The Protein Police

Lately, I’ve been starving, especially in the mornings. Usually, before a run, I’ll eat cereal. Then, after a run, I’ll be starving for a second breakfast. I’ll try to hold myself over with a banana, but it’s usually not enough, so then I’ll hit up the almonds, and if there’s anything unhealthy in my line of sight, I’ll track it down (i.e., cupcakes). My main theory is that I’m not getting enough of the stuff that makes you feel full… protein.

I’ve decided to police myself. I’m eating more protein, whether I like it or not. Because, let’s face it, I get really darn hungry when I try to be a vegetarian runner (vegetarianism is my default), and I succumb to unhealthy food. This all comes back to haunt me in the form of weight gain, and less energy –both of which are not good for running.

So, on Friday last week, I made this roast chicken, similar to Gabi’s version, but slightly different (note to self: do not try to roast chicken in a half an hour; it usually takes 2).

…And I proceeded to eat the leftovers, over and over again all week, mostly in the form of a southwestern-style salad (mixed greens + cucumber + black beans + corn + avacado + chicken + dressing + chips/salsa). I have not been SOOO hungry as a result, so I may be onto something here with my theory.

With the carcass (ew, did I really say that word?), I made broth. And then, I made a mushroom-barley-kale soup, adapted from a recipe I found in the White Grass Cafe Cross Country Cooking Cookbook.

So, while I feel a little guilty for having eaten chicken of questionable origins*, I made that thing last! And I have soup to prove it.

*I normally try to be conscious about where my meat comes from, but it was far too convenient to go to the Russian produce store. I don’t know where they get their meat, but it was delicious.

The secret to veggie patties…

…is baking them! Who would have thought? One of my long-term, all-time favorite, vegetarian recipes is Jamaican Vegetable Patties with Pineapple Salsa. However, I only make them if I have company over because they involve a huge mess, and they all fall apart during the saute process, making them unfreezable. They taste amazing, though, so usually it’s forgivable that they look like a sloppy mess (at least, no one complains, and typically, everyone remembers this experience).

I don’t know why I never thought of it before today, but an easy solution would be simply to BAKE them.

Today, I made baked quinoa patties and added a side of lemon cucumber tofu salad for balance. I have to say, these patties are tasty and healthy, but their most impressive qualities are consistency and shape (see how that patty is balancing on one side of the plate, and there’s space underneath it? It’s going nowhere, and it could even be eaten like a cookie).

 

Massaging Kale, Detox Part II

This morning, after bootcamp, I was feeling ambitious and in need of detox food to get over my vacation decadence. So I massaged some kale. I’ve eaten kale before, but usually only baked or sauteed. Massaging kale makes it wilt ever so slightly, and provides it with good consistency for chewing in salad form. It also makes you feel like you are one with your food. Somehow, it seems more intimate than throwing it in a hot pan with oil, anyway.

Here is the recipe I used, recommended by my friend and colleague, Julia. She’s a health nut, frequently uses recipes from Cooks Illustrated, and is currently taking nursing classes, so I knew she was to be trusted. I added orange slices and avocado. The flavor of the fruit really pops in this dish. It turned out pretty nicely!