A Revolution Without [Cleaning] is Not a Revolution Worth Having

Ok, so I know I wasn’t the only one…. BUT I recently was asked to participate in the Finish® Sticky Dish Challenge and:

Create an amazingly tasty, messy, sticky, and difficult-to-clean meal to put Finish to the test

The folks at Finish offered me a gift card to Williams-Sonoma in order to nab something shiny to mess up with food and goop, along with a sample of their Finish® Quantum® 10-pack to see what it could take. The rules were simple:

  1. Get dish.
  2. Make food (and, by default, make mess.)
  3. Do NOT clean, just let it sit overnight and get funkier/stickier.
  4. Try out the goods.

Best mail EVER!

Since I’ve been obsessed with enchiladas lately, and had about 7 oz of goat cheese to use, I went for something extra special.

Sara (from The Sprouted Kitchen)’s Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean, and Goat Cheese enchiladas! It had all the stickiest ingredients: roasted veggies, so much sauce, cheese, black beany goodness (just TRY not to make a mess with black beans). I was ready.

Let’s do this!

(bonus: Since I already had the goat cheese, the whole dish cost me about $10 to make!)

(Except the wine. That was brought by my cooking buddy, Jess, to make our dish more creative.)

This recipe was a blast to make. We laughed as we chopped and roasted….

So vibrant

We I cried while I chopped the onion.

Don’t cry for me Onion-tina

And filled the enchiladas with delicious healthy ingredients. Black beans, goat cheese, roasted zucchini and red pepper, and spinach, of course!

Steamy

Then, I got to make the mess I’d been waiting for…

Saucey

So much filling all OVER that pan!

All cooked, let’s check it out!

Ready for my closeup

Yep, that’s caked-on-the-pan, gooey enchilada goodness.

I shall call YOU lunch

If the enchiladas looked like gorgeous supermodels, the pan looked like…. a crusty lady in red after a salsa fight.

ew.

 

Gross.

Luckily, I had a (not-so) secret weapon… Wanna see how Finish Quantum did? CHECK OUT MY FIRST VLOG IN WHICH MY VOICE SOUNDS REALLY WEIRD!!

I swear, this was USED! Not brand new, as it looks…

I’ll admit, I’ve used a LOT of different dishwashing detergents before. In fact, when I was living abroad in Italy for a month, we used Glass Cleaner for the first wash before realizing it wasn’t detergent (oops…. poison? Nah, we rinsed the dishes….)

That being said, this stuff was the JAM! We also put our used dishes in there, some nice wine glasses…. not a streak in the bunch, and no food bits left behind. Incredible. I was blown away.

Big ups to the #FinishRevolution for making a convert out of me. I know I appreciated the opportunity, and I’m pretty sure my buddy Jess enjoyed the fruits of my cooking labor. Check out below if you’re trying to get in on the Finish Quantum action!
*I received this Finish® product free of charge in order to try it out and share the results with my readers (that’s y’all!!). The opinions are mine alone (though I did ask my buddy, Jess, what she thought, and the results are based on our delicious experience. I had a BLAST with this, and am happy to let anyone know that if they’d like to try out this awesome product, you can get a free sample on their Facebook Page!

Molto Bene: A Tale of Triumph

Good evening, Ragazzi!! (I’m not an expert, but I’m gonna pretend I’m certain that means boys and girls)

Monday’s been a long day for me.  I hit the office early and running and stuck around late to clock in some extra time (as I’ll be doing all week).  I hate hate hate taking vacation time if I think I can make it up during the week and, since I’ll be taking about a half-day on Friday for my travels to the Healthy Living Summit (I’d stop linking, but it’s addictive), I’ll be trying to earn about an hour extra each day. Then, voila! guilt free time off on Friday to schmooze with all the friends and blends-to-be (P.S. since I don’t even think I mentioned it, this one time I did a Guest Post for Alexa of Simple Eats a while back about how I make friends in new places… there’s even a picture of me and Jason Segel so check it out.)

At work, for a snack, I enjoyed some strawberries, an Adora Calcium disk, and some seeds. It was just like a tasty bird food mix up.

Paired with a side of Coke Zero

Now that I’m done shamelessly promoting myself (which is needed since I’m the only one who ever read/commented on my own guest post) and my snacks, it’s time to get to the meat of the day.  Or, in this case, the meatBALLS.

To get there, though, we have to go back.  Old school….

One time, for one month, I lived in Florence, Italy, home of MichaelangeloAmerigo Vespucci, Acqua al Due (which fed me the greatest steak of my life), and (more recently), my twin, Snookie.

Only one? Come on, Jordan!

That's my goal... Only I'd never ever smoke a cigarette. YUCK! (click for Source)

Italy was a glorious place to live, even just for a month.  Only all… we ever…. ate… was pasta.

Pasta and Nutella

Pasta with veggies, pasta with sauce, pasta with prawns, pasta with pepperoni, pasta with meat…..

By the end of the month, I was so sick of pasta I never wanted to see it again.  And honestly, since then, it very rarely has.  Unless I felt obliged to eat it due to being at someone’s home (as a guest), I avoided it like the plague.  But tonight, after saving my poor little basil plant , I was inspired.  It helped that sauce and pasta was on sale too….

I purchased a package of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Spaghetti at the store (sticking with the whole grains, though not too low carb…)

Snagged picture, click for the Source!

I also snagged some turkey meatballs from Harris Teeter and some sauce I already had on hand…

In a little sauce-pan, I sauteed some spinach and green peppers, several leaves from that dear basil plant, then added the sauce, and some tomatoes.  Once the pasta was sufficiently done (I like it tender, not a bit al dente), I threw it in a big ol’ bowl with about 3-5 of the turkey meatballs, and covered it in a few sprinkles of reduced fat mozzarella cheese, OODLES of crushed red pepper and dried oregano, and gobbled it up like I hadn’t eaten pasta in years (when it may have actually been a year.)

Pas-TASTIC!

Loved the effect the basil had, and how hearty the meal tasted even though I went with less-pasta and much more veggies. Pasta made a triumphant return in my life, and (if I always make it this veggie laden) I foresee it becoming a repeat offender.

Even though I was, for the most part, full, I wanted to chase it down with a tiny sweet treat….

Pillsbury Sweet Moments Brownie Bites in Cocoa Caramel Obsession

There were 12 of these tiny nibblets in a package, and I limited Ry and myself to 2 each (so we could feasibly repeat this 2 more nights!)

I’m gonna shoot you straight, as tiny as they were, they tasted like tiny gooey bites of sweet, delicious sin. I could EASILY have wolfed all 12 of them down, but the 2 that I enjoyed were a perfect 120 calorie way to end my night on a sweet note.

I forgot to take a shot of their size, but luckily someone else did that for me (see Finding Inspiration in Food’s review for a finger comparison!)  I love caramel mixed with chocolate, and anything that combines them in an itty bitty bite is even more enjoyable.  I found these at Harris Teeter for $2.50 and had a $1/off coupon so it was a bargain.  You can get your own coupon at the Pillsbury site (just make sure you have a printer ready!)

All in all, this has been a top notch Monday, as far as Mondays go…. and in due time (3.5-ish days…. but who’s counting?) I’ll be on a plane headed North!

Do you like pasta?  If so, how do you like it (shape, sauce, cooking style, veggies or meat)?

What’s your favorite weeknight “dessert” that doesn’t kill the calorie intake but satisfies your sweet tooth?