26 Tue, 2011 § 2 Comments
Did you miss us? No? Did you even notice we had left? No? 😛 Tricky aren’t we?
(even despite the rain.)
Are we really back?
We are, but now I can reminisce over our adventures with you.
We should always start with food though; don’t you agree?
I love quinoa granola & have found its perfect match: molasses. Try it. You’ll never look back.
Molasses is a rich source of iron & calcium — important for those following a plant-based diet — as well as magnesium & potassium, providing 20% of the daily recommended value for each of these nutrients.
Sprouted Quinoa & Pear Granola with Molasses & Nutmeg
Preheat oven to 250*F.
- 1 pear, diced
- 1 C quinoa, sprouted
- 1/2 C almonds, chopped
- 1/2 C ground flaxseeds
- 1/2 C black sesame seeds
- 1/4 C sunflower seeds
- 1/4 C pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 C buckwheat groats
- 1/2 C hemp protein powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- cinnamon, optional
- 1/4 C coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 C molasses
- 2 T apple juice
Stir together dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients separately. Stir wet ingredients into the quinoa mixture & mix together. Spread granola onto a parchment-lined baking sheet & bake ~1 hour. Allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces & storing in an airtight container.
Homemade granola — especially quinoa granola — is great for camping, backpacking or hiking. It is the perfect way to cram a lot of nutrients into a light-weight, easy-to-pack & store snack. Along with pieces of banana, this was delicious, light fuel in the mornings. Dave enjoyed it so much, I’ll be sure to make enough to share next time. 😉
Do you cook with molasses?
31 Mon, 2011 § 2 Comments
I am a fan of planning, especially when it comes to food; otherwise I am left standing, staring blankly, in the kitchen…usually snacking while I debate over options. If it is unplanned, to-go lunches we are talking about, I end up rummaging in haste the morning of…& likely do not take enough nourishment with me. You do not want me hungry; ask Dave.
My lunch planning is two fold:
1. Create a flexible yet solid daytime meal outline, meaning I list my options/desired meals even if not the exact day I will have these. I also try to account for weekend preparation at this point & dinners I want to make extra for leftovers.
2. Plan & prep the night before.
This week, some of my options include
- dolmas salad
- buckwheat groats
- roasted beets, sweet potato
- leftover lentils
- leftover chili
- bok choy with chickpeas
- lentil-walnut burgers
- leafy salads
This includes breakfast, snacks & lunch, which to me are interchangeable; I have become someone who does not have to have breakfast foods for breakfast. Sometimes leftovers are just too perfect, & it is what my body wants. I might have something small, like a protein smoothie or simply lemon water, for a bit of energy before leaving the house; if I bike, I usually eat after the ride to avoid feeling sick. I am also ok with most things at room temp or just warm but do not care for piping-hot leftovers.
On Sunday, I made barley & tossed ingredients for deconstructed dolmas & could have made the buckwheat groats as well, but waited until Monday morning to simmer these, stirring a little molasses in at the end of cooking.
*Quick note on grains: I like to switch them up & eat a variety. By buying bulk, I can get only what I need at a time. Though I have my favorites, I try to alternate each time I visit the store. Instead of your usual oats, try buckwheat groats or farro.
Back to Sunday. I premixed my buckwheat porridge mix-ins by toasting 3/4 C pistachios then tossing them with 1/8 tsp all spice, 1/8 tsp nutmeg & 1/4 tsp cinnamon. This will keep ~1 week. The night before I dish my cooked groats into my tiffin; in the morning I add some nuts, dried apricots from the fridge I chopped in advance & a spoonful of pomegranate seeds [also de-seeded over the weekend].
Mid-morning snack: check.
Over the weekend, we had a big batch of chili waiting in the slow-cooker. This meant our post-bouldering starvation would be satisfied with [vegan]chili dogs AND leftover chili would serve as delicious, hardy lunches during the [snowy]week. Big batches can always be frozen for later consumption too.
Dave was also really smart in his planning & bought an extra tilapia fillet he baked with our fishy, Sunday dinner, so he could make himself a fish sandwich for lunch.
We have ample greens & legumes for salads, veggies to roast when making dinner throughout the week — including kale chips for snacking — & seasonal fruit like oranges from our CSA & a good-sized bundle of apples I snagged.
As for the Deconstructed Dolmas, it is quick to throw together & yummy. I am anxious to deconstruct further.
Rinse & add 1 C pearled barley [or grain of choice] to 2 C boiling water; reduce heat, cover & simmer 30 – 40 minutes until cooked & water absorbed.
Cool slightly & toss with remaining ingredients:
- 5 grape leaves, patted dry, rolled & sliced thinnly
- 1/3 C currants [soak in hot water to soften if they are hard]
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 C walnuts, toasted & chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- dash of red pepper flakes, optional
Do you plan your meals for the week? Do you have to prep in advance? What delicious, packable meals do you enjoy during the work/school week?
25 Sat, 2010 § 2 Comments
I could be 40 feet up. I could be 100 feet. I could be just 5 feet.
My movements on the rock suddenly become desperate rather then fluid & controlled. My muscles are surrendering. My body is tired, & I have met the crux. My relaxed, confident grasp morphs into the death grip, draining my muscles quickly. Panic breathing strikes, depleting my muscles further. I have lost it. I fall — or worse — let go. Give up.
Perhaps my endurance failed. Perhaps my mind failed. Whichever the case, overcoming The Panic sets extraordinary athletes apart from the rest.
I was introduced to one method of overcoming this at the beginning of the year & am reincorporating it into my training again. Apart from training the aerobic system & increasing endurance in a gym setting, Breathing Ladders teach breath & mind control as well.
To execute a Breathing Ladder, pick a weight & movement, then set a timer & do one rep followed by one breath, then do two reps followed by two breaths, three reps followed by three breaths, etc. Breathe as much as you want while working; breathe only the specified number of “reps” while resting. Build your “pyramid” by starting with 1 rep, building to 10 — or even 20 or somewhere in between — then come back down to one. The idea is to draw the exercise out, making it last as long as possible. Generally, athletes with an efficient O2 utilization system can make a 1:20:1 pyramid Breathing Ladder last about 45 minutes; some can draw it out an hour or more!
The movement must be “big”, incorporating full-body demand. I like Kettlebell Swings [we do not have a kettlebell, so I used a 12-lb medicine ball which could have been heavier]. The point is oxygen consumption & efficiency: big movements cause a great oxygen demand. Pull-ups do not work because the muscle mass is too small to create significant O2 demand before muscle acidity & fatigue cause work to cease.
The ideal is to use the perfect combination of movement/load/reps to keep yourself in the zone where “total panic is a single mistake away & Zen-like calm is the prize for those who can reach it.”
[Breathing Ladder source: Gym Jones]
Food is generally a good motivator for me while working out — not during Breathing Ladders though. Because I wanted these to last as long as possible, I had to constantly brush the image of my awaiting meal from my mind to keep from rushing through. 😛 After 25:47 minutes of 1:10:1 Breathing Ladders, Thursday morning, all I could think was BREAKFAST.
I have had Buckwheat on the brain ever since my friend, Dina, shared a slice of her homemade raw[dehydrated] bread with me.
The light, airy crunch took me by complete surprise — I was expecting a much harder texture — & the deep nutty flavor of the grain won me over immediately. I. Am. Hooked.
Buckwheat groats are technically not a “grain”, but a fruit seed related to rhubarb & sorrel, making it gluten-free. A complete protein, rich in vitamins, it is also a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus & potassium. It is also thought to lower cholesterol.
I wanted to get the benefit of soaking & sprouting these quickies — they only take 1-2 days — & include them in my morning VOO. Generally partial to parfaits [thanks to Angela, whose overnight oats & parfaits are always out-of-this-world beautiful & delicious!]; but lately I have been leaning toward basic VOOs, simply accenting a key ingredient like end-of-summer peaches. B-groats would be just the thing to mix it up a bit…but not the only thing…
No, I did not eat sunflower seed butter from the jar for breakfast…not to say this has never happened before… 😛
I have seen a few bloggers rave about cooking oats in an empty nut butter jar to get that last bit out & enhance the flavor of the oats. Because I do not use a microwave [or eat a lot of cooked oats], I have not tried it yet. As I scraped the last bit of sunbutter from this guy though, I knew right away he would be the medium for my next soakage.
- ~½ C Buckwheat Groats, sprouted
- ~½ C Oats
- 1-2 T Chia seeds
- substantial sprinkle of Cinnamon
- dash Sea Salt
- Rice milk to just cover
- Combine & whisk in an empty nut butter container.
- Store in refrigerator overnight.
- Next day stir ins: that delicious side of chopped, fresh, local peach & a scoop of Hemp Protein Powder.
*I used all the oats [just over ½ C] & groats [just under ½ C] I had on hand; so about 1:1. I enjoy the groats so much I will probably increase the amount of groats & decrease the oats next time.
*This was closer to two servings for me, which I had intended to save for a couple mornings. I mixed it all up while making dinner & “tested” a couple spoonfuls while watching Man vs Wild later on. WARNING: If you make your VOO too early in the evening, it will likely disappear before the next morning. Fortunately, there was still plenty to refuel me after my breathing ladders.
*Also, while the texture of BOO differed subtly from VOO & was rather delicious, I enjoy the soft crunch of b-groats which is missing after soaking them. To recapture this texture, I will dehydrate them after they sprout next time & add them as a stir-in rather than soaking with the oats.
I am super excited to experiment with B-Groats — raw granola, snack bars, crackers! Any great original recipes out there?
Do you ever incorporate “mental” training into your workouts?