Light Lemony Tuna Pasta with Fennel, Capers, and Olives ~ ElephantEats.com

I was recently sent some Ocean Naturals canned tuna to try. I rarely eat canned tuna because I just plain forget it exists, so I was so glad that this reminded me how great it is. 

Canned tuna contains high-quality protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. Tuna, especially canned tuna, is a convenient and versatile way for you to add fish to your family’s diet.

Light Lemony Tuna Pasta with Fennel, Capers, and Olives ~ ElephantEats.com

But I’m sure you guys know all that, right? What I didn’t know was that tuna is often over-harvested and some species are more endangered than others. Ocean Naturals guarantees that all of their “responsibly-caught” tuna is harvested:

  • From target species populations that are healthy and abundant and are currently being harvested at a level that promotes the stocks’ longevity
  • Using catch-methods that limit ecosystem impacts
  • In regions where the fishery is managed by regulatory bodies that help sustain the long-term productivity of all impacted species

Light Lemony Tuna Pasta with Fennel, Capers, and Olives ~ ElephantEats.com

Nate has made me really think about our impact on the ecosystem in general, so it made me really happy to know that some companies are doing their part to preserve it and limit their impact on it. 

Lately I’ve also become overly concerned with what I put in my body, and hate that everything seems to contain something that’s unhealthy either from the packaging or the food itself. For example, it scares me that those plastic water bottles I drink from daily could be leaching chemicals into the water. Well, Ocean Naturals  tuna doesn’t have anything added- it’s simply premium tuna with a dash of salt, packed in either olive oil or water. No fillers, additives, or preservatives. It’s nice to know that some foods don’t have anything artificial added!

Light Lemony Tuna Pasta with Fennel, Capers, and Olives ~ ElephantEats.com

Anyway, since I got sent this tuna, I didn’t want to just make a boring old tuna salad. Nate has been training for the NY marathon (it’s this weekend!) so every Friday is pasta day to fuel his long weekend runs. I decided to make a pasta that incorporated the tuna. It’s kind of based on the flavors of a sandwich he loves at ‘WichCraft Sandwiches.

**I was given these products free of charge, but all opinions are my own. I would never post about a product I didn’t love and plan to use again.

Light Lemony Tuna Pasta with Fennel, Capers, and Olives ~ ElephantEats.com

Turkey, Pumpkin and Veggie Chili ~ ElephantEats.com

While you’re reading this post, I’m currently in Italy, most likely ODing on pasta and gelato ;)

You see, I kind of conned my way into being included in my parent’s Italian vacation (thanks mom and dad!). Unfortunately, Nate wasn’t able to join because he doesn’t get as many vacation days as me :(

Being the awesome wife that I am, though, I wanted to make sure that my hubby was well-fed while I was away. Since he is ok with leftovers, and his mom was going to be in town to take him out for a few meals, I figured that I would cook two big meals and freeze it so he had enough for the 6 dinners he’d need.

Turkey, Pumpkin and Veggie Chili ~ ElephantEats.com

Not all meals freeze and reheat well, but chili happens to be great for that. I made a HUGE batch that we ate for dinner one night before I left, and then froze two giant tupperwares full. Each one of these holds about 3 meals worth, so he’ll use one while I’m gone and the other can be taken out another time when I’m just not in the mood to cook. It’s always good to have a few frozen meals laying around for convenience!

I also baked up my favorite Trader Joe’s cornbread to go along with it. I used the butter-flavored olive oil sample that I got, and it definitely took it to another level! Also, I added pumpkin to the chili purely because I made pumpkin bread and had a little less than a can leftover in my fridge. You could make this chili without the pumpkin but you’ll need less liquid.

And while I’m talking about favorites/Trader Joe’s/freezing things, I used some Dorot garlic in this recipe. I had seen some of their products in Trader Joes before and used them, but when Natalie posted about them on her blog and I commented, Dorot reached out to me and sent me some coupons! 

What makes Dorot products amazing is that you can have garlic, ginger and fresh herbs on hand all the time! They’re basically little frozen cubes made entirely out of these fresh things. When you want to use them, you pop one or two of the little cubes out of the freezer tray they come in, and into your pan! They don’t stick to the container at all and literally pop right out. They’re SO convenient. Dorot makes crushed garlic, crushed ginger, chopped chile, sauteed glazed onions,chopped basil, cilantro, parsley and dill…AMAZING, i know!

I especially love the garlic ones because i hate stinky garlic fingers (and just generally detest mincing garlic). Do you ever notice that like 2 days after chopping garlic, you get a whiff of something funky and it’s your garlic fingers? It’s especially disconcerting/confusing when you’re eating your oatmeal in the morning. And I love the chopped ginger and basil because let’s face it, when you buy either of those fresh, you never use it all and end up wasting the rest. 

Turkey, Pumpkin and Veggie Chili ~ ElephantEats.com

Apparently Dorot also has frozen cubes of sauces too!…but sadly no supermarkets near me carry them :( I wish it wasn’t the case.

But back to the chili! I find that the best way to eat this after having frozen it is to take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before you want to eat it. Giving it 24 hours to partially defrost in the fridge makes reheating it much easier. Once defrosted, youcan either microwave it or put it in a pot and heat it over the stove.

Hopefully Nate is doing ok on his own. At least I know his belly is full, and someone is home to take good care of our kitty!

Turkey, Pumpkin and Veggie Chili ~ ElephantEats.com

*Note that I was compensated for these products but all opinions are my own. I would never post about a product that I didn’t love and plan to use again!

Turkey, Pumpkin and Veggie Chili for a Crowd
Serves 8
A steaming bowl of healthy chili that can be on the table in under 30 minutes!
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Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

The other day got a little chilly out (FINALLY!!!) and on top of that, my office was freezing. All I could think about all day long was making soup for dinner.

I scrolled through my Pinterest soup board, which sadly doesn’t have very many options yet, and settled upon a pasta soup. I added some white beans to give it protein and mushrooms…just because I can’t NOT add mushrooms to a recipe :)

Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

I recommend with any pasta soup that you only add the pasta to the amount you know you’re going to eat. Otherwise, when you go to get your leftovers, the pasta will have absorbed pretty much all of the remaining liquid. You can just add water usually, but it’s easy enough to just bring your leftover soup to a boil and cook up some new pasta in it.

I didn’t heed my own advice, so the next day when we went to eat leftovers, I added water to my portion but for Nate’s I just heated it up as-is. It was more of a pasta dish that way, which he much prefers to soup. 

Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

I’m sorry for all you vegetarians (or non pork-eaters) out there, but the pancetta absolutely makes this soup. It adds so much flavor and makes it smell amazing. You could leave it out but it definitely will be a different soup altogether. 

I also highly advise you to use alphabet noodles :)

I recommend that the next day that there’s a chill in the air, you whip up a batch of this delicious soup! Serve it alongside some crusty buttered bread and you have yourself a perfect cold-weather dinner.

Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

Pasta soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms
Serves 6
A chunky, broth-based soup perfect for a cold night!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 large leek, washed and finely chopped
  3. 9 oz. pancetta, diced
  4. 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  5. 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  6. 4 medium red-skinned potatoes, chopped into 1/2" pieces
  7. 2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable stock (or substitute chicken, beef, or duck stock)
  8. 10 oz. can diced tomatoes
  9. 15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  10. 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  12. 2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) farfalline or another soup pasta (or even spaghetti, broken into bits)
  13. 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Sauté the leek and pancetta for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the carrot, potato and mushroom and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the stock, tomatoes, and rosemary, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta and beans and continue to cook over low heat, uncovered, stirring every 2 minutes, until the pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes.
  5. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Immediately ladle the soup into bowls. Or, ladle into bowls and sprinkle parmesan on top.
Notes
  1. If you plan to eat this again the next day, only add noodles to the portion you are going to eat immediately. Otherwise, they will absorb all the liquid by the next day.
Adapted from Leite's Culinaria
Adapted from Leite's Culinaria
http://elephanteats.com/

Cinnamon Roasted Pears over Arugula with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze ~ www.ElephantEats.com

The other day I was reading one of the blogs I follow, Bake Your Day, and she had posted a recipe and reviewed a new butter-flavored olive oil product. I commented on the post saying how good it sounded, and the makers of the oil, Star Fine Foods, was kind enough to reach out to me and send me some samples!!!

Cinnamon Roasted Pears over Arugula with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze ~ www.ElephantEats.com

They not only sent me that flavored olive oil (which I can’t wait to try), but also 2 different flavors of one of their other new products: flavored balsamic glaze!!

I decided to use the glaze on an autumn update of my favorite summer salad. All summer long I ate watermelon cubes over arugula, with feta or blue cheese, basil, and a balsamic glaze. At the time I used Trader Joe’s brand balsamic glaze because it was the only brand I had ever seen. Well, when I saw that Star Fine foods sent me an Apple Balsamic Glaze I was SOOO excited! I knew it would be a perfect way to transition my summer salad to fall.

Cinnamon Roasted Pears over Arugula with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze ~ www.ElephantEats.com

I decided to go with pears for the fall fruit portion of the salad….but not just any pears- cinammon roasted ones! In the summer I love the cold, juicy watermelon, but on a cold day these warm pears are just perfect. They slightly wilt the arugula and soften the blue cheese crumbled on top. The Apple-flavored Creamy Balsamic Glaze added the absolute perfect sweet/tart flavor to go with the juicy pears and bitter arugula. 

I see myself eating this all the time this autumn and it might just be my new favorite salad! I hope it will become yours too :)

Cinnamon Roasted Pears over Arugula with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze ~ www.ElephantEats.com

**I was given these products free of charge, but all opinions are my own. I would never post about a product I didn’t love and plan to use again.

Arugula Salad with Roasted Cinnamon Pears, Blue Cheese and Apple Balsamic Glaze
Serves 4
Warm cinammon roasted pears over a bed of arugula with blue cheese and an apple balsamic glaze
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pears (I used Bartlett because I think they're the juiciest), not overly soft, cut into quarters and cored
  2. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  3. 4 cups arugula
  4. 1/4-1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles (depending on how much cheese you like)
  5. 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  6. 1-2 Tbsp Creamy Apple Balsamic Glaze (or any balsamic glaze if you can't find this one)
  7. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Spray a foil lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Place pears on sheet, cut side up. Spray pears with cooking spray or drizzle with some olive oil
  3. Sprinkle pears with cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  4. While pears cook, divide arugula onto 4 plates.
  5. Bake pears for 30 min. Remove from oven and immediately place 2 quarters each over arugula on each plate. Drizzle with blue cheese, oilve oil, and balsamic glaze. Salt and pepper to taste.
http://elephanteats.com/

Marinated Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

 As you know, I just got back from a short vacation to Idaho with Nate. Sorry in advance for all the photos. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them. Recipe for these lovely mushrooms are at the bottom.

We stayed at Nate’s dad’s cute little log cabin. Well, it’s not so little. It also isn’t at all rustic. It has all the amenities of a typical house, complete with a beautifully updated kitchen.

Idaho Cabin ~ ElephantEats.com

The cabin is kind of in the middle of nowhere. It’s over an hour from the nearest supermarket. 

Idaho Cabin ~ ElephantEats.com

Idaho Cabin ~ ElephantEats.com

However what the area lacks in the civilization department, it more than makes up for it in the scenery. The mountains and view behind his cabin are just spectacular. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them in all sorts of light. 

This is in his backyard with the clouds rolling in.

Idaho Mountains ~ ElephantEats.com

One morning after a light sprinkling, we even got a rainbow. I was still sleeping, so thanks to Nate for capturing this one.

 Idaho Rainbow ~ ElephantEats.com

Not a bad  view to have while eating dinner. We used the grill out on his patio the first night for some tasty salmon and veggie kabobs.

Idaho Mountains ~ ElephantEats.com

While there we tried to spend time outdoors, obviously. The cabin is surrounded by camp sites and hiking trails. 

 4th of July Hike, Idaho ~ ElephantEats.com

One day we did a 3 hour hike up to a couple pretty lakes.

4th of July Hike, Idaho ~ ElephantEats.com

The area has had numerous wildfires over the years and you can see the devastation everywhere. Here were some burnt, dead trees along the hike. In this area the grass has mainly grown back. Some areas definitely look much much worse.

4th of July Hike, Idaho ~ ElephantEats.com

Despite the fact that many trees have burned down, there’s an abundance of little baby pine trees starting to grow. I think they were my favorite part of the whole trip. This one happens to be right in his dad’s yard.

Baby tree, Idaho  ~ Elephant Eats.com

There were a few areas that were so close we didn’t even have to hike. This was a short drive away and then just a walk to this little creek. There were lots of salmon in it! Apparently you can see them spawning at the right time of year.

Idaho ~ ElephantEats.com

Another view of the backyard, just because.

Idaho Mountains ~ ElephantEats.com

And just some more photos…

Walk in meadow, Idaho ~ ElephantEats.com

Idaho ~ ElephantEats.com

Ok, my final mountain shot, I promise. This was during sunset on our final evening there.

Idaho Mountain~ ElephantEats.com

Now back to the recipe. I made these mushrooms as part of Nate’s bday dinner party meal. They’re absolutely delicious but chock full of garlic. If you’re planning on doing some smooching, don’t make these. Unless the other member of your party eats them too…isn’t that the rule?

Marinated Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

They’re really simple to make- a quick boil of the mushrooms, mix up a tasty marinade, and then let them do their thing for a while, or overnight. You’re left with a tangy, flavorful side dish that goes great with just about anything.

 

Marinated Mushrooms
Serves 4
A zesty, flavorful side dish
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  4. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  5. 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  6. 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  7. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  8. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper
  10. 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (or a pinch of dried coriander powder)
Instructions
  1. Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Simmer mushroom caps in salted water for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. .
  2. While mushrooms are cooking, mix olive oil, vinegar, garlic, red onion, oregano, parsley, salt, peppercorns and coriander in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. When mushrooms finish cooking, drain and add to marinade. Toss well.
  4. Marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
http://elephanteats.com/