Sunday, February 28, 2010
My mom makes a phenomenal hummus. It blows mine out of the water. It might have something to do with simmering the garbanzos first, something I just never seem to have the time or patience for. When I want hummus, I want it yesterday. Tonight, in my food prep for the coming week, I decided to make a double batch. I still didn't boil the beans, but I must have gotten the proportions just right this time. Tangy from the lemon, creamy from the tahini, with a touch of garlic and salt in the mix. Not quite as smooth as Mom's, but it's good. It will go very well with the red and yellow peppers and English cucumber I cut up for snacking.
While shuffling things around in the fridge in preparation for the massive quantity of pureed chickpea about to take up residence there, I came across a container of roasted beets that I made last week for chicken beet salad. Yummy. In a flash of brilliance, I remembered that fellow blogger Branny had made a stunningly-colored beet hummus and I decided to throw a few into the food processor with the garbanzos and garlic.
When it was pureed smooth, it reminded me of one of those obnoxiously-sweet Jell-O fluff salads that seem to appear out of nowhere at church potlucks. Rest assured, it tastes nothing like it. The beets did not affect the flavor whatsoever. Just like the spinach in a green monster smoothie, the taste is masked, but the color and benefits of the veggies are there. Did you know that garbanzo beans can help lower your cholesterol? I learned this by poking around on one of my favorite websites, "The World's Healthiest Foods." Here is the link to the page about garbanzo goodness.
I made enough for The H to take on the road for work, some for snacking tonight, two tiny boxes for me and the little guy to grab on the go (great use of reused leftover baby food containers!), and a big ol' tub for use during the rest of the week. I love my label maker!
As most moms do, I was multitasking as I was whipping this up, also boiling eggs for snacks and the little guy's meals. More on that in a future post.
My method for hard-boiled eggs is to put the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water:
Then bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Then dump the hot water and flush the pan with cold water. I like to add a handful of ice cubes to help speed up the process.
When the water is cool, or after about 10 minutes, I set the eggs on a towel to dry, then store in the fridge.
Here is the recipe for my mama's hummus, just the way she makes it. Adjust quantities of lemon, garlic, and salt to taste.
Mom W's Hummus
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, liquid reserved
1/3 cup tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 lemon, juiced
1. Simmer the beans in half of the reserved juice for 10 minutes; let cool. Do not drain.
2. Process beans, garlic, and tahini to a rough consistency.
3. Add the olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Process to desired consistency.
Alternating steel-cut oats with peanut butter toast and/or a green monster smoothie is fine for my weekday breakfasts, but sometimes on the weekend I prefer to indulge a little more. Those indulgences often happen after a good, long run, like The H and I had yesterday.
I started with a piece of local flax-bread toast with natural peanut butter and honey, since that is a self-approved pre-run fuel for me, but after slogging through seven miles of slush and mush, we were ready for something hearty. And dry socks.
Scrambled eggs, omelets, and frittatas are a great way to increase your veggie intake and use up some of the straggler produce that may have seen better days. Go take a peek in your crisper and see what you have to use! (Wait, finish reading, THEN go look.)
For this one, I used some local whole eggs + egg whites from a carton, fresh spinach, a big clove of fresh garlic, two fresh mushrooms, a Roma tomato, the end of a bag of shredded cheddar, and two leftover pieces of local nitrate-free bacon. After all, this was for The H, too. And leftover bacon isn't really good (to me) any other way except hiding in another dish.
I started by sauteeing the garlic, mushrooms, and spinach in some olive oil.
When the spinach was wilted, I whisked the eggs and whites with some ground cumin (just a little!), fresh ground black pepper, and a smidge of sea salt.
I poured the egg mix over the veggies and let it set for a while, gently stirring and lifting with a rubber spatula occasionally to let the uncooked egg run underneath. When it was mostly set, I sprinkled the cheese on top (The H added the bacon shards at some point) and put a salad plate on top to help it melt. I couldn't find the lid that fits this pan!
Once the cheese was melted I plated it up and we sat down to eat.
The cumin added a nice hint of something extra. I didn't use enough to make it spicy or taste like chili. I will use it again in future egg scrambles. A leftover potato or sweet potato, diced small, would have been good in this meal, so when you're rummaging through the refrigerator for goodies to include in yours, don't limit yourself to just the produce drawers. If I had been thinking more cleanly, I would have used more egg whites and fewer whole eggs. Next time!
What do you like to eat for breakfast on the weekend? Is it different from your weekday standbys?
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I'm a runner. Did you know that? You might, if you've been reading for very long. I mention it here and there, beginning with my very first post. In the past few weeks I've been thinking about finding alternatives to the Gatorade, gels, and other non-clean fuels I use on long runs. My intake of these things is quite limited, typically once a week, but I think I could do better, especially if I want to save my sugary/caloric splurges for something more enjoyable. My long runs are also gradually getting longer as I begin training for spring and summer races, so my intake is likely to increase.
Enter coconut water.
I'd heard about it here and there (I cannot remember where originally) and it's recently popped up in a lot of places, including this post from Danielle at Coffee Run, one of the blogs I read. Today I stumbled across Vita Coco brand at the grocery store and took it as a sign that I was supposed to try all four varieties they had, at $1.79 per 11oz container, before dropping $21 on a case on Amazon.com before even tasting it. Yeah, I can be a little impulsive.
The Vita Coco site is pretty neat; they answer a lot of questions regarding coconut water and its benefits, which include the following:
- Helps boost the immune system
- Helps regulate the intestines
- High in electrolytes
- More potassium than a banana (for a 1 cup serving)
You can also read the nutrition facts and ingredients for each flavor online, at the site linked above.
This weekend seemed like the perfect time to try it, since our group's long run didn't have water support along the route like it usually does--those who wanted some had to carry their own (remember my Amphipod bottle hiding in the pic of my oatmeal? That's what I used!). I started with the original flavor. I love that the artwork on the front of the package looks remarkably similar to this photo of a real young green coconut tapped and ready for drinking:
(photo from Wikipedia)
Cute, right? At first I thought it was an apple. Don't judge.
In Tosca Reno's book The Eat-Clean Diet for Family & Kids she poses a one-ingredient challenge for readers to scour food labels at the grocery store to find foods containing only one ingredient. Guess what? This original flavor of coconut water qualifies! The ingredients couldn't be simpler: natural coconut water. Refreshing.
I don't know what I was expecting when I tasted this (a thick, funky texture? a cloudy appearance?), but it was remarkably similar to, well, tap water... with a touch of sweetness. It did not taste overtly of coconut at all. That may come as a relief to some (I'll have The coconut-despising H taste) and a disappointment to others. It was merely a surprise to me. It reminded me of really diluted Gatorade/PowerAde.
Along with my coconut water, I decided to swap out my usual chocolate, vanilla, or espresso GU for a packet of buckwheat honey, which we keep on hand for soothing any coughs the little guy might have. That was... different. Sometimes he refuses to eat one, and now I see why. It tasted like manure! (Not that I've tasted actual horse feces, but you know--it tasted like manure smells.) I could only choke one down, and then I had to chase it with a big swig of VitaCoco and a GU chew to get rid of the taste. Blech. Looks like I'll be sticking with my tried-and-true on this one.
I still have three other flavors of coconut water to try. They all have fruit flavors added: passion fruit, peach-mango, and pineapple. Still no artificial stuff; the pineapple flavor contains coconut puree and pineapple puree. I'm holding out hope that it tastes like a pina colada. Wouldn't that be a treat in the middle of a long run? A girl can dream. :)
Have you tasted coconut water? What variety or brand is your favorite?
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
A typical weekday breakfast for me starts out looking like this:
The container on the left contains my pre-made serving of steel-cut oats, already mixed with whatever yummy add-ins I had on hand. I aim for a fruit, a nut, and real maple syrup, with a shake of cinnamon. I try to make 2-4 servings at a time and keep them in the fridge. The bowl on the right is microwave-safe.
It comes out of the container looking like this:
I like that the goodies all end up on top. Looks like this was a cherries, walnuts, and pumpkin day!
Once I pour a cup of coffee, this is what I sit down to:
(See my cute little food scale on the left, and handy yellow Amphipod bottle on the right? Great tools, both of them!)
I'll usually let the oatmeal settle, then come back for the grapefruit and banana (half, if the little guy has anything to say about it) a bit later. My son often asks for some oatmeal as well, especially if I've used dried cherries as my fruit that day. Nice and sweet!
What's your favorite go-to breakfast?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Tonight's dinner wasn't anything fancy. There were no recipes and no exotic ingredients. It was just a good, normal, clean meal: protein, veggie, grain.
Usually on running nights I make something in the slow cooker, and tonight was no different--except that I didn't start dinner early enough to make the chicken barley stew I'd planned on. Instead, I simply salted and peppered the four small chicken breasts, added a sliced onion and some garlic powder, and cooked them on high until we left for running, when I added some Trader Joe's barbecue sauce and switched it to low.
When we got home, I microwaved some frozen French-cut green beans and made a batch of quinoa (with chicken broth instead of water) in the rice cooker. I got the little guy put to bed and came back to find the quinoa cooked and the beans ready for seasoning. The H suggested some dill and crushed red pepper, so with that and a touch of Smart Balance, dinner was served.
The quinoa was probably my favorite part of the meal, and it was actually the simplest as well. Nice and fluffy and flavorful! Another pat of Smart Balance was all I needed--no extra salt or seasoning--and even that was probably not necessary. This meal was filling, easy (most of it was hands-off), and tasty. I am proud of myself for not shaking on some Frank's RedHot, though don't think I didn't think of it... :)
Monday, February 22, 2010
Ever since last week when I was using spicy foods to help clear out my sinuses, I have *not* been able to get enough heat in my meals! It's crazy (and no, I'm not pregnant). Today, for example, I drenched my Morningstar Farms spicy black-bean burger with Frank's RedHot, whereas I'd normally just use mustard and cheese. And at dinner, when I opened a jar of homemade salsa (from my sister--I don't can!) I wanted to eat the whole thing--great big chunks of tomato, generously diced onion, gigantic slices of jalapeFood Should Taste Good sweet potato chips and, yes, more of that delightful salsa. (The chips are great, too, by the way. Gluten free!) In honor of my spicy tooth (hey, you can have a sweet tooth) I decided to finally blog the jalape o poppers we made for the SuperBowl.os--before it even got to our waiting baked potatoes. And now, here I sit with my after-dinner snack: a helping of
These are from a Clean Eating Magazine email newsletter, and we made them as written (but we used gluten-free flour and halved the recipe since we ended up staying home that night). Our only problem was that The H cleaned them so well, the peppers didn't have any kick left! We'll leave more of the rib/membrane in next time. Since then, we've been enjoying the remaining peppers sliced up and added to burgers and soups.
See? Here they are, all clean and ready to stuff:
This is what the stuffing looks like all mixed up. I probably could have left this photo out... :z
And, ta-dah! Finished product. We served these with low-fat sour cream mixed with peach salsa for dipping.
Clean-Eating Jalapeo Poppers from Clean Eating Magazine, recipe by J. Lusted
Time: 1hr, 5min
20 jalapeo peppers
1 cup spelt flour or whole-wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup egg whites
3 Tbsp raw honey
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 1/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream, optional
1/3 cup salsa, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400*.
2. Wearing gloves, cut the stem end off each pepper. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. (The gloves are important!) Place the peppers cut-side up on a baking sheet.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, chili powder, and cumin. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, whisk the yogurt, egg whites, and honey. Add the yogurt mixture, cilantro, green onions, an 1 cup of the cheese to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined (Photo #2).
5. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the mixture into the center of each pepper half. Place peppers back onto the baking sheet.
6. Bake the stuffed peppers for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 2 more minutes or until the tops are golden and the cheese is melted. (I think mine are especially toasty-looking in Photo #3 because I turned the broiler on them at this point.) Cool 5 minutes before serving. Arrange on a platter and serve with sour cream and salsa.
You can also make this into a cornbread by following these instructions:
Sunday - lunch was mushroom alfredo over rice pasta with diced tomatoes on top, with green beans for The H and asparagus for me; the little guy asked for macaroni and cheese (gluten-free). Dinner was my favorite version of stuffed peppers to date. I mixed a can's worth of pre-cooked-from-dry black beans with some cooked taco-seasoned ground beef, added some frozen corn and more seasonings (cumin, taco, chili powder) then stuffed it into yellow and red bell peppers, topped with cheddar, and baked at 350 for 30min. I added some Frank's RedHot to mine (still trying to kick this congestion!) and it was delicious. The H took a leftover one for lunch today. Even the little guy enjoyed his pepper-less pepper; I mixed some filling with a spoonful of low-fat sour cream and he at the whole bowl. We were shocked!
Monday - not meatless since our lunch yesterday was, and The H requested bacon for our loaded baked potatoes tonight. They'll be topped with broccoli, cheddar, bacon, low-fat sour cream, and salsa. Will serve with peaches and cottage cheese.
Tuesday - chicken barley stew in the CrockPot
Wednesday - buffalo burgers with caramelized onions and sweet potato fries
Thursday - sausage and pepper pizza
Friday - breakfast for dinner! Gluten-free pancakes, eggs, and bacon (co-op pickup is Wednesday, so we'll have a fresh stock of local eggs and meat after that).
Saturday - no plan yet; my parents might come visit and I want to be flexible.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A while back, the mom of a little girl in my son's daycare asked for my opinion--as a reasonably healthy-eating person--regarding Shakeology, a meal replacement shake. I looked at the website she linked me to. The ingredients sounded interesting, not bad at all, and I told her as much. Another week or so later, I was surprised to learn that she (Ang) is actually a Beachbody Coach who sells Shakeology, and that she'd sent home a few samples for me to try. I asked her permission to review them on here, so that's what this is. I'm not receiving anything for this review, but the samples were free. If Shakeology sounds intriguing to you, check out her site at: http://myshakeology.com/michiganderrdh
So, Shakeology. At first I thought it would be like my typical protein shake, a little extra oomph and flavor for my glass of milk. But the ingredients list contains so much more than protein! The back of the package reads like a "Who's Who of Super Foods." Seriously, when have you ever heard of a single product that contains flax meal, chia meal, goji berry, AND acai berry? I was glad to see that the sweetener in Shakeology is simply fructose, and not some odd artificial junk.
For my chocolate sampling, I decided to try one of the shake recipes on the card Ang included--a recipe for "chocolate covered strawberries." I started by blending milk, water, frozen strawberries, and half of a frozen banana (that wasn't in the list, but I needed the extra fruit!). Then I added the packet of chocolate Shakeology and whizzed it all around in the blender. The end result was darker and thicker than I was picturing. Perhaps that is from the chia seeds? I know I've read about them in Clean Eating Magazine, and they have the ability to sort of "gel" a drink. When I poured the shake into my Shakeology mixing cup (I love this; we have another one from GNC for our regular protein shakes) it poured out in a ribbon like cake batter. Yum. It smelled very sweet.
Since there was too much in the blender to fit into the cup (maybe because I added extra fruit) I ate the rest on a spoon from the blender. It was a lot like ice cream or a melting Frosty. Very thick, creamy, and sweet. The banana definitely came through, which of course wouldn't happen to someone who didn't cheat and add a banana to the strawberry-and-chocolate recipe. I put a straw in it (it was so thick the straw stayed completely upright) and stuck it in the fridge while I went to shower after my run. I was hoping it would thaw just a bit so I could suck it through the straw a bit more easily.
This single serving kept me full from post-afternoon-run until dinner time (and even then I wasn't very hungry). Thanks, Ang, for letting me try it!
(I took some pictures of this experiment, including the upright straw, but they are lost on The H's work laptop for now. Sorry! I'll try to post when I find them.)
As a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom, I don't exactly get to take sick days, but if I did, yesterday would have been one of them for sure. It can be hard for me to eat well when I'm sick because nothing tastes good. What's the point of eating good food if it has no flavor? Well, the point is I know my body needs it. So here's what the day looked like:
8am - PBJ: natural peanut butter and low-sugar strawberry jam on toasted spelt bread
11am - raw almonds and dried apricots
12:30pm - chocolate protein shake and grapes (green and red)
2:00pm - THREE HOUR NAP! The little guy was kind enough to sleep extra long so I did, too!
5:30pm - tiny Snickers bar I found in the car on the way to see friends at running group (didn't run)
7:30pm - chicken, black beans, salsa from the CrockPot, served as a dip with flax chips. I couldn't taste a single bite of ANYthing, all day, so I doused this in Frank's RedHot just for kicks. While it made my tongue tingle, I still couldn't perceive any flavor. Frustrating!
The high point of my day was having my sinuses open up a bit around 1am, and today I feel like the fog is lifting and I can almost breathe again. Breakfast (pumpkin pancake w/ walnuts, Neufchatel cheese, real maple syrup, coffee) was still tasteless, but at least I don't feel like my head is going to explode anymore. My cheeks ache like I might be developing a sinus infection, though. Running is probably going to hurt...
The little guy and I are off to meet a friend at Panera for our monthly lunch date this afternoon; I think a bowl of vegetable soup is in order. I'm pleased to report that I've kept up with my meal plan for the week so far; tonight's vegan split pea soup (didn't feel like having chicken two days in a row) is in the slow cooker as I type. Have a great day!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
These eating machines have once again been transformed into nose-blowing, vitamin-taking, juice-swilling machines. All three of us are sick! Ugh. Here is my best attempt at a meal plan; nothing sounds appealing when you lack the senses of taste and smell. These meals made the cut because I don't have to shop for a single ingredient; everything I need is already in the house. With the exception of a gallon of milk and a few bananas (that I might have The H pick up on the way home from work), we might be able to get by without a grocery trip at all. I like weeks like that.
Sunday - The H made lunch after church; we had turkey burgers with cheese and fresh sliced jalapenos, and dilled green beans. He did a GREAT job, and I so appreciated the break! Then I took a 2 1/2 hour nap while the little guy slept. Dinner was a frittata with leftover roasted potatoes, co-op eggs + extra egg whites, fresh spinach, green onion, garlic, and local sharp cheddar. I served it with yogurt mixed with frozen berries; the H also toasted some leftover gluten-free pumpkin pancakes with his.
Meatless Monday - Curly rice pasta with marinara sauce, steamed broccoli with lemon zest, and canned peaches, which the little guy cannot get enough of. I might use one of my frozen gluten-free pizza crusts and make breadsticks. The H likes bread with saucy pasta.
CrockPot Tuesday - Chicken with black beans and salsa, served over brown rice with flax chips for dipping.
Wednesday - Tasha's split pea soup OR chicken barley stew; I haven't decided yet. (H, care to chime in with a request?) If I feel up to it, I'd love to make some gluten-free cookies or muffins to have as well. Unless I'm only having lunch by myself, I don't like serving *just* soup for a meal--the table looks too naked!
Thursday - Turkey burgers with sauteed peppers and onions, sweet potato fries, roasted broccoli.
Friday - Pizza with spicy Italian sausage, peppers, and onions.
Saturday - If I survive this week on two feet AND make the meals as described above, I think The H should take me out, don't you?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
West Michigan is finally getting some real winter weather after a nice long break without any warnings or advisories. The forecast I heard for tonight is 6-12" of snow; compared to what some other states have gotten recently, I guess we can't complain too much! If you are in a snowy state I hope you're warm and well-stocked. The little guy and I went shopping yesterday and loaded up on coffee today so we're set for a good long time. Here is what I have on the menu this week:
Sunday - We stayed home from our SuperBowl party because the little man was sick. Poor kid! I made burgers (from the co-op) with sauteed mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and Swiss, along with sweet potato fries and gluten-free jalapeno peppers from Clean Eating Magazine's email. I took pics of those so watch for them soon!
Monday - I broke my own Meatless Monday rule and made BBQ chicken pizza with a side of tomato-feta salad. It was delicious.
Tuesday - Beef barley soup in the CrockPot with TONS of veggies! This is a great way to clean out the fridge/freezer/veggie drawer. The beef I'm using is stew beef from the co-op.
Wednesday - Gluten-free pancakes, scrambled eggs, and home fries (with local fingerling potatoes). This will be our meat-free day for the week.
Thursday - Gluten-free turkey lasagna
Friday - Barley-mushroom risotto from Clean Eating Magazine
Saturday - Individual pizzas
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Today I wanted to use up some of the massive head of cauliflower I bought a while back. The H took our little guy to daycare, so the house was empty and my lunch options were wide open. Perfect time to try something my boys wouldn't appreciate!
A quick recipe search led me to this recipe for Curried Cauliflower Soup. With a few modifications (read the comments and adjust to suit your tastes or spice cupboard) it turned out so well that I literally sat here at my desk exclaiming (yep, out loud) OH. YUM. Ohmygosh this is GOOD! Mmmm, SO GOOD. Mmm...!" I'm totally not ashamed of it, because it really was. And I thought I didn't like curry powder! (Well, aside from my delicious squash creation.)
This had a nice spicy kick to it, which I adore, and that is totally adjustable depending on the proportions of seasoning you use. If I hadn't added the shrimp I might've gotten The H to taste it, but that dumb seafood allergy tends to get in the way. More for me. It would also be fine without the shrimp as a vegetarian soup.
Here is how I made it. You can peek at the link above to see the original.
Curried Cauliflower and Shrimp Soup
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 large onion, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups vegetable broth
Half of a 12oz can low-fat evaporated milk
10-12 large frozen cooked shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1 cup frozen green peas
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp curry powder
1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. Lay the cauliflower, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
(I could have eaten it right after this step, never mind the soup, if I had a tasty protein source to go with it... SO GOOD, I'm telling you. This will probably be the way I prepare the rest of the World's Biggest Cauliflower. The combination of roasted veg with the sweet, soft, roasted garlic and a cube of onion that I had as a sample was so well rounded and flavorful--simply divine.)
3. Meanwhile, thaw the shrimp in a bowl of cold water. Combine milk and broths in a large pot and bring to a boil.
4. When the veggies are roasted and slightly browned, add them to the broth/milk. Add seasonings (to taste--you don't have to follow my measurements) and cover; simmer 15 minutes while you remove the shrimp tails, dice the shrimp, and defrost the peas.
5. Remove one-half to three-quarters of the veggies from the pot and place in a blender with some of the broth; puree to desired consistency. Add back to pot; add shrimp and peas. Stir well to combine and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings.
6. EAT IT!
Monday, February 1, 2010
Monday - Egg sandwiches (think McMuffin-style) with local cheddar cheese and homemade salt & vinegar chips from Elly Says Opa! Yes, there are such things as gluten-free English muffins.
Tuesday - CrockPot day! Chicken breast w/ black beans, peach salsa, and cheddar over brown rice. I'll make extra rice to have on hand this week.
Wednesday - Pizza with marinara sauce, pepperoni, olives, mozzarella, red onion, using two of the personal-sized crusts I froze last week after making a double-batch of gluten-free crust.
Thurdsday - Beef barley soup, probably also in the slow cooker.
Friday - Spaghetti and turkey meatballs ... I'm not completely sold on this one, but I wanted to use the marinara I'm going to open for the pizza on Wednesday.
Saturday - Co-op shopping day! Clean Eating Magazine's turkey burgers with oven fries or roasted fingerlings.