Meatless Monday – Udon Miso Noodle Soup

Happy Meatless Monday! Can’t believe October is almost ending and before we know 2017 is going to end and I am playing catch up with game plan recipes that we made this year to date.

On my New Year’s Day – Sunday Game Plan post there were a list of good luck foods to consume during the New Year.  One of these lucky foods is buckwheat noodles especially soba noodles.  Unfortunately, I ended up getting udon noodles, which also contains buckwheat.  In Japan, people consume long buckwheat noodles to signify good fortune.    Confession, I did not end my making the Udon Miso Noodle Soup until well after New Years due to leftovers and lack of room in my refrigerator.

Udon Noodles – introduced in the 9th century by the Buddhist priest Kudai is made up of buckwheat, which is considered a type of complex carbohydrates, which is documented to help with weight loss and prevent diabetes & heart disease.  They are also:

  • low in calories
  • easily digested – udon dissolves faster than regular pasta & three times faster than beef
  • due to its easy digestion and dissolving properties, it helps retain heat in the extremities during winter because blood is not rushing to the stomach.
  • contains four kinds of vitamin B:
    • Thiamine (Vitamin B1): plays a huge role in metabolism preventing headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, nerve damage, brain disorders, especially Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), and memory disorders e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease, stress, inflammation and vision problems e.g. glaucoma.
    • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): prevents cancers, migraines and hair/skin damage
    • Niacin (Vitamin B3): plays a role in improving cholesterol levels, lowering heart disease risks, joint pain, treating diabetes, preventing acne, headaches, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, memory loss, depression, motion sickness, insomnia, muscle weakness, digestive problems, alcohol dependence and erectile dysfunction.
    • Folate (Vitamin B9): plays a critical role in healthy pregnancy by preventing neural tube defects, which causes spina bifida, anencephaly, malformations of the limbs and heart complications, prevents cancers, anemia, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

So finally, here’s my recipe for Udon Miso Noodle Soup:

Obviously, I did not provide a calorie count for each of the ingredients because I cooked this dish in bulk (Serves 4 people).

2.5 cups of water

Left over mushrooms and kale (part of the spinach & greens family) (Mushrooms were 0.69 per package at Aldi, and kale was 0.99/lb on sale at local supermarket)

3 tablespoons of Yamajirushi Awase Miso ($4 lasts about a year)

1 package of Sunrise Extra Firm Tofu, cubed ($1.50 at Good Fortune Asian Supermarket)

1 red onion, sliced ($1.49 a bag at Good Fortune Asian Supermarket)

1 package of udon noodle (approximately  $3 or less if on sale for a pack at any Asian Supermarket)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Meatless Monday – 2 ingredients – Sauteed spinach & Garlic

Here’s a quick pick-me-up that is cheap, healthy, gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian side dish.  Recently I brought a bag of Dole Baby Spinach, on sale at Shop & Shop (buy 1 get 1 free) and homemade minced garlic (thank you dad) and put a quick side dish together.

Spinach has many health properties, which were previously mentioned on a past Meatless Monday post.  In addition, spinach has one of the highest if not the highest level of folate, which helps prevent depression, neural tube disorders during pregnancy, and dementia.

 

Garlic has been considered to be medicine food especially in India and China.  It was used to aid respiration and digestion.  It helps reduce inflammation and even prevent cancers.  It also contains neuroprotective properties that helps with visual memory and performing executive functions.  It is also an immune system booster, which helps treat colds and flu.  It helps with high blood pressure and may help treat diabetes.

1 bag of Dole Baby Spinach, washed = 20 calories for 3 cups.

2 tablespoons of minced garlic = 30 calories

  1. Spray the pan with cooking spray

2. Add minced garlic and saute until starts becoming golden brown

3. Stir in spinach gradually until wilted

20171022_2006081419705258.jpg

At various Chinese restaurants I’ve eaten at, this dish or any other green vegetable dish and garlic would cost over $10 (family style) and they use vegetable oil, which is less healthier than olive oil, and grapeseed oil.  This dish can be made with other vegetables such as bok choy and watercress.

 

Meatless Monday – 3 ingredient broccoli slaw

Happy Monday, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted a recipe here. 

Recently, during my food exploration, I visited Trader Joe’s and they were selling a 12 oz. bag of organic broccoli slaw for only $1.69.  In addition, my boyfriend and his friends visited Apple Festival at the Harbes Family Farm where he gave me Blondie apples, gala apples and honey crisp apples. Finally, I found leftover unopened pack of Dole Caesar Dressing Vinegrette from Caesar Salad Kit.  

With the three ingredients, one of each kind of apple was diced.  All of the broccoli slaw and apples are combined.  The dish was completed with the Caesar Dressing. 

It’s simple, quick way to utilize leftovers while using fresh healthy, organic ingredients. 

Meatless Monday – Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant Week Summer 2017 Game Plan

Happy Monday! With halfway through NYC restaurant week, I’m playing catch up. Over the last 3-4 weeks, I’ve been thoroughly reviewing 337 out of the 390 menus for this season’s restaurant week. This week I will be blogging my picks that I believe is the best bang for your buck.  

In addition, if you have an American Express credit card you can register your card to get an extra $5 off your meal purchase of $35 or more for up to 4x for restaurant week.  

If you have instagram you can take pictures of your prix fixe course and tag #NYCrestaurantweek for a daily chance of winning a $50 gift card. 

So let’s get to it:

Since it is Meatless Monday, I came up with seven (7) participating restaurants that you can enjoy a three course vegetarian meal for either $29 or $42. 

Here’s the game plan for vegetarians who want to enjoy NYC restaurant week:

Three course Prix Fixe Vegetarian Options picks for NYC Restaurant Week.

1) Acme – $42 3-course  dinner    

    Appetizer: Caesar Salad

    Entree: Baked Rigatoni 

    Dessert: Affrogato

2) Casa Lever – $42 3-course dinner 

    Appetizer: Caprese or Insalata Di  Barbabietole

    Entree: Gnudi or Cacio e Pepe or Arrabbiata

    Dessert: Mix Your Berries or Formaggi

3) Distilled NY – $29 brunch (Sunday)

     Appetizer: Housemade Granola or Fresh Start Salad

     Entree: Mushroom and Cheese Enchilada

     Dessert: Blueberry Semolina Cake or Earl Grey Panna Gotta

4) Empellon Taqueria – $42 dinner 

     Appetizer: Little Gem Lettuce with Toasted Corn or Carrots with Achiote and Coconut Crema

     Entree: Mixed Mushrooms with Pasilla Chile taco or Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Almond 

     Dessert: Passion Fruit Curd with Citrus, Mezcal and Meringue. 

5. Felice 64 – $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Arancini (lunch), Crostone Ricotta (dinner)

    Entree: Spaghetti al Pesto or Fusilli so Ferretto 

    Dessert: Gelati e Sorbetti

6) La Pecora Blanca –  $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Cauliflower (lunch) or Toscano (dinner)

    Entree: Toscano (lunch) or Orata (dinner)

    Dessert: Ricotta Cheesecake

7) Sant Ambroeus Soho  $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Tofu “Ricotta”

    Entree: Linguine Cacio e Pepe

    Dessert: Torta Do Frutta

Out of the 7 restaurants, I’ve only eaten at Empellon Taqueria and their Brussels sprouts with Toasted Almond taco was so good but the portions are very small, definitely pricey for $14 for 2 tacos. 

Looking forward to blogging more restaurant options this week. Enjoy and stay tuned! 

Meatless Monday – Game Plan – Meatless Budget Friendly Dishes Inspired by “Dinner with Georgia O’Keefe”

Two Mondays ago, on March 20, I’ve had the privilege to attend the launch of Assouline’s “Dinner with Georgia O’Keefe” at La Sirena located in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan.  The event was well attended by local TV personalities and celebrities such as Carla Hall from ABC The Chew, Nicky Hilton Rothchild, Timo Weiland, Prosper Assouline, and Alexandre Assouline. 

Artistic and natural images depicting the relationship between art and food were provided by Robyn Lea who was present to sign copies of the book.  Recipes from the cookbook utilizes local and traditional ingredients inspired by the artist’s relationship of food and the New Mexican landscape. 

More importantly I came there to explore and taste the food created by La Sirena’s Michelin starred chef Anthony Sasso. Cocktails were sponsored by VDKA600. 

The food was overall tasty and natural. The recipes provided appear to be user friendly and ingredients are health-friendly and accessible at any supermarket. Unfortunately I was unable to taste everything because of the sacrificial commitment to give up meat for Lent. 

Top: Miss Scarlet “O’Keefe” containing VD600Vodka in Mandarin orange. Bottom: The Tao Margherita

Chilled Gazpacho

Chickpea and Eggplant Casserole with Fresh Basil

Split Pea and Ham appetizer inspired from the Rancho de Abiquiu Split Pea and Ham recipe

Finger food version of the Spaghetti with Pesto Genovese

Steak tartare using ingredients from the Sizzling Bourbon steak with garlic and crushed peppercorn recipe

Pecan Delights

Finger foods inspired by recipes from the book

For the next two weeks, I will be seeking to test out the meatless version of this recipes such as the spaghetti and pesto Genovese and chickpea and eggplant casserole. 

Meatless Monday – Purple Potatoes

Happy Monday! Happy First Day of Spring! It’s almost midnight and its been weeks since my last post.  For the past several weeks I’ve been recovering from a herniated disc where sitting in one position was absolutely painful.  On a brighter note, I’ve been working on mastering several dishes and reading more culinary cookbooks and science research for inspiration.  But…

Back to business.  It’s Meatless Monday and I want to add that since March 1st I’ve given up meat for forty (40) days for Lent.  So for the next several weeks, majority of my posts will be mostly vegetarians and/or vegan.

For today, we will be focusing on one of the healthiest potatoes to consume: The Purple Potato.  One weekend, I went to Fairway with my parents and came across a bag of small purple potatoes for $2.50 so I brought a bag because I heard really good things about them.  During this research journey, I came across this image below from Dr. Axe summarizing the benefits of consuming purple potatoes.

PurplePotatoGraphic

After reading Dr. Axe’s summary on purple potatoes, I did a little investigation on to additional evidence based research within the last five (5) years.  The following confirmed:

  1. Purple potatoes contained high level of anthocyanins, which prevent inflammation and inhibit cancer growth especially breast cancer, gastric cancer and colon adenocarcinoma (Sugata, M, Lin CY, and Shih, YC, 2016).
  2. Another study showed that baked potato extracts have reduced colon cancer stem cell growth along and lowered the number of tumors (Charepalli, et al, 2015)
  3. Anti-microbial potential against Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa especially during consumption (Ombra, MN, 2015).

After the investigation of this native South American crop, I came across a recipe from Chef Aaron Sanchez, who by the way is this year’s honoree for the 12th Annual Taste of Hope.

1 bag of small Peruvian purple potatoes = 70 calories for 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons.

8 tablespoons of olive oil = 120 calories/tablespoon (Pantry)

1 tablespoon of dried oregano = 15 calories/tablespoon

1 tablespoon of minced garlic = 15 calories/tablespoon

Dash of ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of dried cilantro = 5 calories/tablepoon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Overall taste of the potatoes were good and very flavorful especially with the olive oil, garlic, oregano and cilantro mixture.  Plus all four mixture components carry health benefits as well.  This is a very healthy, filling and budget friendly dish that can be consumed more than once.  Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Meatless Monday/Traditional Tuesday – Sautéed Black Eyed Peas and Spinach 

Welcome to Tablespoonsandteaspoons first Meatless Monday post of 2017. As part of this week’s game plan, we will be exploring what is considered lucky New Year’s foods that is also beneficial for one’s health.  To start the year off, we will be working on another 5-ingredient dish that consists of two lucky foods that are also healthy: Black Eyed Peas and spinach.
Black eyed Peas – are the creamed colored bean with a black speckle on it almost resembling an eyeball. Consumption of this bean is considered good luck according to a Southern food tradition.  For New Years, eating black eyed peas symbolizes coins, which brings in good luck and prosperity for the year.

Consumption of black eyed peas also has several health benefits including:

  • Improving digestion and preventing constipation due to its high dietary fiber content
  • May prevent anemia due to its high folate content, which is partly responsible to producing red blood cells
  • May lower blood pressure thus potentially lower the risk of heart disease due to its high potassium, which balances blood pressure.
  • Helps protect vision and skin due to its high vitamin A content.

Spinach – is a vegetable that are relatives with Swiss chard, kale, .  Eating spinach or any greens on New Year’s is good luck because the green color resembles money.

Consuming spinach has many healthy properties making it one of the best foods to consume to prevent and potentially treat illnesses. These include:

  • Cancer prevention due to its high antioxidant & anti-carcinogrnic properties, protects the cells from DNA damage and oxidative stress.
  • Reduces inflammation associated with heart disease in the long run and due to its high antioxidant content.
  • Reduces cholesterol, improve circulation especially in blood vessels, and reduces blood pressure,
  • Helps maintain a strong immune system thus reducing inflammation and protects eyes, skin and teeth.
  • Helps protect against diabetes prior and even during diagnosis due to its protective steroid properties responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels in the body.
  • Preserve and even protect macular degeneration due to its high vitamin A and carotenoids content
  • Maintain strong bone due to its high vitamin K content, which also helps blood clots and reduces inflammation.
  • Help prevent skin cancer
  • Its high fiber content helps serves as a detox.
  • Protect and even reduce neurological damage
  • Contains magnesium which help regulate and control nerves and muscular functions

Given these two lucky and yet very healthy foods, here is a recipe that would be considered lucky while promoting good health.

Sautéed Black Eyed Peas and Spinach –

Serves at least 2

2 tablespoons of olive oil = 120 cal/tbsp.

1 tablespoons of minced garlic = 15 cal/tbsp.

1/2 red onion sliced = approx. 40 cal/100g

2 cups (32 tbsp.) spinach = 7 cal/16 tbsp.

1 can (15 oz.) Eden Organic black eyed peas = 90 cal/8 tbsp.

1) Sauté oil, garlic and onion for approximately 5 min.

2) Add spinach and stir until wilted (approximately 3-4 min).

3) Drain and rinse the canned black eyed peas (dried black eyed peas would be cheaper but due to time, we had to settle with the canned peas). Add them to the mixture. Stir until heated through.

Ready to serve.


Meatless Monday – Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Recovering from yesterday’s holiday dinner, today I personally decided to eat my leftover brussel sprouts that were made in bulk using the recipe posted back in March. 

Keep in mind that there will be a strong odor that is released when roasting brussel sprouts.  Leftover brussel sprouts can be consumed either hot or cold and a salad can be created.  Roasted brussel sprouts go well with other green vegetables such as kale or whole grains such as farro and quinoa.  Brussel sprouts’ versatility offers a wide variety of options as a side dish, main entree light healthy vegan dish or even a snack. 

Flashback Friday – Dosas

Happy Friday! Although it is National Dessert Day, I have been fascinated about the popular Indian street food – Dosa.  When I first saw this dish, I was overwhelmed by the how big it is.  It is mostly served as a meal for a good part of the day.  Personally I have consumed it as an early dinner.

Dosas also known as Dosai is an ancient Tamil dish.  This gluten free, vegetarian street food dish is made up of rice and lentils.  Therefore, there are health benefits in its consumption.   Dosas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein that will last the whole day.  It is a lengthy process to make dosas and I don’t think that I will be making one anytime soon.  Therefore, I will be leaving this up to the pros.

Recently, I have had the experience of consuming this vegetarian dish at two places in New York City.   One famous spot world is Saravana Bhavan.  There are two locations in New York City (Manhattan).  This restaurant does not need an introduction because it is well known throughout India; the establishment of this franchise was made a controversial person who is banned from leaving India because he was convicted of murder.  This is to show that as long the food is good it does not matter where it originated from. But if you don’t want to be traumatized,  I visited another spot, which is located in Queens called Hillside Dosa Hutt.  This neighborhood spot is in the heart of the Indian community. The cashier that served us was hospitable and knowledgeable about Dosas.  Hillside Dosa Hutt was recently listed on the Eater list of the top 60 cheap eats places in NYC. 

Hillside Dosa Hutt – Marsala Dosa $5.50 (Top Left) and Paneer Bhurji Masala Dosa $9.00 (Bottom left) Saravana Bhavan $9.99- Marsala Dosa (Top right)  and Onion Chili Rava Dosa $10.99 (Bottom right)

Portions of each dosa were huge. I have not been able to finish a whole dosa in one sitting.  If you want more variety then Saravan Bhavan is the place to go, but for a quick meal on a budget then Hillside Dosa Hutt will suffice. 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday – Red, White & Blue Smoothie

On behalf on Tablespoons & Teaspoons, we want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!

Since it is a holiday and given that today is Monday, I came up with a quick, healthy, low calorie and gluten free patriotic concoction that will commemorate the continuous blending of America’s diversity on birth of America.

Red, White & Blue Smoothie

Total calories – 194 calories

Total cost at Stop & Shop at minimum with a $25 purchase in order to get the blueberries at the cheapest price – $5.55

RED 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries (approximately 24 calories) –$2.99/lb. Stop & Shop this week.  Health benefits of Strawberry consumption can be seen in a previous Meatless Monday Post.

WHITE 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk – 30 calories – Silk almond milk is on sale this week at Stop & Shop – 2 for $6.   Health benefits of almond milk consumption include: Low sugar, which provides an option for diabetics.  It also has no cholesterol and low sodium plus contains omega 3 fatty acids, which helps maintain blood pressure & a healthy heart.  One cup provides 10% more calcium than regular milk and more vitamin D, which helps strengthen bone and even lower the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Almond milk also contains vitamin E, which is involved with maintaining healthy skin.  It also has vitamin B especially iron and riboflavin with helps build muscle.  It also has fiber and is lactose free, which helps aid digestion.  Other health benefits include boosting the immune system, preventing cancers, and improving vision.

BLUE 1 cup of blueberries – 85 calories – on sale for $0.97/pint with a $25 purchase at Stop & Shop this week.  Blueberries, similar to strawberries contain plenty of antioxidants, which prevents cancers, aging, degenerative disease and infections.  They also contain chlorogenic acid which lowers blood sugar levels & control blood-glucose levels in Type II diabetes.  Blueberries is also considered a brain food which helps boost memory and focus.  Research studies also show that blueberry consumption has lowered blood pressure and even reduce heart disease risk.

1/2 medium banana (sliced) – 55 calories – $0.49/lb at Stop & Shop.  Health benefits of banana consumption include replenishing energy.  It also contains soluble dietary fiber which reduces constipation by helping normal bowel movements.  Bananas also carry antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxantin, carotenes that helps reduce aging.  Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) helps with neuritis and anemia and reduces homocystine levels, which is a contributor to heart disease & stroke.  It also contains vitamin C, which develops resistance again infections.  But most importantly bananas are known for their rich source of potassium, which helps control heart rate & blood pressure.

Instruction: Combine and blend until smooth.

20160704_115323

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!! Cheers to good healthy and more budget friendly meals.