Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We Put Our Walnuts Where ?

Cathy's Winning Walnut Basil Spaghetti

I say "winning" because, besides the abundance of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids (both as much as any meat dish out there!), EVERY MEMBER of my picky five-member family loves this dish, from age three on up through age 40+. And, this delicious, zesty, zero-cholesterol dish is easy to make, and the walnuts give it a delightful "meaty" texture without all the saturated fat!  I usually prefer to post dishes that encourage as much consumption as possible of fresh or lightly cooked veggies (as opposed to processed starches like pastas), but an occasional spaghetti dish can actually be good for you, and especially for active people and growing kids! Walnuts have tons of the healthy Omega-3 fat, which has been shown to be great for your heart, your skin, your brain, your joints and more. Although this is a very healthy dish, it is rich.  You shouldn't really eat calorie-laden pastas very often unless you are very thin and/or are very physically active!

1 box thin whole wheat spaghetti
1/3 medium eggplant, cut into thin strips
1 large handful fresh basil, maybe more, washed, bunched up and cut into strips
5-6 cloves fresh garlic, more if you love garlic, chopped or cut into strips
light virgin olive oil (about 2 tbsp)
1 to 1 1/3 cups fresh walnuts, ground in a food processor
1 24 oz. jar of your favorite organic pasta sauce with little to no sugar added, less than 5gm per svg
red pepper flakes (add to your own plate if children are eating)
sea salt, to taste

1. Prepare spaghetti as directed, al dente,  draining and rinsing when done, then setting aside with a tiny bit of oil mixed in.  While the pasta is cooking, keep an eye on it and do steps 2 and 3:

2. Saute garlic first in a large pan. The idea is to create a "garlic flavored oil," one of the secrets here.

3.  Just before they are lightly browned, add the eggplant and saute 2-3 more minutes.

4.  Mix in the pasta sauce and bring to a simmer.

5.  Add the prepared spaghetti, mix thoroughly.

6.  Add the basil, mixing thoroughly. The basil must be abundant and fresh. Sorry, no exceptions here.

7.  Add the red pepper flakes or just the sea salt.  Enjoy!

Serves about 6-7 people.
Cooking time:  Approx. 30 minutes

Here's a wonderful link that delves deep into the
"wondrous walnut."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It Goes Way Back...

For as far back as I can remember, I've contemplated what makes "healthy" and what does not. Even in the photos above, you can see I'm pondering a morsel of cookie quite seriously for a two-year-old. I don't actually recall what was going on there... But knowing myself, I mostly likely was thinking that if I ate that last piece, it would be all gone - thus, maybe I'd better not eat it! I was also probably wondering what something that sweet would do to my body, and if it was good for me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


     My favorite subjects have always included nutrition, spirituality and overall health. Seeing a nice person who was also beautiful, happy, vibrant and in good health always fascinated me. Hearing about someone with a disease, obesity or cancer just broke my heart and made me resolve to find answers.  I studied nutrition formally for the first time in 1985, and then I finally became a Registered Dietitian in 2009.

     I've just always been dumbfounded by the amount of denial going on in people in so many areas of life, especially in how we care for ourselves and how we treat others. I believe that the state of the mind and our level of spirituality affect our physical health in more ways than we realize.  So many people are disconnected from God and from what God is all about - love, acceptance, and letting go of fear and bad habits and traditions. Our health and spiritual state is the prerequisite to everything else. Life is just too short and precious to waste it away with cheating yourself. And I'm definitely not immune to denial either! But the most important thing we can do is to accept that there's a lot of it going on and start from there.

     Now, thanks to this wonderful thing called the Internet, I can share a few of these thoughts. In my blog, No Denial For Dinner, I will offer up some tips on how to eat nutritiously, feel great and maintain a proper weight (a life-changing feat for many!), and how easy that can be with a few deep-down changes. I'm hoping that maybe if I post these thoughts, recipes, videos and other things here they will maybe help a few other people.

      Thanks for stopping by! And Here's to love, health and happiness!