Monday, October 12, 2015

Kung Pao Cauliflower {Paleo}

Coming out of my hiatus from blogging (due to me finally starting my Dietetic Internship) I must say, this recipe comes out with a POW! Get it? Kung Pao! Living on my own on the opposite coast as my hometown has obviously taken its toll on my joke telling. 

Another withdraw from my home base is none other than,  Chinese Food. Gosh, there was Chinese food back home, every corner to be exact. But my family's favorite, Golden China, was a bit of a drive however, so worth it. No matter where we ate, Golden China was #1 and they use to stay open 365 days a year! So, cuddling up to a warm fire watching a Netflix movie with some Kung Pao prawns was our Friday night go-to. Unfortunately, I don't have this luxury anymore. 

There are plenty of Thai places, but none that do a Kung Pao dish like Golden China. Now, I don't claim to do it better, but boy... it was close. I should preface this recipe by also stating that I did not use any "Kung Pao" stored in a bottle with 100000+ preservatives in this recipe. But, you should know I'm a non-preservative kind of gal by now. Although prawns, chicken or any meat could be added to this recipe, I wanted to hold true to Meatless Monday and use my beloved Cauliflower. 

1 head of Cauliflower
2 tsp. Coconut Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 c. Baby Bell Mushrooms, sliced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1" Ginger, minced
2 tbs. filtered Water
1/2 tbs. Red Pepper Flakes
1 tbs. Chili Sauce (omit if you don't like it super spicy!)
1/2 oz. raw Cashew Pieces
2 tbs. Green Onions, chopped

2 tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
3 tbs. Liquid Aminos
1 1/2 tbs. Coconut Sugar (or Stevia if you want)
1 tbs. Ketchup (for a Paleo ketchup, click here)
1/2 c. Filtered Water

Yields ~ 4 servings 

Break down your cauliflower into uniform florets. You want them to be pretty small about 1" max in height. Wash, Rinse, Dry and add to a hot saute pan with a little bit of melted coconut oil. Over high heat, pan-fry the florets. They should be lightly brown on most sides ~ 20 minutes, stirring and flipping occasionally. I know, it will feel like they are burning, but they're not don't panic! :)

Add diced bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. Don't let things get mush, just let them fry up and get soft. Once they are soft ~ 10 minutes add in garlic and ginger.  Add in 1 tbs. filtered water and put a lid on your pan. Lower heat to medium and let the aromatics from the ginger and garlic penetrate your veggies. This is a great time to make your sauce.

In a small saucepan, mix together sauce ingredients. Place over high heat and let the sauce reduce ~ 6 minutes. Because this sauce has sugar it will bubble up to the top, so you need to keep a watchful eye on this and whisk consistently. Once the sauce has reduced by 1/2 you can turn the heat off and go back to your veggies.

After about 10 minutes remove lid from your veggies and let water evaporate if it hasn't already. The water will also help cook through your cauliflower if you're worried that they may still be hard. Mix in the red pepper flakes and raw cashews and turn your heat off. Pour reduced sauce over vegetables and mix well to coat. Garnish with green onions and more red pepper flakes if you want it XXX spicy!

I served mine over 1/4 c. of cooked plain Cauli-rice and it was AH-mazing! ~ENJOY!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Low-Calorie All Egg McMuffin

I've been seeing so many of these "egg mc muffin" commercials from McDonald's new All Day Breakfast campaign. Don't get me wrong it's an amazing ad campaign. But as a hopeful soon-to-be dietitian I do believe in the slogan, "Everything in moderation". However, there are some things you should know about this beloved breakfast sandwich. First, lets talk nutrition facts: 
Now, to be honest, 300 calories— not too shabby. But who, eats just 1? The other thing that's good to note here is the amount of protein. Seventeen grams of protein, wowza that's awesome! It also has some Calcium (from the cheese), Sugar (from the bacon and bread) and Saturated Fat (how the whole thing is cooked and the cheese). The point of concern here is, Sodium. Here are some facts about sodium. You actually do need it (contrary to popular belief) because it helps maintain electrolyte balance. Electrolytes— what?? Electrolytes are charged molecules that play a role in your body to maintain your body's normal function. Basically, Salt ions (Na+) are charged, like batteries. There electric charge allow for proper fluid maintenance. So you do need some sodium. But how much is enough? The Food and Drug Administration suggests 2300 mg for the healthy American per day. But, it is amazing that the FDA also found that on average American's consume 3400 mg per day in their diet. Uh, oh. Now who knows what the cause of high levels of sodium can cause?

HYPERTENSION i.e., high blood pressure. 

Therefore, if this is you, the daily maximum for sodium is 1500 mg! There are also some other sub populations that are prone to hypertension that should also stick to the 1500 limit. Now, if you eat two Egg McMuffins,  you can't eat ANYTHING else that comes from a box. All processed foods use some sort of salt-based preservative in order to keep them from going bad. If you are on a 1500 mg sodium restriction, you should stick to ~ 500 mg sodium per meal. One Egg McMuffin will set you over this 500 mg per meal goal.

It is appropriate to note, that this Egg Mc Muffin is not bad and has  healthy components like protein. But, maybe this McMuffin is an awesome treat on certain days you won't be eating much else with high-salt throughout the day. So I thought to myself, what is a healty alternative for the same amount of protein without the amount of salt? What about just healthy eggs for protein? That sounds awesome, but not everyone has time to make fried eggs in the morning, I know I don't. I needed a quick grab and go, like an egg mc muffin. 

So here you go: All Egg Mc Muffins. Only about 100 calories each, and for 2 of them, you are no where near the sodium in 1 McD Egg McMuffin. Additionally, there is MORE protein in 2 of these highly-customizeable muffins than an Egg McMuffin. 
Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by anyone affiliated for or against McDonalds. I am purely looking at nutrition facts from their website and making my own judgements based on my own knowledge of food and nutrition facts. 

[Two muffins: 2 eggs, 1/4 c. bell peppers,
1 tbs. mushrooms,
1 oz. turkey bacon, 2 tbs. diced tomatoes,
1/4 oz. almond milk cheese]
Cage-free eggs
Diced Bell peppers (or some fire-roasted bell peppers from Trader Joe's frozen section!)
Turkey Bacon
Ground Turkey
Almond-milk cheese (or any low fat cheese)

[Yes, I understand that is a lot of ingredients. But really pick and choose what you want to add in to each one. Make it different, make it unique to add more variety to each muffin.]

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Spray non-stick cooking spray in a regular-size muffin tin.
In each, add above ingredients to tin until it reaches half way. Scramble one egg (or egg white) on the side, and fill the tin. Repeat for 12 tins i.e., 12 eggs. Pop in oven for 20 minutes! Top with almond cheese or any low-fat cheese (if using). These can also be put in the freezer when done to keep peserved. Then you can microwave them in the morning when you want. I usually eat 2 of the whole eggs, and maybe 2 of the egg-white only muffins.

So easy, right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash

This week has been a whirlwind! I have to part ways with my favorite roommate of all time as we are moving out of our precious home and moving out of my college town. I really cannot believe it has been 5 years since I moved here. I'll never forget, the first day we pulled in. Of course, our luck it was raining on move in day. Is that still a good sign, even though it's not a wedding? Well, we got my entire room set up in less than 30 minutes. You can thank Mom for that awesome packing and unpacking record.   
My Freshmen Year Dorm Room Bed!  
Ha— well, then after my parents moved me in, we drove around the city. I remember my distinctly my dad saying, "One day, you'll run circles around this town." Well, he's right! But it wasn't like that in the beginning. Back then, the city was enormous... I even bought a griffin GPS just to get from point A to point B. So crazy to think of that now as year 5 has finished and the city limites have creeped in on me. Now, getting from point A to point B without knowing at least 10 people is a "weird" day. I will miss this beautiful city of bikes, but excited for what the East coast has in store for this California born and raised girl!

Staying true to my California roots, I visted my Papa's garden for some home grown, local, and organic spaghetti squash! He's the cutest, he found these squash growing "Wild" in his garden (he forgot he planted those seeds), didn't know what to do with them... naturally, he handed me over a box! I've got about 20 more days to utilize his homegrown gems, beginning with this recipe that I know will be a hit! 

Noodle Base
6 c. spaghetti squash (2 big squash, 1 small squash)
14 oz. extra-firm tofu, diced
1 tbs. olive oil
1 large red onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. of shredded carrots
1 1/2 c. bean sprouts
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 c. unsalted peanuts, chopped (plus 1 tbs. for garnish)

Peanut Sauce
3 tbs. fish sauce
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbs. peanut butter (I used extra chunky!)
1 tsp. stevia (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced

Yields ~ 6 servings (1 cup)

Directions: Prepare your spaghetti squash (directions on this post). While squash is baking, make your sauce. Add all ingredients to a stock pot over medium heat until all ingredients have dissolved.

Begin by pan frying diced tofu in olive oil. Add the red onions, garlic, and carrots to the tofu over heat and let them sweat out for about 2 minutes. You're not looking to fry things down here. Just sweat things out and let the flavors coagulate together. Once squash is cooled, mix together squash noodles, pan-fried veggies, and tofu. Add  the bean sprouts, green onions, and peanuts before tossing in your cooled sauce. Mix together and ~ENJOY!