Braised Collards with Currants, Chickpeas & Cashew Cheese

18 Mon, 2011 § 3 Comments

Meet one of the random dishes that triggers a good amount of teasing.

Did I mention it is breakfast?

Dave — & most people — find it bizarre I can eat greens in the morning.

I feel completely nourished & balanced when I start the day with something like this though.

Immediately after a good swim & moderate bike ride, I had a recovery drink of coconut water, maca, blue berries, half a banana, a tablespoon of hemp protein, ground flax & carob powder.  About an hour later, braised collard greens tasted perfect.

Cashew cheese complemented the collards & is a quick & simple condiment to make.  I have found the ratio I like for a small batch using 1/4 C raw cashews : 2 T nutritional yeast : 1/2 T flax oil.  I use the “chopping” attachment of my magic bullet to first grind the cashews to powder, then add the nutritional yeast & process to mix.  Add the oil & combine till slightly moist & crumbly.  This lasts 2 – 3 servings for me.  You can make a larger batch:  simply use half the amount of nutritional yeast as cashews & a quarter the amount of oil compared to the nutritional yeast.  I am going to try it using sunflower seeds next time.

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Prepare the collard greens by slicing the leaves from the stems; discard stems (or give to your dog to munch on).  Roll each leave in on itself & slice thinly into ribbons.  Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a medium pan on medium to medium-high heat; add the collard ribbons & toss using tongs.  Cook until the leaves are lightly braised (seared), tossing occasionally.  Splash with balsamic vinegar & toss again.  Cover & reduce heat to low.  Cook until leaves wilt; add currants & chickpeas.  Cover & continue to cook, tossing so it wilts & braises evenly, until collards are soft.  Serve in a wide bowl & top with hemp seeds & cashew cheese.  A mochi waffle on the side provided a nice, contrasting crunch.

I felt fueled for our day of climbing — our first trip to the Pit!

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Do you ever like greens in the morning?

All Wrapped Up & Pumped Out

20 Thu, 2011 § 2 Comments

Loving your body means giving it what it wants.

Mine wants nutbutter any time it can get its hands on it.

I have decided I probably should not have a nutbutter sandwich all that often — or at least not every day — but last Wednesday, I really wanted one after two days in a row of indulgence.  I compromised & decided I could have a big dose of sunflower seed butter if I ate it with greens.  Collard leaves on the verge of wilting found their purpose.

Now know while I love slow-braised collard greens, I have never enjoyed them raw; I find them too bitter.  Something worked here though.  The sweetness of the bananas balanced the bitterness out, plus because I did not eat these wraps freshly made, they softened & reduced in bitterness as they soaked in all the flavors.  I love these — have even tried one with raisins but prefer banana — & they have replaced my need for nutty-buttery-sandwiches.

I even talked Dave into tasting a bite.

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Dave: “While I was eating it, I really liked it; then I got the aftertaste which tasted like collard.

Which I don’t like.”

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Aw well, almost had him.

[the stalks make good dog treats — crazy Eis loves ’em.]

Since loving my body is not about deprivation, giving it something that is like a treat — like nutbutter —  in moderation is a good thing.  Creating a nourishing snack for my body from that treat feels even better.  This was a great bouldering snack!

Speaking of climbing, remember our pull up commitment training?  It is still going strong. 🙂

We have had this Iron Gym doorway pull up bar for years & love it.  It is as versatile as the review claims, though I only use it for pull ups & occasionally push ups.  Dave found it for a good price at Big 5.

Another aspect of loving my body is challenging it; this is HUGE for me to maintain positive thoughts about my body.  Rather than avoiding difficult exercises, embrace the challenge & revel in how our bodies strengthen from them.  Pull ups are a perfect challenge.  I do not want to be the crazy pull up lady, so of course you do not have to choose pull ups.  I have realized a lot of women neglect upper body though, so again, pull ups are perfect. 😉  Plus, they are difficult — for women especially; so it feels that much better when you start to master them.  Even some of the strongest woman can only do 5 – 6 at a time.

Set a small goal to be able to do 1 – 2 within a couple weeks & build from there.  If you cannot do a single pull up yet, do not be discouraged.  If your bar is low enough, use your feet to push off the ground for a little boost.  You can also use a chair to create an assisted pull up; better yet, grab your yoga ball to really work your core stabilizers.  If you are doing assisted, just don’t hold back & make it about your lower body by using too much of your leg power.  Give it everything you have using your upper body before engaging your legs to push the rest of the way up.  Honestly, it has taken me a long time to really train my  body to do a good pull up; you have to really engage all the muscles through your back [not just your arms] & PULL.

We are off to the climbing gym for a quick, evening session — I scored a buy-one-get-one-free day pass!  We climbed during lunch; but that was short, & we need to get our money’s worth & earn that day pass!

Enjoy your evening!

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How are you challenging your body?

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