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Entries in healthy recipes (5)

Tuesday
Oct012013

You Can't Beet London

The title pun is intended. Many of you know that I recently spent some time in London. I was there for a race, representing the USA at the Age Group World Championships of Triathlon. This was an overwhelming and humbling experience. The whole Iaciofano clan showed up, as well as a hearty cheering squad from my old stomping ground in Los Angeles.

Highlights included:

Scotch eggs and fried capers at the Pheonix Pub in Covent Garden.

Copious amounts of "Flat Whites" (this one from a bike cafe called Look Mum, No Hands!)

A post-race celebration at the Dock Kitchen.

Wacky bus rides.

Underwhelming tube rides.

Black Pudding! (from Albion Cafe) John and I both liked it.

The best bathroom this side of anywhere (Nopi in SoHo).

The best food market this side of anywhere (Borough Market).

Copious amounts of clotted cream (from Brown's Hotel).

With equal amounts of gin. And rum. And heavens only knows what else (from Purl).

A proper British haircut for John.

A lot of shopping with Kaz.

Brunch featuring toast caddies! (At High Road House, Chiswick)

Waffles on sticks! (Tower of London)

More bike cafes (Zappi's in Oxford).

And a ridiculous, Team USA photoshoot around London...

Phew — that was a lot. Of beer. And gin. And blood pudding. How to recover? Vegetables. Even for breakfast. But how? Of course, I could be traditional and go with a nice vegetable frittata. But I had just been exposed to seemingly endless rows of cute coffee shops and cafes displaying their homemade baked good, including granola. I wanted to make my own.

And so I did. With vegetables. Beets and squash to be exact. These veggies toast up very sweet, so they're perfect for your morning granola. Add a little spice and nut action, and you've just created an addictive breakfast, snack, lunch...Now if I could just find an NYC coffee house that makes a flat white...

What You Need:

3-4 medium sized beets, trimmed of their greens and thinly sliced into 1/8" rounds

1 delicata (or winter) squash (you could also use butternut or sweet potato)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I used Bob's Gluten Free variety)

1 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup dates, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup roasted pistachios

3/4 cup coconut flakes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

What you do:

Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the delicata squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Slice each half of the squash into 1/8" inch thick pieces. Place the squash slices and the beet slices on the prepared baking sheet, but don't crowd them! Give 'em some room to breathe.

Throw them in the oven and let them bake. And bake....and bake. This takes a while, as you are essentially making vegetable chips which requires baking all the water out of the veggies. Veggies have a lot of water. The whole process could take up to an hour. Keep checking on them, as smaller pieces may crisp up faster and you don't want them to burn. Have a bowl ready to place more quickly cooked pieces.

Once all your veggies have "chipped," place them in the bowl and break them up into smaller pieces with your hands. Think about what size would fit nicely on a spoon. That's the size you should break them into.

Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.

In another bowl, combine the oats, spices and nuts. Mix in the olive oil and maple syrup and coat all the dry ingredients evenly with the wet. Spread this mixture onto a baking sheet (you can use the same one that you used for the veggies) and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. With five minutes left in the baking time, sprinkle the coconut flakes on top. Coconut will toast up rather quickly, so it doesn't need much time.

Remove the mixture from the oven and add it to the bowl of veggie chips. At this point you can also add in the dried fruit. Mix to combine. Store in an airtight container for weeks! Now you can have your vegetables for breakfast.

 

Friday
Jun072013

Super Foods Cookbook

Good morning! It's a rainy morning here in New York City. The usual cats and dogs are teeming from the gray clouds above. I'd like to bring a little color to this gray day for you... a little color in the form of food.

SUPER FOODS! I know it's been a little while since I last posted. I've been working. On this cookbook, in fact. It was released via Colavita's Facebook page last week, and I'd like to share it with you here and now.

First, pretty please with sugar in the raw on top, make your way to Colavita's Facebook page and like them. You'll be able to download all kinds of crazy goodness in the form of cookbooks. These cookbooks are usually produced by yours truly, so I have an agenda. 

And the agenda is stuffing you full of good for you food that also tastes amazing. Take for example the following, featured in the book:

The roasted beets and pineapples sit on a tart made of graham cracker crumbs and walnuts, with just a touch of sugar. A little tangy goat cheese and fresh mint make it all come alive. I made this from the Morristown satellite office and fed it to The Box and John for dinner. The Box and John don't do veggies. But they did this tart. And went in again for seconds. You should do it too.

Or how about:

This pasta is so simple your pet monkey could do it. The giant stove top wok is an asset, but not a requirement — a regular skillet or frying pan works just as nicely. As a bonus, if you're in a time crunch, you can use frozen shrimp. So get that pet monkey to work! I mean, he WAS just lying about on the sofa diminishing your supply of Kettle Chips, was he not? This is a better use of his time.

If you're into grains, you'll love this salad Farro, Beet Greens and Salmon Salad:

Did you know you could eat the green tops of beets? You can – and they are packed with vitamins and actually taste good. The cucumber and mint dressing give this salad a light and summer taste. Throw it on your outdoor picnic table this summer, with some Watermelon Mojito's on the side... Hey, I'm here to help.

I can't leave out breakfast, my favorite meal of the day. These Blueberry and Oat Pancakes are not your run-of-the-mill breakfast cake, although they will keep you running around the mill, as they're packed with good, energy-providing grains. A little blueberry balsamic syrup gives these cakes a tangy sweetness.

But this isn't all you'll get! If you call now, you get this FREE set of Japanese kitchen knives! 

No, you won't. Sorry, I got carried away. But you WILL get more recipes. The above are just a few of the featured dishes. Have I won you over? If so, click here and download your PDF. These recipes are perfect for summer time. Perfect for outdoor parties. Perfect for feeding families, or even just yourself. I've tried all of them and they have my stamp of approval. I hope they get yours too.

Tuesday
May142013

Fall Down and Get Back Up Again. And Again...

I've had a few biking "incidents" lately. These things happen. And luckily, they haven't been too serious. However, they don't really make you feel excited, or happy, or all, "woooo TIGER BLOOD, I'm WINNING!!"

No. They sorta make you feel slow. And slightly stupid. And owchy. And couldn't Johnson & Johnson make the size bandaid that you need (tarp sized, please), instead of 1,298 sizes that won't work??

Just a suggestion.

And here's another suggestion: taxed muscles, whether from training or from a fall need some recovery and repair. Nutritionally speaking, a good way to get that is through protein. This month, I was featured in Triathlete Magazine's June issue with two sneaky protein-rich recipes.

Sneaky? Yes, they're sneaky because they don't contain meat or fancy protein powders. They contain farro. Farro is a grain that is very high in protein (about 6 grams per 1/2 cup of cooked farro). And you can use it to make any number of things, like the Coconut Farro Oatmeal or Fig Cookies with farro crust.

The recipe for the Coconut Farro Oatmeal is below. For the fig cookies, go check out Triathlete Magazine!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 cup farro

2 cups coconut milk (not the condensed stuff, the other kind) plus additional for serving

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 rounded tablespoons of ground flax seeds

¼ cup dried cranberries

½ cup fresh blueberries

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened preferred, but you can use either)

Instructions:

Measure out the farro, ground flax seeds and coconut milk and pour them into a medium pot. Heat on medium-low on your stovetop adding in the seasonings and sweetener: maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg.

Simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed - about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the shredded coconut and almond slivers onto the baking sheet. Toast for about 5-8 minutes, keeping a constant watch on the progress as the nuts will toast quite quickly. Feel free to toss halfway through the baking process to ensure an even browning.

Remove from oven and set aside.

Scoop the cooked farro into serving bowls. Top with a little extra coconut milk, fresh blueberries and dried cranberries. Sprinkle with the toasted almond and coconut mixture.

A special note of thanks to all my Full Throttle teammates who have been so nice and supportive as I continually fell off my bicycle in the past week. Thanks for delivering medical supplies, making me dinner, checking in, checking in again, enduring chatter about my sprained groin...the list goes on. You guys are the best.

Monday
Jan072013

Training Diary - The Way Off Season

I'm here to tell you the fun is over. Or it's just starting, depending on how you look at it. 

To be honest, it's a little bit of both. 

My 2012 triathlon season came to an end in October. Since then, it's been about more relaxed workouts, sleeping in (5:30 am - woohooo!) and gaining weight....just a bit. I even took some yoga classes. 

But today formal, organized practice begins.

So do 4:30 am wake-up calls, constant hunger, permanent goggle marks, and the ever-present stench of chlorine.

I am...how shall I say this?...EXCITED. 

I'll own that I get a little too excited about this stuff. John has had to feign enthusiasm when I say things like, "I was barreling down this hill at 40 mph and when I stopped I had bugs plastered all over me!!" 

Gross.

But training and racing is about getting comfortable with some uncomfortable and potentially gross things. 

For example, did you know I can pee standing up? Pretty much on command. I have also ridden a bike mostly covered in horse droppings (thank you, Central Park in the rain), had snot rockets blown AT me, and let's not forget the aforementioned bugs. Also, I swam in the Hudson. Twice.

If you can get comfortable with this type of thing, you are part of the way there.

To get the rest of the way there, you need some guidance, determination, and lots of snacks. Trust me on the snacks part. I've been making my own energy snacks for some time now because it's important to me to know what I'm putting in my system. And I think energy gels are icky.

Triathlete Magazine has been kind enough to feature me again in their February 2013 issue, out this month. In this issue, I bring you some Italian-inspired energy snacks: Biker Biscotti and Rice Balls CARB-onara.

Get it? CARB-onara? Are those crickets or does my bike need a tune-up?

Anyway, both of these snacks are healthy, delicious and portable. Meaning you can bring them on your bike, slip them into your workout bag and enjoy them on the go.

From time to time, I will bring you stories and recipes from my triathlete kitchen. I will not bore you with power meter readings or tempo run times. But I WILL tell you if I forget my pants and where I obtained my post-race cheeseburgers. And how to make your own energy bars.

If you'd like to check out more from my Triathlete Kitchen, click here to view the full line-up. Even if you're not swimming in the Hudson, these snacks will keep you well-fueled for whatever you're up to....like that Xbox Connect Dance-off you had planned for next weekend. Yeah, I know who you are.

Here is the recipe for the Rice Balls Carb-onara:


Ingredients:
1 cup short grain (Arborio) brown rice
2 eggs
4 strips thickly sliced bacon
pinch of salt
bread crumbs (optional)
plastic wrap

Instructions:
Cook the rice in a pot on the stovetop according to the instructions on the packaging. Add a pinch of salt to the rice as it cooks.

While the rice is cooking, place the bacon on top of a few paper towels and on a microwave safe plate. The paper towels will absorb much of the bacon grease as it cooks. Microwave the bacon on high for two minutes. Blot the bacon with paper towels if you’d like to remove the grease from the top, and continue cooking at 1-2 minute intervals until the bacon has reached your desired crispiness.

Chop the bacon into tiny pieces – I actually used kitchen shears for this purpose – and place the pieces into a large bowl.

Crack two large eggs in a small bowl and wisk with a fork. Heat a small, lightly oiled skillet (I used cooking spray) on the stovetop over medium heat. Scramble your two eggs, breaking them up into small bits.

Once the rice has finished cooking, add it to the bowl with the bacon, and then add the scrambled eggs. Mix well to evenly distribute all the ingredients.

Assembly:
Scoop a tablespoon of the rice, bacon and egg mixture into a square of plastic wrap. Form the rice mixture into a ball by closing up the plastic wrap and twisting it at the top. The rice is sticky, so it should stay together. You can add a few drops of cold water to your rice if necessary so it holds together better.

At this point, you can either set your finished rice balls aside, or roll them in some breadcrumbs for a finishing touch. Keep in mind that without the breadcrumbs, this recipe is gluten free!

You can keep them twisted inside plastic wrap, drop them into the pockets of your bike jersey or bento box, and take them to go on long rides.
For the Biker Biscotti, please go check out Triathlete Magazine, on newsstands now!

 

 

Wednesday
Oct032012

Power Pizzelle

I'd like to start this post by talking about waffles. I do enjoy a good waffle, don't you? I recently took part in the NJ Gran Fondo - a 63 mile bike "tour" with timed hill climbs. It was awesome. And one of the best things about this race were the rest stops. See, unlike triathlon, bike tours have rest stops. These are designated areas where cyclists can refill on their calories and hydration, visit the port-a-loo, and mill about. It's comparatively civilized. 

The NJ Gran Fondo had some excellently catered rest stops. They featured waffles. Two different kinds of waffles, in fact. When my fellow riders and I figured this out, we began making up excuses to stop at all the rest areas.

"I have a flat."

"I have to pee."

"I need...um...water."

And finally, "Oh let's just pull over, I want a waffle."

Finally, my teammate Luke decided that it wasn't about who crossed the finish line first, but who crossed the finish line with the most waffles.

So we began shoving them into the pockets of our biking jerseys, and stuffing them into our bento boxes. It was quite obscene. Especially since there was a hot dog and hamburger bbq at the finish line.

But we wanted waffles, so waffles we had! And how.

How many?

I really have no idea. I brought some home. And this got me to thinking....about making my own. Now, I can easily do this, but I wanted to make something more streamlined...more AERODYNAMIC. I mean, we ARE cyclists.

I thought of the Belgian stroopwafel, which is essentially a sweetened, smashed waffle that looks like a cookie – the brand Honey Stinger even makes one specifically for athletes.

But I wanted something....Italian. And then it came to me: THE PIZZELLE! Pizzelle are traditional Italian cookies that look exactly like stroopwafels. Pizzelle are not overly sweet, but are more similar to a waffle cone. 

I've made traditional pizzelle before. My family makes them every year at Christmas time. But I wanted to make a POWER Pizzelle. Something to get me up the hills of numerous Gran Fondos. And back down again.

So I tinkered with the ingredients. And made them better. I even made them gluten-free. Imagine that.

These Power Pizzelle are small and can be easily tucked into cycling jerseys or bento boxes. They're crisp, but also thick, so they don't fall apart or crumble when you bite into them or break off pieces. 

What follows is a recipe for a pizzelle that's packed with good energy. Perfect for cycling, or a quick bite between multiple workouts. Here's how to do it:

Ingredients:

Makes 24 Pizzelle

1 cup almond flour

1 cup millet or brown rice flour

1/4 sugar in the raw

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons butter - melted and cooled

1 1/2 Tablespoons Chia seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1 Tablespoon anise seeds

 

Equipement: 1 pizzelle chef 

Process:

Crack the 2 eggs into a large bowl.

Using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and gradually add the 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat until the mixture foams up and the sugar is incorporated into the eggs.

 

Add the butter (melted and cooled so it doesn't scramble the eggs) and continue mixing.

 

Add the Chia seeds, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt and anise seeds (if you're using them). Mix to combine.

 

Now add in the flours, 1/2 cup at a time. If you would like to use more or less of a certain flour, that's fine, just make sure that you total 2 cups of flour. Mix until a dough forms. 

 

Your dough should be slightly sticky, but you should be easily able to roll it into small balls without it sticking to your fingers. If the dough is too moist, add more flour, 1/8 of a cup at a time.

 

Heat up your pizzelle iron and form the dough into small balls, slightly smaller than golf ball sized. You can play with what size suits you best (based on what size your pockets are!).

 

Press the dough balls into the forms on the interior of the iron, like you're making waffles. The iron will beep when your cookies are finished (they take about a minute to cook). Remove them carefully (I like to use a spatula) and place them flat on a plate to cool.

 

Store in plastic bags for weeks. Seriously.

Photo taken by Luke TuddenhamIncidentally, I placed 1st overall female for the 63 mile ride. I credit the waffles completely.