the sexy flexitarian

Eat flexy, feel sexy!

Category: Pasta and noodles

Dinner Tonight: Sexy Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce via My New Roots

I tell people that I stepped through a portal to an alternate universe, and this is my life now: new job, new place, new roommate, new friends.

It’s freaking sweet.

I’ve never been good with change. Growing up I experienced so much of it that I grew to fear it. My parents divorced, my mom came out, both my parents dated, and, amidst all this, I lived in over a dozen homes, attended several different schools, said goodbye to friends, and struggled to make new ones. All I wanted were some roots.

Finally, in the ninth grade I moved to a small-ish suburban town … home. It’s far from perfect, but it’s where I made my best friends. (Y’all know who you are!)

I was away from “home” for five years, but now I’m back, and I’m stoked. I live by the river now, with trails all around me–perfect for quiet contemplation (and angry runs!).

And despite being ridiculously busy with this new life of mine, I’m doing my best to keep y’all updated on what I’ve been eating/making.

Tonight’s dinner comes from My New Roots (How appropriate, right?), an amazing blog by Sarah B. I encourage you all to check it out–it’s packed with awesome healthy recipes and nutrition advice. And yes, the food actually tastes good!

Case in point: Sexy Spring Rolls.

As an added bonus, they are so versatile. You can use whatever produce you’ve got sitting in your fridge, plus any protein that you have: chicken, tofu, shrimp–whatever!

We pretty much followed the recipe; however, did a little improvisation with the dipping sauce. Rather than almond butter we used peanut butter. Spicy peanut butter. What? Ya, it freaking exists. Don’t believe me? Check it out, yo!

Being that the peanut butter was, like, burn-your-tastebuds-off spicy, we skipped the chili flakes.

Also, we found that wrapping the rolls once and then wrapping them again in another rice paper wrap helped them stay together better. If you do this they’ll keep well for lunch the next day, too. I know this because I ate two in the lunch room while someone else ate a Lean Cuisine … sucker!


Dinner Tonight: Pesto Pasta with Sautéed Veggies, Chickpeas, and Arugula

In less than two weeks I’ll be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding. She’s the first of my friends to get married so this is a whole new ballgame for us as a group. I’m extremely excited … and terrified. Walking down the aisle in heels, speeches, booze: there are literally dozens of opportunities for me to embarrass myself. Hopefully everyone will be doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and that is watching the bride (read: not me).

Although my dress zips up, I wouldn’t say it does so without effort. Thus, I’ve decided to go on a 10-day cabbage soup/fruit smoothie diet prior to the nuptials. Now, I’m not really one for “diets.” And just to prove that to you all I’ll tell you what I bought today after rolling into town post 1h 10min commute home: a 220 g bag of Old Dutch Sour Cream & Green Onion potato chips and a $13 bottle of Cono Sur Gewürztraminer. It’s 8:11 pm and both are very nearly gone. I’m preparing for the 10 days of torture I’m about to endure.

But alas, I’m not yet on my fast diet, so (after downing two glasses of cheap wine and half a bag of chips) I whipped up something oily and carby to shove down my throat as I mourn the food that I will not pass through my longing mouth for 10 days.

Dinner tonight was inspired by a beautifully styled dish from Donna Hay magazine, issue #56. The star of the dish is the humble chickpea, an ingredient I like to eat often. I chose to make the dish for two reasons: one, because I had most of the ingredients already stocked in my kitchen and two, because Connor picked some fresh green beans (another key ingredient) from our garden (which is actually at his parent’s so not easily accessible).

However, when he said, “I went to my parents. We have a crapload of nearly overripe green beans,” I should have not assumed that he actually picked them and brought them home. Riiiiigggghhht …

Anyway, add a few this, substitute a few that and voila! you’ve got a fantastic green-beanless pasta dish!

Pesto Pasta with Sautéed Veggies, Chickpeas, and Arugula
adapted from Donna Hay magazine

1 box whole wheat spaghettini
1 Tbsp Earth Balance butter
2 large carrots, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls arugula or spinach (I used a mix)
1/2 cup store-bought pesto
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded parmesan
Parsley for garnish

  1. Bring pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, add Earth Balance butter to cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat. Add carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes until veggies become tender. Toss with chopped parsley, top with cracked fresh pepper and remove from heat.
  3. Once pasta is done, return to pot along with chickpeas, arugula, pesto, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper. Toss until everything is incorporated.
  4. To plate, spoon veggies onto bottom of bowl and top with pasta mixture. Garnish with cheese and parsley.
Serves 6

Dinner Tonight: Vegan (but not gluten-free) Mac and Cheese

Vegan Mac and CheeseHey y’all! I know it’s been a while since I last posted, and I apologize for that. School kind of took over my life for a few months and, unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to do everything that’s required for keeping this blog up to date (finding new recipes, grocery lists, shopping, cooking, photographing, uploading photos, blogging, and, finally, posting). But, alas, the semester is over (as is the craziness that we call Christmas), so I’m back to posting.

I hope you all enjoy my first post-hiatus post (wow, that was a mouthful!). I’ve made this dish several times, and it’s soooo good. I swear, I cannot believe there is not a fleck, a speck, or a drop of dairy in this delectable dish–it’s amazing!

The recipe comes from a book called vegan yum yum, which evolved from a blog of the same name. I’ve made several dishes from this book and they all have turned out quite to my satisfaction. The Hurry Up Alfredo is one of my go-to recipes when I don’t have much time or I haven’t been to the grocery store in a while.

Now, you may be wondering why my blog title says “but not gluten-free.” Well, funny story. I had a friend over for dinner last night. She has a gluten sensitivity. Though I had not planned to have her for dinner, when she said she’d be around my side of the tracks, I told her to come on over and bring some rice pasta with her. I was so excited! Like, really excited. I love cooking for others, plus, she just got engaged and I hadn’t seen the ring yet.

But, to make a long story short, I put flour in the roux. Big no-no if you know anything about gluten sensitivities. THEN, I put bread crumbs on top. Yes, I suck. But she ate it anyway and, though she might have a gut ache because of me, she said it was yummy.

Niki, this one’s for you. Eat flexy, feel sexy!

Dinner Tonight: Mushroom and Fresh Herb Pasta

Some people love them, and some people hate them. What are they? Mushrooms, of course! I am a mushroom lover, and not those magic ones you find in the woods.

This yummy dish come from Best Health, and you can check out the recipe here.

You can go as wild as you want with the mushrooms on this one. I used regular button mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms.

And really, I’m sure you could play around with the spices, too. But I love sage and rosemary, so I stuck with the recipe.

The recipe makes a huuuuge batch. So it’s great for company. Assuming everyone likes mushrooms that is!

Eat flexy, feel sexy!

Dinner Tonight: Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Pan-Fried Tofu

So I just realized that this dish looks very similar to the last dish that I posted. But they’re not similar in taste. They are both noodle dishes, but very different types of noodles. The Pad Thai is made with rice noodles, whereas this dish is made with soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat and, in this case, kamut also.

Every since the last time I cooked with soba noodles, which was also the first time, I’ve been thinking about how I can incorporate them into another dinner.

I adapted this recipe from an article titled “Notable Noodles” found in the September 2010 issue of alive.

I made a few substitutions: first, I used peanut butter instead of almond butter, and second, I used maple syrup rather than honey.

It was A-MA-ZING! Oh my god, so good. Wow. I’m still drooling thinking about it right now. The link to the recipe isn’t up on the alive site yet, but I’ll post it once it is. OR y’all can go pick it up…and, fancy that, there’s an article in it by none other than…me!

Anywho, time for bed.

Eat flexy, feel sexy!

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