christmas pasta!

by Janetha on December 16, 2009

in meals,moves

hola! bonjour! hei! ciao! how many languages should i say hello in?

i am feeling rather chipper this evening.  i think it has something to do with the twelve and a half hours of sleep i got last night! yep, i went to take my “nap” and didn’t wake up until 1 AM~then i promptly went right back to sleep until it was time to get up for work.

and i can happily say i am 97.674% better!  that lingering 2.326% should be gone in no time.

sounds like a lot of you looove to take naps! and then a select handful of you really don’t like them at all. and lots of you like them but never have the time to take them.  i could probably go on and on for paragraphs about the napping preferences of the blogging community but i am fairly certain none of you care too much about that so i will stop now.


so the convenient part about this post is that i had the same exact breakfast and lunch yesterday and today!

i started both days out with a little cocktail of sorts~


i promise you this is why i am not sick anymore.  well, this and that whole 12.5 hours of sleep. just sayin.

breakfast=1 cup oikos+1 cup shredded spoonfuls+1 TB mighty maple





so. my boss and i have had an ongoing pistachio shell war this week.  i left some pistachio shells on his desk after eating them and then i found them on my desk.  so i put them in his dayplanner.  and then i found them in my purse.  so i put them in the middle of his office floor.  and then i found them in my cereal box!


sneaky boss. i actually did get a shell in my greek yogurt mess and almost broke my tooth! not to worry, i got him back by putting some shells into his can of diet coke which he accidentally left in my office after a meeting.  i put some shells in there and kindly delivered his coke back to his office. muhahah. he nearly choked. 

he hasn’t got me back yet.. i have a bad feeling about this.

lunch=garbanzos+cottage cheese+hidden valley ranch seasoning



premixed, of course.



holy balls! do you see that?!


that’s right folks. nine days til santa comes.  go ahead. freak out.

i tried a little something today after work.

girl scout thin mint cookies chocolate peppermint stick luna bar


same diff. this was delicious. i just wish luna didn’t put that damn frosting on the bottom of some of their bars. not a fan.


i love you, minty chocolatey top!


go away, gaggy frosted bottom.


guess what?!

i finally went to the gym!


i still was a little phlegmmy (tmi?) so i wanted to keep it easy and not workout too vigourously.  right before leaving to the gym i saw this post of kristin’s where she mentioned a nice treadmill incline workout that she snagged from naomi who got it from the oxygen mag website.  did you all follow?  hope so, because that was a tad confusing.


minute # speed incline
1 3.5 0
2 4.0 0
3 4.5 0
3-5 6.0 1
5-6 6.5 0
6-8 6.0 2
8-9 7.0 0
9-11 6.0 3
11-12 7.5 0
12-14 6.0 4
14-15 8.0 0
15-17 6.0 5
17-18 7.5 0
18-20 6.0 4
20-21 7.0 0
21-23 6.0 3
23-25 3.5 2

this was the perfect workout for today!  i got slightly winded during minutes 15-17 but other than that it was really easy and didn’t hurt my chest too much.  still had a bit of lingering lung butter but i was able to complete this routine without having to stop due to not being able to breathe. hallelujah for not being sick anymore!

after the gym i went to tarjay for a few essentials.  while there, look what i spotted!


HOLLER! tarjay not only carries my favorite greek yogurt ever now.. they also have it for cheaper than any other store! whole foods sells it for $5 and all the other supermarkets around me sell it for a whopping $6.50 which is highway robbery.  i am beyond ecstatic about this find :D

i also was blackberry messaging julie while at target.  i found a popcorn find and HAD to show her.  you will just have to wait and see what it is because i did purchase it but have not yet put it to good use.  anyone else have blackberry messenger and want to add me so i can message you while grocery shopping? hah. lemme know.


when i got home i immediately started making dinner.  on the menu? pasta. but not just any pasta.  i have dubbed this christmas pasta.  you will see why in a moment.

for weeks i have been wanting to put my oh! nuts sun dried tomatoes & pine nuts to good use.  the company graciously sent me these items to try for free and no they are not paying me to eat their food. although if they wanted to, i sure as hell would let them ;)


whenever i think sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts i also think PASTA.  is that just me or do you guys think that too?  i paired my oh! nuts loot with these two fellas:


i love using these packages of pesto for two reasons.

one: they are way cheaper than bottled pesto. this package was $1.50 compared to the $4 that an average bottle of pesto costs.

two: they are super thrifty in the calorie department!  let’s face it: pesto is high in calories and fat.  this stuff.. is not.


it tells you to make it with 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup olive oil but actually i did all water and 1 TB olive oil and it turned out just lovely.  lots of pesto flavor and friendly on the waistline. win.

i coated some chicken tenders in italian seasoning and garlic powder and baked them at 425 degrees [f] for about 20 minutes..


sorry if raw chicken makes you want to vomit. it doesn’t bug moi.

i sautéed some mushrooms, boiled the noodles and made the pesto sauce all while the chicken baked.  i was fully utilizing my cooking station.. three burners and the oven all at once!


cool how the red hot part of the stovetop showed up purple in the photo, eh? i love purple!

i also diced the sun dried tomatoes and busted out the pine nuts..

IMG_9519 IMG_9521

after everything was cooked it was assembly time!

while at target, i purchased this oven safe bowl:


oh look! made in the U. S. of A.~i like that. also, BPA free. i will admit, still not entirely sure what BPA will do to me but i will tell you one thing, this bowl is a safe one.



first layer: noodles+sauce+laughing cow


i don’t think i ever noticed that the laughing cow was wearing earrings made from cheese. i like that.

i love to add laughing cow wedges to make anything creamy.  creamy is better (TWSS).  so i threw a couple wedges into the spinach & chive linguine along with the pesto sauce. check it:



threw that in the bowl and then layer numero dos was the chicken, which i diced:


layer three was the sun dried tomatoes~


and then the mushrooms!


i think this goes without saying, but my mushroom-hating boyfriend was NOT over for dinner tonight :)

and thennn a layer of SNOW glorious snow!


oh wait, that is parmesan cheese :) looks pretty fluffy and white though, no?

last but not least, the pine nuts~


i baked this layered dish for about 5 minutes~just so it could get all nice and gooey and warm.


and that.. my friends.. is what i call christmas pasta!

green, red and snow!


*it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas!*

i served up a third of the pasta and then it was time to eat!


um. this was so freaking delicious.  i highly suggest you all make it.


gah. i die.

WELL. now i am all caught up!  that took awhile, didn’t it?  i guess that is what happens when i decide to sleep my life away instead of blog.

i do have a few bits and pieces to say..

1. sabrina asked me to take a photo of the insides of one of my white chocolate & cream cheese filled spice cupcakes with coconut pecan frosting. so i did:

IMG_9507  IMG_9511IMG_9512

mmmm. i suggest you heat these up for about 30 seconds before consuming.  and for the record, i ate 1/2 of a cupcake.  i mean.. it was for the photos.. for the blog.. hehe.

2. check out this table that fit sugar posted the other day~ image

i have been eating pears instead of apples lately because they are cheaper.  well~turns out they are also lower in calories, lower in carbs, higher in fiber, lower in sugar, higher in protein and higher in potassium.  i knew my new found love for pears was a good idea!  i am sure susan agrees :)

3. great news! my good friend and mega source of inspiration~emily alvers~has agreed to let me interview her for my blog!  emily was the 2008 GRAND CHAMPION for body for life.  check out her transformation:


um. 12 weeks to incredible!  anyway, the whole point of this tid bit is i want to know what YOU would like to ask emily.  i will be gathering some questions from my readers for about a week or so and then will have the honor of interviewing em.  so send me your questions! janethabenson (at) gmail (dot com.. or you can leave a question in the comments section :)

okay. i think i am done now. that was a lot of blogging!  sorry it was soooo dang long. if you made it this far, pat yourself on the back!!


1. keeping in the theme and spirit of christmas colors~what is your favorite GREEN food and what is your favorite RED food?? favorite green=avocado, favorite red=strawberries :)

2. today (wednesday) is national chocolate covered anything day. what is your favorite thing to cover in chocolate? oh weird. my answer is strawberries again! but did you know that some people eat chocolate covered bacon? gnarly.

xo. janetha b.

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snackface December 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Holy SHHHH. The Christmas pasta is unbelievable! You are a master.

OMG, thank you for letting me know about my horrific, embarrassing grammar mistake. HOW DID I MISS THAT?? Awful. As in, it was haunting me as I went to bed last night. Not even kidding.

Ooooh good Qs! My fave green food: raw green beans or snap peas! So sweet, crunchy and delicious. Fave red food: KETCHUP.

Oh my gawd fave chocolate dipped thang…haha that sounds so naughty in my head. Um, rods? Pretzel rods, that is.

LalalalaLOVE you!!!

Katie December 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I def need to go to Target for Oikos, I run through what seems like 10 of those a week…that is such a good price!

That body for life transformation is INSANE!!

I’d love to know –

~ What was the hardest part of the journey?
~ What was the easiest part of the journey?
~ What is your favorite form of cardio?
~ What is your go forward nutrition plan now that the 12 weeks is up?
~ What suggestions do you have for moderate exercisers who have hit a plateau?
~ What are your next physical challenges that you may have? Like new goals?
~ How did your friends/family/coworkers react? How did you react to their positive/negative reactions?
~ Favorite workout songs? (sorry I love workout music! always looking for new!)

Happy Thursday

april December 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm

that pasta does sound great! And the nutritional stats on that pesto is awesome!

My question for the BFL winner would be how many days a week she works out and what her typical workout week looks like. How fun!!

balancejoyanddelicias December 17, 2009 at 2:27 pm

1) bok choy
2) raspberries

I’d love to messing you when I do groceries shopping if I hada blackberry! ;) that would be fun!

Tamzin December 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I’d like to know a day’s menus for hers.

My favorite green food = briccoli
My favorite red food = cherries

My favorite chocolate covered item = alomonds

Your muffins look freaking gorgeous!

Tamzin December 17, 2009 at 2:36 pm


burpexcuzme December 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Janetha, that pasta is just…omg-worthy. Holy freaking yum! Invite me for lunch! PLEASE!

Oh, and answers:
green = brussel sprouts, broccoli, green tea powder
red = gochujang

I can’t eat chocolates anymore! My teeth are hurting and I think I’ve got cavities…which sucks since I haven’t seen a dentist in 9 years and don’t intend to! (no insurance, haha)

Susan December 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Hhaha I’d be sweatin’ bullets wondering where that shell is going to turn up next!
And those Chocolate Peppermint Lunas are sinfully good – everytime I eat one I’m like gah how can this be remotely good for me?

Katharina December 17, 2009 at 3:14 pm

That linguine looks amazing! I love all the colors and oof I can totally remake it if I use some vegetarian version of chicken. AND those cupcakes =yum. I wish I didn’t lose my Blackberry so you can send me messages :( Feel better babe!

1. Favorite green food? KALE! And for red I choose cherries!

2. How about the crispy inside of a Butterfingers covered in chocolate.. that way I get a Butterfingers! I also love chocolate-covered bananas! But you know what’s best? Chocolate-covered fingers and that way you just lick em clean.

Andrea@WellnessNotes December 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Your pasta dish looks amazing. And it reminds me that I haven’t used pine nuts in a long time. I’ll have to change that….

1. That’s easy. Avocados & tomatoes.
2. Bananas. And that’s sort of funny because I used to seriously dislike bananas when I was younger.

Anne December 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I’m so glad you’re feeling better! Yay for sleep :) And that christmas pasta looks delicious. So creative, too :) And I totally want one of those cupcakes now, haha.

1. My fave red food is apples, and my fave green food is roasted brussels sprouts

2. Bananas, definitely!

traynharder23 December 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

red food has to be raspberries! and green? cabbage!

chocolate covered…hmmm bananas.

danica December 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Awww J ~ I’ve missed reading all your posts – you always manage to crack me up and make me laugh. I am just now finally making it through my reader since getting back from vacay!

LOVE your Christmas pasta – looks delish minus the funky pine nuts :)

I am LOVING the pistachio shell war you have going on with your boss.

LOVE the purple burners too :)

Lynn at The Actors Diet December 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm

that pistachio war with your boss got me to chuckle

Jenny December 17, 2009 at 6:50 pm

oh you preshie little christmas elf — I love the way your holiday cheer translates in that pasta.. so adorb!

oh the great pistachio war — sounds intense. Put one in your bosses shoe! he (she?) won’t mess with you again!


Erica December 17, 2009 at 8:18 pm

So glad to hear you’re feeling better! That is an AWESOME amount of sleep. Your pasta looks just perfect- how awesome are sun dried tomatoes?

Hmm Favorite Green food- peppers, Favorite Red- Marinara :)

Susan December 17, 2009 at 8:48 pm

I did not know that about pears!!! Ya know, I had an apple at work today and kinda wished it was a pear. Apples are suuuuper expensive here now!

1. Red=tomatoes. Green=spinach.

2. Chocolate covered almonds!! Ohgod, do not have those things around me. I will demolish a whole bowl or bag. Or both.

As for a Q for Emily: I would love to know her thoughts on maintaining after the 12 weeks!

Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) December 17, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Ok let’s see how many things I can remember I wanted to say: Love your/my placemats from Ikea :-). I have been eating the same Choc. peppermint luna bar for a year and it was expired a year before that. I keep it in the fridge and eat a bite at a time. I forget it’s there for months at a time. Am I weird? Also, I will take your frosting!

I could tell you were stoned on your cold meds because you thought that my coffee with sprinkles was a smoothie :-D

Are you serious about Emily- 12 weeks from one photo to the next? Really? I want to know how much she suffers to look like that. And I mean that honestly. Does she feel deprived?

Red & Green: Christmas M&Ms of course!
Choc covered raisins.

BroccoliHut December 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Kudos on busting out the camera at Target! I wish I were that brave with my blog photography.
Favorite green food=broccoli, duh. Favorite red food=roasted red peppers!

Bekah December 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Yeaahh, pasta trifecta all put together in the oven?! Goddesss.

1) Kudos with the raw chicken. I have dismantled too many raw chickens to count.
2) Pesto packets? Must try.
3) fave green food? kale. red food? tomato in any form. Tomato soup! Chocolate? any fruit or pretzels. <<Choc-covered pretzels and I? We're frenemies.

Jenna December 19, 2009 at 8:45 am

that dinn looks great!

wildbluewonder March 9, 2010 at 11:00 am

Your dinner looks fab, and thanks for making cooking sound so easy and fun! I really need to get over my mental aversion to it. Especially since I’ve committed to doing a lot of cooking once my fiance and I move into our apartment this month. :D

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