Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Three Cheers for Chayote!

I get so excited when I try a new recipe and it becomes a runaway hit. Last night's recipe was one such gem. All three of us loved it. I mean, I got a 2-year-old to eat a dish full of squash, curry powder, coconut milk, peanut butter, chickpeas, tomatoes, spinach, and broccoli, on top of some brown basmati rice. Yeah, I'm pretty psyched about that!

The recipe? Coconut-Peanut Chickpeas and Vegetables from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Quick aside: if you have a vegan in your life that you love and adore, and you'd like to expand your cooking repertoire, I highly, highly recommend this cookbook. I have not been disappointed by a single recipe. Most recipes require minimal ingredients which are easy to find in conventional grocery stores (ie. you don't need to drive to Whole Foods), and, hello, there are a THOUSAND recipes here so I can pretty much guarantee you will find something you like. Even if you don't personally know a vegan, be nice to yourself and try some healthy vegan recipes!!

Anyhoo...back to the food. The reason I chose this recipe in the first place is because I didn't feel like going to the grocery store, and I wanted to see what I could make for dinner with what I had in the fridge, freezer, and pantry (yet one more reason why this book rocks. And, no, I am not being paid to say this!) A quick survey of my supplies showed that I had an onion, garlic, curry powder, peanut butter, coconut milk, chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and spinach. The only thing I didn't have was a red bell pepper, but I did have that chayote squash hanging in my produce bin from last week's foray to Whole Foods. And since I still wasn't even sure what a chayote tasted like, a quick Google search revealed that it somewhat resembled summer squash when cooked. I figured that was a fair enough trade for red bell pepper, and into the pot it went. I decided to taste some before I cooked it, however, and was really pleasantly surprised. I would describe it as tasting like a cross between an apple and a cucumber. Texturally, it was very close to a seedless cucumber - mild, with a crisp snap to it. Very yummy.

I threw a pot of brown basmati rice on the stove to cook as well. In 45 minutes, dinner was served.

Doesn't that look delicious? I topped the bowls with some fresh cilantro. I used to be a complete cilantro hater ("it tastes like SOAP!!") until I finally came to my senses. Now I love it. Cilantro has so many things going for it...did you know that it actually kills salmonella and E.coli bacteria? If you know my history of salmonella poisoning, you'll understand why this fascinates me!

'Course, I'm Ms. Snacky-Face so I ate some (a lot) of wasabi peas later on when I was watching a movie with my hubby. Wasabi peas make movies taste better :)

So, this morning I woke up and went for a run. I just love running during the warmer months when it is actually light outside at 6 am. I'm so not a fan of running in the winter when it's 18 degrees and pitch-black outside. I still do it, but I'm not happy about it! But now it's a joy because I love being up early and seeing the sunrise and enjoying the cool morning air. I love running because it's my time to myself. I work through problems, sing songs in my head, pray, and get sweaty :) I just love it. I very rarely ever wake up and not want to run (unless it's 18 degrees and pitch-black outside. Ahem.) Often times when I'm running, I'm thinking about the smoothie I will be enjoying after I get back home :) Even on those 18-degree days, I still drink a frosty cold smoothie every morning. Granted, I'm often shivering for hours afterward like a naked Eskimo, but sometimes, you gotta suffer for the things that you love. Or take really hot showers. And then park yourself in front of your faux fireplace like a rotisserie chicken.

I was still feeling a little hungry after my smoothie, so I noshed on three of the raw cacao-goji energy bites I picked up from the bulk bins at Whole Foods last week.

I love these things. They are perfect for when you just want a little something extra (or three) in your tummy.

After the energy bites, it was time to hit up Stop & Shop for my weekly shopping run. Thankfully, my son was very well behaved, especially after I told him that he could pick out his own cereal at the end of the trip. His choice was Peanut Butter Puffins, which I affectionately call "Crack in a Box" due to my own inability to control myself around them. I have been known to eat half a box in one sitting. As such, I tend to not buy it since I have no willpower around it. But, loving Mommy that I am, I just couldn't deny my son the joy that is found in these little pillows of delightfulness.

I'll be back tomorrow!

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