Monday, July 26, 2010

Best Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook

I love Jillian Michaels' new Master Your Metabolism cookbook! The recipes are fresh, delicious, easy to prepare, and also contain information about how the veggies, fruits, and herbs in the recipes will benefit your health.

For example, Jillian's Simple Marinara Sauce is anti-cancer, heart healthy, boosts immunity, and boosts metabolism. She also notes that making marinara sauce at home is cheaper and allows you to control all the ingredients--no high fructose corn syrup.

I was so glad to have found this recipe, because as I eat cleaner and healthier, jarred pasta sauce (which I always used because I did not know how to make homemade) just doesn't taste right.

So here's the recipe in all it's simplicity and beauty! I've used it as a sauce for pasta, and today had some as tomato soup and it was fabulous. It freezes really well. I'll be making more again soon.

1 TB olive oil
1 cup finely chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, low sodium
1 TB fresh chopped parsley or 1 tsp dried
1 TB chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1 TB chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

In a large skillet heat olive oil over med-low heat. Add onion, garlic and bay leaf, and cook, stirring, until softened and just beginning to brown, 6-8 min.

Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste to the cleared spot. Cook about 2 min. Stir onion and garlic into the paste and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the paste is darker in color, 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 15 min. Remove and discard bay leaf.

If a smooth sauce is desired, transfer to food processor or blender and process till smooth.

Store in refrigerator 4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.


It's Summer, and I'm Holding

Several days ago I was thinking back to my childhood, and realized that the only season I really remember is summer.

Sure, I remember the Halloween when I was 12 and dressed up as a gypsy; the Thanksgivings when we had a pop-up, cutout centerpiece of the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving (it's still down in the basement, a wonderful vintage reminder of times past); and of course, there's Christmas...

But other than that, all my memories are centered around summer: fishing at Audubon Lake, picking blackberries at my grandfather's farm, my grandmother's blackberry cobbler, homemade peach ice cream at the church ice cream social, the church picnic at the Marsh's house on Coro Lake, running through the sprinkler, swimming at Maywood--I could go on and on.

Summer was my favorite season then, and it's still my favorite season--or at least, until the world started getting hotter.

I love homegrown tomatoes, I still love blackberry cobbler, homemade peach ice cream, swimming, picnics and all the other stuff that goes along with summer, but the intense heat we've had in Tennessee this summer does not agree with me.

I abandoned my running schedule in June when we had three weeks of 90+ temps. Then, I ran a couple of times in July when the early morning temps were in the 60s, but once they got back into the 70s even at 5:30 a.m., I have trouble breathing.

I feel lethartic and lazy, not motivated to exercise even indoors. And I've been eating a bit more. The plus side of that is that I am not hungry all the time. And, also on the plus side is that I haven't gained any weight--I've maintained for the past month.

So at least I know that I know how to maintain! That is something I was wondering about and unsure about, because I've never been able to do it in the past.

I've had some wonderful summer meals, too. We've grilled out a lot: chicken, beef, veggies. I got some pretty darn good frozen peach yogurt at Kroger, which replaces the homemade peach ice cream, and I am trying out a new recipe for lemon-macerated okra that is marinated with Kalamata olives. And I have a few heirloom tomatoes left from my Farmer's Market foray on Saturday. I also found out that heirloom tomatoes are really, really good with pulled pork. They make a nice, low-calorie sub for slaw, which I don't care for anyway because I don't like mayo.

So all in all, it's been a good summer despite the heat. It's not even August yet, and I feel sure we have at least another 4 weeks of temps over 90.

As long as I keep maintaining, squeeze in a few yoga workouts, and maybe even go to the swim beach at Old Hickory Lake, I will definitely be able to say it was a good summer, maybe even a memoriable one!

Oh, and I'll be putting up recipes later this week...I can't wait to try that marinated okra; it has to sit for 48-72 hours and I just prepared it this morning.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Can (Insert Name Here) Come Out and Play?

Today I did something a little bit scary and very exciting: I started a "Fit Over Fifty" meetup group in the Nashville area.

So if you're in the area, and over fifty...go to and sign up! It's for women and men.

We'll support each other on our fitness journeys, share information, and hopefully even take some field trips like hikes, grocery/pantry makeovers, and more.

I realize I need to engage in life more, and interact with people. Living where I do, outside of Nashville in a rural area, is isolating for me. I need to receive support from others as well as give it.

Hopefully, we will be able to meet at Whole Foods in Green Hills when we are not out on field trips.

Hopefully, those of you who live nearby will be able to "come out and play"! I want this to be fun.