Tag Archives: homemade

So Far So Good

6 Aug

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Today is the first day in a very long time (well, maybe not THAT long. Almost two months feels like a long time when you’re exhausted and miserable but in the grand scheme of things, it’s really a blink) I feel something like my normal, happy-go-lucky, energized self. I don’t feel 100% there yet but I’d put myself somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-80% and that’s not bad. Trying to be happy about all increments of change in a positive direction, even the mini ones.

I credit this good feeling to a couple of things. Here they are in no order whatsoever:

  1. I stopped falling asleep in front of the TV. In my normal life, I don’t have a TV in my bedroom. In my Steppenwolf life, I do. And at the start of the summer, I just wasn’t strong enough to turn the damned thing off before bed. In the last couple weeks, I’ve been really strict with myself. As soon as I feel like I’m drifting, I turn the TV off and go to damned sleep. I also have a cup of this “relaxing” tea that I bought in Chinatown two weeks ago and lemme tell you, that shit is the shit. Valerian root, baby. Stuff works. Ultimately, my quality of sleep has improved dramatically. I’m up fewer (or no) times in the night and therefore, I wake up feeling a little more energized.
  2. I started running again with regularity two weeks ago. The picture above was taken in my run along the lake. I made a new playlist a couple of days ago and named it “run for your life.” The longer I run, the more I believe that running will save you 95% of the times. That 5% is reserved for the times in your life when you’re injured or burned out. It doesn’t take very much either. I’ve been going out for anywhere from 40-50 minutes in low zones. Just to get myself moving and get that serotonin flowing through all those little channels in my brain.
  3. I got back into the hot room. Bikram has come to my rescue so many times in my life it’s right up there with running as a total soul-saver. And the lovely thing is that Bikram and running compliment each other perfectly. Bikram postures are specifically well suited for the kinds of overuse issues that all runners suffer from. And the detoxifying effects of 90 minutes of movement in 105 degrees can’t be exaggerated.
  4. I cut gluten out of my diet. I want to be clear that I’m not suggesting everyone cut gluten out of their diets. We’re all different and have different internal chemical scenarios and some people really have no issues with the stuff. But after being glutened TWICE this week at two different restaurants, I am almost certain that this pesky little protein is an issue for me. I’d been off the stuff for six weeks and both of the times I consumed glutenous substances (once at a Korean restaurant–it was own damned fault for thinking I could get away with a Korean rice bowl–and again at an Italian place WITH A GLUTEN FREE MENU) I was having dizzy spells within 20 minutes. After the dizziness came that lovely feeling of looking at the world from the inside of a mason jar. Three hours later, I had rocks in my gut. And twelve hours later I was constipated. So yeah, sensitive to gluten.
  5. I’ve cut down my non-fruit related sugar intake to almost nothing and cut my fruit intake down to one or two plums and a handful of berries throughout the day, but not before 11AM. I did this because my energy had been super super low about two and a half to three hours after waking and it was suggested that that was due to a drastic drop in blood sugar after breakfast. I realized that my morning breakfast bowl included apple sauce, maple syrup AND berries mixed into oatmeal. I hadn’t really thought about how much sugar that amounted to until I cut it out and noticed a marked change in how I felt by noon. Most notably, I wasn’t going down for a nap three hours after getting up. Anyway, it’s working for me. So now I start out the day with a green smoothie that has NO fruit in it. This has taken some getting used to, believe me. The smoothie is almost entirely supplements (1 scoop SuperFood; 1 tsp Maca powder; 1 capsule each ginseng, B complex, probiotic and multi-mineral; and 1 tsp complete omega oil) with one cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and two ice cubes. Then about an hour later, I have a couple of eggs scrambled with kale and vegan cheese with a piece of GF toast.

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So now it’s 2:06PM central time and I’ve been able to run, do laundry, make myself breakfast and lunch (the above photographed gluten-free sweet potato gnocchi over sautéed kale, chicken sausage, shiitake mushrooms and tomatoes) and bake a batch of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for our second tech this afternoon.

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I’m gonna post the recipe (adjusted from the original posted here on The Iron You–my new favorite triathlon blog). Originally, this recipe was vegan, gluten-free and Paleo. But I baked my first batch with no binder and the cookies were just too darn crumbly.

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So I added one egg to the remaining dough (sorry vegans but I didn’t have anything in the house to sub. If you want to make these, add the equivalent in egg substitute or chia goop) and they second batch is holding together better. I also cut the almond meal by half a cup and added 3/4 up of gluten-free all-purpose baking flour. You could certainly leave out the flour. I just don’t know what the hell holds these babies together if they’re all nuts and no binder.

These babies definitely hit the spot if you’re looking for a chocolate fix. There is minimal sugar in the recipe and they’re packed with good fats. Granted, this cookie is no substitute for a real Tollhouse but, as with most diet-adjusted baked goods, you gotta try to forget about the original and just take the new thing at face value. This cookie is not the cookie you grew up with. But guess what? You’re not ten years old anymore. Your body has changed and maybe you shouldn’t be eating cookies like you used to. Just saying.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Almond Drop Cookies
(makes 3 dozen small cookies)

3/4 cups almond meal
3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
½ teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
½  cup coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp sunflower seed butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 large egg
¾ cup vegan chocolate chips
¾ chopped almonds

Preheat oven at 350°F and place a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a bowl, combine the almond meal, flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, sunflower seed butter and egg until well mixed. Add flour and stir until a soft dough forms. Add chocolate chips and nuts and stir to mix well.

Drop the dough by spoon onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for another 15 minutes. Move to a cookie rack and cool completely.

Oh and just a little note: the black sprinkles on these cookies are actually Hawaiian black lava salt. I picked some up last week and I’m obsessed with the stuff. If you don’t have any (and why would you) don’t worry about it. You can throw a little bit of regular ol’ coarse sea salt onto these cookies and it really works. But if you don’t like your sweets a little salty, then by all means, abstain from the sprinkling.

Raw by Necessity: Nori Wraps with Spicy Tuna

27 Feb

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I live in a glorified camp cabin, it’s true. And while I love my little jungle shack for its personality and rustic charm, total privacy and great outdoor space (I get to grill whenever I want) sometimes things happen that make me miss the upgraded creature comforts of my last living space: a boring, white-walled, two-bedroom that wreaked of my downstairs neighbor’s cigarette smoke. I don’t miss the white walls and the cigarette smoke, mind you, but I do sometimes miss the central air, stainless steel appliances and ease of use.

The shack had some wiring issues a few months back that led to evening power outages more than once. Actually, more than three times in one night. That issue has since been fixed. There was the horror movie-grade ant infestation of early January–also taken care of–and of course, the critter that lives in the tree outside my bedroom who likes to throw things at the window while I sleep. Nothing to be done about him/her. Now, my oven is cold.

My oven is cold because the large propane tank that fuels it is empty. This should be an easy fix: call the gas man, gas man comes, fills the tank, problem solved. But no. Apparently, the gas tank is too close to the wall unit AC that is hanging out of my kitchen window. Apparently, it is the law that propane tanks must be at least 10 feet away from wall unit ACs and this law has been on the books since the mid70s but nobody saw fit to let my landlady know about this until two days ago when I realized my tank was empty and I couldn’t boil water for tea, or make an omelette or roast sweet potatoes.

My landlady now has to get someone over here to move the propane tank before it can be filled and I can cook again. While I am TOTALLY in support of the move–anything that will make the shack a little less of a standing tinderbox is alright by me–this is more than mildly inconvenient since a) I am a person who cooks her own food, b) I don’t have a microwave and c) I have a guest coming for the next five days. I would like to be able to feed this person more than cold salads.

OK so this guest is pretty low maintenance. And she’s a veg-head so I can likely get away with feeding her cold salads. And I do have my grill and an electric hot water heater so we’re set if she wants a veggie burger and/or tea. I guess maybe things aren’t really that bad. And the lack of heat has forced me to get creative with the raw stuff. Last night, my dinner consisted of a spinach and grapefruit salad and three rice cakes with hummus, tomatoes and sliced turkey breast. It was a pretty decent meal. But today’s lunch was awesome.

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Last year, my friend Marisa wowed me with her nori veggie “wrap.” It was basically a nori burrito filled with raw cabbage and avocado and dulce flakes and other things and I’d been meaning to recreate it since the first bite. I just bought some nori this weekend and my lack of fire made for perfect timing. I skipped the dulce only because I have none–it really is a delicious addition–and made my wraps with chopped napa (pictured above), red peppers and cucumbers (pictured below)…

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…and garlic chives, cilantro and lemon balm fresh from my garden, which continues to yield certain herbs despite my poor treatment of it. These three are the hardiest, along with the rosemary and (surprisingly) arugula. Something outside is eating my basil and the mint is pretty much dead. Ay me.

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I also threw in a can of water packed albacore, which I guess makes this dish technically not raw. I wanted the protein. So sue me. I made a dressing with fish sauce, rice vinegar, sambal and lime juice. I tossed it all, then rolled portions of it up in the nori.

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Hot damn this was delicious! The nori was a little busted so it all kinda fell apart but it didn’t matter. This is a solid diet dish as it’s insanely in low calories but still packed with tons of protein and veg and complex carbs and, above all else, FLAVOR! Oh and you don’t have to turn on the oven to make it so it’s easy as pie even if it doesn’t satisfy the same cravings. The possibilities with this one are endless. I mean, you could fill your nori with whatever your little heart desires. Mushrooms, shredded carrots, hummus, roasted pepers, and on and on and on. I’ll be making these long after my shack is restored to full power.

Eating Truly Good in the Neighborhood

2 Jun

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One of the best things about hanging out in Western Mass, or any area that’s full of small farms, is that there’s a market in some town almost every day of the week. And if you happen to be craving fresh veggies or fruit on one of the odd market-less days, then there’s probably a farm down the road with a stand full of produce and a small, rusty tin box for you to drop your pennies into (on your honor, of course).

The salad above is made with a kale that I sadly can’t remember the name of, Hakurei turnips and their greens, wild strawberries and quinoa. Bought the greens from Wild Sky Farm at the Easthampton Farmer’s Market yesterday; and the berries at a nameless farm stand down the road from my host’s abode. The dressing is a rip on one I found at Oh She Glows for a Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing.

Here is my adjusted version. I’ll be honest, these amounts are not exact. I was sorta throwing things in to taste. So if you want to recreate this, do what suits your palate and let me know what happens. This should yield about a 1/2 cup of dressing or enough for one massive bowl of greens.

Sunny Lemon Dressing

2 Tbsp Sunflower Seed Butter
1 clove garlic
1/4 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1  Tbsp nutritional yeast
S & P to taste

This salad has to be one of my all-time favs. And it was another total improvisation. Unfortunately, this one is not made of particularly local or seasonal ingredients–the corn is from Florida (of course) and I got everything else at the supermarche (for shame, I know) but it’s the thought that counts. And the goal here was to make a salad using the grill. So it would taste like summer. Which it did. So in that regard, I was successful. Here’s the recipe as best as I can remember it.

Roasted Corn and Cabbage Slaw

5 ears of corn
1/2 head red cabbage
2 large green peppers
1 bunch scallions
3 medium beets, steamed or roasted and peeled and sliced
1 can crushed pineapple, juice reserved
1/2 cup chopped red onion

Lime Cilantro Dressing
2 cloves garlic
1 large bunch cilantro, washed and stemmed
juice of one lime
juice from one can crushed pineapple
2 tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sambal oelek
S&P to taste

Get yer grill on. Wrap corn in foil and grill for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from foil and cook directly on grill until they get nice and charred all over. Not burned, mind you, but charred. Cut the cabbage into big  chunks and slather with fat of your choice (I used spray olive oil from Trader Joe’s cuz I was being calorie conscious but feel free to slather on real EVOO if that’s your thing) and place directly on hot grill. You’ll have to turn the cabbage a few times. You’ll know it’s done when it gets wilty and the outside leaves are nicely charred. It should still be somewhat crunchy. Grill your peppers whole until the skins turn black. Also place your scallions directly on the grill–these won’t take long so keep an eye on them.

Cut the kernels from your corn, chop cabbage into bite sized pieces, chop scallions. Give your peppers an ice bath until the skin is a little easier to peel and then peel them and chop them up. Toss all of this grilled deliciousness into a big bowl. Add chopped scallions, sliced beets and crushed pineapple. Give everything nice big stir.

In the workbowl of a food processor, combine all your dressing ingredients and pulse until well combined and nicely emulsified. Add to the slaw and toss very well to coat completely. This is one of those side dishes that gets better the longer it hangs out so make it ahead and keep in the fridge till you’re ready to serve.

We enjoyed this one with grilled pork loin and grilled asparagus. It was a double veggie, lean meat kinda night. There was so much slaw left over that we had it the next night with the first salad in this post and BBQ’d salmon. Here’s what that all shaped up to look like:

This went perfectly with a bottle of Black Birch Vineyard‘s semi-dry riesling, which I picked up earlier in the day at the vineyard-again, it’s just down the road.

Lovely new vineyard with a really gorgeous tasting room. I haven’t been drinking a lot (or really at all) over the last couple of months (and I pretty much can’t have red wine anymore because of the noggin) so this was a nice treat and a reminder of how much I love white wine in the summer. We also bought a bottle of their Vidal for dinner this evening. Fun fun fun.

I will admit it’s nice to eat like a human again. That said, I’ve been sticking to my mega bowl (oatmeal, chia, berries) breakfast and late morning green smoothie routine. I’ve still got a half marathon and another sprint to look forward to in Colorado this summer. Plus plenty of high altitude training to stay in shape for fall races back in Miami. Oh and the job that I have out there. I’d like to have energy for that too. For the moment though, I’m drinking the wine.

The Rest of Sunday’s Baking Extravaganza

13 May

Oh this is a good one. Vegan and Gluten Free. I don’t quite know what to call this because there’s a lot going on. At heart, it’s a pumpkin bread with a lemon glaze. But it’s vegan and gluten free, covered in chopped cashews and pumpkin seeds and fragrant with the scent of ginger and cinnamon. It’s totally not seasonal, I know, but again, I am trying to run through what’s in my pantry and I had what I needed to make this loaf of deliciousness.

This loaf also marks my first attempt at using chia seeds as an egg substitute. I think it worked. I baked a tiny little tasting loaf for myself and the consistency is really killer. It’s moist and dense like a pumpkin bread should be. I think I added just a touch too much ginger but oh well. Next time.

Yeah, I really piled on the nutty topping with this one. It’s just chopped cashews and pumpkin seeds that got nice and toasty in the oven during the bake. The glaze is simply lemon juice and some confectioners sugar drizzled onto the bread while it was still a little warm.

Very excited to cut into this thing later. Here’s the recipe. It’s intense.

The Nutty Pumpkin Lemon Head: a vegan, gluten free production

Ingredients:

2 tsp chia seeds
6 tbsp water
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp xantham gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 15oz can pumpkin
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
chopped cashews and pumpkin seeds for topping
About 4 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Soak chia seeds in water for about ten minutes. Sift together all the dry ingredients and set aside. Mix together chia seeds, sugar, pumpkin, oil, molases and vanilla. Alternately add dry ingredients and almond milk and mix until well combined.

Pour into greased loaf pan and cover with the chopped nuts. Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan. Remove from pan when still a little warm and place on a wire rack. Mix lemon juice and confectioners sugar until the sugar is totally dissolved. Place a sheet pan or piece of aluminum foil under the wire rack to catch drips and drizzle glaze over the bread.

Not Easy Like Sunday Morning (with Tons of Vegan Baked Goods)

13 May

As far as Sundays go, this one has been a doozy. Not a totally overwhelming doozy but the last several hours have provided me with more excitement than I can normally stand on what is known, in certain circles, as the “Lord’s Day,” or “the day of rest.”

I woke up this morning around 6AM, fully expecting that I’d be out to door at 6:45 ON my bike, half-way to Key Biscayne by 7:15AM and joining up with my crew at Alien Endurance beach by the appointed 7:30 departure time. We had a time trial test scheduled for today, as well as an additional 40 minute easy ride and I thought I’d skip the car and spend some real quality time with Titita today. I sort of got what I wanted but not what I’d expected.

At 6:30AM I went in to pump Titita’s tires and discovered that her back one was flat. Frack. I’ve never had to change a back tire before–in fact, I’ve only (knock on wood SO HARD) had to change my front tire once since buying the bike and that was during a tire-changing clinic. So OK, my back tire was flat. Learning experience if nothing else. And if I could could get in there and get the job done in less than fifteen minutes, I could still keep to the original plan.

I’m so glad it’s seven hours later and I can laugh at this now. I was not laughing at 6:45. By 6:45 I had miraculously managed to change the tire but failed to anticipate how difficult it was going to be for me to get the wheel back on. I thought I had it right then realized I had it really wrong, then realized I had no idea how to do it correctly. Thank God for You Tube. I searched “changing back bike tire” and found a couple of videos that made the process look insanely easy–likely because the stars of said videos were both bike mechanics.

This didn’t go well. It didn’t go at all for a good twenty minutes. By 7AM I was screaming and cursing and covered in grease and dirt. Oh, and blood. Did I mention that while my wheel was lying on the ground I managed to ram my right big toe into the casette? Oh yeah. And it bled. Oh how it bled. A real gusher. Which is actually a good thing because God only knows what sorts of horrifying micro organisms were attempting to enter my blood stream as all of this was happening. Yes, I cleaned and disinfected the wound a little later.

By 7:10AM, the bike was still in two pieces and I knew there was no way I could make it out to Kew Biscayne without my car by 7:30. I took a breath, channeled my inner bike mechanic and managed to get the wheel back in and the tire pumped by 7:16. I paused for a moment and took a glance around: the room looked like a freakin’ murder scene. The floor was covered in blood and bike grease; several black palm prints were decorating one of the walls.I was totally covered in filth but didn’t pause to clean up. I tossed the bike in the car, high-tailed it out to KB and was only 8 minutes late.

The rest of the group started without me but I caught up and got my TT in. Did 2.57 miles in 8:13.76 at the tippy top of Zone 4, for an average pace of 19.1mph with a pretty decent headwind going out. I am pleased with this. It is better than the last one and that’s all that matters. Took the rest of the ride easy and stayed in Zone 3, averaging just around 17mph for a little over 45 minutes. All in all, not too shabby and the ride was a perfect antidote to a stressful start of my day.

And then I came home and got to spend the remainder of the morning doing one of my absolute favorite things: baking up a storm! I’m going to a dinner party hosted by The Vegan this evening and I told her I’d bring dessert. Since I’m shoving off next week, there’s a ton of stuff in my pantry that I’m trying to use up. Plus, I found three really great looking recipes online the other day that I wanted to try/tweak/etc… So I figured the party gave me a perfect excuse to do a little sweet genius work in the kitchen.

First, I made Post Punk Kitchen’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles.

These things are the bomb! I tweaked the recipe just a teensy bit and used King Arthur white whole wheat flour and a full teaspoon of both the cinnamon and cayenne. I really prefer cookies like these a little on the soft side, so I under baked them by 3 minutes (7 minutes total) and then let them finish baking on the warm cookie sheet outside of the oven.

I was really surprised that these babies spread as much as they did; came out a little bigger than I’d anticipated. But they remind me of a chocolate version of my mom’s Christmas ginger cookies (can’t keep my hands off those). They are chewy and spicy and chocolatey and pretty much totally dangerous. I had one (gotta test them before I serve them to people, right?) and then immediately packed them up.

Next up, I took this recipe for whole wheat fig bars (also from Post Punk Kitchen) and gave them the multi-treatment. Figs are, unfortunately, a migraine trigger and I know they bother me because I’ve eaten them recently and they, well, bothered me. So I decided to make a dried cherry-cranberry compote and use that as the filling instead. I also used dark brown sugar instead of granulated; ground almonds instead of flax; and white whole wheat again, instead of regular whole wheat.

I think I like these even more than the chocolate cookies. I’ve never really been a big chocolate dessert fan (I’ll take the vanilla, lemon or fruit-themed dessert over the chocolate one any day) so these little berry bars do me just fine.

They almost feel more like a breakfast treat than they do like a dessert because they’re not overly sweet and they have a really lovely earthy flavor–like whole wheat blueberry muffins or pancakes–and a crumbly, crunchy texture thanks in part to the addition to ground almonds and turbinado between layers. I made enough adjustments to this recipe that I’m going to post my version in addition to a link back to the original (above). The final piece of today’s baking puzzle has just come out of the oven so I’ll save it for a separate, much shorter post. It is both vegan and gluten free.

Vegan Berry Bars

Filling:

1 lb dried cranberries and cherries, mixed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup of water

Crust:

2 tbsp ground almond meal
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup canola oil (could substitute coconut oil)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8″ baking pan.

To make the filling, combine berries, zest, lemon juice, sugar and water into a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the berries have plumped up and softened. Monitor this while it cooks as it might be necessary to add a little more water to keep the mixture from burning. Remove from heat and cool. Place mixture in a food processor and pulse until you achieve the consistency of thick preserves. Set aside.

To make the crust, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine almond meal, sugar, oil, milk and vanilla. Mix until completely smooth. Add dry ingredients until the dough comes together. It will be very sticky. In a small bowl, mix the ground almonds, turbinado and cinnamon together.

Press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle with a third of the almond cinnamon-sugar mixture and then evenly spread the berry preserves over the bottom layer. Sprinkle with another third of the almond cinnamon-sugar mixture and then top with remaining dough, smoothing it out with a metal spoon dipped in warm water. Sprinkle what remains of the almond cinnamon-sugar mixture and bake for 30 minutes until the dough puffs up and turns golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan before cutting. Cut into 15 bars and store in an air tight container.

Feeling Seedy: Chia-Flax Crackers

11 May

These little crispy wheat-free crackers were an idea I picked up from a very smart teammate. They look a little like bird food but I gotta tell you, they’re goooooood. I tweaked her recipe with the addition of pumpkin seeds and some spices but the possibilities are really endless here. I even considered throwing in some shredded apple for a little sweetness but opted to keep these a purely savory snack for the moment. They take a little bit of time but are worth the wait if you’re really craving something salty but not full of nonsense ingredients.

Chia-Flax Crackers

Ingredients:
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
coarse salt for sprinkling
cayenne pepper for sprinkling
garlic powder for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine the flax and pumpkin seeds in the work-bowl of a food processor and pulse until you get a coarse grind. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flax/pumpkin mixture with the chia seeds and water and let the whole thing sit for a couple of minutes until it all gets nice and gluey–sounds delightful, right? Next, add the carrots and mix thoroughly with your hands. Sorry, but hands are really the only way to go here. Spread the mixture into a nice even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, cayenne and garlic powder. It will look like this:

Place on the middle rack of your oven and “bake” for about an hour and change. I’m putting the word bake in quotes here because you’re not actually baking anything, you’re just trying to dry the mixture out.

After the initial hour and change, remove from the oven and cut into squares like so:

At this point, they will still be pliable and a little chewy and not particularly flavorful. Never fear. Give them the biscotti treatment and return them to the low oven for another 40 minutes or so. By then, they should be nice and crispy and will look like this:

They have a really mellow, nutty flavor with just a kick of spice. Actually, and this is going to sound a little bizarre, but they kinda taste like pizza. Must be the garlic powder. They’re about 70 calories per serving (4 crackers) and have 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, are full of good fats and are high in vitamin A and low in sugar. So snack happy! But remember, there’s chia in here so be careful not to go overboard on these things. You may end up where I was a few weeks back before I did my chia vetting.

On the Road and In The Kitchen

7 May

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That is a a picture of the Blue-Green Smoothie. I’m enjoying it right now.  I’ve been drinking my breakfast for about the last week. Had a long conversation with a very smart person recently about green smoothies and then did a little research, found a few recipes and realized that they sorta make the perfect daily start for me. Great mix of protein, carbs, good fats, fiber, vitamins, etc… This is my recipe for the Blue-Green (and no, it does not contain any pond algae, although that’s probably the next logical step, as you can purchase it in capsule form and it’s very good for you):

Blue-Green Smoothie

1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (soy, almond, cow, etc… are all totally acceptable–your choice)
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (any brand will do)
1 half Granny Smith apple, cored but not peeled, chopped up
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
1 cup raw greens (I used a mix of baby kales but any dark, green roughage would work–again, your choice)
1 tsp chia (yes, I’m eating it again in much smaller doses, and tolerating it just fine)
1 tbsp hemp seed
A couple of ice cubes.

Add milk and chia seeds to blender first and let them sit together while you’re prepping the rest of the stuff. Then just toss it all in and blend until you get your desired consistency. It’s really freakin’ good. This smoothie has limitless variations and I find that the ones I’ve tried keep me full for several hours–likely because it is so full of fiber. Here is the nutritional breakdown:

Almost 21 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber! Plus you get nearly a full day’s worth of calcium and plenty of other good stuff. The fats are all good-for-you plant-based fats and yes, the drink is high in sugar but at least it’s all coming from the fruit and not from anything added. You could add extra sweetener to this but it’s not necessary–unless you’re a sugar junky. Which you shouldn’t be. Anyway…

Yesterday was another massive calorie intake day so I’m hoping that ol’ Blue-Green will help cleanse me of all the crap I ingested.  OK, not everything I ate was total crap, only about, oh I don’t know, let’s say 50%. That may even be too harsh. It was a massive intake day because it was also a massive output day that started at 4AM and ended at 11PM.

I kicked things off with my longest ride to date–50 miles through Jupiter, Florida. What a great ride. There were hills! Florida hills but still, hills. The weather was great–little hot but since we were right on the ocean, there was a cool nice breeze. There was no real wind, except for one long stretch of open highway and even then it wasn’t horrible. We wound up taking just under 3 hours to complete the 50 miles, which ended up as a 17.1mph average. I am happy with that  since we were also supposed to stay in Zone 3 the entire time and not push too hard. If I can ride 50 miles at 17.1mph in zone 3 and still have legs to push the last two miles out at almost 19mph (which I did) good things are happening.

My allergies threw me for a loop on Saturday so I had to take the day off, which meant that I had to make up my run on Sunday. So after that massive ride, I gave myself about six hours to recover and then went out for a 70 minute “easy” run under the mid-Afternoon Miami sun (it was 85 degrees and 55% humidity). Ugh. I knew ahead of time that it was gonna be hot, so I pumped myself full of electrolytes before the run.

Apparently, the calorie burn on a 17mph ride for a rider like me is something close to 40 calories per mile, which equals 2000 calories burned for the ride. That is, of course, not just an additional 2000 calories I get to knock off the top (have to factor what I would have burned in three hours of just existing) but still, it’s a decent deficit. The run was slow so probably not a lot burned there but again, you add that to the ride and that’s a goodly amount of calories out, a lot of carbs used up and some muscles to repair with protein. Most of the calories I took in yesterday came in the form of gels, bars and recovery beverages. So A LOT OF SUGAR. I am definitely feeling the effects of that sugar this morning.

I also made a batch of gluten-free hamburger rolls on Saturday because, well I wanted them. I had some ground turkey lying around and knew there was a burger in the works for lunch but I wanted it on a damned roll. So instead of going out and buying a batch, I made a batch. These were a total experiment based on a recipe I found at FoodSensitivityJournal. These things are killer and were my first attempt at baking with guar gum.

Here they are fresh out of the oven. My recipe isn’t 100% ready for public consumption yet but the experiment was a raging success and I can tell you that I used a mix of brown rice, oat, buckwheat and soy flours; guar gum instead of xantham; honey and molasses as my sweetener and almond milk in lieu of hemp. I also added hemp and flax seeds to the batter and sunflower seeds to the top (as shown).

There’s my burger with salsa,spinach and yes, a slice of American cheese (it’s not a migraine trigger and I wanted cheese. And yes, I know it’s not really cheese but when you have the craving, sometimes you gotta just go with it).

Here’s the burger with a side of my carrot-squash soup (drizzled with a little Cholula). This was the last of the last batch I will make before departing for the summer. Very sad to see it go.

That was Saturday’s lunch. But I made 9 of the rolls and didn’t want them hanging around the apartment so I decided to use them for long bike fuel. I made five sunflower butter and honey sandwiches with them and gave them out to a few of my lucky teammates. I ate half of one during my ride (was great fuel–no stomach issues) and the other half after. Then I had one of the rolls with a veggie burger later in the day. Then I had ANOTHER one at dinner with the neighbor–I put a little goat cheese on them and broiled them for about five minutes. Awesome.

Dinner also consisted of rotisserie chicken breast over fresh baby kale with apples, dried cherries, roasted potatoes toasted sunflower seeds and a dressing I’ve started making with Tofu cream cheese and Dijon mustard. Really nice.

So that all doesn’t sound too bad, right? Yes, but then I had two drinks. The first two drinks I’ve had in two months. After spending several hours in the sun yesterday, a cocktail sounded about right. But I should have stopped at one. The neighbor mixed me up a really nice riff on a drink he’d had at Michael’s Genuine that involves gin, bitters, tonic and not Compari but something similar. It was exactly what I wanted. But again, I should have had one. Immediate headache. Sigh. Does this mean that I really have to give up booze forever and ever?

Then we went to movies. I had popcorn. And a soda. What a splurge. And I think there was ice cream after the movie but I can’t tell you for sure. All in all, not a totally horrendous eating day. Honestly, the only thing up there that makes me sad is the soda. And I kinda hate having to drink all that recovery stuff. But it’s a necessary evil because my body muscles and joints feel perfectly fine today. My liver and stomach, not so much. But that’s what ol’ Blue-Green is for. And yoga. Yoga will right all the wrongs. Peace out!