I’ve become a crazy spiralizer lady… and I’m not ashamed.

College, Health, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Recipes, Updates

Okay, okay, I really messed up this time… and I have no excuse. I know I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I really should have, because so much has happened to me health-wise in the last month! I’ve been having a pretty relaxing summer, and with that extra time that I didn’t have when I was back in school, I’ve been cooking up a bajillion different recipes, working out and going all crazy on Pinterest. (Ask my mom, I’m literally obsessed). With that other, non-spare time, I’ve been traveling with my family and working on an online course for my major. I have so many new recipes to share with you guys, and I’m truly sorry that I haven’t been updating this blog… I promise I will get everything up to date for you ASAP 🙂 Please forgive me, and if you don’t, I understand. So, a little more than a month ago, my mom and I were window shopping in this fancy outdoor mall in our city that has a bunch of ridiculously expensive stores that we can’t afford. Sur la Table is my mom’s weakness though, so like usual, we went in and browsed a bit. Turns out, they were having a sale on spiralizing gadgets, so we gave in and (halfway) splurged on a little handheld one.

Here it is… isn’t it lovely?

“What is a spiralizer?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you, it’s the best invention in the whole wide world, and it’s changed my lunch game forever. I’ve always loved pasta. My birthday dinner as a kid was always at the Spaghetti Factory, and last year, when I went on my graduation trip to Italy, I was in actual pasta heaven. When I first heard about turning vegetables into noodles, I was skeptical. I mean, pasta is pretty bomb. Why mess with pasta? Even though I love myself a big bowl of spaghetti, turns out, pasta isn’t exactly the best food to eat when you’re trying to lose weight. Especially if you’re eating white pasta, without whole grains, you’re not getting any nutrients, and you’re loading up on a bunch of empty calories. It amazed me when I found out that the normal serving of pasta was only supposed to be the size of my fist (1 cup)… that was maybe a third of what I ate on a normal night growing up! The spiralizer I bought was the GEFU Spiral slicer SPIRELLI, a little hourglass-shaped one that looks kind of like the Vegetti thing on that infomercial. Basically, it turns vegetables into noodles! I chose this model over the giant machine with a crank that they were selling because it was a little cheaper and I knew that I wasn’t going to have room for the giant version in my little apartment kitchen when I go back to school. The downside to the handheld version is that it can only turn a limited amount of food into noodles, but hey, I’m satisfied with the foods that have worked so far! As a plus, this gadget has two sides, one that makes thicker strands, and one that makes thinner. The first noodle I tried was the ‘Zoodle’, which in normal-people talk is a zucchini noodle. All you have to do is wash a zucchini, stick it in one end of the hourglass and twist. Almost magically, I got these beautiful green noodles.  that you can toss into a skillet with your favorite sauce and cook in 2 minutes flat.

A creation of mine- spiralized zucchini and carrots sautéed with pesto sauce, and topped with pine nuts

A creation of mine- spiralized zucchini and carrots sautĂ©ed with pesto sauce, diced tomatoes and topped with pine nuts (Note: turns out pine nuts are freakin’ expensive… do not attempt if you’re a starving college student)

Yes, I sense your skepticism… but I’m telling you this honestly, from the bottom of my heart… these things have the same  exact texture as regular noodles- and you feel like you’re eating a TON, when you’re actually just eating a big bowl of veggies! They taste amazing and you can eat them just like regular noodles- with a fork, with a spoon, with chopsticks, with a shovel, whatever. I feel like the government was hiding this secret from us, because why else would these have just gotten popular? I mean, two cups of white pasta is around 350 calories… two cups of zucchini noodles is 58 calories… with so many nutrients packed in!

Spaghetti squash zoodles sautéed with pesto, diced tomato, spinach, lemon pepper seasoning (Trader Joe's) and topped with some parmesan cheese

Yellow squash noodles sautĂ©ed with pesto, diced tomato, spinach, lemon pepper seasoning (Trader Joe’s) and topped with some parmesan cheese. Doesn’t it look just like spaghetti??

Now, after I got comfortable spiralizing zucchini, I moved on tocarrots. These were a little harder to spiralize, and left a lot of waste, but I just chopped up the extra carrot that didn’t go through the blades and saved them for a salad or sautĂ©ed meal later. I also tried sweet potato, which not only makes great noodles, but can make some pretty great curly fries (A recipe to come soon)! Cucumber is another fun, easy to spiralize food, but it’s probably best eaten in a raw salad. I also spiralized some zucchini-shaped yellow squash a few days ago, and it turned out great! All of these foods (except for the cucumber) can be sautĂ©ed with a little olive oil for a few minutes and seasoned, or sautĂ©ed with sauce for a few minutes, and they turn out like regular noodles. I’m so impressed.

Daikon noodles with spicy Thai sauce, stir-fried with carrots, cilantro, green onion, and an egg

Daikon noodles with spicy Thai sauce, stir-fried with carrots, cilantro, green onion, and an egg

My newest favorite “spiralable” food is the daikon radish. I found this recipe on pinterest for “Spicy Thai Noodles”, and I knew I just knew that this was a perfect opportunity to replace regular noodles with daikon noodles. What do you know? They turned out fantastic! (Note: I also replaced canola oil with olive oil, skipped the peanuts and added in some eggs for protein) I seriously felt like I was eating real noodles! Daikon is also pretty great on it’s own, chopped up into a salad. So to end this post, I’d like to share with you the zoodle recipe that I shared with my family. It’s also from Pinterest, so don’t give me credit for any of this… but it’s definitely worth sharing, because it seriously tastes like authentic Asian food. This was the first spiralizer recipe that my family tried, and they LOVED it. Hope you do too 🙂

Ginger zucchini noodle egg drop soup

via Snixy Kitchen (Sarah Menanix)

My soup's result... ugh it was SO good! I didn't have fresh ginger so I used grated ginger from a jar, and it still tasted fantastic

My soup’s result… ugh it was SO good! I didn’t have fresh ginger so I used grated ginger from a jar, and it still tasted fantastic

PREP TIME:  10 MINS
COOK TIME:  15 MINS
TOTAL TIME:  25 MINS
YIELDS: 4-6 servings
INGREDIENTS
  • 4 medium to large zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 5 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 cups, plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
  • ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 5 tablespoons low-sodium tamari sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 cups thinly sliced scallions, divided
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • Salt & pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare the zucchini noodles with a spiralizer
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the minced ginger and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the shiitake mushrooms and a tablespoon of water and cook until the mushrooms begin to sweat.
  5. Add 7 cups of the vegetable broth, the remaining water, the red pepper flakes, tamari sauce, and 1½ cups of the chopped scallions. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile, mix the remaining cup of vegetable broth with the corn starch and whisk until completely smooth.
  7. While stirring the soup, slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a thin stream. Continue stirring until all of the egg is incorporated.
  8. Slowly pour the corn starch mixture into the soup and cook for about 4-5 minutes to thicken.
  9. Season to taste with salt & pepper (usually I add just a bit of pepper, but as long as I’m using a full-sodium vegetable broth, I don’t need any extra salt).
  10. Add the spiralized zucchini noodles to the pot and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until the noodles are just soft and flexible (remember, they’ll continue cooking in your bowl!).
  11. Serve topped with the remaining scallions.
So, the moral of the story is… TRY SPIRALIZING! I’m so obsessed with it right now because it’s such an easy, fun, clean way to eat! It’s also so much quicker to prepare than pasta, since all you need to do is toss it in a pan and stir it around for a few minutes. If you need more spiralizing recipes, be sure to check out the website inspiralized.com. Ali Maffucci, the blogger behind the site has created so many awesome spiralizing recipes, and I want to try them all! I’m going to also try to post as many recipes as I can here, on my blog too, so keep checking back! On a side note, here’s a little update on my own weight loss journey. I’m not gonna lie, losing my Freshman 10 has been a struggle. For a couple of months I was eating clean, cutting out sugar, and working out as much as I could, but all I did was maintain my weight… I only fluctuating up and down! So, the past two weeks, I’ve started keeping track of calories again, and this time… It’s working! I think that the secret to losing weight this time, rather than when I tried counting calories at school, is that I’m eating real food this time. At school, I ate low calorie foods with low nutritional value, and exercised excessively, so I had enough “room” at the end of the day to pig out on fro-yo. Now, I eat 3 healthy meals a day, and about 3 healthy snacks, eating tons of fruits, veggies and lean proteins. I treat myself every so often, but I try and make sure that everything stays under my calorie budget. Becoming healthier is truly is journey, and I’ve learned so much over the last few months. Even though my weight loss is slow, I’ve seen so many other positive side-effects of clean eating. I’m sleeping better, my skin is clearer, I’m happier and I have more energy. Best of all, my eating habits have changed, so that I’m not hungry all of the time. Because I’m not going on some diet that causes me to lose a ton of weight quick, I know that when I’ve reached my goal, I’ll be able to maintain my results. Well, that was a long post… hahaha So good luck to everyone on all your journeys to living a healthier, happier life… I’ll be here… blogging and pinning and just being weird. -Hana
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