Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gemelli with Sweet Sausage and Spinach



This is a recipe that I found from the "Food and Wine Magazine 2004" Edition. It's very tasty and different from my regular pasta with my sauces. If you find the ingredients that are considered clean and good for you, this meal is quick and easy to make. My boyfriend and I weren't quite sure what to have for dinner. We tossed around some ideas. I knew I had the sausage in the freeze. He started thinking peppers and onions to go with the sausage. I love that meal as well but I knew I didn't have all of the ingredients. (Peppers are not in season!) However, I did have spinach and pasta around. I pulled the sausage out, defrosted it and made dinner. It's a bit spicy but you don't have to put the red pepper flakes in it if you don't want to.



Gemelli with Sweet Sausage and Spinach
3/4 lb of gemelli or penne (this particular night, I used penne, as always 100% whole wheat)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, quarted length wise and thinly sliced crossed wise.
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed (I was able to find sausage with no nitrates or chemicals)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped spinach
1/2 pint grape tomatoes (I didn't put tomatoes in as we didn't have them but it tastes fabulous either way)
salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions




1. In large pot, boil water. Add pasta and cook until al dente. drain, leaving one cup of water on the side




2. In large deep skillet, heat olive oil until shimmering




3. Add onion and cook over moderate high heat stirring until softened. (about 4 to 5 minutes). Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Cook while breaking up the meat for about 5 minutes. Add spinach, tomatoes and cook until soften. (About 3 minutes)




4. Add pasta and reserved water. Cook lightly crushing the tomatoes until heated. In two minutes season with salt. Transfer to bowls, sprinkle with cheese and serve.




"For those searching for something more than just the norm. We lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going down hill, when we stop taking risks."


Homemade Granola







When I first started cleaning up my diet, I started with my breakfast. I used to eat Cascadian Farms Granola Cereal. Needless to say, the ingredients were not so good. It included food that was not considered clean eating. I was definitely misled by the cover of the box which said it was organic and natural. I found a recipe from 100daysofrealfood.com for homemade granola. I tweaked the recipe to make it my own. I used some ingredients from the cereal I liked previously and then added flavors that I liked. Homemade granola does not last very long in my apartment. I love adding fresh fruit and milk with it. When I first started dating my boyfriend, I made it for him to take with him to work. He loved it. He requested that I make it this weekend for him. He now has a whole batch for breakfast at work. It's really simple to make and very satisfying.




Granola Cereal


3 cups rolled oats
3 cups of whole wheat puffed rice
1 cup nuts (I use whatever is on hand. I like almonds. This particular picture contains walnuts)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Also need – parchment paper



Directions


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Cover a rectangular baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients together in big bowl
Heat the butter, honey and vanilla together in a small saucepan over low heat.
Pour the hot liquids over the dry ingredients and stir together with a rubber spatula until evenly coated.
Spread mixture onto prepared pan in one even layer. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes
The granola will become crisp as it cools at which point you can break into pieces or break it up into small chunks by pounding it in a zip lock bag. Store in air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.








“As for my own surfing, let's just say that when the waves start pushing 10 feet, I get this tremendous urge to make a sandwich.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce



Before I even start with the recipe, let me tell you, it was delicious!!! You do have to like mushrooms in order to like this meal. Once you prepare all the ingredients, its one two three done. :) It's definitely going on my rotation of meals to cook. It's made from all real food and it's perfect for the season. The recipe is from Cooking Light Cooking Through the Seasons



Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

1 lb uncooked farfalle (whole wheat)

1 tablespoon butter

12 oz presliced exotic mushroom blend (or any presliced mushroom blend)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoon salt. divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup dry white wine

2/3 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup (2oz grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

minced fresh parsley (optional)




1. Cook pasta according to package directions omitting salt and fat. drain

2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper; cook 12 mins or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 2 mins or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

3. Add cooked pasta, whipping cream, cheese, and 2 tablespoons parsley, tossing gently to coat. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Garnish with minced fresh parsley if desired. Serve immediately. Yield 8 servings (serving size 1 1/4 cup)
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. But when life hands you hurricanes, you go surfing.” -Jon Foreman


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Whole Wheat Waffles



I am a huge breakfast person these days. I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am home for breakfast. I have the time to make it. If you have a waffle pan, I highly recommend this recipe. The following recipe for whole wheat waffles is great to make on the weekends if you don't have time during the week. It freezes well so you can always make double the batch. You can pop it in the microwave anytime and it tastes just as good as the first day it was made.

When I first suggested to my boyfriend that I make whole wheat waffles one morning, he made a face. He said he would try them. He did and he loved it! He also said it was better then the instant mix, Bisquick!! I also made this as part of my Christmas Eve brunch for my sister, brother in law and mother. They all loved it!!! Success!! They were all surprised that whole wheat waffles could taste this good. My sister even stated that it tasted like "french toast".

I adapted my recipe from www.100daysofrealfood.com. I like more cinnamon then the original recipe which accounts for the french toast taste. Either way, its delicious. I pour 100% maple syrup on and have some fruit on the side (fresh squeezed grapefruit or orange juice goes great as well) Voila, breakfast is served. It is frequently requested on the weekends by my boyfriend. I am more then happy to serve these to him. :)


Whole Wheat Waffles


Ingredients
2 large eggs
1 ¾ cups milk
¼ cup oil (I used coconut oil)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt




Directions

Preheat your waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, honey, cinnamon, and baking soda until well combined. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk together just until the large lumps disappear.

When the waffle iron is hot, spray on a little bit of cooking spray and then ladle some batter onto the center of the iron. Follow the instructions that came with your waffle maker to know how long it should be cooked as each one is different. Mine has a light that turns on and off when the waffle pan is hot enough and when the waffle is done.

Yield: 4 or 5 servings



Surfing, alone among sports, generates laughter at its very suggestion, and this is because it turns not a skill into an art, but an inexplicable and useless urge into a vital way of life. - Matt Warshaw

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 changes



2012. The new year has begun and people pledge to change their behaviors during this month. Whether, it's eating healthier, going to the gym, quitting smoking, losing weight, whatever it is. This is the most popular month for changes. I am not one of those people. :) Then why am I writing a post labeled 2012? Well, because I'm going to continue implanting the changes I made in September. I will however be a lot more aware about what I'm eating then I have been the past month or so. I figure next holiday, I should be feeling much more comfortable with converting my holidays with "whole foods and clean eating". I wasn't entirely too comfortable this holiday season with converting everything I ate. When I did host a meal in my house though, I did make my food clean, healthy and yummy. I got many compliments. :)
For Christmas, I did get the Omivore's Dilemnia by Michael Pollen. If I wasn't already converted before, this book further confirms that I am doing the right thing for myself. (I also read his book In Defense of Food. Both very good reads and recommended if you want to understand why I feel the way I do about my food habits now) I also got a bread machine and a yogurt machine. YUM. Already used both machines. I tried the whole wheat bread and it came out fabulous. Yay to having bread again in my house. I had avoided all the breads in the store because they all had high fructose syrup which is something I avoid like the plague if possible. I couldn't find bread that had less then 5 ingredients and did not contain high fructose syrup. I made the yogurt which was significantly more difficult to make then the bread. I plan on trying the yogurt tomorrow with the homemade granola I make.
On to the new year and my plans. I would ideally love to be completely comfortable with being a clean and whole food eating life style. I would love to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen making food from scratch. Yes it is a different taste and time consuming but it's a lot better for the body. I find it to be more tastier and filling. (Sugar is addicting!!) I also want to spend more time out of the supermarket and a lot closer to those who supply me with my food. Here's my plan. I'm open to suggestions as well.

1. Join a CSA - A CSA will most certainly allow me to know where my fruits and vegetables come from. It will come directly from the farmer. ( I will also be supporting my local farmers with this plan) If I do this, I will definitely be forced to eat seasonally as the farmers can only grow what is in season. It will also give me a variety of choices. I must do my research and see which ones on Long Island is the best choice for me. I do know it costs money but in the long run, its a lot cheaper then going to th supermarket weekly. The reason I plan do this instead of a garden is simply the fact that I don't own a house. I live an apartment and do not have the space for a garden. (One day!)

2. Make my own bread/pasta/grains (All 100% whole wheat) - I've already been buying beans and grains whole wheat. I buy my beans and wheat dry. I have to soak my beans and cook before I use them (I forget this sometimes!) It's a lot better then canned beans which have a ton of sodium in them. I recently got the bread machine so I can make my own bread. I'll be looking forward to playing around with this machine all year! I would ideally also love to make my own pasta too.

3. Meat and Fish - Ideally I would like to get my fish from the fish market where they catch fish on a regular basis. My other meat is a different story. I need to find a local farmer/butcher that can deliver my meat to me in the way I would like it. This means, beef is 100% grass fed, chicken is free range, etc. (read earlier post for my criteria). I'm able to find this at Whole Foods but the selections are limited. (I also refuse to spend an obsene amount of money on food just because it fits my criteria. I simply won't buy meat that week then)

4. Can my vegetables and fruit - Eventually I would also like to learn how to can my own fruit and vegetables. I'd like to make my own preservatives, jams and sauce, all home made and fresh.

So after all this, ideally I would only need to go to the supermarket to get basic ingredients that I would not have on hand, such as spices and flour. I have however been reading other blogs and they will order in bulk online stuff that they use frequently. I'm pondering this idea. Once I have a list of resources I use, that will be another post! :) If any of my readers have resources that they currently use and would like to suggest it, please leave a comment below.

Once I have my ingredients in the kitchen, I will be experimenting with my regular recipes as well as trying many different new ones. I'll keep you posted as I find yummy recipes. Readers may post requests and I'll get to work on trying to find/create a clean and whole food recipe.
So don’t take just any wave that comes along. The greatest surfers, they all have this sixth sense. They know when the best waves are coming. They can feel it. It’s a gift. You have that gift too. - Soul Surfer