The Task Tamer

The Joys of Getting Older

Teri 10/31/2017 Comments

If you know anyone who is younger than 35 make sure to remind them how lucky they are to not have the aches and pains associated with getting older and to not have to get subjected to the medical tests we need as we age. Oh, they will probably just roll their eyes, nod and be thinking it will never happen to them! I remember those days. I used to get out of bed without hearing snap, crackle or pop. I could be on my feet at work for hours without needing orthotics in my shoes. I could eat without having to worry about gaining weight. In short, my body was humming along while I focused on everything else in life. Yes, I did build in some good habits such as making time for exercise and switching to a vegetarian diet, but most of my attention and energy was spent on my job, relationships and friendships. 


Fast forward 20 years and my body is speaking up loud and clear! The first thing I do when I sit up in bed is stretch from the tips of my fingers to my toes. It feels great but it also gives me a chance to assess the usual areas of pain and to check if there is anything new I need to know about. When I exercise or do anything physical (which is pretty much anything from shopping to driving to sitting on the sofa) I have to pay close attention to my form and position. And of course, there are all those regular tests that are not pleasant but are necessary to ensure nothing is happening inside me that could lead to bigger problems. In the last two weeks this has meant getting a mammogram and a colonoscopy. Neither one is my first choice for how to spend my day, but I can rest easier now knowing I got relatively good news from each test. 


I will add to my original statement by saying if you know anyone over the age of 40, remind them to pay attention to their body and stay on top of the preventive and diagnostic tests that need to be done. We can take care of ourselves by eating right and exercising, but some things are out of our control and need a temporary discomfort to ensure we will have a long, healthy future.


And yes, the prep for the colonoscopy is the worst part!


This week’s recipe is a little time consuming, but rather easy. The original recipe uses a microwave to prep all the ingredients. I do not have a microwave, so my version takes longer. Use the link to get directions for the microwave version. As always, make it your own by using your favorite ingredients. You can make it vegan by subbing tofu ricotta and nutritional yeast for the cheeses.


Sweet Potato and Mushroom Cannelloni

modified from Rachael Ray



2 medium to large sweet potatoes, washed

1 small onion, sliced

8 no-boil lasagna noodles

1 bag baby spinach

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1/4 cup panko

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Prepared or homemade pesto to top



  1. Preheat oven to 425. Pierce skin of potatoes with a fork or paring knife. Place potatoes on small baking sheet and bake 30-45 minutes, until a knife goes through them easily. On a separate baking sheet arrange onions in single layer and roast with the potatoes until they are caramelized and a deep brown color, about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. They will get done before the potatoes. 
  2. Remove both sheets from oven and reduce heat to 350. Let potatoes and onions cool while you prepare rest of ingredients. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water to boil, generously salt and add noodles. Cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. You need the noodles to be pliable but not fully cooked. Empty bag of spinach into a colander and pour noodles with cooking water over it. Remove noodles and place in a single layer on a wax paper. Spinach should be wilted. Allow to drain while you prepare mushrooms. 
  4. Heat olive oil over medium and add mushrooms. Cook until starting to brown and liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Scoop potatoes into a large bowl and mash. Roughly chop the onions and add to bowl with potatoes. Squeeze any remaining liquid from spinach and roughly chop. Add spinach, mushrooms, ricotta, panko, parmesan and thyme to bowl with potatoes and onions. Stir well to combine. 
  6. Spray a 9”X13” baking dish with non-stick spray. Scoop a generous 1/4 cup of filling onto each noodle. Carefully roll and place in dish, seam side down. Spray top of rolls with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Bake 20-30 minutes, until heated through.
  7. Serve, topped with pesto.
  8. Enjoy!



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