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Archive for April, 2011

I didn’t really eat baked beans growing up, so I used to think the idea of beans with sugar in them was gross. But over the last few years, I’ve definitely sweetened up to the idea. (Attempt at a pun, haha). Tonight, with a little inspiration from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” I attempted to make my own baked beans for the first time. I did end up altering the recipe because it didn’t include sugar and upon tasting it, it just wasn’t sweet enough.

Here is the recipe, should you choose to try it…

2 medium onions

olive oil

1/4 cup tomato paste

5-6 cups cooked pinto beans (1 used dried beans cooked in a crock pot)

3 tablespoons dry mustard

1/4 cup molasses

a little bit of Worcestershire sauce 

1/3-1/2 cup of brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300 deg. F. Cook the onions in oil in a pot over the stove on medium heat for about 7-8 minutes. Add tomato paste. Let cook for a minute and then add 6 cups of water. Add remaining ingredients, then put them in a casserole dish in the oven, covered. Cook for two hours then check flavors and adjust accordingly. Take off the lid and cook at 400 degree F for another half hour.

Then serve it up! So delicious.

I served this with Trader Joes sausages with homemade buns (my mom made them!)

Before dinner I did part of a Dave Farmar yoga podcast. I haven’t done one of those in a while, but they used to really kick my booty. I took it easy and only did the poses I knew I could handle.

http://www.davefarmar.com/podcasts.php

Trust me, they are awesome! After about 35 minutes I couldn’t handle another chaturunga.

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I never disliked bridges. I didn’t exactly love them, but at the end of yoga class, when we moved into bridge pose, it was kind of a relief. The end was near. Savasana awaited.

But with my right leg still gaining strength, one-legged bridges, which my physical therapist prescribed to me, are like hell. With all the weight on my left leg I can handle it. But I nearly crumble during each set of five that I have to do on my right leg. I know it’s worth it. But bleeeeehhhh.

For those who don’t know what a one-legged bridge is, tinajuanfitness.info has the scoop.

Single Leg Bridge

This exercise firms and strengthens the buttocks and hamstrings (back of the thighs).

Exercise:

1. Lie down with one leg bent, foot flat on the floor, the other leg straight.
2. Tighten abdominals and lift straight leg an inch or two off the floor. The bent leg will now carry your body weight.
3. Push hips up by pressing hard on the floor with the foot of the bent leg, and by squeezing the buttocks and back of the thighs. Do not lift the straight leg but allow it to be pulled up together with the hips.
4. Hold for eight slow counts. Breathe continuously.
5. Slowly lower to the floor. Repeat with the other leg.

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Gettin’ corny

It seems like this blog has been more about cooking than anything else, but that’s just what I’ve been into lately. Tonight I made some amazing corn chowdah’. It was another recipe from www.glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com. I had never tried it before but it was so delish I can’t even tell you! I didn’t have any green chiles, so I subbed in some cayenne powder and used frozen corn in place of fresh corn (not really the season for that). I served it with cornbread, southern greens, and salad. I am soooo full right now! The coconut milk made the chowder extra creamy.

Here is the recipe:

Roasted Corn Chowder with Chicken & Cilantro

 
If corn is in season use fresh ears of corn- if not- roast thawed frozen kernels on a baking sheet.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry or chili powder or paste, mild or hot, to taste
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 ears of corn, roasted, kernels removed
1 large sweet potato, peeled, diced
1 14-oz can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 cup seeded, chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes- I used yellow and pink
4 oz. chopped roasted green chiles
1 quart vegetable broth
1 14-oz can coconut milk or plain hemp milk
2 rounded cups cooked chicken pieces
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
A quick drizzle of organic raw agave, to tasteTo serve:
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Fresh lime juice from 2 limes

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and stir in the cumin and curry or chili powder; cook for one minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the chopped garlic and onion. Stir and cook for five minutes. Add the roasted corn, sweet potato, canned fire roasted tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, green chiles; stir for a minute. Add in the broth. Cover and bring to a high simmer. Lower the heat and simmer gently, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about twenty minutes or so. Add the coconut milk and cooked chicken pieces. Stir and season with sea salt and ground pepper; and add a drizzle of organic raw agave to taste. Heat through gently- please don’t boil it. Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Stir. Taste test. Adjust seasoning. Note: The lime juice brightens the taste and accents the spice. Agave cools the hotness.

Garnish with a lime wedge and pass out the spoons. Slurp! Serves 6-8.

This chowder works well cooked slowly in a Crock Pot; add the coconut milk and cooked chicken 30 minutes before serving and heat through. Add the lime juice and cilantro just before serving.

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What is it about apple and peanut butter (or almond butter) that completely satisfies me? It’s the perfect mix of sweet and salty. I usually top off each slice with a few raisins, and lately I’ve been mixing nut butter with cream cheese. Soooo delicious! And simple. But I loooovvvveee anything with peanut butter, and could (and yes, I admit, I often do) each spoonful after spoonful straight from the jar.

I love love love it!

Anyways, in other news, I am able to bend my knee at 126 degrees now. It’s getting to the point where my leg is making progress bending on its own, which is pretty awesome:) I went for a walk today to enjoy the beautiful sun. It’s so amazing to have something other than rain here, and I had to take advantage of it. Too bad I walk so slowly, but I guess it’s a start.

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Yesterday marked my reintroduction to the world.  I drove the Jetta up to Portland for the day to catch up with some friends. I hadn’t seen any of them since the accident (over a couple months ago) so I was ready to get out of the house and back into society. My knee was a kinda sore from the drive but I made it up there. I met a friend for coffee and although it rained a little bit, was actually pretty dry for Portland.

I couldn’t stay off of the swings.

Later we had some delicious food at Pok Pok. Their portions are a little small and you have to buy your own rice, but the five of us went family style and with four entrees (one was a whole fish), I left stuffed.

Check it….

  

Poor fish……. But we enjoyed it in our bellies:)

Followed by a visit to a Kava bar that recently opened up in Portland. I’d never had Kava before. The taste was “earthy” and not necessarily good, but apparently Pacific Islanders drink it for its effects. According to the all knowing Wikipedia, “Kava is sedating and is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity.” Hmmm… I didn’t have enough to be able to feel the effects, but my fellow diners told me this description appeared to be correct. I wonder if this is the next phenonemon?

And just for randomness… a photo I took of my knee at the bar while we waited for a table at Pok Pok. Can you tell which knee is bigger?

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Before my injury, I used to love to cook. I’d spend a few hours on Sunday cooking a big batch of chili, stew, or some kind of entre that would last me through the school week. I cooked my first meal in two months on Saturday as a thank you to my parents for hauling me to Portland and back (an hour and half drive one way) everyday for two weeks so I could complete my student teaching. What was in store for them was my favorite chili recipe ever, Big Easy Chili. I absolutely love spicyness, so I made it a little spicier than the recipe called for. Mmmmmm…. Check it out here: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/10/big-easy-soup.html. I served it with homemade cornbread. I could eat chili forever, seriously!

But what I really wanted to write about was last night’s cooking experience. I made another of my favorite recipes from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I am not a vegan, but this cookbook has some pretty amazing recipes. I didn’t have green beans, so I chopped up some carrots instead. I also added chicken and used dried Indian chickpeas,  wish I cooked for hours and hours in the crockpot (for some reason it takes them forever to cook).

Chickpea and Zucchini Curry
Recipe source: Adapted from  Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan
Serves 4

Ingredients:
olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cups sweet potatoes, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups zucchini, diced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups Indian chickpeas
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced carrots
3 chicken breasts (Trader Joe’s frozen)
 
 
Directions:
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion, potatoes, garlic, salt, ginger, curry powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cloves. Stir to fully combine. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and cook for 7 – 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for 2 -3 more minutes. Add tomato sauce, chickpeas, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 or 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. I served this meal with quinoa, but you could also use rice.
 
It’s really easy to make something like this and it’s super healthy. It just involves a lot of choppin and spices.

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Good news!

My part time student teaching ended last week, and to be honest, I’ve been a little restless since then. I’m feeling like I’m getting to the point in my recovery where I need to be filling my days with productiveness. I’m finishing up my work sample that goes along with my student teaching, and let me tell you, it’s both overwhelming and mind numbing at the same time. I also have made it my mission to do some volunteering in the schools sometime between now and when I do my full time student teaching in the fall. It sounds like there may be a couple possibilities, which I’m excited about. It sounds like I’m going to helping some high school juniors with their writing, which is right up my alley.

Also, I’ve been diligent about trying to increase movement in my knee. It’s been tedious and painful, but I think it’s paying off. My physical therapist said my knee is at the point where it doesn’t need as much pushing from him to make gains. Also, I’ve been incorporating the strengthening exercises he recommended into my day. The swelling is still there but it’s gone down quite a bit. I’ll post pictures soon. They may be gross, but it looks a lot better than it did! In other news I get to start driving. A trip to Portland is in the works for sure!

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