Gnocchi Alfredo with Sautéed Mushrooms, Broccoli and Spinach

by Celene Ann

This recipe was a totally game changer for my family. Many of us (well most of us) eat meat, and since I have been trying to lessen the quantity we eat, recipes have been a challenge.

We had been bustling about on a normal weekday. Realizing we were nearing a lunch break, I opened the pantry to grab noodles. Lo and behold--there were none to be found. Just a package of gnocchi. So I rambled through the fridge, grabbing a variety of leftover vegetables from previous meals, and some herbs.

I set to make the alfredo sauce, figuring I could still go for that family classic and just alternate with vegetables and gnocchi.

Let me tell you, it was heavenly. The pillowy bites of the gnocchi, to the warmth and nutty flavors of sauteed vegetables mingling in a cream sauce! Dynamite! We were quite pleased, and added it to our recipe book for further use. Also, it is quite a filling dish thanks to the gnocchi.

 

Gnocchi Alfredo with Sauteed Mushrooms, Broccoli, and Spinach

Yields: 2-4

 

Ingredients

1 package of Gnocchi (small or large)

5 button mushrooms

Large handful of Broccoli

3 handfuls of Spinach

3 TBSP of butter

2 gloves of garlic

Salt and Pepper

 

Alfredo Sauce

1 ½ cups of heavy cream

½ grated Parmesean

A handful of chopped Parsley

A dash of garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste
 

  1. Take a pot of water and boil it, adding salt to it.

  2. While waiting on the water, clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel and slice them. Wash out your broccoli and dice up to bite size bits. Grab a pan and heat it up on medium adding the pad of butter to it. Chop up the glove of garlic and add it to the butter. Once you can start to smell the garlic add in the mushrooms and Broccoli. Let them marinate in the butter for a good 5 minutes before you add the spinach. Don’t fret about the amount of spinach you will have in your pan. They will start to wilt and wrap around your ingredients, no longer hogging the whole entire pan. Let them sit on low for a good 3 minutes, salt and pepper.

  3. When the water is at a boil, add the Gnocchi and follow directions on the package. The Gnocchi should start bubbling to the surface which is your sign they are cooked. Drain them in the colander and let them chill together.

  4. Take the pot you used to cook the gnocchi and pour in the heavy cream. Let it start to come to a simmer, add in the grated Parmesan, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Let the sauce thicken slightly before adding the parsley.

  5. Once the sauce has married together, dump the gnocchi and vegetables into the mix. Stir until all our coated. Serve immediately topping it with extra Parmesan if you so desire.

Ask A Mom - Do I Give This Man A Second Chance?

First of all thank you for being there for me. 

My question is about second chances. And it involves a man (go figure) but my heart is involved so I need a moms advice.

I was with a man for a short period of time earlier this year. We fell hard and fast, only to find a few months in,  he wasn't wanting to commit ( he had previously broken off a long term engagement  prior to meeting me). I was crushed and he was aloof and confused.he doesn't like "labels" in relationships...which I personally think is ridiculous if you've found someone toy actually want to invest time and energy in. Regardless...read on. 

Months go by, he dates other people, I date other people, and we suddenly find ourselves crazy about each other again as of recently. He's apologized for how things ended between us and wants to give it another try- if I'm open to it. 

I'm trying to forgive and not harbor any bitterness for what has happened between us in the past.....but do I give this man a second chance? 

He's 31

I'm 28

No kids, neither married

Help, mom! 

//

Britt,

I have been thinking about how to respond to this for several days.  Mostly when I answer these questions I do it in the framework of how I would answer if I was answering a question from one of my daughters.  We have a very open relationship and I have always answered questions honestly and openly when they asked me something.  Also, they have always been pretty straight forward with me.  So Britt, that is how I am going to answer this question with you.

First of all and most importantly is: be careful of your heart.  I am reading between the lines here but it seems to me that he may have blown you off a few months ago and now he has changed his mind and you are uncertain if you can trust him.   It seems pretty evident that he is not protecting your heart so YOU should.  It's ok to move forward but allow him to prove that he deserves to have your heart again before you commit.  The fact that he was in a long term engagement and then didn't want to pursue a relationship with you and now does but doesn't like "labels",  doesn't speak very highly of his integrity.  I think that you can forgive and not harbor any bitterness about the past if you hold yourself to a higher standard and accountable.  In other words, keep your relationship with him platonic and not intimate.  In this way, you will have a much clearer head about where you stand. It's okay to make him prove that he is worthy of you.  Especially since he didn't appreciate you the first time he had a chance.  Relationships between men and women are always a give and take.   When one of the individuals realizes its the giving that is the gift then you have a partial relationship.  When you both realize its about the other person, and giving to them, then you have something that works.  I don't know you but I DO know that you are a person who is worth the best kind of love because we all are.  As women, sometimes we sell ourselves short especially when it comes to men.  Don't make that mistake.

Honor yourself first and let him see your value.

SWL Mom

Resolutions: How to Better Yourself While Giving Yourself Grace

By: Hannah Shlapak

One of the best things about the beginning of a brand new year is the opportunity to establish other new beginnings for yourself. It is a season of change, full of bright and hopeful futures and plans to establish. However, it is important to remember a few things when creating goals for yourself, whether you’re committing to follow a specific fitness plan or break a certain habit. I have compiled a list of things to look out for and remind yourself of during this exciting but challenging time:

Remember: resolutions are good for you, but they shouldn’t control your happiness.

It is so easy to fall into the mindset that you can only be happy when you are attempting to achieve a certain goal. Remember that you choose to be happy of your own account. That goal you’re attempting to reach or attain isn’t the sole purpose of your existence and it is not the source of your happiness. Take a break and calm your mind if you begin to feel that you are placing your happiness too much on how well you are progressing at achieving your goals. It’s okay to feel a little sad or frustrated at setbacks, but don’t let those obstacles control the way you feel.

Don’t beat yourself up over setbacks or mistakes.

Hey there, fellow human! We are all extremely susceptible to failures every now and then. But that’s the thing about being human: we learn to embrace the mistakes and setbacks and we grow because of them. Don’t beat yourself up over something that you can take the opportunity to learn from and fully experience.

Embrace every part of yourself (mentally and physically) during this time.

Look at you! You set goals for yourself and you are wonderful! Make sure to remember what a fantastic and accomplished person you are because you took the time to find a way to make yourself an even more fantastic person (if it’s even possible to be more fantastic).

Set your goals high, but only as high as you can reach.

It’s always good to push yourself to do your best, but it is also extremely important to be reasonable. If you push yourself too hard you are going to wear yourself out and failures may become abundant. Always challenge yourself, but in a healthy way, so you can experience solid progress at a comfortable pace and achieve the absolute best end results.

Remember that you are a GROWING human being.

In this life, every single day, we experience and/or learn something new. We are consistently growing and changing, even if we may feel that we are the same. If you set a goal for yourself during the New Year that requires quick growth, remember that we all grow at our own pace. Just as you can’t force a plant to grow at a certain pace, you must be patient with yourself as you grow and change. Be happy during those times of waiting! You are doing so well and success will soon come in one way or another.

Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished.

Never be ashamed if the going seems slow for you. Think of the progress you have already made and the exciting journey ahead of you. Remind yourself of the reason you set the goal in the first place and keep going! Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back every once and awhile.

So here’s to two-thousand seventeen. I believe in each and every one of us and I know that many great things await.

Adulting and It's Many Questions

By: Kelsey Smith

ADULTING-2.jpg

Adulting. It seems to be a buzzword these days and always has a negative connotation. Nobody seems to be excited or honored to be an adult. Whenever adulting hits, we long for the days of being a child with little responsibilities.

So what gives? What changes our attitude? Does it happen the second we graduate college and have to find a job, a place to live, and a suitable mate ASAP? Is it when we are still eating ramen noodles so we can afford to pay our bills? Is it when we are sleep deprived from balancing our social lives with our work schedule?

I have been struggling with being an adult lately, specifically in the realm of my job. I work in the music industry, but have to pick up side jobs to help supplement my income. I recently had an opportunity for more work, so I took it. But after a couple of weeks I became unhappy.

Is this just a normal part of working? Is it one of those phases that will pass in due time? Or will my unhappiness be permanent and a sign that I need to start looking for work elsewhere?

SO MANY QUESTIONS.

It seems as though we were all told growing up that the ultimate goal was to love your job so much that it felt like you were never going to work a single day in your life. Is that even realistic? Do people have that luxury? And do the people that have that luxury, are they the lucky ones?

In our culture, we want instant happiness and instant gratification. So if I’m unhappy at my job, then I need to quit and find a new one. Right? Or wrong?

Maybe these are questions that cannot always be answered. Maybe we will be able to answer them in 5, 10 or 20 years. Maybe the answers look different for different people. But I’m here to tell you that you are not alone in your struggle.

You aren’t the only one out there thinking what you’re thinking. I wish we could all be honest about our struggles, and then be able to work together to come up with a plan.

I want to change the status quo. I want to give adulting a good reputation. I want to be killing the adulting game. Care to join me?

Breathe to Your Benefit

By: Molly Mackenzie // @mmack12

We all have days that are simply not our days. Whether we can pinpoint where they're going wrong, or if we just feel "off", some days just aren't all sunshine and rainbows.

But what if I told you that you had a secret superpower to help make the bad days a bit better? What if I told you it's been there all along, since you were a baby, helping you get through life and you simply didn't realize it's ability?

That's what your breath is. Breathing is pretty cool if you think about it - it can be both voluntary and involuntary. There's not many things in life that you can simply forget about and they'll still happen, but breath is one of those miraculous things. On top of that, if you do think about it, you can control the depth and the pace, which means you're essentially controlling the rhythm of your body.  

So how do you activate your superpower? Deep breathing. Deep breathing allows you to increase oxygen to your organs, helping them to do their job better, and has also been shown to decrease your stress and anxiety levels! On those days when nothing is going right, it can help to restore your mind and body to a more relaxed state.

So why not harness that power we have over our breath to make our lives a little better?! We can and we will! It's simple - you've been doing it all your life.

Step 1: continue to be however you are - sitting, laying down - you do you!

Step 2: breathe in slowly through your nose (ideally a count of 3-5), allowing your belly to expand (like you've just eaten a huge meal and have a food baby)

Step 3: after a short pause at the top of your breath, start to breathe out slowly (again, try for a 3-5 count - ideally a bit longer than your inhale). breathe out until you can't anymore!

Step 4: you did it! just keep cycling through the steps as long as you'd like to - a few minutes would be ideal, but you'll begin to feel the benefits after just a few breaths.

I personally love to do this simple exercise when I feel my brain getting ahead of the situation at hand - it really allows me to come back to the present moment and to stop stressing about the "what if" of the future. Sitting with your breath is a simple way to realize that despite what may be happening in the day, you are capable of handling what life hands you - and that you are worthy of the benefits that comes with it. You deserve to take a few minutes to breathe. 

if you want to know more about the benefits or different techniques, check out these articles below!

http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

http://www.chopra.com/articles/breathing-for-life-the-mind-body-healing-benefits-of-pranayama