pasta

All posts tagged pasta

Zoomin’ in On Healthy Pasta

Published August 6, 2020 by Maryanne

by Joan - CuteThat’s me in the upper left hand corner! 

When Covid hit the USA earlier this year, the lives of many changed. I am an author, writer, ghost writer, and public speaker. Of course during these times my speaking engagements are not so public. I had many of them lined up for 2020, and one by one my face grew long as they canceled.

But have no fear, ZOOM is here!

At first I was hesitant. I’m a technophobe and also like to stand during my lectures, and presentations. However, I got used to giving ZOOM classes. I nail them like a pro.

All summer long I’ve given classes on anti-bullying, meeting your soul mate, and being extra-ordinary. But the best one was the one featured above, “Healthy Pasta Alternatives.” Notice everyone is smiling? How can you not when you’re talking about food! We discussed the different pastas available for all dietary needs like keto, vegan, and low carb. We also talked about our favorite pasta dishes. Unfortunately students couldn’t taste the dish I made; technology is not quite there yet! Nevertheless, we had a blast. There was a giveaway too — a gift certificate to Whole Foods.

I’ve been giving this class for years and I’m grateful to the Cedar Grove Library, Cedar Grove, NJ, for sponsoring my program.

How has Covid changed your career? Share some fun stories!

If anyone reading would like to sponsor “Healthy Pasta Alternatives,” drop me a line at maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, she is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

“Healthy Pasta Alternatives” Lecture and Food Sample

Published September 11, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5981My kelp Pad Thai dish

Last night was the second time I lectured to the cooking club at Washington Township Library in Long Valley, New Jersey. (Thanks to librarian Jane Gold for having me back again!)

The topic was “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” and we had a wonderful turn-out with people wanting seconds!

My dish was made of  kelp noodles, carrots, and sprouts with a dressing of raw almond butter, coconut amino acids, onions, garlic and juice from fresh limes.

Here is the description of the class:

Healthy Pasta Alternatives

Pasta, a typical dish of unleavened dough of durum wheat flour, has been a traditional Italian staple, dated back to 1154 in Sicily.

It can be presented in a variety of shapes and made with flour from cereals or grains, and eggs. It’s a simple dish that can be served hot or cold, varying in taste, color and texture.

Discover how pasta evolved and changed over time – from a small simple item to an elaborate culinary dish.

Learn about the nutritional value of pasta, which contains complex carbohydrates, essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B and folic acid. And depending on the flour, may also be a good source of protein.

Gather information about healthy pasta options such as: brown rice noodles, soy noodles, seaweed noodles, buck wheat noodles, squash pasta, and more!

This presentation will include a cold pasta salad made with one of the healthy noodle alternatives.

Class is limited to an audience of 20. Please have a sign up sheet.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO HAVE THIS PRESENTATION AT YOUR LIBRARY OR WOMEN’S GROUP

I can be reached via email at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

 

 

 

Quick Solutions to Healthy Meal Dilemmas

Published April 9, 2013 by Maryanne

macaroni dishMy spinach pasta dish with onions, carrots, tomatoes, celery

Sometimes you’re really on a roll with healthy living and you come across some issues.

Here are three dilemmas that recently could have stood in the way of a healthy meal, but I conquered with creativity!

1. You’re at  your favorite grocery store, but you have several other errands to run, maybe even a meeting and you won’t be home for several hours. You forgot your cooler, it’s a warm day, so it’s not a good idea to buy something fresh. What do you do?

Seaweed is the answer! Go right to the Asian section and buy packaged nori, which is filled with plenty of nutrients and very tasty. Try to get “dried” instead of “toasted” because it has more nutrients. Seaweed, alone, makes a great salad. Yum!

Also whenever the greens at the grocery store look a little limp or shabby, I’ll go straight for the packaged seaweed.

2. You ran out of your favorite salad dressing or vinegar.

For an amazing salad dressing that doesn’t require vinegar, take an avocado and blend with a banana. It will be a guacamole consistency and it’s fantastic on greens or sprouts! It’s sweet and filling. You may even want to add a clove of garlic to give it a little kick. I’ve been doing this for years.

3. It’s Friday night. Or any night that you don’t feel like cooking and you don’t feel like running to the store.

We always keep a box of pasta in the house. There are healthier versions of pasta  like spinach or rice pasta; or Dreamfields (a “right-carb” pasta). Stir-fry some vegetables, throw in with the pasta — and you have a quick, easy meal.

Bon appetite!

Last Meal, Anyone?

Published December 20, 2012 by Maryanne

Barbecue chips

No more tomorrows? Bring on the chips!

If the world was really going to end tomorrow, how would you eat today?

If you didn’t have to worry about being bloated tomorrow, gaining weight, having sensitive teeth from sweets, having a hangover, having a stomach ache or headache, having garlic breath, having a heart attack, diabetes, etc. — WHAT WOULD YOU EAT?

This is a typical day for me:

Breakfast: Organic green smoothie (kale, apple, lemon) with chia seeds; non-homogenized plain yogurt with organic blueberries, brewer’s yeast, and a green kombucha.

Lunch: Organic salad with quinoa. Another kombucha (either green or w/chia seeds). Maybe an organic coffee.

Dinner: Dreamfield’s pasta (has a great carb/protein ratio), another salad, maybe a sweet potato.

Treats: May include Annie’s bunnies crackers or Justine’s (or Paul Newman’s) dark chocolate bar w/peanut butter. Once in a blue moon French fries.

My drink: Unfiltered pearl sake; or organic wine.

Okay, END OF THE WORLD DAY MENU! WHOO-HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Note: This is what I realistically think I can handle in a single meal sitting).

Breakfast: An entire LARGE bag of Wise barbecue potato chips with rennetless wine cheese on every chip. A freshly baked bagel with thick honey mustard.

Lunch: Pasta (WHITE, not whole grain or low carb) with marinara sauce, and few pieces of Wonder Bread to dip in the sauce or a Fluffernutter sandwich on Wonder Bread.

Dinner: A vegetarian version of mu-shu, eating about four pancakes. A pack of Jolly Ranchers. And a couple White Russians.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? 

A Sauce To Die For!

Published July 14, 2012 by Maryanne

The following is an article I wrote, published in The Montclair Times, January 11, 2006, after I interviewed Sopranos actor, Joseph R. Gannascoli, who had created an all natural Italian pasta sauce.

Quite a few people got a kick out of the fact that Gannascoli admitted to me — a reporter — that he was a food fence!

I asked him, “Is this ON THE RECORD?”

He said, “Yes.”

So, here is the full article, one of my favorites that I ever wrote — ENJOY!

The Sauce of All Sauces: ‘Sopranos’ Actor Joseph Gannascoli Creates Sauces ”To Die For’

By Mary Anne Christiano of The Montclair Times

Most chefs say their sauce is to die for, but when the chef is a gangster, he might mean it a little more literally.

Or maybe not. After all, this chef only plays a gangster on TV.

Joseph Gannascoli, who plays Vito Spatafore on “The Sopranos,” the noted series on HBO cable television, has crafted natural, additive-free sauces to be introduced in his new book “A Meal to Die For.” Both the book and the sauces made their debut on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

There are three sauces to choose from: “Roasted Garlic and Eggplant,” “Wild Mushroom” and “Sunday Sauce.” According to Gannascoli, his sauces feature ingredients, such as wild mushrooms, not often used in other sauces on the market today. The garlic in the “Roasted Garlic and Eggplant” sauce is roasted, not sautéed, which makes the taste sweeter, and there is sherry in the Sicilian “Sunday Sauce.”

Gannascoli, who recently lost 160 pounds, said he tries to eat healthy and that’s why he decided to concoct sauces without any preservatives. “I’d like to see my sauces in Trader Joe’s,” he said. “It’s a novelty.”

While the sauces start out with pretty basic ingredients, Gannascoli suggests doctoring them up. For instance, olives and capers can be added to the “Sunday Sauce” and put over fish. “If I wanted to cook mussels, I can add white wine to the ‘Sunday Sauce,'” he said. Gannascoli also suggests putting the “Wild Mushroom” sauce on pizza.

Before Gannascoli got into acting, he was a chef for 20 years. “People always loved my sauce,” he said. Leaving law school, Brooklyn-born Gannascoli decided to open up a restaurant in Manhattan.

The self-taught cook has been inventing dishes since his youth. He said, “When I was a kid I wanted to be this great chef. All cuisine is interesting, Japanese, New Orleans, Italian …”

During the 1980s and 1990s Gannascoli fulfilled his childhood dreams by opening up a few restaurants while dabbling in acting. But he said he always got bored and started gambling. After losing $60,000, Gannascoli paid off his debts and decided to pursue acting in Los Angeles. He made a few movies but couldn’t take being away from home.

“I went home, opened up a few more restaurants, didn’t gamble as much,” Gannascoli said.

Then Gannascoli got the break he was waiting for, being cast as the character Vito Spatafore in HBO’s Emmy Award-winning show, “The Sopranos.”

It’s possible that Gannascoli’s fictitious character in the show about organized crime in New Jersey lives in Montclair. “I think my home is in Montclair, or close to it,” he said. Gannascoli lives in Long Island and is not too familiar with the area.

After reading a story about a gay character involved in organized crime, Gannascoli decided he wanted his character Vito to be unique and suggested they make him come out on the show. When asked if Gannascoli’s character Vito is anything like him, he said, “No, I love women too much. I just got married!”

However, the character in Gannascoli’s book, “A Meal to Die For” is so similar to Gannascoli he says it’s almost autobiographical.

“It’s based on my life,” he said. “It’s a culinary novel of crime. I think it would make a great movie. It has food. It has the mob. It’s funny.”

The lead character, Benny Lacoco, is a “food fence” who wants to become a great chef. Lacoco moves hot items such as olive oil and expensive wine.

“I was a food fence for five or six years,” said Gannascoli. “But I never got ‘pinched’ [arrested] as they say.”

But even as a food fence, Gannascoli stayed true to his exquisite culinary tastes — if the quality wasn’t there, he said he wouldn’t sell it.

In the future, Gannascoli hopes to get into a bigger food line. He said, “Barbecue sauces, spreads, olive oils … I want to pitch my own cooking show. I want to expand and do as much as I can, while I can.”