A Monday like today just begs for an indulgent, satisfying, comforting meal. It has been a rainy, slow day today, and working with children just really wipes me out after a 2-day break. So tonight I went with a “southern” meal. I’m not southern girl, probably more Italian New Jersey as far as how I was raised with food (do not think Snookie or Jersey Shore, think pasta, pasta, meatballs, and more pasta!). With half a bag of potatoes on hand, I knew I wanted somethng worth the work: mashed potatoes. I also had a little bit of pressed firm tofu left over from last week that I had frozen, so I thawed it out and for the first time went down and dirty with Veganomicon‘s “Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu”. And as for my “greens”, some fried peas and red onions. I know it isn’t the most “healthy” meal, but it was exactly what I had in mind.
I followed Veganomicon recipe to the “t”, choosing to bake them rather than fry. The tofu came out so crispy and flavorful, with a bit of a kick (chili/cayenne). They were very very slightly on the dry side, but that very well can be attributed to the fact that the tofu was both pressed and frozen, which always adds to a chewier texture. I would absolutely make these again, and D said he really enjoyed them as well.
For the mashed potatoes: I boiled 5 small potatoes until soft, then used my immersion blender to whip them up. I added about a 1/4 cup of Silk Creamer, 1.5 tablespoons of Earth Balance, 2 pressed garlic cloves, and a pinch or so of salt. They came out absolutely delicious. I may have overdone the Earth Balance, however D gobbled it up and I thought they were fantastic as well. Honestly, NO ONE WOULD KNOW that these creamy, rich mashed potatoes were vegan. Take that!
And then there were the peas. These were incredibly simple. I simply chopped up half of a red onion, and sauteed it for a few minutes in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I then added 1.5 cups of petite peas. I let them saute over medium/high heat for about 8-minutes, until the onions got a little crispy and the peas were tender. Let me just say, this is the perfect compliment to mashed potatoes. I just mush them together and enjoy!
Overall this dinner was everything it needed to be (and probably quite caloric). I don’t care. We don’t have meals like this very often, and D and I both licked our plates clean. This is the type of meal you make to wow non-vegans, without ever even saying a word. Now if only I could figure out what to do with the rest of my potatoes!
As for my fitness, I consulted with the physical therapist at my school today (one of the perks of being a speech pathologist). I described to her the onset and type of pain, and how I am pretty sure it’s the revenge of the IT bands from hell. She briefly asked my recent fitness history and routine to pinpoint what had changed to cause injury. What did we come up with? THE ELLIPTICAL. How ridiculous, but it makes sense. Even though the pain began when running, she believes the motion I make when on the elliptical probably stressed the IT band and pulled at my knee funny, and when I ran it exacerbated the pain to the point where I am today. Of course, she recommended a few things that were obvious, and some not. I figured I’d share for those of you out there without a free PT consult and IT Band pain:
- Stay away from running/elliptical (hmm, the elliptical really?), and rather choose walking for the time being, especially if I’d like to run again.
- If choosing to walk, try the track where it is spongey (better for impact). She shared that tracks are on an incline, and that if I walk one lap on the outer lane, I should turn around and walk the same lap but facing the other direction. Continue to alternate each lap so that you don’t continuously overcompensate one leg’s work for the other.
- When seated on a couch, elevate the injured leg and tilt the foot to the nearest wall (e.g., I am tilting my right foot to the right, so it’s like a 45 degree angle).
- If I pursue yoga, which I am, she said to make absolutely sure that I am balanced in both legs all of the time, with weight equally distributed for all poses. Any weight imbalances could further strain the knee.
That’s pretty much it. I am going to roll out my leg and ice it tonight. I also really want to hit the elliptical but know that I shouldn’t. We’ll see, maybe I’ll change the stride length and see how that feels. That’s pretty much it tonight! There are only 2 1/2 days left of this week and I am really antsy for some beautiful weather to enjoy.
If you cook vegan/vegetarian, what’s the most delicious meal you’ve made to wow your non-veg family/friends? I have to make some food for the holiday this weekend and am not sure exactly what to make to wow the crowd!