Healthy AND Delicious!? Capellini Pomodoro

I’m doing my very first link up, which is where a bunch of bloggers post together or something. Not clear on the details here, but hopefully more people will get to see what I write, which is good because this dish is delish! And I’m pretty excited to see what kinds of recipes other bloggers have going on, I’m a foodie. I’m quite enjoying writing/blogging by the way. I’m sorry if I haven’t done it enough here recently, I have no excuse. None. I’m a lazy housecat and if I feel like bumming on the couch all day, that’s probably what’s going to happen. Until baby gets here that is.

Any who, the theme of this bloggy linkup get together is healthy foods. I wracked my brain I really did, because at the moment all I want are carbs and cheese. Must be the pregnancy (who am I kidding I always want carbs and cheese). Anyway, during my brief stint at Olive Garden as a waitress (when I first found out I was preggo), I was able to cozy up with their “lighter fare” menu. And the cheapest, easiest dish on there has, get this, like 500 calories. Ok so maybe that SOUNDS like a lot. But this is Olive Garden, when you’re here you’re family. And we all know mama puts lots of food on our plates. So just assume that the calorie count is lower because your portion won’t exactly be large enough for leftovers. Or go for a run after, carbs are good for energy. The point is you can have a delicious pasta dish without the extreme guilt of throwing down 1500 cals on some Fettuccini Alfredo. And it’s really easy to make! Here’s how:

‘Gridients
Three Cloves of Garlic-minced
Fresh Basil Leaves-minced
Three to Four Medium Tomatoes- peeled and diced
1/3 cup Olive Oil
12oz cooked Angel Hair Pasta
3 oz. Grated Parmesan Cheese- fresh is best
S&P To Taste – fresh ground pepper is always the better choice here guys

Heat your olive oil on medium heat and add the minced garlic. Cook through and add the tomatoes, stirring occasionally until they are warm. Take off the heat and add your basil and half the Parmesan cheese. Toss in your Angel Hair, and top with the rest of the cheese. Serve immediately.
This feeds about four people, but the measurements can be easily changed to accommodate more or less people. (Or bigger or smaller appetites). I totally snuck away with a lot of great recipes from the OG, but I think it is safe to say this is the most healthy filling one. Enjoy!

Here’s the link to the other yummy healthy posts too

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Dining Tips From the Former Olive Garden Waitress

You may or may not know that I used to serve at the Olive Garden. It was a great experience, I had a lot of fun, and I got some great discounts on marvelous food. It was awesome, but some of my customers didn’t really realize all that my job entailed, and were really quick to anger. I will bet you money that when your server applied for their job, they just wanted to take orders and serve food, not worry about add on percentages, average wait times, and alcohol sales. But unfortunately that’s what the OG and any other chain restraint has become, a corporate soul eating, money machine.
Ok maybe not that bad, they had some great bennies (benefits). But these days even waiting tables now includes trying to sell your butt off. It sucks, and the wait staff hates it. So in the name of justice for the wait staff I’m throwing in some golden Olive Garden waitress knowledge from personal experience. Most of this stuff can be applied to other chains as well.

Dress it Down

If you’re trying to weight watch, for the love of PETE do not eat the dressing on the salad. Yes it’s good. And so high calorie it’s crazy. Ask your waitress to bring the balsamic vinegar and olive oil that they keep in the back.

Much Healthier

Also weight watchers, there is a “Lighter Fare” menu. It usually has to be specially requested, but has great options. And be aware that most of the soups are pretty high cal, exception of Minestrone.

NEPB

If you come during the “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” promo, the first plate is a normal sized plate. Every bowl ordered after is exactly that. A bowl. The portion won’t be huge either. If your goal is to try all the sauces, you can put two sauces on your pasta. If you or anyone in your group order more than two bowls, please tip well. Your server has to fight the crowd of 30 other waiters on a busy night to get you your refill. The cooks might try and push your order off as unimportant. It’s flippin frustrating. Don’t be that guy. I guarantee every waiter hates that stupid promo.

What to Get?

If calories are not a concern, try the lasagna fritta (appetizer), grilled shrimp carbonara, vanilla Italian cream soda, and the black tie mousse cake. You’re welcome.

Keeping Them Waiting

Don’t sit in an empty section during lunch and read a book well after everyone else has left. The waiters usually only get a quick break and then work the dinner shift as well. Or they are ready to go home or to night class, and need to clean their section. They cannot leave until you are gone, no matter what. If you want to linger somewhere and enjoy the atmosphere, go to a coffee shop.

Corporate Machine

The OG, and probably many other chains, grades the waiters by the amount of “add ons” they successfully sell. This includes appetizers, alcohol, drinks, specialty drinks, and desserts. Please don’t be annoyed when they greet and suggest. It’s their job. They do get griped at if they don’t have a high add on percentage. Even if you don’t like the things they suggest, take the time to look at the menu. Get a boat of Alfredo or Marinara for your breadsticks if nothing else.

Al-kee-hall

After 5 every night and all day on weekends is dinner standard. This means you automatically get a dinner menu, and your server MUST tote a bottle of wine to your table when they greet you. It’s great, we love it. Just kidding it sucks. We have to offer a sample, they’re only like a quarter. If you like wine, do your server a solid and get one, it makes them look good to boss man/woman . If you don’t like wine, get the Bellini Peach Tea or whatever fruity concoction they’ve come up with. DON’T go off on your waiter because your religion doesn’t allow drinking, or you are against it because your mom/dad/third cousin was an alcoholic, ect. You are in an ITALIAN resturaunt. Italians, pasta, wine? Helllooooo, picture getting yet? Besides how is the waitstaff supposed to know your preferences? Be couth and don’t get snappy, just politely decline and say you don’t drink.

Accidents

The trays are HEAVY! Like 50+ lbs. Balancing them on one hand all day is no easy task. And the tops get slick from everything that drips, spills, and condensates on them. So stuff slides. And stuff slides off. Accidents happen, an trays get dropped daily. If this happens around you, don’t make a huge scene. Just wait for your server to clean it up, and get you fresh food if it was your order. Want to know what’s worse than dropping a tray? Dropping one on a small child. Keep your kids in their seats, don’t let them run Always accompany the really short ones to the bathroom. Again the trays are heavy. If a kid runs out in front of someone, they’ll probably have too much momentum to stop quickly. And even if they do, something’s gonna spill. This hasn’t happened to me but if it did, I would feel terrible. Avoid putting high chairs at the ends on tables too, if possible. Who wants a tray waving over their baby’s head.

Where’s my Waiter?

Every now and again you will get a terrible waiter. It happens. I’ve seen staff stand around any talk and gossip while tables go unattended. But it isn’t your job to assume. They may have another section, or might be assisting another server, it’s SOOO common. But there is hope! At the OG and most other restaurants there’s more than one server to a section. They are called a service partner to your waiter. Make eye contact and raise your eyebrows, and they usually won’t mind helping you out.

Couponing and Tipping

My husband was raised in the country and rarely went out to eat. McDonald’s and Sonic were a big deal, especially when you grow up broke. When we moved to a bigger city, he didn’t for the life of him understand why he had to tip. When I would say “if you can afford to eat out you can afford to tip” he would stare blankly at me, he just didn’t get it. ( I would tip don’t worry) Finally when I went to work at the OG, and he saw my base pay of 2.35 he understood. Now he over tips, especially the Sonic carhops (10 bucks for a drink!?). He loves doing it because he knows it really does make a difference. That’s rent money yo.
So when you go out to eat, no matter what your financial situation, there really is no excuse for not tipping. Please don’t try to justify it by saying the food took too long ect. A good rule of thumb: if there IS an issue and you have to get a manager involved, THEN you can reduce your tip to 10%. That waiter still dedicated time to you, greeted you, and got your food. They worked for you, pay them!!!
And if you’re using a coupon and end up getting the meal really cheap, it’s still polite to tip for the 20% of the original amount. And don’t use your coupons on the day they expire, because everyone else is too and it makes checkout really hectic.

This Ain’t Yo Mama’s House

The bussers work hard too. Debatably harder than the servers. Servers rely on them so much to do things like clear our sections, restock things like straws, napkins, cups, lids, and make the tea. And they don’t make direct tips, they get paid from a tip share. If you see a busser working extra hard, or they helped you and you want to ensure that they get a good tip, give it to them directly. It’s the only way they get to keep it. Also, try not to be overly messy. Like table full of 2 year olds messy. The bigger the mess the harder the busser works. And that means the server waits longer to get more guests, which is bad for the wallet. I always stack my plates and place my silverware on top. It’s seriously the nicest thing you can do in my opinion.

Free?

This is an OG exclusive thing. THE SALAD IS NOT FREE! It is included in the cost of your entree. If you go planning to drink water and eat salad that other party members order, you technically should be charged. However, if your waiter is super cool and gives you free salad anyway, try and throw them a buck. They get in big trouble for that stuff depending on the manager. Just go in prepared to pay for what you eat an everything will be fine.

Hopefully this was more informative than it was a rant page. I could go on all day about how good the food is, and how awesome it was to get it half priced when you work there. But my dirty dishes are calling me, alas I have to go. If you’ve worked in food service, comment below about your experiences waiting tables! I’d love to hear em.

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Smoothie of the Month

Orange-Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Orange-Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

 

I love smoothies! I can’t get enough of them. Seriously it’s fruit and yogurt you can drink! No spoons needed and it’s portable. I’ve been making smoothies since I was twelve, I even got a blender for my birthday once.
So I think it’s high time to share some recipes! This month I will be featuring one of my favs, the classic Orange-Strawberry-Banana! The orange and strawberry are tangy and the banana is sweet and constant letting all three of these things balance each other perfectly. I don’t usually measure, so feel free to add more or less Oj or yogurt to get the thickness you want.

One handful of Ice Cubes
1/4c Vanilla Yogurt (get a good brand, it makes a difference)
1/2c Orange Juice
5 Strawberries-chunked
1 Banana-chunked

Serves One

Ok, so hopefully we know to take the stems off the strawberries. If not, now is the time to do it. I’ve learned over the years that blenders can either be really good or completely suck. If you’re working with something good, like a Ninja (totally on my Xmas list), that’s awesome! Just throw everything in. If your blender requires a bit of working with, add the ice and OJ first and pre-blend them a bit so your blender blades don’t get stuck. Then add your strawberries, yogurt, and banana. Blend till smooth, pour and eat (drink?). Yummy right?  Try it and let me know what you think!

7 Not So Glamorous Things They Don’t Tell You About Being Pregnant

As the end draws near I find myself thinking back on all the things I wish I had know beforehand. Everyone says you will have a pregnancy glow, and when you feel your baby kick it will be the most special thing in the world, and so on. I can agree with the kicking at least. Well, until it starts hurting. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, I know this. But there are definitely some things I would have prepared better for had I known. So I am taking it upon myself to let everyone know what lovely things they have to look forward to. Think of it as a pre pregnancy PSA.

1. Morning Sickness is a Big Fat Lie

And by that I meant that it can strike anytime of the day, and last as long it wants. I had it bad. Like round the clock bad. And it’s not always a quick vomit and move on thing. It can be a lie in bed and wish your whole body will stop hurting thing. Your favorite foods? Forget about it. Everything is disgusting, and you may just lose 20lbs. (Don’t worry, it comes back. Double.) Your doctor might prescribe you nausea pills. I hope they work for you. They only made me sicker. Just keep trying to eat and talk to your doctor is the best advice I can give.

2. Your Emotions and You

So you think you’re emotional during “Mother Natures monthly visit”? Ha. Hahahahaha. That’s nothing sweet dears, compared to preggo emotions. You already feel bad, and when things don’t go your way you may just throw a fit. Or several. If your shower curtain blows and touches you when you’re showering, expect to break down
in tears because it won’t stay put. And forget Disney, I cried when I watched The Croods. Seriously, it was about cavemen! Oh and the anger! You have never or will never be so irrationally angry in your life. You may delete your sister from your Facebook because she posted something dumb. (Don’t worry you can re add her later, she will understand). You may threaten divorce for no reason at all. (I’m lucky to be with such a great guy, I don’t know how he puts up with me). And then when the smoke clears and you level out, you can be as docile as a lamb. Baaaaaa!

3. The Unwanted Advice

Let’s face it people, we all know that one person who had kids when they probably shouldn’t have. Maybe they’re not exactly parent material, or maybe you just have different views. Maybe they let their kids eat rocks while they obliviously tweet on their iPhones. Whatever the case is, they had their baby first, so they know more about it than you right? Maybe so. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen. They will try and tell you about their doctors visits, how to wear your seatbelt, their experiences with breast feeding. You may get really unlucky and have to deal with the girl who wants to talk about her miscarriages. (No I am not being insensitive. It’s sad, I understand. But that’s not something a pregnant lady wants to hear when she’s trying to have a healthy pregnancy.) You’re going to have to be firm. Let these people know that this is your first time, and you want to experience it for yourself. If all else fails, find out what TV shows they watch and change the topic to that. Distraction is a fantastic tactic.

4. Your Dreams Are About To Get Weird As Heck

And everyone is different so who knows what to expect. If you think you know yourself and wouldn’t possibly conceive anything too strange, THINK AGAIN! I thought I was a normal, female housewife. But in my dreams I’m really a middle aged male cop who is forced to shoot his buddy cop partner when he tries to kill me because I find out he has secretly been working with the local drug lord. Or, maybe I’m (again) a male bodyguard for a little Hindu boy who’s family is under attack from terrorists, and I have getaway cars and shootouts on airstrips and so on. Maybe I’m watching too much Lethal Weapon and Transporter. You will be lucky if you can avoid the risqué dreams. I’m not going in to detail, but you will want to scrub your brain and never look at certain people again for the rest of your life. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Good luck and consider a therapist.

5. Congratulations! You Are Now A Sasquatch.

Because there will come a time when bending over gets difficult. And there will also come a time when you can’t see your erm, downstairs anymore. If you aren’t a shy lady and have an extra buck, now is the time to visit a spa for some waxing. Because you will get hairy. You can’t shave your legs because you simply can’t reach them. Your armpits at least can be tamed. And you get facial hair now so grab some tweezers. All the peach fuzzy hair on your body? Three shades darker. You head quits losing hair as fast, so unless you like a thick unmanageable mane be prepared to ask your stylist to thin it for you. And apparently after you have the baby, your head hair comes out in clumps so don’t freak out, you’re just shedding. And the texture can change too. I’m pretty sure I’m growing thin copper wires. Prepare yourself.

6. Sleeping Will Never Be the Same

Your belly is big. Congratulations! You now have two options for sleeping. Your left side, or your right side. Sleeping on your stomach will require you to break physics, and sleeping on your back can cause shortness of breath. I hope you and your SO aren’t snugglers, because then it becomes a strange game of laying down twister. Me and mine have mastered our new position though. I’m the big spoon, and have angled back my upper half to accommodate my belly, while hanging my leg over husbands hip. Poor guy. Also, Tums are your new BFF. Get the smoothies flavored ones because heartburn can haunt you all night long. And finally, if and when your appetite finally returns after the any-place-any-time sickness, be prepared to raid the fridge like a hungry bear at 3am because you are absolutely starving. (Yogurts are a real lifesaver here, they’re quick and probably won’t give you heartburn.)

7. There Is Such a Procedure as Membrane Scraping

And it happens inside the vajayjay. Around the cervix more specifically. And apparently it is routine at 39 weeks. I have avoided it thus far, but it’s one of those lovely little things that nobody tells you about and can be sprung on you. Google it and prepare yourself. And prepare for two cultures to be taken for some GBS test. One from the vajayjay like a pap, and from the bum. Again a test nobody prepares you for. Isn’t it lovely? Be brave fellow sisters, be brave.

8. Bonus! Thou Shalt Pass Gas

A lot. You probably won’t stop having gas for three months straight. If you’ve never passed gas in front of your SO before, now is a good time to get over that fear. Or just hang out with small children and dogs so you can blame somebody. (Who are you kidding, you can’t blame that monster fart on your 6 month old nephew, you aren’t fooling anyone.) In the middle of the night you hear your dog sniff out loudly, letting you know that she is silently judging you. That’s right, your own pet will judge you. And no matter what you eat and which foods you try to avoid, it probably won’t help. I once had a lady tell me she didn’t fart in from of her husband, ever. This lady had four kids. I call shenanigans. Accept your fate and seclude yourself from the world. Or maybe ask your doctor if gas-x is safe.

Like I said before, everyone is different. Some lucky ladies don’t deal with the morning sickness, and some unlucky ladies have symptoms that I didn’t have to put up with, like swelling. But it’s worth it when you look at the screen during the ultrasound and see your baby, that lovely little person that you made, sucking his thumb and wiggling around. And when you hear him kick the doctors heartbeat stethoscope, (on two separate occasions because he’s a sassy little toot) it will bring a smile to your face that won’t go away all day. And when the person who you love so much that you wanted another one of him puts his hand on your belly and feels his little boy move, and you see the joy and happiness shining in his beautiful smile, then I think it’s safe to say all these things are worth it.

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How April Fools Skepticism Caused Unnecessary Suffering

I hate today. I immediately distrust anything anyone says, and do my best to stay inside and away from people. Not because I have a scarred prank related childhood or anything, (honestly I don’t). I’m just naturally skeptical of people. A believe it when you see it kind of person.
Unfortunately for my poor husband, my anti- prank mentality caused him to suffer exactly one year ago. I was at work being my skeptical self; looking over my shoulder, bracing myself when I opened the door, and checking the toilet seat for possible shenanigans. “I won’t be pranked today” was my mantra, I chanted over and over in my head.
And then I get the text, from my sweet husband. “I broke my finger, can you take me to the hospital? I can’t drive.” Pssshht, seriously honeyface? You’re going to have to come up with something better than that to pull one over on me. Nice try sucker.
But he didn’t stop, he stuck to his story of crushing it while moving furniture. Eventually (2 hours later) I gave up, decided that if I was going to be pranked then I may as well enjoy the rest of the day off work (things were slow anyway).
After a leisurely drive home, I walk in and HOLY JESUS THE END OF HIS FINGER IS SWOLLEN AND PURPLE LIKE A GRAPE! Away to the hospital we went, and I received the title “Worst Wife in the World”. I felt terrible, and still do.
So moral of the story, medical emergency falls on the list of things you should not ignore on April Fools. Even if you think it’s a prank, better safe than sorry. Also, one final tip: make your own food today. Do NOT eat ANYTHING anyone else cooks/buys for you.

What’s the craziest prank you have witnessed?