A Night in Italy with Bertolli

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces.

Last week the team at Bertolli® invited a number of bloggers and influencers to join them at the swanky Gramercy Park Hotel rooftop to celebrate the launch of their new Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces. Thanks to the delicious drinks, food, and details – I felt like I was transported back to Italy for the evening.


The evening began with mingling over cocktails and passed hors d’oeurves before the sun set and we transitioned to a delicious seated dinner.




While we mingled, I was able to learn more about the star of the evening, the Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces.


After living in Europe and tasting authentic, homemade sauce when visiting Italy I appreciate that these sauces are filled with hearty, thick-cut vegetables that you can see. Inspired by Tuscan cooking, the abundance of vegetables in the sauce means that you don’t have to worry about adding your own or “doctoring the sauce.” In addition, Bertolli Rustic Cut Pasta Sauces do not contain artificial flavors, artificial colors, added sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup.

Once we sat down for dinner, we were able to enjoy the sauces as they were highlighted in each of the family style entrees including branzino, chicken cacciatore and cavatelli.




While Katie’s four-month sleep regression and teething means I haven’t had time to create a recipe with these new sauces yet, I’m so looking forward to using Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces in many ways beyond pasta. In fact, Bo and I both agree that the hearty sauce would be the perfect ingredient in bruschetta, braise, ratatouille, lasagna or casserole. The team at Bertolli shared a few recipes with us during the event to get our creative juices going and this one caught my eye.


Grilled Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Makes: 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


· 2 Tbs olive oil

· 1 1/2 cups (10 oz) uncooked orzo pasta

· 1 can (14.5 oz) vegetable broth

· 1 jar (23 oz) BERTOLLI Rustic Cut Spicy Marinara with Traditional Vegetables Sauce, divided

· 6 oz crumbled Feta cheese

· 1/2 cup (2 oz) coarsely chopped smoked almonds

· 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

· 6 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers, top 1/2 inch removed, seeded


1. Preheat grill to high heat

2. Heat 1 Tbs oil in medium skillet over medium high heat

3. Add pasta; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until light golden brown

4. Stir in broth and 1 cup sauce; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Cook 4 minutes or until pasta is very al dente, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in cheese, almonds and half the mint.

6. Brush outsides of peppers with remaining oil. Grill 4 to 6 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly marked on all sides, turning frequently; cool slightly.

7. Place each pepper in center of 12×12 inch square of heavy-duty foil.

8. Bring sides of foil up and shape foil around each pepper, leaving the top open. Shape foil into a stable base to secure peppers firmly and keep them upright while grilling. Fill each pepper with 1 Tbs sauce and about 3.4 cup orzo mixture.

9. Grill peppers 8 to 10 minutes or until filling is heated through. Carefully remove from foil. Sprinkle with reserved mint and serve with warmed remaining sauce.

In addition, this month, Bertolli is also launching the Bravo Rewards program. This incentive program will reward shoppers who buy two or more jars of any Bertolli Pasta Sauce by sending them a ceramic spoon rest. All you have to do is post a photo of your receipt on bertolli.com/bravo!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces however, as always, all opinions are my own.

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Rock’N’Roll Brooklyn 5 Miler

ashley and zoe rnr brooklyn 5 miler

Yesterday was my first race since giving birth to Katie on June 20th it was so much fun! My goal going into yesterday’s Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn 5 Miler was to run a smart race that would allow me to have fun and finish feeling strong and healthy. Since starting receiving the all-clear to return to working out from my OB-GYN at my 8 week postpartum appointment, my goal has been to ease back into working out in a smart, healthy fashion. For the past few weeks I have been running an average of two days per week, following a walk/run program during which I increase the running by one minute each run.

Based on this approach, I wanted to run the first 16 minutes of yesteday’s race and then switch to intervals, alternating walking and running. If I wasn’t feeling great, I could do 1:1 intervals, but if I was feeling stronger then I’d increase the intervals to either 3 minutes or 4 minutes of running.

rnr brooklyn gear

The race began at 7AM near Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Museum, which meant that I hopped on a Citibike at 6:20 which placed me in the starting area by 6:45.

grand army plazaI had just enough time to make my way through security, use the bathroom and make my way into the corral before the 7AM start. Even before the race started, there were a few things that I really liked about the race setup this year.

  • I appreciated that the 5 mile and half marathon races started at the same time. This allowed people to mingle with their friends running the other distances, as long as you were in the same corral, and enjoy the support and energy of the larger, half marathon race.  There were only 959 people who ran the 5 Miler so the course felt pretty sparse once we split from the 8,500 half marathon runners.
  • I loved that RNR provided water, bananas and portapotties within the starting corrals. This is something I haven’t seen at many race starts and it seemed to be appreciated by everyone. While there were, of course, some lines for the portapotties, they moved very quickly.
  • While the race still started a few minutes late, it started far faster than years past.

Since Zoe and I have become experts at meeting before race starts, we easily spotted each other and discussed our race plan before we heard the annoucer start the race.


Since she is dealing with a nagging injury, she happily stuck with me during the race. It’s amazing to think that last year, we ran the half marathon together and, halfway during the race, due to increase heart rate, I told her I was pregnant! A lot can change in a year!

Rock'n'Roll Brooklyn 5 Miler Course

Within minutes after the first runners crossed the starting line, Zoe and I were giving each other a high five and starting our run. We both wore headphones for the first 16 minutes while we were running, briefly pointing out sights along the route during these first miles.  When we hit 16 minutes, just short of two miles, we switched to intervals, but since we were both feeling good, we decided to start with longer running intervals – 4 minutes run and 2 minutes walking.

Mile 1 Pace – 10:00

Mile 2 Pace – 10:41

For the first two and a half miles we enjoyed the slight downhill as well as the comraderie of the half marathon runners before we veered off and headed into Prospect Park.  The final 2.5 miles included the rolling hills of Prospect Park as well as the 3/10 mile climb during mile 4.

Mile 3 Pace – 11:38

Mile 4 Pace – 11:48

Mile 5 Pace – 10:33

As you can tell, our running pace increased during that last mile when we knew the finish line was close and we had the benefit of some gradual downhills.

We finished the race in 54:05 or an average pace of 10:49

rnr brooklyn finish

Overall, it was a great return to racing and made me even more excited to wake up for those early morning runs. I’m looking forward to the NYRR Jingle Jog on December 2nd which will hopefully be the first race Katie is at the finish line. We didn’t even try bringing her to yesterday’s race since she’s been pretty fussy this week due to the four month sleep regression. 

In case you’re wondering, here are my recaps from the past two Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Races:

Thank you to Brooks and Rock’n’Roll for the complimentary bib as part of my Brooks #RunHappy Ambassador partnership.

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Friday Favorites–October 13th, 2017


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Good morning and happy Friday friends! I hope you all had a good week. Over here it was a busy week filled with lots of fun including a happy hour last night at one of our favorite, neighborhood spots, Pig Beach. A few weeks ago Katie would rarely hang out in the carrier but last night, she was so happy and relaxed that she actually fell asleep for half the happy hour. Unfortunately, last night we got our first taste of the famous four month regression which means that Katie was up a few times last night. I know that everything is a phase but man do I need a second cup of coffee this morning. This weekend is going to include a mix of everything as I have the Rock’n’Roll 5 Miler tomorrow morning and then we are enjoying brunch with some friends afterwards. Other than that the rest of our weekend is open which means lots of relaxing.

Now, let’s dive into this week’s edition of Friday Favorites, including recipes, articles, posts and other things that caught my eye this week.

  • I asked you guys for your favorite flattering workout gear and these leggings were recommended not only by more than 1,000 Nordstrom shoppers but also over 20 readers. I ordered my first pair and can’t wait for them to arrive!
  • A number of friends also recommended this tank as it’s loose in the mid-section and can be adjusted based on the tie back. I ordered it in two, darker Fall colors, so hoping that it is as cute on me as it is on the model!
  • I’ve been wearing this sheer blouse frequently since receiving it in last month’s Stitch Fix shipment. It is flattering, a perfect weight for the warmer temperatures we’ve had and is comfortable enough to wear while I’m wearing Katie in the carrier.
  • These whole wheat pumpkin muffins are heartier than most and can be made in the blender which means EASY cleanup! I can’t wait to enjoy them as an afternoon snack next week!
  • Beautycounter launched their holiday gift sets this week and I’ve already bought two of them! This brush set is a great deal and includes the only four brushes I need! This lip duo’s bright, poppy red color is the perfect hue for holidays but sheer enough that someone like me can figure out how to apply a red lip without getting it everywhere! Don’t forget, if you use this link you’ll also get a free charcoal cleansing bar with any order over $100! *Note, the free Charcoal Cleansing Bar ($24 value) will ship separately and won’t appear in your cart.
  • If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I started the BBG Stronger workout plan this week. Part of Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG) the 28-minute workout has been a great way to get me back in the gym and focusing on strength training. I now understand why more than 20-million people around the world have used her programs to get fit! While I don’t care about being in a bikini, it feels good to get an efficient and effective workout and have a clear guide to follow. While her original BBG guide is available in PDF version online, I believe the STRONGER one that I’m following is only available in her SWEAT app.
  • How delicious does this vibrant kale and brussells sprout salad look? If you want to make it easier, grab the pre-cut kale and brussells sprouts at your local grocery store versus spending time slicing and trimming them.
  • At last night’s happy hour, three of the babies were wearing this adorable, cozy sweater from Baby Gap! I ordered two for Katie last night so that she can be warm and cozy in the cooler, Fall temperatures.  If you use the code HAPPY you get 40% off!
  • I’ve enjoyed following Megan’s journey as a mother runner and this article which she wrote for Women’s Running is spot on! Even though I’m not training for a race yet, I can understand why she and so many others say that becoming a parent made them a stronger runner.

Have a great weekend!

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and instead is a list of the things of my favorite things this week. As normal, it includes lots of beauty and fashion items which means there are a few affiliate links via ShopStyle. It takes time and money to maintain a blog so I thank you for the support and few cents that come from clicking through the links!

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