Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday Indulgence Rx, Part 1

Back to reality, dear readers: it's January and the party's over.
Back to work or school -- or in my case both, since my day job is journalism professor -- and time for a reckoning between our bodies and our bathroom scales. (Or whatever other method you may have for keeping track of your girth, such as how tight the skinny jeans have become.)
It's only a couple of pounds extra that I've managed to acquire, but the older I get, the harder it is to deal with even that amount of new weight.

So now what? Here's my first idea about how to shape up this January: GO VEGAN FOR A DAY EACH WEEK. 
Served with cornbread and white wine, yum!

Yes, you could be satisfied with vegetarian-for-a-day, but many of my readers already are vegetarian or at least "flexitarian." Also vegan cuts out dairy, which means cutting out cheese -- a big calorie booster when we eschew meat.
Even if you're not ready to commit to a vegan diet, try the following recipe. I made it for our New Year's Day dinner, with black-eyed peas (a good-luck food for 1/1 among my kinfolk). You can substitute any other bean. Also feel free to play with the proportions, adding more beans if you like. Throw in additional veggies, and/or nuts other than pine.

Recipe: Quinoa with Spinach, Beans and Avocado
Serves 4

1 cup quinoa (may substitute brown rice, couscous or other grain)
2 c salted water
2 c fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 c shredded carrot
1 c canned beans, rinsed and drained (such as kidney beans, black beans or black-eyed peas)
Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
3 T olive oil, or more if desired
Juice of one-half lime
3 T pine nuts, toasted
1 or one-half avocado, cut into bite-size chunks
Cook the quinoa in the salted water until all the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, place spinach and carrots in a large mixing bowl. When quinoa is done, add to spinach mixture and toss well to wilt the spinach. Mix in beans, seasonings, olive oil and lemon juice. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with pine nuts and avocado.

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