Category Archives: recipes

Good Eats: Lemon Couscous, Raisin Bran Muffins and Thug Kitchen

Finishing interview season has been a bit like coming up for air after trying to swim the length of a pool. It took me a week to figure out how to live at home again but once I did, I was right back to menu planning and recipe experimentation.

The first thing that has been rocking my world is the Thug Kitchen 101 cookbook. If you haven’t heard about Thug Kitchen yet, it’s this awesome vegan cookbook (no, I’m not vegan but I like vegetables) with expletives throughout. Totally entertaining way to cook. Anyway, Joe got this for Will for Christmas and in the style of TK, we have been cooking the **** out of it. At $12 on Amazon, get it and be open minded. Goodness knows we could all eat more veggies…Things we’ve loved so far:

  • French Crushed Chickpea and Artichoke Heart Salad
  • Sun-dried Tomato Carbonara
  • Creamy Squash Mac and Cheese with Hot Sauce Bread Crumbs (feeds an army, just FYI)
  • Red Curry Noodes (our first recipe and omg…I was in love and I don’t even LIKE curry)
  • Quinoa Taco Mix (fed this to teenagers and grown men who only eat meat with no complaints)

The next recipe I made was a Lemon Couscous Cucumber Salad to accompany Chicken Picatta. Since we are 100% moving in May, we have started the extremely painful process of trying to clean out our house which includes our cabinets, fridges and freezers. As such, I came across a jar of capers and a bag of Israeli couscous and voila. For the chicken, I had chicken cutlets in the freezer already and didn’t bother with buying full breasts and butterflying; if you’re averse to that kind of prep like I am, I can attest that cutlets were equally delicious and cooked in about 2 minutes.

Finally, I made the boys two dozen Raisin Bran muffins with some stale cereal that’s been haunting the cupboards for months. I made mine with almond milk instead of buttermilk (lactose hurts at least half the house) and added in a half cup of dried cranberries to up the fruit content. Mostly because I didn’t pre-read the instructions and the over was already preheated, I skipped the 45 minutes to let the cereal soften. No one seems to be complaining and there are only 8 muffins left less than 24 hours after they came out of the over.

Good Eats: Spaghetti Squash, Butternut Squash and Berry Bundt Cake

One of the hardest parts of being in Norwalk was that we didn’t really have a functional kitchen. UVM puts us up in very nice apartments but as anyone who cooks knows, it takes a long time to build a great kitchen and these kitchens lack the knives, pans and other accessories to really pull off a big meal. I made simple things every night but missed pulling off elaborate meals or trying new recipes.

The only new one I tried while I was there was spaghetti squash with bacon, goat cheese and spinach. This recipe tasted delicious but the presentation was not as pretty as pictured and it took a fair amount of time to prep. The best part of the recipe was the new-to-me suggestion of how to cook spaghetti squash. In the past, I’ve either split the squash in half long ways and baked it or boiled it in half, neither of which are particularly easy to work with afterwards. Slicing the squash into rings and baking it was BRILLIANT. Still, for a gluten free meal, this is a delicious one that most people are likely to enjoy.

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to make a special meal for my mom and went with rubbed pork chops on the grill, butternut squash bread pudding, roasted Brussel sprouts with maple syrup and berry bundt cake.

The butternut squash bread pudding was unique and delicious but made enough for an army. Cutting this recipe in half would still yield plenty to feed four people so unless you’re having a large dinner party, I would suggest that. I used muenster cheese instead of gruyere and it was delicious. The only thing I added was rosemary and oregano in addition to the sage and it gave it a stuffing like taste that went perfectly with pork.

The cake was also a success, if only because it slid easily out of the pan instead of clinging on as bundt cakes usually do. I used frozen, bagged berries from the grocery store and made the mistake of the mix containing strawberries, which created big craters when baked so would avoid that in the future. Otherwise, frozen berries worked well. I also made my own buttermilk (3/4 cup of whole milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice –> sit for 10 minutes until clabbered) instead of using Kefir or purchasing buttermilk. I did attempt to make the icing but unlike the icing in the picture, mine looked thin and running and I opted to leave the cake “naked” instead, which turned out to be a great idea because it was plenty sweet on its own AND served as Will’s muffins for the week.

What have you cooked lately? Any great late Spring recipes to share?

Good Eats: Vegan Chickpea Curry Stew

Vegan Chickpea Curry Stew

Tis the season for hearty stews. The beautiful part about this stew is that it packs a ton of healthy ingredients into a gluten free, dairy free, vegan stew that (almost) anyone will love.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic (or 2 cloves freshly chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 3 sweet potatoes chopped
  • 2 cups of cooked, pureed squash
  • 2 cans of chickpeas drained
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups of fresh spinach
  • sea salt
  • crushed black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Directions

Saute the onions, garlic and coconut oil until onions are translucent. Turn down the heat and add sweet potatoes and squash and stir until combined. Add salt, pepper, curry, bay leaves, cumin and red pepper flakes and stir in. Add chickpeas and diced tomatoes. Simmer for 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. Add spinach and serve once wilted into the mix.

For Added Protein

Add in one box of silken tofu, crumbled into small pieces

For Added Carbs

Serve over rice or quinoa

Nutrition Facts (easy to do for any recipe: just enter ingredients here)

Recipe as above serves 6

Recipe as above serves 6

Good Eats: Beef Carnitas and All of the Side Salads

For whatever reason, I decided that starting my surgery clerkship was also a great time to start “New Recipe Monday” as it is called on my weekly meal planner on the fridge. That questionable decision aside, I have been working my way through my Pinterest boards in an attempt to mix up our normal nightly meals. I somehow misplaced the absolute winner of the bunch but am fervently working to find it on the internet again so I can make sure everyone tries it.

Crock Pot Beef Carnitas Tacos: These were delicious! The rub made for some seriously flavorful beef and the peppers added plenty of liquid for all-day cooking. The only adjustment I made was to use pot roast beef instead of flank steak. When I went to the grocery store, the flank steak looked pathetic and expensive. No complaints from my house on the substitution!

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs: Also delicious! I marinated my legs (well, not my legs) overnight because I was prepping all my food on Sunday and I didn’t bother to skin them and they still turned out really well. I served these with the Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad, earning me a double thumbs up from my taste kitchen (Will and Joe).

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad: I would eat this every day for lunch if I had the energy to make enough of it. It has an amazing balance of flavor without being weird and packs a serious nutritional punch. I just used whatever hot sauce was rolling around the fridge and chose apple cider vinegar instead of lime juice. The only thing I would do differently the next time would be to cool the sweet potatoes longer; I had hungry boys but it ended up more like a mash than a salad.

Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Quinoa Salad: This was the only salad with a mixed review in our house. I LOVED it; Joe liked it but hated the smell. I will admit that bringing it to the hospital with me for lunch the next day was akin to heating up fish in the work microwave but I still want to make this salad for every dinner party from now until forever. I made it with feta because we were making Greek Chicken (total blah recipe not shared here), but I imagine it would be good with the goat cheese. I don’t think the blue cheese would help the smell factor, however…

If you’re ever curious about the recipes I’ve made within the month that I make them rather than when I get around to writing about them, I move all my successful finds to my Keeper Recipes board. 

What have you made recently that you loved? Any great fails?

Improvement Season: Nutrition

Even though my season isn’t over yet, I had already begun to mentally transition to improvement season: the time of year when the snow flies and the roads get covered in ice and all you can do is hope to hang on to fitness til Spring. I like to use this time to build new habits or break bad ones so that when a training cycle starts, I just have to focus on the training.

My nutrition has never been a major concern but it’s never been a huge strength either. Although I like food, I’m not a foodie and tend to eat the same foods every day. I also have a couple of food allergies (peanuts and shellfish) that limit me. In the past few years, I’ve started to increase the amount of protein and fat that I eat and focused on quality of carbohydrates rather than quantity. This has helped me not be starving all the time

When I met with Kim Evans earlier this fall, we took a look at my diet based on a week of food logging and she concluded a few things.

  1. I wasn’t eating enough for my level of activity and the pattern of my eating left me in a catabolic (breakdown) predominant pattern rather than anabolic or balanced pattern.
  2. I was eating about 50% carbohydrates which is fine for a normal person, but relatively low for an endurance athlete
  3. My diet didn’t meet my needs for many of the major vitamins and minerals

Kim is an athlete too and was really good about recognizing that the middle of a training cycle isn’t the time to make huge changes to diet. I amped up my calories, tried to eat more carbohydrates and added in some power foods daily (sweet potatoes, mangos, dates and quinoa). Unfortunately, the additional carbohydrates didn’t sit well in my stomach so I had to hold on that after a few disastrous long runs with sprints to a porto-potty. I did go back to my old lunch plan of grain + protein + veggie, which worked out really well.

Now that I can tweak things, here’s my general eating plan for the coming months. It won’t be possible to eat my lunch bowls while I’m on surgery (it’s more grab what you can, when you can), but I am planning on Food Prep Sundays so that at least the rest of my meals can be good.

Breakfast: Coffee + creamer, Baked Oatmeal Protein Bar topped with Sunbutter, piece of fruit (I have been doing a cinnamon raisin bagel with Sunbutter but want more nutrition so am trying out baked oatmeal. Here’s the recipe I’m trying this week. The next improvement is to get rid of the fake creamer in my coffee. Gross, I know.)

Mid-Morning Snack: Almonds + dates + second coffee (Right now, I’m eating Toasted Coconut Almonds but would like to wean myself back to natural or at least just salted.)

Lunch: Grilled chicken sandwich + piece of fruit + Oats & Honey granola bar (Once Surgery is over, I’ll go back to my rice bowls).

Afternoon Snack: Pretzels + string cheese + guacamole (The 100 cal packs fit perfectly in my white coat pocket. I’m the human squirrel in the hospital, I swear).

Dinner: Big Bowl o’ Nutrition! Grain (quinoa, rice, farrow or sweet potato) + protein (tofu, steak, chicken or pork) + bag of steamed veggies (usually broccoli) + sauce (barbecue, teriyaki, buffalo, italian) Once Will is back from Norwalk and I’m done with Surgery, we’ll go back to making more diverse dinners together. I don’t mind eating the same thing every day, but he definitely does!

Supplements: Liquid Ferrous Gluconate (20 mL = 20 mg elemental iron), Women’s Gummi Multivitamin, Vitamin D, Fish Oil, Methyl Factors

What are your go-to meals? Have you worked with a sports dietitian before?

Good Eats: Halloween Chex Mix

I made this delicious chex mix for the team today and got lots of requests to share, so here goes. I’d post a picture but it didn’t survive two passes around our stretching circle. Warning, it’s REALLY sweet and also quite delicious, so you’ll want someone around to share it with.

1 bag white chocolate chips

1 bag traditional candy corn

1 bag candy corn M&Ms

2 cups of salted mini pretzels

3 cups of corn chex

3 cups of rice chex

Orange and black sugar crystals

Prep is easy; melt the white chocolate chips on low in a stock pot on the stove, stirring constantly. Once fully melted, stir in the remaining ingredients except the sugar crystals while still over the low heat so that the chocolate doesn’t harden. It takes some patience to fold in everything but with a wooden spoon, everything should be coated in white chocolate before you call yourself done. Remove from the heat and dump the mixture out onto parchment paper or a torn open brown paper bag to cool. Sprinkle the sugar crystals over the top as it cools. You can then break up by hand or cut into chunks like you would serve candy bark.

Contains dairy and gluten, although if you use brand name Chex and gluten free pretzels, you can make a tasty gluten free option.

Good Eats: 11C Chicken

(An original recipe! Can you tell I’m not running 80 miles a week right now?)

This chicken is named for the large number of “c” items it contains, for the crockpot it cooks in and because it’s cheap!

20 minutes of prep, 5 to 6 hours of cooking = dinner and freezable leftovers!

20 minutes of prep, 5 to 6 hours of cooking = dinner and freezable leftovers!

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless chicken thighs

3 white potatoes

3 sweet potatoes

Can of Chickpeas

Can of Coconut Milk

4 large carrots

1 yellow onion

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro

Coriander

Cumin

Cardamon

Cracked Black Pepper

Sea Salt

Chop everything into cubes, throw into the crock pot and season with the spices. If you are gone all day, 8 hours on low will do. If you put this together at noon, 5 hours on high works too. When it’s gone, give a good stir and serve as is or with a dollop of sour cream or plain greek yogurt on top.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free (without garnish), Egg Free.