Every time we go grocery shopping, we always pass the pasta aisle and Audrey begs for the big pasta shells that are on display. They do look very enticing. We never end up getting them because they’re made out of white flour and Audrey gets more than her fair share of refined carbs from all the candy she eats. Today we decided to buy some whole wheat conchiglie to satisfy her craving.
It was pretty hard to find conchiglie that’s whole wheat; we had to search through some pretty hippie-ish Gen Y grocery stores, which thankfully are abundant in San Francisco. If you don’t have one of those stores near you, you can substitute with another type of 100% whole wheat pasta or just use regular conchiglie. Anything in moderation, right?
1 pound conchiglie or other pasta, preferably 100% whole wheat*
1 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14-16 oz.) bag frozen green peas, thawed
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoon pepper flakes
1 pinch smoked paprika
2 cups basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn
8 ounces feta cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the garlic and 1 tablespoon of basil until aromatic, add 2/3 cup of peas and give it a few stirs. Pour the cooked peas and the yogurt in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat in a small skillet and fry the pepper flakes, paprika and pine nuts until aromatic or the nuts slightly brown. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to direction on package. As soon as the pasta is al dente, add the remaining peas to the same pot, then immediately transfer peas and pasta to colander. Drain and shake the colander to release excess water.
Mix pasta, peas and the yogurt-pea sauce. Sprinkle with pine nuts, basil leaves and feta cheese. Serve warm.
The recipe makes six servings.
Adapted from “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi
The Wall Street Journal Saturday/Sunday Eating and Drinking
*Pedantic foodie rant: A lot of the pasta at grocery stores that calls itself “whole wheat” is actually made with 51% whole wheat flour and 49% refined flour (cough cough Barilla cough), if that. Food packaging is, as the kids say, hella deceptive. Take Cheerios, for example. The packaging says “Made with 100% whole grain oats,” which is true. However, Cheerios themselves aren’t technically 100% whole grain because they contain small amounts of corn starch and wheat starch.
So if you’re trying to cut refined carbs out of your diet, make sure not to be fooled by deceptive packaging! My mother always buys “made with whole grain” products that are mostly just white flour. Yes, unbleached enriched flour is regular refined white flour. Moral of the story: if you’re trying to improve your diet, check the ingredient list before you buy anything! Sure, a little white flour here and there won’t kill you, but consuming unhealthy food should be a conscious decision. Unwholesome ingredients shouldn’t be snuck into your stomach by food labels that are obviously intended to fool you. Just my two cents.
This little piggy went to market… and never came back, because it was eaten. Oink oink no more.
C’est la vie.
I’m not good at the whole “c’est la vie” thing. I can’t just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and move on. Some of my friends can stay upset about something for about two seconds and then forget about it, but I am still haunted by that awful essay I wrote in fourth grade.
I do enjoy using the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ emoticon though. It allows me to exude an aura of nonchalance when in reality I am ranting and raving and collapsing in a pool of lactic acid and cortisol.
Anyway… pork. Mother is busy preparing for a speech she will deliver at Harvard next week, and she’s asked me to write the post for today’s dish. What can I tell you about these pork chops? Father loved them. I didn’t eat any because I’m a vegetarian. I would have eaten the mushrooms if only they didn’t touch the pork. Oyster mushrooms are pretty darn good for you though.
As you can see, they are not very energy dense, which is good in an increasingly obese world. They also have a good amount of potassium, fiber, and iron. Okay.
An anonymous internet philosopher once said, “Just like the lotus, we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of darkness, and radiate into the world.”
Ever heard of eating your feelings? Well, today we ate the part of the lotus that never makes it out of the filth. We ate the lotus root, the part responsible for the growth and existence of the pretty flower that never gets to see the light of day until it’s cruelly uprooted and devoured. It does almost all the work and never gets much credit or appreciation. Eat a lotus root. Everyone’s got a little lotus root in them.
According to the wise and all-knowing Google, lotus roots are better than taters. Think of ’em as the plain old potato’s sexier exotic friend with more potassium and vitamin C and fiber by mass. Lotus roots are popular in many Asian cuisines. We watched a documentary last year in AP Chinese about how lotus roots are grown; apparently they’re quite difficult to harvest since farmers have to dig out the entire root, which is several feet long. If the root breaks, it gets filled with filth and it can’t be sold. These A+ tubers are definitely worth the trouble though.
So that’s Lotus Root 101.
Anyway… lotus roots can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. You can stuff them with soaked glutinous sweet rice and cook them up with dates, “dragon eyes” and xylitol (or sugar, if you’re into that) and they’re sort of dessert-y, almost like Japanese mochi in texture.
You can also sauté them and they’ll be nice and crunchy. We made ’em with noodles… I didn’t choose the carb life; the carb life chose me. Dr. Atkins can run in terror from pasta, but I’ll embrace it with a smile.
Ingredients for Asian Peanut Noodles with Lotus Root:
For the Peanut Sauce:
14.5 oz fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian)
5 tbsp peanut butter (I used reconstituted PB2 for lower fat)
1 tbsp sriracha
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce (use Tamari for gluten free)
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
For the Vegetables and Noodles:
1 section of a lotus root, sliced
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp sriracha (more or less to taste)
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce (use Tamari for gluten free)
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
8 oz rice noodles, preferably 100% whole grain
3/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 cup shredded snow peas
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 tbsp chopped peanuts
For the peanut sauce: Combine 1 cup broth, peanut butter, sriracha, honey, 2 tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and 3 cloves crushed garlic in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat stirring occasionally until sauce becomes smooth and well blended, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
Boil water for the noodles and cook pasta according to package instructions.
Heat a large skillet or wok until hot. Add 2 cloves crushed garlic, scallions, snow peas, bell pepper, lotus root and salt, sauté until tender crisp, about 1-2 minutes.
Drain noodles and toss with peanut sauce. Separate the noodles in 6 plates and top with the sautéd vegetables and chopped peanuts. Or mix the sautéd vegetables with the noodles and top with chopped the peanuts.
The recipe makes about 6 servings.
You’ve already rolled your eyes as I waxed poetic about the beauty and grace incarnate that is pasta. Pasta is love, pasta is life, and I hope to one day marry pasta in a small courthouse ceremony with a ring of rigatoni around my finger. Disclaimer: this post was written while coming off a pasta high, in case you couldn’t notice. Forgive my incoherency.
Today we made some 100% whole wheat penne with kale. My mother called it a little naughty and a little nice. She was wrong. Pasta is nice too. A little pasta never hurt nobody. No food in itself can cause diabetes or obesity. But if you’re a little carbophobic you can alter the ratio of pasta to kale or substitute some or all of the pasta with spiralized vegetables, spaghetti squash or shirataki. Personally I find the latter absolutely disgusting and reminiscent of vulcanized worms. Shirataki is made out of an indigestible Japanese root called konjac, so it has zero grams of net carbohydrates and is essentially non-nutritive, although it is a relatively good source of fiber. Do what you want to do. Eat your rubber noodles and be sad.
Anyway, this recipe is vegetarian and full of delicious veggies so it’s perfect for Meatless Mondays. It can also be gluten free if you use the subs listed above or use gluten free pasta.
2 bunches lacinato kale, stemmed
4 oz. (about 1 cup) uncooked 100% whole wheat penne
1/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 of a 15 oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon shaved parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pesto sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1/2 large lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to package instructions and set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan or wok on medium high. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic. Add the kale and bell pepper and sauté until soft, adding a little water or broth if necessary. Add the beans and give it a few good stir until heated through.
Turn off the stove and add 1/4 cup parmesan, 2 tablespoons pesto sauce, the juice from half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste, mix well.
Dish out and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon parmesan. Serve immediately.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Don’t pigeonhole it into the internet’s list of nasty kale recipes. Honestly I think a lot of people hate kale but pretend to like it since it’s so trendy and has a superfood rep (although the CDC’s Preventing Chronic Disease journal rated vegetables by nutrient density and kale was only #15, probably because it’s more than twice as energy-dense as spinach by mass). A lot of the kale available at supermarkets is really tough and disgusting and inedible especially if you try to make your own raw kale salad. We chose to use kale for this recipe since kale doesn’t cook down as much as spinach so it’s a better foil to the penne. If you hate kale then you can sub some other vegetable, perhaps collard greens, but we recommend trying fresh kale to see how you like it. Some farmers market kale is god-awful but if it’s really fresh then it’s 10/10.
Since returning to San Francisco from New England I’ve gotten to appreciate the city more. The autumn isn’t as pleasantly pilgrim-y and I no longer live in a quaint little cottage but at least it isn’t freezing or overrun by squirrels. Also, it’s very hipsterish which a lot of people hate but now I don’t have to turn to Netflix to watch Portlandia. A large hipster population makes for bigger and better artisanal-feeling grocery stores that are even more hardcore than Whole Foods. I’m talking Rainbow Grocery level hipster. For me, there’s nothing more fun than wandering the aisles of a grocery store, even if I don’t end up buying anything. In the dead of winter I used to trek three miles through the ice and snow to ogle at everything in Whole Foods and Stop and Shop, often returning to my dorm empty-handed. I’m starting to realize that that’s kind of weird, but whatever.
In addition to the cool grocery stores, there are a lot of hipster boutiques and it’s 100% socially acceptable to dress like a hipster in any situation. I don’t really dress like a hipster when I’m not trick-or-treating but many of my friends and family members do pull off the Harry Potter glasses and flannel shirts quite well. It’s great that they have so many options when it comes to buying nice clothes. Pastel Mint Boutique, an online clothing store based in San Francisco, recently sent us a few items to try out and they were great! We received a utility jacket, an infinity scarf, a sundress, and a beanie. My sister and my schoolmates very much enjoyed trying these clothes on. We highly recommend this boutique! If anyone asks, we heard of ‘em first.
Pasta is good, pasta is great. Pasta is the friend who will always be there for me. Pasta, o beauteous pasta, you make any dish complete. You complete me. Non lasciarmi, mio amato (grazie, Google Translate).
I never want to spend a day without pasta, not even if I’ve already eaten my weight in starch and definitely do not need to further raise my blood sugar. This is when my beloved vegetable spiralizer comes in handy. It can turn just about any vegetable, from zucchini to broccoli stalks, into pasta. That’s right, all the deliciousness of al dente pasta and all the holiness of veggies. Now that’s what I call good wholesome fun.
The first time I heard of spiralizing vegetables was when I was reading about zoodles on SkinnyTaste.com. I then coveted a spiralizer for about a year before Audrey bought me one from Williams Sonoma as a gift using her own money. How sweet! I have since made my own zoodles on several occasions. They are delicious!
Spiralizers are very versatile. A vegetable doesn’t need to be vaguely phallic in order to be turned into pasta. Today we had a grand old time spiralizing butternut squash!
Note: if you don’t have a spiralizer, then a mandoline or even a vegetable peeler should work.
Butternut Squash Pasta with Garlicky Kale & White Beans
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and spiralized, noodles trimmed
olive oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, if you like it really spicy)
1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if vegetarian)
1 can white beans (cannellini, Great Northern), drained, rinsed, patted dry
1 teaspoon oregano flakes
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional if vegan)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the butternut squash noodles on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 10-12 minutes or until al dente. When done, divide noodles into bowls and set aside.
While the butternut squash is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and kale. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until kale is wilted. You can do this in batches.
Once the kale is cooked, pour the chicken broth into the skillet and add the beans and oregano. Let cook for 5-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Divide the kale mixture equally over the bowls of butternut squash noodles. Serve immediately.
Recipe modified from Inspiralized
Today our mom flew off to Taiwan, so for dinner I’m having steamed cauliflower, brown rice, and a healthy protein “milkshake.” Not exactly what you’d call gourmet. So instead of boring you with all the stuff I’ve been putting together in the microwave, I’d like to introduce you to today’s guest blogger, Kim Hoeltje:
- 1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (30g)
- 2 T PB2 or other powdered peanut butter (14g) (can sub any nut butter)
- 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (60g)
- 1/2 cup canned chickpeas or any white bean (130g)
- 3 T egg substitute (46g)
- 3 T unsweetened almond milk (46ml)
- 1/2 t vanilla
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- sweetener to taste (4 packets)
- Drain and rinse beans
- Puree beans, pumpkin, egg, milk, and vanilla
- Stir in everything else except the peanut butter
- If using PB2, add water til you get a peanut butter consistency
- Coat 5×7 baking dish with nonstick spray
- Pour brownie batter in dish
- Swirl peanut butter on top
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes
Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? That’s right, you are probably dehydrated right now as you read this. Chronic dehydration can negatively impact your electrolyte balance and cognitive performance, and it can also contribute to acid reflux, digestive disorders, and other unpleasant conditions. Drink up, everyone! Here are three easy ways to stay hydrated.
1. Set a Goal
How much water should you be drinking? Well, it really depends on the water content of your food and tons of other factors. Even though we don’t all need eight glasses of water per day, I aim for that amount just in case. Besides, staying hydrated actually prevents your body from holding onto water weight and looking bloated, so drinking water has lots of benefits.
I just make a conscious effort every day to get my water in. If you’re into newfangled technology, there are lots of smartphone apps to help you drink more water, like WaterLogged and iDrated.
2. Get a Pretty Water Vessel
I used to carry around an old metal water bottle, but I realized I wasn’t drinking much water because it made everything taste metallic and smelled reminiscent of tetanus. Also, an opaque water bottle makes it harder for you to keep track of how much you’re drinking.
This is why I really love my EcoJarz! We recently received a few EcoJarz lids and straws in the mail and couldn’t wait to test ’em out! Basically, EcoJarz lets you turn your Mason jars into really cute reusable water bottles. As you could probably guess from the name, EcoJarz are eco friendly, but the main reason why I love them is because I can keep track of how much water I’m drinking and I can sip everything through a cute reusable straw. I love straws. They’re just fun. And whenever I have lip balm or lipstick on, I love how I don’t end up getting it all over the place when I use straws. I’m rambling. But that’s how much I love EcoJarz.
3. Flavorful Infusions
In a last-ditch attempt to get Audrey to drink more water (she’d been averaging about three cups of fluid per day… yikes!) I started buying super-sweet water flavoring like Dasani Drops and Mio. Even though they helped her stay hydrated, I couldn’t help but wonder about the effect of the iffy ingredients in water flavoring. After all, we all heard about that recent study linking aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose (Equal, Sweet N Low, and Splenda, respectively) to diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disorders. Apparently these sweeteners might negatively affect our intestinal microbiota, the enigmatic little bacterial critters living in our guts, thus contributing to various diseases. Of course, this doesn’t mean definitively that a little Diet Coke will automatically make you diabetic, but I still don’t like the idea of exposing my children to too much of this stuff.
I’ve replaced Audrey’s very berry Crystal Light with real berries and slices of lemon. Sure, it’s not as sickly sweet as the stuff that used to go in her water, but that’s a good thing. It keeps her taste buds from getting too used to ultra-sweet stuff while providing just enough flavor to keep her interested. The best of both worlds.
Our mother needed a break today, as all mothers occasionally do. Audrey is cooking dinner, which terrifies me, and I am writing today’s blog post.
Tonight’s dinner is vegetarian spaghetti squash lasagna. This healthy lasagna is low-carb, reduced-calorie, paleo (depending on what marinara sauce and cheeses you use), “clean” (depending on your very subjective definition of “clean”), high-protein and veggie-packed! Hey, I think I hit all the buzzwords! Seriously, though, this lasagna is delicious but far far better for you than your usual starch- and fat-laden junk from Olive Garden or whatever.
The idea of spaghetti squash lasagna is not a new one, but given our great love for all things spaghetti squash and all things lasagna, we thought it would be appropriate to make our own recipe and share it with everyone.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Serves 3-4 hungry people
- 3-4 cups cooked spaghetti squash (we microwaved the halved squash for about 8 minutes)
- 1 cup marinara sauce (we used Francesco Rinaldi no-salt-added tomato sauce)
- 15 oz ricotta cheese (we used Trader Joe’s Fat-Free Ricotta)
- 1 oz or 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, shredded
- 6 oz or 1.5 cups mozzarella shreds (we used Lucerne Fat-Free Mozzarella, which has 9 grams of protein per ounce, about 50% more than regular mozzarella!)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Layer the spaghetti squash, marinara sauce, ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella in an oven-safe casserole dish, making sure that the topmost layer is a cheesy layer!
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil and broil until the cheese bubbles.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, 中文 Translation
- 差不多710 mL意大利面条壁球 （谢谢，Google 翻译）
- 237mL 防切将
- 425 g 乳清干酪 （谢谢，Google 翻译）
- 28 g 干酪 （谢谢，Google 翻译。不知道你对不对。）
- 170 g 无肥马苏里拉奶酪
Remember that gluten-free paleo zucchini bread recipe we made a few weeks ago? Well today we made a delicious variation based on which ingredients we had on hand. Instead of using zucchini, we used potato. The recipe is still gluten free, although according to most sources it isn’t paleo because of the white potato (which I’ve never understood – sweet potatoes aren’t actually better than white potatoes, guys!) but if that’s a problem for you then you can always substitute some other tuber that “Dr.” Mercola gives the stamp of approval (check Wikipedia guys!).
Alright, getting to the point – here is our potato bread recipe! 10/10 would eat again.
1 medium-sized potato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1+1/2 cups almond flour
1+1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon guar gum
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk of choice
1 purple shallot
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs thyme – fresh stems removed and leaves minced
sun-dried tomatoes to taste, I used 1/4 cup
Pre-heat oven at 350
Saute sliced shallot, chopped rosemary and thyme with potato (shredded or spiralized and drained)
Mix all ingredients and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes.
And now for the improv.
It’s so hard to write recipes for Chinese food because Chinese people don’t use recipes. It’s all by feel… a cup of oil here, a handful of monosodium glutamate there, whatever tastes good goes. The same principle of creativity that can make Chinese food heart attack fodder also allows you to make it delicious and healthy.
This here is some kind of Chinese gourd. It’s easy to make stir fry healthier just by omitting the cornstarch and using small amounts of oil (two to three teaspoons, which is quite small relative to most stir fry). You can also use cooking spray if you want – just remember that it isn’t really “zero” calories so it’s not a good idea to use the whole bottle in one go!
The good thing about Chinese food is that there’s a big emphasis on veggies, which are obviously healthy when they aren’t drenched in grease.
Yeah that’s it. I just had some extra photos so I tacked them onto the potato bread post. I took the PSAT today so I’m tired, ok?