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Week One: Done

Week 1 of our elimination diet is complete!  The novelty of this new challenge has worn off a little, but no “I’m going crazy without ____” cravings to report (yet).

Eating at home has been easy enough since we have been keeping on top of having food easily-accessible.  Eating elsewhere takes a little extra thinking ahead.  I’ve had two out-of-house eating experiences so far.  The first was great because I arrived prepared.  Friday I got together with friends, and beforehand we decided on make-your-own taco salads (since we have a few different food preferences/situations represented, but everyone enjoys their own version of the dish).  It sounded like a great idea – I love the colors, textures, and flavors of this Tex-Mex staple, and it’s totally customizable.  I just knew I wouldn’t be able to eat the tomatoes or cheese.  Or corn chips.  Or sour cream.  Or peppers…. Or guacamole, if it contained lime juice…. Or lettuce…

Turns out Tex-Mex is not elimination diet friendly.

However, I packed myself some provisions, and ended up with baby spinach topped with black beans, crushed rice cake (salty and crispy like chips), charred red onions (so good!), smashed avocado, and homemade hummus (with no lemon juice or tahini and extra garlic) as a dressing.  It exceeded my expectations!

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 The second event was the Superbowl and I arrived after work, hungry but empty-handed.  There was a full spread, but it is just so amazing how much food contains gluten/dairy/sugar/citrus/tomatoes/peppers (okay, maybe it’s not amazing, that’s a pretty broad list..)  Luckily, Mer had made crispy chickpeas, so I combined those in a bowl with cilantro and green onion and had a little crispyherbysavory salad.  I probably ate a whole can’s worth of chickpeas… But it was delicious and filled me up.

There’s always next year for cheese dip.

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And cute little guacamole football fields with cherry tomato teams.

At home, I’ve been eating things like millet with almond butter, cinnamon, and honey stirred in, topped with blueberries, raspberries, and walnuts.

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And sautéed red rice and spinach topped with avocado, sprouted lentils and hummus.

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And I have definitely been branching out and trying new things .  Tonight with dinner I made this gluten-free savory quick bread, with a few substitutions (half chick pea flour/half brown rice flour instead of oat flour, “chia eggs” instead of eggs, canned pumpkin instead of applesauce, and onion instead of garlic – because I was too lazy to roast garlic, not because of the elimination diet).   Not exactly a crusty artisan loaf, but satisfying in a corn bread kind of way.  Definitely something to experiment with!

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Slapdash

Ugh.. I wrote over half a post and then lost it.

So here’s a summary!

I started a summer class three weeks ago, which means I’m working less, which means I’m cooking more. Well, by cooking I usually mean chop/sautéing… But it’s more than I was doing before : )

I took a little study break to post a few food pictures. They’re taken with iProducts of course… I need to get back in the habit of taking “real” photographs… But I suppose it’s fitting: slapdash pictures of slapdash food!

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Sautéed purple cabbage with carrots and tofu next to a salad with summer squash, apple, and homemade honey-mustard dressing.

Dressings are my variation these days… They’re so easy to make out of random ingredients.  It may sound unlikely, but adding some nut butter to a dressing makes it creamy and adds a smoothness to the flavor too. I started making dressings with tahini and lemon juice, but now I’ll put almond butter in a mustard vinaigrette and it’s great!

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Sauteed greens, onions, and summer squash, topped with an over-easy egg!

The purple cabbage in the first picture and the egg seen above are both from the Farmers Market that comes to campus on Wednesdays. The eggs are SO delicious… possibly the best I’ve ever eaten. (Well, besides the duck egg I recently ate, which was laid by the ducks owned by the Brew Master at work…hopefully I’ll share more about those later.)

Okay, back to the books… I will leave you with the cake Rosie and I made yesterday. I saw it on Not Quite Nigella and sent the link straight to Rosie. She and I have had great success with liquor-infused cakes in the past (the highlight, in my opinion, being the Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake), and this recipe spoke to us.

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And though pictures may speak louder than words, they don’t speak as loudly as tender almond cake soaked in a citrusy and oh-so-delicately-spicy syrup. So you may have to make yourself a cake : )

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Recovery is Key

First things first: my vibrant breakfast from this morning.

That’s a smoothie on top of soaked oats, with a dollop of plain yogurt.  The smoothie was half a frozen banana + blueberries + strawberries + a splash of almond milk. Oh, and if you look closely you can see sneaky evidence of the sunflower seed butter and peanut butter that are sandwiched in between the oats and the smoothie.

Now we can move on…

Sunday I did my long run on trails with Julia.  We went to Seneca Creek State Park and ran on the Greenway together, then she ran a mile of the lake trail with me before turning back (she wasn’t planning to run the whole thing since  she has a bunch of school work to do), and I finished the lake trail.  The whole run was about 14 miles, and I was only starting to feel tired at the end, so that’s a good sign!

I even felt good at work that night, even though I closed.  I started feeling really hungry around 9:30, but I had some almonds & dried fruit in my bag, so that helped me through.  My energy was probably sustained by my post-run feast:

Smoked Salmon and Sauteed Spinach Omelette (SS&SS!)

Served with an enormous salad with sweet potatoes, green beans, tapenade, and more.

I really love sweet potato on salads.   I topped it all with my new favorite speedy salad “dressing”: tahini and plain yogurt mixed together, with a little salt and pepper.

I also tried an ice bath for the first time after my run.  I was motivated by my experience in the Sierras: we swam in an alpine lake after a long hike, and the next day was the first day since we began the trip where my legs felt completely fresh.  Though the bathtub is way less cool (in both senses of the word) than an alpine lake…but it definitely felt good on my legs, and I haven’t had any soreness, so it seems to have had a similar effect!   (Of course, mere hours later I read in Runner’s World that ice baths decrease the storage of glycogen in your muscles during recovery… so it sounds like you can’t really win).

I went for a 4-mile run this morning and felt pretty good, so I think I recovered well from that run.

What I would really love, though, is if the weather would recover from this rainy/humid/blech system.  Bring on Fall!

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Sun Run

Whew! It has been a busy week.

Saturday I didn’t have to work, so I ran a race instead 🙂 It was the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club Women’s Half Marathon Trail Run in Fountainhead Regional Park, VA. The rain had finally given up, and it was a beautiful morning: the humidity was a small price to pay for the blue sky and sunshine! Over 12 of the 13.1 miles were on the trail through the park; the only pavement was maybe 3/4 of a mile at the beginning. Trails are fun to run and they keep your mind busy, but they are tiring! Up and down, navigating roots, up and down, jumping streams, and oh, did I mention up and down? Of the 5 half-marathons I’ve run, 2 of them were on trails, and both took 20-25 minutes longer than the races on roads. That’s a 2 minute/mile difference, and the effort was about the same.

First time someone has photographed me mid-air; most of the time I get an awkward push-off photo...

Julia and I ran most of the race together, but she was having tummy trouble, so she made a pit stop with about 4 miles left and told me to go on without her. The hills in miles 10/11ish were pretty arduous, but I actually started to get a little more energy in the last mile or so. I think it got less hilly, and I was inspired by thoughts of the finish.

El Fin!

My constructive criticism to the organizers of this race is regarding the food. They did have frozen (then mostly thawed) fruit, which was actually excellent because it was cold and sweet.  But other than that it was cookies, donuts, and chips with, salsa, hummus, and guacamole. I guess they were thinking women like snacky/sweet things, which I often do… but after a half marathon I’m looking for FOOD food.  I made do with the fruit and some chips and hummus/salsa mixed together.

Needless to say, when I got home I required something like this:

Colorful complex carbohydrates and protein! Not that I think the organizers should provide a salad bar. I just need something that will fill the hunger hole!

The morning after the race I continued the veggies trend. Not many people (well, Westerners, I guess) eat vegetables for breakfast, but one health trend that seems to be catching on in America is the Green Smoothie. I actually first tried one during the Americorps term I just finished. (I was the Healthy Lifestyles Associate at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tioga County. It was mostly nutrition education and outreach with kids, and I had a great experience.) We had a couple of groups of kids make Tropical Green Smoothies: grapes, pineapple, frozen banana, vanilla yogurt, and baby spinach. They were always repulsed by the idea of spinach in a smoothie, but of course would still put it in because they loved the process of following a recipe, and I suspect they were curious too. And since they had made the smoothies, they tried them, in all their green, spinachy glory!  Every group loved the smoothie and agreed that they couldn’t taste the spinach.

So, without further ado, let me introduce my kale smoothie from Sunday morning: I promise it doesn’t taste like kale!

Raspberries, blueberries, yogurt, soy milk, frozen banana, flax, and kale...

Blended!

I used to not enjoy smoothies much; they were just cold food that you drink, so they were gone too fast and I wasn’t able to appreciate their flavor.  Then I was enlightened by Kath of KathEatsRealFood- she eats them with a spoon! It’s so much more satisfying.  And you can put toppings on them!

Topped with figs, granola, and crumbled banana muffin.

Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it 🙂

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