Upgraded Pasta Noodles

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Are you enjoying the spring season? I’m all smiles as I write this as I absolutely love this time of year. There are so many reasons why including longer days of sunshine, new beginnings, planting, more outdoor exercise including favorited evening walks, spring produce, and an overall sense of renewal. Transitioning into a new season, especially spring, is a great time to make changes (read top tips on making the change easier here) in your life whether that is in the realm of career, relationships, self love and development, or food choices.

Speaking of making upgraded food choices, if you’re new to the kitchen, recipe development, or healthy eating here are my top tips for making the transition easier!

1. Research. This kind of research is fun. Check out different food blogs or Pinterest and copy favorite recipes that call to you. Collect them in one spot like Evernote so you can easily reach them.

2. Make a list. Based on your top recipes, I typically choose 1-2 new ones to try, write the ingredients down that you will need. Don’t forget to include the essentials like almond milk and basic greens –  two things that are always on my list! With that being said, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. By doing so, we learn about new foods that we often love and wish we’d known about sooner. Furthermore, eating the same foods everysingleday can set us up for a food sensitivity, where you develop an allergic reaction to the food.

3. Shop ahead of time. Plan to get the greens and other goods and wash them one day and then make your recipes a day or two later. Don’t expect to go shopping, washing, and making all in one day…that’s just overwhelming! Break it down into smaller chunks.

4. Have fun with it. Tailor the recipes to fit your needs. If something doesn’t turn out or you don’t like it, it’s just part of the process, don’t give up.

5. Journal if you wish. Create connection with your food. What did you enjoy? How did it make you feel? By tracking how certain foods make you feel, you can figure out certain sensitivities and eliminate foods as needed to allow your system to heal.

6. Make it simple. Look for recipes with shorter ingredient lists that are simple to prepare. When you’re starting you, go for basic, healthy and delicious. You’ll develop your foundational skills and grow from there.

Following is a recipe that was inspired by Linda Wagner that I absolutely love and is the perfect example of an upgraded food choice – healthy pasta! I am planning on planing lots of zucchini this year in the garden so I can make more zucchini noodles, hummus, and brownies too!

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Spring Zucchini Noodles with Kale Pesto

1 cup raw walnuts
1-1.5 cups kale, stems removed
2-3 cloves garlic (save 1 for noodles)
2-3 T. chopped onion (shallot or sweet onion is best-for noodles)
1/2 T. lemon juice
½ inch slice of jalapeno, diced
2 T. olive oil
couple dashes of sea salt & pepper to taste
water as needed to blend, about 4 T.
nutritional yeast to taste, about 1/4 c.
4 medium zucchini
For the pesto, in a Vitamix, food processor or high speed blender (I used the Vitamix with the tamper), process walnuts, kale garlic, lemon, jalapeno, olive oil, salt and pepper, and water until smooth adding more water as needed to blend. Adjust flavors as needed and set aside. For the pasta: Use a spiral slicer to slice the noodles into a “spaghetti” shape.
Sprinkle you noodles lightly with sea salt and use your hands to toss. Chop onions and garlic and place into skillet lined with ghee. Sauté onions and garlic over low-medium heat until tender, adding water as needed so they don’t burn.  Add noodles to skillet and cook on same heat until slightly tender, about 2 mins. Add noodles to your bowl, top with desired amount of pesto, adding chopped nuts (I used a combination I had on hand) and other toppings like chopped sundered tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or chicken slices. Enjoy!
**I double the pesto recipe from the original one so I had about half left over that I used for other dishes and as a dip for veggies.
What changes are you looking to make? What are upgraded food choices that you can’t live without? Health, happiness, and hugs!

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