02/12/13

Chicken Pear and Pistachio Salad

When it comes to nutrition, I like to think that I have a pretty good understanding of how to fuel properly throughout the day and post-workouts to recovery properly and try to be as lean as possible.  Lots of diets come and go (Atkins, low fat, etc.), usually with a lot of hype and with little success for people.  True, people may loose weight from these fad diets.  But it’s always interesting to check the person’s overall body composition before and after.  For example, Atkins diet causes people to loose weight quickly, but in the end their body fat percentage is often higher and the toxins in someone’s body from having to use protein instead of fat and carbs as a fuel source is something that a lot of people don’t know about.

Paleo diet seems to be the next diet fad that has hit America.  However, I do believe there is something to be said about this diet.  From what I understand about this diet, grains, milk, beans/legumes are off limits.  The diet promotes a high fat and protein diet from lean meats and nuts/seeds.  Carbohydrates are obtained through starchy vegetables,  such a sweet potato.

I hate jumping on board with fad diets until I have time to think them through and see if it would work for me as an endurance junkie.  I think that if I took this diet to the extreme, I would lack energy since I need lots of carbohydrates to fuel my workouts, recovery, and just have energy throughout the day.  Also, I’m not a big meat person… I prefer to cook without it and use beans/legumes instead.  However, I think that it could be good thing to do occasionally (maybe 3 or so meals a week… or late night snacking).  So I made my first Paleo diet meal with one modification… I added some feta cheese to this delicious salad:

  • 1 bag (9 ounce) of spinach
  • 1 bag (7 ounce) of craisins or dried fruit (i used dried pomegranates)
  • 1 cup chopped  chicken (i cooked an entire chicken in the crock pot and divided the meat into fourths, bagging the other three bags of meat from the chicken and throwing it in the freezer.  The entire chicken was only $5)
  • 2/3 cup pistachios
  • 8 ounce block of Feta cheese – shredded/crumbled
  • 2 pears, chopped
Use a dressing of your choice… I think that a raspberry vinaigrette would be a good pairing, or balsamic vinaigrette.  Enjoy!

 

12/26/12

Gluten Free Brown Rice Muffins

Merry (late) Christmas to everyone.  I hope you all made some memories with families and friends during this busy time of year and took time to reflect on the true reason for the season.

Yesterday, one of the gifts that I received from my parents was a set of muffin tins.  Yup… I actually asked for those!  I have been wanting some for quite some time now.  The main reason was because I found a recipe in “The Feed Zone” book that I wanted to try.  I wasted no time and decided to try to make them today:

Brown Rice Muffins (Gluten-Free)

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (I used a whole apple which was about one cup chopped instead)
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • pinch of salt
  • vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon

  1. Heat oven to 325 and lightly grease the muffin tin
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend til a nice batter is formed
  3. Divide into muffin tins and bake for about 15-20 minutes

This recipe made 10 muffins for me.

12/19/12

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Every fall I buy up a bunch of pumpkins, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash.  Each time I cut one of them open, I save the seeds.  I place them in a bag and place them in the freezer until about this time of year when the squash and pumpkin is no longer in season and becomes super expensive again.  It’s funny how you can buy a couple pie pumpkins and get enough seeds out of two pumpkins that would probably cost twice or three times as much some seeds by themselves in a health food store.

The process of baking up some pumpkin seeds takes a little bit of time:

1. Thaw the seeds in some warm water

2.  Place seeds in a strainer and run water over them to get the slime off of them.

3.  Transfer seeds to a mixing bowl and fill with water.  Stir the seeds in the water (this helps separate the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin “guts” that tagged along during the whole process.  The seeds float and the guts sink to the bottom of the bowl).

4. Heat the oven t0 400 degrees

5.  Season the seeds with any concoction that sounds good.  (I’ve done salt and pepper, cinnamon, ginger and garlic, salt and Worcestershire sauce in the past and all have been really good.)

6.  Spread seeds on a cookie sheet thinly

7.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes

 

Below are some pictures of the process:

12/10/12

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes

This last July, I made a trip to Portland, OR for a race and vacation.  I had the privledge of staying with a really neat host family, the Dailey family.  The made me feel right at home in a new location.  Jason (the father/husband) and I had a fair amount in common… triathletes, loved the outdoors, and health nuts.  While I was there, he was frequently made stuff from scratch from very simple ingredients.  Not only did he whip the meals together in lightening speed, but they were full of fresh fruits, veggies, and/or whole grains (mostly rice or quinoa).  I asked him where he got all these great ideas and he showed me a book that was written by two chefs for the Radio Shack pro cycling team.  The book is called “The Feed Zone.”

The feed zone is a book full of recipes that are easy to make and are designed for athletes.  We all have busy schedules and don’t have a ton of extra time to make nutritious meals, but with the tricks mentioned in this book it can reduce meal prep time in half.  Plus, since the cooks were literally working in a bus, they had limited ingredients.  So almost every recipe has about 7 ingredients or less!

Today I tried the Sweet Potato Pancake recipe in the book… but did a little spin on it.  I made it gluten free.  It’s still simple, cheap, and delicious.

Here’s how to make it gluten free.  Pictures below to give you a visual on how to do it as well:

  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats (after putting them into a blender to make flour.  It just under 4 cups of oats)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups cook sweet potatos, mashed (or one large can organic sweet potatoes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups soy or almond milk

1. combine all ingredients in a bowl and use an electric hand mixer to mix together into a thick batter consistency

2.  Heat oven to 375 degrees

3.  Spray olive oil, or another nonstick spray, on a baking sheet.  Spread batter evenly over a large baking sheet

4.  Bake for about 30 minutes

I like to use the oven because I make a large batch of pancakes all at the same time instead of doing one or two at a time.

 

Now that you’ve made some delicious pancakes, don’t ruin them with a cheap syrup made from corn.  Splurge a little and buy some real maple syrup… your taste buds (and body) will thank you!

12/5/12

Athlete Friendly and Gluten Free Pizza

I do my best to eat well.  I am a firm believer in the importance of what we ingest on a daily basis plays a significant role in our body’s immediate health, health down the road when we get older, and athletic purposes.  Choosing the right foods to eat at specific times of the day will help the body recover from previous stress placed on it during training and as a result help us perform better in the races.

Like everyone else out there, I crave junk food every once in a while and succumb to the pressure.  When our body craves something, it may be lacking a nutrient found in the food… the trick is knowing what the body wants and finding other ways to fill that need.  Over the last few days, I was really craving pizza.   I decided that I was going to make my own pizza from scratch to make it healthier and full of good protein sources.  And like every good pizza, it starts with a good crust (in this case, gluten-free) with very simple ingredients:

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 9oz bag of spinach
  • 3-4 carrots, shredded

Preparing the crust:

  1. place rice and lentils in water and soak for about 8 hours
  2. Drain the water and place all ingredients in a food processor (adding water if needed to help it blend together) until it forms a paste
  3. Spray a cookie pan with nonstick spray
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes
  5. remove crust from oven

I decided to make a Mediterranean style pizza.  I put artichokes, olives, mushrooms, and spinach on it (I wish it was summer and had a garden fresh tomato to put on it too).  I covered it with about 1.5 lbs of mozzarella cheese and put it back in the oven until the cheese just started to turn golden brown (about 15 more minutes)

I let it sit for a few minutes, then cut it.  To finish it off, I sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on it.

If you want to make it vegan, simply do the following and use instead of the cheese.  Pour over the pizza toppings and enjoy:

Vegan mozzarella

1 c Water

2 sm Cloves roasted garlic

2 tb Fresh lemon juice

1 tb Tahini Paste (the larger amount the cheesier it is)

1/4 c Nutritional yeast

3 tb Quick-cooking rolled oats

1 tb Arrowroot (or cornstarch)

1/8 ts Dry mustard

1 1/2 ts Onion powder

1/2 ts Salt; or salt-free seasoning

 

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until completely smooth.

 

 

11/5/12

Chinese Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef/turkey
  • 2 cans Chinese veggies
  • 1 can cr. Mush soup
  • 1 can cr. Chic soup
  • 1/2 cup soy or teriyaki sauce
  • 2 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 4 cups water

 

Preparation:

Brown meat and combine all ingredients. Bake covered at 350 for 2.5 hours.  Uncover and bake it towards end if still watery.  Serve over Lo Mein noodles.

11/5/12

Vegetable Cashew Saute

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark sesame oil
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1.5 cups chopped unsalted cashew nuts

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the rotini 10 to 12 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar.
  3. Heat the 1/4 cup sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper, mushrooms, shelled edamame, and cashews. Mix in the sesame oil sauce. Cover skillet, and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but crisp. Serve over the cooked pasta.

 

10/24/12

Tangy Chicken over Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken cut into bite size pieces
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup OJ
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

 

Preparation:

  • Mix flour, garlic salt and pepper w/ a little olive oil and cook with chicken
  • Add remaining ingredients to chicken skillet and bring to a boil.
  • Serve over rice
10/24/12

Light and Zesty Chicken and Rice

  • Chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup Italian dressing
  • 1.5 cups brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 bags frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 can (2.8 oz) French Onions
  • 1 ¾ cups ck. Broth
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

 

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 325

2.  Place rice at bottom of baking dish

3.  Put chicken, veggies, dressing and seasoning on next and cover w/ aluminum foil

4.  Bake for 2 hours (until rice is done), then pour French onions over the top and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes (until onions are browned)

10/24/12

Skillet Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb. chicken
  • Mesquite seasoning
  • 1 green pepper sliced
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 can corn (or two cups frozen)
  • 8 corn tortillas (6 inches), cut into cubes
  • Salsa con queso
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

 

Preparation:

  1. Cook chicken a season to taste
  2. Add peppers, corn and chilies and cook until tender; add tortillas
  3. Stir in desired amount of remaining ingredients