She Cooks

It’s a new year, and you know what that means: new years resolutions are the talk amongst friends sitting and getting coffee. It’s in magazines. On television. What is your new years resolution? Things people say they are going to do and stick with the resolution for a couple weeks, and then the excitement of changing something in their lifestyle dwindles right along with the resolution. That’s why I’ve never made new year resolutions. Instead, I prefer to see something in my life which needs some “tidying up,” and work on that. For example, my spelling skills need work (read any of my posts and you are sure to find numerous spelling mistakes).

This post is actually about food, not bikes, or guitars, or races. But food is a vital component for any athlete. Whetever he or she puts into her mouth can affect his or her performance drastically.

After  swimming 2100 at Bard, and a 45 minutes on the trainer, I became somewhat hungry and decided to check out my culinary skills and…cook. Start the new year off with eating healthy. Sounds like a good idea, right? Plus, after stepping on the scale for the first time in who knows how long I found out that I gained (gasp) weight. The dreaded 6-letter word starting with “w.” There’ll be no meat in the picture (which is easy since I’m a vegetarian),  no sweets, even as tempting as they might be at work and you are exhausted at 0400. No dairy, which can help improve the digestive system. So, basically, a modified vegetarian diet…Almost exactly what I was before.

This change in eating habits actually occured after someone looked into my refrigerator (and the scale issue had something to do with it too), the interior composed of only a jar of pickles, britta filter with about three drops of water, Soy milk, and lettuce.”I think you need to go get some food. Your refrigerator is pathetic.” I felt embarrassed for my poorly stocked refrigerator. So, this girl, more commonly known for her baking (heck, the baking runs in the Geuss blood), is brushing off the spider webs of her knife handling skills

I wandered around the internet for some healthy yet nutritious and easy thing to make, and I came up with Sweet Potato Falafel with  Yogurt Tahini.  If a meal will take me more than 20minutes to prepare, chances are I’ll lose attention and bag the recipe (sounds like trying to stick to a training plan). This evening I decided to try this recipe out, after seeing in on  Fat-Free Vegan Kichen’s web site (great site if you want something easy to make, and lots of vegetarian/vegan options).

The ingedients:

1/2 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 2 tbsp hot water
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 18 ounces, total)
2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced parsley
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup chickpea flour or besan
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
sesame seeds (optional)

the ingredients (sweet potatoes were in the oven)

Mix the flax seeds with two tablespoons hot water and set aside to thicken. This acts as a binding agent, similar to what eggs do.

Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork and place on paper towels in microwave. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, turn over, and then cook for another 2 minutes. Check for tenderness, and if not cooked all the way through, cook in increments of 30 seconds until tender. Set aside to cool until easy to handle; peel and place in a large bowl.

note: I put my sweet potatoes in the oven, as I never knew you could cook a potato in the microwave…

Preheat oven to 400F. Mash sweet potatoes well with a masher or a fork. Add the flax mixture, seasonings (including parsley), and lemon juice and stir well. Mix the chickpea flour with the baking powder and add it a little at a time to the sweet potato mixture. Stir until well-combined. Batter should be stiff; if not, add chickpea flour a tablespoon at a time until batter is thick. (If the batter is too stiff to blend in all the flour, add water a tablespoon at a time.)

all the ingredients in one bowl

Oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Use a cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon to make about 20-22 little mounds of dough on the baking sheet (dippingthe scoop in water every now and then will help prevent the dough from sticking to it).

balls

Flatten the balls to about 1/2-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches wide. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bottoms are medium brown. Serve hot with yogurt-tahini sauce.

I made a pick-your-own- veggie station...for myself (not crazy at all, right?)

Since I didn’t have any tahini paste with me, I  made home made Tzatziki sauce to go with them, which worked out perfectly.

Et voila: la Pièce de résistance

Now that it is 2011, a fresh new year, a time we can start over again, improving ourselves, learning from the mistakes of the past…How amazing life gives you second chances!

I hope this year will find you good health, happiness, a life full of  friendships and amazing experiences which are yet to come.

Happy Belated New Year

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