We have the opportunity on the daily to make a positive impact on the world around us.
Whether one goes through their day searching for good deeds to be done,
or simply takes advantage of random opportunities to spread love,
every action (or inaction) has a resounding impact.
The question is: Is your impact today going to be positive, negative, or indifferent?
I have been told that one person can't make a difference.
I affectionately call these people "dummies"...
Those who actively try to hold the rest of us down,
those who would rather watch you drown than help you soar, those who can't grasp the power of positivity to create change.
Whether it's a great recipe found, or an uplifting story to share, you can be sure to find it here.
Let's start a Positivity Revolution, and drown out the dumb!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Sun-Dried" Tomatoes

My boyfriend isn't a pasta freak like me, but he never turns down Pasta Milano from Macaroni Grill. This creamy, mushroom-y, sun-dried tomato-y dish is just about the unhealthiest thing he'll eat (he usually snubs cream-based dishes, boo), and I have found a great copycat recipe that he loves.

The copycat Pasta Milano dish features Farfalle pasta, chicken breast, mushrooms, heavy cream, and sun-dried tomatoes. In an attempt to stick within my calories for this meal, I am going to substitute milk for the cream. Additionally, in an attempt to try something new and save a few bucks, I'm going to "sun-dry" my own tomatoes!

My boyfriend teased me when he heard I wanted to spend the time to try oven-drying tomatoes myself instead of just buying a jar of sun-dried tomatoes when we went grocery shopping yesterday. I'd just like to know that I can do it successfully, the same way I refuse to purchase bbq sauce since I learned to mix it up on my own. I love the challenge and the pride that goes along with making something completely from scratch (isn't that how all cooks feel?).

I picked up 4 large Roma tomatoes (since this is only for one recipe and it's my first attempt at oven-drying, I'm starting small, just in case it's a disaster), sliced them into sixes, removed the seeds, and placed them on my parchment-lined cookie sheet, sprinkling them with salt. The oven is set at 200 degrees, and I'm keeping the timer set at 2-hour intervals, so 1) they don't overcook and 2) I don't get distracted and leave them in there for two days.

After about six hours in the oven, I started checking my tomatoes and pulling any that were done. Right around the eight-hour mark, every tomato was shriveled up and ready to be tossed in EVOO! I also sprinkled these babies with some garlic powder, pepper, sugar, and italian seasoning, until I felt that they had that tangy sweetness you get from the ones sold in a jar.
The Pasta Milano I made with these tomatoes turned out better than ever, and I attribute it to the use of skim milk and my own oven-dried tomatoes! We both had seconds, and I couldn't have been happier that everything was healthier, and made from scratch. If you'd like to share your favorite "copycat" recipe, I'll try it out with my (small) healthy tweaks and feature it in a future post!

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