Birthday Bonanza and Spinach, Artichoke, Asparagus Casserole

Hola bloggerinos! Enjoying the end to your weeks? Ahh Sundays 🙂 I’ve had a very enjoyable one so far.

Sorry my last post was so quick and run on-ish. I was in a mad dash for the night to come…which was a blast if I do say so myself!

After posting, Shane and I headed to my cousins’ for my aunt’s surprise party!


Let’s just say she was so touched and surprised that she cried! Her other sister, my Aunt Bobbi (Hi Auntie Bobbi!!) made the trip all the way up from Florida to make it! It was SO nice seeing everyone.

My cousins did a fantastic job with the hour devours, too.




Mom and Shane enjoying cocktail hour:


Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay too long, but we had another birthday party to attend! My girl, Kim, turned 25 on Tuesday, and we all celebrated together last night.




I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Love. These. Girls. Don’t know what I’d do without them. BFF’s since high school 🙂



Throughout the night, I had a mojito, and two half beers.



I think I was just not in the mood to drink. All I wanted was water! Might have had something to do with running twelve miles earlier in the day… Nevertheless, my energy kept up just fine!

Got home and had an unpictured bowl of chocolate Cheerios, Kashi Heart to Heart, and Almond milk. And around 12:30, hit the hay.

This morning, I’ve been a productive little blogger! Well, with hour long breaks of watching 16 and Pregnant 😉 I met my girl Heidi at the gym for a 4 mile recovery run + upper body, cleaned the entire house, and took a half hour walk with the hubski and pupper wupper on the trail. It’s absolutely fabulous out, so I couldn’t spend the WHOLE day inside.

Some eats of the day included a post workout bowl jar of oats:



1/2 c. rolled oats, 1 T. flax, 1/4 c. golden raisins, 1 smashed banana, 1 T. hemp powder, coconut butter, 1 t. stevia.




By the way, I’ve finally found the holy grail of stevias.


NuNaturals! The company sent me a boatload to try out, and although I haven’t tried them all, what I have tried has been amazing.


Finally no weird after taste. Even Shane claimed it was his favorite so far. (Although he still puts Sweet n Low in his coffee…bah!)

While in the kitchen, I also took advantage of the extra Sunday time I had, and made a HUGE batch of steel cut oats for this coming work week:


Nommiful. Actually, looks pretty nast. I assure you it isn’t.

Gluten Free birthday cookie:




and an unpictured hard boiled egg. It’s just been one of those days where I didn’t really want a solid lunch, just snackies here and there. Know what I mean?

After relaxing a little more, Shane and I decided we wanted pasta for dinner. Unfortunately that meant I had to make a trip to Jewel, where I spent $20, blowing one of my Running Around on a Budget rules, but what can ya do? Try harder next week, I s’pose 🙂





Spinach, asparagus, and artichoke cheesy pasta bake

Recipe adapted from a similar dish in last month’s Real Simple magazine.


  • 1 pkg frozen spinach
  • 1/4 c. Earth Balance (or butter)
  • 1/4 c. w.w. flour
  • 1 c. almond milk (or any milk)
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg
  • 1/2 pkg of w.w. rigatoni
  • 1/2 c. chopped, cooked, asparagus
  • 3/4 c. jarred artichokes, quartered
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1 pkg mozzarella cheese


Directions: Preheat the broiler to 550º. Meanwhile, in a double boiler (I just put a boil over boiling water in a sauce pan) heat the Earth Balance. Slowly add the flour and stir until smooth. Heat until bubbly, then gradually add the milk. Heat until thickened, and then add the spinach and cover; stir occasionally. Meanwhile, boil pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and return to the pot. When spinach is fully thawed, add spices, and then add the spinach mixture to the pasta, along with the artichokes, asparagus, parmesan cheese, and half of the mozzarella. If needed, add more salt + pepper. Pour the mixture into a shallow 8 x 8 casserole dish and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top. Place in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until the casserole has browned on top.

Before going into the oven:


While cooking, feel free to have a glass of vino 😉


Always makes cooking more enjoyable in my opinion 🙂

Post-oven, browned, cheesy goodness:


I served it alongside some kale with salt, pepper, and olive oil. My plate:



Yum, yum, yum! This was SO delicious.IMG_6484

And per usual, there will likely be dessert tonight. Probably in the form of ice cream of chocolate Cheerios 🙂

Now it’s time to go have the hubski help me pick out a work lap top. My budget is $500 and we’re going to see what we can find! Hoping techy husband will have some tips and tricks up his proverbial sleeves 😉

Enjoy your Sunday night, all!


21 Responses

  1. What a fabulous week of family, friends & fun! So many great eats. Your casserole looks out of this world- both Josh and I love everything in that. Book marking. I really enjoy nunaturals stevia. I also like stevia in the raw. Those are the only two that I don’t think have a weird aftertaste.

  2. I ♥ your blog. So, I looked at the back of my chocolate Cheerios box today and saw an evil ingredient…HFCS!!! How dare them! 🙂 A little won’t kill us but still.

  3. YUMM these little cookies look fab!

    What a fun night out you guys had 😉 I love family gatherings!

    Look forward to the next post doll!


  4. It was a beautiful week end; I agree! I miss Bobbie already:-( Thank you for making the party before the other party. Two Kims’ parties in one night, hey!

  5. I love all the pictures and I love that black top!! So cute!

  6. That pasta looks incredible!!

  7. That casserole looks absolutely amazing. Right up my family’s alley. Bookmarked!

  8. I am so jealous of the NuNaturals! Did you buy all of them seperately or together?! Each one is expensive and I’m trying to figure out how to get everything I need…

  9. Haha, I love the “hors devours” 😉

    Good call on the steel cut oats! I must do that more often. It makes eating a hearty mid-week breakfast sooooo much easier.

  10. First of all, the house where that surprise b-day party was held is gorgeous! At first I thought it was a restaurant!

    Second of all, I just discovered 16 and Pregnant. So awkwardly addicting. And it kind of makes my ovaries hurt, and I don’t even want babies.

  11. Looks like you had a lovely weekend! Can’t wait to try the casserole out.

  12. looks perfect and so comforting! I love asparagus!!

    that party looks so fun! I hear ya on only wanting water…this happens to me too if I had a hard workout earlier in the day!!

  13. Hi Paige
    Your pictures look good enough to eat!!!

    I would like a list of your favorite products and then tell me how to make some of those good for you foods.

    Love Aunt Bobbie

  14. That pasta dish looks fantastic! It’s definitely going on my menu for next month. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Cool recipe, I’ll have to try this.

  16. […] sent me a package of Stevia products to sample back in May, and since then it’s become my favorite brand of stevia […]

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