Basic Zoodles

Mamma Mia! Pasta noodles made out of zucchini?! …  I certainly have jumped on the zoodles bandwagon- have you?

The term ‘zoodles’ refers to the hot health craze of zucchini noodles. This healthy pasta alternative is made using a food spiralizer tool. You simply insert the zucchini onto the machine, turn the crank, and voila! Zucchini noodles are created right before you eyes.

IMG_0369 IMG_0376

I finally invested in a food spiralizer, and it is definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools yet! They are not that expensive and are really quite versatile. Besides zucchini noodles, you can also create various ribbons and shapes using several other fruits or vegetables. My spiralizer came with 3 different attachments, and I have fun playing around in the kitchen with it.

And zoodles taste amazing. Seriously.

I love making zoodles not only because they are healthy, but they are also quick and easy to make. When I need to whip up dinner in a jiffy, I just pull out some zucchini and vegetables I have on hand and throw together a delicious main or side dish.

This recipe I am posting today is a basic one I use pretty much all the time. It’s like my “zoodle base” if you will. Then I vary the sauce to top the zoodles depending on my mood. Sometimes I use a tomato-based sauce for a spaghetti alternative. When I am craving Japanese food, I will cook these zoodles together with teriyaki sauce. –  Use this zoodle recipe as a base, and employ your creativity adding other vegetables, sauces, etc.  I hope you enjoy- Welcome to the zoodle bandwagon y’all! 🙂

IMG_0378

Basic Zoodles (Stephanie Thiel)

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium green zucchini squash
    • It is important they are not too thick or thin in diameter to allow maximum efficiency with the spiralizer tool
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • Olive oil (for sautéing)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

  1. First, prep all of the vegetables. Chop the onion and carrots into small bite size pieces.
  2. Next, prepare the zoodles. Wash the zucchinis, and cut both ends off. Attach onto the food spiralizer tool. Turn the crank until all of the zucchini is converted into noodle shape strands.
  3. Use a frying pan/skillet on the stove to cook the onion and carrot. Sauté them on medium heat (in olive oil) until tender. This takes about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper.
  4. Then add the zoodles to the same frying pan. Stir occasionally and keep cooking on medium heat until the zucchini noodles have softened and become slightly translucent (About 5-8 minutes cook time).
  5. At this point you can serve them plain, adding some salt and pepper for taste. I like to top mine with either a red pasta sauce or teriyaki sauce- depending on my taste buds’ mood.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. Tip: If you are cooking for a larger crowd, the rule of thumb is about one zucchini per person.

IMG_0394 IMG_0406IMG_0384

Roasted Asparagus

They say “less is more”- and roasted asparagus is no exception! Although this recipe is super basic, it is an absolutely divine way to eat these green spears.

Being married and cooking for two can sometimes be challenging- especially if the wife (ahem… me!) is trying to eat more vegan meals while the husband’s country roots will not permit him to shake meat from his diet. I am sure you guys have a similar problem! Regardless of your marital status, it can be challenging to please every mouth. For this recipe I enjoyed the asparagus plain, but wrapped some cooked bacon around two bundles of asparagus for my husband. This way we were both happy, but still essentially ate the same thing for dinner. This is a “his and her” plate if you will:

IMG_0160Okay, enough of the trying-to-eat-vegan wife rants… Onto the recipe!

Shown below are the before and after roasting pictures, respectively.

IMG_0140 IMG_0148

 

Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
    1. It is important to wait until it is preheated before you put the asparagus in the oven! This will allow the asparagus to roast without becoming mushy.
  2. On a baking sheet, line up the asparagus.
  3. Drizzle about 2 Tbsp. olive oil over the asparagus. Then roll around the asparagus in the pan to ensure they are evenly coated with oil.
  4. Generously sprinkle with coarse sea salt and ground black pepper.
  5. Place asparagus into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.
    1. Don’t cook it longer than this! You may think it doesn’t look done, but if you keep it in any longer it will be too mushy and not so fun to eat. Trust me, I have learned from experience!
  6. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool before serving.
  7. Enjoy! 🙂

The Dehydration Project: Pears

Pears take the spotlight this week in my dehydration project series! Welcome to my first go at drying pears and pear fruit leather.

Homemade pear fruit leather is one of my all-time favorite childhood snacks. Recently, I asked my mom how she made it. I discovered she would use the leftover pears she canned from the previous year to make the leather. Since the canned pears were already processed with sugar and pre-treatment, she would simply blend the pears for the leather. Back then, if I knew this fact I would have not eaten any of the canned pears to hold out for more leather!

Anyway, for this post I used only fresh pears (no canned). I made one batch of pear slices and another batch of fruit leather.

Pre-treatment:

Whether your dry pears whole or make leather, it is important to pre-treat your pears before you dry them. This will prevent them from browning. I used a “fruit-fresh” produce protector (ascorbic acid mixture), but I have heard you can use lemon juice or pure ascorbic acid as well.

First, I peeled, cored, and sliced the pears into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick pieces. I placed them in a tupperware container to coat them with the pre-treatment. I recommend following the directions associated with the product you use. For me, I mixed 2 tsp. preservative with 3 Tbsp. water, and tossed to coat the fruit. I then let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

IMG_9723 IMG_9739

I will explain my method for each of my experiments in a nut shell:

Trial A: Dried Pear Slices

  • I used 5 pears (peeled, cored, sliced, and pre-treated)
  • Place them evenly on dehydrator trays
  • Dry them at a temperature of 135 degrees F.
  • Remove individual pieces when dry. Some will dry quicker than others.
  • Total dry time took between 11 and 13 hours.
  • The results were nice moist pear tidbits- love it!

Trial B: Pear Fruit Leather

  • I blended 2 pears until smooth. (Make sure the pears are peeled, cored, and pre-treated)
  • Pour onto a fruit leather tray for your dehydrator. Be sure to spray the tray with non-stick cooking spray. (so you can remove the leather when done!)
  • Dry at a temperature of 135 degrees F.
  • Total dry time only took 5 hours.
  • Outcome = Delicious (but not the same as my mom’s!)

IMG_0132

“Surf Snack” Energy Bites

Whether it’s surfing, hiking, or whatever activity keeps you moving- these “surf snacks” are a simple and nourishing bite on the go.

The name “surf snacks” originated with my husband. When he goes surfing or bodyboarding in the early mornings, I make him these lil’ energy bites. They are light, but energy packed- perfect for a pre-workout kind of snack.

December is the month the waves are really rippin’ on the North Shore here in O’ahu. Last week was the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, and the Billabong Pipe Masters competition is coming soon. There is no set date for the events because it depends on the conditions of the waves. I went to North Shore last week but unfortunately no competition events were held that day. I was at least able to snap some pictures of the event:

IMG_9364 IMG_9379

My husband and I are purely novice surfers! We couldn’t handle the waves at North Shore- those are for the pros. But we do like to get out and be active. I hope these surf snacks will be a fun addition to your on-the-go snacks.

Keep going for full recipe details!

surfsnackingredients

 

“Surf Snack” Energy Bites

Servings: Makes 7-8 bite size balls

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. light agave nectar
  • 1/8 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method:

  1. In a blender, blend the oats until they form a flour. Then, blend the almonds until they form a flour. Combine these two flours in a small bowl.
  2. Add the almond butter, coconut oil, and agave to the bowl containing the oat and almond flours. Mix with a spoon (or I prefer to mix by hand!) until a dough forms.
  3. Add the chocolate chips if desired.
  4. Roll into balls. You can eat immediately or store in the freezer.
  5. Surf’s up! 🙂

IMG_9699

Sesame Pasta N’ Greens Salad

Spinach, Pasta, & Bell Peppers- oh my! This salad is a blend of Asia and Italy, resulting in one delicious and addicting plate (or bowl).

I give credit to my mom for this salad. I don’t know how she came across this recipe, but in my mind it’s hers. She would make this salad frequently when I was growing up, and I would make sure there were no leftovers! This salad is seriously delectable. Not only that, but it’s simple to make and a sure crowd pleaser. Feel free to adjust all ingredients according to your preference- I hope you all enjoy!

IMG_9447

Sesame Pasta N’ Greens Salad

Serves: About 8 people

Ingredients:

  • Salad:
    • 1 bag (12 oz.) egg noodles, cooked and cooled
    • 1 bag baby spinach
    • 2 bell peppers, sliced or diced
      • I prefer using a mix of red, yellow and orange bell peppers
    • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • Optional Salad Add-ons:
    • 4-6 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
    • 5-6 green onions sliced
    • Use sugar-diced almonds instead of regular ones
  • For the Dressing:
    • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or olive oil)
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 3 Tbsp. sugar
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or use a small amount of dried parsley)
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When done cooking, rinse, drain, and set aside to cool.
  2. Compile the salad: Combine pasta, spinach, bell peppers, almonds, and any other desired ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. To make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a mason jar, or similar container with an airtight lid. This makes it easy to shake all the ingredients together. Refrigerate. Shake again before use.
  4. Do not put the salad dressing on the salad until just before serving. If the dressing sits overnight on the salad, the texture will become wilty and quite frankly, gross. I like to keep the dressing in a bottle and let individuals put on accordingly.

IMG_9445

Dried Persimmons

Welcome to the 4th episode of my “dehydration project” series. I choose fruits that are in season to work with, so that means persimmons are on the menu this week!

What exactly is a persimmon? It’s a fruit. It’s the color orange. It looks like an apple-tomato hybrid of some sort. I had never heard of persimmons until I moved to Korea. They are quite the popular fruit in Asian countries. Now that I know what they are, I notice them more frequently in American grocery stores. Here is a picture of persimmons for those who haven’t been acquainted with this delightful fruit yet:

IMG_9258The first step in preparing persimmons (to eat raw or to dry), is to peel them. This is what they will look like after you peel them:

IMG_9270

I have never dried persimmons before so I experimented with how I cut them. I cut them into quarters in two different ways. For the first batch I sliced them horizontally, resulting in beautiful round pieces. The second batch I sliced vertically, creating wedges. (Photos shown below, batch 1 and 2 respectively)

IMG_9278 IMG_9273

 

The Dehydration Project: Dried Persimmons 

Ingredients:

  • Ripe persimmons

Method:

  1. Peel the persimmons and remove green stem.
  2. Cut the persimmons into quarters.
  3. Place on dehydrator trays and dry at a temperature of 135 degrees F.
  4. Dry for about 6 hours, or until desired texture is achieved.

Results:

The texture was great, however, make sure the persimmons are ripe! I used persimmons that were still hard (like an apple), but that is not ideal. Wait until persimmons are soft to the touch (like a tomato) and you will see much better results.

Side Note: Koreans traditionally dry persimmons whole, hanging them on long strands of thread. They hang these strands outside their home for days to naturally dry.

IMG_9358

 

 

‘Be My Clementine’ Smoothie

It’s citrus season! Although the winter weather isn’t so fun, fueling our bodies with citrus fruits helps lift our spirits. I love adding clementines to smoothies! I think they are one of the most overlooked citrus fruits- although they are starting to become more popular advertised as “cuties” or “halos.” I’m sharing with you my simple clementine smoothie and hope you all enjoy! …

“Won’t you be my clementine this season?” 🙂

I was inspired to make my first clementine smoothie when I lived in Korea. During the winter time, on almost every street corner in Seoul you can buy fresh clementines. They are so abundant and I can guarantee they will be served as dessert for any gathering you go to. For about 2 bucks I would buy a big bag of them. I don’t particularly like eating clementines raw, so I began to get creative. I started putting them in juices and smoothies, and the outcome was more amazing than expected!

IMG_9248
IMG_9246

“Be My Clementine” Smoothie (Stephanie Thiel)

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 3 clementine oranges
  • 1 medium banana
    • Use a fresh banana for a smooth and creamy drink
    • Use a frozen banana for a thick and cold smoothie
  • 1/4 cup soy milk

Method:

  1. In a blender, put the clementines, banana and soy milk.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Drink up!

IMG_9256

Overnight Oats: Almond-Banana Style

Sometimes the best breakfasts aren’t made in the morning, they’re made the night before. This recipe for overnight oats incorporates almonds and bananas for a quick but nourishing breakfast.

Unlike oats’ other incarnation as a hot cereal, overnight oats doesn’t need to be cooked. The oats do not expand when soaked, just soften. When combined with soy milk, almond butter, bananas and agave, these overnight oats make for a guilt-free and sensational start to your day.IMG_9231

Overnight Oats: Almond-Banana Style (Stephanie Thiel)

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1 fresh banana, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 tsp. light agave nectar
  • Optional ingredients to add some crunch:
    • Whole almonds
    • Chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Combine the oats and soy (or almond) milk in a container. Pint-sized mason jars are typically used, however you can use any container that is of sufficient size and can fit in your refrigerator.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight (about 8 hours).
  3. When ready to eat, add the bananas, almond butter and agave on top. Mix together. If desired, add ingredients for an extra crunch.
  4. Enjoy!

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Simply baked sweet potato chips- definitely my favorite way to enjoy this classic tuber! After you try these potato chips, you may never want to eat the store-bought kind again.

I love baking sweet potato chips because they are so quick and easy to make. Not only that, but they are also a satisfying and nourishing salty snack.

A note on sweet potatoes:

There are a variety of sweet potatoes. You may be familiar with the orange colored one, referred to as a ‘yam.’ There are also several Asian varieties. In Hawaii, I buy purple-skinned potatoes with a white flesh, and even buy purple-skinned potatoes with a purple flesh. All varieties would work for this recipe- see which kind is your favorite!


B
efore Baking

IMG_9175Finished Product

IMG_9177

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

You’ll Need:

  • One long sweet potato
  • 1-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked peppercorn
    • The type of salt and pepper really do make a huge difference!

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wash and scrub the potato. Cut off the ends. Then cut into very thin slices (normal chip thick). If you have a mandolin tool that would be helpful.
  3. Distribute the potato pieces evenly onto a baking sheet.
  4. Pour 1-2 tsp. olive oil on the potatoes and make sure it evenly coats all pieces.
    1. You can brush the olive oil on each piece, but I just get my hands dirty and rub it on.
  5. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper onto the potatoes.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, and then take them out of the oven to flip, then proceed to bake for another 10-15 minutes. (Total cook time is 25-30 minutes).
  7. Let cool and enjoy!

Macadamia ‘Nana Nice Cream

What’s more iconic to Hawaii than macadamia nuts? Now featuring a delicious nana nice cream recipe accented with the Islands’ most popular nut!

For those of you who don’t know, “nana nice cream” is dairy-free ice cream made by using primarily frozen bananas. It is a delicious option for those who cannot eat dairy or simply seek a healthier alternative. The frozen, creamy textures make for a sensory sensation.

I have never really been a huge fan of ice cream (unlike my husband who loves ice cream… It’s true opposites attract!). I have always made smoothies using frozen bananas, soy milk and other fruits & flavors. When I discovered nana nice cream it just made sense. I love this little frozen treat! It’s so easy and inexpensive. Have fun experimenting and make each creation your own.

IMG_9121

IMG_9136

 

Macadamia Nut Nana Nice Cream (Stephanie Thiel)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, frozen
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp. light agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup whole macadamia nuts
    • The macadamia nuts for baking work best because they are not treated with any extra salt or sugar

Method:

  1. In a blender, place the frozen bananas, soy milk, agave and macadamia nuts.
  2. Blend until a smooth and thick texture forms.
  3. Serve and enjoy immediately 🙂

IMG_9129 - Version 2