Broccoli-mushroom pesto with shrimp and gluten-free pasta

Broccoli pesto

Okay, so it’s not really pesto, but it looks like pesto, and sneaks in greens. If you love pasta with pesto, but are trying to make better choices, you should give this dish a shot. It is very kid-friendly, very easy, and very healthy.

Looking like pesto came about as an accident. My day ran long, and I was feeling lazy, so rather than chop my broccoli and mushrooms, I threw them in the processor to pulse. In my distracted state (hangry 18-month old hanging from my leg), I over-pulsed. My husband didn’t even know we weren’t eating pesto until I told him. If I had called it broccoli sauce, it wouldn’t have seemed nearly as appealing.

I’ll admit my measurements are guesses in this one. I’m more of an eye-baller, plus I recognize everyone’s tastes are different. Maybe you like more garlic or less mushrooms. Just adjust to your own tastes.

You don’t have to use shrimp, it just happened to be what I was in the mood for. You could use any meat, or no meat. However you go about it, I hope you enjoy it!

What I loved about our pasta wasn’t so much that it was gluten-free as that it had quinoa, corn and rice flour, so the protein-carbohydrate ratio was really balanced.

Broccoli-mushroom pesto and shrimp pasta

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bag of defrosted-frozen (or fresh) shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan
  • s&p to taste
  • gluten-free pasta

Pulse rinsed broccoli and mushrooms in the processor. Cook with next 3 ingredients for 10 minutes. Add half of olive oil and add shrimp. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Toss cooked pasta with remaining oil. Salt & pepper pasta, then add broccoli-shrimp mixture and parmesan. Toss together and serve.

Health is a family affair

Actual conversation from last night:

Me: I’m trying to only have a glass of wine OR chocolate if I want a treat at night.

H: A good wife has wine AND chocolate with her husband.

Can you say spouse-pressure? Lucky for me, my husband was (half) kidding, but family intervening in healthy decisions is a larger problem than you think.

When you’re single, it’s easy to make a diet/lifestyle change, because it only affects you. The more people it affects, the more resistance you encounter.

Shockingly, even someone trying to lose weight and improve her health – changes other family support in theory – can be stopped in her path when other family members aren’t on board with how it affects them. It’s tough to stick to your guns and avoid temptation when it’s in the house, whether it’s there because you want it, or because someone else wants it.

If there is chocolate in the house, I will eat it, if there isn’t, I won’t. Period. If I decide to not have chocolate in the house, my husband can’t have any either. No chocolate for me equals no chocolate for him.

Removing processed, junky food from your diet means removing it from the house, just as going to the gym often requires encouragement from an entire household. If you are trying to eat more vegetables and hit the gym, but your partner is asking you to hangout on the couch with a bag of cheetos, he is not supporting you.

Ask your partner about his/her behavior. Maybe…

  • He knows he needs to make changes, too, but doesn’t want to, so your healthy behaviors are an unfriendly reminder/suggestion to him.
  • She doesn’t want you to lose weight because of the attention you’ll get. (Sad, but true story.)
  • He can eat whatever he wants and not exercise, and he never gains a pound.
  • She doesn’t realize she isn’t supporting you.

Making healthier choices is a lifestyle change for your entire support system. Just as people need support to fight addiction and remove negative behaviors, they also need support instigating new, positive ones. The people in our lives bring us up or down, and they aren’t always aware of it.

Make healthy behaviors a family affair, and speak up when you need better support.


In the land of milk and honey, what can I eat?

The other day, a friend and I were discussing how hard it is to decide between all the kinds of milk available. Shockingly, although there are at least 10 varieties to choose from in stores, new opinions are suggesting going for what is not available at your local grocery chain; raw milk.

Without getting deep into the discussion, suffice that we concluded there are well-researched opinions to support both sides of every food story, and not only when it comes to milk.

Every time you get ready to make a food purchase, you have to decide between organic vs. non-organic, GMO vs. non-GMO, gluten-free, fat percentages, real or artificial sweeteners, etc., etc.. It’s easy to worry that you are making the wrong decision when there are so many options, and it’s even more stressful when deciding what to give your baby.

The good news is, you don’t need to think so much. Let me do my best to simplify it for you, and you can determine from there how much more or less you want to put into it.

  • Less is more: Choose whatever is closest to its natural state. Avoid added sweeteners (even the artificial kind), salt, etc.
  • Fat is okay, in fact, lactose goes down better with a side of fat, so skip the fat-free dairy.
  • When to go organic: When you are going to eat the peel, and with animal products, to avoid pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.
  • What can’t be regulated should be questioned. Food that isn’t FDA approved may not be for a very good reason. It’s not because the government doesn’t want us to have what’s good for us. Be discerning.
  • Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune. There are billions of families without the time or money to get picky about nutrition, and their kids turn out just fine.
  • A little salt and/or sugar won’t kill you or your baby. Just remember that sweet and savory cravings are learned, addictive behaviors. Learning to eat a little and be done is actually healthier than going without and then bingeing because it’s the forbidden fruit.

If you are obsessing about reading every nutrition label, although you are well-meaning, you have too much time on your hands. There are so many ways you are shaping your family, food only being one of them, and no one expects you to be perfect. Shoot to make healthy decisions 80% of the time, and don’t beat yourself up about the other 20%. Some families have no choice but to eat what they can get, so be grateful you lead a lifestyle that allows you to be picky.

My dad is forever telling me he learns new things everyday he doesn’t know how he got by without knowing for all these years. The same rule applies here. When we were kids, no one looked around for any of the labels that stand out to us now, and, for the most part, we turned out okay.

For more nutrition tips, click here.