Monday, March 30, 2009

Bitten by the Racing Bug

As you may know, I ran my first race a few weeks ago. I enjoyed my experience so much that I've signed on for another one...or three. My next race is this weekend (4/4); it's a 5K to support efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. I have two more planned before the end of the semester. They will give me something to look forward to in the midst of my nasty end-of-semester To Do lists. Exercise always makes for a good study do cooking and magazine reading:) How do you keep yourself sane when life gets chaotic?

Due to my aforementioned vicious workload, I spent most of my weekend being lame and preparing for my presentation that I gave this morning. At least my eats kept me entertained...

Before my evening of relaxation with Alanna, I fueled up with a Taco Salad dinner: refried black beans with guacamole, salsa, and reduced-fat cheddar all atop a bed of greens. I scooped up the goodness with TJ's brand of baked blue corn chips. I might have to do a comparison post in the future of the Guiltless Gourmet variety and these guys. I also had some cantaloupe with strawberries.
My shake of the evening was fabulous: strawberries, banana, chocolate PB Spirutein, soymilk, plus Choco-Cherry granola and PB2. Lots of flavors going on but still delish.
After unintentionally sleeping in, I settled in for quite the savory breakfast: Rachel's Sundried Tomato Pesto Cottage Cheese with olives and tomato atop a whole grain bagel. I also had some more luscious melon.
For lunch, I revamped my leftover refried black beans and made black bean hummus. I added lime juice, cumin, cayenne, and almond butter for southwest flavah. I shoveled it in with Ezekiel pita and snap peas. I also had some salad and an apple.
In continuation with Chobani Week, I sampled the peach variety for my snack. As recommended by K, I added lots of some cashews.
After far too many hours of staring at a computer screen, I pulled out dinner from the freezer: Gardenburger Chik'n Grill patties. I kept it simple and just sandwiched it between some whole grain bread with BBQ sauce. This concoction tasted eerily authentic. These might even rival Quorn for chicken-ness. On the side, I had some green beans with dill and greens with chopped pear, dates, and raspberry vinaigrette.
My smoothie was a berry-chocolate explosion. I combined raspberries, blueberries, soymilk, chocolate rice protein, and dark cocoa--LOTS of flavor here. I topped it off with coconut and Choco-Cherry granola.
Announcing...Alphabet Oats! I started off with A yesterday: applesauce, apricots, and almond butter. I also cooked the oats in a bit of rice milk and cinnamon. An unconventional but tasty combination.
I didn't have much motivation to cook for lunch yesterday, so I just stuck with an old stand-by: sweet potato with hummus. I added a dash of cumin and cayenne to make it appear as if I put forth some effort in this meal. That's the end of the snap peas on the side, plus a salad with almonds and cantaloupe.
I am slipping into my snack rut again...I just had plain yogurt with pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Dreams PB.
After chapter, I came home pretty famished, so I made a quick wrap that I've enjoyed before: Peachy Nutty Tofurky Rollup. You can check out the recipe at Rudi's Bakery here. I used Laughing Cow instead of cream cheese, for the record. I also had a salad and some Brussels sprouts.
My shake was heavenly last night, due to the addition of an ingredient I rarely use: hot chocolate powder. I've had the canister sitting in my cupboard for months, but I decided to use it last night due to its calcium content. Since I am low on protein powder these days, I have been relying on my rice protein, which has no added vitamins or minerals. Thus, I turned to the hot chocolate for a calcium boost; it has 300 mg per serving. Anyway, I combined it with frozen strawberries, soymilk, rice protein, and dark cocoa. I topped it with shredded coconut.
I was a nervous wreck this morning prior to my presentation, so I just dumped a few items on my plate before heading out the door. I had toast with almond butter and Rachel's Pear Mangosteen Cottage Cheese with chopped pear. I am officially addicted to Rachel's cottage cheese.
One quick reminder before I bid you adieu:

You can still enter your favorite dessert recipe for Jenna's Dessert E-Cookbook. You have until April 1st at 5PM; send entries to I know I'll be sending in my recipe ASAP!

Later, bloggies:)

The Vegetarian Kitchen

Hi everyone!
Khara from was kind enough to provide me with an article which discusses a topic quite pertinent to The Broccoli Hut: the well-equipped vegetarian kitchen. Enjoy!

A Vegetarian’s Guide to Cookware

Being a vegetarian is a choice that can pay a lot of dividends, between the money saved in groceries and the health benefits. But by forgoing meat and animal products, you are forgoing convenience, as your dietary choices become more restricted. The initial adjustment period is always difficult in this regard, and tough decisions and dilemmas are always played out whether in a restaurant, supermarket, or right at home. But there are ways to deal with this, and one of them is having the right cookware in place that will make your own vegetarian meals much easier to prepare. We’ll help out by showing some items that you might want to concentrate on when you’re out shopping for cookware sets.

Eating a vegetarian diet means putting more of an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, which in turn means you might find yourself doing more food prep. So you want to make sure that you have the right tools at hand, whether you are slicing, dicing, chopping, pitting, or peeling. A proper knife set might be a worthy investment in this case, as would specialized kitchen gadgets such as a fruit corer or a julienne peeler. Another thing you might want to look at is upgrading your food processor or blender so that you can whip up sauces, shakes, and other accompaniments in a jiffy!

Other than convenience, the other thing to consider is what cookware items can bring to the table in terms of nutrition. One of the difficult things about becoming a vegetarian is finding ways to bring into your diet nutrients that are primarily found in meat. Iron is a great example of this, which is why vegetarians might sometimes have iron deficiency issues. The best way to compensate for the iron you are losing in your diet is to take nutritional supplements, but another way to do so is to use cast iron cookware. Research has shown that food cooked in cast iron skillets or pots has higher iron levels than food cooked with other types of cookware materials. This can make a huge difference over years of usage!

These are just a couple of things to consider when you’re thinking of the types of cookware that will best accommodate your vegetarian lifestyle. Any way that you can streamline the cooking and food preparation process will help immensely in dealing with those first few weeks without meet and will get you on your way to eating healthy and animal-friendly at the same time.

Although I have quite a few of the items mentioned, I am still in the market for an all-purpose food processor. does sell VitaMix and BlendTec machines...a girl can dream:)

Be back soon with a weekend re-cap!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Celebrate National Peanut Month!

That's right--March is National Peanut Month. This fact may have been obscured this year due to a certain peanut fiasco, but fear not: there are still plenty of ways to celebrate this most glorious legume, without endangering your health. The geniuses over at Peanut Butter & Company, for example, have provided us all with no less than EIGHT different varieties of peanut butter (not to mention their equally delicious peanut butter pretzel nuggets...we'll save that for another review). Thanks to the peanut butter fairy (aka VeggieGirl), I have had the good fortune of sampling five of these tantalizing flavors. Read on for the deets:

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl
It's like a cinnamon-raisin bagel in peanut butter form. Does it get any better than that?! Come to think of it, yes--spread some of this lusciousness on a Rudi's cinnamon-raisin bagel for double the delight.

Here are some of my other ways to enjoy it. The Banana Quesadilla (no cheese--just PB goodness) and the waffle-wich are two are my favorites:)

Dark Chocolate Dreams
Another match made in heaven: chocolate and peanut butter. It's like a Reese's cup without the guilt.
Serving suggestions. Note that it pairs especially well with raspberry oats and pancakes!

White Chocolate Wonderful
I'll admit it--I didn't like white chocolate...until I discovered this heavenly spread. I have big plans for this stuff; imagine the white chocolate macadamia oatmeal form. Wonderful, indeed.

Mighty Maple
So autumnal, so sweet, so perfect. Who needs the syrup when you can put this on your pancakes?
Other ways to gobble it up:

Smooth Operator
Last, but not least: the classic original. I am very much a creamy girl, so this deliciousness goes down easy.
Yes, I am now a PB & Co. devotee: their cookbook is on my Amazon Wish List, and that "Heat Is On" variety is just callin' my name. Try them all for yourself--order online here.

Now you get your PB party on.