The Wonders of Amaranth and a Seared Brussels Sprout Salad Recipe

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Amaranth is a plant with numerous species that include leafy vegetables, grains and ornamentals. The consumption of Amaranth can be traced back as a dietary staple of the pre-Columbian Aztecs. In the dietary world this brightly-colored flowered plant is consumed mostly for its seeds.

This pseudograin (seed) is considered by many to be a superfood because it is packed with nutrients, gluten free, easily digestible and alkaline-forming.
Amaranth is high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A and C and fiber. It is also a great source of protein including two of the essential amino acids, lysine and methionine.

I like this pseudograin not only for its high nutrient content and nutty flavor but because it is a blast to pop in a heated skillet. It can also be simmered like rice with a 1:3 amaranth to rice ratio.

Fortunately I can purchase amaranth at a local Mediterranean market but it can be difficult to find. You may want to check availability at health food stores or order on-line.

Below you will find a recipe for my version of Federal Jack’s seared brussels sprout salad. I experimented with both a lemon and orange based marinade and preferred the lemon. In addition, I included red peppers to bring a little color and added flavor to the plate and sweet onion because onions rock. I also included tahini and amaranth as a topping.

Serves 4 large salads

Ingredients:
brussels sprouts, halved
snow peas
edamame
mushrooms. cremini, sliced
sweet red pepper, sliced
sweet onions, sliced
mixed greens

Toppings:
tahini, drizzled
1-2 tbsp amaranth, popped

Marinade:
1 orange and its zest or1 lemon and its zest
¼ c tamari
¼ c white balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tbsp ginger root, zested
1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:
Mix all marinade ingredients together and set aside.
Prep salad ingredients like you normally would.

 

 

 

Heat a skillet on high heat. Add brussels sprouts, halved down, and allow to brown, 3-5 minutes (depending on how thoroughly you want them cooked). Add a little water if necessary to keep from burning.
When sprouts are cooked to your liking, add 1-2 tbsp of marinade. Mix thoroughly, remove sprouts from pan and set aside.
Add remaining ingredients in similar fashion as sprouts, set aside with the sprouts until all ingredients have been cooked.
Heat a small skillet on high. Make sure the skillet is piping hot. Add amaranth and continuously stir as it pops (30 -60 seconds). Keep your wits about you because the seeds can easily burn!  Set aside.

Click on picture for larger image

Top mixed greens with cooked vegetables.
Drizzle with tahini.
Sprinkle with amaranth.

Have you ever had amaranth?  If so, what is your favorite way to prepare it?  Please leave a comment…

 

 

Corn Gazpacho Soup and Other Vacation Goodies Around the New England Area

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SARA MOULTON’S CORN GAZPACHO SOUP

It’s mid-summer for those of us who are docked in the Northern hemisphere and that means its vacation time.
We have been on a staycation with the lovely exception of three days in Cape Neddick, Maine.  I am pleased to report that many of the restaurants at which we dined offered a decent selection of vegan or vegetarian fare. It can be difficult to find healthy food options away from home and staying on track can be a challenge.  I do my best to keep my choices vegan but every once in a while meals with dairy (mostly cheese) are my only options.

Before we started our vacation we finished off a batch of Sara Moulton’s corn gazpacho soup that I made earlier in the week. The recipe was printed in our local newspaper. You can find it here.
The vegan husband liked it but I thought it lacked a bit of punch so I was more than happy to see it being polished off. Soon after we were packed and off to Maine.

Below are a few meals that we ordered during our stay in Maine and two others in the New England area near our home. These were the dishes that made me want to rush home and get going on their recreation.  I hope they give you some inspiration to do the same.

 

GRILLED ROMAINE SALAD
Rudders,
Kitttery ME

A grilled head of romaine lettuce marinated with balsamic vinegar and oil, topped with tomatoes, red onions and feta cheese. I was able to omit the cheese.

 

VEGETARIAN STACK AND NOT YOUR AVERAGE CAESAR SALAD
Horseshoe Pub and Restaurant, Hudson MA

Vegetarian Stack – Pan-seared seasoned Brussels sprouts layered with Parmigiano herb quinoa, oven roasted Tuscan tomatoes, roasted asparagus and onion jam topped with micro greens and drizzled with aged balsamic.

Not your Average Caesar Salad (the vegan husband’s meal) – Homemade edible bowl made with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, filled with crisp baby romaine lettuce and garlic croutons tossed with Caesar dressing.

 

SEARED BRUSSELS SPROUTS SALAD
Federal Jacks, Kennebunkport ME

Wok-seared Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cremini mushrooms and edamame seasoned with orange soy and served over field greens.

 

VEGAN DATE BARS
Bread and Roses, Ogunquit, ME

I enjoy a dessert every now and then usually in the form of chocolate (dark, when possible).  However, when we visit this area of southern Maine we make a point to stop by this bakery for a delicious non-chocolate vegan treat. These date bars are my favorite.

 

TRAVELER RESTAURANT
Union, CT

We visited this restaurant not for the food but for the ambience.  If you love to read then this is the place for you.  Not only do they have vegan and vegetarian options but each person gets three free books to take home.

 

Do you have a favorite go to restaurant for its healthy options?  Please leave a comment…

Don’t Drink That!

 

POSTED BY THE VEGAN HUSBAND

 

The vegan grandpa is one of the happiest guys in town these days.  It’s been a rainy spring in New England and he is the proud owner of a rain barrel.  In fact, he has two.

What’s so great about a rain barrel?  It means you can give vegetables and flowers an extra dose of the heaven-sent rain that they got yesterday, the day before, and last week.  While the rest of us are feeding our plants a diet of chemical treated water from a faucet, Grandpa is giving his the equivalent of angel tears.

It was those rain barrels that I was thinking about last week in spin class, watching my own sweat drip-drip-drip onto the floor.  The thought occurred to me: could I be recycling my own sweat?  Should I be?

A few years ago, a couple of Swedish guys with the help of UNICEF built a machine that could recycle the sweat from clothing, using washing machine parts, a coffee pot, and a filter.  The “sweat machine” actually worked, and according to an article at fastcompany over 1,000 Swedes drank the recycled water and lived to tell about it.

But the same article also called the machine “a stunt”, saying it was only built to bring attention to the problem of too little drinking water on the planet. They didn’t mass produce the sweat machine.  You cannot purchase one at Wal-Mart or even at IKEA.

I have to admit that when I first thought about recycling sweat, I did envision it as a thirst quencher or to take the edge off a glass of bourbon.  But, after time passed, I thought: Ew! Who would drink that?

But, as the vegan grandpa will attest, there are plenty of things you can do with water besides drinking it.

Let’s go back to the garden.  It’s a long summer, with plenty of days in the 80’s and 90’s.  Last year we had drought conditions for much of Massachusetts.  I’m sure my roses or tomato plants would be willing to soak up some recycled perspiration.

Maybe you don’t want to drink your sweat, but how about putting it in the hot tub? The sweat was yours to begin with, so why not bring it back to the source?   It’s the circle of life.  Heating it up will probably take out even more impurities.

Think about all the water required in cooking.  We have to wash off the food.  We have to clean areas where we prep the food, and the pots and pans used to cook the food.  Finally, we have to clean the plates, bowls, cups, and utensils used to eat the food.

And there are so many more places that require water.  We need water to wash and iron our clothes.  Some people heat their homes with water.  And don’t get me started on people who own swimming pools.

But, for now, the technology is just not there for people to wash their vehicles or power wash their homes with recycled sweat.  That’s going to take time. Until then, I’m going to take a swig from the rain barrel when no one is looking, and worry about where my sweat goes later.

Have you ever thought about recycled sweat?   What would you do with it?  Please leave a comment…

 

Motivational Links

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MOVIES

This is what great looks like…

no whining, no pats on the back and no blaming others. This is just straight up fire in the belly. World Champion bodybuilder/powerlifter, CT Fletcher,  inspires others to embrace their passion, to think positive, be consistent, set priorities and work hard to obtain their own greatness.

For further motivation, I encourage you to check out this documentary about CT Fletcher on Netflix: CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession

Deemed one of the most influential and motivated fitness trainers, CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession explores the pain, struggle, and hardships that he has endured throughout the life of famed powerlifter CT Fletcher. Leaving an abusive childhood home, the film dives further into Fletcher’s personal and professional life – demonstrating the power motivation can have on the human spirit.

MUSIC


The definition of success means different things to different people. It is not always an easy road for many of us.  We all need encouragement to stay the course, to fight against the odds, to persevere, to stay strong and healthy at various points in our lives. If you need inspiration to press on, then check out this fierce Cher song. Tuck it in your back pocket and bring it everywhere with you.

BOOKS

The Mindful Athlete: Secrets To Pure Performance by George Mumford

Are you are a believer in the ability of meditation and mindfulness to take you to levels beyond that of which you ever thought possible? Whether you are just starting out or are a long-time member in your health and fitness journey, this is a book you need to read.  I credit meditation with keeping me focused on the steps that are needed to achieve my goals, getting me through challenges and doing my best to stay in a state of “bending” (read the book!).

“Self-consciousness is when you’re focused on how you’re doing instead of what you’re doing. We have to learn how to push and challenge ourselves, but not in an insensitive way. Honing your performance really comes down to being comfortable with being uncomfortable”. — George Mumford

“Michael Jordan credits George Mumford with transforming his on-court leadership of the Bulls, helping Jordan lead the team to six NBA championships. Mumford also helped Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom and countless other NBA players turn around their games. A widely respected public speaker and coach, Mumford is sharing his own story and the strategies that have made these athletes into stars in The Mindful Athlete: The Secret to Pure Performance. His proven, gentle but groundbreaking mindfulness techniques can transform the performance of anyone with a goal, be they an Olympian, weekend warrior, executive, hacker, or artist”. – Parallex Press

FOOD

Interview with Professional Hockey Player & Cornell Grad Colin Greening – This article is about the effect of food on an athlete’s body as well as some of the other themes touched upon in this post – passion/obsession, consistency, persistence and mindfulness.

 

9 ATHLETES OVER 60 WHO CAN KICK YOUR BUTT

When 71 year young Cher touts that she performs a 5 minute plank, you have to be wowed.  Check out this link to learn about 9 other amazing people who don’t allow age to stand in their way to accomplishing amazing feats.

Aged, young, male or female…obsess, persist, be mindful and you will be a walking billboard for greatness. You can do anything! Please leave a comment…