Tag Archives: spinach

Pesto Pasta with Spinach, Broccoli and Walnuts

I cook pasta at least once a week.  And, taking into account leftovers, we eat pasta three times a week.  It’s fast and versatile.  And, while I usually rely on marinara sauce or quick spaghetti sauce, I try to incorporate different flavors and textures to create a satisfying dish without being too monotonous.

And, with my everlasting fondness for pesto, this dish is appropriate for a lunch or dinner.  And, the flavors get even better the next day.  So, leftovers of this comforting dish are anything but mundane.

The addition of spinach, broccoli and toasted walnuts adds depth and nutritional value without compromising taste.

Pesto Pasta with Spinach, Broccoli and Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 oz) package bow tie pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 head broccoli crown
  • 1 (10 oz) package of frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed and drained of water
  • 3/4 cup pesto – use your favorite pesto (I used half basil pesto and half sun-dried tomato pesto)
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus additional for dusting on top

Directions:

  1.  Boil pasta to al dente in salted water.  Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Using a large saucepan (I use my dutch oven), and heat your olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is heated, add the garlic and cook for approximately 2 minutes – until the garlic is slightly brown.  Add the broccoli and stir for a minute.  Cover the broccoli and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook the broccoli for 3 minutes over medium.  After 3 minutes, add the spinach to the broccoli.  At this point, you are just trying to warm up the spinach without overcooking the broccoli.  I cook the spinach with the broccoli for about one minute.  You do not want to overcook the broccoli.  You want it to be firm but not raw.  If you can pierce it, it’s ready – you definitely do not want it be mushy.
  3. Once the broccoli/spinach mixture is cooked, add it to the bowl containing the pasta.
  4. To the pasta/broccoli mix, add your pesto, red pepper flakes, walnuts, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.  Toss to ensure that the pasta is evenly coated.
  5. Check for salt and add more if desired.  I start with 1/4 tsp because the pesto and the Parmesan add saltiness to the dish.
  6. Once the pasta is coated, sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on top right before serving.

5 Comments

Filed under garlic, olive oil, Uncategorized

Summer Smoothie

Sometimes, a smoothie can solve all problems.

For instance, when you are sweaty in the morning because you spent the night under your winter sheets, a smoothie really can perk you right up.

Or, when you ate an inordinate amount of pizza for dinner, and you really need to fill your taste buds (and body) with normal whole foods, a smoothie can jump-start your road to good eating the next day.

This is my go-to all-around-great summer smoothie.  And, it’s SCD approved!

Summer Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 handfuls of organic spinach
  • 2 tbsp honey, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients into blender until you are left with a magnificent and refreshing smoothie.

I added natural peanut butter and almonds.  Next time, I’ll use more drippy peanut butter, but the flavor was all there.  The almonds add the perfect crunch while giving you all the antioxidant goodness.

What’s in your summer smoothie?

16 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Vegetarian

Life After Cleanse

Since the juice cleanse, I have been trying to keep up with the SCD Diet.  It’s definitely hard as I’m not used to scrutinizing everything I eat.  And, it may come as a surprise that giving up bread is really hard.  I don’t miss the cookies and cakes as much as bread, pasta and rice.

My skin has stayed about the same – a little more inflamed since the fast but not as bad as it was before at all.

So what have I been eating?

If you read Joy The Baker’s blog, you know that she did the Blue Print Cleanse and after, she made a vegan cream of mushroom soup.

I followed suit.  Because if it’s one thing I’ve learned is that for good food – do what Joy does.

There is nothing seemingly vegan about this soup.  It’s rich and most of all – creamy.

This was my first time experimenting with cashew cream and I am hooked for LIFE!  Mind you, I’m not a soup person.  I will push aside any bowl of soup for a salad monster or a sandwich.  But, this soup takes the no-grain-no-sugar-no-flour cake.

And it seems like lately my life meals aren’t complete without an apple (I’ve turned into Dorry) and some sauteed spinach.

More news – my life hasn’t been on pause lately.  I’m going to do the hydrogen breath test.  If it is SIBO, I am likely going to start taking Rifaximin (Xifaxan) to see if this can be cured/helped.  I will keep you all updated.

If you or any loved ones deal with any type of stomach, intestinal, or internal problems, you have to know that a lot of damage has been done by the past.  So, time is necessary to heal what has been broken.

Be good to your insides and I have faith that you will glow on the outside.

What do you eat on a daily basis?  Do you believe in the apple-a-day theory/rule?  How are you good to your physical or emotional insides?

9 Comments

Filed under Health, Life, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Spring Forward

Spring is truly here.  Warmer winds are sneaking up on us, and the flowers are in bloom.  If you live in Texas, you probably notice the abundance of Bradford Pear Trees in full glory – and what a sight to see.

Usually by this time, I realize that my body and mind are ready for a rejuvenation.  I usually put aside my winter hibernating actions (i.e. eating heavier foods, not exercising as much, keeping indoors, etc.) and start a new healthy regimen.  There is no official regimen.  But, as the coats, scarves and turtlenecks are exchanged for breezy blouses, tank tops and shorts (gah!), I naturally start changing things around.

What does this mean?

–  More walking – I have no excuse to sit my butt at home hiding from the cold.  So, I get out there and walk and the pups loves it!  The walks eventually include little bursts of jogging.

–  More juicing –  When the winter comes, I put aside my juicer for warmer fare.  But, when the climate is warm, the juicer is brought back to life.  The combinations and nutrients are endless.

Source (Spabettie)

–  More water –  It should come as no surprise that springs quickly turn into summers in Texas and the heat jumps along with it.  My body naturally requires more water and I make sure to drink up.

–  More whole foods – When the spring bounty arrives (hopefully from my very own garden), I love using every vegetable possible in every cooking method possible.  Kale is a favorite!

Source: (Purple Bird Blog)

–  More raw foods – I make the switch from soups to salads.  And talk about versatility!  Salads are the best example, but there are ton of other ways to include raw foods into your diet.

Source: (The Lean Green Bean)

Source: (Living With Healthy Hunger)

–  More Whole Foods:  It doesn’t help/hurt (depending on the day and my wallet) that I work right across from a Whole Foods – meaning it takes me 5 minutes to walk to it (pending I don’t injure myself crossing the street).  And, we do.  We get our office water from there so while Binks fills up, I explore.  Recently, I bought this:

Mind you, I have the Berry flavor and I throw it into smoothies and Whole Foods apple juice (per their sampling).  I think the Berry flavor works perfectly with smoothies as it gives the whole smoothie a much-enjoyed pop!

Now, while I bought the Chocolate flavor, I have no idea what to do with it.  Any suggestions/links?

And, I received a very special surprise in the mail recently!

Thanks Tiffany!

What do you do to gear up for spring?  Do you make any changes to your lifestyle for the new season?

29 Comments

Filed under Health, Life, Uncategorized

Green With Yummy

It has been my goal as of late to make efforts (substantial efforts) to get rid of things in my pantry/fridge before I go grocery shopping.  For instance, do you know what I can do with a gallon of raw milk that I cannot finish by the expiration date?  Well, I figured it out – so tune in! 😉

In this case, it was spinach.  I usually use it up with green monsters, salads and the like, but I had some extra to use up.

This is where Diana and her Green Monster Muffins enters the scene.  I have had this recipe printed and bookmarked since early early 2010 (I have to stress the early).  With that said, this was definitely not the first time I have tried one of Diana’s recipes (here).

And, like her cookie dough balls, the muffins were another hit!


*The only change I made was to add orange zest instead of lemon and I only had cinnamon apple sauce.  Loved every bite!

Moist, fully flavorful with a hint of the orange, and an excellent crumb.

And, I did eat every single one of those crumbs.

My review of these chic muffins:  très bien!

Have you tried Diana’s Green Monster Muffins?  How do you make efforts to use things up in your pantry/fridge?  Do you enjoy grocery shopping?

16 Comments

Filed under baking, Bread, Breakfast, Desserts, Favorites, Vegetarian

I Lied.

I Lied.

I said I was going to make naan.

I didn’t.

I made fried brown rice.

I said I would make dal makhani.

I didn’t.

I made “Everyday Dal.

Christin @ Purple Bird Blog requested I make saag aloo.

I didn’t.

I made regular Saag.

And, my MIL made aloo gobi.

I’m horrible I know.

I’ll make up for it.

I made rajma.

That’s one step above and beyond.

Right?

I’ll make it up to you – and me – with the naan.

I promise.

You can trust me.

😉

Fried Brown Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter  (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 bay leaf*
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick*
  • 1 tsp cloves*
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn*
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds*
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups boiling water – I start my tea kettle around the time I start adding oil to my pot

Directions:

  • Heat the oil/butter in a heavy pot until melted.
  • Add cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorn, cumin and bay leaf.
  • Saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  (The flavors really will just come alive.)
  • Add rice and saute for another 3 minutes.
  • Add salt.
  • Add water.
  • Cover and let it cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until rice is perfectly done.   The water (after 20 minutes) should have been absorbed.  If not, leave it covered for another 5 minutes.  Brown rice does take longer to cook than white rice.

*Do not replace the actual ingredients with the powdered version.  You are better off leaving it out altogether.

Saag

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of spinach, chopped
  • 1 bunch of greens (turnip or mustard), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano peppers, chopped (please adjust based on your spice preference)
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • salt, as required

Directions

  • In a large pot, add olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions, ginger, garlic, peppers and saute until tender.
  • Add the spinach, greens and a cup of water.
  • Cover and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes until the leaves of the spinach and greens are tender.
  • Take spinach mixture and pour into a blender (if you can’t fit it all into a blender, split it up into batches).
  • Puree until the spinach mixture is fairly smooth.  I pulse about 4 times for 20 seconds each to leave some leaves still in tact.
  • Return the mixture to the pot over medium heat.
  • Add salt to taste.  I usually add about 2 tsp and increase from there based on my taste.
  • Simmer mixture over medium heat.  The longer you simmer, the better and concentrated the taste.
  • Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  I have left it on simmer for more than an hour, and the flavor just intensifies.

Everyday Dal

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup dry brown/green lentils, rinsed and drained – I can’t quite tell if my lentils are brown or green.  It’s a mixture and the kind you get anywhere.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of ginger, minced
  • 2 jalapenos or serranos (again, please adjust to your liking)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 cups water

Directions:

  • In saucepan, boil lentils  in 3 cups of water over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils start getting soft.  Do not drain after.
  • In a separate pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic, ginger and peppers, and saute until tender.
  • Add turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper, cumin seeds and coriander.  Mix until the raw spice smell is gone.  Warning: the cumin seeds may sputter so be careful.
  • Add the spice/onion mixture to the cooked lentils.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Allow the whole mixture to boil/simmer for another 30 minutes until the water has absorbed more into the lentils and the mixture becomes thick (rather than watery).

8 Comments

Filed under Favorites, Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian