Monday, January 31, 2011

three bean warm-up chili and spinach arugula salad with herbed vegan feta

Hi everyone
I hope you've all had a wonderful week! I have been fairly busy cooking and going to he gym. Yes, that's right! I have officially joined, and I am loving it so far. I've been three days in a row so far. Everyone is very helpful and sweet. I even had a fitness test this morning. I was kind of nervous because I didn't know what to expect, and I also had a few glasses of sangria last night. . . It wasn't that bad. I was weighed and they determined by BMI and % body fat. Right now, I weight 115 lbs, BMI is 20, and body fat percentage is 17.8%. Not bad. But I was a little disappointed when I had to actually do the fitness part of it. I realized that even though I'm small, I am horribly weak! My legs are strong, but I have no arm strength. And when I say none, i mean NONE! I couldn't even do a proper push-up, and I could only hold the plank position for 35 seconds. I have some serious strength training to do. I think I'll be tested again in 3 months, and I really want my results to improve.

I've also decided that I want to run a 5 km race in the early spring, hopefully in April. I really think I can do it because I ran 3km last night on the tread mill. To be honest, I was worried that I was going to fall off because I'm not really used to the treadmill yet, but I didn't! I was watching the food network while running, so the time flew by. I was completely absorbed with Chef Michael Smith, even though he was cooking meat. I just like that he uses local ingredients and has a real family-eating-around-the-table focus.

All of this exercising has made me super hungry! and it is very cold here still, so I wanted something hearty and yummy. And when I want something warm, hearty and yummy, I make chili. When I cook with beans, I like to used dried beans and cook them myself, but I wanted my chili right away! (I can be impatient with my food sometimes) so I used canned instead. The important thing when using canned beans, is to buy brands that use BPA free cans, (I like eden organic) and to rinse, rinse, and rinse again! This removes a lot of the sodium and the hard to digest enzymes. If you have trouble digesting beans, try rinsing them. It will help.

Three bean warm-up chili

Makes one big ol' pot of chili

2 tbs olive oil
2 cans of baked beans (don't rinse these. you'll want the yummy sauce)
1 can black beans
1 can chickpeas
3 tomatoes, diced (I used plum tomatoes)
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 c quartered white button and cremini mushrooms
1 large green peppers, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5-2 c water or veggie stock (add more or less depending on your desired thickness)
3 tbs chili powder
2 tbs steak seasoning
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt

In a big pot (a dutch oven works great) heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions, garlic, green pepper, mushrooms, and sea salt. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add beans, tomatoes, spices and water.
Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover.
Let simmer for about 20 mins, or longer if you have time. This will let the flavors develop.
Serve with grated vegan cheese on top, and if you are feeling adventurous, tortilla chips. That's how I used to eat my chili when I was a kid.

I also made a simple salad with some herbed vegan feta cheese. I cheated a bit though, because I bought herbed tofu, instead of adding the herbs myself.

If you can find this, I highly recommend it. Crumble the tofu and add a little umeboshi vinegar (not acidic to the body. It's actually alkalizing) and a sprinkle of salt. I used mine on a spinach and arugula salad, but I also want to try this on brushetta bread. LOVE bruschetta!

I've also been eating vegan BLT's on sprouted wraps. Tempeh bacon is divine. It's definitely on my Love List.

I hope I've made you hungry! Now run off and eat something.

Lots of love and endorphins,

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