in the kitchen: spaghetti sans noodles

One of the many changes to my diet my doctor has suggested is cutting way back on refined carbs, sugars, and starches, and cutting back on those things in general, even if they’re whole. This helps people with IBS and diabetes especially, but it’s also good for all people, especially if you are an American who has been following the old food pyramid, because that basically advocated a box of cereal, a loaf of bread, and a bushel of potatoes a day, and that’s disgusting. Fat doesn’t put fat on your body, carbs do. Anyway.

I also just generally like to find ways to put more produce into my daily diet. I’ve given up thinking about it in terms of fruits and vegetables, because I’ve always been more of a vegetable girl, and if I keep tabs I get confused about what category you throw things like avocado, tomato, and bell pepper, so instead, I just go with trying to eat a lot of colorful things that come out of the ground.

With a jar of spicy tomato-basil spaghetti sauce (I had it lying around; otherwise I think it’s great to take diced tomatoes, fresh herbs and garlic, and chopped mushrooms and make it fresh), a Trader Joe’s sundried tomato chicken sausage, and a spaghetti squash, I made a delicious, filling dinner that can easily be made vegetarian by subbing the sausage for some kind of fake sausage or extra veggies.

Not the best photo, but it was oh so yummy, and it was a one bowl, one pan meal that didn’t take long at all, except the spaghetti squash, which you can easily make in advance. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then coat the inside with a little olive oil and garlic. Throw it in a baking dish with a little water, bake for an hour at 375 degrees. Scrape out the insides and they look like spaghetti. I made it a day in advance and left it in the fridge, but it probably won’t keep longer than that. Then I threw it in a skillet with the sauce and sausage, tossed it, and served it. So easy to make, easy to change, easy to make with whatever you have in your house.

food for thought: review of the raw truth

Okay, so this book is hella frou frou on the one hand. On the list of harmful and hurtful foods (chemicals, processed foods, hormone-filled foods, etc) it includes “food made with anger.” But when you ignore the sunshine and unicorns, it’s actually a rather well put together guide to kinds of food and what they can be used for. And I do think raw vegans have a point–raw food is good for your body, easily digested, and pretty much always safe. Also, if you like supporting local businesses and farmers, this diet pretty much requires that you do.

A fair amount of the recipes either sound really gross or include ingredients that I can’t have. Raw food actually does include “cooked” food, just at a very low temperature, so there is raw vegan bread that’s allowed, but it’s not gluten free. He also advocates using a lot of wheat germ and wheat grass, and obviously that’s full of gluten. But I still wanted this book because I felt like I owed it to my stomach to try and make it stop always hurting, even nearly a year after I’ve cut out gluten, and at least six months since I cut out dairy and soy. That said, this book is soy-happy, so that leaves out some of the recipes, though I suppose I could actually incorporate meat back into them.

I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, and some are just impractical for my lifestyle. I don’t have the time, space, or windows with good sunlight to try sprouting seeds or buckwheat. So that cuts out some of the recipes, though I supposed they could be modified. This book probably has the only tabouleh I could actually eat, because his recipe uses quinoa instead of bulgur. But I would probably cook my quinoa rather than sprout it.

Since I have no plans to live a raw lifestyle and this is only meant to be supplementary for me, I think it’s a good resource. I’m most looking forward to trying the drink recipes, since I’ve been wanting to incorporate more fruit and tea into my diet. And many of the salad dressing recipes look bomb diggity. If you were just trying to find low-stress recipes or things that you could make in advance and keep for busy days or for a lunchbox, the recipes in here are perfect. There are cold soups, salads, smoothies, and little side dishes that I think would make an excellent addition to a non-raw meal, or, if you’re like me, you could make a meal of sides. Since I am on campus for 12 hours on Mondays and can’t bring food with me that needs to be refrigerated or heated up, I am planning on making the apple cinnamon cups and some of the pates and taking that with crackers or chips. Multiple-side-dish-no-entree meals definitely seem more and more to be the best option when you have my dietary restrictions and want to avoid the high calorie, high sugar gluten-free alternatives to normally gluten-full foods.

The Raw Truth by Jeremy A. Safron. Berkeley (where else?): Celestial Arts, 2003. 1st ed.

in the kitchen: baked vegetable pakoras

After going to the Copley Farmers’ Market on Friday, I was really excited to do something with this:

I mean, look at it. And actually, that’s not a photo of mine, because I’m bad at photos (so this one is from Woophy.com). Mine is an even softer orange, and they called it “cheddar cheese cauliflower.” I had to have it. And since I also had some other vegetables in my fridge that needed to be eaten (why do carrots and celery lose their crunchiness so quickly here compared to Arizona?), I decided I should try to make pakoras. Pakoras are great because they’re a side dish that can easily be a main dish just with a larger portion. You can use just about any vegetable (I used carrot, cauliflower, and asparagus, but zucchini, onion, and broccoli are also good), and the batter is easy. It’s essentially deep fried veggies, but instead of deep frying, they’re baked, and they use garbanzo flour, so they’re gluten free. They really taste like junk and yet they’re not so bad for you. I think it’s the curry powder and the fact that it’s not regular old flour that makes you think you’re eating actual deep fried things, even though you’re not.

I had a recipe, but as I went about doing it, I realized that it must have been more of a pakora pancake kind of recipe, and the time I ate pakoras at a restaurant, it was more like deep fried individual veggie pieces. So, even though I followed the recipe’s proportions as far as baking powder:flour:curry:salt, I decided to try and make them resemble what I’ve had before (though I had them in the Czech Republic, so that’s not the biggest indication that I was doing it right). So that’s it–an egg, some oil, garbanzo flour, baking powder, salt, and curry. Toss the veggies in it, bake it for 20 minutes, and done! Since lately I can’t eat anything without hot sauce, I decided to throw some sriracha on them. If you can have dairy, they’re traditionally served with raita sauce. Hummus would probably be good, too. And now I’m enjoying some cool mango sorbet.

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Welcome to Picky Girl Tries To Eat. I’m the picky girl, and I’d like to be able to eat. View the About page for information on what exactly I’m not allowed to eat (medical and personal reasons). And stay tuned for restaurant, store, and product reviews, recipes and cooking adventures, and book and television reviews.