perfect post-workout sammie
Check out my latest workout-recovery fuel: Egg-avocado-tomato-goodness sandwich under the Lunch/Dinner tab above.
"If you were on a deserted island and had to choose one food to live on for the rest of your life, what would it be?"
Um, duh. Hummus!
This amazing dip can easily become a meal for me. Hummus on a tortilla. Hummus on toast. Hummus with carrots. Do I sound obsessed?
Once upon a time, when I lived in a major metropolitan area on the coast, I discovered hummus. I decided I could never live anywhere without a steady supply. Geez, I sound like an addict. Nonetheless, many years later, I stand by that decision.
I buy great volumes of it at the store, but then I have occasional epiphanies and realize that's ridiculous because I own a food processor and hummus is incredibly easy to make. So I reach into the depths of my pantry, grab the gizmo and go to town.
Here's what I put in this batch:
This is a variation of the standard recipe. The core ingredients usually are garbanzo beans, oil, tahini, a bit of water, garlic, lemon and salt/pepper. However, you can customize it with whatever extras you are feeling that day.
Add to your food processor. Mix and enjoy copious spoonfuls.
I am on a mission to make the perfect vegetarian Reuben. This is attempt No. 1, and I was pretty happy. Gonna keep tweaking, but it has a good balance of what I'm looking for: Salty, tangy, crunchy.
The amounts you need of each ingredient will vary depending on how many sandwiches you are making and how much of each topping you like. I'd say, experiment on your first one to determine what pleases your palate the most, and then your second one will be amazing.
Swirly marble rye bread, sliced. Or regular rye bread. (I totally lucked out -- I've never seen this swirly stuff before and just happened upon it at the grocery. It was super fresh and soft.)
Cheese (I used light Swiss)
Thousand Island dressing
A couple tablespoons of olive oil
Dashes of: cayenne, black pepper, sea salt
Optional: Earth Balance
How to assemble:
1.) Toast the bread. Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms and kale in the oil. Also meanwhile: Heat the sauerkraut in a small pan on the stove (start with a cup or two). Add a 1/2 cup or so of dressing to the mixture and continue to heat.
2.) Slice the cheese and tomatoes. Layer them on the bread when it's done toasting, cheese first. Try to pile everything in as flat of layers as possible. I put cheese on both slices of bread and then piled the rest of the toppings on one slice.
3.) Once mushrooms and kale have softened, pile them on the tomato layer. Scoop a heap of sauerkraut from the pan and add it to the awesomeness that is your Reuben in the making. I use a fork for the scooping, so I don't carry too much of the juices onto the sandwich.
4.) Sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Add cayenne, if desired. With just a sprinkle, it won't make it spicy, but it will help "wake up" your taste buds, kinda like salt.
5.) Put the top slice onto your sandwich and broil the whole thing in the oven for 3-4 minutes, watching closely. While you wait, picture how amazing it is going to be when you bite into all this stuff at once!
6.) When cheese is melty, it's done. Pull out of the oven and spread Earth Balance on the top slice. I wait til the end to do this because I think it gets a little too soggy if I do it sooner.
7.) Allow to cool slightly and then enjoy!
Note: Mike's version was pretty different from this. He doesn't like shrooms on his, so his had deli corned beef, tomatoes, sauerkraut/Thousand Island mixture and cheese. It met his approval.
As I was making this, I started to wonder if anyone has ever made sauerkraut from kale. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I think it might be cool to try it, if I can find or make it.
Whew! It's been a wild ride!
We sold our house and moved to a new city, and I started a new job and college program — all in about 48 hours.
By the end of the second day of work/school, I felt (and probably looked) a little shell-shocked. So many changes at once! And our new house was nothing short of a disaster of boxes piled high, everywhere you looked.
Fortunately we had a long weekend shortly after to unpack, and we were able to decompress and unwind (a tiny bit).
I am really excited about all the new things going on in our lives. Plus, it's pretty awesome to have a great guy like Mike at my side during all this change. And coming home and thinking about making a great meal with him in our new house gives me something relaxing and fun to look forward to at night.
Tonight I created a pumpkin soup recipe using mostly ingredients we had on hand (that's my new favorite way to cook — aka: too lazy to go to the store!). I did have to make a quick stop for a few things, but most came from the fridge/cupboard. And I think it turned out great!
I was inspired by the fall weather and, oddly enough, butter — which I don't even usually like! We celebrated our anniversary recently at a great, local Italian restaurant that had this amazing seasoned butter with fresh bread. I recreated it as best I could — swapping Earth Balance for the butter to make it a little less naughty — and the result was a delicious, intense spread for fresh bread.
To make the carnivore of the house happy, I added the bacon-wrapped asparagus (plain for me, which was still very tasty).
This will likely be one of my new favorite meals!
You can find the recipes under the lunch/dinner tab above.
I recently had a blood test that showed my iron level was a little low. Not anemic, but at the low end of the "safe" spectrum for women.
I've noticed my level varies greatly from day to day, depending on my diet and how much exercise I've gotten. I decided to do some research to see how I could improve it.
I should note I am not a physician and am not qualified to offer medical advice. This is merely a summary of what I've been reading from various sources. If you have any questions or concerns, please be sure to see your doctor.
Women tend to be deficient more often than men, due to the loss during their monthly cycles.
Vegetarians and vegans also have to pay special attention to the iron content in their diets. While plentiful in many plant-based foods, it isn't absorbed as readily by the body as the iron in meat.
An easy trick: Eat foods rich in vitamin C at the same time as the iron source. For example, if you are eating tofu or spinach, both solid iron sources, squeeze some fresh lemon juice in your water, add strips of green pepper to your main entree or eat strawberries for dessert. The vitamin C will help you absorb the iron in the other foods better. Also, for spinach, it's a good idea to cook it. This alters the iron content to make it more available to the body. And try to avoid caffeine shortly before, during or after the meal, as it is known to inhibit absorption.
A list of good sources of iron for vegetarians can be in the yellow table on this website. One that I love is blackstrap molasses. It's a good excuse to make some ginger snaps!
Another interesting thing I've read is that strenuous exercise can contribute to iron loss, and even deficiencies, especially in women. There are several reasons. For one thing, iron is a major player during processes involved in energy use and oxygen distribution to tissues, so this increases an athlete's need and use as his or her metabolic rate rises. It also appears some iron is lost through sweat and the digestive tract. One especially fascinating phenomenon in runners is that the impact of their foot strikes can cause red blood cells to burst. The iron the cells contain is then apparently lost.
You can read more about iron deficiency and exercise here and here. The second article is especially informative, but please note it is on PowerBar's website, which has a stake in the matter. Regardless, the content reflects information I have seen on other websites, and it strikes me as being sound.
If you are afraid you might be deficient, a word of caution: Don't take any iron supplements without seeing a doctor first. Iron excesses can be extremely dangerous.