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We Have Superior Paddling Foo April 29, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Dragon Boat, Recipes and Food.
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Yesterday, my dragon boat team went to our first dragon boat race of the 2012 season.  I think this has to be up there with one of my favorite race experiences ever. We really gelled as a team and morale was super-high. We had more focus and intensity on the boat than I’ve ever seen since I started calling about a year ago. And, just for icing on the cake, we took 2nd place in our division, which means everyone went home with bling.

I learned something about my body, too. I learned that while paddling in a race is more strenuous, it actually takes me longer to recover from calling. Today I have a sore throat, bruises on my inner knees, sore-to-the-touch quads, I’m extremely aware of my core, and I’m damn tired. After years of paddling, I’ve learned to expect to recover from a race basically in the same day, but I called four races yesterday (plus three visualizations and four practice race starts), mostly from a lunge position. Let’s just say I’m still waiting for the recovery to happen.  (Note to self: improve leg strength and practice yelling.)

I didn’t see it coming, either.  I figured Saturday would be dedicated to the race, and Sunday would be a cooking day, as usual.  Because I have so many food restrictions, I really have to plan ahead for my food for the week. Typically, I make a large vat of soup on Sundays, which I can pre-portion out and bring to work for lunches during the week. Sundays are really, really important. Today, however, I’m apparently spending more time on the couch than making food.

Rather than getting some chicken stock on the stove this morning, I took a nap. After my Sunday morning walk around Seward Park, I took a nap. After I woke up, I took another nap.  When I woke up for the fourth time today, I freaked out because it was 4 PM and too late to start a stock so I could make soup tonight.

Fortunately, there is balance in the universe: the dragon boat race that knocked me on my ass is also the thing that has saved my butt this week. I needed something quick and easy, so I decided to attempt a quinoa salad for this week’s lunches, inspired by the dish one of my team mates contributed to our potluck table at the race.

Here’s a dirty little secret I’ve held close to my heart for a long time: I don’t like quinoa. Ew. Please don’t tell the health nuts or they’ll revoke my club membership. My favorite food of all time is spinach. I will happily eat beets, brussels sprouts, lima beans, and almost any other “acquired taste” put in front of me (except sea urchin), but any time I’ve made quinoa I have just hated it. Ptui. Ickisauce.

But life is full of happy surprises if you stay open to the possibilities.  The quinoa salad at the race was delicious. My team mate thoughtfully left out the onion so I could eat it, and it’s really the first quinoa I’ve had that I loved, let alone could swallow without gagging a little.  I think it had to do with the fresh vegetables and especially the large amount of cilantro which nicely covers up the taste of the grain itself.  Everything’s better with cilantro!

So, I ran to the store and got busy preparing my version of quinoa salad.  It turned out yummy, even if I do say so myself.  It should be noted, however, that I used teeny amounts of oil and vinegar, because the only vinegar I can safely have is distilled white and only in very small quantities.  This dish really needs some acid, so unless you have a lot of migraine triggers, I would suggest a more free hand with a better vinegar, and/or some fresh lemon or lime juice.  And of course, if you bump up the acid, you will want to bump up the oil as well but beware, that will bump up the fat and calories.

But for what it’s worth, here’s my Migraine-free Quinoa Salad:

Servings: 4, approximately 1 cup each

1 Cup Whole Grain Quinoa
.5 Cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
.5 Cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
.5 Cup Seedless English Cucumber (peel on), diced
1 Garlic Clove
2 tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp Canola Oil
2 tsp Distilled White Vinegar
.5 tsp Kosher Salt

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  As previously discussed, I didn’t have stock due to extreme laziness, so I cooked it in water with a garlic clove thrown in for flavor.  Mix remaining ingredients into warm quinoa.  Enjoy.

This is a recipe that would be really easy to double for larger portions or more servings.  It could also be bulked up with lots more veggies: diced jalapenos, tomatoes, carrots, or summer squash would all be good additions.  Dried fruit and nuts would be good, too.

Calories : 202.5
Fat: 5.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 142.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 33.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.8 g
Protein : 6.3 g

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