Happy October to you all!! This is my absolute favorite month and I couldn’t be happier that it is finally here. Not only is it my birthday month, but it is the most beautiful weather of the year and the trees are already singing with color around here. This morning I was thinking about this time last year, and I recalled the lovely surprise 30th birthday party that my amazing hubby, Mark, threw for me. It was a super great night filled with so many people who I love. I also remembered looking at the photos from that night, the very next day, and thinking, ‘Ooof, I need to lose weight! I don’t look healthy’. After seeing those photos, I promised myself the day after my 30th birthday that I would lose 30 pounds before I turned 31.
It took my a bit to get the motivation and the plan down. I read some great books on food, the food industry, industrialized and processed foods and in March of this year, I changed my life. I say it that way because I honestly made a lifestyle change for the first time in my life. No more diets, no more counting points or calories, I made a conscious choice to change for good, and I have stuck with it. From March until now, I lost those 30 pounds and in the process have become the healthiest me, I have ever been. I no longer eat processed foods, no more junk with ingredients I can’t pronounce, no more packages of gluten-free this or that. Just fresh, honest and pure foods. I have always cooked a lot, but I am cooking now more than I ever have and I couldn’t be any prouder of all of this.
I would like to lose another 10-15 pounds, but I am not rushing it, nor am I stressing about it. If it takes two years, I am totally content with that. I am finally at a healthy weight, I am practicing yoga daily and I know that I am in a good place. I always thought losing a significant amount of weight meant that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy food the way that I always have, in my head I always thought of ‘carrot sticks and bland chicken breasts and worst of all, no more cheese’, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is obvious by this blog, I am eating well and loving food more than ever.
On nights when I get home late and a meal needs to be cooked, I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the idea of committing to fresh food and then I take 2 minutes to sit and think about the weight that I lost and how I feel and I find that energy to make a delicious and quick dinner. This meal was made on one of those nights. I had a busy and long day, I went to my 90-minute yoga practice and got home near 8:30. I was feeling sorry for myself because I was starving and feeling too tired to cook. Then I saw the beautiful plum tomatoes on the counter, the print out of this recipe and knew that it would be a short 15-minute prep to have a delicious and fresh dinner.
This pasta has so much flavor, the nutty toasted flavor from the almonds, the pungent kick of the garlic, the beautiful fresh basil from our garden and the salty tang from the Pecorino Romano, all made me smile on the first forkful. These were all gentle pats on the back that cooking this was worth the time and effort.
Gluten-Free Fettucini with Tomato-Almond Pesto [Pesto Trapenese]
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 large handful fresh basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves
Several sprinkles of sea salt
6 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup grated Pecorino
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound of your favorite gluten-free fettucini
In a large skillet, sauté the almonds in a little olive oil until toasted. Let cool, then blend them in a food processor until they are in coarse pieces. (“The size of orzo,” the original recipe suggests.) Remove from the processor and set them aside.
Put the basil, garlic and a few pinches of sea salt into the food processor and chop. Add the almonds back to the food processor with the tomatoes, cheese and olive oil and whirl briefly. Season it with freshly ground black pepper.
Cook your fettucini until it is al dente and could use another minute of cooking time. Drain instantly and reserve one cup of pasta cooking water. Immediately toss the hot fettucini with the pesto and mix quickly so that it drinks the sauce up a bit. Add more pasta water if needed. Serve this lukewarm, or at room temperature. Enjoy.