Call The Griswolds and cue The Go-Gos, because the theme of this month’s Recipe Redux is VACATION.

Stir up (literally) a recipe that reminds me of a vacation? Well, I wish I could say that this was inspired by a tropical jaunt to the beach, or my interntional summer adventures to Spain or Japan, but as much as I want to recreate some of those memories in food form…

This recipe is all about a road trip.

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A trip, specifically, that Sister Smart and I took to South Georgia after moving me into my new apartment in Tuscaloosa three years ago (plus a week or so).

Stopping by a roadside vegetable stand in South Alabama, we decided to buy (and try for the first time), some good ol’ southern boiled peanuts.

...which, as so many of y'all aren't familiar, taste like salty peanuts but with the texture of a chickpea.

And..oh my.

Salty, sweet, with–as I mentioned at the time–the texture of a chickpea.IMG_7650 (1280x853)

What better to make hummus with, then, no?

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OK, so not technically hummus, because, as we’ve talked about ad nauseum, hummus means chickpea, and it can’t actually be hummus without ’em.

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But without ’em it’s FODMAP friendly, potentially easier to digest, and simply delicious.

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I can’t guarantee you can find canned boiled peanuts unless you live in the South, near a Winn Dixie…

IMG_7652 (1280x853)…but if you don’t live in the South you probably recoiled at the thought of boiled peanuts and aren’t even reading this anymore…so we’re cool.IMG_7686 (1280x853)

Cajun Boiled Peanut “Hummus”

(Low FODMAP, GF, Vegan)

  • 2 13.5 oz. cans boiled peanuts
  • 1 1/5 Tbsp. tahini
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped, peeled yellow squash (optional)*
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin (or more, to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper (or more, to taste)
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  1. Crack and peel drained peanuts.
  2. Rinse peanuts VERY well.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients (except water) in a food processor.
  4. Process until well mixed.
  5. Add water by the tablespoon until desired consistency.

*Adding yellow squash will add bulk and reduce fat and calories, however the flavor is diluted, and you may need to add some extra spice.

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Part of the Low FODMAP “conversion” has been figuring out how to cook dishes and meals I love in a way that will (ideally) be a bit better for my belly.*

*I may have to change my diet, but my love for alliteration will remain!IMG_7865 (1280x853)

I’ve already reconfigured my recipe for bulgogi, and since I’ve worked with Americanized (and FODMAP-olated?) Korean food….why not try Thai?IMG_7857 (1280x853)

One of my FAVORITE FAVORITE things to make (any time, but especially when The Professor is gone because this method of “one pot” pasta cooking offends him, much like any pasta made without semolina) is my One Pot Thai Veggie Pasta.IMG_7847 (1280x853)

With The Professor out of town this past week, I knew JUST what to do: make a FODMAP friendly version for me to indulge in…for the next three days.*

*I like it best cold. What can you do?IMG_7848 (1280x853)

The sauce is even creamier than before, and I do suggest adding just a hint of clove to stand in for the lack of Worcestershire (although if you can tolerate it, by all means, cut back on the fish sauce and use that instead…I’m still testing certain condiments so I played it safe).IMG_7867 (1280x853)

Seriously, still amazing.

Still not REALLY Thai food.

And still the kind of thing you make that is really hard not to consume all at once, with a wooden spoon, while standing over the stove.

Low FODMAP One-Pot Thai Veggie Noodles

(Serves 4)

  • 8 oz. dry gluten-free linguini or spaghetti (I love the Jovial brand of Tagliettelle!)
  • 1 cup carrots, matchsticks
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 cup zucchini, julienned
  • 1 cup yellow squash, julienned
  • 1/2 lime, sliced, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • 1/4 chopped cilantro , for garnish

For the broth:

  • 3 1/4 cup water
  • 2 green onions, just the dark green parts, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter or 3 Tbsp. peanut butter powder + 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato sauce (make sure there are no added seasonings)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. low-sodium tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. lime (or lemon) juice
  • 1 tsp. minced lemongrass (optional)
  • 1 tsp. ground chili paste (sambal oolek)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. asafatoida (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp garlic infused oil (optional, I use Garlic Gold)
  1. In a large stockpot, stir together all broth ingredients.
  2. Add vegetables and pasta to the pot. (Don’t worry if it is sticking out of the liquid.)
  3. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring consistently until pasta wilts into the water.
  4. Continue to stir regularly, cooking 10-12 minutes.
  5. When sauce has thickened (keeping in mind it will continue to do so as it cools), you are ready to eat!
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I received free samples of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.IMG_7703 (1280x853)

When you begin a FODMAP elimination diet during the peak of the summer, you have to go through a bit of emotional withdrawal from most of the fruits that make summer so lovely, saying “buh-bye” to peaches, plums, figs, and, yes, watermelon. Luckily, there are still MANY fruits that help keep your belly calm, and one of those is the tropically delicious kiwi.

What better timing could there be for the Recipe Redux and Zespri Sungold Surprise (!) co-sponsired recipe contest to occur?reciperedux_sungold_contest

The surprise in the Sungold is not, for me, the fact that the skin is soft and you don’t have to peel them (although I do for the recipe that comes)–I’ve been eating kiwi skin for awhile now.

The surprise in the Sungold is also not, for me, in the color (or the sweet flavor that is unlike the more tart-in my opinon–green kiwi). When you are an adventurous and exploratory eater, you find and try every color of every thing if you can get it.IMG_7728 (1280x853)

The surprise, I think, was in just how well they worked for cooking!IMG_7736 (1280x853)

In all my cooking trials (and tribulations?) I could not remember ever using a kiwi for anything more than making a yogurt or oatmeal bowl look more colorful and fresh. Perhaps I’ve made a salsa once. But actually heat up a kiwi? Never thought to….until now.

I mean, people have put peaches in curry, and pineapple in curry, so why NOT kiwi?IMG_7761 (1280x853)

Why not, indeed.IMG_7782 (1280x852)

Skeptics, listen up: spicy, sweet, creamy, and nutritious, this Indian-inspired curry is full of fiber, flavor….and now fruit! :)IMG_7795 (1280x852)

Plus, it’s really quite pretty to look at.

So there’s that.IMG_7768 (1280x853)

Low FODMAP Spicy Sungold Kiwi Curry

(Serves 4)

  • 1 cup brown rice, dry measure
  • 4 Zespri Sungold Kiwis, skin removed (and eaten!), and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh (or jarred) minced ginger
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1  cup frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 14.5-oz can coconut milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp. curry powder (onion and garlic free for low FODMAP)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 chopped cilantro, optional, for serving
  1. Prepare brown rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large, wide-lipped saucepan.
  3. Add ginger and jalapenos, and cook 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add spinach (still frozen), carrots, and curry powder to the pan, stirring well.
  5. Cook 3-5 minutes, until carrots begin to soften. (Add water to the pan if it becomes too dry.)
  6. Stir in tomatoes and coconut milk. Cover pan and cook another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add kiwi to the pan. Cook another 3-5 minutes, covered.
  8. Serve curry over prepared rice, topped with a sprinkle of cilantro (if desired).


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“I don’t think I’ve eaten as much ground beef in the past 24 hours as I have in the past 4 YEARS.”

–Me, to Sister Smart, about the beef version of this recipeIMG_7114 (1280x853)

Do you ever make a recipe only one time and think about it for YEARS, yet, for some reason, never make it again?

That’s what happened with me and my Tempeh & Eggpant Bulgogi. I thought about that marinade off and on for ages, remembering how much I loved it, but not remembering exactly why.

But now I remember why.IMG_7119 (1280x853)

The Low FODMAP diet I’m following–and consequential increased consumption of meat–encouraged me to finally go back to that recipe, and adapt it to the low FODMAP “rules.” I have since made it with both ground turkey and beef, the latter of which The Professor was able to try and proclaimed “very good.”*

*Time will tell if this is because I told him about four times that Brother Smart makes a much easier–and sweeter–version of this for his wife and she devours it, thus convincing him it was a “normal” thing to eat. #trickeryIMG_7050 (1280x853)

Bulgogi is basically the term for a certain type of sweet-salty arinaded beef common in Korean cooking, that is also a key component in Bibimbap (basically what I’ve given you a recipe for plus a fried egg on top).IMG_7139 (1280x853)

To achieve the necessary sweetness without adding TOO much sugar, I substituted FODMAP-friendly green grapes for the Asian pear in the standard recipe. Otherwise, it’s a flavor bomb on its own without any garlic or onion.IMG_7035 (1280x853)

I do have some plain tempeh in the fridge that I may try as well, but knowing how good it was in the past, I’m sure it will be excellent if you want a vegetarian version.IMG_7104 (1280x853)

Low FODMAP Bulgogi Bowls

(Serves 4)

  • 1 lb. ground turkey, beef, or tempeh (plain)
  • 1 cup brown rice, dry
  • 4-6 cups assorted pepared vegetables for serving (cucumbers, roasted carrots, steamed greens)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

For the marinade:

  • 3/4 cup green grapes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 6-8 Tbsp. low sodium tamari (adjust depending on flavor strength of sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. rice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax
  • 3/4 tsp. sambal oolek
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 4 tsp. fresh (or jarred) minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • dash of asafoetida (optional)
  1. Prepare marinade by blending all ingredients together.
  2. In a glass or metal bowl, sprinkle ground turkey, beef, or tempeh with salt and pepper, then mash well with a fork to break apart.
  3. Pour about half of the marinade over meat (but not so its swimming) and 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, mix well and cover.
  4. Refrigerate meat/tempeh for 4-8 hours.
  5. An hour before serving, prepare rice according to package directions.
  6. When rice is almost finished, cook bulgogi meat/tempeh in a skillet, adding more sauce if necessary.
  7. Serve bulgogi with rice and vegetables, sprinkling remaining sesame seeds over top.
  8. Drizzle with Sweet Chili Sauce, if desired.

Low FODMAP Sweet Chili Sauce

(optional, but recommended)

  • 2 Tbsp. sambal oolek
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water, to dilute
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pinch of xantham gum to thicken (if desired)
  1. Combine all ingredients–except xantham gum (if using)–in a small jar or bowl.
  2. Whisk VERY well to incorporate.
  3. Briskly stir in xantham gum, if desired.
  4. Serve with bulgogi, bibimbop, or any other dish you like!
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Let’s just say that The Professor actually paused the episode of The Next Food Network Star we were watching,*stood up, walked into the kitchen, and got MORE VEGETABLES.

*Yes, we watch TV while we eat dinner. #truth

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So that’s probably all you really need to know.IMG_7302 (1280x853)

Even people who say “I had a salad for lunch so I really don’t need vegetables at dinner” will happily eat this vegetable-based dish.

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(Especially if you put cheese or bay scallops on top. Just an idea.)reciperedux_FVshape

So technically, this month’s Recipe Redux theme is “Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape,” and while this isn’t spiralized, ribboned, or cut into hearts or stars or diamonds…I’m going to say “wedge” counts.

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Because this recipe needs to be shared.IMG_7249 (1280x853)

I adapted this recipe to make it fit the low FODMAP diet I am currently following, and while I do have a bunch of saffron from Spain, I wanted to mess around with the sumac I purchased at World Market on a whim.

Delicious on it’s own, but even MORE fun when you make za’atar.IMG_7217 (1280x853)

I also wanted to take advantage of the beautiful fresh tomatoes I have been getting from Farmer Dan at the farmers’ market…IMG_7187 (1280x853)

…as well as the summer squash I always bring home in WAY too large amounts.*

*It wouldn’t all fit in the picture.

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Make this.IMG_7319 (1280x853)

You can thank me for the sudden desire to eat veggies you see permeate your household later.IMG_7257 (1280x853)

Za’atar Braised Fennel with Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

[Low FODMAP, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian]

(Serves 4)

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped, peeled fresh tomatoes with juices
  • 1-2 Tbsp. garlic infused olive oil**
  • 1 Tbsp. za’atar seasoning (recipe here, using 2 tsp. dried thyme instead of 2 Tbsp. fresh)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Swiss, or other sharp, hard cheese (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 cup brown rice, dry (or 8 oz. gluten free pasta or 1 cup quinoa, if preferred)

** Or 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil + 1-2 cloves garlic, minced if not following a low FODMAP diet

  1. Prepare rice (or quinoa) according to package directions while you braise the veggies. (If using pasta, wait until you add the tomatoes to the pan before cooking.)
  2. Chop off fronds of fennel bulb. Slice fennel in half, and then into wedges, about 1/4″ thick at the bottom.
  3. Chop up green fronds for garnish, if desired.
  4. Chop off ends of zucchini and summer squash. Slice in half horizontally, and then lengthwise. Cut into wedges.
  5. Heat oil over medium heat in a very big, high-lipped pan that has a lid.
  6. Add za’atar and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring well every so often.
  7. Add fennel, zucchini, and squash to the pan, trying to have every piece touch the bottom (not layered).
  8. Cook about 5 minutes or so, tossing occasionally after 3-4 minutes. Continue cooking until some color develops on the vegetables.
  9. Add tomatoes with juices to the pan. Cover, and continue to cook until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  10. Top with cheese while hot so it melts.
  11. Serve over rice or pasta, sprinkling with reserved fennel fronds if desired.


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What the FODMAP?

by Sarah on July 17, 2016 · 2 comments

So, I mentioned in a previous post that I am currently following a low FODMAP diet. If you are anything like me prior to a few weeks ago, you might have thought, “What the FODMAP is she talking about?”

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Well, FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols and is a collection of short chain carbohydrates that some people have issues digesting, including lactose and fructose (when it is in a higher proportion to glucose in a food). There is a lot of scientific research (thank you, Google Scholar) to back up following a low FODMAP diet to help reduce symptoms of IBS, and I encourage you to seek out more knowledgeable sources than I if you are curious. And yes, while I do recognize and appreciate the irony of having just had a paper about self-diagnosis of GI symptoms been accepted for publication and currently participating in the practice myself–when I read about it I thought, “Oh my goodness, I think that’s me.” Never knowing what food has caused you problems, or why one day you feel bad and the next day you don’t when you’ve been eating pretty much the same thing, following a healthy diet and wondering why you can’t digest like normal people…

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See, FODMAPs are in really healthy foods that you (I) might be/should be/are eating all the time: apples, peaches (all stone fruits), wheat (essentially no gluten, but it’s not the gluten–and not everything that is GF is “safe), many dairy products (not hard cheeses), certain nuts (cashews!), beans, certain vegetables (cauliflower, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, artichokes, sweet potatoes), and onions (!) and garlic (!). Many of the foods that are moderate FODMAP can be eaten in small quantities, but if you overdo it, you have issues. [And remember how much watermelon and/or veggies I can consume in one sitting if allowed?]

This is why I have downloaded and been using the Monash University App, because they are the leading researchers in this area and give you a break down of just what is in each tested food and how much is considered “safe.”

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FODMAPs are sugars/carbs, and so they are NOT in any straight protein or fat/oil, which, as a predominant vegetarian, would mean I could have been potentially overloading on fructose, fructans, galactans, etc. and not balancing appropriately.

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What I DO know is that I’ve been trying the elimination diet for a little over a week, and while it hasn’t been perfect, no one has asked me if I’m pregnant recently (no bloating)…so that’s good. I’m eating more meat than I did before, and spending more money on the humane or locally raised goodies, but it has also been a bit of fun learning how to experiment and cook with new items or rethink old recipes.*

*All of the photos of my meals on this page are low FODMAP creations.IMG_6983 (1280x853)

Granted, if I wasn’t already a pretty good cook and knew how to work around not being able to use garlic and onions, it would be a bit trickier I think…

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The best thing about this, though, is that it’s not about getting rid of these foods forever, because, as I said before, a lot of them are invaluable sources of fiber and other nutrients that you need. But after elimination (2 or more weeks, generally) you reintroduce different categories and items in different amounts so you can have some control over what you WANT to eat, not what you “can’t” and know what the effects may or may not be. I could find out I’m not lactose intolerant at all, and never fear ice cream again! [I doubt that one based on personal experience, but you never know.]

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So while it is a confusing diet to follow–you can’t just tell friends “I don’t eat [insert blanket category here]” and expect them to be able to easil manipulate dinner for you. It’s also a bit scary to go out to eat because, I mean, garlic and onion. BUT I’m hoping that in the end I’ll be able to have a bit more clarity on the best way for me to eat and hopefully have less tummy troubles. :)

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I received a credit to try Stitch Fix as a result of this promotion. By posting this review I am entering a contest sponsored by Stitch Fix and am eligible to win a prize. I was not compensated for my time. This post contains affiliate links.

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So, a lot of people don’t know this, but at one time in my life I thought I’d be a fashion designer.

“Wait. You?! The girl who will do everything she can to never wear heels or get out of her yoga pants?”

Yes, me.

I had blank drawing journals that I filled with pictures of clothes, cut and pasted into my own personal look books for some day when I imagined I would transform into a model with cash to spare and just be, well, cool.

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The thing is, I LOVE clothes. LOVE them. The Professor will confirm this based solely on the amount of zulily packages that arrive at our house based on impulse buys. I just don’t feel like I have the skill or drive to every put together cute outfits on a regular basis. (This is why my Pinterest board on the topic is called “Style. Ain’t Got it. Want it.”)

So, I’ve always been curious about Stitch Fix. I mean, who wouldn’t want a box of clothes handpicked for you, sent to your house where you can try them on in the comfort of your home–where lighting may actually be good and you can prop up the mirror so it gets you at the skinny angle. (You know what I’m talking about.)


When the opportunity came up to have the styling fee waived so that we Recipe Reduxers could try it, I thought, “Absolutely!” (And then proceeded to make all of my actually stylish friends very jealous.)

And it WAS fun to go through and complete my style checklist, to have a personalized note referencing my blog–which made me realize I haven’t updated my blog profile in YEARS…oops–and to be able to feel a bit like you were rich and famous for a moment.IMG_7403 (1280x853)

But, that leads us to the other thing about me. While I love clothes, I’m also pretty cheap where they are concerned.

And even if I WASN’T a grad student right now, I’m pretty sure I would struggle mightily to spend this much money on any item of clothing…except maybe the jeans. And maybe if it was special occasion.

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Overall, while I do think the clothes were generally my style, the fit was an issue for most items. (I do have a disproportional body type.)IMG_7430 (853x1280)

My hips fit into the jeans amazingly–hard to find when you do so many squats– but I’m not going to wear heels, so I was definitely going to trip. (Over the pants AND the dress.)

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The shirts were too big in all the wrong places–having just been asked if I was pregnant, I wasn’t feeling so comfortable about billowyIMG_20160713_162156082 (719x1280)—and while I did take one selfie in the outfit that would have been my favorite because that’s what you do…but overall, I didn’t feel super comfortable in any of the clothes.IMG_20160713_162108209 (720x1280)

I also kind of missed the rush of seeking out a diamond in the rough, finding the piece that you love on your own and claiming it, then being able to tell the story of how you got such a great deal or you had to search through every item on the rack but then, there it was…and it fit!

So, if you have money to spend, and you don’t hve time to seek out your own clothes, I would recommend Stitch Fix as a fun diversion. And by all means, use my Stitch Fix affiliate links.


However, I probably won’t go back. I’ll just keep online window shopping and cutting out pictures of magazines and one day imagining that I’ll be a glamorous fashionista who people look at and think, “She’s so put together.”

This is, by the way, also how I feel about interior design–binders of home photos, months of back issues of home magazines–so if there is a design-in-a-box company out there that wants to try and decorate my living room…I’ll happily provide my address.

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This just turned out so well, and I wanted to share.

(And not just because I actually made* one of the gazillion recipes I have torn out of magazines that are stacked on the small table I call a desk.)

*With alterations…of course.

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I think The Professor liked it, too, although I had bribed him by placing some fudge brownie gelato in the freezer…so there’s no way to really know. He ate it, though. So I consider that a success.

Neither one of us ate the red onion, which I added for color, before remembering that neither one of us likes raw onion.

(And, bonus, without the onion it is low FODMAP….which is something I’ll be back to discuss at a later date.)

Red Potato & Green Bean Salad with Citrus Soy Vinaigrette

(Adapted from Southern Living)

  • 12-oz. green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 lb. small red potatoes
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 Tbsp. white sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar or maple syrup (or a combination)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes or sambal oolek
  1. Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients (lime juice through red pepper), adjusting ingredients to taste as necessary. Store in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Combine potatoes with cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes, until fork tender. Drain potatoes, rinse with cold water, and allow to cool fully.
  3. Steam green beans until tender, but still crisp.  Allow to cool.
  4. Combine potatoes, beans, bell pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl.
  5. Pour over vinagrette and stir well to combine.
  6. Just before serving, sprinkle with sesame seeds.

NOTES:

  • When I use frozen steam-in-the-bag green beans, I usually just do 1 minute less than the recommended time.
  • Allow to chill before serving, if possible, although it tastes great at room temperature, too!
  • I recommend making a souble batch of the vinaigrette for using liberally elsewhere. It’s VERY good.

 

 

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When I saw that the June Recipe Redux Theme was Celebrate a Reduxer I immediately knew two things:IMG_6812 (1280x853)

  1. No one was going to be celebrating me, considering I blog once every month–if I’m lucky–and it’s usually only for the Recipe Redux.
  2. I was going to be ‘celebrating’ Kaila, Miss Healthy Helper, who I’ve “known” for YEARS and who always has such creative ideas (and loves protein, snack, nut bars as much as I do).reciperedux_healthyhelper

So, by “celebrate” they meant copy, or adapt, another Reduxer’s recipe, because imitation–at least in blogland–generally IS the sincerest form of flattery. (Or you’ve just run out of ideas and need a 400th version of oatmeal to make.)

Rather than search through the many pins (or mental notes of recipes to “make one day”) I’ve got from Kaila’s blog, I just went on over there and saw something that I immediately knew I would make.Thai-Basil-Peanut-Dip-1

But, as usual, the thought of me actually following a recipe to the letter was laughable.IMG_6797 (1280x852)

Instead of red curry and peanut (powder), I went with yellow curry and coconut (milk).IMG_6795 (1280x852)

I added extra ginger and lime, and probably a heavier handed proportion of curry paste than you’d get from Kaila’s orignial version.

For reasons that don’t need to be explained, I had a random bunch of both chopped basil and cilantro in the fridge (next to the random coconut milk), so I used both.IMG_6790 (853x1280)

Still vegan. Still gluten-free.

Still as divinely addictive, want-to-spoon-it-in-your-mouth-directly-and/or-cover-everything-with-it, as Kaila describe the original.IMG_6803 (1280x853)

In addition to dipping random vegetables in it, I also used it as a pasta sauce as suggested. (Both within the span of 30 minutes.) I would also like to note that if you DO eat seafood, shrimp also taste very yummy with this.IMG_6818 (1280x853)

Thanks, Kaila, for years of blog support, recipe creativity, and the inspiration for this sauce!IMG_6808 (1280x853)

Creamy Coconut Thai Curry Sauce

(A Healthy Helper Redux)

  • 8 oz. soft (not silken) tofu
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 (heaping) Tablespoon yellow curry paste
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Process until very smooth.
  3. Serve as a dip or use as a sauce for pasta.*

**If not vegan/vegetarian, this sauce is also amazing with shrimp. 


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So this one time, I went to Spain.13238945_10102710252129816_3080156855429633676_n

And I learned how to cook paella….in a VERY LARGE PAN.13221457_10102707410369726_1037986431700931244_n (2)

There’s more to the story than that (and my near two month absence from blogging), but I am even further convinced that I was Spanish in a former life than I was before.

I’m also even more convinced that Spanish food may be my favorite food.IMG_6783 (1280x853)

At the cooking class we took in Barcelona, The Professor and I learned a number of Catalan and Spanish recipes, but the one that I was inspired to recreate first was the Romesco sauce: a deliciously rich, yet light, sauce which we had served over roasted vegetables as a first course.IMG_6764 (1280x853)

But, in a convenient stroke of timing and luck, Recipe Redux and California Walnuts have teamed up for the We Heart Walnuts recipe contest. So, although Rosa (or cooking instructor, whom I now refer to on a regular basis during meals and discussions of Spanish food) may be slightly concerned about my substitution of walnuts for almonds, walnuts ARE a less expensive, equally nutrient rich alternative that are MUCH easier to peel* and, if I do say so myself, make this sauce taste perhaps even more amazing.iheartwalnuts

*Seriously. One of the girls in the cooking class had to PEEL ALMONDS BY HAND.IMG_6681 (1280x853)

Plus, I was sent some for free.

So there’s that.IMG_6674 (1280x853)

I changed the proportions a little bit from what the original recipe called for, but much of the “recipe” was a lot of taste and add, then taste again. Rosa didn’t even use the recipe as written.IMG_6665 (1280x853)

I do not know if using canned diced tomatoes and jarred roasted peppers would be as good or not. As I was already using a bell pepper instead of the Spanish nyora—and that whole walnut thing–I didn’t want to cross Rosa too much.IMG_6708 (1280x853)

Luckily, I had authentic Spanish pimenton (smoked paprika—crucial to the success of this dish—also not in the original recipe they gave us), Spanish olive oil, and sherry vinegar (the vinegar of Spain.)IMG_6736 (1280x853)

Also, chickpeas are very common in Spain (you know, that whole “Mediterranean thing”) so adding some of these roasted pulses to the final dish seemed like a natural choice. Not that you need any more protein and fiber or anything because, hello, one ounce of walnuts has 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, plus 2.5 grams of ALA omega-3 fatty acids to keep you full and happy (and super healthy).

IMG_6738 (1280x854)

The recipe is technically for four, but I’m pretty sure you will want to eat at least half of it yourself, so perhaps modify your expectations ever so slightly on how far you can stretch it. :)IMG_6773 (1280x853)

Roasted Vegetables with Walnut Romesco & Chickpeas

(Serves 4)

  • 1 cup shelled California walnuts
  • 200g ripe tomatoes (two small, about 1/2 lb.)
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, separated (plus more to taste)
  • 1 14.5-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 8 cups  vegetables of your choice (i.e. asparagus, summer squash or zucchini)
  • 1 cup brown rice, dry
  1. Toast walnuts. (I use a toaster oven, putting them in and removing them JUST as they become fragrant.) Allow to cool and then peel any skins off. Set aside 1/4 cup for serving.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Place chickpeas in an even layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Coat with olive oil cooking spray and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp. ground cumin. Toss to cover.
  4. Place tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic on a foil lined baking pan.
  5. Bake chickpeas at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and tomatoes, pepper, and garlic for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove tomatoes, pepper, and garlic from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. While tomatoes and pepper cool, prepare remaining vegetables for roasting (toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper).
  8. While vegetables roast, prepare rice according to package directions.
  9. Once tomatoes and peppers have cooled, remove skins and put flesh into a blender.
  10. Squeeze garlic out of it’s skin into the blender.
  11. Add paprika, 1/4 tsp. salt, olive oil, and sherry vinegar.
  12. Process until smooth.
  13. Add 3/4 cup walnuts to the blender and continue to process until very smooth.
  14. Serve vegetables over rice, mixed with 1/3 roasted chickpeas, covered with 1/4 cup of romesco sauce.
  15. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts.IMG_6755 (1280x853)

I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


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