Magnificent hippie food: 3 healthy, yummy cooking experiments
To my delight, I recently had time to experiment in the kitchen. I am not the best cook, but I love making things, and making things to eat feels extra decadent!
I was trying to save money and use up ingredients I have on hand in delicious new ways. The Internet provided the inspiration, but I substituted freely to avoid a trip to HEB. None of the dishes seemed any worse for the wear.
I highly recommend all three recipes! By the way, these are all gluten-free, vegetarian and delicious, you lucky dogs!
Golden Milk Sleepy Drink
Why it's awesome: This dreamy drink is a Western take on traditional Indian haldi doodh, or turmeric milk. It is deliciously spicy and creamy, kind of like a chai tea latte, but with sleepiness instead of caffeine. It can be made with nut milks, dairy, whatever kind of milk you prefer. I was anxious and kind of hungry before bed, and this immediately made me feel warm, relaxed and full. I was surprised how well it worked!
Substitutions: I made a blend of two recipes because I did not have all the ingredients for either one. I used the basic premise of milk + spices + coconut oil + honey.
Pitfalls: I am lazy, so I microwaved the coconut milk instead of heating it in a saucepan. It boiled over and made a mess both times I made it (laziness backfire). So whether you are a microwave or stovetop kind of person, keep an eye on it!
Banana Nut Quinoa Bars
Why it's awesome: These bars are gluten free and get their protein from quinoa, pecans, peanut butter, and an egg. They make a super easy, filling grab-and-go breakfast or healthier dessert. I also discovered they are really good muffin-style: sliced in half, warmed and buttered. Yuuuuummmm.
Substitutions: I used what I had on hand--steel cut oats for rolled oats, organic cane sugar syrup for maple syrup, and pecans for walnuts.
Pitfalls: I think having the rolled oats would have made this less crumbly, but I was happy to use up what I had. And it still tasted delicious! Also, I accidentally let the quinoa boil over and run dry (are you sensing a theme here?). I just added more water, and it came out fine!
Recipe: Banana Nut Quinoa Bars
Spaghetti Squash with Italian "Stir-Fry"
Why it's awesome: This "pasta" dish contains zero grains and is vegan and gluten-free all while still being DELICIOUS. I love love love pasta, so this is a nice way to take a break from carbo-loading and get more veggies. The Italian "stir-fry" is something my husband and I made up years ago, and it's the perfect opportunity to use summer tomatoes from the garden!
Substitutions: When I first had spaghetti squash, my friend had made it for my family. The recipe I found online didn't have any garlicky goodness that hers had, so I took my best guess. Towards the end of the cooking time, I turned the spaghetti squash face-up and put more olive oil in with chopped garlic and cooked it a bit longer. It seemed to work.
Pitfalls: Because I chose a smaller spaghetti squash than the one my friend cooked, I only cooked it for about 55 minutes, but I think it was a little underdone. Also, this "small" squash still made WAY too much for one person. I ate it for several meals before getting kind of sick of it.
Recipes: How to cook spaghetti squash
This is a flexible, use-what-you-got kind of recipe!
Tomatoes (fresh, canned, paste or combo)
Salt, pepper, Italian herbs, red pepper flake
Fresh basil, oregano if you have it
- Chop your ingredients.
- In a large sauce pan or skillet, sautée onions and carrots in oil until onions are translucent and carrots are softened and slightly browned.
- Clear a spot in the pan, and sautée garlic for about 30 seconds in oil.
- Add tomatoes and turn down to simmer. Fresh and canned tomatoes will give you a thinner sauce; thicken with tomato paste if desired. The longer you cook, the more water will evaporate out of the tomatoes, which is another way to thicken it.
- Add salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Add spinach at the very end. Turn it over in the hot sauce until it just wilts.
- Serve immediately for a chunky sauce, or use an immersion blender to have a smooth sauce.
Hey, good lookin', whatcha got cookin'??
Are you gonna try any of these recipes? Got tips? Leave a comment below, or tell us about your latest kitchen experiments in a fun guest post!