Tuesday night is pasta night

April 14, 2009

Actually, Tuesday night is yoga night, but that means it’s also pasta night (yoga is long and pasta is fast). Plus, once when I was visiting, my mom checked out this cookbook for me and I thought the title was snappy.

So, tonight while I was at my (awesome) 90 minute yoga class, Matt cooked dinner. I gave him strict instructions for one of our favorites, pasta with white beans and greens. His version was better than any of mine, so I guess he’s now officially our pasta chef. Also, he speaks Italian, so it seems natural.

pasta e fagioli

pasta e fagioli

We had an extra long svasana tonight at yoga, so I’m too lazy to type up the recipe. Instead, look at this pretty frittata I made yesterday.

easter eggs (one day late)

easter eggs (one day late)

This one had caramelized yellow onion, red bell pepper, spinach, and goat cheese. Oh, and the eggs. All served with a generous helping of Gilmore Girls (season four; before Rory turned to the dark side).

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Scroll down for the food

January 28, 2009

I never delivered on my promise to tell you about my fascinating knee treatment. For a few weeks, I’ve been having iontophoresis treatments on my left knee. It was weird and painful at first, and a little frightening when, before my physical therapist hooked me up to the little jumper cables (technical term) the first time, he had to ask another therapist which one was positive and which was negative. Which, if you’re wondering, did very little to inspire confidence. But anyway, the point is that I don’t know if it really worked, but I got discharged from physical therapy today anyway.

Throughout this whole ordeal, I’ve been on and off with my exercising, which means I’ve been up and down with my moods. I only started exercising in summer 2005, but I’m pretty sure I’m a lifer now, because when I can’t sweat out my stress I walk around like a cranky two year old that you woke up early from a nap. So it’s a challenge when I really just can’t do it. Last week was my most normal one in over a month, activity-wise, with four days of cardio at about 40 minutes a pop. But, in the end, I paid for it. IN BLOOD.

Not really blood. Just pain. COURSING THROUGH MY BLOOD. So I took a few days off, read some books during my exercise time, moped around, the usual. And then I decided I needed to make some changes. So, for the next few weeks, I’m cutting down my cardio and ramping up my other stuff, like yoga. I did a good class last night, which was 90 minutes of deep stretching, more or less, and while it probably didn’t burn off the six cookies I ate through the course of the evening, it did make me feel better, and it was good to remember that that’s really why I exercise in the first place. Tonight, in the spirit of Getting Out There And Doing Things, I tried tai chi for the first time. I hated it, but that’s okay. At least I tried. Basically, it was all about centering your mind, but all I could focus on was that I was in a room full of mirrors and I didn’t have a clue how to do what the teacher was doing. And the moves are called things like “stroking the horses mane” and I just couldn’t get into it. So instead of a centered mind, I had more of an “okay, I look like an ass and there’s college basketball on that I’m missing and I really just want to go home and make dinner” mind. Plus, my knee started hurting after the class, so I think I did it wrong.

See, I made you read through all of that just to get to the food.

Dinner made the whole failed tai chi experience seem like a distant memory:

baked quinoa

baked quinoa

This is pretty much the dish to which all of my previous quinoa experience has been leading. We loved it.

I did, however, spend the entire time I was preparing it thinking about how I could never get my immediate family to eat this, even if I paid them all. But hey, it’s their loss.

And now I’m off to enjoy some treats. Matt, in the mood for cookies and looking for a project, baked some chocolate chip cookies for us yesterday, and they’re delicious. To top that off, I had a visit from the chocolate fairy today, and came home to a box filled with these:

TCHOcolate!

TCHOcolate!

There was no note that we could find, so I spent some time this afternoon trying to figure out if it was possible that TCHO could have discovered my address in some secret way after reading about how much I love their products. For what it’s worth, Matt thinks I sent it to myself.

I plan to enjoy it, whomever it’s from, so thank you, silent benefactor!

Seriously.

They’re the only thing that will get me off the couch at this point.


Fake pho and real TCHO

January 20, 2009

I’m back again! This is probably my last post for a few days, so I figured I’d make something special for my readers.

I saw this recipe when I was working on my meal plan for the week and was intrigued (I know this is my second New York Times recipe in as many days, but I swear I don’t work for them. Although, if you’re in a position to make that happen, please feel free to contact me). It included things we’re not eating right now, like a chicken, but it made me think about noodle bowls and this awesome pho we had in Seattle a few years ago, so I decided to create my own version.

Tofu Noodle Bowls

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Bear with me, because there wasn’t a lot of measuring that happened here, but I’ll recreate it as best I can.

You need:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • rice noodles (probably about 2 oz), soaked in warm water for about ten minutes
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • ~2 tsp soy sauce
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • garlic powder (to taste)

And then you:

  1. Heat the oil over medium in a large pot or dutch oven
  2. Add cubed tofu. Cook for five minutes. Flip. Cook for five more minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms. Cook until just softened, stirring occasionally, about four minutes.
  4. Add water, broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add rice noodles and simmer, uncovered, for ten minutes.
  6. Stir in spinach slowly, increase heat to medium, simmer for five more minutes.
  7. Add garlic powder (and other spices) to taste.
  8. Serve.

It’s important to use just a little olive oil since tofu doesn’t really absorb it. I used too much and I think it would have been better with less. Still, it was a nice, warm, satisfying meal in a bowl. The beauty of this is that you could basically put anything you wanted to in it. I’m thinking now that I’d like to try it again with a tiny bit of green curry paste, some broccoli, some shredded carrots… so many possibilities.

I followed up my meal with some of the TCHO chocolate that Matt got me for Christmas. I can’t recommend this chocolate enough. The bars Matt gave me are “Citrus,” “Fruity,” and “Chocolatey,” all dark chocolates (my favorite) with really nice, nuanced flavors. I’m almost out, sadly, and I think it’ll be a little while before I recover from my December spending and have some disposable income to order more.

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I didn’t make it to the gym this morning (surprise surprise). I couldn’t fall asleep last night, and the idea of going to the gym on 4 hours of sleep was really unappealing. Maybe I’ll give it another go tomorrow.


Fast

December 15, 2008

I have to fast for twelve hours before some bloodwork tomorrow morning, which makes me nervous. As we all know, I love to eat food. And I can’t remember a day in the last 20ish years that I didn’t eat some kind of breakfast before leaving the house. I’m packing a Clif bar, but I hope I don’t faint before I eat it.

As a nice pre-fast dinner, I made a recipe I picked up from the co-op a few weeks ago: Spinach and ricotta pappardelle.

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I made a few changes, including: adding mushrooms, using 1/4 of the butter and about 3/4 of the ricotta it called for, and using rotini instead of pappardelle. I couldn’t find pappardelle. Plus, I didn’t even know what it was until after we got home from the grocery store and I looked it up on Wikipedia. Apparently it’s big fettucine. You learn something new every day.

My physical therapist said that I could try using the elliptical or bike again, but it was so cold today that I couldn’t bear to go to the gym after we got groceries. When I left the house this morning, it was 0 with a wind chill of -11. It warmed up to around 14 later in the day. Balmy! Anyway, I’m aiming for some exercise on Wednesday. On the plus side, the rest seems to be helping.

Is it wrong that I really want some pre-fast soy cream, even when it’s in the single digits outside?


A learning experience

December 10, 2008

I learn something new every time I go to the doctor. For instance, today I learned that I am still anemic. Unfortunately, I must have missed the appointment where I learned that I was anemic in the first place.

Soon after, I headed over to work, where we had a fancy lunch. Yay, fancy lunch. I had four desserts. They were small, but still: four. I was actually still full from that when I got home, so I wasn’t in the mood for any of the meals I planned. Luckily, Matt mentioned grilled cheese and dinner was solved.

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Since I don’t think dessert has a lot of iron, I decided to bulk up dinner with some iron-rich sides, like lemon-garlic spinach. And some chips.

Chips have iron, right?

I know that ginger snaps do, because I just ate some and looked at the bag – 4% RDA per serving! So let’s make that five desserts.


Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2008

We’ve been going out to eat most of this week, largely because our apartment has been struck by some kind of disgusting plague of flies. We seem to have it under control for the moment, so tonight I actually felt fairly confident cooking without worrying too much about my food being contaminated by dirty insects.

It was warm here today, almost 80 when Matt and I walked home from early voting, so I decided to make a salad inspired by one I saw recently in a Women’s Health I was reading at the gym.

Quinoa and chickpea salad

Quinoa and chickpea salad

Quinoa cooked in broth, mixed with sauteed shredded carrots and red pepper, served over spinach, with a white wine vinaigrette.

I think there was a little bit of a protein overload in this meal (although, you know, I am in training), so I’m balancing it out with some candy swiped from the huge bowl we have because no kids came to trick or treat at our house.

I also violated my one caffeinated beverage a day rule by drinking a huge iced black tea at 4:30 in the afternoon, so I’m thinking I might have to go out and do something with this unprecedented artificial Friday night energy.

Have a fun Halloween!


I almost feel like I am not 907 years old.

September 21, 2008

I am up past 10pm on a Sunday and this post is proof.

I just got back from watching what was arguably the world’s most depressing movie.

Before that, though, I made dinner. I used this delicious recipe for Spinach Rice Gratin.

That’s the whole dish.

That’s my first portion. I had another one, maybe 1/3 this size? It was really good. I think I’ll up the cheese factor when I make it again, though. It could’ve been way cheesier, as far as I’m concerned.

Earlier, I tried this drink that I got at Akin’s yesterday:

I’ve seen Gliding Calm drink these, and I’ve been on the lookout for them, but we don’t have them around here that I can find. So, I was pretty pumped to find them. Until I drank one. In general, I have soda maybe once, twice a month at most. However, I did go through a root beer kick a few weeks ago, so this seemed perfect. I was bummed to find out that it just tasted like diet root beer. I’ve been known to sip a diet soda in the past, but never diet root beer. Some things are sacred.

Also, Matt drank some and said it tasted like this really disgusting fruity-flavored “Refresh and Revive” Aquafina that I bought at Target once, seduced by its savvy marketing claims.

Summing up: we will not be buying stock in Zevia, and I will go back to my usual coffee/water/tea/sometimes beer or wine/almost never soda routine.

Oh wait, right now I am drinking hot chocolate, so that will have to fit in somehow.