Lots of Lentils

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A close friend of mine recently found out that she is slightly anemic.  If you’re not sure, people afflicted by anemia have a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the protein on red blood cells that binds to oxygen and transports it to your body).  Because of this lack of oxygen, or rather, oxygen inefficiency, anemia can make you tired and weak.

Often, anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, as iron is used to make hemoglobin.  Iron deficiency is of particular concern in vegetarians and vegans; I went vegetarian for about a month until my mother expressed overwhelming concerns about such a deficiency.  It’s tricky to find natural sources of iron, and my Flintstone 1-A-Day vitamins weren’t up to my mom’s standards, for better or for worse.

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Lentils, however, do contain natural iron.  Per cup, lentils provide around 37% of your daily recommended value for iron.  Pretty good, huh?

This is a spiced up version of lentil soup.  It’s quick and easy to make: throw it all in the pot and you’re practically done.  It’s also a forgiving recipe, so feel free add/subtract what you like.

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And, finally, anemia is not just a veggie problem.  There’s nothing wrong with a little bit more iron, so even if you think your T-bone steak has got you covered, lentils can throw some fiber and protein, too.  Try them!

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{curried lentil soup}

–serves 4–

olive oil

salt, to taste

3/4 cup chopped carrot

1 medium chopped yellow onion

1 T + 1 t yellow curry powder

1/3 cup barley

3/4 cup lentils

4 cups vegetable broth or water (or combination of the two)

plain yogurt

lemon zest and juice

in a large soup pot over medium heat, saute carrots and onions in olive oil until onions are translucent.  add curry powder and salt and stir.  add barley, lentils, and liquid of choice, and bring mixture to a boil.  reduce heat to a simmer; cover for 45 minutes.  add extra liquid if needed.

5 cups vegetable broth or water (or a combination of the two).

to serve, top with dollop of yogurt, lemon zest, and drizzle of olive oil. enjoy!

I Didn’t Forget You!

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I just got busy.  I’m sorry!  I know that’s no excuse.  But after a month-long hiatus, energEAT is back so I hope you are hungry!

How appropriate that the first post of the new year (happy 2013) features kale.  I like to think of kale as the ambrosia of the health gods.  Today we are using Dino Kale.  It’s actually called that.  The official name for Dino Kale is Lacinato, but why would you say Lacinato when you have an excuse to say Dino?!  Buy kale.  Buy Dino.

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I have made these quinoa patties lots of times before without using kale.  But this is the new year, people, and we are embracing kale.  I don’t make resolutions.  I just like kale!

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Kale can be bitter, but that is why we saute it with shallots and garlic and then combine it with cheese and quinoa.  Always cheese.  All the time.

Eat these patties for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner.  Do it!  They are so healthy and so yum.  You can eat them hot and right out of the frying pan, or you can store them in your refrigerator and eat them out of a Tupperware.  I have been known to practice both methods.

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Random note: can’t decide if I like this warm winter weather.  While it’s really nice to be able to go outside for a run without 85 layers of clothing on and still not get windburn, it’s freaking me out just a tad.  Near-50˚ temperatures in January is just not kosher.  Does anyone else feel like that?

recipe

{makes a lot of patties}

1 cup quinoa [when cooked, should yield ~2 cups]

3/4 of a shallot, chopped

3 cloves chopped garlic

bunch of dino kale

scant 1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated (good quality) parmesan cheese

4 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

cook quinoa according to package instructions.  let it cool.  in a pan, saute chopped shallot in olive oil for about 2 minutes.  add chopped garlic.  saute for another minute. add chopped kale.  saute for another minute until kale is wilted.  add this mixture to the cooked quinoa.  let it come to room temperature (you can cheat by shoving the mixture in the fridge).

whisk 4 eggs.  set aside.  combine cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper with quinoa-kale mixture.  add eggs and stir: the eggs are like glue!  everything sticks together!  it’s magic!

form patties into desired shape.  i use an ice-cream scooper to get a size a bit larger than 2 tablespoons.  in a saucepan (with olive oil) over medium-low heat, cook patties for about 4 minutes per side.  patties should be golden brown.  transfer to wire-racks lined with paper towels and enjoy immediately.

[unused mixture can be stored in fridge until used]

enjoy 🙂

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Baking Bread for the Impatient

This is the only real bread I have ever (and quite possibly, will ever) make.  It does not require yeast.  Yeast is dumb.  You have to wait for it to rise.  Unlike most things, the expiration date does actually matter.  Yeast can die.  Why?!?!  Things should not be allowed to expire…so inconvenient.

Cross country requires a lot of carbo-loading.  Not so much in advance as just on race day.  Stomachs are finicky.  Alas, I am forced to eat bagel after granola bar after apple after banana every. single. race.  Every single race, I always swear I’m done with carbs because I’m so bloated after force feeding myself simple sugars.  And after every race, the first thing I want to do is eat a sandwich.  An little anecdote regarding my will power.

So, here I am, the day after a race, baking bread.  The holy grail of all carbohydrates.  Haters, go ahead and hate.

This is oat soda bread.  It is fluffy.  It doesn’t have yeast, it has baking soda.  Eat this bread.

Thank you Heidi for this recipe.  It has allowed me the great pleasure of homemade bread without a bread-maker or dumb packets of yeast.  I am eternally grateful.

recipe from 101 cookbooks

2 cups oat flour

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat)

1 1/4 t salt

1 3/4 t baking soda

scant 1 3/4 cup buttermilk

oats/seeds/nuts for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well.  Pour in buttermilk in intervals (you don’t want dough to be too dry/too wet).  Mix until just combined.  On a well-floured surface, knead bread for 30ish seconds into a round dome.  Lightly coat the surface of the bread with remaining buttermilk and roll in sprinklings.  Put bread on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or lightly floured).  Bake on middle rack for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, move rack to upper level and bake for 20 more minutes, or until the bread makes a “hollow” sound when knocked on (credits to Heidi).  Allow bread to cool on a wire rack and enjoy it fully.

A note: oat flour can be easily made by pulsing oats in a food processor for about 2 minutes.  2 cups of oats = scant 2 cups flour.

Buttermilk can be easily made by combining 1 T white vinegar with desired amount of milk.  Stir and let sit for a few minutes.

Musings about life. And lunch for one.

Friends.  Family.  Strangers.

Cats.  Dogs.

Lovers.  Haters.

Happy daylight savings day, to those of you who live in participating states.  To those of you who do not, never fear.  I think it’s safe to say you’re not missing much.  Unless you get some sort of thrill out of setting your clocks back.  Then I don’t know what to tell you.

Do you remember getting participation awards?  I don’t think they were ever called that, but how many medals did you get just for showing up?  I probably have more of those than awards I’ve actually won.  No big deal though, I’m still a winner, right?  Everybody wins!  Duh.  For real though, when did they stop giving those things out?  I’ve run in a lot of races, people.  Can someone just hand me a dang ribbon?  Is that too much to ask?

Congratulations to all the people who contributed in any sort of way to the Pan Mass Challenge.  $37 million, a new record.  Amazing, right?  How can we not beat cancer with resources like that?  Every year we get better.  Let’s keep it up.

What do I write my next column about?  My last one was written at 11 PM after watching a presidential debate.  And turned in a week after my deadline.  What do you want to eat?  Ugh.  Life is tough.  But I need ideas…seriously.  Like, fast, too.  I’ve got to get eating.  And writing.  That part’s kind of important.  And can I please be reimbursed for this whole column business?  Eating out all the time is not cheap, I will tell you that.  School newspapers…they think everyone’s wallets are limitless!  A word to my editor: that’s just not true!

Here is a lunch for you.  It’s a lunch for one.  Does that sound lonely?  It’s not.  Don’t be worried.  You can make a second for you friend/brother/unicorn/insert [pro]noun here.  You should do that.  All it takes is a little bit of effort and you’ve got a warm dish of yum.  Yay.  Yay for you and me!  Friends forever, right?

recipe

adapted from Running to the Kitchen

[serves 1]

1 T evoo

as much kale as you can handle

just under 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

red pepper flakes, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 or 1/3 cup tomato/marinara sauce

1/3 cup cottage cheese

2 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 375˚F.  Grease/oil an oven-safe ramekin.

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil.  Once onion is translucent, add kale and red pepper flakes and stir around until kale is wilted.  Spoon 2 T sauce into the bottom of the ramekin.  Top with half of the kale mixture followed by half the cottage cheese.  Top with more sauce and then remainder of kale.  Crack two eggs on top, sprinkle remainder of cottage cheese, salt, and pepper.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes.

If eggs are still undercooked at the end of 15 minutes, turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes until they have reached the desired consistency.

Serve with some good bread 🙂

 

Salty Oat Cookies

I’m sure you’ve heard of the whole salty/sweet combination thing that’s been really popular for the past year or so.  Salted caramel, anyone?  Yeah, thought so.

But have you tried salty cookies?  At first thought it sounds gross, I’ll admit.  But it’s not!  Especially not when salty is combined with sweet chocolate, crunchy oats, and savory coconut.  The yum never stops.

These cookies, in addition to being delicious, are very hearty.  As in, eat-a-cookie-for-breakfast hearty.  You can totally do that, especially if you substitute raisins instead of chocolate chips (but even if you don’t….I won’t tell).  Judgment-free zone right here.

Oats are healthy.  So these cookies are healthy.  Right?  Here’s the deal.  These cookies do have oil in them.  These cookies do have chocolate in them.  But oats, coconut, and whole-wheat flour take away some of the guilt.  And if you’re going to eat a cookie, why not eat one that has fiber and healthy fats and will load you up with energy?  Vote oats 2012! (Seriously, oats are looking like a much better candidate…)

Annnddddd, oats are a very versatile ingredient.  They are complemented by so many other things: chocolate, coconut, dried fruit, salt, cocoa powder, nuts, etc.  Which means that you can get creative with these cookies.  As in, you don’t have to do everything I tell you (shocking!  I know).

So even though mine are delicious, you have the freedom to make your cookies in whatever way you enjoy most.  Get baking!

recipe

makes ~22 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole-wheat, half regular)

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 t salt

1 1/2 cups canola oil

a bit more than 1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips/chunks

good quality sea salt

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl of an electric mixer (with paddle attachment), beat oil and sugar until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Beat to combine.  Add oats and coconut and stir.  Add chocolate and stir some more.

Using an ice cream scooper, shape 22 cookies on baking pans.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Bake at 350˚F for 13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

[Try to] allow the cookies to cool before enjoying 🙂

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tortillas

The sweet potato.  It’s back!  We meet again.  Do you remember when we met with tangy roasted sweet potatoes?  ‘Cause I do.  And it was good.  Let’s get together (ya ya ya)!

Here’s a confession: I hate tacos.  It’s true, I do.  Sorry, but they’re gross.  So I’m not going to call these tacos, because these are the opposite of gross.  These are yum!  Yummy.

Sweet potato is diced and roasted again.  Black beans are warmed and stirred with onion.  This is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship, friends.  We’ll look back on this some day and know that we knew them before they got together!  We’re the originals, people.

Tortillas: they pose a few questions for us.  Corn or wheat?  Here’s the thing: corn has a nice, toothy  , tasty bite.  But corn falls apart, and flour does not.  Here I opted for a {whole}wheat tortilla, slightly on the larger size.

Depending on what size tortilla you choose, these black bean and sweet potato concoctions may or may not be open-faced.  Which could or could not be a problem for you.  Do you mind a mess?  This may not be first-date food…it may not be that fool-proof.  Unless you throw caution to the wind and embrace the mess that eating can be.  It’s hard to eat well while looking good…unless you’re me (i love you!).

All kidding aside, have fun with these tortillas.  Black beans, sweet potato, lime…some of my very favorite things.  These can be enjoyed as lunch, dinner, or even breakfast, if you’re the savory type.

Deep colors and warm food, just in time for fall.

recipe

[serves 2]

1 sweet potato, peeled and mini-cubed

juice of .5 limes

2 T evoo

flaked red pepper, to taste

salt, to taste

1 cup [canned] black beans, drained/rinsed

1/2 t ground cumin

1/4 cup diced white or yellow onion

baby arugula

extra lime juice

2 whole-wheat or corn tortillas

Toss cubed sweet potato with lime juice, 1 T olive oil, flaked pepper, salt.  Spread on baking sheet and roast at 400˚F for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, in skillet, cook onion with olive oil until translucent.  Add beans and cumin powder and stir over just enough to warm the beans.

Heat tortillas in an oiled or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds on each side.

Top tortillas with baby arugula.  Then layer on with sweet potato and black beans.  Drizzle with lime juice.  Enjoy 🙂

 

Dog #1, meet world.

Apple & Almond Butter Sandwich

3 ingredients, people!!  That’s all.

Apple:

sliced thinly.  I bet you didn’t know apples could go on a sandwich.  Well they can!  Pickles are weird….apples are waaaay better.  And in season!  Yum.  Go pick some.

Almond butter:

this jar is from the San Francisco Farmers’ Market at the Ferry Plaza and it may or may not have cost $5 for 8 ounces….my version of a souvenir, ok?

Get some good bread.  I like Iggy’s.  You pick.  Soft bread is always nice.

Spread almond butter on your bread.  Top with your apple wafers.  Eat it.  I’ll just say it now, I told you so.

 

Homemade Granola Bars

Time for fall.

Time for school.

Time for cross-country.

Running makes me hungry.  Biking doesn’t….which is bad.  But running does.  I feel like I’ve been eating 7 meals a day.  And I still wake up with a growling stomach.

Here’s a formula I like: Number of miles=Number of meals.  Yeahhhh.

We’ve all heard how hard it is to eat healthfully on the road (and on the run).  Blah, blah, blah…the evolution of fast-food…the end.  Enter: homemade granola bars.  Wrap one up and stash it in your bag for later (or now).

You won’t find any soy protein isolate or xanthan gum in these.  You won’t need to pay $2.00 at a vending machine for these.  Here’s real, good food.  Made by you!

This recipe comes from a dear friend who loves food almost as much as I do.  Here’s a shout-out thanks to her for sharing her awesome lake with me.  And then feeding me sushi to revive me.

Here’s to the new season and whatever it may bring you.  Eat up!

recipe

[servings depend on how you slice it 😉 ]

1 cup peanut or almond butter

1 cup sweetener such as agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or honey

3/4 cup chopped almonds

1 1/2 cups puffed rice

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

3/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 heaping cup Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise

1 cup dried cherries, cranberries, raisins (optional)

chocolate chips (optional)

Lightly coat a 9 x 13” baking pan with oil.

In a large saucepan, heat peanut butter with brown rice syrup over low heat until bubbles form.  Quickly stir in remaining ingredients (except chocolate) and mix well.

Allow mixture to cool slightly.  When cool enough to handle, press mixture into baking pan.  Press chocolate chips onto top of bars, if using.  Enjoy 🙂

TIP: These bars can be sliced and frozen.  Just take one out of the freezer and it will defrost in time for a snack!

Tangy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I just watched Julie & Julia.  It made me remember the wonder of butter.

Oh butter.  No one else can caramelize onions quite like you do.  And chocolate chip cookies…we all know they’d be nothing without you, butter.

But we’ve broken up.  It was for good.  I’ve found a new love: the sweet potato.  Sweet potatoes aren’t pasty.  They’re tan (ok, orange, fine).  And though they’re creamy richness reminds me of you, butter, sweet potatoes are, well, sweet!

Sweet potatoes are strong; they don’t cave into a melt-down when it’s hot outside.

They can handle the heat.

Dressed with a sticky lime syrup, I pop these babies like they’re candy.

We get to undress a lime.  How scandalous!

Butter?  Butter who?

recipe

(adapted from Gourmet)

serves 4-6, depending on portions, and takes a bit longer than 30 minutes.

3 or 4 medium to large sweet potatoes

2 or 3 T extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper, to taste…a sprinkling of cayenne pepper might also be nice…

1/8 cup water

1 T sugar

1 T lime juice

1/2 t lime zest

freshly chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Wash and lightly scrub sweet potatoes.  Dry with a towel.  Slice sweet potatoes into 1” disks, then cube each disk into roughly 9 pieces.

In a bowl, combine cubed sweet potatoes, evoo, and salt & pepper(s).  Toss and make sure all the cubes are coated (add more oil if necessary).  Spread out the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet that is lightly oiled.

Roast sweet potatoes in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring/flipping the cubes frequently to make sure they do not burn on one side.

While sweet potatoes are in the oven, combine water, sugar, and lime juice.  Here’s where I cheated: Gourmet says to bring this mixture to a boil and then simmer until it is reduced.  That’s too much work for me.  Instead, I microwaved the mixture for 1 minute on HIGH and then stirred until it cooled a little.  Take your pick.

When sweet potatoes are done cooking, toss them in a bowl with the 2-3 tablespoons of the syrup.  Sprinkle generously with lime zest and chives and serve.  Enjoy 🙂

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Truffles

I have a couple of reasons why you should make these.  Now.

Reason # 1:

Before an interview at the College of William & Mary, my dad was quizzing me with some practice questions that my interviewer might ask me.  One question was the typical, “Why do you want to come to this college?”  My dad suggested that I answer, “Because you have an ampersand in your name.”  Um….what?  Apparently the ‘&’ symbol is also known as an ampersand.  Ok Dad.

So, if you’re following my dad’s logic, you should make (and eat) these because I put an ampersand in the title.  There’s a reason for all you grammar nerds out there.

Reason #2:

Of all the people who eat my food (ok, so, basically just friends and family…), my sister is my most discerning critic.  Sometimes in my quest to create healthy desserts, I end up accidentally sacrificing flavor.  My sister is always the judge of that; she can spot my substitutions instantly as she suspiciously eyes the food I’ve put out in front of her.

The first person who tried these (besides me, of course) was my sister.  Instead of wrinkling her nose and asking, “Are these healthy?” she simply said, “These are good.”  Coming from my sister, that’s a rave.

Later when I was looking in the fridge for these truffles, I found that 2 were missing.  I asked my sister and she confessed to taking them.  Rather than get angry that she stole my food,  I took it as a good sign.

These truffles taste like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, they’re that delicious.  When chilled in the refrigerator (if you can resist eating them), they’re cool and melt in your mouth.

Sweet enough to be a dessert but healthy enough to be a snack, these truffles are a good source of protein that will satisfy any dessert craving.

Recipe

(taken from chockohlawtay )

makes 4-5 truffles, depending on size.  takes 10 minutes if you’re slow.

2 T peanut butter, smooth or chunky

1-2 T agave nectar or other sweetener

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use whey)

raw cacao nibs or other coating, if desired

In a small bowl, combine protein powder and agave nectar.  Mix until powder and sweetener stick together to make a sort of dough.  Add peanut butter and stir to combine.  Using your hands, shape 4-5 balls out of dough.  Roll in cacao or other decoration, if using.  Store in refrigerator and enjoy 🙂