Thursday, July 12, 2012
I had intended to write a blog about tweaking my calories/exercise. I now know that if I eat the mid-range calorie value that SP suggests and walk 30 minutes at 3 mph with 35 minutes of ST six times a week I will gain a pound. Good to know.
But then my back started to hurt. It's been bothering me a little on and off and I could write about that. I have a chronic back problem. I'm mindful of the type of exercise I do. For the last five days it's been progressive more painful. So today I took a rest day. My planned rest day is Monday. I didn't plan on two rest days this week. The thing is, if I don't watch I'll be in constant pain. So I'm sitting here with my TENS and a heating pad. My husband does a pretty nice massage, too.
Who cares about that stuff anyway?
Have you ever tried Socca (su-chi-a)? It's a crepe made with gram flour (chickpea flour, besan), water, olive oil and salt.
There are 17-18 recipes right here at SP.
or you can try:
I like this one because the author, fingerstix, suggests that you make the batter and set it aside for an hour before using it. Some recipes suggest 30 minutes. It does help to eliminate any lumps.
David Lebovitz has a great description of socca. He calls it street food. This article makes me want to go to Provence! Plus, I know someone with a wood burning brick oven. Of course, they live in New Jersey and I live in North Carolina.
I think my favorite recipe is at:
Nicoise Socca (nee-swazh or nee-suaz su-chi-a)
They describe socca as ". . . something between a sturdy crepe and a soft flatbread. The chickpea flour gives it a tender, almost custardlike texture." Oh, yum. Their recipe adds nicoise olives, roasted red peppers, and anchovy fillets. What's not to like? I saw this recipe a while ago. My husband had gotten some tapenade for his book club meeting and had some left over. I'm thinking that I could either put the tapenade in or on the socca. Now don't get me wrong, you can make socca without any other additions except for salt and pepper, but adding anything salty tastes pretty good. I have to watch my sodium intake, so I can add my favorite spices and herbs instead of the salty stuff. And don't forget to grind some fresh pepper over it when you serve it hot from the oven!
While this is considered low carb, it certainly has enough fat and sodium. Especially when you serve it with additional oil and salt for dipping!
If you've never used gram flour you can find it at many grocery stores now. I buy it at my Asian market because I can get a bigger bag that costs less. Besides, my Asian market has a great selection of whole spices, including my favorite cumin seeds, which I'm planning on putting in my socca!
I like to use gram flour to dredge vegetables, fish and chicken. Instead of using seasoned wheat flour I use seasoned gram flour, although I have found that if I add 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs it sticks to the food better. You must add some salt to the seasoned gram flour, otherwise it's too bland. I wonder if you grind up gluten free bread really fine, would it work just as well as the bread crumbs? So, I dredge my food of choice, spray some oil on it and bake it or dredge the food and sautť it in a nonstick pan with a little olive oil until golden. The seasoned gram flour tastes so much better than seasoned flour to me.
Seasoned flour: For every 1 to 1 1/2 cups of gram flour add:
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano or basil
salt and pepper (enough so you can taste the salt and see the pepper)
1 tablespoon bread crumbs (I use Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs)
for some recipes I add Hungarian paprika for color
occasionally I'll reduce the salt and add grated Parmesan cheese
Sunday, July 08, 2012
Well, I never saw myself as some head-turning babe but, . . .
My husband and I went out to Panera Bread for lunch yesterday. (I do get out of the house, sometimes.) As we were finishing up, the restaurant really emptied out and I was sitting at our table while my husband was across the restaurant getting milk and sweetener in his iced coffee. There was just one other couple there.
I look up and thereís this little old dude, (my age) with long hair in a ponytail, glancing over at me. Heís waiting for his wife to refill her soft drink. She turns around at the same time I look up. The wife looks at her husband then looks at me. If looks could kill, I would have been fried on the spot. It was all I could do to keep a straight face as they walked out of the restaurant. Me. She saw me as a threat.
Me. At 56 years old, 5í3Ē and 218 pounds, Iím no cute young thing. She was jealous of me. Now I've never seen the point of jealousy and I donít really get it. Obviously, she has trust issues with her husband. But I have to say, that cardio and strength training are really making a difference. My body is more toned and in better shape. Somehow, miraculously, my hair wasn't frizzy, I say miraculously, because with the dew point over 70 degrees it really is a miracle. (Thank you Avon!)
Itís her reaction that really made my day! When my husband came back to the table I told him what had happened. He said: ďWell, you really do look good. He was checking you out!Ē Ah, isn't he a keeper?
Saturday, July 07, 2012
Itís Saturday morning. I've been awake since 4:25 am. Five hours of sleep last night, thus breaking my streak of eight days in a row of sleeping for at least seven hours each night. Granted, Wednesday and Thursday nights were not as restful, what with waking up four or five times during the night. No, this morning I was awake because my husband was snoring. I tried to wait it out but after an hour my neck and shoulder started to cramp. Time to get up. So Iím fixing the coffee and my husband gets up because I got out of bed! I told him to go back to sleep, but he couldn't.
I have been grouchy and somewhat depressed since Wednesday. I had thought that I was just exercising too much. So for the last two days I've only walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes each day. Really, itís 40 minutes if you count the warm up and cool down cycles. I did strength training, too. I do ST six days a week.
I've decided that some of my problem is the lovely 100 degrees plus temperature with the 70 degrees dew point and the high humidity. Not that I've gone out in it. Which means that I didn't reach another goal I had set for myself. I wanted to get out of the house more than twice a week. I set the goal at four times a week. Maybe that was too ambitious. Then again, weíre talking about going grocery shopping and doing other chores. Nothing I couldn't cope with. Itís not like I've had any panic attacks recently. Of course, I havenít really pushed myself either. And I do okay as long as itís not too crowded or noisy.
A friend of mine wants me to go to her church with her, but I've been pushing her off. I know sheís hurt with me, but she tells me the normal service has 300 to 500 people attending and as long as youíre not directly under a speaker, itís not too loud! Itís hard enough to go to the church I've been sporadically attending and they usually have between 80 and 120 people in the congregation. How do I begin to explain? I tried to tell her, but she just looked at me funny. I mean, really. Do I say look, Iím afraid to go out in my own backyard by myself? Okay, this isn't helping. I need a positive way to deal with this. Is it better just to go ahead and do it? Can I pretend it better? I donít know. Yet.
Until this last week, I've been wonderfully happy since I started here at SparkPeople. Other than time management issues, I've been doing well tracking what I eat and how much I exercise. So the last three or four days are frustrating me. Looks like the weather is going to improve here by Tuesday and the temperature will be in the low 80ís. I canít wait. Yesterday, I had to really push myself to walk. I wasn't going to do the strength training at all, but I did. Normally, I do it way too late in the day (something I've been working on), but I didn't mind doing it at all. Yesterday, exercising was an uphill battle. I just did it, anyway. I was really glad I did. But then I wasn't hungry at all. Itís too hot to eat. Dinner was later than usual. That might be part of the reason why I didn't sleep as well last night, too. I think I'll just take it easy until this weather breaks. Just stay cool.
Monday, July 02, 2012
I was making up my menu this morning and decided I was going to have kale. I love mixing kale with other veggies. I have this recipe where you take onion, chick peas, and ground cumin and sautť it until it browns. It's delicious. So I was thinking I would add the kale to that recipe. I had some leftover sweet potato and thought that might be really good, too. I like to use whole cumin seeds instead of ground. You throw the cumin seeds in some hot oil and stir once they become fragrant. I put the cumin seeds in with the hot oil first and it spit all over. Next time onion first, then the rest. I used Smart Balance just to add salt and because I think it makes the sweet potatoes taste sweeter. It seems like a lot of oil, but once you add the chick peas, kale and potato it's not.
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, strips or chopped
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 cup Bush's Best Reduced Sodium Garbanzo Chick Peas
1 cup steamed kale
1 cup cooked sweet potato, cubed
2 teaspoons Smart Balance made with olive oil
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion. Sautť 2 to 3 minutes. Move onion to one side of pan and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil allowing it to puddle. Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds. Once it becomes fragrant, mix into the onion. Add chick peas, stir and cover. Once the chick peas start to brown, add steamed kale and sweet potato. Add 2 teaspoons Smart Balance. Stir and cover, allowing the flavors to meld and all the ingredients to heat through. Makes 2 servings. 363 calories a serving. One serving has 318 mg sodium.
To me, whole cumin seeds add a different flavor profile than the ground cumin seed you buy in the store. My husband and I use it in chili, curries, and stew. We also love it in sautťed cabbage.
I steam my kale in a stoneware baker in the microwave. Clean the kale, put it in the baker, add 1 or 2 tablespoons water, cover and cook on High for 5 minutes.
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