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Growing up in an Italian family [Irish and Italian, but we’ll save amaze Irish food for another entry], a love of pasta was inevitable. It’s not a hard thing to love. It’s fresh, tastes good a million different ways, and culturally it symbolizes a time when families sit and spend time together while enjoying a delicious, homemade meal.
Growing up surrounded by tons of mouth watering Italian food, pasta is pretty much everywhere. Whether it’s the main dish, the side dish, the first course, the last course, or just there in case anybody wants some, pasta is most likely available. There’s spaghetti. There’s manicotti. There’s gnocchi. There’s fettuccine alfredo. Served with chicken parmesan. Or eggplant parmesan. Or some other meat and cheese. Then there’s the weekly Sunday dinner AKA the deliciously ultimate carb throwdown. The freshest pastas, breads, cheeses, cakes and pastries around. You get the idea – savory carb heaven. Authentic Italian food is a delectable, flavorful cuisine through which the love and passion for cooking shines through.
I feel very blessed to have grown up around such amazing cooks and their passion for this wonderful food! It’s why I fell in love with cooking at such a young age. But the downside about being surrounded by pasta and other similar foods on a regular basis? Carbs…on carbs…on carbs – not the good kind. More often than not, that goes for sauces and gravies, too (yes, I fairly acknowledge each side of the great debate over what to call the stuff that gets poured over pasta).
Luckily, I had the best of both worlds growing up in a very food loving, yet health conscious family who combined healthy, balanced food with savory combinations. Perhaps this is where my passion for healthy alternative cooking comes from. We always ate well balanced meals. My parents fostered in us a love of healthy eating and fitness early on, so a healthy lifestyle just kind of became the way things were for us (by the way, thanks for that mom and dad!).
Unless it was our weekly Sunday dinner, (which was and still is the whole nine – pastas, cheeses, breads, pastries, etc, etc..), with dinner always came an abundant amount of vegetables or salad, whole grains, and things like baked chicken or fresh fish. During the week, dessert was usually freshly cut fruit, homemade popsicles made with fresh fruit, or a fruit smoothie, thick and creamy from the blender.
Growing up, there was balance, health, and flavor – lean and healthy all week, homemade pizza Fridays, and our traditional Sunday dinners each weekend – ALL equally delicious. Perhaps this is why I now opt for my weekly cheat day to be Sunday? Hmm……
Anyway, I digress. I’m here today with a godsend – you’re welcome in advance: Shirataki Noodles
One bag of Shirataki Noodles is ONLY 40 calories, 1g fat, 30mg sodium, 6g carbs, 4g fiber, and 0g sugar. So compared to a big bowl of spaghetti, these can pretty much be considered guilt free and sent from the heavens for all your pasta/carb craving needs.
I have tons of yummy healthy alternative sauce recipes that I want to start sharing here on FSS, but I wouldn’t be able to do so until I introduce Shirataki Noodles to you all, and provide directions for preparing them. These babies are what I use for all of my pasta dishes now (accept on Sundays AKA cheat day AKA the day of the delicious carb throwdown). You can buy them at stores like Whole Foods and Shop Rite. You can also often find them at your favorite local gourmet health and food spots. Even better: they’re usually only about $1.99 per bag! Score 😉
Here is how to prepare Shirataki Noodles:
Before ALL Recipes:
- Thoroughly drain and strain noodles from bag, and then rinse thouroughly in strainer with warm water (toss with hands). Removes the fish smell/taste from them and prepares them for better cooking.
- Toss noodles in a sautee pan on medium for 3 minutes before adding any other ingredients. This makes them a little tougher, resembling pasta more and tofu less.
Get your guilt free pasta on today! Come back soon. There are tons of Fit Soul and Spice healthy alternative sauces, toppings, and creations to follow…
Be healthy. Eat well. Much love 🙂