Sunday, February 28, 2010

Black Tofu Burgers

Ryan and I have been enjoying my black bean burgers that I made about a month ago and froze.  However we are starting to run low, since I had some free time today I decided to make a new batch.  I found a recipe on the SoyJoy website, but it does not use any beans and that just seems like such a loss.  I altered the recipe a bit and they turned out pretty good.  I would add more seasonings or throw a few of the chipotle chiles into the food processor for more of kick.  Making these can be a little time consuming.  If short on time try sautéing them in a little oil till golden brown on both sides.

2 Tbs olive or canola oil
1 small onion diced
1/2 green bell pepper diced
3 garlic cloves minced
2 Tbs adobo sauce
1/2 tsp each (ground cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano)
1 1/2 cups fresh chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4-1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 8oz block extra firm tofu
2 eggs
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup roughly chopped unsalted almonds
1 can black beans rinsed

1) Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Saute the onion, pepper, adobo sauce, spices, and mushrooms until softened.  Add garlic and rolled oats continue cooking for 2 minutes.  If your pan becomes dry and things begin to stick or burn, deglaze using 1/4-1/2 cup of water.  Remove from heat and let cool.

2) Puree the egg, almonds, and 1/2 the black beans in a food processor.  Add the cooled onion mixture, tofu, brown rice, cilantro, bread crumbs, and the rest of the beans.  Pulse until the mixture is combined and still chunky.

3) Heat oven to 350*F.  Shape into burger patties about a 1/4" thick.  Mixture will be sticky.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Flip and flatted lightly with a spatula.  Bake another 10 minutes until browned on the outside.

4) Serve on a toasted bun with lettuce, cheese, tomato, avocado or any of your other favorite burger toppings.  Personally I love ketchup and mustard.  Serves 15

1 burger: 145 kcal, 6.6g fat (78% unsaturated), 15g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 318 mg sodium, 3g fiber.

The cost of each burger comes to approximately 57 cents  (0.0039 cents/kcal).  The average Boca or Morningstar burger has about the same number of calories but will cost you close to a dollar a patty or 0.0068 cents/kcal.  They also contain a lot more ingredients and sodium.  In the future I might consider adding protein powder to increase the protein content; but by topping it with some cheese I think I'll be ok in that department.

Random thought of the day:  Why do people insist on serving pasta salads at catering events?  They are bland and oily and usually do not complement the other dishes on the menu.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Salads and Zalads

In the past 5 days I have had the unfortunate experience of eating a Subway salad and a Zaxby's salad.  I had to stay late at work and had not brought food from home.  The salad from Subway was nothing special, and I was still hungry after eating it.  At least I did not feel gross and bloated like I did after eating the Blackened, Blue chicken salad from Zaxby's.  Both salads contained mostly ice-burg lettuce, anemic tomato slices, and a few other random veggies.  However, the chicken from Zaxby's was coated in a salty spice mix and by the time I was done eating it I felt like drinking a gallon of water.  The blue cheese crumbles probably didn't help, however I feel better about eating those than processed orange american cheese.  Also, the buttered toast was too much for me to resist... If I ever have to decide between one of them again, I think I'll just go to Wendy's instead and get a side salad and baked potato.  Today I'm making my own salad, so here is my calorie and cost breakdown.  I'm rounding to the nearest $ that I paid since cost will differ depending upon where you live.

Subway salad with grilled chicken breast and FF honey mustard dressing: $6 for 160kcal, 2.5g fat, 395mg sodium or... 0.0375 cents per kcal.

Zaxby's Blackened Blue Zalad with 1/2 packet of mediteranian dressing: $7 for 588kcal, 27g fat, 1712mg sodium or.... 0.0119 cents per kcal.  (ACK! I can't believe I ate that).

My salad with fresh romaine lettuce, mushrooms, cucumber, avocado, raisins, red bell pepper slices, walnuts, feta, and homemade mustard vinaigrette and a small piece or homemade cornbread with orange jelly: $2 for  469kcal, 25g fat (Almost all unsaturated), 635mg sodium or...0.00426 cents per kcal.

While the ingredients and produce to make your own salad may initially seem expensive, when you break it down into one salad, it comes out much less expensive and much much healthier.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Homemade Electrolytes

This past weekend I went for my longest run ever 16 miles!  I only stopped once for a quick dash into the woods... For long runs such as these, pretty much anything over 11 miles I cary some for of quick carb with me such as a gel, raisins, or gator-aide.  I would love to buy Hammer Nutrition products, but those are a little pricey for my current budget.  They are just about the only sports supplement company that does not use any artificial flavorings, colorings, or sweeteners in their products.  Unfortunately there are no stores in town who sell it; and no other brands that seem to live up to their quality.   Therefore I started making my own recovery shakes and salt/carb beverage drinks for long runs.  Here is a link to my hydration pack which I love.  No excess bouncing or spilling, and the flasks come out of their holsters easily when I need a sip.  I fill one flask 1/2 full (6 oz) juice, 4 oz water, and 1/8 tsp pickling salt (it dissolves easily).  This provides me with 87 kcals, 23 g carbohydrate, 298 mg sodium, 19mg calcium, 147mg potassium, and 12.5mg magnesium.  Plus I get the added flavonoids and polyphenols from the juice!  No other drink can claim that.  Another bonus with my drink is that I do not have to worry about the fructose syrup found in most drinks causing my stomach to cramp.

Recovery smoothies are another area I've been playing around with.  After hard work outs at the gym I sometimes like to blend together plain yogurt, a splash of juice or milk, maybe some peanut butter, a banana, or frozen fruit.  I do it all by sight so there is no real recipe for it.  Last summer we had an abundance of fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes.  Ryan and I blended them up and portioned them into 2 oz plastic cups.  We froze them and now instead of fresh or frozen fruit, I just throw one to two of these frozen fruit things into the blender and POOF! Smoothie deliciousness.

Last comment: Either the oil of oregano worked or my allergies just ran their coarse.  I'll probably keep taking it this spring since I know the trees/flowers/grass will begin blooming in a few months.  Too bad it tastes so awful.  Next time I'm buying the capsules.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oil of Oregano

Last week my seasonal allergies went crazy.  After the Nun Run 5k Saturday morning, I found myself blowing my nose every two minutes.  I've been taking the OTC version of claritin since then, but am still fighting off a running nose and sinus pressure.  A friend of mine has been telling me to try oil of oregano supplements for a couple years; I finally broke down and bought some.  You can buy it in pill form, however mine is a liquid.  I added two drops to about 6oz of V8 V-fusion juice.  It definitely has a strong flavor, but the juice helped mask it enough to where I could barely taste it.

Scientifically speaking, there appears to be no clinical trials supporting the notion that oil of oregano really does prevent sinusitis and/or allergies.  Which probably explains why I cannot find any 'scientific' evidence promoting it for this particular use.  Thank goodness I found this statement before becoming too frustrated with the lack of information.  There are a few smaller studies that have shown that it may be used as an antibacterial, but as one source stated, if you "pour a pile of salt, lime juice, Cointreau, or tequila on a petri dish, it will likely kill most bacteria too."  Since I am not a pharmacist or herbalist, I recommend reading these articles in order to learn more and become an informed consumer.  While there may not be much science to back up it's use,  I'll let you know if I feel any different over the next couple days.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Turkey Samich

I was told a few of my mom's students really like the format of my Ode to my Oatmeal post.  So today I will discus something that finds it's way into Ryan and I's lunch box several times a week; a turkey sandwich.  This morning I made him a turkey salad sandwich that consisted of: Two slices Nature's Own 100% whole wheat bread, 1Tbs Miracle Whip(don't skip the zip), 2tsp Publix brand brown mustard, 1/2 stalk of celery diced, 3-4oz shredded roasted turkey breast, 1/2 oz Publix sharp cheddar cheese, several pieces of spinach, and a dash of pepper and dried dill.  The nutrition analysis comes to: 313calories, 11.3g fat, 4g saturated fat, 17.6g carbohydrate, 821mg sodium.  The estimated cost of this sandwich comes to: 50 Cents.  Seriously! That's only 0.00159 cents a calorie.  I'm a little surprised that the sodium is still this high, especially since we roasted the turkey breast ourselves.  But compare this sandwich to some of America's favorite turkey/chicken sandwiches.

Quiznos Small Turkey & Cheddar: 495cal, 7g sat fat, 40.5g carbhydrate, 1171mg sodium
Average cost: $5 or 0.0101 cents per calorie

Subway 6" Roasted Chicken: 320cal, 4.5g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 49g carbohydrate, 750mg sodium.
Average cost: $4 or 0.0125 cents per calorie
Remember, this one does not include any cheese, mustard, or mayo just the standard veggies.

Panera Smoked Turkey Sandwich: 560cal, 17g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 68g carbohydrate, 1960mg sodium
Average cost:$6 or 0.0107 cents per calorie

Just as I thought, it's much less expensive to pack lunch than eat out at sandwich joints.  Of course when Ryan takes lunch to work it usually includes a yogurt, apple or banana, granola bar or almonds, and a tupperware of baby carrots and celery.  Just imagine what that would cost you at one of those restaurants.