I am not a fan of making New Year’s resolutions. Rather, I prefer reflecting on the past year–my accomplishments and what I am grateful for. It helps me to take stock of where I am in life and how I want to move forward in the coming year. 2015 was a very good year: I was promoted to General Manager of the bakery I work at, I concluded therapy after 4 years with an incredible therapist, and I traveled to Norway, Sweden, France and Switzerland with my husband.
Seeing as that I’m turning 40 this year, I feel the need to try some new things and push myself out of my comfort zone. I signed up for a Half-Marathon in April, and Mr. K and I plan on taking a trip to China this summer. I also want to learn Spanish, once-and-for-all! Of course, always on my list is trying out new recipes, and this past week it was Pad Thai. I, like most people, love Pad Thai, but I rarely order it when I eat out, as it’s usually a really heavy dish, and loaded with calories. I found this Mark Bittman recipe and decided to tweak it a bit to make it lighter and healthier. Enjoy!
Healthy Pad Thai Adapted from Mark Bittman via The New York Times
4 ounces fettuccine-width rice noodles
1/8 cup peanut oil
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup red cabbage
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon peanut oil to keep from sticking and set aside.
Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, sesame oil, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.
Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt.
Add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro.
I recently learned that my cholesterol is dangerously high. In lieu of going on medication, I decided to actively try and cut out a decent amount of sugar from my diet. Of course, there will still be plenty of dark chocolate. I mean, I haven’t lost my mind. There will ALWAYS be dark chocolate in my life. What’s more, I have a huge sweet tooth. Therefore, dessert will always be a part of my life as well, but I needed to find some recipes that incorporate sugar substitutions. Turns out, there is a lot out there. For the most part, bananas and dates are the healthiest options when substituting sugar in a recipe. Although they still contain a decent amount of sugar– like fruit– they also contain fiber, which slows down the rate at which the body absorbs the sugars from the fruit. Therefore, I have been making A LOT of (healthier) desserts lately to try and figure out what works and what doesn’t work.
One of my favorite things to eat around the holidays is gingerbread-flavored anything. I love the spices, along with the deep, complex flavor of molasses. I had a deliciously spicy slice of gingerbread loaf last week from a bakery in Manhattan. It inspired me to try and give gingerbread muffins a go, but with no sugar (other than the molasses, which I made an exception for). They turned out really well. My only complaint is that they are not quite spicy enough. Therefore, if you really want that bite that you get from a gingersnap cookie, feel free to double the amount of ginger in this recipe. If you are ok with a milder flavor, these will be perfect for you. Healthy Gingerbread Muffins Adapted from Pinch of Yum
Yield: 22 Mini-muffins
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup molasses
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (sub 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
11/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
11/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Candied ginger, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or butter. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the molasses.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, yogurt, milk, ginger, vanilla extract, and orange zest.
Add the olive oil and molasses from step one.
Add the flours, baking soda, salt, and dry spices. Stir a few times until just combined. Scoop into a mini-muffin tin and place a piece of candied ginger on top of each muffin. Bake for 10-12 minutes (if making full-size muffins, bake for 17-20 minutes) or until the tops are puffy and firm to the touch. Cool for a few minutes before serving.