If you haven’t caught on by now, part of what I love about cooking is the chance to experiment! Because so many people find eating healthy to be flavorless and boring, I embrace the challenge of finding new, and I admit sometimes unusual, recipes to satisfy their cravings without leaving them saddled with guilt and love handles.
If the eggnog and holiday cookies got the best of you, and even if they didn’t, try this yummy pizza recipe that is loaded with flavor… and vegetable superpowers : )
Instead of regular tomato sauce, this recipe uses pureed beets. Like most vegetables, beets have numerous health benefits. The nutrient, Betaine, found in beets has been shown to prevent inflammation and protect cells from environmental stress. If you are an athlete, consider making beets a part of your training regimen as they have been shown to improve performance by increasing tolerance for high intensity exercise and decreasing the oxygen cost of low intensity exercise. The effect of drinking beet juice 2-3 hours before workouts is not minor. According to Runner’s World, performance is increased 12-14% which translates to a 1-2% decrease in race time. For more details on the ergogenic properties of beets, click here. Or, ask Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall who is reportedly a fan of the juice.
To make this pizza, I made a homemade crust out of 100% Whole Wheat flour and pre-baked the crust before topping it. Directions for making the crust can be found here. For the sauce I pureed 1 can of beets in a food processor with 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, juice from half a lemon, and a dash of salt. Next I piled on spinach, organic shredded cheddar cheese, diced mushrooms, and olives. Bake for 10-12 minutes @ 350 degrees and enjoy!
Tomato paste/puree (ingredients should be only tomatoes!)
Salt and pepper
Directions: Spread tomato paste on inside of each mushroom. Slice 3-5 garlic-stuffed olives longways and place flat side down on top of tomato sauce. Sprinkle each pizza with nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile steam asparagus in a covered microwave safe dish and 1/4 inch of water for 2-3 minutes. Plate asparagus and pizzas and enjoy!
Many athletes know that in order to reach their peak performance, the most important macronutrient for maintenance of adequate energy stores is carbohydrates, with protein and fat being of secondary importance. Eating as soon as possible after exercise is the best way to replenish drained energy stores fast so that you can be at your best for your next workout, whether that be later the same day, or within 24 hours.
This week I tried out this recipe for Curried Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas. Not only was it DELICIOUS, but super fast and easy to prepare, which is a major priority for many athletes who are ready to eat anything in sight after a hard workout. The tortilla, beans, and sweet potato all provide carbohydrate, while the beans also serve as a good source of protein. I used Whole Wheat Ezekiel tortillas, which are a complete protein source due to the unique combination of sprouted grain, lentil, and soybean ingredients. Complete protein sources are especially important for vegetarian athletes who do not take in animal protein, which is more readily used by the body in comparison with plant sources.
Ezekiel whole wheat tortillas
Curry (add to your liking, I used several large dashes of the spice, but the flavor was still very mild when combined with the other ingredients)
1/2 can of black beans (rinse to decrease sodium if you prefer, although extra salt may aid hydration efforts post workout)
1/2 medium sweet potato, diced into small cubes
Avocado, for slicing and serving on the side
I precooked the sweet potato for about 3 minutes in the microwave to soften it before cutting. Combine ingredients, but do not over fill tortillas or they may get too heavy, cook on high heat until crisp and cheese has melted together with beans and potato. Enjoy!
Although finals were over a week ago, I had one more week of running and competing, including 37.5 laps at the Mid-American Conference, to do before I could head home for the summer. The team got home late Saturday night, then I used the rest of the weekend to pack up my room and say goodbye to friends. I finally got back yesterday morning. Ah home sweet home 🙂
After living in a less than organized and definitely not clean college house for a year, coming home to a clean and organized kitchen with all the necessary utensils made the idea of cooking irresistible- an immediate must!
I was doing a lot of pinning during my breaks between studying for finals and on the bus ride to and from MACs, so I had plenty of recipes that I was eager to try. One of my friends came over to help and we decided to make quinoa, corn, and black bean stuffed avocados, inspired by a recipe found on the blog, Bullfrogs and Bulldogs. You can find that recipe here, (although we made some changes) : http://www.bullfrogsandbulldogs.com/spicy-quinoa-stuffed-avocado/
We sliced four avocados in half and added a dash of salt, pepper, and roasted red pepper flakes. For the stuffing we combined quinoa, black beans, sliced grape tomatoes, corn, juice from 1 whole lime, cilantro, and a little bit of Frank’s hot sauce. We did not measure everything out exactly, just combine the ingredients in the proportions you prefer! There was a lot of extra stuffing, which we served alongside the stuffed avocados. We also served some freshly sliced mango on the side.