Monthly Archives: March 2012

Pineapple Stir Fry with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sorry for the hiatus in blogging… but I checked out of the real world for a week and went on the most amazing vacation ever with Mark and his family, to Ambergris Cay, Turks and Caicos (many, many thanks to his parents for taking us on vacation!).

Reasons it was the best vacation ever:

1. We had our own little corner of paradise

2. It has the whitest beaches and most turquoise water I’ve ever seen… great for body surfing!

3. It was full of neat looking rocks (limestone and ooids!)

4. I got to go on some beautiful runs and got in some hill training

5. I got to finish the Ripple Effect

6. It has the largest population of rock Iguanas in the world… which Mark enjoyed

7. And most importantly,  I got to spend time with my second family, in one of the most beautiful places ever.

While we were there, we were responsible for bringing/cooking our own food. Mark and I contributed two nights by making curry and stir fry. Mark’s mom cooked the rest… best dish… caramelized banana pancakes.

The stir fry is my dad’s creation. He used to make it all the time when I was little. It gets it sweetness from pineapple and a sprinkle of brown sugar and its sour from a splash of rice vinegar

Pineapple Stir Fry with Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 cup of rice or quinoa

2 cups of water

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 a large onion, diced

1 cup of baby carrots, sliced in rounds

1/2 a bell pepper, diced

1 cup of button mushrooms quartered

1 1/2 cups of cubed pineapple (fresh or canned)

1/4 cup of soy sauce

1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/4 of stir fry sauce

1 scant tablespoon of hosin

1/4 cup of water

Splash of pineapple juice

1 teaspoon of cayenne

1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar

1-2 tablespoons of flour to thicken sauce

Bring the rice/quinoa and water to a boil and cook according to the package directions. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add in the carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add in the bell pepper and sauté for 3 more minutes. Then add in the mushrooms and sauté another 3 minutes. Then add in the pineapple and sauté for 1 more minute. Add in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, stir fry sauce, hosin, cayenne and brown sugar. Stir and let reduce for a minute, then add in flour, stir until all the lumps are gone, add more four if it is too thin. Cook for 1 more minute to take away the raw taste of the raw taste of the four. Serve veggies over rice (and sautéed greens)

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Chipotle Black Bean Soup

The weather has been crazy the past week… snow one day, 70 degrees the next. Now it seems as if spring is here to stay… at least for the next week. On the few warm days this week, I headed outside for some long runs along the lake

I ran all the way to the canal where they keep the Scandling, which was my home way from home last summer. And, I’ve been getting faster.

                

I have been quenching my thirst after my runs with some Red Jacket cran-apple juice, water and lemon… it taste like spring in a jar

Another sign of spring… the flowers out back have begun to bloom

Now that spring is approaching, it might be time to kiss Soup Sunday’s good-bye (for now). This soup is filling, one bowl will keep you full for a while, due to it’s protein, fiber and healthy fats.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced

1 tablespoon of adobo sauce

1 teaspoon of cumin

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can of fire roasted tomatoes

1-2 cups of water

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Toppings

1/2 an avocado, diced

greek yogurt

sweet potatoes, diced and sauteed with cayenne and olive oil

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the pepper, adobo sauce, cumin and cayenne. sauté for 30 seconds then add in the beans, tomatoes and water. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. The puree it with an immersion blender until it is smooth. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve it with avocado, sautéed sweet potato and a dollop of greek yogurt

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Balsamic Roasted Tofu and Veggies over Creamy Polenta

I just got back from a weekend in the Adirondacks, collecting and analyzing stream and spring samples for my Aqueous and Environmental Geochemistry Course. It was nice to get away, do a little hiking and learn about a geologically unique area of New York State.

I made this dinner a few days back… I’ve been on a roasted tofu kick. I love how when you roast tofu with balsamic vinegar, the vinegar thickens and gets slightly sweet.

Balsamic Roasted Tofu with Mushrooms, Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes

2 teaspoons of rosemary, minced

2 teaspoons of thyme, minced

1 clove of garlic minced

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1/2 block of extra firm tofu pressed (see how to press tofu here) then cubed

10 button mushrooms or baby portabellas cleaned and quartered

1/2 a red pepper cut into thin strips

6-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 and onion, cut into rings 1/4in thick and separated

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine all of the ingredients through the oil in a mortar and pestle. Mash it up good until it forms kind of a paste, then add in the balsamic vinegar and stir. Spread the veggies onto a foil lined baking sheet. Pour the marinade over and toss everything around to coat. Roast for 25 minutes, turning occasionally, or until everything is golden brown.

 Polenta

3 cups of water divided

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 cup of corn meal

lots of black pepper

1 teaspoon of rosemary, minced

1 teaspoon of thyme, minced

1/2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes

1 cup of veggie stock (low sodium)

1/4 cup of milk (non-dairy is fine)

Add one cup of water, spices and one tablespoon of olive oil to a pot over medium heat. Stir in the corn meal. Over high heat the remaining 2 cups of water and 1 cup of veggie stock. Once that comes to a boil, stir it into the cornmeal. Stir the cornmeal continuously for 15 minutes. Then stir in the milk and stir for an additional 5 minutes, until it is thick and creamy. (you could also stir in some Parmesan cheese)

Spoon the polenta onto a plate and top with tofu and veggies.

You can also spread the polenta into a cool pan and stick in the fridge to cool. Then cut it into slices and fry in a few tablespoons of olive oil for a crispy texture.

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Guacamole

I find as it gets towards the end of winter, I am so ready for some fresh produce that doesn’t include parsnips and squash (not that I don’t love those veggies). I made a few impulse buys at the store, namely 2 avocados and 1 pineapple, significantly increasing my carbon footprint. They were shipped all the way from Chile (I know, bad environmentalist, I do feel really bad) but I needed some fruit and veggies to pick me up out of my winter blues. I try to buy greenhouse grown veggies from the US, or Mexico if I have to, but I have been craving pineapple for weeks… and next thing I knew, it was in the cart, along with avocados and some yummy veggie sushi! The sushi had brown rice, asparagus, cucumber, roasted red peppers and avocado wrapped in carrot instead of nori.

On another note about the environment, I have seriously cut back on using my car, it’s not worth the gas (I’m still working on a tank of gas from mid January!) or the detriment to the environment. I’ve been walking everywhere, including the 2.5 mile round trip trek to campus. So, I climbed in my car to go to hockey practice the other night (I cannot carry my bag to the rink, it’s too far to carry all my gear and too dark) and my battery was dead… 3 jump attempts later and a drive to recharge my battery.. it’s now functioning again. Is this what I get for trying to be more environmentally friendly?

In addition to all the walking, I have ramped up my training for the Seneca 7… I ran 5 miles on Wednesday and felt fantastic.

Now on to the avocados… I obviously made guacamole, but I changed it up by adding spinach and cannelloni beans to increase the protein, fiber and iron and cut down on the fat. My guacamole has 28 calories in 2 tablespoons versus 43 in regular guacamole. I also shaved off 1.5 grams of fat and you won’t even notice the difference. So load up your plate …

Lightened-Up Guacamole

16 2 tablespoon servings

1 avocado, scooped out of skin and seed removed

1 cup of cannelloni bean (white kidney)

2 cups of spinach

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

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