A to Z: Dr. Plastic Picker’s Less Plastic More Plants Cookbook for Kids! – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: A to Z: Dr. Plastic Picker’s Less Plastic More Plants Cookbook for Kids!

I made it. It was good. It was baked with lots of vegetables.

April 21, 2021

by drplasticpicker

This was really good. If I plan on cooking it again and it has a lot of vegetables and is baked, then I know I’m on to something. Cooking should be simple. Dr. DP our Pediatric GI specialist had shared a Spinach Mushroom Risotto Recipe on @kpkidsgoodfoodgoodearth and it is so simple and good. We’ve made it now at least four times. When you have a recipe like that, you know you are on to something good.

Last night, I kind of stumbled onto my own versian of a traditional South Asian dish which was really good for us. I had heard about “Vegan Buffalo Wings” and had tried two failed attempts. I think the entire name threw me off as I was expecting something that actually tasted like buffalo wings. I think these kind of dishes can indeed be a side-dish and in place of a meat, but I’d rather call it Baked Besan Coated Cruciferous Vegetables. We ended up dipping it in a balsamic vinegar creamy mayo type sauce which was really good.

Besan is chickpea flour. It’s gluten free. I am not gluten free, but for some people it seems to be a catchy thing these days even if one does not have any gluten-intolerance. Some people who are gluten free need to be gluten free. A large minority just want to feel special or they have borderline eating disorders. Oh, did I just say that??? LOL. It’s my blog and remember I’m a bit tired and sleep deprived from trying to save the earth a lot yesterday. But this is what many doctors think when you tell them you are gluten free and you don’t have celiac disease.

Anyway, Besan is an interesting flour that I’ve just started playing around with. It’s a staple of South Asian cuisine. This is a really good general article about besan flour https://www.delightedcooking.com/what-is-besan.htm. Me being “into” besan, is like someone who has just discovered tofu. For me tofu is just a normal ingredient like onions. I’m sure if anyone reading this is South Asian, than the entire plant based world being into besan is probably hilarious. But it’s an interesting new flour to me and make these vegetables taste really good. Plus its better for the environment and my wallet to eat cruciferous vegetables coated in besan than a chicken. Indeed after reading some Ecosia searched articles, coating vegetables in besan flour has been done for centuries in India and Pakistan.

Here is how Dr. Plastic Picker newbie Besan user did it. It was really good and my kids ate a lot of broccoli last night.


Mix together dry ingredients 1 cup of besan, some garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, some ground pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, panko breadcrumbs about 1 cup. (get the gist, you are just seasoning it the way you want). Clean and cut broccoli florets, I used two broccolli heads and saved the stems for another meal. Soak broccoli florets in plant-based milk (1 cup) , and then however you like coat them with the mixed dry ingredients. I actually liked it when the dry ingredients became almost like a paste and I spread it on the broccoli. Bake on a baking sheet with silicon, probably greased with a cooking spray lightly. Bake 15 minutes, and then turn 5 minutes. That is it. Lots of deliciousness last night.

I bought besan flour at sprouts. I think you can get it at South Asian grocers. But Sprouts has it and it’s very affordable.

All gone! This dinner is a winner!

April 18, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Just wanted to share a surprise dinner win last night. This has so easy, it’s definitely going to be on the rotation for now on. Lots of veggies! I looked at www.twosleevers.com which was the first site that comes up if you Ecosia search instapot eggplant and pasta. https://twosleevers.com/instant-pot-eggplant-pasta/ Click here for the original recipe that was modified for what we usually eat.


  • 4 cups Eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatos, 14 ounces
  • 3 tablespoons of pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 cup onion diced (we opted out of this tonight)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 1/2 package of spaghetti or 8 ounces uncooked Penne Pasta
  • handful of whatever cheese you desire (or omit if you are going vegan)


  • Place eggplant, tomatoes, pasta sauce, dried Italian seasoning, salt, oil, onions, garlic, and water into the Instapot and stir.
  • 2. Add pasta, and stir. Original author said “I know it doesn’t look like there will be enough water to cook the pasta. Just #trustUrvashi, because the vegetables will release a lot of water.” This was true. There was enough water. Press PRESSURE COOK on HIGH pressure for 7 minutes. Allow the pot to rest undisturbed for 10 minutes and then release all remaining pressure.
  • Mix in whatever desired cheese you have.
  • The eggplant doesn’t get slimy when pressure cooked, which is another perk of making it this way.
  • In addition, the bitterness of the eggplant doesn’t come through because the acidity of the tomatoes counteracts that and breaks it down while cooking.
  • No, you can’t tell there’s eggplant in this dish.

Please click on the original link for the original author, where I modified this recipe. I simplified it since I’m a simple cook. https://twosleevers.com/instant-pot-eggplant-pasta/

It was really good. I’m putting in more on the blog so I can refer back to it. So much eggplant and tomatoes and they kids loved it!

Lots of plants in here!
Mix pasta in.
Yummy! It was all gone and a big hit at home!
Easy and got to use a pretty bowl from my mom.

March 29, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Sometimes saving the earth and eating plant-based should be easy! Soy-milk yogurt was easy. Home-made pizza dough – easy. Instapot oatmeal – easy. Homemade granola – easy! Vegan bacon with rice paper which we tried this weekend, too many salt. Many “failures” this weekend trying to green our life (ask me about henna hair dye LOL), but soy-milk ricotta cheese???? EASY!!!


Easy Peasy Split Pea Soup: It really was free!

March 22, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I have been a Girl Scout Leader for seven years now. Seven years! The early years when the girls were young was actually really hard. I’m a pediatrician and not a teacher. They were really rambunctious and I felt like we were just giving them snacks all the time. Now they are 7th graders, and it’s easier. One of our troop members emailed us asking about doing a service project for homeless/shelterless people. In a very age appropriate way, she wanted to buy things for them that she thinks they need to ease their lives. And I felt like I’m finally the troop leader I need to be. Because indeed each of those girls are future leaders, and will help the world. Sometimes in the midst of planning badges and making time for meeting with other parents, I forget that. But this email reminded me, that Girl Scouts has always been a leadership program and about teaching them service. I was never good at crafts and sometimes did a haphazard job teaching them things. But I’m a leader and I’ve lived a life of service. I responded to this particular troop member’s email and it was very meaningful to me.


So much plant-based goodness packed into this, I can’t even start.

March 21, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I am still flaberghasted that this is all happening. About three years ago I had done weight watchers for a hot second, and I realized that something about my body with that food system was broken. Losing the weight was easy, but the joy out of eating and cooking was gone. I’m not even sure why I was doing weight watchers, since I was a normal BMI. I had gained a few normal middle aged pounds over the years, and I think Mr. Plastic Picker had been diagnosed as prediabetic or borderline. I saw others in my life trying it or doing keto, and I jumped along. This led to a weird period where I suddenly let an app that I paid $19.99 a month tell me what to eat. It was horrible. I had never dieted in my life before, and my brain was going through that keto-brain thing – and I knew this was not the answer. I stopped.

And then other things happened and I was unhappy at work for various reasons. Actually I was completely burned out due to colliding circumstances, and the world seemed broken and I was broken. And then I went to the beach and felt better picking up litter, and gosh darn it a lot of that litter was food waste. It seemed to all make sense. I decided to help save the earth from climate change, and so much of climate change has to do with the food we eat. I became an environmentalist and many environmentalist are vegans or vegetarians or plant-based, and they are so nice. And mostly non-judgmental. This allowed me space to try to combine living a less-plastic life with eating more plant-based, and then it happened. I’m eating really really good food, mostly whole and home-made, plant-based, exploring cooking, saving money, and it’s really good for our bodies. Our entire family is healthier. And with each meal we are saving the planet. Mind-blowing, I know. Who knew, saving the earth could be so delicious??!!!


View I will remember from our hike yesterday.

March 17, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I love to live for the early mornings. It’s 6am and I have my cup of coffee in my Unicef mug that my co-troop leader of Girl Scouts gave me years ago. It’s an image of kids holding hands of multi-ethnic dress encircling the mug. It’s been 1.5 years of being Dr. Plastic Picker, and I asked Mr. Plastic Picker last night how old my eco-avatar was and he said definitely at least two. I looked back at my blog post and indeed this blog is only 1.5 years. This is evidence that this journey has slowed down time. It seems like I’ve been this identity for two years, but it has only been 1.5 years. Is it possible? It seems I have been Dr. Plastic Picker for glorious decades.


It was a food waste recipe, but was a big hit in clinic!

February 27, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I needed some cooking therapy yesterday morning, and in between blogging and answering work/environmental emails – I made granola. I’ve made granola now many times, but this granola was a big hit in clinic! I had several people ask me for the recipe. My ultimate goal is to have everyone eat more fiber, inspire more plant-based eating and reusing containers we all have at home. And granola can be the entry point for many people!


$1 when made at home versus $3.50-$10 store bought

February 15, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Yes, this happened yesterday. I made chocolate hummus spread and also a jar of homemade peanut butter. I had texted one of our other pediatricians yesterday calling her off from weekend after hours clinic, and she texted me a picture of the special breakfast she was making for her family which including waffles with this delicious spread. I was intrigued. Hers was store bought which runs around $3.50 to $10 per container. My primary motivation is to reduce our plastic packaging and palm oil and most store-bought things contain both. It’s been fun to try to make more things at home, and it’s been so delicious. What I didn’t realize that after breakfast with this chocolate goodness topped on a banana, I would feel so full for most of the day.


Trader Joe’s Tapenade is $11.05!!!

February 2, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Who knew saving the earth would include discovering new foods and making them? I was already Financially Independent https://drplasticpicker.com/the-road-to-fise-financial-independence-to-save-the-earth/, as I was born super frugal. But now with my culinary adventures and misadventures, I’m having a super fun time in the kitchen trying new fancy recipes. I thought I wasn’t a “foodie” and our tween daughter actually hates that term, as she thinks it’s very elitist. But I do love good food, and truly good food can lead to a good earth for all of us. Maybe if I end up writing my first book, I’ll just call it Good Food Good Earth???? I’ve thought about a book on and off, but honestly I’m having too much blogging to myself in the mornings.