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Archive for June, 2012

When reheating leftover pasta for one, the first impulse is to add some ketchup, sprinkle with parmesan and eat. This is very quick and hassle free. On the other hand, it isn’t that filling, so I usually need two servings, and the overall result is less than the height of nutrition [1].  I again turned to my cookbooks for inspiration, and found a recipe titled “pasta with butter and cheese sauce”. Basically pasta tossed in butter and garlic and sprinkled with cheese. I thought, “Why not make it? Frozen chopped spinach can so easily be added to this. It can even be done in the microwave!”

So:

Ingredients

about 20 gr butter (I found it too buttery, will probably use less next time. This is still less than the original recipe, though)
1/2 tsp minced garlic, or to taste
75-100 gr frozen chopped spinach
salt
freshly ground nutmeg
one portion leftover pasta
grated parmesan  cheese

For clarity and brevity, I will refer to a “Step” as 30 seconds in the microwave on high.

Put butter in microwave safe dish (I use a pyrex. You can already do this in the serving dish, but all my microwave safe bowls were in the dishwasher when I made this so I used an extra pyrex). Put in microwave on “high” in 30 second steps until mostly melted. Add garlic and spinach, and cook in microwave in 30 second steps, stirring every step, until spinach is defrosted and buttery and garlic is fragrant, about 4-5 steps. add salt and nutmeg and cook one more step.

Spinach Sauce

Add pasta and toss, and put in microwave for last step. Add grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Easy, rich, and tasty. And the spinach at least nods towards nutritional content and is much more filling. And the whole thing takes about 5 minutes. What more do you need?

Bon Apetit!

 

 

1. As opposed to some, I don’t consider ketchup a vegetable 😉 BACK TO POST

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I get hungry mid morning and want something light yet sweet. For my kids, I sometimes make the microwaved cakes in a bowl, but for myself I was looking for something that I can finish by myself without feeling guilty 😕

I found this amazing and excellent recipe. At first I was sure something was missing as it had absolutely no added liquids. But it surprisingly works very well. As it’s based on fruit and oatmeal, it’s reasonably healthy (well… if you ignore the 1/4 cup sugar, of course 😉 ). I used cherries instead of blueberries, and added ground almonds and coconut.

My first try came out more like a pudding, because I tried to substitute part of the oatmeal with ground almonds. I heard from a friend that she regularly substitutes ground almonds instead of flour, so it made sense. However, almonds simply don’t absorb liquids the way oatmeal does and this is not a good substitute.

My next tries were more successful – in them I added extra ground almonds, and as my bananas were large I added more oatmeal as well. The result was a very satisfying fruit cake, which I ate with some yogurt or quark.

As always, my eldest loved the cake and my youngest didn’t 🙄

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana, mashed

One mashed banana

1/2 cup oats (I used Quakers). More if your banana is large.
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp coconut flakes
6-7 cherries, pitted and cut , or other fruit

[No oil, eggs, water, milk, baking soda, or baking powder. Cool, huh?]

Mix all ingredients together:

Before microwaving

Microwave for 3 minutes, check for done-ness by touching the top of the cake lightly. Top should be dry (assuming you didn’t touch a cherry) and firm.

If not done, add in one minute stages until done.

Done!

Let cool and eat!

I made twice the amount in four bowls for my kids to taste. The results were awesome and looked so pretty…

Four mini cakes

I also made an amount of these without cherries, to take with me to the hospital when I gave birth. They were sweet and very satisfying as a midnight snack when breastfeeding, and kept remarkably well.

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I gave birth to a beautiful and sweet baby girl last Saturday. She is unbelievably accommodating in eating and sleeping etc. She accepts a pacifier (my second didn’t) she sleeps on her back (none of the others agreed. They slept on their stomachs and I would have nightmares about SIDS). She sleeps pretty well between feedings. And she is absolutely adorable.

Yet every time the time comes to feed her, I look at my wounded sensitive nipples and my overfull breasts and need to gather up courage to latch her on. Every time.

From her point of view, she’s getting all she needs. I have plenty of milk, she’s latching on well on the whole and gaining weight. But every time I latch her on I’m in pain. Throughout the nursing, I’m in pain. I know it’s going to pass. I know that once my breasts aren’t engorged it will get better. I’m taking Advils for the pain. I’m using icepacks and cabbage and massage and lactation consultants. But still, every time I need to gather up courage to latch her on. Sometimes I can do it quickly. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes. She is usually patient, but even a five day old baby is not stupid. She already knows that if she’s on my shoulder she isn’t going to get any food. She already knows that milk doesn’t come out of the pacifier.  So I watch her waiting patiently and feel like an utter wuss. Every time.

I really thought that this time it would be easier. After all, I know what I’m supposed to be doing now, and I have a successful breastfed kid (my second). If I did it once, I can do it again… right? But my nipples are sensitive, and I have a tendency to oversupply milk, and that’s all there is to it. Until my nipples get used to nursing and my milk supply balances out, there is nothing to do but grit my teeth and wait. I did seriously consider quitting, but if I quit now I’ll get mastitis and be in even more pain (because of the oversupply).

Intellectually I understand all this. But it still takes me time and courage to latch her on.

Every time.

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Mazal Tov!

I’m happy to announce that I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last Saturday. Thank G-d we are both healthy. She is sweet and adorable.

As our first girl after two boys, we are under the pink attack: pink clothes, pink teddy bears, pink pacifiers, you name it 🙂 and I don’t even like pink!

Let all our problems in the future be no worse than this 😉 Amen.

Baby girl

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As part of the renovations, my husband realized one of his dreams, took over a balcony and bought a Weber gas grill. My husband loves BBQs, and loves inviting friends and family over for them. For me it’s even better, as I need to do minimal prepping of the vegetables and then I sit on the sofa looking pretty until the food is ready 🙂 Great for the last months of pregnancy!

My husband does the entire meal on the grill – meat (steaks/chicken breast/kebabs/sausages), potatoes, vegetables (squash, fennel, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, onion, celery, kohlrabi). The grill is big, so it doesn’t take much time. And everything tastes awesome!

Steaks/Chicken breast: He puts salt and freshly ground pepper on the steaks, and salt and paprika on chicken breasts.  The children love chicken breast on the grill as is, so we don’t even bother with a marinade.

Kebabs/hamburgers: we just use my basic meatball recipe: 1 Kg ground meat, 1 egg, 3-4 tbsp breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp mustard. Comes out tasty and succulent.

Vegetables: a bit of olive oil and salt, one can also add paprika, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, etc. I also tried a marinade of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, olive oil and garlic and it also came out very nice.

Leek in marinade

 

The challenge actually came when we had a whole lot of celery to use up. Out of curiosity I Googled “grilled celery”. To my surprise, I found a few recipes. What intrigued me most was when I found a recipe for peanut sauce. I tried it out, and dipped the grilled vegetables (including the celery 🙂 ) into the sauce and it made the grilled vegeatables even more awesome!

And what was even more impressive, both my children ate the peanut sauce (with their chicken breast) and both liked it! Definitely a keeper 😉

I split the sauce in half and added chili only to half the sauce (mine! :mrgreen: ):

Peanut Dip:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used B&D)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (to taste)
1/2 dried chilli with its seeds (about 1/4 tsp in all) (optional)

Mix the peanut butter with the chicken broth. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds to make it easier. Add other ingredients and heat for 30 seconds and mix. continue in 30 second stages until the mixture is smooth and is of a dipping consistency (the more you heat it, the denser and less liquid it’s going to be).  Use for grilled or fresh veggies and meat.

Peanut Sauce and Celery Pieces

In the picture, the celery is pre-grill, with only olive oil, salt and pepper.  After grilling it came out tender yet still crunchy. The left hand sauce is the spicy one, the right hand one is the regular. I cooked the spicy one a bit more, which accounts for the change in colour and consistency.

Happy grilling!

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