Veggie Lasagna

Although I generally cook from a combination of websites and my own imagination, there is one cookbook author who I have a particular affinity for: Mollie Katzen.

Yes, she is one of the only Mollie’s I know (okay…’know’) who share my spelling.
Yes, I may have fantasized that the spelling of my name was inspired by her Moosewood cookbook – a classic in my house.
Yes, her recipe for mint chocolate chip cookies in Still Life With Menu is my favorite cookie recipe of all time.
So, OF COURSE YES, when I was looking for a vegetable lasagna recipe to make this week she was my first stop.

I found this version online from Mollie’s Moosewood Restaurant’s Low Fat Favorites. The lasagna turned out delicious. I made a few simple adjustments to the original recipe as posted online.*full recipe below

First, chop 2 cups zucchini, 1 cup tomato, 1 cup red bell pepper, and 4 cups mushrooms:

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Combine in a pot with about 1/2 cup water and cook until the vegetables are tender and reduce down a bit:

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Remove the vegetables (leaving any leftover water behind) and stir together with 3 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil:

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Then, cook 5 oz. spinach in about 1/4 cup water just until the spinach starts to wilt (don’t let it get too wilted – you still need to chop it!):

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Remove the spinach from the pot, coursely chop, and add to a separate bowl:

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Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 2 cups cottage cheese, and 1/4 cup shredded parmigiano cheese to the spinach and stir to combine:

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Now, it’s time for the layering! First, a layer of tomato sauce (I used canned):

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Then, a layer of noodles and veggies:

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Then the cheese:

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Continue in this fashion until all of the ingredients are used up and then top with some more shredded mozzarella and parmigiano:

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Bake at 350° for 60 minutes, covered, until melty and delicious!

Vegetable Lasagna
Ingredients

– 2 cups cubed zucchini
– 1 cup chopped red pepper
– 1 cup chopped tomato
– 4 cups chopped mushrooms
– 3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
– 5 oz. spinach
– 1 cups shredded mozzarella (plus more for finish)
– 2 cups 1% cottage cheese
– 1/4 cup shredded parmigiano (plus more for finish)
– 8 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles
– 2 cans organic no-salt added tomato sauce
Method
– Combine zucchini, red pepper, tomato, and mushrooms in a pot with 1/2 cup water. Cook until

vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes).
– Transfer vegetables to a large bowl (leaving extra water behind), and mix with basil.
– Cook spinach with 1/4 cup water until it just starts to wilt. Coarsely chop the spinach and combine with cheeses.
– Layer tomato sauce, noodles, veggies, and cheese (in that order) until all ingredients are used. I preheated my oven to 350° when I started to layer.
– Finish with some shredded mozzarella and parmigiano and cook, covered, for 60 minutes at 350°.

June Bestowed Package

I am writing my Bestowed post a little late this month. I received the package a couple weeks ago in the mail:

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Bestowed is a monthly delivery program of healthy living products – mainly food with some beauty and fitness thrown in. I’ve had the service since January, and I still get MEGA excited every time the package arrives!

June’s package was a good one. Inside we had…

ZICO Natural Coconut Water – Coconut Water is all the rage these days. But, *deep breath,* I’ve never even tried it! This was my first taste, and I don’t think I’m completely sold. It was a nice non-water refreshment, but I think I’m just as happy drinking the plain stuff right from the tap. 🙂
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Bon’App – This item didn’t really give me anything since it was just advertising a free app. Bon’App is a app that calculates the calories and fat in food. It was recommended by Bestowed because it can calculate the nutrition in recipes you make yourself. I downloaded the app but deleted it the next day because I thought that having a calorie counter on my phone is not in line with my own healthy living strategy.
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Bakery on Main Coconut Cashew True Bar – This is another of the seemingly infinite number of snack bars in the market. True Bars are low sodium, dairy free, and non-GMO certified. It was pretty sweet (almost dessert-like), and I really liked it! I’m hooked on Larabars and Kind bars though, and I don’t anticipate adding this brand into my regular rotation.
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ROOTS Superfood Powder Packet – This powder packet boasts a days’ worth of vitamins and nutrients. The package came with two blueberry flavor packets – you only add and water!
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We decided to try it right away
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BAD. Neither of us could finish it. Maybe in a smoothie this would have been good, but I couldn’t stomach it just mixed with water.

Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers – I’m always up to try a new veggie burger! This coupon will get a free package of Dr. Praeger’s at any retailer.
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GimMe Seaweed Cheddar Cheese Roasted Seaweed Crumbles – Like coconut water, seaweed is another recent food craze. I’m not nuts for the salty flavor, but these small crumbles were delicious mixed with salad and cottage cheese:
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Herban Essentials Mini Pack – This Mini Pack of wipes are made with pure essential oils and are naturally antiseptic and antibacterial. I’m generally not too germ-conscious (but maybe I should be more), so I think remembering to use these will be the biggest trouble for me.
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Artisana Organic Foods SuperFood Acai Berry Nut Butter – One of my favorite foods is peanut butter, and I’m always eager to try a new nut butter variation. This spread is a combo of cashew butter and acai berry – creamy and delicious!
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And there’s the June Bestowed package!

Make sure to check out my other Bestowed posts:
May
April
March
February
January

Summer Smiles

The summer is barely underway, but I’m fortunate to be off to a great start. Some highlights include…

finding robin’s eggs outside my office:

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a spring roll party with friends (take two, see take one here):

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an impromtu photo shoot:

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plenty of my favorite foods. in this case, falafel:

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and happy hour around Uptown:

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What are the best things from your summer so far?

The Green Mill

The Green Mill is a restaurant chain in Minnesota and other midwest states. Known best for serving pizza, they also have a broad restaurant menu as well as a full bar. Today I went to the Uptown Minneapolis location with my roomies from breakfast brunch lunch (how does time fly by in the morning?!).

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Yes, that is my finger in the picture. Just in case you don’t have enough of me as it is. 🙂

The meal started with the bruschetta appetizer and a strawberry smoothie:

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The bruschetta was pretty impressive – cheese melted onto the bread, served with plenty of veggies, cheese, and an olive tapenade.

For the meal we ordered a thai chicken salad:

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Veggie burger with fruit:

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And a walleye sandwich with asain slaw:

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I ordered the walleye sandwich. It was lightly breaded and topped with parmesan cheese. Delish! The asain slaw wasn’t the greatest…I was expecting something veggie based and was surprised to find it was more of a noodle dish.

The food was good, but nothing too spectacular. The menu was a typical ‘we do everything’ restaurant and was, quite frankly, a bit overwhelming to order from. Maybe I am just too indecisive at restaurants, but I have a lot of trouble ordering if there are a dozen sections in the menu! This is an okay spot for a quick meal in Uptown when the better restaurants are too crowded (we ended up eating here since there was too long of a wait at Uptown Diner), but I would put a lot of other places before it.

How to make a funny brush

In art class this week we made funny brushes. “What’s a funny brush,” you say? Watch and learn, my friends.

First, gather a bunch of rubber bands:

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Wrap them around your fingers:

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Wrap one of the rubber bands at the end around the whole bunch so they are all tied together:

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Use scissors to snip off the tips at one end:

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Expert tip: do this step over a garbage can or you will have a big mess to clean up!

Your funny brush can now be used to add texture to a wide variety of paintings. Possible objects to use a funny brush on: grass, sunflowers, clouds, textured fabric, fur…the options are endless!

go crazy, artists!!

Let there be LIGHT

The Twin Cities faced some major storms this week. Big rain, big winds, big wreckage, big time power outage. Yup…over 500,000 people without power. I’m going on 3 days now…and I’m not holding my breath. But, I am getting creative with solutions:

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Plus, it could be worse. This could be my car:

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Or I could have been hiding behind this tree:

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So what does one do when there’s no electricity? Well, in my case, I find a boyfriend who has power (thanks, boo). But, more seriously, maximize the daylight! How? Easy: food and fun.

Today, food manifest itself in the Finnish Bistro in the Como neighborhood.

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This adorable bistro is connected to a Dunn Brothers, but it has its own unique menu and bakery display case.

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The menu was chock full of sandwiches, salads, soup, and breakfast dishes. We ordered a caprese sandwich and a yogurt parfait:

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Both were delicious! The sandwich came with ample amounts of pesto, and the yogurt parfait included a generous portion of berries.

With food out of the way…time to move onto fun! This included a bike ride into downtown St Paul ending at the Science Museum.

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During the warmer months, the Science Museum includes an outdoor mini-golf course. After my mini-golfing adventure at the Walker, I’ve been quite keen on the sport. The course at the Science Museum is part of an outdoor garden:

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super.cool.

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Each hole provides visual and written information about how moving water impacts the landscapes it travels through:

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There was even a small garden of strawberries along the course!

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We were there right before closing, so we didn’t look through the actual museum at all, but I am looking forward to going back soon to see the museum’s inside!

Mini-Golf…it’s an art

If you have any knowledge of Minneapolis icons, you are probably familiar with the cherry on the spoon sculpture.

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This beauty is located at the Walker Sculpture Garden – a must see destination for anyone living in or visiting Minneapolis! The outdoor garden is full of interesting sculptures, green lusciousness, and – best of all – it’s always FREE. This summer, there is an exciting addition to the general sculpture garden attractions: artist designed mini-golf.

If you like:

1. art
2. mini-golf
3. unique community events
4. having fun in general

Then THIS is the event for you. Open 7-days a week until September 8, this installation has two 8-hole mini-golf courses, and each hole is designed by a different artist.

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The various holes are a mix of traditional and untraditional mini-golfing. For example, if you use this gnome to help you get your ball in the hole, it doesn’t count towards your stroke count:

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One hole plays with the idea of ‘mini’ golf and makes the putter walk into a giant golf ball, only to be immediately turned into a giant themselves, overlooking the Walker and sculpture garden

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Another favorite required you to steer the ball through a series of holes to try to get the most points:

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All of the holes were interesting to look at and included an additional artistic layer beyond what met the eye:

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We only golfed one of the 8-hole courses and definitely plan to return before the end of the summer for the other course!