.

For the babies, I made banana split yogurt parfaits.  I was so sure they would love them, but neither of them was remotely interested.  I thought they were pretty cute and tasty though.

FullSizeRender (50)

After breakfast, we were off to the zoo.  There were a lot of animals out early, and it was so fun to hear both the kids rattling off all the different types of animals they saw and waving hi to them.

 


After the Zoo, we hit up the farmers market and I enjoyed a green corn tamale that I inhaled way too fast to get a picture of.  The rest of the day was spent hanging out and doing little things around the house.  I also caught an evening yoga class, which was very much needed.

What did you do this weekend?  Any favorite at home brunch ideas?  I love getting creative with breakfast on the weekends.  Hope you have a great day!

 

Friday Favorites!

This post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure here.  Thank you for your support!

It’s Friday!!!! Any big weekend plans?  We are fairly unscheduled this weekend, I teach Saturday morning and need to get my oil changed (yeah adulting), but otherwise we are pretty much playing it by ear.  I am actually really looking forward to an unplanned weekend.  The last few weekends have been a blast, but busy.

I have already told you about my Denver trip, which was a big favorite of the week, but there were plenty of other fun things this week as well.

There have been tons of monsoon rain this week.  I just love the summer storms and the plants in my backyard no longer look like they are barely clinging to life.  I also really appreciate the stillness just after a storm, it is such a pretty time to be outside.


I also finally got with the program this week and started using Grammarly (thank you for putting up with my poor grammar thus far).  It is awesome, I feel like I have a tiny little English teacher correcting all my communications.

This week I taught on Wednesday morning but was not able to take any fitness classes. However, I was still able to get an awesome assortment of workouts in, thanks to the Barre3 challenge and Summer Shape Up challenges I am participating in.  Yeah to a variety of workouts that can be done pretty much anywhere!  Below is my monthly calendar so far.  To be honest, that run was more of a walk/jog, but hey, its movement.


I am also in love with these cute mini ice cream cones.  It is the perfect size for the babies, or if I am in the mood for just a little something sweet. Amazon sells them here if you want to check out the adorbs for yourself.


Something else I am loving this week, the return of the Game of Thrones show, and that I am almost done with the books!  If you have not read the books, they are excellent but long. I started reading them about a year and a half ago, and am finally reaching the end of the last one (I did read many other books in between).  I enjoyed them, and I do think they helped me to understand the show better.

I also got my GNC Pro Box in the mail this week.  This is the second one I have received since signing up for the pro card to get an in store discount earlier in the year.  They send them out a few times a year, and I really enjoy checking out different fitness and nutrition supplements.  This one also included a facemask, which is fun.

Now I am off to meet my friend’s new baby!  I am so excited to see the little squish!

What are some of your favorites from the week?  Anything big plans for the weekend?

Hope you have a great one!

Denver Weekend – Second half

Hey guys!  Thanks for joining me for the second half of my Denver adventures. On Sunday, Sarah and I were up bright and early, ready to start our adventures for the day.

My lovely hostess greeted me with a green superfood blend before we tucked into some eggs and fruit at home.


After breakfast, it was exploring time! We took her dogs for a quick walk through a park near her house. I was in awe of all the green.  It is so different from the desert landscape I am used to.


After walking the dogs we took off on foot towards the downtown/Union Station area. I love exploring cities on foot, I feel like you stumble across so much that way.  For example, this Latin cultures festival, where we got to enjoy some delicious mangos!  We stuck with fruit, but I was intrigued by how they were cooking this meat, I had never seen that before.


As we were walking along one of the main roads, we came across all these beautiful pianos set up in the median.  People would just stop to play a song or two, I thought it was such a beautiful way to engage the community. I was tempted to sit and play a little myself but decided no one really need to hear me play Mary Had a Little Lamb, which is the only song I know by heart on the piano.


We stopped to check out the Union Station and capital building. I didn’t get any pictures of the farmers market, but there was a great one right next to Union Station. One of the vendors had the cinnamon almond butter of my dreams.


Around midday, we grabbed some pizza at Mellow Mushroom before heading over to Lakeside Amusement Park.


You guys, Lakeside Amusement Park is amazing!


It has been there since 1908 and is showing its age a little a bit, but was so full of charm and nostalgia for me.  They had all the fair rides I remember from childhood, as well as carnival games and fair food! 

It was also super affordable. Admission was $4.00 a person and tickets were .50 each. The rides were all between 1-6 tickets.  We had such a blast going on rides and playing games all afternoon.

After our fun at the amusement park, we grabbed a quick bite and ended the day/evening with some ice cream (it was National Ice Cream Day after all).  Followed by drinks at this cute little speakeasy.  The drinks were really fun.  We did the “bartenders choice,” so you pick an alcohol and give some preferences, and the bartender makes you a drink.  Since Sunday was also the season premiere of Game of Thrones, Sarah enjoyed a “red wedding” and I had a “King of the North.”  I am definitely team Stark, so so I was into it.

Monday was just breakfast and off to the airport.  I shared my delicious last Denver meal in yesterday’s post.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and so nice to catch up with my beautiful friend.

Do you like fair/carnival rides?  I loved them as a kid but now can only stomach a few at a time.

A Day in Eats – Travel Edition

Happy half way through the week!  How’s your week going so far?  Since this is only a four-day week for me, it feels like it is zipping by.  Today I thought I would share a day of eats. This is from Monday, which was a travel day for me, as I made my way home from Denver.

I woke up early and decided to take a little stroll down the street to get some coffee.  The weather was so nice and cool compared to Tucson, and I pretty much jumped at any excuse to be outside.

An hour or so later, Sarah and I enjoyed breakfast at Jelly Cafe, which is an adorable little diner.  We started with some house-made donut holes.  I enjoyed the two on the bottom, Mexican chocolate, and maple bacon, they were delicious!  Sarah sampled a lemon jelly one, as well as a Thai peanut flavor.

FullSizeRender (13)

For my actual breakfast, I had a root vegetable (potatoes, carrots, parsnips and Brussel sprouts) hash with over easy eggs and toast.  They served it with homemade jam.  It was so tasty and kept me full for hours.

FullSizeRender (14)

After breakfast, I was off to the airport.  I didn’t really eat lunch, I was not hungry until later, and was making my way home until about 3:30 pm.  I did snack on some pretzels and a Rx Bar on the plane though.  It was the first time I had tried the Maple Sea Salt flavor, it was pretty good, but not my favorite.

A couple of hours later I had a package of trail mix, which held me over on the drive home from Phoenix.

FullSizeRender (17)

As soon as I got home, the little dude was requesting Almond balls, so we whipped up a batch.  We were out of chocolate chips, so I subbed in dried cranberries.

FullSizeRender (19)

Dinner was a quick one of bagged Asian salad mix, blueberries, and rotisserie chicken.  Quick and simple, but totally hit the spot.

FullSizeRender (20)

So there you have it, a Monday in eats.  This was a bit of an unusual day, mainly in that I did not eat a normal lunch, which I generally always do.  I knew my eats would be a little off schedule with my mid day flight though.  Whenever I am traveling, I always try to pack a bunch of healthy snacks.  I find that it really helps me avoid impulse buying junk in the airport.  It also helps to save some money, as airport food tends to be expensive.

What are your favorite travel snacks?  Any recent awesome eats to share?

Hope you have a great day!

Weekend recap – Denver time!

Hi, friends!  Thank you for visiting me here on the blog today. How was your weekend and start of the week?  I am home from my trip and enjoying all the baby snuggles!  I had initially planned to do one post about my Denver trip, but it was such a packed weekend, and I have so many pictures to share. I decided to break it into two, one today and one Thursday.  I did also share lots of adventures on Instagram stories over the weekend.  So for those of you that follow me there, this will be the full scoop (if you don’t follow me, let’s be friends, @maketimewithpizzapullups).

So let’s get started with that weekend recap. Friday I ended up getting off work a little later than normal, but it was hubs to the rescue. He ordered the babies and I pizza, which arrived just after we got home. It was awesome, instead of stressing about dinner, I was able to just relax with the babies.  The hubs is the real MVP.

After the kiddos went to bed I packed.  I am a super last minute packer, but with only going for a couple days, I was able to get everything ready pretty quickly.  Here are my travel snacks, I always like to have an assortment. I try to make sure I have a water bottle with me as well, the shaker cup is perfect in case I want a quick protein shake.


On Saturday, I was up bright and early, I flew out of Phoenix, which is about an hour and a half away from Tucson, and left my house just before 4:00 AM.  It was rough getting up and out the door that early, but totally worth it. It was an easy commute, with almost no traffic on the way to Phoenix., and I was able to zip right through security at the airport. Before I knew it my lovely friend Sarah and I were enjoying lunch at a roof top restaurant.

img_2446.jpgimg_2444.jpg
The weather was perfect, my burrito bowl was delicious, and I could not have asked for better company.

After lunch, we did some walking around her neighborhood, before going tubing with a group of her friends. I couldn’t take a camera out on the river but look at this beautiful view.


The tubing was such a blast! My only prior tubing experiences had been of the very calm, floating variety. The place we went had faster-flowing water and some small rapids, so it was invigorating and a bit of an adrenaline rush.

Afterward, we went to have a bite and a beer at a nearby brewery. I had such a good time getting to know Sarah’s friends and they were so warm and inviting. I was hungry and dug right into this Mexican-Asian fusion burrito bowl.  Vietnamese style pork, with rice, cabbage, pickled veggies and multiple sauces. It was so, so good!


After a quick stop at Sarah’s to freshen up. We then headed out for the evening. We had a bit of a bar-hopping/exploring evening. Here is my lovely friend in front of our first stop.


I didn’t get many pictures from the rest of the evening, but we mainly wandered from place to place, chatting and catching up. According to my Fitbit, we actually strolled about 5-6 miles over the course of the evening!   We ended the night at an arcade bar.  It was all older games that I remembered from childhood, I had a blast.

What did you do over the weekend?  Do you pack in advance or more last minute?  I have always packed pretty last minute.  Which is weird, because I tend to plan/prepare way early in every other area of my life.

Now I am off to prepare for the week, get in the first workout of The Fitnessista’s Summer Shape Up and watch Game of Thrones.  Any other GoT fans out there?

Tomorrow I will be back with a day in eats. The second half of my trip will be up Thursday.

Hope you have a great day!

Yeah for Fridays

This post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure here.  Thank you for your support!

Hi Friends!  Happy Friday to you.  Any big weekend plans?  I am pretty excited for some weekend adventures, exploring a new to me city with one of my oldest friends.  Before we get to the weekend though, lets talk favorites from this week.

First up, the arrival of the summer monsoons!  We have had a couple nice of storms this week.  I love the rain, and the pretty rainbows and sunsets after.  The only negative is my hair, which believes that the humidity is its personal cue to remember the 80’s and be as huge and frizzy as possible.

The hubs and I also tried our hand at making cold brew coffee using the Starbucks packs.  It tastes exactly like the cold brew you would buy pre-made at Starbucks.  So if you like their cold-brew, I would suggest it.  It seems to be a little cheaper here on Amazon, than I have seen it for in stores.

FullSizeRender (11)

Speaking of Amazon, did you guys do any Prime Day shopping?  I did lots of looking, but ultimately no buying.  I did see this bag, that I am still considering though.  Isn’t it cute!

I do need a new gym bag.  Mine is old, starting to develop some tears, and smells like coffee from a spill earlier.

This week I also enjoyed a fun Barre class and dinner date with a friend.  It was so nice to catch up with her, and the perfect little detox/retox combo.

It has been a busy week, so I have not been able to enjoy as long of workouts as I wanted to some days.  But aside from the above Barre class and teaching, I was also able to enjoy a Zumba class, and some solo strength and cardio sessions.  I am hoping to get some yoga in stat.  I could definitely use some stretching and savasana.  I am also planning to try to get a quick Barre workout in later today, to try to stay on top of my Barre challenge.

Around the web this week, I really enjoyed this post from Amanda with tips for working out in the am.   I am definitely a morning workout person and totally agree that the more you have prepped the night before, the easier it is to get going.

I also loved this post from Ashley with some meal prep and time-saving in the kitchen tips. I literally made crock-pot chicken with salsa on Wednesday night.

I am also really looking forward to the Fitnessista’s Summer Shape Up, which starts on Monday.  She always has such great workouts.

This weekend, I will be up before the sun tomorrow to jet to Denver.  I am SO excited.  I will be traveling on Monday, so no post then, but I will be back on Tuesday.

How was your week?  Tell me about your weekend plans.

Hope you have a great one!