Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bring Your Lunch!

In high school I would sometimes forget to pack my lunch.  I was just vegetarian at the time, so I usually had a slice of cheese on a hamburger bun with lettuce, mustard, and pretzels all smashed together complete with a side of fries.  Grossss!  (But at the time it wasn't too awful of a punishment for forgetting to bring my lunch.)  Working in a burger restaurant/bar currently I feel like I have to come up with silly combinations (like the cheese/mustard/pretzel sammie) when I forget to bring my lunch.  I'm sure the high school me would drool at the possible combinations available to me now, but the current me is sick of the non-organic and not-so-fresh/healthy combos I create when I don't bring food with me to work.  I've also just started massage school (YAY!) so I have looong days ahead of me of starting class at 9am and working til 1am.  
Tuesday was my first day of a school/work double.  I started the morning with my three glasses of spring water, then had a coconut water/cacao/chia seed/strawberry smoothie that I blended up to drink during the first part of class.  (Tip- 16oz bottles (maybe from kombucha) work well to transport smoothies!)  The night before I had made my temperature neutral foods for the day: coconut curry soup, quinoa kale crunch, and hummus and veggies.  I also threw in some Gone gluten free crackers, So Delicious coconut milk yogurt, a larabar, and an apple.  

I have access to a fridge at work, but I didn't know if I would at school, so I needed foods that could be enjoyed at any temperature.  Also, I'm trying to avoid the microwave, (and I didn't know if one would be available), so I knew a raw soup was in the works.  Raw soups can be very satisfying.  I pumped this one full of warming herbs, so even though it was room temperature I was nice and toasty eating it.  This recipe is super flexible- have fun experiment with the spice amounts/thickness/ and serving temperature.  

Raw Coconut Curry Soup

4 ribs celery
2-4 cloves garlic
two handfuls of chopped/baby carrots
red pepper flakes/cayenne/jalapeno
basil/holy basil
juice from 1 lemon/lime
1-2 thai coconuts, add meat first then slowly add water, determining desired thickness.
Option: raw cashews blended in

Blend in any order in a good blender/food processor.  I am in love with my Vitamix.  I had a lot of coarse dried spices/seeds so I first blended those into a powder/paste before adding the veggies/coconut.  I really suggest checking out lemongrass and holy basil if you haven't yet.  Lemongrass is such a crisp, citrus-y taste.  Holy basil is also called tulsi and traditionally it is used in teas, as well as a spice for food.  

To pair with my super warming soup, I wanted a protein packed accompaniment that provided a lot of crunch.  Quinoa is the beefiest of all grains with 18 amino acids and a high protein content.  Quinoa is crunchier than pasta or rice, but the real crunch in the recipe comes from walnuts and red onions.  Any kale, as long as its shredded and de-stemmed is perfect with the quinoa.  And again, this is a temperature neutral dish.  It's great cold, room temperature or warmed.  

Quinoa Kale Crunch

2 cups of cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked)
1 bunch of kale shredded, de stemmed
1 red onion chopped
1 cup of raw walnuts chopped and soaked.
juice from 1 lemon
2 tbs olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

After shredding and de stemming the kale, cover with the juice of one lemon, 1 tsp of salt and massage for about a minute, softening the kale.  Add the quinoa (cooled to room temperature), and the rest of the ingredients.  Pack in containers for lunch! 

Hummus and veggies may be my favorite snack, and keeping with the theme of this post- its temperature neutral (some places serve hummus warm, cool, or room temperature).  I have a recipe here for roasted red pepper and jalapeno hummus.  This hummus was made with black sesame seeds and black beans with roasted garlic and jalapenos.  I've already mentioned before that I cheat and use organic canned beans from the major chain grocery, but 4 cups of cooked beans, or two cans is a good base, unless you're making hummus for an army or a baby shower.  Making your hummus at home is easy.  You can invest in pre-mixed tahini, but I find that a big jar of sesame seeds from the asian section is more economical.  Grind about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of those in the food processor, then add 4 cups of beans, making sure at least 2 cups (one can) of those are chickpeas.  Lemon juice, cumin, garlic (raw or roasted), salt, and cayenne are stars in the hummus walk of fame.  Roasted peppers or onions, fresh cilantro or parsley, or subbing half the chickpeas for cashews, kidneys, or black beans are great additions.  This is your hummus- get creative and start tasting and making :)

1 comment:

  1. hanks for the recipe.I love green tea very much and I know about the benefits of green tea. Can you share some recipe using green tea.Thank you...
    Green Tea Price in Chennai