Quick and Easy Pasta

While Ryan was out of town, I had some time to play around in the kitchen.  I looked through some of the available ingredients in the house, and then I whipped up this delicious dish.

I had both frozen shrimp and broccoli, which I thought would be great with some pasta.
Here is where my creativity kicked in.  I had some left over slivered almonds from my chickpea dish the week before, so I added them to some olive oil, and made them a little crispy.  Then I added some green olive mustard, which I love to add to just about everything.  I used enough olive oil for the almonds, but a little extra, as this was the sauce for my pasta.
When the broccoli and shrimp were done steaming, I added them to the almonds and then tossed in some fusilli pasta.  This dish was nice and light.  I loved the flavor from the almonds and it went really well with the shrimp.
On another note, I have noticed more gluten free products around.  I am not sure if it is because the demand went up or that more companies are just taking it upon themselves to make gluten free products.  The most common reason for a gluten free diet is celiac sprue, which is a malabsorptive disorder where the body basically attacks the intestine in the presence of gluten.  The end result is flattened vili, which are the absorptive lining of the intestine.  So when they are flattened, as opposed to their normal folds, the body can't absorb nutrients as it normally would.  The end result is that the person will need to eliminate gluten, and then the intestine will heal and the vili will return to their normal shape.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, along with rye, oats, and barley.  Oats are questionable on the list and sometimes can be safe, if not crossed with wheat.  There are some products out there labelled as gluten free oats.

Not only has our base commissary started carrying mroe products, but I managed to find the "health" food section at the local grocery store.  I am not sure why I never found this section before, but I managed to find it now.  I think in the far back corner, it is likely to be overlooked.  Oh well, I did find it.  There was a ton of vegetarian stuff back there too.  Here are some pictures of my Portuguese finds.

First up is gluten free bread.  Seems that the Portuguese also find a need for gluten free, just like Americans.  I am wondering if they have the same rates of celiac as Americans.
Next, these are some vegetarian meatless meat products.  I did not buy any on this trip, but I plan to in the near future.  It seems like it could be comprable to gardein.
Last up, they even had gluten free pasta, and mutliple products to choose from. 
Over all I was very impressed with the selection.  The only thing that drove me nuts was the diet/weight loss products, which are usually no better than other products, or it the same, but with less of a portion size on the label so it appears less calories.  It appears the never ending quest for the perfect weight can be seen in multiple cultures.  I just wish the marketing was not so confusing to consumers.

Moving on to my last picture.  Ryan was visiting his mom back in the States, and she was kind enough to send him home with some gifts for me.  I took a picture of this necklace, which she made for me, and matches one she has, and one that her twin sister (Ryan's aunt) has.  It was made from an old school chandelier, at least that is what I think Ryan told me.  It is really neat, funky, chunky, nearly clear plastic.  Ryan's mom can find a creative use for just about anything, and her jewelry is amazing, not to mention her knitting and other items.  She has some serious talent.
QUESTIONS:  Have you noticed an increase in gluten free options at your grocery store?  Do you have any homemade jewelry?  What was the last creative pasta dish you made at home?


Cooking Gallery said...

I love pasta too because it's so versatile :)!

Angie said...

Your pasta dish looks yummy!

And I always love seeing your food products- it is always one of my favorite parts of visiting other countries- the food!

Jessie said...

Gluten-free products are definitely on the rise here - I'm not sure if it's because gluten intolerance and Celiac are on the rise, or if people are just becoming more aware of them. In either case, as a dietetics student, I'm grateful for the greater variety of gluten-free products!

Gorgeous necklace!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

The pasta dish sounds so delicious Melinda! I like the idea of almonds and shrimp, together with pasta. Sounds great.

We have an entire section of gluten-free foods at Giant Eagle, and I know many (if not all) of the stores around here have a gluten-free section. I have found that people mistakenly think gluten-free means "healthy" (also due to some misleading signs) and I'm trying to teach our customers that's NOT true!! It's crazy what people think, but our false advertising doesn't help a bit.

Simply Life said...

That pasta dish looks perfect!

Special K said...

So I had some pretty bad GI days for four days and someone said "you are so small! I bet you have celiac!" Isn't that pretty impressive how much we know about the condition? Interesting...there's a component of high IBS, highly perfectionistic, stressed out A-personality types that tend to be celiac...makes me wonder about it as a lifestyle rather than necessity...

and that necklace! How amazing is that?

sophia said...

green olive mustard?! Fried slivered almonds?! Melinda, you truly are a genius. I'll bet the flavors really popped in the mouth!

I'm just wondering: why are there so many people who need a gluten-free diet? I only discovered this disease in America, too. It's kind of uncommon in Asia...

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