we returned from Florida this week. oscar and ollie were happy about that and it’s good to be home, but i sure do miss the sandy beaches and sunny skies of Florida. it’s been fun to share my trip with you this week: and it’s really got me looking forward to spring. i hope my warm-weather outfits inspired you to think about your spring wardrobe. today, we’re returning to our normal scheduled programming: fridays with oscar. last week, we showed you a healthier way to pasta with zoodles. we’re sticking with that theme this week and making zucchini lasagna roll-ups.
outfit of the day
i am keeping things casual friday today with a black crewneck sweater, and my white button-down underneath adds a little polish. girlfriend jeans and sneakers complete my casual look today. if i were going into the office and my workplace allowed jeans, adding a ballet flat or pointy toe shoe would make this ootd office appropriate. i could even throw a blazer on for extra oomph!
a healthier way to pasta: zucchini lasagna roll-ups
the original recipe by Rachel Maser is vegetarian. i wanted to do a meat dish this week, so i added italian sausage to the mushroom marinara sauce.
i am following a ketogenic diet, which is a low carb, moderate protein, and higher-fat diet that can help you burn fat more effectively. perhaps the biggest benefit of the keto diet for me is that it can reduce chronic inflammation. i have noticed a difference with my arthritis since i started focusing on a keto diet late last year.
- 4 large zucchini thinly sliced lengthwise (I used a mandoline)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil for brushing + 1 additional Tablespoon for sauteing
- 1 small sweet yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- 8 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped well
- 1 tsp dry Italian seasoning
- 16 ounces high quality marinara sauce
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup organic ricotta
- 1 free range egg
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- a handful or fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees f. and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Lay out the zucchini strips on a large cutting board, lightly sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and very lightly brush with 1 Tablespoon of oil.
- Bake strips in your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly tender and easy to roll. Allow them to cool until ready to handle.
- Meanwhile, add remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add in the onions, mushrooms, Italian seasonings and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in 3/4 of the marinara sauce and simmer your mushroom sauce for about 4 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
- In a medium bowl add ricotta, parmesan cheese, the egg and a tiny pinch of sea salt + pepper, and fresh chopped parsley. Stir well to combine everything.
- Use a 9×13″ casserole dish or an ovenproof cast iron skillet and spread remaining marinara sauce on the bottom.
- To assemble the zucchini rolls, lay out one zucchini slice on a cutting board. Spread about 2 spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture over the top, then a spoonful of mushroom sauce mix.
- Carefully roll up each zucchini after filling, and place in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining slices.
- Pour any remaining mushroom marinara sauce over top.
- Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and bake for about 15-20 minutes in your preheated oven, or until hot and bubbly.
- Serve immediately alongside a nice fresh salad.
- i added sweet Italian sausage which i browned in the skillet with the onions and garlic before adding the marinara.
the ketogenic diet is quite popular. there are recipes online and keto cookbooks that make following this specific diet easier than ever before. i still enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine from time to time, and i don’t feel bad about it! for me, it’s about moderation and eating to feel my best while enjoying life with my friends and family (which sometimes includes cocktails or dessert!). as FASTer Way to Fat Loss has taught me, it’s about progress, not perfection!
blueberry ginger Bellini cocktail and mocktail
a reader reached out last week and asked if we could put together a mocktail. what a great idea! for our first foray into mocktails, i want to start simple but also with a cocktail that can be made into a mocktail. this makes things easy for a hostess to not have to create two totally different recipes.
for the mocktail, i followed the cocktail directions exactly except, instead of sparkling wine, i used ginger beer to amp up the ginger flavor and add some dryness. try adding some sparkling apple juice or any other sparkling non-alcoholic juice that you think would work with ginger and blueberry.
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 cups blueberry juice
- 2 cups sparkling wine, divided
- Mash blueberries with ginger, sugar and lemon juice. Add blueberry juice and let steep for at least 5 minutes. Strain; divide among 4 champagne flutes. Top each with 1/2 cup sparkling wine.
- to make this a mocktail, omit the sparkling and replace with your choice of sparkling non-alcoholic beverage. i chose ginger beer.
i wasn’t able to find plain blueberry juice, so i used blueberry pomegranate juice, and it worked nicely. i also substituted about a teaspoon of agave for the white sugar this recipe calls for.
fridays with oscar (and ollie!)
well, ladies, that’s a wrap for fridays with oscar! we really hope you enjoy a healthier way to pasta. let us know what you think about the recipe in the comments below!
March is a couple of days away. on the 8th, we spring forward one hour to daylight savings time, and the 19th is the spring equinox—the official first day of spring. let’s hope spring temps and sunshine are fast on their way! ollie, oscar and i wish you all a lovely weekend!