Monday, December 6, 2010

I've been hitting the weights.

And I've gained weight. About 8 pounds from my lowest. But since I've been working hard in the weight room, I haven't gained it in fat (well, maybe a little fat). My hips, historically my widest point due to body fat storage, have actually slimmed down a hair, and overall I have a more balanced silhouette. My message here to women reading: please do not be afraid of lifting weights. I lift like a man, forsaking the barbie weights. You'll find me hogging the squat rack most of the time, lifting barbells loaded with the big plates. As of today, I'm deadlifting 220, squatting 135, and overhead pressing 95. Certainly a far cry from elite lifting standards, but more than most women do (and heck, more than a lot of men do). Yet I do not look like Arnold Schwartzenegger. And while I do really like the aesthetic results, I like the physiological results even better. I am stronger, my flexibility has improved, I can eat more, and in the long term I am building strong bones and joints that will resist age related deterioration. Get thee to the weight room, ladies.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is simply my basic whole wheat bread with some cinnamon and raisins thrown in for good measure. It's good. Especially with homemade sunflower butter. Yumyumyum.

In bread machine pan combine:

2 cups tepid water
1 TBSP active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
4 TBSP vital wheat gluten
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Set machine for 2 lb. loaf. Enjoy!

Multigrain Vegan Waffles

I do a lot of experimenting with waffles and pancakes. I change my recipe a little bit each week, but these came out so good I'm sticking with the recipe! I always make big batches to stock my freezer with, hence the large volume of ingredients.

Multigrain Vegan Waffles

4.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TBSP + 1 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 TBSP Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer (or 3 eggs)
3 cups unsweetened plain soy or almond milk
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
3 cups water
1/3 cup olive oil

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg replacer with 1/2 cup plus 1 TBSP water. When blended, whisk in milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to thicken.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

Stir water and oil into the milk mixture, then add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until blended. Pour roughly 1/2 cup of batter onto hot waffle iron that's been treated with pan spray. Let cook 4-6 minutes until steaming stops. Makes 16-20 waffles.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Clean-out-the-fridge Night.

I had two bunches of chard and 3 roasted beets I needed to use up, so here's what I did. Five ingredients (three of them being pantry staples), one pan, and simple prep: it doesn't get easier. And bonus, this is really delicious. Forgive my bad photography skills, they'll get better. :)

Chard and Beets with Walnuts and Carmelized Onions


Olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 medium beets, roasted and diced
2 bunches of green chard, chopped
raw walnuts

Heat oil in pan over medium heat, then add onion and sautee until soft and browned. Add chard and a splash of water, cover and let steam until the chard softens. Uncover and add beets, stir and continue cooking until everything is warmed through and any remaining water evaporates. Stir in walnuts and serve with freshly ground salt and pepper.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oakland Marathon

Here I am all ready to run my leg of the Oakland Marathon. Can I tell you how much I loved this event? Finally one event that brought the people of Oakland together to do something healthy and positive. I love this city, so much. It's expensive as hell, and has a lousy reputation, and the schools (for the most part) SUCK, but you know, where else in this whole damn world can you take your kid to the park down the street from your house and watch her play with children of a dozen different ethnicities without batting an eyelash? It's not perfect here, there is still a lot of racial tension (less so than in other cities I've lived in though, no doubt) but I think things like the Oakland Marathon are a step toward healing. I'm so honored to have been a part of the inaugural race!

I ran the first leg of the relay, 6.2 miles, all uphill. I came in at 56:43, which I feel really good about. I'm a swimmer, not a runner dammit! :D My team was so great, I'm really happy I got to run with them. Our total time was 4:19. It was FUN, and I'm looking forward to next year (I'm planning on running the FULL MARATHON next year, for the record). I hope more of my friends participate next year, several did this year and it was great to see them on the course. Best of all was seeing our friends and loved ones cheering us on from the sidelines. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Slow Cooker Spiced Apples

Berkeley Bowl had organic apples for $.99/lb today. They weren't my favorite kind of apples but what a deal! I bought two 3 pound bags. So there I was with 6 pounds of apples. Time to make my favorite snack! You won't believe how easy this is.

Slow Cooker Spiced Apples

However many apples you want to use, cored and sliced (don't worry about peeling). Bear in mind they cook way down, so use a lot. My six pounds of apples filled my entire 7 quart slow cooker but cooked down by more than half.
cinnamon to taste (I used about 2 TBSP)
pinches of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, etc to your liking
dash of olive oil

Toss apple slices with spices and olive oil and put in slow cooker overnight on low. Voila! Deeply carmelized, melt in your mouth spiced apples. I like them scooped into a bowl with a few crumbled walnuts and a bit of almond/soy/coconut milk. I also like to puree them into apple butter. Except without the CUPS of sugar traditional apple butter recipes call for. They so do NOT need extra sweetening!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cabbage, Apple and Beet Salad with Sunflower Dressing

I've had this salad taking shape in my head for a couple days, after reading about a similar salad on one of the message boards I visit. I just couldn't figure out what to use for dressing, but then this morning as I made some fresh sunflower butter it all fell into place. It turned out quite nicely, it's a mild, slightly sweet salad with lots of crunch. The beets turn the whole salad pink, but you could use golden beets to avoid this. The measures for the dressing are approximate, adjust to your taste.

Cabbage, Apple and Beet Salad with Sunflower Dressing

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded or finely chopped
2-3 medium beets, roasted, peeled and diced
2 apples, diced (I used fuji)
6 stalks celery, diced


1/4 cup sunflower butter (made with just sunflower seeds)
1 TBSP whole grain mustard
1 TBSP maple syrup
splash of apple cider vinegar
splash of soy sauce
water to reach desired consistency

Toss vegetables together in a large bowl. In small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients, then add to salad and toss. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I registered for Barb's Race, a womens' 70.3 triathlon coming up this July in Sonoma, CA. My 'plan' had been to do a couple Olympic distance tri's this year and move up to the half iron distance next year, but I got a little full of myself on my 37th birthday last week and registered as a 'present' to myself. Right, a present that is going to cause me months of pain and make my family wonder where their wife and mother disappeared to. The upshot, though, is that my blog name will be official, in less than two years start-to-finish.

So I'll attempt to blog about my training, if anyone is interested. The big training news this week was that I completed my first double-digit run, 10 miles. This is notable because I have osteoarthritis in both knees and a meniscus tear from an injury a couple years ago. My doctor told me a year ago that I shouldn't run, but I decided to let my body decide. I started out slow and was diligent about strength training. I said all along that if my knees got worse I'd back off. And though there were some achey days, for the most part my knees held up well, and now, a year later, not only am I able to run (mostly) pain free, my knee function has actually improved (I have a little greater range of motion) and I experience less pain. They still creak and get stiff, but the net effect is positive. I've developed a bit of a 'use it or lose it' philosophy as a result.

So anyway, yes, I ran 10 miles, and I got a little emotional about it. Because if I can run 10 miles, who's to say I can't run 26.2? Then I'd need to change my blog name to Couch to 140.6.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vegan Body

There are a couple places I hang around online where the dominating train of thought is that to build muscle one needs to eat meat or drink whey protein shakes or some such nonsense. This is me rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dinner Tonight

I threw a couple things together tonight and they both turned out really well so I'm sharing. :) Here's what I had to work with: 1 large onion, 4 zucchinis, a package of baby portabello mushrooms, 3 cups of cooked garbanzo beans, 4 ounces of leftover Field Roast 'Classic Meatloaf' (vegan), half a jar of julienned sundried tomatoes in olive oil, and leftover brown rice. The pantry items I utilized: olive oil, a cup of vegetable broth and 2 cloves of garlic. This is what I came up with:

Stewed Garbanzo Beans

olive oil
half a large onion, diced
1 TBSP sundried tomatoes in oil
2 cloves garlic
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 cup vegetable broth
cooked brown rice

Brown onion in olive oil, then add tomatoes, garlic and beans and continue cooking until beans begin to brown. Add vegetable broth, use it to deglaze the pan, and let simmer until most of the liquid evaporates. Serve over rice.

Portabello Zucchini Sautee

olive oil
half a large onion, diced
4 zucchinis, diced
8-10 ounces baby portabello mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cups sundried tomatoes (if using oil packed, rinse and drain)
4 ounces Field Roast Classic Meatloaf (or another gluten based seasoned meat substitute)

Brown onion in olive oil. Add zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes, cook until softened and lightly browned. Add meatloaf and continue cooking until warmed through.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Very Chardy Soup

Yikes, sorry I didn't post anything in January! It was a stressful month, my husband had the flu and our cat died and both kids had a series of colds. I didn't get ANY of the sickness though. And not for lack of exposure. That's the power of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

I have a new soup to post. Like all my soups, it's pretty simple. I loved it and it's overflowing with green goodness, it's almost entirely made of chard. The husband and one kid gave it thumbs up, the other kid doesn't like anything, so she doesn't really count.

Chard, Red Potato and (Veggie) Italian Sausage Soup
Makes 6 generous servings

2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 link veggie italian sausage (I used Field Roast brans, but Yves and Trader Joes' both have decent versions), diced
4 medium red potatoes, skin on, diced
8 cups vegetable broth
2 bunches chard, chopped

Sautee onion in olive oil until softened and lightly browned, add garlic, sausage and potatoes and cook a few more minutes until potatoes begin to brown. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender. Add chard and cook 2-3 minutes more. Serve with freshly ground salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of parmesan if you eat cheese.

Calories 212
Calories from fat 62
Total Fat 6.9g
Saturated Fat 1.2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1370mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.8
Dietary Fiber 5.1g
Protein 11.8g

Vitamin A 188% Vitamin C 96%
Calcium 12% Iron 24%