Category Archives: lunches

Thanksgiving Side: Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

First and foremost, THANK YOU so much. The Face of Fitness contest continues, and new VOTES can be put in every day until November 27th. As of this morning, I’ve bumped up to #14 thanks to you – please keep it coming!

Lululemon Run Ambassador photo 1

Click here to voteVegetarian BQ Marathoner!

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Now, let’s dine! Tomorrow is a day of family and feasting for those of us in the States. This morning’s yoga class was a “tribute to the birds” – we did crow, bird of paradise, eagle & pigeon – as we casually call this holiday “Turkey day!”.

The class was great – love me some arm balances and hip-openers! – but the Thanksgiving-Turkey association? Not my thing. I have a menu of bird-free eats lined up for D & I, largely thanks to holiday recipe roundups from Ashley (Edible Perspective) and the Peas clan.

One dish will be new to us, and is thanks to Lindsey’s post on Nutmeg and my recent kitchen salad experiment.

Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

kale nutmeg salad 1

2-3 cups raw Kale
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 block tofu, chopped (Optional)
1 tbsp. e.v. olive oil
1/4 cup pepitas
Seasonings: nutmeg, black pepper (~1/4 tsp. each)

Heat oil over medium in a large/deep sauté pan. Add onions, peppers and tofu, cooking and stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and seasonings, continue stirring and sautéing until all vegetables are soft and tofu is starting to brown (if applicable).  Toss in raw kale leaves to coat and cook slightly; mix in pepitas and serve warm.

kale nutmeg salad 3

The Nutmeg flavor tasted so good with this mix of vegetables; I never would have thought to throw that seasoning on a salad, but I am so glad I did. Now I know it’s delicious in treats and healthy eats! Its flavor is reminiscent of holiday baked goods and oatmeal cookies, making this salad the perfect healthy complement to your Thanksgiving day dining!

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What’s healthy on your holiday menu? What’s your t0tally-worth-it splurge/indulgence?

Happy dining & celebrating!

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Filed under dinners, food, holidays, lunches, recipes

Packed Lunches: Starting With K&Q

Once infamously known as the gal who would eat a turkey sandwich every single day for lunch, my habits (or lack thereof) now would probably shock those who knew me when (hopefully in a good way)*. I cannot imagine eating the same exact thing for lunch every day, and can’t remember the last time I did. There are the occasional leftovers days, and days when things probably look very similar to a lunch last week or last month, but those are few and far between.

Rather, I love the variety of what’s possible thanks to the contents of our fridge and pantry combined with a cutting board and/or quick-cooking method. Sometimes there is a theme for the week – e.g. we cook a lot of quinoa, rice or brown-rice pasta and make small dents in the batch every day – but for the most part, there’s just one goal; eat plants, add flavor.

Simple? Always. Tasty? You know it.

*There are multiple other reasons this reputation is outdated. The first hint would be “turkey”.

In this edition of packed lunches, I bring you Kale & Quinoa (K&Q).

kale quinioa & kidney bean lunch kale quinoa & peppers

1) K&Q – White Beans, Hummus & Peppers (Left)

Raw kale leaves
1/2 cup white kidney beans
1/4 – 1/2 each – red pepper, green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 Tbsp-ish hummus (flavor of your choice! I went with Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus)
Pepper to taste

2) K&Q – Chickpeas, Mixed Veggies & Sesame Oil (Right)

Raw kale leaves
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/4 yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 red tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Drizzle of sesame oil
Salt/pepper to taste

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This week’s lunch “dessert” has been the sweetest of sweet yellow watermelons from the Good Life Farm. Yellow is the new ruby-red; this melon is astounding my taste-buds, confused as they might be.

And yes, sometimes lunch dessert is a piece of dark chocolate. Bittersweet perfection.

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What’s packed in your lunchbox today? What staples do you start with?

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Filed under food, lunches, recipes, things I Love, what to eat

The Storm Before the Calm {Recipes & Moves}

We’re halfway through the week, barely done packing and heading West on a jet-plane in just a few hours. Hello, Wednesday, it’s so good to see you.

Before leaving the District, the last few days were jam-packed with good eats, pools of sweat and a complete downpour that has the temps back within the manageable heat range. Our fridge is clear, as the result of a few new recipe creations; my muscles ache, demanding rest, thanks to a few workouts that challenged them.

And, thanks to the (possibly dysfunctional, thankstotherain) iPhone, we have frozen moments to show it all off! We’ll start with the nutrients – welcome the newest salads in my rotation:

White Bean, Yellow Squash & Red Pepper Salad

white bean and veggie salad

In the mix: sauteed kale & yellow summer squash (thanks to Good Life Farm); sliced cucumber (also fresh off the Farm), red pepper and avocado; rinsed white beans, black pepper & a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.

Citrus Kale Salad (a la Eat Live Run’s Detox Salad)

kale & orange almond salad

In the mix: kale, orange slices, chopped avocado & sliced almonds. I drizzled a little bit of olive oil & balsamic vinegar on mine, but her salad dressing recipe sounds tasty, too!

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Once they’re fueled with all the good stuff, muscles move!

Yoga at work, yoga after work…

sidecrow at workstudio dc yoga after work

D on the bike, lemons on the run {Chris of Crossfit Dupont, about to rock us}…

chantilly criterium 7.2012lulu run bootcamp 7.10.12

lululemon run club workout – 4.5 mi run, bootcamp in the middle!

40 seconds of each: squats, push-ups, mountain climbers
Run the stairs in between!

The views are a great distraction:

steps behind lincoln view 7.10.12
view from Iwo jima 7.10.12

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And once the muscles are exhausted, it’s time to rest.

This vacation has been on our agenda for months; we can’t wait to see family and old friends, soak up the Southwestern rays and explore some new (to D) areas of the desert! We’re ready for the calm that comes with a nice glass of vino on my parent’s deck, sleeping in and relaxing at home.

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What storms are brewing in your world?

Humor me, it’s a long trip back…

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Filed under about me, cross training, home, Lululemon, lunches, recipes, running, travel, Yoga

Summer Yogi Salad

Biking to and from free Yoga (courtesy of the Running Yogis!) at the Georgetown lululemon last night provided the sweat-overload that the unheated class did not. A mere 6 miles on the bike should never be that taxing, but Summer has its point to prove.

The absolute last thing I would’ve done is turn on the oven to cook/bake. Our kitchen is narrow and cozy – cute? Yes. Airy and Open? Not so much.

We barely avoided the cereal-for-dinner trap, instead deciding to use up the last of our salad greens (spinach leaves & lettuce) to fill up on real nutrients.

{Simple} Summer Strawberry Salad

Perfectly refreshing after a hot summer workout – whether your version of that involves heated vinyasa, cycling, running, etc.

Strawberries, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Pecans, crushed
Tofu (sautéed in olive oil)
Salad greens
Pepper
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Measurements are up to you – fill up and enjoy!

Strawberry tofu salad

There is nothing out-of-this-foodie-world creative about this salad. It’s simple, and sometimes we need a good reminder that that’s just fine. We gave ourselves points for going with a colorful bowl of fresh produce instead of what we’d probably have for breakfast less than 12 hours later. Tofu is our choice of protein, but to each their own!

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What’s on your go-to oven-free dinner menu?

We have our first 100* day here in the District, with many more surely to come. All suggestions welcome!

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Filed under dinners, food, groceries, Lululemon, lunches, recipes, Yoga

Goods from Good Life Farm: Squash & Greens

In our recent hauls from the good people at Good Life Farm, we’ve been spoiled with a variety of greens* (not just the kind that shock me), summer squash, beets, onions of all types, snow peas and even a pint of blueberries. My fridge may be accumulating a layer of organic soot – try as we might to clean, it’s inevitable with each unloading – but it’s also loving the fresh summer farm flavors!

*Romaine, butter lettuce, kale & mustard greens.

For this week’s good eats:

mahi mahi marinade

 Broiled Mahi Mahi with Squash & Greens

Homemade Fish Marinade:
3 Tbsp E.V. Olive Oil
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
Dried Thyme & Basil

Whisk everything together in a small bowl. Place fish in a baking dish and pour over. Let marinade for ~30 minutes. Salt & Pepper to taste. Sprinkle chives on top.

Set oven to broil & bake for ~4-6 minutes on each side – this will vary by how strong your broil setting is! We have a gas stove, and I put the fish down near the middle rack.

Meanwhile – sauté yellow squash lightly in oil and steam kale leaves.

Easy as that! The vegetable flavors are all natural, and the fish holds its own next to them. Dinner is served:

summer squash & greens

With cooked vegetables, I take all leftovers and put them right into a “salad” of sorts for lunch the next day.

This greens+squash mixture went nicely with avocado pieces, quinoa and some added fresh chives & kale greens for volume & nutrients.

CSA squash & greens lunch

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What’s fresh in your fridge right now?

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Filed under dinners, food, groceries, lunches, Nutrition, recipes

{National} Nutrition Month: Rate Your Plate!

March has finally arrived! We were all patient, waited an extra day this year and didn’t even have to deal with winter sticking in one last nasty jaunt. DC, you know how to treat a lady.

IMG_0224Sunrise Yoga

Day one marks the start of {National} Nutrition Month – worldly friends, I’m inviting you to the “celebration” – which is obviously not something we’d overlook here! This year’s theme is “Get your Plate in Shape”, incorporating MyPlate and tips for revamping the colors, nutrient balance and variety of food you choose for each meal.

My impression is that most of you know what should be on your plate for meals, but there are small daily barriers (time, energy, preference of running over taking time to cook, groceries available, etc) to overcome. Some days we win the battle, some days convenience scores a point.

In addition to getting your “plate in shape”, I want you to rate it. Look at every meal you put together for the next few days, weeks, maybe even the whole month – pause before grabbing your fork or spoon and digging in! Think about what rating you would give that meal – 1-10, using your own discretion based on your own needs. What you getting from the contents of your plate? What nutrients are in attendance – carbs, protein, fat plus vitamins and minerals? Which key elements are missing?

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Not every meal has to be a 10 – we’re not aiming for elitist foodie perfection here. But if you’re a numbers person, maybe aim for a certain daily average, or at least aim to increase your score as the month flies by rolls along. And give yourself a break from the “Daily Value (DV)" percentages, the calories, and the miligrams. Those numbers rarely hit home to anyone; a simple 1-10? We can manage that, right?

To get us started, I’ll subject my last few meals to your rating system! We’re not counting anything but the quality of a balanced meal (or lack thereof). Lately, we’ve been consuming things like…

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Left: Pizza with faux sausage, spinach, red pepper & broccoli (on homemade crust!)

Right: the beginnings of breakfast – oatmeal, pb + banana slices.

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Shrimp fried rice with egg, brown rice, green beans, red pepper & green onion. Cooked with toasted sesame oil, topped with sesame seeds.

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Left: steamed kale + sautéed squash, red onion & chick peas – over brown rice.

Right: steamed kale & mini-heirloom tomatoes + Falafel, sliced avocado and fresh parmesan.

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Scores for each? Or the ones you would add to your weekly menu? And, go!

Happy Nutrition Month!

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Filed under Dietitians, dinners, food, groceries, lunches, Nutrition, recipes

Roasted Vegetable Medley–Nutrients over Numbers

Before we pull out the forks and dine on a new (to me) vegetable trio, I want to thank you! I put this post out there as a feeler; an open door for dialogue, that could’ve gone in many directions. Every comment brings something to the conversation, which is why I love chatting with you all.

We can all agree that whether or not you add up, intuitively know the numbers, or not, the key is making the “calories count” vs. just counting the calories – thinking nutrients with numbers, or nutrients over numbers.

A bowl of roasted vegetables with leave the nutrients numbers high, and the calorie number low – the first counts for much more.

Thanks to a collaboration with Whole Foods (Tenleytown) last Wednesday evening, I have a large collection of fresh vegetables to get through – some of which have never had a stem in my fridge. Exhibit A:

Brussel Sprout Stalk

Brussel sprouts, on a stalk. Not only have I never purchased or cooked brussel sprouts, but I have also never even seen them on a stalk. It looks like this came straight from someone’s garden (does anyone grow sprouts?? Fancy.). It added an element of fun to the new-vegetable experiment – pick little sprout-bulbs from their roots, then figure out what to do with them.

Betty said it was best to cut off the stem ends, wash them and either boil or steam. My intention was to roast, but I took her advice into account. After all, we assume Betty has cooked many a sprout in her day, yes? Well, she has cooked them at least once more than me.

What goes with brussel sprouts? Two other veggies that were in the please-use-me-now phase. Exhibits B & C:

cauliflower and sproutsPotato Medley

Cauliflower & a Potato Medley* (bag from Trader Joe’s)

Roasted Vegetable Medley: Potatoes, Cauliflower & Brussel Sprouts

1 bag (~1.5 pounds) mini-potato medley, washed & cubed
The bag I used had purple, red & gold potatoes
1 stalk brussel sprouts – approx. 3 cups
1 head cauliflower, stemmed & cut into florets
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425*.

Toss the potatoes in 1 tbsp olive oil, season with salt/pepper. Put in a large casserole (9 x 13) dish. Spray or lightly oil the bottom to prevent sticking.  Roast for 20 min.

Meanwhile, wash and rinse the brussel sprouts. Steam in a medium sauce pan for 8-10 minutes.

Combine cauliflower florets and sprouts, stir and add to potatoes in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove, stir & cover with foilroast for another 10 minutes.

roasted vegetable medley

Total cook time is around 50 minutes – time consuming, but worth the easy effort! With very little cooking skill required – really, just stir and let the boiling water and oven do the work! – you’ve got a large batch of roasted, naturally flavorful nutrients. This is the good stuff!

*Purple potatoes are full of the antioxidant anthocyanin – the same powerful nutrient found in blueberries, plums, pomegranates and cherries!

Nutrients in abundance, here’s the breakdown in a “serving” (~2 cups):

Recipe   Nutrition factsNutrition Facts part 2

This batch lasted about two days in our apartment – apparently my taste-buds were on board for two new veggies (I’ve never had purple potatoes, either – where do these come from??), and a hefty dose of potassium, vitamin C, folate, fiber, etc.


What new foods have you tested out lately?

What nutrients did you get from it?

Variety is key! Nutrients come in all hues, textures and shapes. I still have kale, beets, another cauliflower head and some sort of mushroom to work with.

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Filed under dinners, in the kitchen, learning, lunches, new things!, Nutrition, recipes