Homemade Birthday

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day! I didn’t want meat included into my birthday dinner, so I began to play around with gnocchi recipes that incorporated tofu, tempeh, or seitan. I stressed about my birthday dinner for about a week prior. I knew the ingredients I wanted to use, but couldn’t decide how to utilize them… Red sauce? White sauce? Pesto? Wine?  I finally came across this recipe. It appealed to my Sicilian genes and thought it sounded delicious. I figured I could make this into a hearty meal to play with everyone’s taste buds, but I definitely want to make it with the eggplant in the future!

After looking at my other Sicilian recipes, I finally realized where I get this salty sweet tooth from! They love combining savory and sweet and this recipe does just that with the capers and raisins.

Its also a great way to kick off Italian Heritage Month!

Sicilian-Inspired Rabe and Pasta

serves 6-8

  • 1/2 lb broccoli rabeWP_004088
  • 6-8 servings pasta/ gnocchi
  • 2 Tbsp fat free ricotta
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 4 tsp minced garlic, divided
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 packet Splenda
  • 1 15 oz can no-salt-added sliced stewed tomatoes, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Brummel and Brown, or low cal, light buttery spread
  • 1 45 calorie box raisins, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp capers, chopped

Bring two pots filled with water to a boil. Once boiling, add broccoli rabe to one pot and pasta/gnocchi to the other. The broccoli rabe cooks for about 4 minutes. When the 4 minutes have passed, drain the broccoli rabe and set aside to cool. Cook the pasta according to standard directions.

In the meantime, drain the can of tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Combine the reserved liquid with water and wine. In a food processor, blend ricotta, basil, 2 tsp garlic, crushed red pepper, Splenda, and 1/3 cup drained tomatoes. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sprayed with non stick cooking spray, over low heat, add the onion. Toss the onion until it begins to brown. Chop the remaining stewed tomatoes. Add the remaining garlic and light buttery spread, chopped tomatoes, and chopped raisins and capers. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. Add the reserved tomato/water liquid and ricotta mix. Recover and simmer.

WP_004091Meanwhile, chop the drained and cooled broccoli rabe, and add to the skillet. Recover the skillet and simmer over low heat.

Turn off the heat, remove the lid, stir the pan, and serve over plated pasta. Top with reduced fat grated parmesean, if desired.

I served this over the gnocchi I had made last week! I really enjoyed it!

I’d Rather Go Green than Be Blue

After a wonderful birthday party, last night, Barry and I came home. While he mowed the lawn, I unloaded some bags and really got in the mood for something. I’ve said it before… Trail mix can be mighty dangerous! I grabbed a handful of mix and a  big spoonful of Edy’s slow Churned to satisfy this sweet crunch tooth. Unfortunately, I kept nibbling on the trail mix (I love the nuts and raisins so much). It wasn’t like a binge, and it wasn’t like a I couldn’t use calories. If it weren’t for the trail mix I would not have gone over 600 calories, today. This did not stop my guilt and after walking outside to vent to Barry, I went to the bathroom for a small purge. Stupid, I know, and unnecessary.

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After and interesting attempt at making some not very attractive, homemade Blueberry PopTarts (I’m sure we’ll get it next time! ), and splitting a banana, Barry and I headed back off to bed, as we both have night shift tonight.

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It was a pretty scatter-brained afternoon for me. I forgot my phone at Barry’s and, of course, when I got back to the house, I couldn’t remember the security code, so the alarm went off! On my way home, I began an anxiety attack. I arrived home just in time for Frank to help talk me down. “I can’t eat! I can’t eat!” I kept yelling between hyperventilations.

I did what I do best and cooked. Well, its not so much cooking, as assembling, and playing with measurements, but however you look at it, I made a pretty mean broccoli salad.

Bundo Broccoli Salad

makes 4 large servings

  • 2 boxes 45 calorie raisins, by SunMaid (or 90 calories of raisins)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup OIKOs plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Hellmans light mayo
  • 2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, more to taste
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 2 Tbsp roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp real bacon crumbles, like Oscar Mayer
  • 12 oz bag fresh brocolli florets
  • 1.5 oz broccoli slaw

Chop raisins, shredded cheddar, and onions. Combine with yogurt, mayo, Splenda, vinegar, pepper, sunflower seeds, and bacon. Pour over top broccoli and slaw and thoroughly mix.  Add pepper to taste, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition:

Calories: 148, Fat: 6.7g, Sat. Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 4.1mg, Sodium: 282mg, Carbs: 14.8g, Fiber: 3.6g, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 8.1g

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After a quick taste test, my nerves were calmed a bit and made the decision that I needed to eat. I whipped up a Sam-Rock Shake, for something low-cal and filling. Its going to be a rather green night, but I’d rather go green with health than blue with depression. To top off the night, I spilled a mug of hot tea on myself. Just great!

Before leaving work and before my mom’s boyfriend, if that what you’d call him, came over, I told her we needed to talk! She’s been acting like nothing ever happend. You know we’re not okay, right? She has been trying to make plans with me, but I’m just waiting for her to back out at the last minute. Don’t think because we spend a few hours together tomorrow that nothing happened this week. She kept responding with “I know… I understand…” No! You don’t understand! You have never had to experience with your mother what I have with you, It hurts and its NOT okay!

We ended the conversation on a good note and I pray it didn’t just go in one ear and out of the other. We supposedly have plans for tomorrow…