Tag Archives: tofu shirataki

How to get to Sesame-less Street

30 May

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Remember Saturday’s tasty supper that I showed but didn’t tell about yesterday? Because I love you, today you get a show AND a tell (side note: don’t you just love how in this photo, you can see a bit of all 4 of my colourful new napkins? My mom laid them out on the dining room table, ‘cause she likes ‘em). And the title will make sense in due time….patience, my friends. Smile

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So the inspiration for the protein part of my meal came from something I made for the birthday party I catered back at the beginning of May: pineapple chicken teriyaki kabobs (that and the fact that I still had some of the marinade I bought left over: Clubhouse Teriyaki). I pierced a chicken breast with a fork (since I noticed on the bottle it said to pour over “pierced” meat), poured on some marinade, put in a ziploc bag, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes (I would have done it for longer, but I had a busy yet delightful Saturday filled with an amazing workout, baking muffins, yard work, baby holding and a quick grocery trip, so I didn’t get back home until almost 6).  IMG_1598

I liked the teriyaki and pineapple combo at the party (I’m a big fan of sweet and meat. Well, who am I kidding, I’m a big fan of sweet and anything), but didn’t really feel like going to the trouble of making skewers just for myself. So when it came time to grill, I preheated the grill to medium-high, sprayed it with a bit of PAM for Grilling, and threw on the chicken and one nice slice of pineapple, which I lightly brushed on each side with a bit more marinade.

Now for the “sesame-less” part of the title. IMG_1597In the first Hungry Girl cookbook, there is tasty recipe I’ve made once before for “Crazy Good Cold Sesame Noodles.” Only issue? No sesame seeds in this house (I think maybe you see where I’m going with the title). I made my own version, omitting the sesame seeds (it’s only have a teaspoon anyway) and making a few other substitutions which created a delicious end product. Again, dear readers, because I love you, I will show (and tell) you how I did it. Here’s the link to the original recipe, if you want to go by-the-book.

Side note: I used my last package of tofu shirataki noodles for this ( Sad smileWaaah! Happily though, my sister informed me that they are available at the natural foods store right across from her new house!!!!! Smile Road trip soon)!

HHH Crazy-Good Cold Sesame-less Noodles (adapted from Hungry Girl)

Ingredients:

1 package tofu shirataki noodles (I used the fettucini, because that’s all I had, instead of the spaghetti ones).

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. reduced-fat peanut butter, room temperature (I had to microwave mine a bit for easier stirring)IMG_1600

2 tbsp. skim milk

2 tbsp. chopped red onion

A handful of chopped fresh chives and cilantro

2 tbsp sliced snow peas

1/2 tbsp. light or low-sodium soy sauce

1 small clove minced garlic

A pinch of brown sugar twin

Optional: salt (I used garlic salt, naturally)

Directions:

Rinse and drain noodles well. Pat VERY dry with paper towels. Place noodles in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute. Drain excess liquid from noodles, and pat them again until thoroughly dry (the more dry the better!). Cut noodles into spaghetti-length pieces.

Set aside. In a separate small dish, combine peanut butter, milk, soy sauce, garlic and sweetener. Mix well. Feel free to season this sauce to taste with salt. Pour sauce over noodles, add chopped veggies and mix thoroughly. Allow to chill in the fridge (I was a bit time crunched, and they weren’t as cold as I wanted, so I actually popped mine in the freezer for a few minutes: true story). Then enjoy! MAKES 1 SERVING

IMG_1601The veggies you see on the plate (sorry I didn’t get a better close-up) are a garlic-ginger stir fry. I heated one teaspoon of sesame oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan (I know you’re not really supposed to cook with sesame oil because of its smoke point, but what can I say, I’m a rebel, and I love the flavour). To that, I added chopped garlic (a shocker, I know), TONS of chopped fresh veggies (celery, cauliflower, snow peas, broccoli, red pepper, asparagus…think that was it) and a little bit of chopped fresh pineapple. Seasoning-wise, I added ground ginger (would have used fresh if I had it), and after a couple of minutes cooking, a couple of splashes of soy sauce, salt, and then a touch of white wine vinegar (probably not a traditional Asian ingredient, I know) and a hint of brown sugar twin (going for kinda the sweet ‘n sour vibe).

The whole meal came together wonderfully and was a delicious Asian flavour combo. Mmmm…I Red heartgrilled pineapple.

That same pineapple found its way into dessert (cold though, not grilled), and my newest (banana-less) venture: pin-ango soft serve: a nice cold bowl of IMG_1602tropical goodness. On the previously mentioned quick grocery trip, I decided to pick up some form of frozen fruit to make my carb reduction slightly easier (an update on that: carbs are slowly coming back into my life as of last night). I briefly flirted with the 5 fruit blend (mango, strawberry, grape, melon and cranberry I believe) but ultimately went for the mango chunks. Really, that bag was only $2.99 (I think…or maybe $3.99). If you think about how much fresh mangoes usually cost (unless you’re lucky and score a cheap case), and consider the quantity you get, and it’s already peeled, chopped and frozen, it’s a pretty good deal.

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As you can see from the photo, I combined the frozen mango with the fresh pineapple. I did the usual procedure of my banana soft serve, except that since I was using half fresh fruit, no added almond milk was needed. The fresh pineapple made it a bit softer than usual, but it was still nice and chilly, and there were a few mango chunks (which I actually enjoy). Mmmm….double pineapple pleasure in this meal!

This delicious, fresh, fruity supper was the perfect end to a perfect day. It was low-key, I was able to get some stuff done around the house/yard, and meet the beautiful baby daughter of a long-time friend. She slept in my arms for over an hour…I was all warm and fuzzy inside after. Seriously, I felt like I had a big grin on my face as I walked around the grocery store! Open-mouthed smileGotta love babies!

What makes you warm and fuzzy inside?

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This is what you eat

10 May

 

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This is what to eat when: you have eaten WAY too much on the weekend (and the past 2 weekends) and your body just says it needs something that is NOT full of carbs, fat and/or sugar.

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When: spring is in the air, you just HAVE to grill something, and in addition to the arugula that’s coming up from the stuff you planted last year in your garden, you also have fresh chives and parsley coming up.

 

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When you have an excess of lemons in your kitchen because you bought too much for your recent catering venture.

 

 

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When you want a dinner that has ingredients that can double as a salad for the next day’s lunch since you’re dead-tired and don’t want to spend more time in the kitchen than you have to.

 

Note: you can still make this dinner if all of these circumstances don’t align at once for you, somehow I have a feeling that this doesn’t happen too often for you all. Winking smile

For the salad, you grill eggplant, portobello mushroom, red and orange peppers and onion. While you’re grilling, you think about how your life was a dark and empty place before you discovered how amazingly tasty grilled/roasted veggies are. You mix your grilled veggies with the arugula, some spinach/romaine, spouts, snow peas, cucumber and tomato (double it and make a lunch salad which you top with lunch meat turkey breast, which you use even though everyone says lunch meat is full of crap….you don’t care, besides you used the preservative-free stuff). You top this salad with salt and pepper, and a dressing you made from lemon juice, fat-free Italian dressing, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, dried dill, olive oil, and some fancy wine vinegar you bought in Niagara on March Break.

Now, onto the “pasta” (which was tofu shirataki, of course, after your weekend’s IMG_1056indulgences). You make a simple sauce by sautéing some finely chopped onion and garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil until lightly browned, then adding part of a can of diced tomatoes that you had in the fridge, reducing heat and simmering. Because you read on Pioneer Woman once that lemon is good in pasta, and you have all those lemons, you decide IMG_1060to give it a try (because if you can’t trust PW, who can you trust?). You splash in some lemon juice while the sauce is simmering, then add some zest and juice near the end to bump the flavour up even more. You also add 2 wedges of Laughing Cow light cheese for added creaminess. You simmer this for a few minutes to melt the cheese, then add your dried and drained noodles, and simmer until it’s all hot. After tasting it, you decide that PW was right about lemon in pasta: it’s tasty!IMG_1055

For your protein, you decide to make some chicken meatballs for your “pasta,” and decide to throw them on the grill, since the weather is divine, and you’re in a BBQ state of mind. You start out by mixing 3 ounces ground chicken, a bit of Dijon mustard, a touch of lemon juice (try to be smarter than me and don’t get seeds in the meat), lemon zest, garlic salt, pepper, dried dill, fresh chives and parsley, and Italian seasoning.

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You take your bowl of meat mixture (that you mixed with your fingers of course) right out to the grill and shape it into meatballs and put them on a grill pan that you sprayed with PAM for grilling and excitedly watched the flames flare up. Then you ponder how you’re going to get back into the house since you’re home alone and have nasty chicken goo all over your hands and no one to open the door.

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You grill the meatballs over medium heat until cooked through, bring them in and top your delicious pasta with them on the same large square plate as your salad. You are about to snap a photo and dig in, but are a nerdy food blogger/a little OCD, and run outside and grab another sprig of fresh parsley to top the pasta before taking a picture.

You take the picture, pray, sit down and enjoy while watching an episode of Chopped: All-Stars that you have DVR’ed. You think about how delicious this meal is and how it completely satisfied all the requirements you had in mind.

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For dessert, you make an utterly delicious shake that you came up with earlier in the week, that only has 4 ingredients: Splenda, 1 cup almond milk, 1 sugar-free vanilla pudding cup, 2 tbsp PB2 (well, 5 if you count ice as an ingredient) and that is so simple and delicious you can’t believe you didn’t think of sooner.

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You pour your creation in a tall glass, and, as your crazy food-blogging tendencies start to come out again, hold it in front of the bouquet of cherry tree and forsythia blossoms your mom picked to take a picture. You sit down, relax, sip and enjoy! The perfect delicious yet healthy meal to get you back on track at the end of the weekend!

You may not be just like me (actually, I hope you’re not, ‘cause that could be scary) and have all of these circumstances converge upon you at once, but I still hope you make this meal. It is SERIOUSLY so fresh, healthy and delicious – perfect for spring!

Do you have any favourite meals to get yourself back on track after overindulging? What foods does your body crave after a splurge/binge?

Chinese Fake-Out

24 Mar

So last Friday, I was hanging out with my good friend Megan. Her husband works shifts at a local factory, so when he’s on nights, it’s girls’ night for us. 🙂 Since they often order in Chinese at work, we wanted to compete and order in Chinese for ourselves. We also recently had a conversation lamenting how our Chinese food doesn’t come in those cool traditional takeout containers (is this universal in Canada, or just here in Simcoe….anyone?). Another factor was that Friday came at the end of a week of lots of eating out, so as much as I love Chinese food, I wasn’t feeling up for the added calories and sodium that come with it. My solution? Purchase some adorable takeout containers (see photo, they’re from Bulk Barn) and make my own delicious swaps!

I remembered seeing a Hungry Girl recipe for egg rolls and thought that would be a fun swap to try at home. You can purchase the egg roll wraps at the grocery store…they are usually in the refrigerated section in with the produce (there are a lot in that package, so maybe I’ll have to make some more egg rolls or get creative with them ;)). I tweaked the recipe a bit…Megan and I aren’t shrimp lovers, so I eliminated the shrimp and instead browned 4 oz lean ground chicken in a nonstick frying pan, let it cool, then proceeded with the recipe as directed, swapping the chicken for the shrimp. I skipped out on the bean sprouts, because I’ve bought them before and they go bad FAST! It’s nasty….they get all slimy and smell awful. 😦 Since the recipe only called for 1/4 cup, and you can only buy them pre-bagged in quantities much larger than I need at my grocery store, I didn’t think it was worth it (I would have bought them if I could have gotten them in bulk/picked the quantity myself). I just bumped up the quantities of the other veggies.

Final verdict on the egg rolls? They were really yummy….loved the filling….but not quite as crunchy as restaurant ones, probably because they are baked and not fried (next time I might try flipping them over during baking).

To go with the egg rolls, I made a delicious stir fry. Sort of a take-off on Hungry Girl’s chicken lo mein. The veggies I used were celery, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper and leftover water chestnuts and coleslaw mix from the egg rolls. Side note: I LOVE water chestnuts…I never buy them unless I’m using them in a recipe but they are super-crunchy…and the snow peas as well. I put them both in a salad the next day and loved it…I need to buy both of them more. I thinly sliced up 2 chicken breasts (tip: to thinly slice meat for stir fry, do it while it’s partially frozen…I’ve seen this on tv. I was using frozen meat anyway, so I just didn’t thaw it all the way). And of course there were a couple of cloves of chopped garlic in there too!

I started off by sauteing the chicken and garlic in a tsp of olive oil in a large nonstick wok until almost cooked, then adding all the veggies. I seasoned with salt, pepper and soya sauce. I let cook until the veggies were tender-crisp, then added 2 packages of tofu Shirataki noodles, spaghetti shape (rinsed, drained and patted dry first) and 1 tsp of Sesame Oil (love the flavour of sesame oil for Asian cooking, but it gets lost if you add at the beginning of cook time) and about a tsp of cornstarch dissolved in a little bit of water, just to thicken things up. Doesn’t that look tasty?!?

This was a fun and delicious swap for take-out. Megan and I both enjoyed it all, and for a fraction of the calories that we would have consumed had we ordered in (and no MSG). Ok…I’ll admit…we did order chicken balls to go on the side….how was I going to swap those? And the sweet and sour sauce that comes with them was perfect for dipping the egg rolls (as much as I love sweet and sour sauce, that stuff sort of freaks me out…I mean, that colour isn’t natural! It seems almost radioactive…anyone with me?). And our containers were much cuter than the takeout ones, to be sure. I will definitely do this again (and will have to, with all those egg roll wrappers).

Have you ever tried to make Chinese/Asian at home? If so, what dishes?

Bits and Bites

23 Mar

This post is going to have a little of this, and a little of that…hence the name. First of all…remember my post in praise of quinoa? Well, a few days after I posted about all of my quinoa adventures (side note: don’t let quinoa sit in the fridge too long….I had to toss the last 1/2 cup or so on the weekend, it smelled kind of funky after a full week in the fridge :P), I received an email in my inbox from President’s Choice (one of the many food/cooking emails I subscribe to) all about quinoa. It has a link to 10 quinoa recipes that I thought I’d share with you. At the top of my list to try is the quinoa hotcakes, followed closely by the chocolate quinoa brownies….I’ll keep you posted as I try them.

Secondly, there is one item I didn’t mention in Monday’s post about cross-border shopping (I know I said I wasn’t going to include everything, but this one is too good to miss): tofu shirataki noodles! This is another food that Hungry Girl turned me on to (shocking, I know ;)). Now I have mentioned these before, but as much as I love them, I just can’t say enough about them. 🙂 They are a GREAT low-carb, low-calorie substitute for pasta…20 calories per serving, HELLO? Yes, they are a bit pricey…but so worth it. Now, I do still eat pasta (you’ve seen it on here before)…but sometimes you just want a huge bowl of noodles, plus something more on the side, (like chicken Parm 🙂 ), these guys fit the bill. They are available to order online in Canada, but, since I was there, why not avoid the shipping fees?

Thirdly (and most excitingly), I was nominated for a Stylish Blogger Award by Katie 😀 (thanks hun)! It was sort of funny, I was reading her post about being nominated and thought to myself, “that’s so cool, I wonder how I could get one.”…then I read on and found myself listed as one of her picks…I am so honoured! Katie and I were saying how it’s so cool how the blog world has connected the 2 of us who live many miles apart…one of the many reasons I love blogging! Anyways…back to the award….here are the rules (as posted by Katie….I’m taking her word that they’re correct):

1 – Thank and link back to the one who awarded you
2 – Share 7 things about yourself
3 – Pass the award on to some awesome blogs
4 – Contact said bloggers and let them know they are awesome

Here goes:

1. Thank you so much Katie…as I said above, I am honoured. Check out Katie’s healthy adventures (and follow the crockpot chronicles) at Real Food Katie’s Way.

2. Okay….7 things about me….here goes:

  • 1. I have played the cello since I was 5, done 2 cello exams and 3 theory exams…which was enough to get me a high school credit…I don’t play nearly enough now these days…I need to get back at it before I forget how!
  • 2. As a high school graduation present, my mom took me to Italy and Austria. I got to spend my 18th birthday in Salzburg, Austria, on the Sound of Music Tour (that one was for you Katie, don’t be too jealous ;)).
  • 3. I consider myself an adventurous and healthy eater, except for the fish/seafood department….I don’t touch the stuff if I can help it!
  • 4. My sister and I love to watch re-runs of American Gladiators….not on though right now (if anyone knows a station, let me know).
  • 5. I rarely drink (there’s hardly any alcohol I like…except Bailey’s) and I have never been drunk.
  • 6. My favourite colour is pink, and has been for my entire life (my bedroom, my camera, cell phone, computer, one of my coats and much of my clothing is pink).
  • 7. I don’t drink coffee (I’ve made it 23 years, not starting now), but I love anything that’s coffee-flavoured, and really enjoy coffee-ish beverages (Starbucks lattes and frappucinos are at the top of my list…skinny, of course ;)).

….so there you have it, any surprises?

And now for my nominees (drumroll, please):

Just live laugh eat

Lettuce choose healthy

Carrots ‘n Cake

So there you have it…a nice random post for Wednesday. Happy Hump Day everyone! Do you have any favourite healthy/cooking blogs I should be reading? Let me know…I’m always on the hunt for more!

Italian Lunch à la Hungry Girl

16 Jan

So if you haven’t noticed yet, I have several of my favourite websites for you to peruse on the sidebar. One that you really should consider checking out is Hungry Girl. I could go on and on about how much I love Hungry Girl and all her amazing guilt-free recipes. I have 3 HG cookbooks and many of my favourite recipes come from these books or her site.

Today’s lunch featured two of my favourite Hungry Girl recipes: HG’s Hungry Girl-fredo (with the addition of sauteed mushrooms) and Chicken Parmesan. All I can say is YUM YUM YUM! I also had a side of roasted brussels sprouts. Who would have ever thought that I could have a guilt-free meal of fettucini alfredo and chicken parmesan? Thank you hungry girl, from the bottom of my heart!

One note about the alfredo recipe – it calls for tofu shiritaki noodles – which are quite difficult to find and not too cheap either. But they are worth the effort. In Canada, you can find them at Whole Foods or Longo’s grocery stores. Or you can order online from Low Carb Canada or The Low Carb Grocery. Basically, they are noodles made out of tofu, so they are way lower in carbs and calories than regular pasta. HG loves them, and I really like them too. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat regular pasta, but when you want a pasta dish that won’t use up your calorie budget, these noodles are a calorie bargain. If you give them a try, let me know what you think!