Wednesday, October 31, 2012

V&V Options Popping Up Everywhere

I absolutely love that more and more restaurants are accommodating vegetarian and vegan eaters. It certainly speaks to the fact that the number of people opting for meatless meals is rapidly growing in the United States.

I am especially pleased by the number of restaurant chain menus (a favorite among all three of our kids) offering V&V options. Given the option to dine in a 5-star Manhattan restaurant or Red Robin, for example, the latter will win hands-down every single time as far as Dylan, Ryan and Sienna are concerned. Matt and I recognize that we can’t be too hard core with the kids since fast-food restaurants are completely off the table (though our moms more than make up for our hard line in the sand when they take the kids for a visit), so we’re OK with an occasional meal out at Fridays and the like.

As we deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and trick-or-treating having been postponed until Saturday, we’re treating the kids to Red Robin for dinner tonight. I snapped a photo of the menu below.

While a BOCA vegan burger is good news for Matt and me, it’s important to always remember when you’re eating out that you don’t know how the food is actually being prepared. Something that may appear to be healthful could have been sitting in oil before it hits your plate or grilled in butter!

To that end, I leave little to chance, always stressing no oil or butter and asking for my sides of vegetables (in place of fries) to be steamed without anything added. The end result is always satisfying (though, truth be told, few dinners out are as pleasing as those cooked at home).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Got Kale?

Matt and I love kale. We sautĂ© it, we steam it, we add it to soups … we blend it in with our post-run shakes and we juice it ... anyway we can get it, we’re on it.

One of our most favorite soups to enjoy is White Bean and Kale. It’s super easy to make, incredibly healthful and it tastes fantastic. It’s our go-to soup on days when we can’t think of anything to make, when we have extra veggies hanging out in our fridge or on days when inclement weather makes a run to Wegmans unlikely (hello, Hurricane Sandy!)

Here’s the recipe. (Feel free to mix up the vegetables. Don’t like kale? Spinach or escarole will do!)

1 teaspoon of olive oil
Onion, diced small
6 cloves of garlic, crushed (we LOVE garlic so the more the better)
Bunch of carrots, sliced thin
5 celery stalks, diced small
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
6 cups of vegetable broth
3 15 ounce cans of white beans (I use Eden Organic Great Northern)
8 ounces of chopped kale (If you love kale as we do, toss in more!)
Crusty multi-grain baguette bread

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add celery, carrots and bay leaves and Italian seasoning. Cover, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes. Add broth and bring to a soft boil. Add white beans and kale and cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Serve hot with crusty bread.

et voilĂ ! A yummy white bean and kale soup!

Breaking Four

Over the past several years, friends have suggested to me that I write a blog (I write for a living so the suggestion wasn't out of the ordinary). I always said the timing wasn't right for a few reasons.

  • I didn't have a hook. I could have written about an array of topics to which some could maybe relate, but I’m not an expert in anything nor did I have something to market.
  • In addition to that hook, a blog has to be authentic. As a reader, you have to feel as though every word being communicated is felt deeply by the writer. That only happens when the writer believes fully about what he/she writing. I never wanted to blog just to blog.
  • Lastly, readers must get something out of your posts. If someone is willing to give up five minutes of his/her time to visit your blog, that person should walk away believing it’s been time well spent.

Today I feel I can deliver.

I have set a goal to run a sub-4 hour marathon in September 2013. I fully realize this is no extraordinary feet -- hundreds of thousands of people have accomplished it. But I never have. In fact, until January 2011, I was never a runner. I was so far away from being a runner that I would have elected to drive my car around the block rather than walk ... much less run.

The times they are a-changin’.

Since that first day in January when I put one foot in front of the other in quick succession, my husband and I have run five half marathons and a solid mix of 5Ks and 10Ks. Not in one race, however, have we ever focused on time. We took up running to stay fit and because we wanted something we could enjoy and do together (yes, we actually enjoy running).

That, too, is about to change.

Why now? Why not now! Neither of us is getting any younger and we enjoy pushing our fitness levels. We want to be here for a very long time. While there aren't any guarantees, a healthy, fit lifestyle at the very least gets you going in the right direction.

So maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “I’m not a runner. I can’t relate.” When it comes to maintaining good health and cardiovascular fitness, we can all relate to one another. We all face personal challenges, failures, lazy days, overeating, etc. At Breaking Four we’re going to meet those challenges head on, and get through them together.

By writing this blog and sharing my experiences, I am committed to you to staying on my path to "breaking four." I’ll look to you for inspiration and I hope in some way I can return the favor and inspire each of you to walk a little faster, run an extra mile, push yourself for an extra 10 minutes on the elliptical, or reach for a piece of fruit instead of a doughnut.

Whatever your fitness level or your exercise du jour, you have a place here.

Cheers … K