Monday, January 28, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Middle Eastern Lamb Stew

Middle Eastern Lamb Stew
Makes 8 servings, about 1 cup each
1 ½ pounds boneless lamb stew meat (shoulder cut)
1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
¾ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used veggie)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15- or 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
6 ounces baby spinach
Optional (my additions):
3/4C chopped, pitted, cured black (moroccan) olives
3/4C golden raisins

Place lamb in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Mix oil, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Coat the lamb with the spice paste and toss to coat well. Top with onion. Pour tomatoes, broth and garlic over the lamb and onion. Cover and cook until the lamb is very tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high or 5 1/2 to 6 hours on low. Skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew. Mash 1/2 cup chickpeas with a fork in a small bowl. Stir the mashed and whole chickpeas into the stew, along with spinach.

Per serving: 319 calories; 15 g fat (5 g sat, 6 g mono); 92 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrate; 30 g protein; 5 g fiber; 494 mg sodium; 238 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value), Vitamin A (25% dv), Iron (20% dv).

Had this for dinner tonight over a cup of cooked bulgar and it was fabulous, warm, hearty and filling. I coooked it in the slow cooker overnight, and then stashed it in the fridge until dinner time. The flavors are delicious, and it was really quite simple to make.

Oh, and I finally made a morning swim today, and was rewarded with total KLN eye candy in the next lane. A hot male swimmer I've never seen before. Wow, see what you miss when you sleep through pool time. I *will* be back. Is tomorrow too soon?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Various Updates

I've updated the Project Blue Jeans tally. After a off-course late December, the holidays, and January being more out of control than I planned/expected, and three days on prednisone for a recurring bout of excema, I'm up 1.5 from my early December low. I'll take it for now, be glad its not a larger number (especially since the average holiday weight gain is 3-5 pounds) and move onward and downward.

My goal is still to get into those jeans by spring, but Valentines Day doesn't appear to be realistic. No worries, I'll still get there!

The February 10K is 4 1/2 weeks away and I am sadly untrained. I'll keep on pushing but I intend to make the race a lovely energetic walk, with some run intervals thrown in. I know the course pretty well, and I know I can make it through.

The swimming I discovered imbalance mirrors my hip/leg/quad/glute imbalance. I'm stronger on the right than the left, and I overcompensate my using the right too much. I discovered I was pulling much more forcefully with right side, as well as gliding longer on that side. I breathe to the left, but if I train myself to get more comfortable breathing to the right, I hope I can even out my effort and improve the balance between the two sides.

Shiva Rea's Yoga Shakti DVD has a fabulous Lunar practice that is exactly right for calming your body and mind at the end of a long day.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Working on balance.

It is never easy, but I keep on trying, and hopefully, learning. Today was a pretty good, very full day. I got up early and hit the office (yes, work is mostly insane again). After I finished what I needed to do, I went to the gym for my first swim of the year, and the first in ages. I am soooo out of swimming shape, but I had a good, productive workout, and noticed some things about my stroke I hadn't figured out before. After the swim a short sauna, linner at my favorite Indian place, and then home to watch the Pats (18-0, baby!) in between more house chores and some cooking.

New recipe of the week:
Curried Squash & Chicken Soup
Makes 2 servings, 1 3/4 cups each
1 10-ounce package frozen pureed winter squash
½ cup "lite" coconut milk
½ cup water
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced (I used 4 oz of sliced thai-spiced tofu instead)
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½-1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat squash, coconut milk and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash defrosts, about 10 minutes. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in spinach, lime juice, sugar, curry paste to taste and salt and continue cooking until the chicken/tofu is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.


NOTE: Toast the curry paste in the bottom of the pot first, it improves the flavor. I also used the juice of one whole lime.

Looks and smells fabulous, how nice to have it tucked away in the fridge for later in the week. Tomorrow is another ambitious day. I'm considering hitting a 6AM yoga class, which means leaving by 5:20 AM. After that, more work, but hopefully out by lunch-time (It is MLK day, after all), and then maybe some x-country skiing before I head home to chill out a bit. I'm off to pack my yoga bag, and load my skiis, and then curl up in bed with a good book.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wise Words About Starting Over

Excerpt from Yoga Journal

Practice, Practice, Practice!
First, establish a motivation to practice starting over by observing what happens when you waste time feeling discouraged, escaping, or indulging your restless mind. In the week ahead, notice how many times you get knocked off balance when something goes wrong at work or in your personal relationships. Don't judge yourself for getting lost. Just be mindful that this is what is happening to you. If anything, be compassionate with yourself. After all, getting caught in your reactive mind is painful. Once you're able to acknowledge how much emotional energy and time you waste, you start to realize that the starting—over practice matters and that it is worth the effort it requires. You will have the aspiration, motivation, and conviction to persevere. As F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, "Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over."

Second, select a couple of aspects of your daily life that you want to change and begin to practice starting over. . . .

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

I hope 2008 is a GOOD YEAR for each and every one of you, and that your holidays have been peaceful, safe, and joyous!
And now on to business, or back to it, actually. Training sked for this week:

Week of 12/31/07
Mon: Rest
Tues: Run 3/Yoga
Wed: Swim 45
Thurs: Strength
Fri: Yoga
Sat: Run 4.5
Sun: Yoga/Cycle 45

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