Welcome back foodments!

Hello there, Fall friends! It has been kinda crazy here at COTR. Lots of new and exciting changes are coming my way (hint: big move, anyone?) For now, my lips are sealed.

we're moving, mah!!

we’re moving, mah!!

In the meantime, here are a few special “foodments” (food moments) from the last two months:

1. Quinoa Rice Bars. Hello, future dinner of mine. These babies are easy to freeze and easy to devour.

perfection

perfection

Packed with protein and goodies: quinoa, rice, egg, tomato, spinach, swiss cheese, and any other veggies you’d like to add. Don’t forget to salt and pepper these biddies. Add a touch of red pepper flakes. Magical.

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1a. Quinoa Rice Patties Leftover. Holy heaven in a hand basket. Well, not really, but you catch the drift. I had a ton of leftover rice and quinoa from making delicious #1. So, I used the same ingredients, made small balls, and smushed them into patties while frying beautifully in the saute pan. Seriously. Best brunch idea ever. Healthy. Delicious. Savory. Mouth watering. Recipe to come soon.

#idie #sogood

#idie #sogood

2. Coffee…in a new Keurig. I belong to this cool review site called Influenster. The nice people there sent me a brand new Keurig on the market to test. WOW.

#HelloKeurig

#HelloKeurig

It was great and I’m not just saying that because they sent it to me. The Keurig 2.0 makes single servings, but now comes with a carafe! I wasn’t a huge fan of the plastic carafe that the Keurig 2.0 comes with, but you can buy a stainless steal version separately. The touch screen is an added plus!

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3. Almond Chocolate Chip “Crack” Cookies. Okay, so I don’t really know what crack is like, but I’d imagine that it makes you feel like these cookies do. They’re like macaroons…with chocolate chips and a slight hint of salt.

#ahhell #crackcookies

#ahhell #crackcookies

Just out of control goodness. Recipe coming soon!

4. Kombucha in training. I’ve been attempting to make kombucha from scratch over the past two months. I’ve failed…twice! Making SCOBY followed by kombucha is HARD!

SCOBY

SCOBY

hey there scoby - #youlooklikeabooger

hey there scoby – #youlooklikeabooger

 

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You have to be really careful not to contaminate the fermentation process. I may not have succeeded, but I’m not giving up. Once I find the easiest and best way to make it, I’ll share amazing kombucha here on COTR.

5. MY BROTHER GOT MARRIED. I couldn’t be prouder of my brother and his lovely new wife. I hope the man I marry someday looks at me the way Justin looked at Kelly.

Justin and Kelly <3

Justin and Kelly <3

A beautiful day for two beautiful people – congrats guys!

6. Paleo-Friendly Buffalo Chicken Chili. I hit the motherload with the one.

#healthy #chili #paleo

#healthy #chili #paleo

I can’t take credit for the beauty of this recipe – that goes to my fellow blogger at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. I removed the corn and green pepper from this recipe and used chickpeas instead of cannelini. Delicious. Add a dollop of plan greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute and/or have it on the side with some chopped celery sticks. I’m not going to lie, this recipe is HOT. If you’re not huge on taking the heat, cut back on the 1/2 cup hot sauce. I liked the heat and when you heat this up as a leftover, it becomes more of a smoky hot than having it fresh off the stove. Stick with the 1/2 cup and be a champ! 🙂

Be on the lookout for more exciting things to come from COTR very soon!

oh hai :)

oh hai 🙂

 

A date with myself

Taking myself out on dates is tricky. When I think about a self date, I think about loads of junk food and this sweet location called the couch.

#addict

#addict

While this is appealing, I decided to take myself “in” on a healthy date. There is something really gratifying about making yourself a healthy meal…especially when you’re cooking with a big glass of wine.

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Well, I hit the jackpot ladies and gents. I made the salad of all salads. Sometimes, it’s the simplest of ingredients that make a masterpiece. Basil, garlic and olive oil. There’s your dressing. Easy, right? Check it out.

Basil and Garlic Summer Squash Salad (Serves 2)

1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, cut into half moons

1/2 red onion, diced

1 romaine head, sliced into strips

1-2 tomatoes, diced

1 small ball of fresh mozzarella, diced

7 large leaves of fresh basil, rolled up and sliced into thin strips

So fresh

So fresh

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed

2 Tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

Add oil to a medium sized pan and warm on medium heat. Add garlic and let simmer until you get a kitchen-full aroma of garlic and the garlic is beginning to golden. Add the squash and saute on medium to med-high until the squash is lightly golden.

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Flip the squash often in the pan like a master chef. Be sure that you have enough oil in the pan as this will become the salad dressing. Add a dollop more if necessary. Add the basil to the pan and flip a few times to coat the squash.

Can I just eat this?

Can I just eat this?

While waiting for the squash to cook, chop up all of the other ingredients and add to a large bowl. Once you’ve finished the squash, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Add to the salad bowl and gently mix to incorporate the basil-garlic oil.

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Of course the night is not complete without some Hershey’s Nuggets. A girl has got to live a little 🙂

#truth

#truth

Run like you mean it

Sometimes running in a new place can give you motivation to keep moving. I ran today out in the middle of nowhere Warners, NY and it was BEAUTIFUL. Don’t get me wrong – I love exploring new cities – the architecture, the people, it’s all exciting. There’s just something about rolling hills and farms that is so peaceful.

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Listening to the Rich Roll podcast and admiring the scenery, I was running for just shy of an hour – good times!

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The person being interviewed was discussing how he transformed his fitness through a plant-based diet. He really learned how to listen to his body while logging heavier miles. So, that’s what I focused on doing. Am I tired/wheezing away my breath? Yes. Okay, walk for 2 minutes. Am I feeling good? Run like you mean it. Am I almost done? Run like your life depended on it.

#thisismylife

#thisismylife

Afterwards I read and had a snack while waiting for Mrs. D to finish her riding lesson.

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When we got home, I decided to use the leftover peppers we had in the fridge to make roasted peppers. This recipe is so simple and the peppers make for a great summer side dish. I tend to taste test the peppers while cutting them. Hey, you gotta make sure your recipes are edible and you don’t kill the people you’re feeding. Luckily, these peppers passed the “you will live” test. Unfortunately for the family, I didn’t share many 😉 Original recipe can be found in the Dom Deluise cookbook.

Italian Roasted Peppers (Serves many, shared with no one)

6-8 peppers, using a variety of colors (red, orange, yellow)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs capers, including some of the juice from the jar
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife

Set the oven to broil. Line 2 baking dishes with aluminum foil. Place the peppers spread evenly on the baking dishes.

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Put under the broiler. You have to monitor the peppers carefully so they don’t burn. When you start to see the pepper blackening, use a set of tongs to switch each pepper to a new side.

Come to mama

Come to mama

Once all sides are blackened, remove from oven. Roll up the foil to cover the peppers and let sit for 15 minutes.

While waiting, combine the rest of the ingredients in a deep dish for serving.

Unwrap the peppers and begin to remove the skin on each one. After sitting wrapped in the foil, they should be cooled and easy to peel. Slice open up the peppers over the dish, adding the pepper juices to the mixture. De-seed the peppers and cut into thin strips. Add the strips to the dish and wahlah! Welcome to roasted pepper heaven.

#yourewelcome

#yourewelcome

Get me to the green

When something isn’t right for you, you feel it in your gut. Well, my gut was screaming to Sunday and back. New York City was not my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong. I love the food and all of the culture, but the past few months have been all consuming with work. Add an already anxious Dana to a high stress, fast paced environment and you get some pretty obnoxious panic attacks in public places. Thank god for the plethora of parks in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

During a visit to my parents’ house, my mother looked at me biting my nails with a perpetual frown on my face and said: “Dana, your job is not God. Is it really worth it when you’re this unhappy?”

Moms are always right, especially when you need them to be. So, I quit my job. I moved out of New York City. I’m on, what I affectionately refer to as, “my sabbatical.” So, it’s time to get back to the things I love most. Running, cooking, spending time with family and sharing new and fun recipes right here 🙂

On my first official weekend back in Upstate New York, I realized a few things:

1) It’s quiet. Quiet as in wind chimes and crickets. No sirens and car horns at night.

2) IT’S SO GREEN.

The outdoors - brilliant photo taken by Mr. D :)

The outdoors – brilliant photo taken by Mr. D 🙂

3) oh yeah, and these guys.

Charming fellas

Charming fellas

Outside of the above, I really missed cooking fresh and healthy foods. In the NYC dynamic, I found myself cooking less and less. That makes for one cranky Dana. Mrs. D and I decided to start my return to cooking off right by making a mediterranean feast with my favorite…PITA! This makes for a perfect summer dinner and great cold lunch leftovers over a bed of greens.

Let's get started, shall we?

Let’s get started, shall we?

Mediterranean Pita with Falafel and Roasted Chickpeas (Serves 4)

Roasted chickpeas (<our recipe, minus the rosemary for this pita dish)

Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

3-4 radishes, thinly sliced

1-2 tomatoes, sliced

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 package falafel mix

1 package fresh pita, cut into halves for pockets

Canola oil

tzatziki sauce, for dressing

Prep the falafel mix according to package directions. Most mixes will require combining the package with water to sit and harden for 30 minutes or so.

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Once the mixture has set, form into thin patties.

Formed by chef Linda

Formed by chef Linda aka Mrs. D

Heat canola oil in a cast iron skillet. You’ll want roughly 1/2 an inch to an inch of canola oil in the pan. Once the oil is ready, add the patties to sizzle.

Whoa there

Whoa there

Remove once the falafel is a golden brown and let cool. Now, for the fun. Assembly line! This is my favorite part of prep in the Diamond household. With a meal like this, we create our own dishes. Petite little pocket for me, whereas Brett will make a pita the size of a small child. This is the beauty of the assembly line. To each their own.

Don't forget to add your chickpeas!

Don’t forget to add your chickpeas to top

Top your creation with some tzatziki and enjoy!

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Turning errands into training miles

Weekend time disappears in the blink of an eye. Before I knew it, I woke up Sunday morning with lots to do and only 1 day to do it. I wanted to fit in a run so I made a plan to fit it into my day of errands. Since I had to head over to Union Square, I plotted a run on Map My Run and used it for directions and tracking mileage.

Running this way is a great way to explore…

Farmer’s Markets.

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Beautiful buildings.

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And of course, a reminder that we’re headed into March Madness. Go Orange!

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After a great 3 miles, I couldn’t wait to make a new recipe jam packed with veggies. I based this meal off of a fabulous recipe from Herbivoracious. I used fresh, chopped peppers instead of roasted peppers and added radishes to the mix. Radishes are a great to add to any salad – an abundant source of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it adds that essential salad crunch – love that! I prepared this dish right in my tupperware containers to save myself some after cooking cleanup *pat on back*

Quick and Fresh Chickpea Veggie Salad (Serves 4)

4-5 radishes, washed and diced into long strips

1 large cucumber, rinsed and chopped

Half a red onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

1-2 fresh peppers (I used red, orange and yellow)

1 can chickpeas (no salt added), rinsed thoroughly

A few handfuls of fresh basil, chopped

Half a lemon, for juicing

1/4 cup EVOO

6 oz feta

Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly with lemon juice and EVOO.

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Though this dish was out-of-this-world amazing freshly made, I found that it was even more mind blowing after sitting over night in the lemon-EVOO-basil mixture. This is officially a new staple in my weekly meal plan…WIN! 🙂

helllooo dinner

helllooo dinner

Smoked mozzarella and city bustle

Work, work, work. New Yorkers don’t lie when they say life is chaotic here in the city. Sadly, moving into Manhattan, dancing and balancing work life have left me with zero motivation to prepare food.

It doesn’t help that I live in the middle of restaurant/foodie paradise. Cheap Chinatown sesame balls, we tell you!

get in my belly

get in my belly

…the views

from DUMBO

from DUMBO

and the unconventional beauty of graffiti in a few words…

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Amidst all this chaos, I’ve been spending far too many dollars on foods that I could make in my own kitchen. So, how do you make it easy to cook in a town filled with sights, sounds and endless distractions? Simple. Fewer ingredients. Fewer steps. Big taste.

I made this quinoa dish in 10 minutes. Basil. Sautéed tomatoes. Smoked mozzarella…uhhhh CHEESE heaven. What’s not to love?

Smoked Quinoa Bowl with Sautéed Tomatoes and Basil (Serves 2)

1 cup quinoa

1 1/3 cup water

1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 large handfuls of basil, chopped (or more if you love it like I do)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, chopped

Smoked mozzarella (I’m not going to add an amount here. No judgment when it comes to cheese)

2 Tbs EVOO

Sea salt and pepper

Bring the quinoa to a boil in a small pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium high heat. Sauté the onions and garlic, stirring for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes begin to color the onions. Add the sautéed mixture to the cooked quinoa along with the basil and mozzarella. Add a dollop of EVOO, salt, and pepper – stir and enjoy!

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holy taste buds #nomnom

That’s life

Nothing like your bum saying hello to the pavement in NYC. Good thing I was on a run.

At least it was pretty

Right now, I’m located in Brooklyn Heights and there is nothing like the New York skyline to greet you while putting on some miles. I forgot how exhilarating it is to run in the city. Cold, crisp air. Taking in the sounds. Watching all kinds of people bustling to where they need to be. It fills you with this buzz. It’s the buzz that runs throughout the Big Apple and it’s exciting.

The view...

The view…

The feeling of accomplishment :)

The feeling of accomplishment 🙂

Since Brett will be missing in action for the next few months being a genius at Upstate Medical University, I’ve decided to keep my meals simple. I’m sure you’ve heard of all the diet crazes as of late. Paleo. Gluten Free. Cambogia garcinia pills. If you’ve tried any of these methods, you know they are NOT CHEAP. That’s the beauty of simplicity. Protein, carb and veggie. Take my dinner last night for example. I sautéed some spinach and tempeh, cooked some brown rice and fried an egg. I used some nori (seaweed) seasoning and a pinch of sea salt. It may sound bland, but it’s cheap and you’re getting everything you need to provide your body with the fuel it needs.

Nori Fuming Furikake - rice seasoning you can buy at any Asian grocer

Nori Fuming Furikake – rice seasoning you can buy at any Asian grocer

Here’s an example day of “simple” eating:

Breakfast: 1 hard boiled egg, 1 banana, a piece of whole grain toast with 1 Tbs PB
Snack: 1 oz raw almonds
Lunch: Mixed green salad with tomatoes, peppers and quinoa. A little EVOO and apple cider vinegar
Snack: 2 chopped carrots and 1 Tbs hummus
Dinner: Sautéed tempeh with spinach, brown rice and 1 fried egg

…and making the above dinner is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Sautéed tempeh, spinach and egg

1/2 block grain tempeh, diced into small cubes
1 cup fresh spinach
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
1 egg
2 Tbs coconut oil

Heat a pan over medium high heat and sauté the tempeh until light golden. Set aside. Add a touch more oil and sauté the spinach until wilted. Before frying the egg, plate the tempeh and spinach on top of 3/4 cup brown rice. I have a habit of overlooking my fried eggs. Brett tends to be the egg master in our house. Luckily, it still tastes delicious. Top with Nori seasoning and serve.

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Marathons and big moves

If you decide to run a marathon for the first time, you must:

1) Run a Disney marathon
2) Run with someone you love

If you weren’t aware, Brett and I ran the Disney World Marathon on January 14. It was my first marathon. It was Brett’s first marathon, too, but he ran a 50 mile ultra in November. He’s a serious overachiever or psychopath…however you’d like to look at it.

As a first time marathoner, everything I heard was true. Marathons are scary!

Terrified faces

Terrified faces

It’s a mental race. You can prepare your body (or not. We were a bit undertrained…whoopsie), but ultimately, it’s your mind that does the leg work.

I was in great shape for the first 18 miles. Dancing. Smiling. Flirting with Stitch.

What?

What?

Mile 19 was my “wall.” A wall or a “bonk” is the point in a longer race where you hit rock bottom. That’s where the mental strength needs to kick in. Unfortunately for Brett and his attempt at singing Kelly Clarkson in the ESPN Wide World of Sports, nothing was helping. Not even out of tune twinkle toes to my left. There is excitement in running a big race like Disney though. You look around and realize you’re not alone. We were running the race for Homes for our Troops, but many were running in memory or honor of family, friends, loved ones, etc. It was quite inspiring.

Ultimately, I could in no way have made it through those last 7 miles without Brett. The last leg was a series of challenges.

Me: “Run from here to Safari Mickey then walk?”
Brett: “Allllrighttt let’s do it!”

He walked with me whenever I needed to. He encouraged me when I thought my little legs would go no more, and he held my hand straight across the finish line. It was just nice to have someone by my side. If you’re contemplating your first marathon or ultra race, I would highly recommend finding a close friend to sign up with. My best friend really got me through 🙂

#wedidit

#wedidit

I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’ve been a little delinquent here on Cooks on the Run. After our marathon, we made a tiny little decision to move to NYC. I know, no big deal, right? Piece of cake. Well, we’ve been hustling our booties off to pack our things to move from VA to the Big Apple. We’re so excited to start posting recipes and adventures from our new home. Until then, I’ve concocted a new power smoothie that has been on repeat in our blender. I know it sounds gross, but give it a shot. You’ll surprise yourself!

Ginger Carrot Smoothie

1/2 cup unfiltered organic apple juice
1/2 cup water
A handful baby carrots (6 or 7)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango

Blend together the juice, water, carrots and ginger for 2-3 minutes. Add the frozen fruit and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

You need a little ginger in your life ;)

You need a little ginger in your life 😉

Late night eats

One of my good friends, Jeannie, sent me a message the other day.

“I work out post-work and usually don’t get home until around 9ish. Sometimes I don’t have the simplest energy to cook dinner, sometimes even eat, but I know I should…any suggestions?”

As I told Jeannie, we give props to anyone that pushes themselves to go straight to the gym after a longer day at work. As a morning gal, I have difficulty motivating myself in the evening, so I commend anyone that does! Gold star, Jeannie 🙂

Some of us aren't as motivated.

Some of us aren’t as motivated.

We have nights like this all the time. For all you late night gym heroes, I have a couple ideas, but the biggest one is…Quinoa. Quinoa is packed and proteins and super simple to make ahead of time. I will make a batch on Sunday and save it for my later nights when I know that cooking…is not in the cards. I keep it light and easy.

Make a few cups of quinoa ahead of time. Remember: 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/2 cups water. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Chop up any veggies ahead of time (or defrost them!) from what you have in your kitchen.

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Combine 1 cup quinoa with some veggies. Add 1 Tbs of EVOO, salt and pepper. If you have fresh basil, it gives the dish some nice flavor. If not, feel free to add your favorite spice  to add a little something extra.

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and it’s pretty to look at

If you’re in a “cereal” mood, quinoa also works well as breakfast for dinner.

If quinoa isn’t your thing, another easy dinner is a smoothie. Check out some of our smoothie recipes. If you always have frozen fruit on hand, dinner will be ready in 3 minutes or less 🙂

Don’t be discouraged by the late night aversion to lifting a finger in the kitchen. Just be prepared…to be lazy and dinner will be waiting!

All about the pom

I was first introduced to the lovely pomegranate in college. My good friend and roommate at the time Molly, pulled one out of the fridge, and turned around to witness my perplexed face. Up until I was 10, I believed that if I accidentally ate fruit seeds, they would grow in my stomach. My Mom told me this so I would stop swallowing watermelon seeds. No judging. Go ahead and eat those pomegranate seeds – they are good! 🙂

Naturally, I loved pomegranates as soon as I tried them. Molly and I would sit and eat the seeds right out of the skin like monkeys, while watching VH1 countdowns. Again, no judging.

Brett and I look forward to the fall/winter season when pomegranates are in season. Poms are a strange looking fruit…seriously, weird. The name “pomegranate” literally means seeded apple. Despite its’ unusual looks, the pomegranate does have many health benefits. Not only is pomegranate juice high in Vitamin C, but potent with antioxidants, fiber and low in calories. It makes for the perfect snack, addition to a smoothie or topping for a dessert!

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NOM

Of course, there is always the question of ripeness. How do you tell when a pomegranate is ripe when you’re in the grocery store? They should feel heavy (they’re full of seeds and juice) and the skin should be firm. If you see discoloration (almost like bruising), that does not affect the quality of the fruit.

Now, pomegranate juice stains and when you just slice it open like an apple or an orange, you waste seeds and increase the chances of staining your clothes (believe me, this has happened). Plus, it’s just plain messy.

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Check out this cool method Brett and I use to gently open a pomegranate with less fuss and more fruit! Make sure to look for Fred’s appearance half way through…he’s a snoop in the background.