Sunday, April 15, 2012

Al Dente Pasta Recipe #2 {Fish-and-Noodle Soup with Bona Chia Fettuccine}

Hey there, folks! I'm on a roll with blogging this morning! Guess that's what happens when you don't get a chance to post for a while and just keep holding everything in 'til the next chance you get to sit down and blog!

I've been meaning to put this recipe up for a while because: (1) I finally had the chance to experiment with Al Dente Pasta's Bona Chia Fetteccine, which, to no surprise, is everything I had hoped it would be, and (2) I think this is actually a unique/original recipe worth trying for the seafood lovers out there because it's simple, fast, and healthy (my motto when it comes to preparing a meal).

{Simple Fish-and-Noodle Soup}


Ingredients: (serves 4)
  • 4 fillets of fresh wild Alaskan salmon
  • 2-4 C water or broth of choice (Depending on your preference of broth to substance ratio. I used 2 cups water.)
  • Seasonings: salt, bay leaf, pepper corns, fresh fill (Lemon juice and fish sauce would also make great additions.)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Combine water and 1 tsp salt (or to taste) in a medium sauce pan
  • Bring to boil
  • Add fish fillets and 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Reduce to simmer
  • Add a bay leaf and a few pepper corns
  • Cook for ~20 min or until the fish is cooked
  • In the meantime, cook the noodles in a separate pan according to cooking instructions on the package (Bona Chia Fettuccine takes just 3 min to cook!). I also steamed some string beans for extra greenery.
  • Top with fresh dill and enjoy! (Fresh parsley would also be quite wonderful!)


Bona Chia Fettuccine was incredibly soft and delicious - just like homemade fresh pasta! There was no chia crunch, however - I believe that's because it's made with ground chia. But! I could feel that smooth texture that chia gets when it absorbs liquid. If you've ever had chia, you know what I mean. One serving size is 1.5 cups and has 200 calories, 4 g of fiber, and 7 g of protein!

Why haven't others thought of using chia to make pasta?! It is used in baking after all. What a fantastic (and yummy!) idea! Once again, Al Dente Pasta gets two thumbs up. It is making the option of eating good ole' regular pasta not exciting at all. My family is loving Al Dente Pasta, too! My mom has already asked several times, Where can we get more? 

Hope you try this recipe! In all honesty, it's a very forgiving recipe that really allows you to use whatever spices and flavors you'd like. It's a great option for reusing leftovers, too. You can broil/bake the fish ahead of time, steam some veggies, cook some pasta or rice, use broth of choice, and just combine all the ingredients whenever you would like to have them in a soup version! Here is a fantastic-looking recipe I'd like to try soon.

Tell me: Have you ever made fish soup before? What seasonings/spices do you use?

Happy Easter! Xristos Voskrese!

Khram Spasa Na Krovi (The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood), Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Good morning, friends! Some of you might be wondering why I'm wishing you a Happy Easter! ...that was a week ago, Veronica... But today is actually Orthodox Easter, and being a Russian Orthodox Christian, it's a holy day I've loved since my childhood days. We don't have Easter bunnies in Russia... I'm still a bit confused as to why bunnies bring eggs here, though I do thing bunnies are absolutely adorable animals. While our life in the U.S. has certainly Americanized us in many ways, we have done a pretty good job at holding onto the core Russian traditions, Orthodox holidays included.


We welcomed Easter the way we have been doing for as long as I can remember... The first thing we say when seeing another person is Xristos Voskrese! (Christ Has Risen!), to which the other person responds Voistino Voskrese! (Indeed He Has Risen!). Then we exchange three kisses on the cheeks (Fun Fact: Russians always do three, never two kisses, whether it's a holiday or not).

And once everyone has awaken, we sit down for a family breakfast: Kulich (Russian Easter Bread) and hard-boiled eggs.


We color our eggs on Clean Thursday (the Thursday before Easter), and to avoid all the artificial coloring, we have always used onion peel to color our eggs golden to rich burgundy colors (the final color varies from year to year, I guess depending on how long the eggs stay in the water and on the type of onion used).

The Kulich we actually make up to a week in advance. It's one of those breads that tastes better the longer it stands! What goes inside also varies from year to year... This year we used raisins and almonds. We've also done various dried fruits and chocolate chips in the past. You really can't go wrong! It's a very forgiving recipe! This year, I decorated our Kulich with chocolate. Another favorite is the simple confectioner's sugar frosting. Sprinkles is always a must. :)


With a cup of coffee or Earl Grey in hand, we have thus welcomed another Easter at our home!

Xristos Voskrese! Voisteno Voskrese!

Happy Sunday, my friends!

P.S.  Clearly, I'm quite fashionably late this time with announcing the winners of the past two giveaways...
Barney Butter goes to... MK! (I can't help but immediately reminisce of my childhood Mary-Kate and Ashley obsession when I see "MK" lol)

Al Dente Pasta goes to... Ivey! (What a pretty name! Of course, I'm thinking Beyonce's baby, Blue Ivy... Oh Veronica...)

Congrats to the winners! Please check your inboxes and respond to my email within 48 hours!

Thanks so much to everyone who has entered. I love old and new visitors on my blog, and hope you continue to stop by!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#WIAW which means tomorrow is Thursday!

How do you feel about Wednesdays? I used to love 'em because it meant Friday was just 2 days away! But medical school seems to have changed that a little bit... With Thursday usually being the hardest and longest day of the week (though undoubtedly theeeee most exciting because it's my only clinical day for me right now!), I find myself feeling a little more anxious on Wednesdays...

Exercise, good company, and delicious eats never fail at relieving any anxieties! So let's recap, shall we?
{Breakfast - 7:30am} Wild berry parfait!

Last night, I mixed together: 1/4 C plain Greek yogurt + 1 T water + 1 tsp chia seeds + 2 T instant oats + a few drops of Vanilla Stevia. I also defrosted ~1 C of frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)

This morning, I layered both mixtures and created this beauty! It was delicious, and I think I just might have to recreate it tomorrow!

{Lunch - 11:30am} I should call it... Russianized Gazpacho! It is probably the easiest "soup" to put together, and is filling and certainly takes care of your veggies for the day!
Are you ready for this very complicated recipe?

Chop up: 1/2 hard boiled egg (the other half went to my grandma!), radish, cucumber, red bell pepper, parsley and dill.


...add one small can of V8 vegetable juice... and Voila!


Second course featured last night's leftovers - Urbane Grain three cheese & mushroom quinoa blend. I also had some sauteed sour kraut with a small piece of pork... I have a feeling the sauteed sour kraut is a Russian thing, too... but I love it! We made it with yellow bell peppers, onion, and fresh dill. Yumz.


I escaped afternoon lecture and headed to the gym for a quick workout. I was still feeling a bit tired after yesterday's 5.5mi power walk, so I decided to go easy on the cardio and focus on lifting. I started out with 10min on the Stair Master, followed by TRX upper & lower body exercises, as well as some free weights. I'm certainly feeing it now... and it was totally worth it!

{Afternoon/ post-workout snack - 4pm} Deep Chocolate VitaTop with Cottage Cheese, and a cup of coffee. Vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants - a successful snack, methinks!


{Dinner - 7pm} Russian Pasta with Meat, or "Mokoroni po Flotski"... This is a dinner that falls in the easy, cheap, satisfying, and delicious categories. Made with ground meat cooked with onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Topped with parmesan cheese. It was thoroughly enjoyed with a bowl of salad and a side of string beans.


{Snack - 10pm} The juiciest pear of the season!

And there you have it, folks! Another successful What I Ate Wednesday! It's good to be back! :)

Tell me: What do you make when you are short for time?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Urbane Grain Whole Grain Quinoa Blend {Review}

Hi friends! Oh my goodness, what a week it's been! Life has been preoccupied with personal, family, and school-related ups and downs, and I am so sorry for not being able to do some blog updates! Thankfully, plenty of wonderful friends, comforting eats, gorgeous spring weather, and outdoor runs & walks have helped to keep my spirits up.

And so, I'm here, excited to share with you a yummy treat that I finally got to try today. Remember I told you about the "Top 5 Food Trends" news report I saw that highlighted the Al Dente Pasta products that I'm totally crazy about? Well, also on the list were products by a new, up-and-coming company called Urbane Grain. Urbane Grain makes a variety of Whole Grain Blends - a combination of quinoa, brown rice, and millet - already mixed with various spices and seasonings. These products take all the work and all the thinking out of preparing, and the blend takes 20-30min to cook! Easy, breezy!

You know I looove my quinoa and can eat it for any meal! A complete source of protein, gluten-free, slightly nutty in flavor, slightly crunchy in texture, and oh so nutritious, quinoa is truly wonderful and a crowd pleaser.

Urbane Grain was very kind to send me two samples of their Whole Grain Quinoa Blends to try - (1) the three cheese and mushroom and (2) the smokey bacon.



Yup, this label surely speaks the truth. Urbane Grain products are natural, clean, wholesome, and healthy, and tonight, they surely proved to be delicious, too!

Ladies and gents, I present to you the three cheese & mushroom blend!
[Yup - there are whole bits of dried mushrooms in there!]

Prepared with a side of pan-roasted Brussels sprouts, cooked with garlic, onion, and fresh tomatoes... You know me by now... when in doubt/short-for-time/out-of-culinary-ideas - I make Brussels sprouts! They never disappoint :)



The quinoa blend was perfectly seasoned and flavored with cheese and had a hint of that subtle, heavenly mushroom aroma. It reminded me of risotto - both in flavor and in texture. I must say, the combination of the three different grains, each with a subtly different texture, worked quite well together!

Urbane Grain has made it so easy to put together a wholesome meal in a short time. While the quinoa is cooking, you have just enough time to put together a quick salad, roast some veggies or tofu in the oven, or pan-roast fresh fish on the stove top. And because the quinoa blend is so flavorful and satisfying, it totally works as a meal on its own!

Eating a healthy and clean diet can't get simpler than that! :)
Urbane Grain is growing, and if you are lucky, it may already be at a store near you!

Check out the locations, and here are all of the flavors to drool over... ;)
  • Sun Dried Tomato & Basil
  • Three Cheese & Mushroom
  • Miso with Edamame & Scallions
  • Smokey Bacon
  • Cracked Black Pepper and Sea Salt
  • Roasted Garlic and Fine Herbs
  • Southwest Black Bean
  • Indian Coconut Curry
  • Thai Red Curry
More info on Urbane Grain can be found on their websiteFacebook page, and Twitter! Show some love and mention that you heard about them from me! :)

P.S. Eeek! I haven't yet posted the winners of the two recent giveaways! Thank you all, for your incredible patience! I'll do it ASAP, promise!