Superfood Spring Rolls

I’m in the final week of my mini-summer, and I’m wearing myself out keeping myself occupied. It’s a tough life.

Anyways, to keep myself busy (and because I moved into a new apartment), I decided to host a few friends (the ones kind enough to drive out to see me) for some summer swimming and snacking. And I’ve learned how terribly fun it is to menu-plan.

Because I now live very near to the largest Asian market in the area, I decided my menu would be Asian-themed. Here it is!

Saucy Asian Meatballs from Gimme Some Oven
Edamame Potstickers from Stay Happy, Stay Healthy
Superfood Spring Rolls (recipe below!)
Fresh veggies & homemade hummus
Popcorn seasoned with ginger

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Tex-Mex Stuffed Bell Peppers

A few weeks ago, I made an important discovery. My boyfriend, who routinely eats fast food and Pringles Cheez-ums, likes bell peppers. Whoa.

Now, to his credit, he isn’t really a picky eater, just someone who doesn’t have enough time/motivation to cook all the time. He always tries what I put in front of him, and generally he likes it. But bell peppers used be a problem food of mine, so this discovery was pretty awesome. And it meant we needed to make stuffed bell peppers.

There are so many stuffed bell pepper recipes that I might be crazy adding mine to the mix, but let me tell you — these are GOOD. Everyone who tried them agrees. All three of us.

But seriously — very yummy, very easy. And if you eat Paleo, this recipe is nearly there besides the cheese (right? I’m still not 100% on that). If you’re vegan, you could sub the meat with lentils and/or beans (I’m hooked on lentils lately, they’re such a winter food).

My boyfriend likes things organized neatly. So I introduced him to the tumblr of the same name.

My boyfriend likes things organized neatly. So I introduced him to the Tumblr of the same name.

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Hot and Sour Soup from a Kroger

I’ve loved Hot and Sour soup for longer than I can remember. My parents say that when I was little bitty they’d pick out the tofu for me, and I didn’t even mind the spiciness. I’ve never understood why anyone would pick egg-drop over this deliciousness. In fact, I use this soup as a quality meter for Chinese restaurants. If your Hot and Sour soup sucks, there’s a chance I might never step foot in your restaurant again.

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But we can’t all make traditional Hot and Sour soups in our own homes. Three years ago, my mom and I became somewhat addicted to it, so we devised a recipe from things you can find at your very own suburban supermarket. Continue reading

Improv Italian

I’m always challenging my boyfriend to try new foods, and I really appreciate how game he is when I try to feed him cauliflower crust pizza or his first raw sushi. He says he’s liked everything I’ve ever gotten him to try, but last night, we both agreed we needed a little comfort food.

Or how he put it: “Cheesy, greasy, bad-for-me Italian food.”

Hungry yet?

I decided earlier in the day that we’d make pasta shells, but I hadn’t quite thought it all the way through, and before I knew it I was standing in the produce section of a Central Market without consulting a single cooking blog.

Good thing this ain’t my first rodeo.

ImagePasta shells pre-oven… Success!

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Book Review: In Defense of Food

A few days ago a friend asked me if I counted calories, because she was considering it and wanted my opinion. I promptly recommended she read this book.

Source.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto is direct, informative, and entertaining, true to Pollan form. Just as I predicted, I loved it. I’ve already recommended it to four others besides my contemplating-calorie-counting friend.
     Pollan leads the reader through nutritionism and the Western diet and both of their histories (which often overlap). He discusses the consequences of both (and the influence of food marketing), including, but not limited to, heart disease, weight gain, and teeth that don’t last.
     After reading this book, both my mom and I have gotten in the habit of labeling processed foods “foodlike substances.” It’s almost become a game with us. Food or “foodlike substance”? Wonderful supermarket entertainment. Thank you, Michael Pollan, for finally coining a great phrase to simply define packaged, processed junk. 
     Perhaps the biggest surprise which awaited me in this book was Pollan’s take on nutritionism. When I first read what Pollan has to say about nutritionism, I nearly put the book down. I, like so many others, had grown accustomed to nutritionism dictating what we eat. It is science, after all, and our generation is so used to allowing scientists the final say. However, Pollan once again uses common sense to hit me in the face. I now strive to avoid anything that lists its carbohydrate count. This book helped me realize there is so much we don’t know about food — nature still baffles us. Nutrition science is useful for interpreting food, but as Pollan makes abundantly clear, it is a terrible way to eat.
     As Pollan suggests in his introductory chapter, this book is an excellent companion to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, however, it is possible to enjoy this book on its own, and for some I would probably recommend it. Defense is more accessible than Dilemma because it deals more directly with the averse affects of the Western diet on individuals rather than the broad-spectrum, global take Dilemma has. I would say Dilemma is for the very serious, eco-savvy foodie and Defense is more a very informative diet book, a must-read for anyone who plans to eat anything in contemporary society.
     Perhaps what I like most about this book is Pollan’s opening line: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Concise, direct, simplified. Doesn’t get any better than that.