Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fit lunch into your morning!

A Healthy lunch: just a few minutes in a morning routine.
A good time was had by all this weekend with a busy schedule of the Jewelry Parties, Race for the Cure, Tailgate Party courtesy of Bytes from Texas & even some quick Cheese Making,  on Sunday afternoon.  I guess with all that fun one might just skip the meal prep & go directly to the lunch counter!  Not so for me when I can manage it.  There almost  always is a way to snag a quick meal & take 5 to 10 mins out of a busy schedule to put together a lunch box.  I was lucky enough to have Bytes from Texas send home some Tail Gate goodies after her party (which is more than I can say our UT Longhorns left the game with on Saturday evening....) I paired up some of her delicious salad with a canned fruit juice, a few cashew nuts, 2 oz of Gold Fish & a few tablespoons of Pomegranate seeds. At one of my favorite delicatessens  I enjoy a similar salad although the portions are much larger.  Packing a lunch at home my Bento or Tiffin  helps make portion control quite easy.  If it doesn't fit into a Bento or Tiffin I generally don't take it.  Besides, I hate messy spills or smashed up sandwiches. 
  Since the Race for the Cure I have been reading more on what foods are recommended to help in our daily fight against cancers, not only Breast Cancer. Many diet plans of this type seek to maximize use of vegetables as well as a variety of whole grains such as brown rice, bulgur, and wheat-berries. I try & buy only whole grain bagels, breads, cereals, crackers & pasta. This maximizes my intake of fiber, which may help fight many cancers.

For that Salad recipe check here for Bytes from Texas recipe for the Delicious Salad

For more info on the Global Race for the Cure check Here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nine to Five Rice Salad

Rice has fed more people over a longer period of time than any other crop. As far back as 2500 B.C. rice has been documented in the history books as a source of food and for tradition as well. Beginning in China and the surrounding areas, its cultivation spread throughout Sri Lanka, and India. It was then passed onto Greece and areas of the Mediterranean. Rice spread throughout Southern Europe and to some of North Africa. From Europe rice was brought to the New World.*

It is this most flexible of grains that I turned to for lunch time inspiration.  I made Spanish rice earlier in the week & decided to make a rice salad from the leftovers. With a tiny bit of imagination you can spin some leftover rice from dinner into a rice salad for lunch the next day. With a few diced veggies, dressing, a bean of some type for extra protein a rice salad can be a wholesome & filling meal.  I love pomegranate seeds & tossed a few of those in my lunch box, some tiny cucumber slices along with a few crackers,  cheese & applesauce.  I am so hoping to eat lunch outside while the weather is still nice here.  

Nine to Five Rice Salad
1 Jalapeno pepper, diced, seeded & finely diced
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1 can Garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup Spanish Olives
3 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped
1 Tbsp Shallot, chopped
2 Cups left over Rice (White, Brown, Spanish rice, or White & wild rice blend)
6 Tbsp Balsamic Vinaigrette (3 Tbsp Olive Oil, 3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar, tsp sugar,
salt & pepper to taste)
Toss all ingredients, chill several hours, garnish with extra basil. At most the prep time takes about 15 minutes for this easy salad.

Spanish Rice
1 1/2 cups rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup plain tomato sauce
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 tsp cumino powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 of a medium onion
2 tablespoons oil
4 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped parsley (& or)1/4 cup corn,  (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh garlic and onion. Saute for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add in dry rice. Stir for about 5 minutes until rice becomes a golden brown color.Add in broth and tomato sauce (Slowly into rice, not directly onto hot pan!) Add in the cumin, chili powder & parsley if you're using it. Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork. This is the rice I used for the above salad.

*More history of Rice here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just another Monday morning....

On a post Halloween Monday I was a wee bit fuzzy when I made my cup of coffee. After hearing on Martha Stewart Radio;  "this is the start of the Holiday eating season".  I knew there had to be a healthy choice today for lunch.  I am working this afternoon & doing the mid morning scramble which was off to a roaring great start.  I was almost nose to nose with a snake this morning.  I had my cup of coffee in hand  while wondering what the cat was staring at on our patio...I stepped outside to investigate and had to shoo a very bold squirrel off the patio furniture. I say this because our Aussie dog was already out in the yard doing her morning patrol. While checking out the squirrel activity,  I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  Generally I am the one who seems to spot the critters in my "where the wild things are" backyard.  I spotted a King Snake clinging to the limestone around the french doors.  I don't mind telling you I was astounded & jumped back into the house (in 2 giant leaps) all the while not spilling coffee! Thankfully, the snake did remove himself from the wall!  (ack!!!) After calming down I packed a healthy Bento lunchbox  for my busy day ahead.  No recipes forthcoming on this post but I am watching where I am stepping today.

*If you wondered about my cute Bento: it is a Natural Leaf Bento lunch bag.  I found this in both pink & green at the New Oriental Market here in Austin at 6929 Airport Blvd.  I bought the pink for my daughter & kept the green for me.  There is enough space inside the bag for a few extras once the tins are pack inside.  Natural Leaf makes several different types of Bentos.  I love the sturdy construction & portability of this one. 

**Lunch box addition: I recently received a Food Buzz Tastemaker item from Soy Joy.  I really enjoy Soy Joy bars when I am in a time crunch & need a mid day snack especially at 130 calories.  The nice chewy texture reminds me of a fruity cookie, especially the strawberry & blueberry flavors.

What I looked like this morning just after 7am when I almost ran into a snake while stepping outside....(frightening possibility!!!) Okay, so I did have a robe & not that fancy hat but you get the idea! I was a little startled.

Feliz de Dia de los Muertos!  Have a wonderful Monday.