in my cupboard: black bean pasta

Last week I shared a recipe with you for black bean pasta with chorizo & peppers. Turns out this black bean pasta gem that I picked up on a weekend when I was visiting my parents is pretty hard to track down, but a lot of you were interested in where you could find it. Also turns out that is is very tasty and incredibly healthy. Why must you be so hard to find?!

The Black Bean variety has one ingredient: black beans. It also has a ridiculous amount of protein (20.5 grams per serving) and is pretty low in carbohydrates (16 grams per serving). I did expect it to be higher in fiber (only 0.5 grams)…can’t quite figure out why it is so low. It is also organic, vegan and gluten-free. Oh, did I mention it is delicious too?

The pasta, which comes in three varieties that I saw (Mung Bean, Soy Bean and Black Bean) is imported from China and the company doesn’t even have a website, making it even harder to find! So there are a few options.

  1. You can request that your local store bring it in (typically the best way to get the product you want in stores) – the brand is called Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine.
  2. I’ll get some for you! After all, Christmas is in a few days and I’m feeling pretty giving. :) I will send one winner (US only, sorry International friends!) one bag of each variety. Might as well try them all, right?

To Enter:

  • Leave me a comment telling me which variety you are most eager to try
  • Like me on Facebook (please!!) (leave an additional comment letting me know you did so or you are already a fan)
  • Tweet about the giveaway, including @nutritionisteat (leave an additional comment letting me know you did so)
  • Post a link to the giveaway on your blog if you have one (leave an additional comment letting me know you did so)

I’ll choose a winner Sunday December 26th – Happy Holidays and Good Luck!

Edited to Add: Congratulations Samantha! Send me your mailing address and I’ll get the pasta sent out for you!

holiday health: enjoying the holidays

This post is part of the Healthbuzz December series, Holiday Health, by Foodbuzz.

So far most of my Holiday Health articles have been about what to do if you Ate too Much, Simplifying for Stress Free Holidays, the Pre-Holiday Party Lunch, how to order Holiday Coffee Drinks and so on. I was originally going to write a post called Eating Healthy at Holiday Parties, but then I realized how hypocritical that would be. I’m not going to eat perfectly on Christmas.  I’m going to enjoy myself, and not worry about how many calories are in eggnog or if I eat a ridiculous amount of cheese.

So today I want to talk about what you should do.

You should always eat home made cookies. And really enjoy them. Without feeling guilty or bad about too many grams of sugars or carbs.

You should fill someones stocking.

You should take a day off from the computer – can’t we all use one day without it?

You should enjoy an indulgent and special meal with family. (Soprano style)

You should listen to Christmas music and watch Christmas movies.

You should try using heavy whipping cream in your coffee. At least once. (Cannoli cream is also amazing in coffee frothed with a little milk)

You should kiss under mistletoe.

You should skip your workout unless it is a family walk, snowshoeing or skiing.

You should spend some time by a tree that is decorated. (Palm trees with presents don’t count!)

You should be sure that you’ve had one cocktail by 3pm (or earlier, I won’t judge.)

You should be thankful for all you have.

You should think about those who are not as lucky.

And most of all, you should enjoy yourself. It’s what the Holidays are all about.

Merry Christmas!

What what you add to the should do Christmas list?

an early christmas

Growing up, we never were home for Christmas. We spent it in Milwaukee or Minnesota and often had our own little family celebration a week or two before the real Christmas. Even though it wasn’t on the actual day, I loved our tradition of having our own little Christmas, every single year. We always read The Polar Express, ate an amazing breakfast and had cookies with fresh orange and grapefruit segments for dessert before opening presents. Or we would have an amazing dinner and open presents by the lights of the tree.

This is also a tradition that the Taster and I have started. So this past weekend we celebrated Christmas a little early. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ll be married in less than 9 months (eek!) or if I’m just growing up, but I’ve been really wanting to decorate and get into the spirit more this year. The decorations are a little sparse this year, but I can assure you that next year, I’ll have a house (or apt) that looks like it belongs to Martha…or something like that.  My favorite is a nativity scene I picked up in Haiti. It reminds of my trips to Haiti every time I see it.

We also pretend we have a tree and put the presents under our Palm. It works. :)

It wouldn’t be a Christmas celebration without a good meal – for our little celebration we went the non-traditional route with an Asian-Southern fusion dinner. Delicious. I’ve heard my Mom is making scallop chowder and beef tenderloin this year…am I home yet?

Don’t forget Santa! Did you hear he’s a vegan now? He loved Mama Peas Snickerdoodle Dough Balls, but not as much as me so I only gave up a few! ;)

But the best part about Christmas is spending a relaxing morning or evening with the ones you love, and it never matters where that happens. (Taster and I with our ugly sweaters and cheesy engagement pose – hehe)

blue cheese & walnut crackers

You know how much I love cheese and crackers. And if you don’t, know that if we don’t have cheese and crackers in the house, the world is just not right. I grew up eating cheese and crackers almost every night and I’ve since continued that habit. :) This recipe combines the two – cheese and crackers bundled up in one package? I’m in!

I’ve seen the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) episode (twice!) where she helps her friend plan and prepare a cocktail party and she makes these cute little blue cheese & walnut crackers. Both times I’ve thought they would be kind of fun and I finally got around to making them. I think they would be fabulous alongside some champagne myself and that is how I plan to enjoy the ones that I don’t give away!

Blue Cheese & Walnut Crackers - adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 8 oz blue cheese, crumbled and at room temperature
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and cheese. Add flours, salt and pepper and mix until it is in large crumbles. Add 1 Tablespoon of water and mix until combined.

Dump flour on counter and roll into a long log. (I wanted my crackers a little smaller, so while Ina says to roll into 12 inch log, I did about double that). Brush log with egg wash and roll in chopped walnuts, pressing them into the log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days.

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Cut the log into thin slices (about 1/2 inch) and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool and serve at room temperature.