Would you like to see a picture of what I ate for lunch today?

Hi!

Ack! I have my first half marathon on Sunday! And work has been crazy! Also, my house is kind of in chaos as we are adding a second bathroom, so contractors and plumbers and electricians are traipsing in and out all day long. They tell me this will be a shower soon?

The great calming force in my life right now has been that after several attempts, I have mastered the faux Chipotle bowl.

  • Brown rice mixed with the most delicious salsa that exists
  • Black beans
  • Corn
  • A mix of Anaheim, pasilla, and bell peppers
  • Red onions
  • I bring avocado with me to work to add on top at lunch time.

I might be undertrained and overscheduled but having my lunch ready to go in the fridge in the morning makes me feel like I’m winning at life.

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Weekday Lunches: Whole Wheat Pasta with Pesto and Brocolli

Since I am no longer spending 10-15 hours a week training for triathlons, I suddenly find myself with a lot more time for other things I enjoy. Reading for one thing.  And cooking, for another.

I ate a lot of Chipotle for lunch over the summer.  In part because I was busy and didn’t have as much time to cook, and in part because I was spending a lot of time working out and I was starving all the time and two tacos were just enough food to keep me full for most of the afternoon.

The cold weather makes it feel like the perfect time to spend Sunday nights at home, cooking up food for the week. I tried this out last week, and I’m making it again this week.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Pesto and Brocolli (my incredibly scientific recipe)

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pasta (a whole package)
  • Brocolli (a big ole head, cut into bite-sized-ish pieces)
  • Pesto (a small package from the store)
  • Grapeseed oil (or olive oil or whatever oil you like) (a big ole dollop)

Instructions:

Cook up a whole thing of pasta.  Dump in a pre-packaged thing of pesto from the store.  (Last week I made my own walnut-spinach pesto in the food processor.  It was vegan, and it was okay, but it wasn’t great.  I need more practice, and until then I will be using store-bought which is not vegan.)  Mix it all up.  This also serves as an impromptu arm workout.

While the water heats up for the pasta, pour enough oil in the pan to cover the bottom. (I use a cast iron skillet because I worry about getting enough iron in my diet.)  Cook your brocollis until they’re just slightly softer than you like.  The thing about cooking for weekday lunches is that you’re going to microwave this for a minute or two, so it can be about 80% as cooked as it needs to be.

Mix the brocolli with the pasta and put it into whatever hodge podge tupperware you have.  It makes about four good sized servings.

I microwave this for about 90 seconds at work.  With my yucky homemade pesto last week, I added a splash of water to the container before nuking it to add some needed moisture, but I don’t think that will be necessary with the pre-made pesto, since it’s a lot more oily.

This recipe accounts for the fact that you’re going to take a few big bites of pasta once it’s cooked.  And a few big bites of the final product before tupperware-ing it. How much wine you drink while cooking is optional.

Weekend Update

I work hard, dangit, and the past few weeks have been hectic.  I’m not one to count down to Friday (I try to enjoy all my days!) but I do like the free time.  I don’t like to overschedule Saturday and Sunday.  This weekend was pretty much perfect.

Friday night – blew off the gym and a “Bike Prom” downtown.  Stayed home and did this instead:

That finale was pretty dumb.  But while I post pretty banal content on the internet, I’ll save you my thoughts on the plot of Gossip Girl.

Saturday morning – fought off a champagne headache and swam 38 slow laps at the rec center.  Went for a 24 mile bike ride on the Platte trail.  It was so windy on the way back that we passed a number of cyclists who had given up on staying upright and had gotten off to walk.  Saw a turtle and a turkey!  Attempted to refuel with vegan pancakes. 

They didn’t all look this bad, but they did all taste kind of like school cafeteria fishsticks.

Saturday night we went to the symphony.  I thought I had finally found an occasion to wear this ridiculous yellow ruffly dress I bought from Nordstrom like a year ago.  Too dressy for work, not quite dressy enough for a real dress up event. 

I texted this photo to a friend we were meeting there and she approved, but I ended up going with a slightly safer fuschia dress.  I like bright colors.  They make me feel safer on my bike.

Sunday morning – I swam in a frigging lake!  I know that this is something people do all the time and I am not a special snowflake.  But it was my first open water swim.  (Not counting, like, the fact that I grew up in San Diego and “swam” in the ocean.  Because that swimming was mostly jumping around and shrieking.)  This felt like a big deal.

I stole this photo off of the website of the company that hosts the swims on the weekends.  But this is pretty much what it looked like.  The water was cold, worse than I feared, only 55°.  My body warmed up in my wetsuit, but was really hard to make myself put my face in the water.  We swam around the three buoys, a half mile, but s-l-o-w-l-y.  We struck out, then I wanted to go back to where I could touch for a minute, then I sort of side stroked, breast stroked and dog paddled to the first buoy.  The cold was making it hard for me to catch my breath.

I did a bit of front crawl between the first and second buoy by sort of bribing myself.  Like, do 15 strokes and then you can stop and catch your breath again.  By the time I passed the second buoy, I was warmed up and able to swim about half of the last leg sort of properly.

It was annoying to feel like, after spending hours in the pool, taking weeks of lessons in the fall, working on my form, I was flailing around, dog paddling at some points.  The cold, the open water, the slimy mud, the wetsuit, it was just all really different.  At least it was pretty outside.  And I will do better next week.  We start where we start and we work our way up.

Reward for being brave?

Terrible photo, amazing, delicious brunch.  I’ve been complaining about the lack of vegan restaurant options in Denver, but almost everything on the menu at Sputnik is (or can be) vegan.  And not, like, you have to ask a million questions and specify no cheese and please don’t cook my veggies in butter.  You just order the arepas and say you’d like them vegan, please. 

Sunday afternoon involved a nap and a trip to the dog park.  I’m now trying to get motivated to make my lunch for tomorrow but putting it off by writing a long recap of my weekend to post on the internet, in hopes that you will find it interesting. 🙂

I made pizza with nothing but my hands (and wheat, an oven, etc.)

Inspired by this post from healthytippingpoint.com (My new favorite blog) we made pizzas! 

Of course, I can’t follow a recipe to save my life.  So!  I subbed grapeseed oil for vegetable oil in the crust, and I subbed sweet potatoes in for butternut squash in the sauce.  Making my stolen/very slightly modified recipe:

Crust:

  • Package of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1.5 cups warm water (and another 1/4 cup water added while kneading)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups organic all-purpose white flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour 

In a small bowl, combine packet of dry yeast with 1/4 cup warm water and honey agave. Let stand for 10 minutes – there should be bubbles!

Combine remaining ingredients, use food processor or knead by hand (we’re knead-y).

Add the yeast and stir/knead for a few minutes, until a sticky and stiff dough forms.
Separate into six balls and place in glass casserole dish.  Cover with clean towel and place outside or another warm spot (on top of the dryer, heater, etc).  Let rise for an hour.

Spread out dough on a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone.  Top with sauce and cheese or other toppings.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes if you plan to freeze or 15 minutes if you’re going to eat right away.

Sauce:

  • Roughly 1/4-1/2 cup Pasta sauce (we had Classico Tomato Basil in the fridge)
  • Equal parts Everything Sauce (Any kind of barbecue sauce would be okay, I suppose, but man this sauce is good.  Just the right amount of spicy and amazing)
  • One sweet potato, microwaved in a towel for six minutes
  • Blend everything in the food processor! Ta-daaaa.  It’s sauce.  And it’s delicious.

Because it’s what we had in the refrigerator and pantry, we topped with black beans, spinach, corn, and red onion, things we pretty much always have in the house.

Nom nom nom.

The blog post I read referenced freezing them, but we just wrapped in tin foil and then put in the fridge.  We took them for lunch and heated up in the toaster oven at work.  Amazing, amazing, amazing.  I have been eating some variation of quinoa+farro+veggies for lunch for like two months straight, so pizza feels like…a mouth vacation.

Healthy Tipping Point is my favorite blog of the genre!  I hope I’m not stepping on any weird internet rules by changing and reposting the original recipe.

Could this be more boring? This is literally what I ate for breakfast.

I sometimes take pictures of things I eat.  And post them on the internet.  I don’t know why we do that.  It’s kind of boring for everyone else.

I do know that this pan of brussels sprouts and bell peppers was so pretty I was compelled to take a picture.

Chopped up veggies are so pretty.  These joined forces with pasta to become this week’s breakfast.  (Breakfast is a time, not a food.) 

Tumbling off the wagon

Last week, I went to Seattle for a wedding planning weekend with my engaged sister and my mom.  The good news is, we found the dress!  But while I had every intention of avoiding cheese at the get go, I did not stick the the plan at all this weekend, for two reasons:

1. My sister purposefully had stocked her kitchen with food for her finnicky, vegetarian sibling, but these were things like goat cheese, granola bars with chocolate, hard boiled eggs, etc.  I felt bad that she’d gone to the trouble.

2. Restaurants are hard.

2. I was on vacation and didn’t feel like making the effort. 

I definitely could have ordered my salad without cheese at dinner last night, but I was already giving up my weekend to sleep in my nephew’s Sponge Bob twin bed and wander around Michael’s comparing this ugly white frilly guest book to that ugly frilly white guest book.  Didn’t I deserve a little saturated fat in my life?

I’m probably not supposed to post a picture of the dress she picked, because you have to come to the wedding to see that! But I liked this one. Because it had a moustache!

Nobody cares about your airport stories. I promise. We all tell them anyways.

I felt inexplicably anxious about my flight today, but what could be luckier than flying with O’Malley the Mallard on St. Patrick’s Day? 

Since I’d already punched my card for my one non-vegan thing per day (an egg and cheese breakfast biscuit as a treat since I had to get up at dark thirty this morning) I scoped out the vegan options at Denver’s airport:

Almond butter on Ezekiel bread in a baggie.

I was afraid the almond butter on my sandwich would count as a “liquid or gel” but had no hassle.  I did get my picture taken with the x-ray photo thing people used to be all in arms about.  I smiled for the camera, then felt silly, then changed my mind and felt awesome instead.  Then I ate a sandwich and felt smug about not breaking my pledge and not spending $9 on a bad vegetarian airport sandwich.

I know the airport is essentially a bus station with slightly better security (and bars!) but this seemed a bit much.  Getting on the floor is one thing.  Laying down is one thing.  Sprawling in front of where people walk up to the counter or the gate seems like more of a cry for attention than a quest for comfort.  And I suppose it worked since I snapped a photo and blogged about it.