The magic of fresh herbs!

This weekend when I was planning my meal prep for the week, I was craving tomatoes and fresh herbs. Clearly, my body is pining for a true spring, not this cold, snow-filled one we are experiencing. So, I decided to make two VERY different dishes with tomatoes and fresh herbs!

First, inspired by a dish my boyfriend ordered a local Asian fusion restaurant this past week which included ‘coconut rice’ – which is just white rice boiled down in coconut milk instead of water. This stuff was addicting and was sweet like a dessert. Obviously, I had to try to make it myself….so, here comes ‘Indian Tomato Cilantro Chicken with Coconut Rice’!  I decided to make this dish for my teacher friends, just to show a little appreciation for them– we’ve had a long month with the move, Intensives (where we take 7-12 graders out of the building for two whole day for career exploration), fundraising for our end of the year 8th grade trip to DC, and battling the testing shenanigans of NYS.

I used a recipe from Pinterest for the chicken…. check it out here!

Please advise, I can never follow a recipe to the T, I get it from my mother…. so, instead of two fresh tomatoes, I used one can of diced — I wanted the yummy tomato juices to add to the broth of this dish. Also, I did not use 3 Serrano chilies, instead I used one long green hot pepper, and I did not include the brown sugar (duh, no way was I adding that!) or the hot pepper flakes. And lastly, I used two bunches of cilantro instead of one… which was an awesome call on my part!

Here’s the broth cooking down without the chicken…

IMG_5233

Then I put some aside with chickpeas for my friend who is vegetarian, and added the chicken to the rest.

IMG_5239

I also rubbed the chicken with some more cumin and tumeric (you can never have too much of these in Indian cooking, in my humble opinion at least).

Here’s the final chicken dish…

IMG_5242

Oh, and of course, the rice!

I started with 1 1/2 cups of Jasmine brown rice in a medium sauce pan and toasted it in a tiny bit of olive oil. Then I added in 2 cups of coconut milk and one cup of water. I let this simmer on medium low heat for about 25-30 minutes. It didn’t cook soft for a while, so I had to keep adding water, about another 3/4 cup probably.

IMG_5234

Here’s the rice! 🙂 I promise, it tastes as good, if not better than it looks 🙂

IMG_5240

On to the second dish, comfort food just for me! I haven’t made lasagna in a long time (besides the true lasagna I made for my boyfriend this winter that I couldn’t eat). So, I decided to make a vegetarian lasagna out of zucchini, portobello mushrooms, eggplant, and kale. I layered these raw vegetables that I sliced longitudinally with my favorite spaghetti sauce and this lemon basil cashew cheese sauce that I found on Pinterest (of course!)

IMG_5235  IMG_5237IMG_5236

The reason this lasagna is considered vegetarian is because I decided to add one layer inside of goat cheese and topped it with some more as well 🙂 I can’t help it, I love the saltiness and gameness of goat’s milk! I know it’s weird given my eating habits, but it’s the one decadence I allow myself.

IMG_5238

I baked the lasagna at 375 for an hour – first 15 minutes uncovered, last 15 minutes uncovered.

IMG_5243

Goat’s milk Kefir in the morning with my homemade Blueberry Pumpkin Granola this week for breakfasts will be a hit with my tummy as well!

IMG_5244

This granola is just random nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, and cashews), 2 cups whole grain oats, dehydrated blueberries that my stepmom made me over the summer that I still had, and 1 cup of pumpkin puree mixed with 1/4 cup maple syrup and 2 tbs coconut oil, some cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I baked it at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Five days until April break. I have no plans set in stone. Weather doesn’t look the best for visiting my dad in ADK. I have tons of work to get done for my last unit, review sessions, and summer work. I may find myself at coffee shops in between gym classes and training for my 5K.

Life. It’s all good!

Advertisements

Craving Proteins!

Oh how our bodies crave. The science behind it all is very fascinating. Last year I taught my 7th graders the ins and out of processed sugar and how its more addictive to the brain that cocaine. Don’t believe me? Here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23719144

I’ve gotten back into my workout regime, a completely revamped regime. After multiple conversations with friends, I decided to leave Planet Fitness and join my local YMCA. What a positive change! Instead of driving out of the city to run on the elliptical and mindlessly use machines, dreading every minute of it but still forcing myself, now I am eagerly awaiting the next day to get to work out! I started taking Pilates and Body Pump classes and this week I will be using the fitness center as well for cardio and FitLinxx. The best part of it all is that my local Y is right around the corner from my school!

With very sore muscles from body pump yesterday, my mind is craving protein to repair and rebuild those muscles. Eating a small portion of protein before and after your workout will infuse your blood with these necessary amino acids for your muscle growth. Proteins also help to build enzymes important for your body to gain endurance during cardio.

So, my recipes for this week include turkey bacon, eggs, and greens – all stocked full of great amino acids!

Pilates is in the morning before work, so I’ve been scrambling eggs with some veggies and packing it up for breakfast once I get to work. It’s worked out well, but it’s taken me at least 5 extra minutes in the morning. With waking up earlier than normal to get to the gym on time, these 5 minutes of sleep are so needed!

My wonderful creative mind went to work and I thought of these– Quiche muffins!

Protein Packed Quiche Muffins (…without the dairy and crust)

*I roasted some veggies with cubed turkey bacon: broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, onion, portobello mushroom and garlic. Then I put this mixture into muffin tins…

IMG_5156IMG_5157

Look at all those powerful green veggies!

*Then I scrambled 10 eggs with 3/4 cup of almond milk and some dried herbs and black pepper. In this went to each muffin cup…

IMG_5158

*I baked these at 350 for about 20 minutes and bam!…

IMG_5163 IMG_5164

I can’t wait to have one of these after Pilates tomorrow morning!!

Then for lunches/dinners I’ll do salads made with kale & romaine lettuce. Most likely greek styled with tomatoes, cucumbers, and kalamata olives because I’m addicted to greek salads. And then I’ll have this warm salad… I’ve made this recipe plenty of times before, but it’s been awhile.

Warm Sweet Potato Avocado Salad

*I cubed and roasted one large sweet potato at 375 for about 15 minutes. Then I added some broccoli, kale & brussel sprouts along with cubed turkey bacon and continued to roast for another 15-20 minutes. As soon as I took the veggies out of the oven I topped them with black pepper, one avocado cubed, and a large handful of chopped fresh cilantro.

IMG_5159IMG_5160IMG_5161

The fresh cilantro in this dish creates this punch of flavor every bite you take! Adding it when the vegetables are still hot also helps some of the oils infuse the vegetables, really giving it a powerful flavor.

This week I start cardio…

Spring is on it’s way and that means I need to buy my bicycle soon. If you have any suggestions for commuter bicycles, let me know!

Happy Eating!