Showing newest 9 of 22 posts from May 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 9 of 22 posts from May 2010. Show older posts

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! Happy Memorial Day weekend! and happy 4 weeks of school after today to me and all other NYC teachers!
How is everyone's morning going? This morning I got up to go to spin and to do my quick 20 minute weights workout. It's been getting easier to get up since it's light out, but it's still hard. I just try to focus on the fact that I will be done with my workout by 6:45 and then I can have the afternoon to relax and do what I need to do before we leave for NJ. 
Rewind to yesterday. I got home from work and was debating whether to run outside or to go to the gym. The weather was so iffy all day, one minute the sun would be out and the next it was gloom and doom. I did what anyone any other blogger would do, and reached out to twitter. After being guided to run outside, I went for it and I'm glad I did because the weather held up and I had a pretty good run. There were a ton of runners out, more than usual and only 1 smoker and 2 kids on bikes that almost ran me over (at 2 different times) because they were looking sideways instead of forwards. What is with that??? 
For dinner I made a quick shrimp and vege stir fry with a side salad and a piece of balsamic chicken for Danny. I didn't take any pictures of the dinner, but I wanted to share the salad dressing with you. I made it at the beginning of the week because I needed a change and it's awesome. 
I used it on this spinach salad earlier in the week.

Cumin Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar (I used organic apple cider vinegar from Trader Joe's)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine and mix together. Enjoy over a really, ridiculously big salad! (see below)
What's your favorite salad dressing?

Have a wonderful Friday!! I hope you all have relaxing weekends! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Memorable Memorial Day and Crackers!

Good morning! Two days until Memorial Day weekend!! This is one of my favorite weekends out of the entire year. Not to get too sappy for you, but since Danny and I did long distance for so many years, Memorial Day weekend was the start of me being out of school/work and being able to see him so much more. I looked forward to Memorial Day weekend because it was the start of me making weekly drives down to Philly to see him and not have to worry or be stressed about when I need to come back.  Then not to mention, Danny proposed to me 3 years ago on Memorial Day weekend. That's where I got my favorite gift ever....
Anyway, I had to share because of my excitement for the weekend. Later today I have lots of cooking and baking to do so I can bring food and treats down to the beach. I've already conferred with my MIL and I think we are going to be doing some skewers Saturday night.
Did I tell you I finally picked up the book Thrive by Brendan Brazier. IT'S SO GOOD. I am loving it. He includes amazing information about health, nutrition and sheds light on why American is obese. I will do a complete review when I'm done. I am so interested in this book that's it's been hard for me to put it and down read it sequentially. I keep wanting to jump to spots, like the recipe section because it is all so interesting. 
Well I cheated and flipped to the recipe section and am excited to try many of these recipes ASAP. I am always looking for new crackers and breads, especially of the gluten free kind (not because I am celiac, mostly just for fun.) I also have found the less gluten I eat, the better I feel and the less bloated I am. Anyone else feel that way?? 
I made these crackers because I had all of the ingredients on hand. They are easy and gluten free. 

Whole and ground flax mixed up
All of the ingredients

Vegetable Protein Crackers
Adapted from Vegetable Crackers by Brendan Brazier
1 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup flaxseed (I used toasted)
1 carrot (chopped)
1 tomato
1 cup cooked lentils (you can use any cooked beans)
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt (I would add a little bit more next time)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a food processor put in all of the ingredients. (I put in the flax, carrot, tomato and beans in first. Processed it, then added the rest. )Make sure it's all processed well. Spray a baking sheet (11x15) with olive oil. Spread the mixture as thin as you can possible get it. ( I had a hard time with this, mine were a bit thicker.) Before baking in the oven, use a pizza cutter (or knife) to cut into the mixture to mark the size of the cracker. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and flip crackers over. Bake for 15 more minutes. 

*You can bake crackers longer if they aren't as crunchy as you'd like. They will slightly harden once cooled. 

These go great with any dip or even crumbled on top of a salad!

Why do you love Memorial Day? 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vegan Chickpea Burgers

Is anyone else's week a day off? I just keep thinking it's Thursday and yesterday was Wednesday, so I need to remember what day it really is. I just can't get it straight. 
I am having one of those morning where I really need to get to work, so I'm going to keep this short. I had some leftovers in the fridge from dinner on Monday, so I thought about what I could make with them. My leftovers were of brown rice, quinoa and chickpeas. I didn't make the entire bag of chickpeas into hummus so I had about 2 cups leftover.  Since I've been doing different types of vege and bean burgers I decided to give another one a whirl. 

Chickpeas and garlic
add veges
now add some oats

Chickpea Patties 
based on a recipe from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

1/2 red onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
5 button mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2- 2 cups raw spinach
2 cups chickpeas
1 cup brown rice
1 cup quinoa (you can use 2 cups of either brown rice or quinoa if you'd like)
3/4 cups oats
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried)
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce  
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Saute red onion, carrot and mushrooms with one tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.  
2. Meanwhile combine chickpeas, worcestershire, soy sauce, thyme, sea salt, black pepper and garlic clove in food processor. 
3. Add sauteed veges and raw spinach to food processor and combine.
4. Add brown rice and quinoa and mix again. 
5. Put ingredients into a large bowl and add oats. Mix well to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to help combine.
6. Shape into patties and cook on medium heat. Brown on both sides (about 4 minutes a side). 

Chickpea patty with spinach salad, cabbage and soy-catash stir fry and low and slow potatoes

What is your favorite way to enjoy burgers, meatless or not? 
I love eating mine with sweet potatoes or a simple salad.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Busy Morning!

How's the weather by you? Here it is gorgeous! I just came back from a walk to my local fruit/vege store to pick up some spinach, 2 lemons and a bag of green grapes...all for $4.34. 
I missed posting last night and this morning because I watched the LOST finale last night and this morning Danny and I went for a run. I was in a mad dash to get ready this morning, as usual and by mad dash I mean I took my time making my juice, emptying the dishwasher and washing my juicer. 

My mornings usually look like this:

  • wake up at an obscenely early hour (usually anywhere between 5-6 depending on the day)
  • workout (pick one: run, spin, yoga, weights, or anything else)
  • make a juice or a smoothie
  • realize I need to get my butt in gear and rush to be out the door later than I should.
I just love taking my time in the morning, which means I take my time for about 2 hours and then rush around getting dressed, putting on make up and not doing my hair.  Is anyone else like that? Try to cram in as much as possible in the morning and then realize you need to keep going? Literally that's every morning of my life...and I love it.
This morning was a running morning. We were out the door by 5:35 and were off. I just love how bright it is in the morning. It makes waking up SO much easier. The sun was actually shining bright about 10-20 minutes into our run. LOVE IT!
Yesterday I decided to make tuna for dinner. We haven't have that in a couple of weeks, so I decided to pan sear it. I made some roasted brussel sprouts and brown rice (for Danny) and quinoa for me. I didn't wait to be boring, so I looked at my trusty cookbook, Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. I was kind of starving in a rush so I didn't use the recipe exactly. 
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Cut the brussel sprouts in half. Spray with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Roast in the oven (425 degrees) for about 30-35 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Pan Seared Tuna
Sprinkle tuna with sea salt and black pepper. Heat oil (I used sesame oil) in a pan on medium high. Brown on each side for about 4 minutes. Put about 1 T of soy sauce on each piece of tuna. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 more minutes, depending on how you like your tuna cooked. 

Teriyaki Brown Rice/Quinoa
Mix 1 tsp lemon juice, 3 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl. Add to cooked quinoa or brown rice. Stir. Cook for about 5 minutes. 
This is a nice sauce to put over any grain. It works perfectly as a side dish, especially to tuna!

On another note, look at how my basil and tomatoes have grown!

Are you growing anything in your backyard or window sill?? Any luck?
Also for you NYC'ers, do you have any fitness classes you would recommend? I'm looking to try some new classes over the summer.
Have a great night!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Power Muffins!

Did you want to know how many days left of school I have until summer vacation? Yes? 25. 2-5. I have a ton of things to do between now and then, especially since I have to move classrooms. Lucky for me I've enlisted the help of my sister and cousin...and anyone else that wants to help. Any takers? There will be some possible rewards in iced coffees and ice cream/frozen yogurt/ices.

This weekend we were very busy...doing what? I don't know. All I know is that the little errands I have to do over the weekend, take up a ton of time. Saturday morning I got up nice and early with a mission....I had to watch Grey's and Real Housewives of NY before Danny got up. My plan was a major fail when in the first five minutes I screamed, "OH MY GOD" so loud Danny woke up. That season finale was NUTS. Good thing I turned off every technological device Thursday night so I didn't have any spoilers. Real Housewives was pretty nuts too, just in a very different way.

After feeling every emotional possible (from TV) we went to the beach to go for a nice run on the boardwalk. It was supposed to be a gorgeous beach day according to the weather person, but that just didn't materialize. We brought stuff to stay longer, but it was kind of cold and windy so we left. I had to stop at Trader Joe's on the way to my mom's to get some things to make for lunch; half a paycheck later we were in business.
Here are some of the goodies I picked up:
My sister-in-law introduced me to this. All natural, zero calories, deliciousness. 
Thanks Janet! (It's half gone already.)
These are a great cracker, they go with everything...hummus, guac, anything.

I also got Trader Joe's mini whole wheat pitas, TJ's longboards (traditional tortilla chips) and root vegetable chips (addicting...entire bag gone in 2 days). These went perfectly with the guacamole I made. 

After devouring all of that food we weren't hungry for dinner really. I ended up re-heating the bean burgers and having that over salad. 

Sunday morning my eyes opened wide at 6:20. I had even gone to bed late, but I was just ready to get up. I didn't want to push it, so I just got up. I had a pretty busy baking morning, so I have a couple of good recipes to share. 

Blueberry Pumpkin Power Muffins
  • 1 ripened banana
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 egg (I used organic)
  • 1/4 cup non-packed turbinado or brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly grounded flax seed
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat or white flour)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind the flax seed, set aside. (I used my coffee grinder.)
2. Process oats in food processor until it's a flour like consistency. (This step is optional, you can use the oats as is if you'd like.)
3. Add flax seed, oats, banana, egg, sugar, spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin to a large bowl. Mix well. 
4. Add blueberries. Fold in to batter. 
5. Grease a muffin pan. (I used 12, but you can make 6 larger muffins)
6. Spoon batter into pan. 

Makes 12 muffins. 

These are perfect for a quick breakfast. They are very light, but filling also. You know I love my muffins! Thanks for the inspiration Angela! 

I am always looking for new muffins and scones to make. So if you have a favorite, send it over my way! Next I'm making Jessica's quinoa bulgar muffins. 

Have a happy Monday!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why run?

Why do I run? 

When I went for my run on Thursday I was thinking to myself about why I run. Why do I choose that form of exercise 3 days a week? Why not do other things?

I didn't have to think about it long before I came up with my answer. Running is a release for me, whether it be running for 15 minutes or 50, it gives me time to reflect and think about life. It is a stress reliever. It allows me to be present in the moment and think about whatever I want to, without any outside noise. No cell phone, text message or emails, just me, the road, music and/or my husband and my thoughts.
I make my best plans when I run. I can put life into perspective and figure out a problem or situation. Running brings clarity to the most confusing situation. If I am running with my husband we have our best talks when we are hitting the pavement. Running makes me feel successful and like I can do anything. 

I love running because I feel free.
I love running because I can breathe easier, physically and emotionally. 
I love running because I can be in control.
I love running because the weight of the world is lifted from my shoulders. 
I love running because it clears my head. 
I love running because I can run. 

So with that said.... I'm toying with the idea of doing the half marathon in Philadelphia November 21. Philadelphia has a special place in our hearts because my husband lived there for a couple of years out of college. We were going to move there when we got married when we decided to stay in NY at the last second. Plus Danny and I will be together 7 years on Nov. 21st. I'm trying to use all of these coincidences to get Danny to do it with me. I think I've got him! :)

Do you do what you love?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Field Trip!

Happy Friday!! Yesterday was a day where I remembered why I do love my job. We got to go to the Queens Botanical Gardens. It is one of my favorite trips we take all year and the weather made it even more fun. My class was very well behaved as we walked around the grounds and looked at plants that the early Americans used to survive. The grounds here are gorgeous, but unfortunately they are in danger of closing because of budget cuts in NYC. My class is writing letters to different people to try and get them to stop the budget cuts. 

Two of my students nervously tasting a plant. 
The gardens are beautifully manicured and kept up so well.

You can imagine I was salivating at all of the fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of the crops were not ready for harvest but it was so fun looking at all they have growing. Maybe the reason why I love this trip so much is because we pick crops and make a salad the early Americans would have made and then we eat it. I do love food...especially salads, so this is probably why. I also love that my students learn about farming and get to taste and view different crops. It's so great to hear them make the connection between a crop and food, you actually hear/see the lightbulb go off.
Most of my students were good sports and tried and even liked it. Of course there were the few that didn't care for it, but they all did try it. 

Couldn't not have a group photo...they weren't all pleased, but hey I'm the teacher...

When I got home I went for a run outside. The day was just beautiful and I was looking forward to hitting the pavement all day. I donned my healthy kidney 10k top and was off.
I had a great run, there were lots of people out mostly with kids. Everyone just seemed to be enjoying the day. I am happy to report I didn't see one person with a cell phone OR smoking a cigarette the entire time I was out. I think these people are steering clear of my after my last rant post. 

I had some leftover beans from my bean burgers so I decided to make some more.  This time I switched up the recipe. 
I used the same base, but made a few changes. I used:

2 cups beans (I had them mixed together, red kidney, lentil and cannelloni)2/3 cup spelt flour
2 T flax seeds (soaked in 1/4 cup water to make flax eggs)
4 large leaves of beet greens
1/4 cup fresh parsley 
1/2 red onion (medium sized)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard1/4 cup black pepper
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp sea salt

I followed the same process of putting beans, greens, garlic, onion and parsley in the food processor. I removed the mixture and put it in a large bowl. I added the remainder of the ingredients, adding the flour last. This makes 6 delicious burgers. 

Next week I promise to get more creative. I've been inspired to break out some cookbooks and take a gander in them over the weekend for some new ideas. I'm about to take my first smoothie for breakfast, I'm nervous! I hope it keeps me full...but not to worry I'll be stocked with extra fruit just in case!

Happy Friday! Any plans for the weekend?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Press It Out, Tofu Style

Did anyone watch this weeks Glee yet? Who knew Neil Patrick Harris had a singing voice? I certainly didn't. Even though Glee can be a little corny with some of their dance numbers, I'm totally into it. I just eat it all up. Danny literally feels awkward sometimes when he watches it, but I just love it. Kind of glad I watched it alone this week, cause I don't know how he would have felt about the Dream On duet. 

Danny worked late last night and I had to make AND clean up dinner and watch a crazy amount of tv from my DVR. Isn't it funny how I purposely only used 1 frying pan and 1 cookie sheet when I have to clean up, but when he's home I used as many as I the 6 I used two nights ago. I'll just chalk it up to not being as creative when I'm cooking for one?  That sounds good. 

A couple of weeks or months? ago I received a tofu press from Tofu Xpress. I had seen it on a couple of blogs and was excited to be sent one as well. You can use this not only on tofu but on cheeses too. (Also you can use this to get water out of frozen spinach, for spinach dip...SCORE!) 

Honestly before I saw this on blogs, I had no clue you were even supposed to press the extra water out of tofu. I always just cut it up and stir fried it, as is. 

Basically you put the tofu in this contraption and the spring presses down the on tofu and all of the extra water comes out. I stuck it in the fridge for an hour and then voila...water was out! 
I just cut it into slices and then poured the sauce over it. I could have marinated it, but I was pretty hungry, so I just did it the quick and easy way. 

Soy Ginger Marinade
1/3 cup light soy sauce (or tamari)
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp grated ginger

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, maple syrup and ginger. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray. Arrange the tofu slices on the cookie sheet. Pour the marinade over the tofu. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the tofu for 15 minutes, flip and then cook for 15 minutes more.

I served this with a quick stir fry. I used cabbage in it because I have a ton from my organic delivery basket, it went perfect in this! 

Thanks for all of the vegetarian options! I can't wait to try all of them, especially that quinoa and bean recipe (thanks Jacks!). 

What's your favorite way to cook tofu?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

3 Bean Burgers (vegan)

Good morning everyone! It's Wednesday already, which means we are almost through this week. 
I got up this morning to do a weights workout. On Monday I decided I should switch it up and looked through the Exercise TV on demand workouts. I found Chris Freytag's workouts and decided to try out the upper and lower workouts, which were 20 minutes each.  It was HARD. I loved both of them. They were quick, easy to follow and used circuits. I was really sweating by the time I was done with both.  Yesterday morning I woke up and by the time I was done with my run I was very sore, but in a good way. I'm going to do it again this morning because it was such a good workout. I have to confess, usually I hate working out my legs. I always have and probably always will. I just am not a fan of doing millions of lunges and squats even though I know it works. For some reason with this workout I didn't mind it, maybe because it was quick and I wasn't dreading it. Have you tried out any of the workouts On Demand?? I need to check it out more, I haven't been using it much lately. 

For dinner on Monday I wanted to make a vege/bean burger. This was something I really threw together very quickly and it turned out great.  

bean mixture, doesn't look pretty, but tastes delicious!

Three Bean Burgers (vegan)

1/3 cup red kidney beans (cooked)
1/3 cup cannelloni beans
1/3 cup lentils
2/3 cup spelt flour
2 T flax seeds (soaked in 1/4 cup water to make flax eggs)
2 large leaves of kale
1/4 cup fresh parsley 
1/2 red onion (medium sized)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fire roasted diced tomatoes
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup black pepper
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp sea salt

Place the flax seeds and water in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes so it becomes a gel. Put the 3 types of beans in the food processor and puree. Add the kale, parsley, red onion, garlic  and diced tomatoes to the processor and combine with the beans. You may have to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the flax "eggs" and stir. Add the sunflower seeds. Slowly add in the flour, adding 1/2 at first and then mixing and then adding the remaining flour. Then add the balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt. Spray olive oil in a frying pan and heat on a medium flame.  Form 6 burgers with the mixture. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side. After burgers are flipped to the other side and browned, cover for the remainder of the time. 

*Notes: For this recipe you can use any kind of beans that equal up to a cup of cooked beans. You can use dried parsley, use about 1 tablespoon. For the sunflower seeds, if preferred you can leave it out or grind them in the food processor, but I enjoyed the crunchiness they add to the burger. 

I've been trying out new vegetarian options (with the exception of fish). Does anyone have any links or recipes to share? Feel free to leave a link below! Also doesn't anyone have a great recipe for cabbage?


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