There are some mornings I wake up and wish I had the body I did when I was 20.
Age 20 was my ideal. Physically that is, not mentally.
I was still in college. I walked to all my classes in the morning and then went to the gym every afternoon. Not to mention I had the metabolism of a 20-year-old.
Then as I’m longing for the days I weighed 120 pounds and had washboard abs, I am startled by the reality that age 20 was 13 years ago!
Gah, I really shouldn’t think so much.
I have come to terms with the fact that unless I want to subsist on nothing more than water and carrot sticks and work out a bazillion hours a week, I will probably never weigh 120 pounds again. I am really okay with that. What’s the fun in being super skinny if you never get to indulge in things like cookie dough or fried mozzarella? Plus, this body gave birth to a nine pound baby, so I think I should really cut it some slack.
However, that doesn’t mean I can’t take care of myself and maintain a healthy weight. Every morning I go jogging and then hit the gym. I hate working out, but I like to eat and I like being able to fit into my clothes.
That also means I can’t consume mass quantities of bread and pasta. The older I get, the faster bread and pasta goes straight to my hips. During the week I really try to stick to a low carb diet. For me, it is the easiest diet to stick to. The protein and the fiber in the veggies I eat helps me feel full, and unlike with counting calories there are some “free foods” I can snack on when I get hungry without feeling guilty.
Meal planning for the family when you are the only one on a low carb diet can be a challenge. I really feel like I won big with this one. It’s loaded with roasted veggies, has meat for The Carnivore Husband, and cheese for my three-year-old who is just now starting to turn his nose up at anything green. I may have told a little white lie said it was pizza just to get Little Tot to try this. He did give me a skeptical look, but after he took a bite and decided he liked it, I came clean.
Again, my family is not big on meatless dishes so I strayed from traditional ratatouille by adding some Italian sausage and pepperoni. But if you are vegetarian, feel free to leave the meat out.
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 cup diced yellow squash
- 1 cup diced eggplant
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup sliced pepperoni divided
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese divided
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread zucchini, squash, and eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Set vegetables aside.
In the meantime, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat. Break sausage up into bite-sized pieces with a spoon and continue to cook until sausage is no longer pink.
Add garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add cream cheese and stir until melted.
Add tomato sauce and fresh basil. Add roasted vegetables and stir until everything is well-combined.
Spread half of the mixture into the bottom of a prepared 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Layer with half of the pepperoni then half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the remaining sausage/vegetables mixture, pepperoni, and cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of the casserole.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving.