Tag Archives: healthy

Super Simple Summer Pasta

Though summer thrives though September or October here in the southwest, the end of summer vacation is coming up fast for those of us in school. The past couple of years, I’ve been astounded by how fast the summer passes. When I was a child, summer vacation lasted forever. Or so it seemed. By the end of it, I wanted to be back in school just for the change of pace. This year in particular, though, I feel like I’m scrambling to do everything I set out to do at the beginning of the summer…before it’s too late. Once the semester begins, free time for crafts and reading for pleasure will be long forgotten. It’s just something most college students learn to accept.

On that uplifting note, I present to you this super simple pasta recipe, perfect for those Sunday nights when you need a short break from cramming information into your brain as well as the sustenance to continue to be able to do so. :D

A couple of weeks ago, a family friend started handing out extra veggies from his garden, and I ended up with at least four bags of cucumbers, zucchini, and summer squash. Needless to say, I’ve been constantly on the lookout for interesting new ways to eat them. For the cucumbers, I made raita a couple of weeks ago; I’ve been making tons of cucumber and banana smoothies (more on that later); they’re also awesome sliced with this spread or this one on toast. My new favorite way to eat the zucchini, though, is using this recipe from Super Natural Every Day. It’s more of a guideline than an actual set of instructions; more than likely, you can just wing it, and it’ll come out delicious.

This pasta, as well as everything else that I’ve tried from this cookbook, practically leaps into your mouth from the bowl. The ingredients are simple and the procedure is easy, but each of the flavors plays perfectly off of the others like a violin quartet inside your mouth. Just when you think the spice from the crushed red pepper might overwhelm you, the parmesan steps in with a hint of creaminess to comfort you. Perfectly timed.

Simple Summer Pasta

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day

2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated

Salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz dried pasta, I used sweet potato linguini from Whole Foods

½ cup parmesan, grated

1 tablespoon butter, optional

Fresh-ground black pepper

Toss the grated squash with the salt and set over the sink or a deep bowl to let the vegetables’ water drain away. Let sit for 10 minutes, then squeeze away as much excess water as you can.

Cook your pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Reserve some of the cooking water.

Put the olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a cold pan, then turn on the heat to medium and let cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the garlic begins to brown. Add the drained zucchini and let cook for 2-5 minutes, until tender.

Add the pasta to the pan, as well as some of the reserved cooking water if the mixture seems dry. Evenly distribute the zucchini and pasta, and add the butter, if using, and parmesan. Toss with salt and pepper, to taste.

Now, get back to that list of textbooks.

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Oatcakes

Somehow oatcakes ended up pulling the short straw. They must have, to end up with a name like that. When you hear the word “oatcake,” do you think of a bland, dry hockey puck? Probably not a hearty, delicious muffin. This recipe changes everything.

I have to admit, even I wasn’t expecting to be dazzled by these oatcakes. I figured they’d be good, and with the walnuts and flax seeds, they’d be healthy. But I had no idea I was about to fall in love.

Apparently, if you combine a healthy amount of oats with whole-wheat flour, walnuts, and maple syrup magic happens; there will be nothing dry or bland about these. The old-fashioned oats give it some weight, so it doesn’t feel like you’re eating mostly air when you grab one of these oatcakes for breakfast. Does anyone else feel like that about doughnuts? Those things are the most delicious air I’ve ever eaten.

Anyway, the walnuts add a complimentary texture to these muffin-like cakes. They give you something to crunch down on, in the midst of the oaty morning mist. Keeps you on your toes, you know.

(I like that you can see the clouds in the reflection of the wet ingredients in this photo.)

Maple syrup sweetens the cakes, without being sugary, and there’s just enough salt in the recipe to keep it feeling almost savory. Maybe it’s just me, but the first time I bit into these (carefully, as they were right out of the oven), I got hints of cornbread in the flavor profile. It was only that first bite, though, so maybe I’m crazy. Either way, these oatcake muffins are more similar to cornbread than, say, a cupcake. Or a hockey puck.

One last thing: this recipe uses coconut oil. I can honestly say that it was the first time I’d ever used the stuff. I was a little afraid of it, actually; solid in the cool grocery store, liquid in my stuffy pantry? Something’s fishy. I ended up trying it anyway because I can’t think of a better reason to conquer a food anxiety than delicious oatmuffincakes. It’s pretty cool stuff. The next thing you know, I’ll be going all-out hippie status and using it for hair and skin care. (Actually, only if it was a little less expensive. I’ll stick to my unnatural shampoo and conditioner for now.)

These oatcakes really were life changing. Try them, and you’ll understand.


Oatcakes

Recipe from Super Natural Every Day

3 cups rolled oats

2 cups white whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

¼ cup ground flax seeds

¾ cup walnuts, chopped

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup unsalted butter

¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup natural cane sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or line a muffin pan.

Toast walnuts in a small, dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. Keep an eye on these – you don’t want them to burn.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl: oats, flour, baking powder, salt, flax seeds, and walnuts.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut oil, butter, maple syrup, and sugar and slowly melt together. Stir just until the butter melts and the sugar has dissolved, and then remove from heat.

Pour the slightly warm coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir together with a fork, and then add the eggs. Stir again until everything comes together into a wet dough, and spoon the dough into the muffin cups. They will be nearly full, but won’t rise too much in the oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges of each oatcake are deeply golden. Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges of the cakes and tip them out onto a cooking rack.

Serve warm, at room temperature, plain, or slathered with butter or jelly. Enjoy!

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