Vegetarian Mulligatawny

As promised, a great race recovery soup recipe for today.  If you do your long run on Sunday like I do, this is a great soup to set on low on the stove and go out for your run.  Make the rice before you hit the shower, and you will have a great meal without too much effort.  Also, unless your family is huge, you will have another meal for sometime through the week already made (=more run time!)

VEGETARIAN MULLIGATAWNY

Makes about 12 servings

Adapted from the New England Soup and Bread Cookbook

2 Tblsp. Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, smashed

4 large carrots, peeled and cut up

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 small head cabbage, chopped finely and rinsed

1 quart canned tomatoes (32 Ounces)

8 cups water

1 pound lentils (I use the red lentils for this soup.)

3 tsp. curry powder

3 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. ground coriander

Salt

Cayenne to taste

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well

1 can coconut milk

2 Tblsp. Honey

To serve:

Basmati rice

Cilantro chutney

Peach or pear chutney

Naan

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery.  Allow to sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add lentils, cabbage, tomatoes, water and spices.  Stir well and bring to a boil, then cook on low about 40 minutes until the lentils are soft.  Meanwhile, cook the rice to serve with your soup.  I like brown basmati rice the best.  When the lentils are soft, add garbanzo beans, coconut milk and honey.  Stir well and heat about 10 minutes.

Serve soup in bowls over basmati rice with condiments and naan on the side.  This makes a wonderful, easy way to get your Indian food fix for the week, and has protein and carbs to be a great race recovery soup.

ENJOY!

Advertisements

Why I Love to Run

As I stated in my “About” post, running has been a catalyst for change in my life.  I have always considered myself a fairly fit and strong person.  Before I began running, it was not uncommon for me to hike 10 to 12 miles in a day, and my usual exercise was a 3 mile walk.  I began running thinking it would be a way to get in better shape for backpacking trips, which we started doing last year.  After all, I felt like my walks hardly raised my heart rate.  I started very slowly with a home-made couch to 5k program that worked for me.  I ran my first 5k – that is, not the race, but the distance without stopping – in July of last year.  Running just really took off for me after that.  By November, I was running distances of 10 miles.

The changes came not just in my looks, although I was shocked to drop nearly 20 pounds and 4 dress sizes without dieting.  To the contrary, I was eating more than ever before.  But the desire to properly fuel my runs has really changed my diet.  I completely gave up soft drinks.  I hadn’t been a big pop drinker since college, but I gave it up altogether for lots and lots of water.  Then, I nearly completely gave up alcoholic beverages because I noticed a lack of energy on running mornings after I had alcohol the evening before.  I noticed that meat does not agree with my digestive system if I am running frequently.  We have become 90 percent vegetarian.  The next step is weaning myself off of sugar – that is going to be seriously difficult.

Another change has been in my outlook.  I get far fewer headaches or bouts of depression when I run.  I am excited looking at my pictures because I realize I am making changes every day that help me to be closer to the person I really want to be.  Running has helped me to feel more in control and powerful.  If I can run, I can CHANGE THE WORLD! Or at least my world.

This spring, Shandy and I ran together our first race.  It was a 15k (9.3 miles) in Midway.  The highlight of the race was a mile and a half long pull up Memorial Hill.  It was so exhilarating to make it up the hill passing people who had stopped to walk.  And then we got to fly back down!  We ran a 5k with my work Healthy Lifestyles program along with our two oldest kids in the summer.  And I have had the racing bug badly ever since.

I was not able to train for a marathon this year.  By the time I decided to train, there were few races left nearby, and the one I really wanted to run was on a weekend I really couldn’t run it.  And every time I extended my mileage, I got an injury that needed some time for recovery.  So I put off marathon training for next year.

Today, we ran a 10k in Orem.  It was to benefit the Hale Center Theater in Orem, and it was another fun experience.  We ran down a steep hill to begin the first 2 miles and then had to come back up another part of that hill to the finish line.  Shandy had to run away from me at the end, beating my time by over a minute.  I ran the fastest time I have run yet, averaging an 8:20 mile and finishing in 50:33.  We both finished first in our age group, although I was about 7 minutes behind the overall winners.

Next week we are going to St. George for me to run my first half marathon!  Although I have run the distance many times, I am certainly nervous about finishing.  I have to concentrate on not going out too fast!

Tomorrow: a great race recovery soup recipe:  Vegetarian Mulligatawny.

 

Canyonlands — Island in the Sky district

After a leisurely breakfast in Moab on Sunday, we decided to drive out and look at the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands before driving home.  It definitely deserves to be explored!  Looking down from the viewpoints was like looking down at the relief topo maps in the visitors center.

No.  Days do not get any better than this.  By the way we just celebrated our 17(!) year wedding anniversary!  That sunshine in October is just a wonderful blessing.  Hope you are enjoying your autumn, too.

Druid Arch Hike — Canyonlands Needles district

In February of this year, Mom and Dad had gone on a camping and hiking trip without us.  They did an 18 mile day hike through Big Springs and Squaw Canyon in the Needles district of Canyonlands, to see Druid Arch.  The hike was a lollipop loop with a stick at both ends, and we were anxious to follow their track.  We left the little kids with them over the weekend and headed down to Canyonlands early on Friday.  When we got there at 5:00. the campground was full, and we were worried we wouldn’t even be able to camp in the BLM land outside the park because it was UEA weekend and the spots were packed.  Fortunately, we found an excellent spot near some big rocks.  Although we had plenty of company — people in spots at either side of us — the rocks were wonderful and the night sky was fantastically dark.  We saw the Milky Way splashed across the entire sky, and we found out later that a meteor shower was responsible for the number of falling stars we saw.

Our camera was nearly out of batteries, so Eden served as our photographer for the hike.  Therefore, more pictures of me than usual.  Although we didn’t get started as early as we would have liked on Saturday morning, we loaded up our backpacks and headed down the trail by about 8:45.  The first part of the trail was quite flat, and we covered the first three miles in about one hour.  We took the left branch of the loop first, heading down into Big Spring Canyon.  This eventually led us up a long steep climb over sandstone to a high saddle.  Going down the other side, we followed a huge steep pour off, and then slid through a narrow crack to shortcut into another canyon.

Do I look like I am saying “Really?!”  Yes.  There is a cairn in there.  There were old branches stuck in the bottom of this crack which served as the trail through this slot.  To get out of the next canyon, we climbed up one ladder and down another.  This was the second of three canyons on this trail.

The hike up to Druid Arch is a pretty straightforward wash hike.  There are some well cairned bypass trails around deep potholes.  There is also one more ladder, with a metal pole to brace your feet on as you cross the top boulder.

After retracing 2 and a half miles to the loop trail, we took the rest of the loop back to the campground.  Although it was a great hike with plenty of views, and a short slot,  it did not compare to the Big Springs/Squaw Canyons loop.  If we were to do this trail again, we would go back the way we came in.  Few hikes are as exhilarating or challenging without climbing as this one was.  When we got back to the parking lot, my GPS read 16 miles, so not quite the 18 we were prepared for.  We had stopped for two “lunch” breaks, and were back to the car by 4:00.  The temperature was fantastic at 70 degrees, plenty sunny but not too hot.  It was a great hike, highly recommended!

Using the Harvest — Cabbage

Just a few weeks ago, this is what my cabbage patch looked like.

Cabbage Patch in August

I had 12 large cabbages in a cabbage bed 4 feet by 6 feet.  Most of them were about 2 pounders, but one was huge!

This one was huge — as big as his head!  This called for some serious recipe searching.  After all, how much coleslaw can one family eat.  Here is one of our favorite recipes for cooked cabbage.

Cabbage in Cream

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 large head cabbage shredded and washed

1 cup heavy cream

In a heavy skillet, melt the butter and let it get quite hot.  Put in the cabbage all at once, but do not stir until it begins to brown on one side.  Stir and fry until the cabbage is beginning to brown.  Add the heavy cream, stir and turn the heat down to low.  Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Salt generously and serve.

Get Outdoors Every Day — Our 15 minutes outside for this week

As part of my goal of living in harmony with nature, I have been trying to spend some time outdoors every day.  I usually run outside in the very early morning four or five days a week, but there’s something really special about being outside in the sunshine during these lovely fall days.  Is it because they are too wonderful to last?  Anyway – here are my goals for outdoor time for the next week:

Monday:              Very busy day, but not too busy for a quick walk around a local pond.  Fall is a great time of year to spot migrating birds.  We often see Canadian geese, Sandhill cranes,  blue herons, and killdeer.  Occasionally we spot an osprey, kingfisher or tern.  We also watch for muskrat, frogs, and garter snakes.

Tuesday:              Walk to and from work (lucky me!) with kids walking to meet me both ways.  Not so much nature, but at least some sunshine.

Wednesday:      Another lunch escape to the park, this time with a picnic of Potato Kale Soup (recipe posted later), homemade sourdough bread, and fresh veggies.  We are going to a different park, too, just at the edge of the canyon.  Last time we were here, we played hide and seek on the hillside.  I hope we can make that happen again.

Thursday:         This will be the hard day, because I am gone for work from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.  I will encourage the kids to play outside during the day — soccer practice in the back yard — and I will hope for a quick walk during lunch.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday:  Hiking and camping trip planned to the Canyonlands Island in the Sky district.  We hope to hike to Druid Arch.  It is eighteen miles round trip, so we will camp Friday night before we hike and Saturday night after we hike in the campground nearby.  Plenty of sunshine on these days!

The Grotto -- Payson Canyon

October Unprocessed

As part of the real and whole foods craze sweeping middle class America, the food blog eatingrules.com sponsored an October Unprocessed challenge again this year.  While the challenge leaves room for individual choice, blogger Andrew Wilder proposes the “kitchen test” for each food used during the month:  if a person with reasonable skill could find or make the ingredients with whole foods in their home kitchen, it is acceptable during the challenge.  This makes things like wine, bacon and butter okay depending on their ingredient list, but processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup or soy lecithin, for example, would be off limits for the duration of the challenge.  As of October 7, 2011, more than 2,600 people had signed up for the challenge, each setting their own goal of a few days to one month with no processed foods.

As mother of a family which eats very few processed foods anyway, I decided to sign up for the challenge for one week during October.  The hardest part of the challenge was getting my teenager on board — he is a born abstainer from group activities.  For the week of October 8 through October 15, we would eat no processed foods.  A few of our difficulties:  non-dairy creamer (Dad), soda (teenagers) and peanut butter (everyone!)  As part of our personal challenge, we continued to drink homogenized milk.  Although raw, non-homogenized milk is available on a limited basis in our area, I was not up to the task of pasteurizing it myself for the week.

Fall was a wonderful time to take this challenge, since we all love vegetables.  With the end of the garden helping us with a huge pot of vegetable soup for lunches, we are surviving the week.  Some of the other real foods we ate so far this week:

  • Kale red pepper pesto with pasta (recipe to follow soon)
  • Winter carrot soup with star anise
  • Vegetarian chili and cornbread
  • Homemade yogurt — I found instructions for crockpot yogurt and it was great!
  • Dad found out he doesn’t mind coffee with real cream at all.  It’s just milk he doesn’t like.
Some of the problems we encountered were:
  • Baking without cooking spray for the pans was irritating.  We had to learn to save butter wrappers to oil pans, and honestly had some slip ups when the kids made bread while I was at work.
  • We eat far too much peanut butter to grind our own peanut butter.  If we were to take a longer challenge, we would have to find a cheap natural source or stop eating so much!
  • Remembering to look at the ingredient list for each item is disturbing.  When you find out the extra ingredients added to things like sour cream, and even the pre-grated cheese has soy agents to prevent sticking, it makes you a little crazy.
  • Our family is addicted to sweets.  We bake desserts three or four times a week.  Cutting out white sugar was a real challenge for us.  I discovered I would rather go without tea completely than drink it without sugar.
Our October Unprocessed was a great experience.  We found some holes in our usual healthy eating plan which we made plans to fix.  We may not wait until next year to try out a whole month of great, real-food eating.

Enjoy Autumn!

What a lovely fall day today was!  We just had to take a mini-vacation in the middle of the day to go play in the park.  I made a quick pot of vegetarian chili with lots of veggies – spinach, celery, onions, bell pepper and garlic.  Lulu made cornbread with no help at all except putting it in the pan and putting it into the oven.  We packed up our lunch and headed for the park.  It was the kind of fall day that I wish could go on forever!

We played on the slides.

We ran races.

We made silhouette pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went home refreshed and ready to work.

Hope your day was as great as ours!