Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:24

My Favorite Things.....Your Turn

I was perusing through Competitor Magazine online yesterday and saw a post titled My Favorite Things.  I read through it and thought it was pretty cool plus this is the time of the year when we are most festive so why not spread some cheer around.  There is only so much diet and nutrition talk one can take.  We all know about protein and carbs and fat.  We all know about how we get stronger at a particular discipline is to continue doing that discipline but what we may not know is who is on the other side of this or any other blog.  With that being said I am going to list a few of my favorite things and want to see what are your favorite things.

My Favorite Things:

Endurance Sports Related:

Triathlon Distance:  140.6 Miles.  I am not 100% sure why I love the distance but it fits me.  Something about pushing your body for hours on end just seems to make sense to me. [caption id="attachment_9182" align="alignright" width="300"]favorite things - track - speed session - mile repeats Source: Miles To The Trials[/caption] Speed Workout: Mile repeats.  There is something sadistic and satisfying about the mile repeat.  You know it is going to hurt and hurt bad, but you know it is only going to be for a fraction of time.  I am capable of running my mile repeats in about 6:30 and then I get to recover.  Do that a few more times and the workout is done. Training Session: The long bike ride.  Getting out on the road and riding for hours on end, whether with friends or alone, is a great way to gather your thoughts while getting fit. Friends: I have friends far and wide and every one of them helps to inspire and motivate.  There is nothing better than sitting on your couch on a Sunday afternoon after a long run and getting a text or email from a friend who has done the same thing as you but has a hilarious potty story or a rant to get off their chest.  It helps bring all of this endurance sports into perspective.

Food Related:

Eggs: I absolutely love eggs and all the ways in which you can cook them.  Poached, Scrambled, Over Easy, Over Hard, Hard Boiled, Soft Boiled and the list goes on and on. Brussels Sprouts: It is a sad day when I go to the grocery store or farmer's market and cannot find brussels.  Yes, I could just buy cabbage but it just isn't the same.  Brussels can also be used in a myriad of ways. [caption id="attachment_9181" align="alignright" width="300"]kale - vegetable - favorite thing - food Source: Save The Kales[/caption] Saturday Morning Breakfast with Chico: Every other Saturday Chico and I go to the farmer's market and then to breakfast while Karen is out running.  It is always a good time as he tries different foods at the farmer's market and gets exposed to new vegetables.  After that we head to The Local Diner (that is the actual name) and he orders pancakes and I will get a veggie omelet and we chat away about the most random of things. The ShopListFree AppThis is the one app that I will promote.  Having an organized shopping list is the one way to get in and out of the grocery store without buying things that you do not need.  I update the list as items run out this way I know exactly what I need to replace.  I then will add items to the list based on meal planning.  Not only do I just buy what I need which saves money but it also helps avoid waste in the form of throwing out food which is also waste in the form of your wallet.

Miscellaneous:

Social Media: I make a living in the world of digital marketing and social media, but it is the interaction from this blog and the other platforms that I really like the most.  I have my opinion and those that respond have theirs and while they are not always the same they create an opportunity to converse and I think that is the key to social media.  Conversing with people instead of shouting. [caption id="attachment_9180" align="alignright" width="300"]waitresses - diner - smoking Source: Marketing Land[/caption] Waitresses At Diners That Call You Hon or Sweetie: I cannot put my finger on why but this always makes me smile.  Usually it is done by a waitress who has worked at the diner for years and years and years and remembers you and your order.  It must be the comfort factor that I enjoy but regardless of the reason getting called Hon or Sweetie in the diner is a favorite of mine. Direct Deposit: The best, absolute best financial creation ever.  You wake up and check your account and there is money.  No going to the bank, no signing a check, no having to remember a deposit slip.  It is all done for you and it doesn't get any easier than that.  The next best thing will be for Capital One's mobile app to have the ability to take a picture of the check and have it go into your account without having to go to the bank.  C'mon Capital One get with it.  Spend money on that technology and not Mr Baldwin and his commercials. These are just a few of my favorite things.  Things that make me laugh or smile. Things that make me think.  Things that in general put me into a good mood.

What Are Your Favorite Things?

       
Published in Race

Fall is here, but if you live in Texas (or the South for that matter) you wouldn't know it as the temperatures have decided that it is closer to July 12th than September 12th.  Yesterday, when it was only 96* it felt like a cold wave had moved through.  That being said it is nicer to wake up in the morning and go for a ride or run and have to actually think about whether or not you want to wear arm sleeves.  [Disclosure: I am a cold weather wuss and if it is near 70* that early in the morning I make these decisions.  If it is 50* I am wearing long sleeves.] Of course, with the change of season comes a 'new' variety of foods.  I put the word new in quotes because in today's world of shipping foods from all over the planet it is very rare that we are without pumpkin or apples or figs even in the summer.  What we, as consumers, have to do is choose our products wisely and that means making a concerted effort to eat what is in season in your neck of the woods.  Since it has officially turned to Fall here in the United States it is time to take a look at a few fruits and vegetables that are now in season and provide you with a recipe for using one of these items. 

Fall Fruits That Are Now In Season

  1. Apples.  Apples are in season and I personally cannot wait for the Pink Lady's to hit the stores.  They are by far my favorite apple for their crispness and sweet taste.  Not far behind them are HoneyCrisp.  Do I need to say more?
  2. Cranberries.  Typically only used during Thanksgiving this berry provides a punch of Vitamins A and C as well as potassium.
  3. Figs.  I cannot even begin to describe how much I love figs, but they have to be fresh figs.  Yes, dried figs are good too but when they are fresh there is nothing better.
  4. Grapes.  Recently I discovered that grapes are my kryptonite.  I have been seen eating an entire 2 lb bag in one night.  They are that good.

 

Fall Vegetables That Are Now In Season

  1. Pumpkin.  You know it is pumpkin season because everything is pumpkin spice.  Even M&Ms these days come in pumpkin spice flavor.
  2. Beets.  The new wonder food.  The benefits of beets have been posted all over the internet, but they are an acquired tastes for sure.
  3. Cabbage.  I love cabbage of all varieties from napa to bok choy to brussels sprouts.  Making a simple salad using cabbage is not only easy but also very healthy.
  4. Fennel.  I am not a huge fan of fennel but I love fennel seeds.  Since going to a plant-based diet I have added fennel seed to tempeh along with red pepper flakes to simulate the taste of hot italian sausage.
  5. Leeks.  This vegetable is a pain to clean but the flavor is well worth the work.  You cannot go wrong with adding sliced leek to a pumpkin soup.

 

What Is Your Favorite Fall Produce

Published in Lunch Recipes

Fritters of the carrot variety came across in an email and I immediately put them into my menu planning.  I had been seeing fritters for a while but decided that I didn’t have time to shred or would rather just eat a carrot than go through the entire process.  One way or the other I came up with an excuse to not make them.  When I finally decided to make them it was mainly because I would be in recovery from Ironman Texas and would have the time.

I decided I wanted to make carrot fritters for breakfast and would use them to dip into the runny yolk of eggs cooked sunny side up.  This was going to be a great start to the day and then as I was taking the ingredients out of the refrigerator I saw the zucchini and decided a carrot-zucchini fritter would be better than just plain carrot fritters.  I don’t know if I made the right decision but I can tell you that the carrot-zucchini fritter is going onto the menu as a repeat item they were that good.

After I finished making them I knew I wanted to make some more but in a more sweet variety.  How could I do this?  What would be sweet, not that carrots aren’t sweet, but I wanted something that could be eaten for breakfast or for an evening snack.  Going through the sugar detox I figured an apple and a pear would be sweet enough and so I set out to make an apple-pear fritter.  The next thing I wanted to do was make it vegan so instead of using an egg, like in the carrot-zucchini fritter, I went with a mashed banana.  Hey, I said I wanted them sweet.

This morning I made them and I can say with a smile that these fritters were absolutely perfect in terms of sweetness.  The flavor profile was unexpected as the first taste is all banana but then all the sudden the apple and pear come through on the backend.  I topped the fruit fritter with a homemade syrup that added a depth of flavor that made me wish I had made more.  Oh well, reason enough to keep making more fritters.

If you want to make the carrot-zucchini fritters replace the apple, pear and banana with 100g carrot and 100g zucchini, both shredded.  Add in a whisked egg for the banana and combine with the flour as in the recipe above.  Once the oil is heated add in the 4 sectioned out carrot-zucchini fritter patties and cook until golden brown.  Again, approximately 3-5 minutes per side.

Published in Breakfast Recipes
Monday, 22 October 2012 13:54

Sicilian Pizza Recipe

Sicilian pizza growing up was just part of what we did as kids.  You could always get a regular slice and fold it in half and have the grease run down your hand, forearm and onto your elbow.  That was glorious and was just a ton of fun to share with your buddies.  BUT, there was always room for a Sicilian slice and preferably the corner. I don't recall when the corner slice came into my life or why but it was the one piece of the Sicilian pie that you wanted.  You would almost get into fist fights with your buddies over this wonderful and magical corner of pizza dough, cheese, red gravy and every now and again pepperoni.  I remember coating my Sicilian in garlic powder and devouring it.  It never really lasted that long and always made you want more, but typically you had no money since the Sicilian cost more than the regular slice.  Why?  No clue since it was all the same ingredients but it always cost more. Last week I was going down memory lane and thinking about Sicilian slices and wondered how hard it could be to make.  I have made plenty of pizza in my day but never a Sicilian slice and forget (fuhhget about it) ever finding a good one here in Dallas.  It doesn't exist, just like Lance's Tour De France titles (too soon?)  So I figured I would make some as it was nothing more than bread with red gravy and vegetables.  My biggest concern is that it would come out more like focaccia than Sicilian pizza. With my new cuisinart making dough for bread or for pizza has become super simple.  I'm still working with it for my tortillas but it is getting there and last week I made a sweet potato, avocado and red kidney bean burrito that says I have gotten close.  So when I started making the dough I had plans to make a bowl of cereal if it didn't come out well.  As the dough began to proof I knew I had a winner on my hands and when it came out of the oven and I tasted that hot toasty slightly burnt crust I was that kid back in the Bronx devouring that garlicky sicilian slice.  Lucky for you I have the recipe and here it is:

Vegan Sicilian Style Pizza

Ingredients: 3 1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour, 2 tsp kosher salt, 1 packet yeast, 1c Unsweetened Apple Sauce, 1/2c Warm Water, 1 26oz Container Pomi Chopped Tomatoes, 1 carrot stick, 1 Tbsp Honey, Your Favorite Vegetables, 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1 cup onion (chopped), 1 bunch basil (ripped by hand)

Directions:

  1. In food processor or stand mixer combine flour, yeast, salt and applesauce.
  2. As the food processor begins to combine slowly pour in the warm water through the top and allow the machine to create the dough.
  3. As the dough forms make sure there is no dry flour on the sides and you will know dough is ready when it begins to pull away from the side but is still tacky.
  4. Rub 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a 13x8in rimmed backing sheet. (If you want Chicago style then use a round pan)
  5. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and make sure top of dough has oil on it.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to proof for a minimum of 2 hours (I allowed mine to proof 4 hours.)
  6. After dough has been covered put a pot on low heat and add the onion, Pomi tomatoes, carrots and honey.  Add in whatever spices you like that are dried but hold off until the end to add the fresh basil.
  7. Once the dough has risen to at least double in size remove the plastic wrap and begin to press it into the pan.
  8. Pull the dough so that it goes over the side a bit.  Since it will retract it should settle nicely into the corners.
  9. Preheat your oven to 500*
  10. Press the center of the dough down so that you have a crust.  This will help ensure that the gravy and vegetables stay on top of the dough and not slide off in the cooking process.
  11. Ladle the red gravy onto the dough and spread out.  Use as much or as little as you like.
  12. Place your desired vegetables on top.  I used peppers, mushrooms and asparagus.
  13. Put the baking sheet in the oven for 17-20 minutes.  Your kitchen should smell like the best pizza joint in the Bronx.
  14. Pull the pizza out of the oven after it has cooked and allow to cool down for about 5 minutes before slicing.
  15. I used a pizza cutter and cut my pie into 8 slices.
  16. Serve with spinach and the same vegetables that are on top of your slice(s) and enjoy.
[gallery link="file" orderby="rand"]
Published in Lunch Recipes
Saturday, 27 August 2011 13:02

Sunday Brunch

I love Twitter I cannot lie.  I find out so much information on Twitter from friends and how they are doing to conversations regarding GMOs and eating healthy.  It is a treasure trove of information.  The downside is I can find myself glued to HootSuite for hours and have to pull myself away from the laptop to just get grounded. One of the greatest things about Twitter though is that people say and post things that you would never have seen or heard had you not been on Twitter.  The other day I was reading some tweets and across my timeline came the words Eggplant Hash.  I have no clue what was in front or behind those words as I just zeroed in on it.  I then became social and engaged in conversation and the ingredients were discovered.  Within 140 characters and about 5 minutes I had created a recipe for eggplant hash.  I would love to give credit here but I now can't find the tweet in my timeline -- told you I love Twitter and I tweet or chirp (a tweet that is 70 characters or less) a lot. Friday is my rest and recovery day from training and so I decided to make this hash yesterday morning instead of on Sunday because Karen goes out for her run early and the moment she gets back I head out on the bike.  We don't have time to have a Sunday brunch and I wanted to test out the recipe before I posted it for you. [caption id="attachment_3776" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Sunday Brunch"]Ingredients: 3Tbs red bell pepper (diced), 2Tbs green bell pepper (diced), 2Tbs Onion (diced), 2Tbs celery (diced), 1/4c Eggplant (peeled and diced), 1 baby portobella mushroom (diced), 3oz tempeh bacon (recipe at bottom of post), 1 egg, 1 slice Ezekiel Bread (toasted), Balsamic Vinegar, 2Tbs Olive Oil

 Servings: 1 Nutritional Information: 544 calories (240 from the olive oil), 40g Fat (27 from the olive oil), 29g Carbs, 8g Fiber, 23g Protein Directions:

  1. Heat 1Tbs Olive Oil in pan and add eggplant.  Allow to cook until golden brown like potatoes.
  2. Add in all the other vegetables and salt and pepper and cook for approximately 10 minutes.  I like my peppers to be a bit crunch but go longer if you want all the vegetables to be soft.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking heat a separate pan and add the tempeh bacon and cook for ~5 minutes per side.  Adding in marinade to enhance the flavor
  4. After vegetables are to your liking plate them in the center and put bacon on the side.
  5. Cook egg to your desired consistency (I cook mine in 1Tbs olive oil and went with sunny side up so that the yolk could bleed into the vegetables) and toast your bread.
  6. Plate it all up and serve with coffee, orange juice and a mimosa (not necessarily in that order.)
Enjoy your Sunday morning.

What are your favorite Sunday Morning Brunch items?

 
Published in Athlete's Plate