Spaghetti Squash Tots

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Spaghetti squash is one of our favorite vegetables.  We’ve made salads, cakes and lasagna with it in the past.  Today I improvised simple spaghetti squash tots with what I have in the fridge and pantry, and the girls finished all three trays of them.  I enjoy it very much when I do something by feel.  It’s more fun to line up the spice bottles and just shake my wrist instead of measuring everything precisely.  A dash of this.  A dash of that.  I felt like a witch concocting some wicked delicious magic.  

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You can eat the tots by themselves or with a little dollop of pesto sauce.

Spaghetti Squash Tots Ingredients:

1 small spaghetti squash

1/2 cup shredded fat free Cheddar cheese (packed, 2 oz)

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (packed, 1 oz)

1/4 cup oat bran

1 egg + 3 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 shallot (thinly sliced)

1/4 teaspoon Garlic & Herb Seasoning

1/4 teaspoon dry oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon paprika

A dash of cayenne pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut the squash lengthwise in half.  Scoop out and discard seeds.  Microwave each half with 2 tablespoon of water in a container for 8 minutes.  Scoop out the flesh and let cool.

Mix in all the ingredients well.  Spoon the mixture on the baking dish lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.

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A note about spaghetti squash: try it! It’s super easy to make since you can just cook it in the microwave. Also, you can eat it just like pasta but it’s got more fiber and less starch! Truly a miracle vegetable.

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This spaghetti squash was from our nanny’s garden.

Leftovers Made Whole

Oh, food. You are the tomatoes to my lettuce, the peanut butter to my jelly, the cinnamon to my oatmeal. What would life be without you? Oh, food, you truly complete me.

We have always shared a special bond.

We have always shared a special bond.

But what about when food becomes incomplete? When it is half eaten and needs to be revived, to live another life with a whole new personality? I have attempted to do so countless times… (turkey everything after Thanksgiving, anyone?) Today is one of those days.  And here, proudly, is how I made yesterday’s leftover whole again.

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  1. Spaghetti Squash

One of the best and worst parts of eating spaghetti squash is that one big squash yields days and days of leftovers. Angela wanted some spaghetti squash to make into a healthy lasagna and we were left with piles of squash in the fridge.

I made some of it into a salad yesterday along with the leftover quinoa we had .

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Today I made the final batch of the squash into a salad with Asian dressing:

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1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup xylitol or other sugar equivalent

1/4 cup Japanese fish stock or chicken broth

Hot chile oil or Sriracha sauce to taste

If you desire some acidity to the flavor, add 1/4 cup rice vinegar instead of the fish stock.  I only used less half the dressing and will have some leftover for tomorrow.

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  1. Sandwiches and Wraps

Anything edible can go into a sandwich or wrap. I have yet to find a single counterexample.

I made a wonderful healthy version of tuna salad yesterday and it was amazing. Today I ate it in a grilled sandwich and it was great!

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Got milk?

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Grill marks are good for the soul.

  1. Soup

I love my soymilk machine for making creamy soups. I put just about anything in there and it becomes delicious soup.

A few days back I made this roasted kabocha squash dish…

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…and I made the leftovers into some heavenly soup!

1 cup kabocha squash

2 carrots

1/2 onion

4 slices peeled ginger

2 cloves garlic

a dash of each: cumin, turmeric, paprika, coriander

salt and pepper to taste

Sauté all the ingredients other than the squash until soft and put everything in the soymilk machine and press PASTE.

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Two Salads Everyone Must Make To Be Complete

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Both Peter and Audrey have social engagements this weekend.  Angela and I are having a quiet Friday evening by ourselves.  I miss Peter and Audrey.  It’s strange how when they were home we would often be doing our own things and not really talking to each other all that much, but I have been thinking of them nonstop now that they are not home.  I suppose that’s just the way things are with people you love – absence always looms larger than presence. 

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Audrey and her friend Erika at the Palace of Fine Arts

I looked at what Audrey posted on her snapchat – happily laughing with her friend and munching on “real food.”  No nagging from Mommy.  No healthy alternative for snacks. A couple of days ago, when Angela and I were tinkering with a recipe in an effort to make it healthier, Audrey exclaimed with vehement disgust that she would not eat this healthy food anymore.  She was sick and tired of the 100% whole grain, sugar free and low fat alternatives.  She wanted real food.  Audrey was right.  What’s wrong with white rice or white bread now and then?  What’s wrong with a  piece of crumbly, buttery cookie or a cream filled cupcake once in a while?  Nothing, really.  Everything in moderation.

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For dinner tonight, I made two easy dinner salads that were perfect for the warm autumn day.

The curried Tuna Salad recipe is from a book called James McMair’s Salads, that was a wedding gift from 22 years ago.  I was new in the city and wasn’t working.  I cooked and I waited for Peter to come home. That was all I did everyday besides walking or reading.  I made all the salads in the book a number of times through out the early years of our marriage, but I’ve long forgotten about it. It caught my eye today when I was cleaning out the shelf and it brought back a lot of memories.  Those were the days I used real butter and real Mayonnaise, and Peter often sneaked back for lunch and more.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt)

1/2 cup Mayonnaise (I used more plain nonfat Greek yogurt)

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp high-quality hot or mild curry powder

1/4 cup cashews or macadamia nuts

1 lb. fresh tuna fillets, grilled or poached, cooled, and flaked, or 2 cans (7 oz each) tuna packed in water, drained and flaked

1 cup finely chopped unpeeled apple

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pickle or pickle relish

1/2 cup raisins or dried currants, plumped in hot water for 15 minutes and drained

2 tbsp minced green onion, including some green tops

Minced fresh parsley, or preferably flat-leaf type, for garnish

I halved the recipe today.

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I made the spaghetti squash salad with leftover squash and quinoa from the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of cooked spaghetti squash

1/2 large English cucumber

1 tomato, large

3/4 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup parsley

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup macadamia nuts

salt and pepper to taste

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

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.

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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.

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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.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Serves 3-4 hungry people

Ingredients:

  • 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!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. 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!
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil and broil until the cheese bubbles.
  5. Eat!

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make salad with the leftovers!

make salad with the leftovers!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, 中文 Translation

今天我们的妈妈很累,所以妹妹做了晚饭,我得写今天的博客。对不起,我的中文不好。

我们今天的晚餐是健康的烤宽面条,其实一点面也没有。最近美国人不喜欢吃面粉,因为他们都觉得麸质是有毒的。当然麸质没有什么不好的,我常常吃面筋,可是面粉其实没有什么营养,而且吃面粉会让你的血糖提高,所以吃这种没有太多碳水化合物的食品会让你健康,对你的小蛮腰好。

我不知道你懂不懂我的中文。我的父母不知道我的中文这么差,因为我考AP中文考了一个五(最高分)。其实,谁都考了一个五,化学考试也是的。请别告诉他们,我中文是很马虎的。哈哈哈,我是老虎,妹妹是马,我们最的事当然都是很马马虎虎的。

成分:

  • 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

用这些成分做lasagna,有没有那么难!快吃!很好很强大!

我们在养这个草泥马,真可爱!

Piggy Sunday

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Sunday morning.  Glorious blue sky.  Everyone in the family still slumbered while I drank my tea and looked out the window at the humming birds flitting about my little lemon tree.  I must have been a peasant in my last life.  I always wake at the first light of dawn, which is something I quite enjoy.

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These muffins are low sugar and low calorie but you will absolutely love them

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Breakfast muffins inspired by the recipe from minimalistbaker.com

2 eggs

2 medium ripe bananas

3 Tbsp maple syrup

3 Tbsp unsweetened vanilla or plain almond milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup almond meal (ground from raw almonds)

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp oat flour (ground from GF oats)

I added 1 cup blueberries

Having put the muffins in the oven and the oatmeal on the stove I flipped the page of New York Diaries to Oct. 11th.  “At home all day — writing private letters.” —President George Washington was having another relaxing day 215 years ago today.  It amazes me that our founding father, who arguably has achieved more for America than any other presidents in history seemed to have a life.  Yesterday 215 years ago he was strolling in a Mr. Prince’s fruit garden in Flushing, which he described “The shrubs were trifling, and the flowers not numerous. “ Later on that day he had dinner with Mrs Washington, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Smith at a tavern.

The world was smaller then, I suppose.  Unlike today’s presidents, he had no global wars to launch, no international media damage to control.  The word China connoted mostly dinnerware and the term Middle East wasn’t invented yet.     

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This is absolutely the most delicious bread I have ever had

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Almond flour zucchini bread recipe at the end of blog

As I was reading Washington’s diary, a whimsical idea came to me: why not try something the early settlers of America ate? I couldn’t find much that sound healthy or palatable, but there was an original recipe for Pumpkin from plimoth.org I found quite entertaining.  It was written by John Josselyn,  the author of Two Voyages to New England. 

John Josselyn called this recipe a “standing dish” suggesting that this sort of pumpkin dish was eaten everyday or even at every meal.

“The Ancient New England standing dish.

But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew’d enough, it will look like bak’d Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh: It provokes Urine extremely and is very windy.”

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Just for fun, I decided to give it a try, regardless of the warning that “It provokes Urine extremely and is very windy”.  Pumpkins are in season and they make everything golden.  So why not?

Modern version of it, of course, doesn’t take all day:

Trader Joe’s washed, peeled, cut sweet pumpkin, microwave on high with two tablespoon of water for 10 minutes.

Mash with coconut oil, a pinch of salt, 2 1/2 tablespoon xylitol, a little ground ginger and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.

The result was interesting, and quite pleasant — tangy, sweet.  Almost a dessert.

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For the meat eaters in the family, I made carnitas with the recipe below.  Thank God for slow-cooker.  We were so stuck in the Blue Angel traffic that we didn’t get home until dinner time.  And the carnitas was just cooking itself for me.  The aroma of the pork was so enticing that Audrey, who had been vegetarian for over a month, decided that she would allow herself to eat meat on Sundays.

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http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-carnitas/

Angela baked miso tofu for herself.  It’s a simple dish that she has made many times. 

Spread the miso paste on the tofu and baked it at 375 F. 

Sprinkle green onion, sesame seeds and crushed chili on top.

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Isn’t she cute?

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Hydration makes you cuter, I think

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Thank you EcoJarz for sending us your jar lids! Audrey loves ’em 🙂

Almond Flour Zucchini Bread Ingredients:

2 zucchini (grated and drained)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup oat bran

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

3 large eggs

1 purple shallot

1sprig rosemary

2 sprigs thyme – fresh stems removed and leaves minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven at 350

Grate the zucchinis and leave in a bowl.  Mix in 1/8 teaspoon of salt and let sit for 10 minutes.  Squeeze the water out of the shredded zucchini.

Saute sliced shallot, chopped rosemary and thyme with olive oil 

Mix dry ingredients, and then in a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients before mixing the dry and wet ingredients.  If the dough feels too dry, add a tablespoon of milk.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes.

2 Spaghetti Squash Dishes That Are So Delicious You’ll Forget They’re Healthy

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We all have heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child.  Jing, our nanny of almost ten years has been an integral part of the village that raises my daughters, especially when I go away on location.  Any working mom knows how valuable a good nanny is.  A couple of years ago, I helped her when she and her husband decided to purchase a house in the Sunset District in San Francisco.  Nowadays, she often brings me things that she has grown from her garden and today, it was a spaghetti squash.  She told me that she had just picked up some seeds from our kitchen and planted them in the soil.  Simple as that.  Mother Nature did all the rest. 

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The nanny grown spaghetti squash was a different color than normal store-bought spaghetti squash, and the strands, though tasty, were short and not very much at all like spaghetti. I guess this goes to show that the produce we buy is selectively bred (and perhaps genetically modified) to make it look and taste a certain way.

Sunny autumn days are perfect for spaghetti squash dishes. I made a refreshing salad and crispy-on-the-outside-tender-in-the-inside patties with the vine ripe squash. They were so delicious that no one would expect them to be so healthy as well.

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I based my recipes on Martha Stewart Living and made a few small changes. 

Ingredients for the salad沙拉原料:

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil) 15 mL橄榄油

2 shallots, diced small 少许小洋葱

2 garlic cloves, minced 两瓣大蒜

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves 一小勺百里香

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves 迷迭香

6 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash (I microwaved it) 半只鱼翅瓜

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/4杯意大利香菜

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Coarse salt and ground pepper

I added 1/2 cubanelle pepper that is not in the original recipe

DIRECTIONS

Instruction:

In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add squash and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in parsley and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. 把所有的香料在橄榄油里炒过之后跟瓜拌在一起。如果没有鱼翅瓜,可以用南瓜切丝在开水里烫熟后凉拌。

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Ingredients for the patties鱼翅瓜煎饼:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 橄榄油

3 shallots, minced 小紫洋葱

2 small jalapenos, seeded and minced小青辣椒

3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger姜

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin孜然

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander香菜

Coarse salt and ground pepper胡椒

3 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash, patted dry

2 large eggs, lightly beaten鸡蛋

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used oat bran)面粉

Nonstick cooking spray

I added 1/2 cup fat free mozzarella and 1/2 of sunflower seeds which are not in the original recipe

我在煎饼里加了奶酪和葵瓜子,这样我的两个食素的公主可以有足够蛋白质。

DIRECTIONS

Instruction:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots, jalapenos, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in cumin and coriander and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly, 5 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in squash, eggs, and flour. Wipe out skillet, then lightly coat skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium. In batches, add batter in 1/4 cupfuls to skillet and cook until pancakes are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer pancakes to oven to keep warm; repeat with remaining batter.