Sunday, January 29, 2012

Butternut Squash Ravioli

On a whim I decided to try out Butternut Squash Ravioli. Whole Food's version wasn't vegan so I picked Rising Moon's. Paired with my favorite tomato sauce by Rao's, it was love at first bite.  My lunches at work just got that much better :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Exercise and benefits of autophagy (self-eating)

Since I am addicted to running and post-work out endorphins, I don’t need additional reasons to exercise. However, I do love collecting info to try to convert others to my cause. This week’s Economist features an interesting study: Exercise and Longevity

Key points:
  • Exercise promotes autophagy (Greek for self-eating)
  • “Autophagy is mechanism where surplus, worn-out or malformed proteins and other components are broken up for scrap and recycle”
  • A study on mice showed that autophagy helps prevent diabetes, slow down ageing, fight bacterial infections, slow the onset of neurological conditions like Alzheimer's and Huntington’s diseases.
Previously, whenever I mentioned slowing the ageing process to my fellow Economist/NPR nerds, the topic of near-starvation diets arises. This would never work for me because I love food and need calories to fuel my runs. Next time this comes up I can mention vigorous exercise as a better solution :)

Also check out the article, A history of dieting: Binge and purge...really interesting facts on the history of dieting.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thank Loving

Thank you Mrs. & Mr. Loving
If I was born 45 years earlier I,  an African America woman, would not have been allowed to marry my husband (who is a white man) in many US states. Thank God for people like the Lovings who refuse to accept unjust laws.

The International Photography Center (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) has an exhibit on The Lovings now until May 6. And it's free on Fridays :)
"Forty-five years ago, sixteen states still prohibited interracial marriage. Then, in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the case of Richard Perry Loving, a white man, and his wife, Mildred Loving, a woman of African American and Native American descent, who had been arrested for miscegenation nine years earlier in Virginia. The Lovings were not active in the Civil Rights movement but their tenacious legal battle to justify their marriage changed history when the Supreme Court unanimously declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation law—and all race-based marriage bans—unconstitutional. LIFE magazine photographer Grey Villet's intimate images were uncovered by director Nancy Buirski during the making of The Loving Story, a documentary debuting on February 14, 2012 on HBO. The exhibition, organized by Assistant Curator of Collections Erin Barnett, includes some 20 vintage prints loaned by the estate of Grey Villet and by the Loving family."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tastey Vegan Mac & Cheese

I was previously relying on Amys Kitchen's frozen vegan mac and cheese whenever I wanted to indulge. However, juzi (Swahili for the day before yesterday) I tried making it myself......this made all the difference.....the combo of bread crumbs and baked Daiya make for a delicious meal.

I used the recipe found on Daiya's website. Note: I did not use nutritional yeast.
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 30 mins

8 ounces gluten-free or regular pasta, any shape
3 cups Daiya cheddar
3 tablespoons vegan butter
2 cups unsweetened (soy / rice) milk product
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (I omitted this)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon paprika

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain thoroughly when done.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the cheese sauce while oven is warming. In a small pot melt the butter. When melted, add the pepper and nutritional yeast.

Stir in the milk or crème product. Add the cheddar, and cook over low/medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.  Stir in the macaroni and mix together. Transfer to an 8x8 casserole dish. Top with the bread crumbs and paprika.  Bake for 15 minutes uncovered, or until the cheese is bubbling and top is starting to brown.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Searching for a summer marathon

This weekend I spent way too many hours trying to find a marathon that happens before the beginning of September. I'm looking for one with great views, milder summer weather and a semi-flat course. I don’t care for things like huge crowds/spectators or fancy expos.

Currently deciding between these 4…..Please comment if you’ve run them or heard info on them…..

Portland, Oregon (on Sauvie Island) on July 4
Pros: beautiful course - rolling farmland, some snow-capped peaks and various livestock (ostriches!).....mainly flat
Cons: out and back course means merging with walkers/slow runners at one point

Missoula, Montana on July 8
Pros: Flat course, cool temps
Cons: Expensive flight

North Olympic Discovery Marathon
Port Angeles, Washington on June 3
Pros: Beautiful course - Olympic Discovery Trail with views of the Olympic Mountains and a five mile finishing stretch along the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca
Cons: 9 am starting time  tends to mean hotter weather, some running on rocks, more hills

Kauai Marathon 
Kauai, Hawaii on Sept 2
Pros:Best course rating on Marathon Guide - beaches, rugged volcanic peaks, and green tropical rain forests. A friend of ours lives on Kauai so we could visit him.
Cons: Tough hills, expensive flight, entry fee is 2x the others

Update (Feb 5, 2012) - I've decided save money on travel and stick to fall marathons in NY/East Coast Area. Fingers crossed I get into the NYC marathon.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Energy Bites: vegan snacks full of goodness

Another winner from Quick-Fix Vegan cookbook... these energy bites are the perfect midday snack and have just the right amount of sweetness. Also great for a small dose of protein/carbs before a run.

1/2 cup unsalted cashews
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 pitted dates
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cocoa, shredded coconut or finely ground nuts for coating (optional)

Combine cashews and sunflower seeds in a food processor until finely ground. Add dates, tahini, cranberries, maple syrup and vanilla and process until well combined. Spoon out a small amount of the mixture roll into a 1-inch ball and arrange on cookie sheet. Repeat until all the mixture is used. If desired roll balls in cocoa, coconut or nuts. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up then serve.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sloppy Portobellos

My husband and I prepared this Sloppy Portobello recipe for our New Year's Eve dinner. So far I'm really liking my new cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan.

It was my first time using Liquid Smoke and I am very impressed by much taste 0.5 teaspoon provides. Great fast and simple recipe! We are already planning ways to convert it into an appetizer using baguette slices :)

1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz portobello mushrooms, shredded or finely chopped
1 (4-oz) can chopped green chilies, drained
1 tbs soy sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 toasted burger rolls

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and cook until softened, 4 mins. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 secs. Stir in the mushrooms, chilies, and soy sauce and cook until lightly browned, 2 -3 mins.

Stir in ketchup, mustard, chili powder, Liquid Smoke, salt and pepper. Mix well, adding a little water if mixture is too dry. Simmer to blend flavours, 5 mins.

Spoon onto rolls and serve hot.