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Many people are finding that they feel better when they avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, spelt, rye, barley, kamut, triticale.  Other folks are trying to eat fewer simple carbohydrates.  And most of us are trying to find new and interesting ways to eat more vegetables.  I put myself into all three categories.  I have a few suggestions for folks like myself who need an alternative to the noodle!  First, the Spaghetti Squash.  For instructions on cooking a spaghetti squash click here. It is a little starchy, in strands like pasta, soaks up the sauce.  I think it is a very satisfying alternative to pasta.  Second, zuchini “pasta”.   Easy to make and delicious.  zuchinizuchinizuchini pasta

zuchini pasta with basil pesto and pork tenderloin

zuchini pasta with basil pesto and pork tenderloin

And a third is Konnyaku, a high fiber noodle made from Konjac.  They are sometimes called Shirataki noodles and can be made partly with tofu.  You can buy them in Asian grocery stores.  The fiber in konjac, is a soluble fiber called glucomannan which has been studied in relation to Type II Diabetes and Insulin Resistance.  It has been shown to help reduce blood sugar and lower high cholesterol.  The noodles are easy to use, just open the bag, rinse, and add to soup or stir fry.  They are a filling, low calorie, gluten free option to replace our beloved noodle!

shirataki noodles

shirataki noodles

This week's CSA offerings

This week's CSA offerings

I am crazy in love with the turnips that we get from our CSA.  They are the white things on the right, a little bigger than the radishes.  If your only experience with turnips involves the overgrown purple and white root vegetable that has been sitting in the bin at the grocery store too long, I ask you to set aside your preconceived notions of the turnip.  This week was our first vegetable pick up of the season.  We have been members of the Sauvie Island Organics CSA (Community Supported Agriculture to learn more about community supported agriculture or to find a farm near you click on the link) for about 5 years now.   They do a bang up job of raising the most delicious, nutritious, variety of vegetables that come straight from the farm to us every tuesday from May to late November.  The first year we became members it was a challenge for my family of four (two teenaged boys) to eat all the vegetables every week.  I actually (gasp) started eating vegetables for breakfast!  Instead of a vegetable side dish at dinner we would have two or three different veggies.   We all know that as confusing as nutrition advice can be, everyone agrees on one thing:  Eat More Veggies! Now, five years later we easily consume our weekly treasure chest of fresh, organic vegetables.  And can I put in a plug here for feeding kids local, organic, real vegetables as opposed to slimy, “baby” carrots and bags of prewashed salad greens?  Organic, farm fresh food actually tastes better people!  Kids will eat it!    And when vegetables are as fresh and vibrant as these are, you really don’t need to doctor them up too much when you cook them.  A little olive oil, a sqeeze of lemon and some good salt (you know how I feel about that) is the only “recipe” you need!

Is it not true however that most things in life can be improved with bacon?  And that is my favorite thing to do with the Hakurei Turnips!  Sautee up a couple of pieces of bacon which has been cut into small pieces with kitchen shears.  Add some onions or leeks if you like.  Quarter the turnips and add them to the bacon.  Let them cook for a while in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally.  After about 10 minutes or so add a splash of vinegar.  Sherry vinegar, or red wine vinegar.  (As an aside, I keep dried burdock sliced soaking in a jar of red wine vinegar and use it for salads and things like this.  The burdock adds little flavor, but I feel I am adding a wonderful herbal tonic for my liver and blood whenever I use it!)  Cover the turnips with a lid of some sort and let them steam in the vinegar for a few minutes.  Then uncover and keep cooking until they are browned and fork tender.  Depending on the size of your turnip slices you may need to steam them in a little water also to get them cooked all the way through.  But be sure to brown them up a the end of the cooking time.  Salt and pepper to taste.   And don’t forget that the greens are delicious too!  Cook them up separately or throw them in near the end of the cooking time of the turnips.  Nutrition facts for turnips can be found here.   Turnips are a cruciferous root vegetable, a member of the brassica family and share similar health benefits to cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower.  They are low in calories (so don’t feel guilty about the bacon), high in vitamin C, and fiber.

mother's day love

mother's day love

The days of bagels, cream cheese, lox and red onion are over.  Who needs it?  Check out what my loving husband and father of my beautiful boys whipped up for me this morning.  Greens sauteed in coconut oil, lightly garnished with black sesame and fleur de sel, poached eggs and the first local strawberries of the season.  I am loved!

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