Tag Archives: parmesan

Shells with Spinach,Toasted Pine Nuts & Ground Almonds {and HAPPY birthday, MJ}!}



Good morning, bright & early! Gabs must be going through a growth spurt because we are back to waking up every 4-5 hours at night- pack on those pounds girly, I need more of you in my life!



I was browsing Pinterest  for dinner ideas a couple nights ago and saw a delicious-sounding recipe for pasta that I decided needed to be in my belly that night. I swapped a few ingredients, added a few more, and viola! Dinner is served.



Lately all the recipes I’ve been sharing are dinner recipes, and that’s because I can’t stand the idea of turning on my oven to bake something sweet when it’s 90 degrees outside (not complaining!). Plus, I’ve eaten all of the chocolate chips in the house. By myself. Intervention please!



Now that I’m done bemoaning the fact that my sweet tooth is taking over my body, I’ll focus on dinner. This was a perfect spring dish that totally hit the spot, and wasn’t too heavy for a warm day. I had made (what I thought was) more than enough for the two of us for dinner, but by the time we put down our plates, somehow it was all gone.



Sometimes when I try new things in recipes, I don’t tell Joey about it until after we’ve eaten because I don’t want it to negatively sway his opinion about the meal. Sneaky me 🙂 This time, the secret ingredient was ground almonds mixed into the pasta. Sounds weird, I know. I saw it in a cookbook a while back and have been wanting to try it ever since! The almonds are ground pretty finely, so it adds a lovely texture and nutty flavor to the pasta.

Joey, a few bites in, totally called me out on it. “Are there almonds in this? It tastes kind of nutty.. what did you put in this?” I tried to judge the situation. Is it too early to tell?? He’s only had a few bites… But I ‘fessed up and he gave it two thumbs up! Whew. Maybe because he’s now an almond farmer? Whatever, I’ll take it!

Try it out and let me know what you think! I used this recipe– but did not use thyme, and added lightly toasted pine nuts, grilled chicken thighs with S&P, about a 1/3 a cup of finely ground raw, unsalted almonds. 


P.S. my running buddy kindly notified me of my pregnancy brain  mom brain (is that a thing?) and reminded me that the Modesto Pregnancy Center 5k is THIS Saturday! I knew it was May 4th, but somehow that still felt a long ways away. We may be walking instead of running because of my injured feet and my running buddy is pregnant, but the goal is the same! There’s still time to donate!

P.P.S And more importantly, it’s my BEAUTIFUL niece’s first birthday today!! That little girl is one of my favorite people on this earth. I am so bummed to be missing her birthday party this weekend in Texas, but soon they will be moving back here for a year so I will give her a big birthday squeeze in a month!! 


I got her this shirt thinking it was a safe buy, since I was the only aunt! Totally forgot about Tim’s sisters- oops! MJ, lets pretend the shirt says that you are my favorite niece!! 🙂 



Is she not the cutest thing ever?? Love you MJ, and happy Birthday sweet girl!

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Filed under Baby, Family, Food Stuffs.

Lemon Spinach Pesto

It’s finally summmmerrr!!! Ah, how I love summers! Even though technically summer starts on the 21st, who really waits for the official day? No one I know. Bring on the BBQ’s, arnold palmers by the pool, tan skin, summer salads,vacations, and cute little baby nieces in their frilly bathing suits. I love every minute of it! Also, did I tell you guys that Joey and I are going to be going on a Bible tour of Israel for the next two weeks?

We are so excited we can hardly stand it! We’ve been looking forward to this trip for over a year now, and it’s a little crazy to think that we leave on Sunday already. Please keep us in your prayers! I’m not sure what we’ll be eating in Israel, but as long as it involves lots of hummus or this, I’m pretty excited for it.

In the meantime, lets focus on American food. After all of the Oreo cake and pretzel m&m’s, we were pretty sugared out and ready for some protein. And it’s summer, so let’s make it brightly colored, shall we?





I love anything lemon-y. It’s so light and flavorful, and citrus screams summertime! We eat a lot of chicken in our house- I’m getting better at learning how to cook beef in different ways (since we live on a dairy), but I’m much more familiar with chicken because my mom always cooked it for us. Chicken is great because it can stand up to so many different flavors, preparations, and sauces. So, even if you have chicken every.single.night, it can feel like a completely different meal if you change up the flavors! Sounds good to me.



This particular recipe is one of my very favorites, and its so fast! I might even be able to beat out K’s 11 minute meal. Depends on how long it takes your chicken to cook… so cook it fast and I can call it the 10.5 minute meal! In all seriousness, the only time consuming part is cooking the chicken- I just pan-fried it on the stovetop with a little garlic salt and pepper and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).


The best part of the meal takes about 3 minutes, and can be done while the chicken is on the stove! Just dump some lemon zest & juice, parmesan, spinach, EVOO, and pine nuts in a food processor and let ‘er rip! This is what I love to make when I want a good, fast healthy meal, and with little time spent in a hot kitchen.


Pretty much the greenest sauce you ever did see, huh? I know its scary, you’ve never had a sauce that green. Your kids might freak out a little bit (or your husband might request a more normal looking sauce with his chicken…ahem.) but rest assured, this is so refreshing and the flavors are all there! Its a slighty cheesy, creamy, fresh, and lemony accent to that chicken … and goes along perfectly with some crusty bread and steamed veggies.


This sauce is so good, you’ll end up dipping your fingers everything on your plate in it. Not that I did that, or anything.


Lemon Spinach Pesto

serves 4-5

2 cups fresh spinach

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 TBSP lemon juice

1-2 tsp lemon zest

1/3 cup + 2 tsp olive oil

salt & pepper

1/3 cup fresh parmesan, grated


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees- toast pine nuts for 5-10 minutes, watch closely. Cooking times may vary with your oven!

Add all ingredients to blender or food processor, and puree until smooth and creamy. Add more olive oil to get your desired consistency.

Refrigerate, and eat with your chicken! And vegetables… and bread….



Filed under Food Stuffs.