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Celebrating Saintyday the Jewish Way March 17, 2013

Posted by starshipexercise in Recipes and Food, Running.
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Normally, I poo-poo holidays named after saints. They’re not my holidays, after all. Was St. Patrick a Jew? I think not.

But this year, instead of closing the drapes, hiding in my living room, and watching the Science Channel all day, I signed up to do the St. Pat’s Dash. Not because I want to dress in sparkly green clothes or drink beer, but because my company is a sponsor and I wanted to show some support. Plus, I won a free registration.

I was not excited about the Dash when I woke up today. I paddled yesterday for the first time in weeks (I’m such a dope) and woke up with a very sore back. Also, it was cold, and when I looked up the weather it said it would be in the upper 30s and raining all morning. And I don’t like crowds. When they say 15,000 people sign up for this thing, they aren’t kidding. And anyway, it’s not even my holiday!

But I dragged my sore and scroogey ass over to Seattle Center anyway, and the universe rewarded me for the effort. The sun came out, and it turned out to be a pretty good run. I liked it better than the Magnuson series and the Seattle Marathon 5Ks. Oh, and people dress up in some wild costumes which is quite entertaining. I only saw one Pope,though. I suppose it would be pretty awkward to run in that hat, although the guys dressed as cans of Guinness didn’t seem to have a problem.

I finished ahead of the 6 pack of Guinness, by the way, so even though I wogged it, I’m feeling pretty good about myself.

Directions for a successful wog:

  1. Load up your trusty Nano with your favorite running songs.
  2. Run for a song.
  3. Walk for a song.
  4. Rinse and repeat for almost four miles.
  5. Go home and ice your knees.

Meh. I guess I still poo-poo the saintydays, but I figure since I Dashed in the morning, I might as well dine appropriately in the evening, all in the spirit and whatnot. But I can’t do most of the traditional foods and beverages one would expect on this day. Guinness, whiskey, corned beef – all migraine triggers.

Never mind the corned beef. I’m taking it back. Yes, I’m taking back March 17 for the Jews (and migraine sufferers). I made green kugel.

Green Lokshen Kugel

Servings: 9 (makes 18 kugels)

1 12 oz package Tinkyada Spinach Spaghetti style brown rice pasta
2 cups baby kale (packed, about 1/2 of a 5 oz package)
1.5 cups chopped red grapes
2 eggs plus 2 egg whites
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Dash of fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin tins with a generous application of non-stick spray.

Break dry spaghetti into thirds and cook pasta according to package directions. Add kale for last few minutes of cooking. Drain. Do not rinse, but allow to cool (I am impatient and spread the pasta/kale mixture on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the fridge for about 10 minutes).

Beat eggs, add spices, grapes, pasta and kale. Fill muffin tins evenly. Spray tops with non-stick spray, and sprinkle with some additional kosher salt, if desired (I did).

Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool only as much as you have to before devouring.

Figuring two kugels per serving, that’s a mere 5 Weight Watcher’s PPV. Yenta go braugh!

Looking kinda Christmasy with the green pasta and the red grapes. Dammit!

Looking kinda Christmasy with the green pasta and the red grapes. Dammit!

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No Polenta in the ‘Verse Can Stop Me December 30, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in MIgraine, Recipes and Food.
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Like most people, I like to think about recipes I want to try while watching Firefly marathons on the Science channel. Indeed, I experienced a flash of brilliance during the last one. In one particularly violent episode, there’s this line Kaylee says which River later repeats: “No power in the ‘verse can stop me.” Now, I love Firefly as much as the next nerd, but I don’t usually take it as guidance or inspiration for life.*

But this one time, I heard that line and thought of polenta. My brain works best in alliteration mode, apparently.

I have been wanting to try making polenta for a couple of years, actually, but the good stuff is always full of way too much dairy. Oh, all that lovely cow product makes the polenta taste good, but with that much dairy and fat, there’s no portion in the ‘verse small enough to stop me from getting a migraine, a stomachache, and a muffin top. Yeah, I’ve been a little intimidated by polenta. I admit it.

But with Kaylee and River backing me up, I figured it was worth a shot.

So I spent hours searching for polenta recipes online, and found absolutely nothing that I wanted to try. Then the invoice from my next CSA order came with a very simple recipe for baked polenta, which doesn’t actually call for very much dairy. I figured I could tolerate the small amounts of butter and cheese in the recipe so I gave it a whirl and it turned out very well:

Very Well Baked Polenta

Servings: 6

1 cup medium grind corn meal
3 cups water
2 tbsp butter (I use organic hippie butter that doesn’t have carageenan in it – read your labels!)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus a little extra to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Mix all ingredients together, and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and stir, sprinkle cheese on top, replace in oven for 10 more minutes. Allow to sit for at least 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Calories 139.6
Total Fat 5.4 g
Cholesterol 13.7 mg
Sodium 173.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Protein 3.8 g

Weight Watcher’s Points Plus Value**: 4

Now, that’s not bad in terms of nutritional value. And as for taste, I served it at a dinner party and the consensus was…yummy!

If you are a normal person, stop reading here. But if you’re watching your cholesterol, or you’re just a crazy-health-nut-bitch like me, we can do better.

Skinny Baked Polenta

Servings: 6

1 cup medium grind corn meal
3 cups water
2 tbsp chicken broth (I use home made, you can use whatever. It’s ok, I won’t judge you.)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges
2 1/2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Put Laughing Cow cheese and broth in a teeny tiny bowl*** and nuke just long enough that you can mix them together into a slurry that resembles a corn starch slurry. Mix together water, corn meal, cheese slurry, salt, and 1 tbsp of the parmesan cheese. Bake for 5o minutes. Stir, and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Calories 117.7
Total Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 3.2 mg
Sodium 168.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Protein 3.8 g

Weight Watcher’s Points Plus Value: 2

So far I’m the only one who’s tasted it, but it’s damn good, if I do say so myself.

Happy New Year, Bitches!

* According to my dear husband, I am a “nerd with a U,” which I think means I’m an old school nerd. I can’t work the stereo, and frankly have no interest in video games, but I read science fiction voraciously and as a young child ran interesting experiments involving the hardwood floor, carpet, silly putty, crayons, baby powder and heat (not necessarily in that order)…just to see what would happen. I preferred to think of myself as an alchemist rather than sociopath. Whatever, I digress.

** All WW PPV are according to the recipe builder app, and assume my sometimes admittedly wonky attempts at measuring are accurate. I didn’t plug the nutritional info into the points calculator to see if it matches the recipe builder, I’m just much too lazy for that.

*** My dear husband, who is a foot taller than me, likes to remind me in his best Gilda Radner voice that I am a little, teeny, tiny, itty, bitty, little, tiny wife. I suppose it’s appropriate that I use teeny tiny bowls. It’s always something.

My Morning Scramble…of Rage! May 15, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in Recipes and Food.
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Usually, I have oatmeal for breakfast.  Soooooo boring, but I’m a creature of habit.  When I roll out of bed on a work day, I have a very well orchestrated-routine that I can execute in the dark. Literally. I typically don’t even open my eyes until just before I leave the house.

On the days I don’t have to get to work, and I can throw my routine out the window, I like to do something different for breakfast. I took today off to go see a matinee of The Avengers (wouldn’t you?), so I took advantage of those two weeks, one hour and three minutes of hell I spent planting my herb garden and made myself a delightful breakfast scramble. Part of the delight came from killing…I mean, destroying… I mean, harvesting my own herbs.

It should be noted, over the years my husband has learned to discourage me from gardening or yard work of any sort.  Apparently, not only am I bad at it, but it makes me an angry person. Whatever. For some mysterious reason, he was quite encouraging this time around, and even helped me get together the materials I needed.  So, I’m trying not to take my berserker-garden-rage out on my sweetie, who I totally love and appreciate for knowing when to support me, and when to slowly back away.

HULK, GARDEN!  Heh. Did I mention I’m going to see The Avengers today? Anyhoo, here’s my recipe for…

Quick, Before the Cilantro Bolts Breakfast Scramble

Servings: 1

1 spray non-stick cooking spray
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2.5 oz baby kale (half of a 5 oz package)
.3 cup frozen corn kernels
Handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I used cilantro, tarragon, dill)
1 large egg plus one egg white, scrambled
salt and pepper to taste

Spray a deep sautee pan with cooking spray and place on burner turned to medium.  When pan is hot, throw in garlic and kale and sautee until kale is cooked down (I used baby kale, so I didn’t bother chopping and it cooked down in about 5 minutes).  Toss in corn kernals and cook for another minute. Stir in fresh herbs, beaten eggs, and salt and pepper to taste and scramble in the pan.

Calories: 173.6
Total Fat: 5.8 g
Cholesterol: 185.0 mg
Sodium: 128.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 15.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g
Protein: 13.9 g

Red pepper flakes and/or fresh bell pepper would be a great addition. You could also add onion and cheese, if you eat that sort of thing.  If you’re not a fan of the corn, leftover brown rice or any other whole grain would be great too (I just didn’t have any made in the fridge or that would have been my first choice).  And if you’re really hungry, or just bigger than me (not hard to do, I’m only 5 ft tall), you could double the corn (or other grain), bulk it up with some more veggies, add another egg white or beans for protein, and still have a really reasonable breakfast.  Happily, the above version is migraine free, gluten free, and dairy free, although you gotta watch those cooking sprays because most of them contain soy.  Enjoy!

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.

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