Two Recipe Reviews

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Pasta with Veggies

Lately I have been trying out new recipes for lunch each week, so this week I tried a vegetable and pasta recipe mix. I used brown rice angel hair pasta and my veggies were broccoli, red bell pepper, green onion, and tomato. I followed the recipe, even adding some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.

Once finished, the result was just “meh.” Nothing spectacular, but also not bland or unappetizing. I made enough for 4 lunch sessions, so I will finish the left overs tomorrow, and I will not make this recipe again. Healthy and tasty pasta recipes seem to be challenging. I mean spaghetti with red sauce is always an easy option, but I am looking for variety. Any suggestions?

Vegetable Medley

Some time two weeks ago I had all of these vegetables in my fridge and I said to myself, how about a veggie only dish, something asian. So I took stock of what I had, and I almost just threw some oil in a pan, threw in the veggies an ate them. Instead, I said to myself, check out Youtube, see what creative ways people are cooking their fresh veggies. I wanted something simple, tasty, easy and versatile (meaning it wouldn’t matter which veggies I used). After many videos, I decided to try this approach:

I did take a quick trip to the store for fresh ginger, otherwise I had everything else in my house. I used peanut oil as my base oil because I have it. I was very happy to have something to use my peanut oil for as I have had it for a year and only used it twice prior to this dish. In an attempt to come as close to the veggies used in the video, I used broccoli, carrots, yellow bell pepper, red cabbage, and onion. I didn’t add celery because I do not like the taste of cooked celery.

The first time I made this, I followed the video exactly, and I was surprised at how the veggies came out. They were the perfect consistency, not too hard and not too soft, yet flavorful. Who knew oil infused in ginger could produce such wonderful results! The second time (and yes I have made this two times so far), I added a couple of squirts of soy sauce to the finished product just to experiment with flavor. Next time, I plan to use oyster sauce and see what happens.

vegetable medley

If you can’t tell by the review above, I LOVE this vegetable medley, and the only calories come from the oil (I’ll speak on why I do not care about calories in another post). Initially, I was concerned that this plate of veggies would not fill me up enough to be satisfied, and then once I finished prep I wasn’t sure that I could eat all of the veggies in front of me, but in the end, its a perfect dinner portion. Like I stated above, I plan to do this again, this weekend, and use oyster sauce, this dish takes no time to make, the prep is the most time consuming part, aside from prep it takes about 7 minutes total to make this dish.

The vegetables aren’t pulverized in this vegetable medley, so I consider this a seriously healthy and tasty dinner option.

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My Pantry Staples

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I have spent a good portion of the year developing MY pantry staples, determined by what I actually eat. I mostly refill my pantry from the bulk foods section of my local health food stores. I refill the spice containers with spices bought from my local Indian Store as well as the bulk food section of my local health food store.

M y Pantry

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Left to right: Quinoa, Milled Flaxseed, Israeli Couscous, Rolled Oats, Semolina, Chia Seeds

Once I run out of Milled Flaxseed I will replace it with Hemp Hearts. I prefer to get my Omegas from nuts and fish oil pills. I put the milled Flaxseed in my smoothies, plus it does take away from the great taste just a little.

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Top From left to right: Red Lentils, Chick peas, Popcorn, Kidney Beans, Wheat Farina, Wasabi Peas
Bottom From left to right: Brown Rice Rotini, Egg Noodles, Brown Basmati Rice, Brown Rice, Brown Rice Spaghetti, Brown Rice Angel Hair Pasta

You may have noticed that I now have a brown rice arsenal! I enjoy pasta and brown rice is often a perfect side dish, so I keep it all stocked. I am in love with brown rice pasta as a healthy tasty alternative that just soaks up sauce.

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Canisters: All purpose flour, brown sugar, rock sugar, tea. Lazy susans: spices, sauces, vinagrettes, Coconut oil, Olive oil. Bottom: Spices

There really isn’t anything more important in my kitchen than my spice arsenal. There is no better way to compliment your meats, vegetables, soups, stews, etc than with spice. Like I stated above, I buy a spice from the grocery store and once that container is empty, I replace it with spices from my local indian grocery or health food store. I find that those spices have more intense flavor and the containers provided at the grocery store last forever. Plus I do not have to buy separate expensive spice jars, nope, I recycle and reuse. About a month ago I did a spice overhaul in which I wrote down my most used spices and got rid of the expired ones. If I need a spice that I rarely use, I just go buy a tablespoon or two in the bulk foods section and use it up, so that no spice in my pantry expires. Let me know if you want a full listing of my spices and how I use them.

Not pictured are my stash of nuts, and cans. The cans include tomato paste, whole tomatoes, curry sauce, garbanzo beans, black beans and vegetable broth. The current nuts are sunflower seeds and almonds.

I am so happy with my pantry now, it truly supports healthy habits. There is no candy stash, no sugary cereal stash, no juice stash, no cans of soup, no cans of fruit, etc. It took over half of a year, but I now have a pantry that supports healthy eating habits. I am still working on my refrigerator staples, just when I think I have a good base, I change something, that may take all year.