I make a Sunday evening Spaghetti Bolognese every week, and it’s my family’s favorite meal of the week. The leftovers are easy weeknight dinners or quick lunches and it’s always tasty.
My recipe calls for ground turkey (but subs like lean ground beef, tofu, or seitan are great) and has carrots, tomatoes, onions, and eggplant. Red wine adds sweetness without adding too many grams of sugar.
You can also play around with adding other veggies, such as broccoli, spinach, peppers kale, cauliflower, and beets. The trick is to roast them first, to bring out the sweetness in the vegetables. I play it safe, because my husband has a suspicious pallet.
Hidden Veggie Double Protein Bolognese (dairy free, gluten free)
- 1 32oz can diced or crushed tomatoes (Check out this article by Cooks Illustrated to see best diced tomato brands)
- 1 large or two small eggplant, roasted until mushy
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/4 cup minced garlic (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2lbs ground turkey
- 1T salt
- 1/2T white and black pepper)
- 1T oregano
- 1/2 cup fresh Basil, chopped
- Olive oil as needed for sautéing
- Optional: 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese to extra umami taste
- Roast eggplants (400*F for about 1 hour) until eggplants are mushy and caramelized. Combine with diced tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. Using a hand blender, process the vegetables together. Keep these to the side in a separate bowl. (Note: If you use a blender or a food processor, be careful of processing hot food.)
- In a French Oven over medium heat, cook diced onion, carrots, and garlic with olive oil until caramelized (15 or so minutes). Add the wine, and cook until reduced. Add the aromatics to your vegetable mixture and blend one more time.
- In the same French oven, cook turkey in batches with olive oil to encourage browning (1/2lb at a time or so, depending on your pan size). As batches cook, add them to the bowl with the vegetables.
- When the last batch is completed, add the vegetable mixture to the meat in the French Oven and add in your spices. Let cook over low heat for one hour.
Serve with whole wheat pasta, cauliflower, or vegetable noodles.
After yesterday’s super intricate, let’s use all of our kitchen tools and bowls recipe, here is one that is also quite healthy and super, super easy. The dark chocolate only adds 5 grams of sugar to the recipe and is a great source of antioxidants, the fruit provides fiber and micronutrients, and the almonds also provide micronutrients while giving you some fat for fullness and protein to stabilize blood sugar. This is a nice “treat” that is a good alternative to other things I might consider grabbing late at night.
Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Almonds (GF, vegan, high protein)
- 1 ounce dark chocolate (85%+ cocoa). I like Green & Black’s.
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced in half (or other fruit of your choice)
- 1/4 cup raw almonds (or other raw nut of your choice)
- Heat your dark chocolate in the microwave (or double boiler if you like dishes). If using microwave, go 20 seconds at a time so the chocolate does not burn
- Place your fruit and nuts on a cooking tray covered by a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
- When melted through, drizzle using a spoon or spatula over the nuts and fruit
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until chocolate is set
That’s it! Enjoy.
I recently started working with Julia Hincman-Francavilla at Newleaf Nutrition. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have a few conditions (the famous triad of POCS, endometriosis, and hypothyroidism) that make gaining weight easy and losing weight hard. This has worsened post-partum, and my usual methods of eating healthily have not been working to lower my body fat. Julia is helping me stabilize my blood sugar and insulin levels–something I did not realize was an issue with those with the “triad”–through the addition of protein into my diet, so you’ll start seeing more protein-rich recipes here.
Protein-Rich Hidden Veggie Waffles (vegan, low sugar, egg free, whole grain)
- Preheat Waffle Iron to medium-low setting. Spray/grease liberally if not nonstick
- Prepare ingredients as directed in the ingredients list:
- Make flax egg
- Grate lemon zest
- Grind nuts into a flour
- Grate and puree fruits and veggies
- Combine pureed fruits and veggies with yogurt, pulse through blender again if needed to make into a smooth consistency. If not quite 2 cups total liquid, add a little water
- Mix wet and dry ingredients separately:
- Combine all Wet Ingredients in a separate bowl
- Combine all Dry Ingredients in a separate bowl
- Combine Wet Ingredients into Dry Ingredients. Mix until just combined
- Add coconut oil, stir 3-5 times or until just mixed
- When Waffle Iron is to temperature, add half of mixture to waffle iron, spreading out with a spoon or spatula
- Cook until Waffle Iron beeps, or until just cooked
- Carefully remove waffles and transfer to 300 degree oven. They will be sticky. Go slowly and use a fork to gently tease them out if you are having difficulty
- Cook for another 10 minutes in the oven or until crunchy on the outside but not burnt (the high fat content makes them burn easily)
- Serve warm with pureed berries, yogurt, peanut butter, lemon juice, or bananas
One of the things I love most about running is meeting and being inspired by other runners. Meet Pete Hynd, who has made an incredible journey over the past few years. Pete overcame addiction to become an accomplished runner and an all around inspiring guy, finishing the NYC Marathon this past November and raising an impressive $4,633.00 for the Melanoma Foundation. Here is the transcripts from our online chat:
Run Beet: First, tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, what you do?
Pete: I was born and raised in Peabody, MA. However , I have lived in Plaistow, NH for the last 4 years, after 10 years in Haverhill, MA. I’ve been married 12 1/2 years, no kids, 3 dogs, two cats and a horse (well it’s my wife’s horse!).
I work for EBSCO Information Services and will be coming up on 22 years! It was my only job right out of college so I’m real fortunate and grateful. I’ve held various positions but for the last 6 1/2 years I have been a Lead Software as a Service Operations Specialist setting up customer’s single sign on authentication services to our on-line products amongst various other lead type duties.
Run Beet: I should mention for our readers that this is how we met. I worked for EBSCO for two years while I was getting my MLIS. So, Pete, what got you into running? Was it a gradual decision or a sudden inspiration?
Pete: It was more a gradual decision. Long story short, I battled alcoholism for a good part of my 30’s until enough was enough and got sober at 36 on February 15, 2008 with a lot of help. So basically for the next two years after that was just getting used to not drinking and handling any and all circumstances without reaching for the bottle.
Once I started getting my feet and mind more stable in that regard, I started to get the urge to do something, anything that was physical. In my younger days I played sports and was pretty athletic. I loved to be physically and mentally challenged. I also went to a Military college so I wanted to start living up to that standard as well. Through one of my college friends, he suggested to just shoot for a 5k and keyed me in to the Couch to 5k three month program.
Run Beet: Congratulations on 8 years sober TODAY! How was it the first 6 months of running? What was your first race like?
Pete: I will always remember that first workout, I could barely run a 1/4 mile but I felt alive after! For the first time in a long time, I felt alive! So I continued to grind out that program and on Thanksgiving day of 2010 I ran my very first 5k. It was tough but so amazing! It showed me you can overcome anything. I was hooked!
So after that I just kept running and running kind of like Forrest Gump! 5ks led to 5 miles which lead to 10ks then 10 miles and onto my first Half marathon in 2012. I kept running. Then I did a Spartan endurance Sprint at Fenway Park in November 2014 which was over 3 miles and 20 plus obstacles. That upped the ante but I finished!
Then last February I did a military style endurance team challenge called GoRuck tough which is run by some of our finest special forces operators. That was over 15 hours overnight in Boston. This one really put me to the test and I had to rely on my team-mates to get me through. The feeling when this one was over was unbelievable. It really proved I could go to a certain mental and physical place and push through. Then came the NYC marathon this past November 1st! 26.2 miles!
Run Beet: What keeps you motivated? Do you ever struggle with motivation?
Pete: I think the biggest thing that keeps me motivated is that I kind of know what rock bottom is so anything I do running/endurance wise, while that can be tough at times, nothing was harder than getting sober.
Because of my recovery I now have the good fortune of giving back whether its visiting Alcohol and Drug Detox/Rehab hospitals, jails or other recovery groups to share my story. I found that by sharing my story it gives hope to some of the hopeless and who are battling just like I did. That they can overcome their struggles and succeed. That’s enough to keep me motivated. I still have good and bad days training but I don’t think I have ever struggled since I started this with motivation.
Run Beet: I love that you are so open about your story. Nothing helps someone struggling more than to know that there is a legit path OUT. On that note, let’s go back to a previous comment… You just ran the New York City Marathon! How amazing was THAT?
Pete: I can’t even do justice how amazing this was. It was epic and emotional. It was like I finally arrived to the big leagues. Actually, a guy I was sitting next to on the bus on our way to the start line said, “Welcome to the big leagues!” to me when I told him this was my first marathon. To have millions of people screaming your name while you run by was absolutely incredible. It made all the hard work worthwhile and made me thirsty for more! Anything is possible now! But I think the biggest satisfaction and joy I got was seeing all my friends and family get excited for it and for me. They all followed me on the marathon app and I felt them the whole way!
Run Beet: I know! I was one of those people! It was amazing to watch. My husband (a non runner) was totally baffled. Side topic, you’re the most awesome dog owner I have ever seen. Your dogs are literally in dog heaven. Do you train with them a lot?
Pete: HAHA! My dogs love to run/walk/hike, being Australian Shepherds. They come along for training runs every now and then. We just welcomed a new puppy into the mix so I am thinking about starting from scratch with him to be a legit training dog with me. That would be fun!
Run Beet: I completely agree. He is adorable. Also, training would be very fun! What are your running goals for 2016 and beyond?
Pete: Right now I’m preparing for a half marathon March 6 and a 26.2 mile Tough Ruck trail hike/walk on April 16. We have 9 hours to complete it. That should be fun because a couple good friends will be doing it with me. Its to support various veteran organizations but the team I am on is to help raise awareness on veteran suicides. There are just way too many. 22 a month which is really sad. After that, I will be targeting another marathon in 2017! I would really love to improve my time!
Here’s a quick recipe that is a vegan, whole grain, soy free take on Martha Stewart’s Basic Pancake Recipe. These are are nutritious, fluffy, tasty, easy, and a crowd pleaser. This is a pretty big batch (serving 6-8). I like to make more than I need and freeze the rest for busy mornings.
Easy Vegan Whole Wheat Pancakes
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (or other whole grain flour of your choice)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp molasses, maple syrup, or brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flax plus 1/4 cup warm water, let stand 5 mins)
- 2 cups rice milk (or similar, not soymilk with carageenan)
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted (or similar oil)
- Fruit toppings of your choice
- Combine dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Combine rice milk and flax eggs.
- Combine wet and dry, when just mixed, add in your coconut oil.
- Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour over hot non-stick skillet and spread slightly with the bottom of the cup measure to ensure they are relatively flat and even. When the are bubbling on the top, flip over and cook until both sides are brown and crisp.
- Serve warm with vegan butter and fruit!
So yesterday I was visiting my favorite local spot Becky’s in Marblehead, MA and picked up a gorgeous zucchini. I instantly thought “ZUCCHINI LOAF” but wanted to do some research, because vegan/egg free/low sugar/whole wheat zucchini loaf has generally failed to live up to my expectations. It’s usually soggy and gummy, or FULL of sugar and fat.
I looked at a lot of recipes, and found that I liked Oh She Glows Zucchini and Walnut and King Arthur’s Whole Wheat Zucchini Loaf. I used a little bit from each recipe, the simplicity of King Arthur’s with the Vegan-ness of Oh She Glows. I reduced the sugar of both, and baked in a cake pan not a loaf pan to cut down the chance of gumminess or sogginess in the bread.This bread is DELICIOUS. Even Pete, who lives off of air and washable crayons, loved his. And this is healthy enough to munch on for dinner, or breakfast. Ha! So, with a deep bow to both Oh She Glows and King Arthur:
Fluffy, crunchy Vegan Zucchini Loaf with Raisins & Pepitas
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup preferred ratio of raisins and pepitas/pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp baking spices (I have a baking spices mix from Penzey’s that has nutmeg, ginger, clove, mace, and cinnamon)
- Optional: 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1-2 Tbsp cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup rice milk (or preferred milk)
- 1 flax egg: 1 Tbsp ground flax plus 1/4 cup water, let stand for 5 minutes
- 1 large or 2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 1 & 1/2 cup)
- Preheat oven to 350, get a 9″ cake pan and grease/line it as you see fit.
- Combine dry ingredients
- Combine wet ingredients
- Mix together wet and dry, being sure to NOT overmix.
- Bake in oven for 35-45 minutes. Bread should be golden brown, and bouncy not spongey to the touch. You can do the toothpick trick if you like.
- Remove from pan immediately and let cool on a baking rack. The backing rack is key to reduce the moisture going back INTO the bread. If you cannot find yours, you might need to be crafty. See below…