I am Dawn Anderson...

And this is what I have to say.

Author: Dawn Anderson (page 1 of 43)

Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

Being short on time or energy doesn’t have to be a reason to not eat a home cooked meal. Today was one of those days for me. They made me earn every cent of my paycheck today at work plus I’m working on kicking a bit of a sugar habit. So needless to say I was tired, grumpy and hungry when I got home. Luckily I had written out a loose meal plan for the week and my friend Janet was nice enough to do a quick Whole Foods run last night, so I had a super quick and easy dinner idea in the hole (thank.goodness.). I’ve started setting a timer to get a more accurate account of how much time cooking takes (I’m working against the “I’m too busy to eat healthy/cook for myself” argument with a co-worker, but that’s another post) and will be posting that with recipes. This was 32 minutes from walking in the kitchen to plates on the table. AND this included real-life kitchen work (I had to wash the strainer, herbs & lemon since I didn’t do my normal food prep for the week) so this is real time. The recipe that inspired this uses fresh broccoli so feel free if you have time. I’ve made it with fresh and frozen and can’t tell any difference.

Pasta with Broccoli Pesto 20130326-193744.jpg
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This is a quick, easy dish that uses ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • ¼ cup raw sesame seeds
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves (loosely packed)
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ - 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 4 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp capers (drained)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 12 oz pasta
  • Additional broccoli florets (optional)
  • Fresh tomatoes (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water when draining pasta.
  2. While pasta is cooking, place broccoli in a microwave safe dish and cook according to package directions for microwave cooking (3-5 minutes). Once finished, drain broccoli and set aside.
  3. Combine seeds, parsley, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers and garlic cloves in a food processor. Process for 3 to 4 quick pulses to break down ingredients.
  4. Add broccoli and olive oil to the food processor. Process until all ingredients are well incorporated and the pesto mixture is a smooth consistency.
  5. Taste. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  6. Combine pesto and drained pasta in a large bowl. Stir to combine adding reserved pasta water to mix, small amounts at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
  7. Serve as is or add in additional broccoli florets, chopped tomatoes or garnish with nutritional yeast or parmesan. Enjoy!



Menu Monday (week of 2/18/13)

Hey y’all! It’s been a minute since I posted last. I’m still working on getting into a regular blogging habit again so bare with me. My GI/IBS issues have recently flared again as well as symptoms of CFS so lately it’s been taking everything I have just to get off the sofa and get through most days. I’m making due and trying to change my rest habits to accommodate.

Even though I haven’t been able to fully follow my meal plans for the past few weeks, I’ve still been getting them done. I’m glad to say that I’m on the road to making it a habit. I do like having a plan in place and using it as a road map for the week. I’m still using my handy paper planner but here are my dinner plans with some links:

    • Sunday: dinner at Parents #1
    • Monday: mustard glaze salmon, string beans with onions, toast
    • Tuesday: stuffed shells, salad
    • Wednesday: leftovers (late gym day so no cooking for me)
    • Thursday: sietan cheese-steaks, oven fries, roasted brussels sprouts
    • Friday: collard greens, sweet potato mash, Chili maple glazed tempeh (mac & cheese and BBQ chicken for the hubs)
    • Saturday: Engagement tofu (turkey cutlets), asparagus, mashed cauliflower (baguette)

Can you tell I went to an awesome class on how to fix vegetarian proteins last week? I did! It was taught by the very witty Lauren of veg:ology fame. I’m going gung-ho with trying out the recipes! What’s on your meal plan for the week?

Better habits for the new year

Can you believe its almost 1/2 way through the month already?! It’s true what they say – time does fly by!

Like most, I’m trying to start off 2013 with some better habits. Really just getting back to habits I had adopted in 2011-2012: meal planning and tracking & regular exercise. My hope is for these things to translate into me loosing the last 11 lbs of my initial weight loss goal.

This is the first week that I’ve done a complete meal plan. I actually got it done by Sunday morning, got about 90% of the shopping done AND prepped food! The refrigerator is packed, but the week is looking good! (other than the fact that I left my nicely packed cooler at home this morning! Heading home at lunch to retrieve it. The joys of working semi-close to home)

My goal is to just get a plan done for the rest of January, then in February really start taking a close look at the nutrition of that plan. Baby steps to change, right?!

Meal Plan

Meal Plan









And for all you other list junkies out there, all of my scribbles including the grocery list on the back:

Grocery list

Grocery list











If you have any desire to plan either on a monthly or weekly basis feel free to utilize either of these calendars:


I’m working hard to do a minimum of 3 hours of cardio and 3 strength training sessions per week. I think I’ve found a schedule that works for me:

Monday – cardio kickboxing class; 1 hour strength
Wednesday – 1 hour strength; spinning class
Saturday – 1 hour strength; 1 hour cardio (elliptical or walking/running)

I’m still debating on the Saturday morning workout (vs. Friday evening) but I’m going to try and stick to it. Mainly as a ploy to get the hubs to get to the gym on the weekend! 😉

Do you do a monthly or weekly meal plan? Does it help you stick to your nutrition or weight management goals?

Happy New Year!

Getting my luck in:


Vegan cornbread, quick sauteed kale, black-eyed peas








Wishing you all that you want and more in 2013!


Meal plan (week of 11/11/12)

It seems odd to say “happy” Veteran’s Day. There are not enough words to express my thanks to all Veteran’s, retired & active duty military for what you have done and continue to do. Thank you!

I was able to cobble together a meal plan for this week. I’m back to an evening workout schedule at the gym this week, so I needed ‘make ahead’ or quick items. I’m past the honeymoon phase with my plant-based diet and its becoming a bit of a challenge to eat a variety of items that aren’t processed. I won’t say I’m in a rut, but I’m heading that way fast. If you post your own meal plans or know of some good sites that do, please share links in the comments. I need some ideas!


      : teriyaki chicken/tofu, brown rice, steamed broccoli

Monday: spaghetti, marinara, roasted asparagus, garlic bread

Tuesday: chicken noodle soup/pumpkin chili, grilled cheese/Daiya sammies

Wednesday: OYO (on your own)

Thursday: pasta with Field Roast sausage & mixed greens

Friday: salmon/veggie burgers, string beans, roasted potatoes

Saturday: pizza, salad

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