Recipe: Maggie’s Macro Plate

Last night I got dinner with Laura, one of my oldest friends (from middle school). She was in town with her boyfriend just for the day and we managed to get together to have dinner. So glad we got a chance to reconnect. We were going to go to Souen, but I decided last minute to take them to Good Health Cafe, which is closer and a little bit less scary for non-macrobiotic people. We talked and talked, and before we knew it it was time for them to grab a taxi to catch the train back to New Jersey.

One thing that Laura mentioned during dinner was the fact that my blog is not so much a recipe blog anymore! I hadn’t realized it, but yes, it’s true – I don’t really cook as elaborately now, but I do make things. So it is time for me to share a macrobiotic re-creation that I’ve been having for lunches recently. It’s called a macro plate, and it is vegan and macrobiotic. I get it all the time when we eat out at macrobiotic restaurants.

My Macro Plate Tips (skip down for recipe):

  • This is very easy to throw together – you do not have to make everything at once; you can prep each ingredient in advance and just toss them together when you need a quick meal.
  • Roasting the squash – you don’t necessarily have to roast it, but I do. You could also steam it. For roasting I like a certain seasoning (oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds – see below), but the way you roast (or steam, etc…) the squash is completely up to you.
  • Beans – sub in any kind of beans you like. I use canned beans because it’s quick, but you could make them from scratch as well.
  • Greens – again, you can use any kind of greens. I use pre-chopped ones from Trader Joe’s because it’s very easy that way.
  • Extras – other typical macro plate ingredients are: hijiki seaweed, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and steamed carrots or daikon. Add as desired!

Maggie’s Macro Plate

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1/3 cup dry brown rice
  • 3-4 cups raw chopped greens (collards, kale, spinach, etc…)
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 2 cups uncooked winter squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha, etc… – this is acorn)
  • for roasting squash: sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seeds (all optional except the oil)
  • ~1/4 cup of my miso-tahini dressing (click for recipe) (about 2-3 times the amount the recipe makes – just double or triple as desired)

Method

  1. Roast the squash: I first mix it with a few glugs of sesame oil, then sprinkle some soy sauce and rice vinegar over it and mix again. Top with some sesame seeds and cook at 375 for 1 hour (or at 450 for about 40 minutes). You can roast or steam the squash with whatever oil/flavorings you desire.
  2. Cook the rice: I cook 1 cup of rice at a time in my rice cooker. It comes out perfectly fluffy. Then I just scoop out about a third of it for my meal.
  3. Steam the greens: if you are lazy like me you can sprinkle them with water and microwave for a minute or so.
  4. Prep the beans: rinse and reheat as desired (I actually like mine cold/room temp so I don’t reheat).
  5. Make the dressing. It is so simple and delicious!
  6. Prep the plate: brown rice, beans, greens, squash, and any other extras (see above for idea under “tips”). Serve with dressing. I like to mix it all up and eat it together.

So that is the “macro plate” that I’m always talking about. I haven’t experimented with different dressings, but I keep meaning to. This plate is supposedly a “perfectly balanced” meal – protein, carbs, and fat, all in the right proportions.

Now here are some other macro plates that I have enjoyed…

Souen’s macro plate (also called the “balanced plate” or the “planet platter”) – kabocha, broccoli, kale, carrots, seaweed, beans, brown rice, and sometimes daikon:

Good Health’s macro plate – steamed squash, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and kale; brown rice; black beans; hijiki seaweed; and tofu:

Ozu’s macro plate (review to come; kudos to reader Maria for guessing this!) – chickpeas, brown rice, carrots, yams, kabocha, and hijiki seaweed:

I love macro plates and macrobiotic meals 🙂

What is your favorite meal? Have you ever had a macro plate? Will you make this one?

What’s Up Sunday – 10.10.10

Last week was almost a palindrome and this week is lots of 10’s! 10’s seem to be very popular with humans, probably due to the fact that we have ten fingers and ten toes. Here are some fun facts and sayings that have to do with TEN:

  • The Ten Perfections: These are ten qualities one must achieve in order to attain “Buddhahood”, or awakening (Buddhism)
  • The Perfection of Ten: this is different from the previous one. Shakespeare uses the term “the perfection of ten” to describe a person’s opinion of his lover in the same way we might say, “she’s a perfect ten.”
  • The Ten Commandments: In Christianity (and Judaism I think), these are ten moral/religious imperatives that one must follow in order to be a good person.
  • Base Ten: our decimal system has ten as its base. It’s the most widely used number system used by modern civilizations. “Decimal” comes from the Latin decem, which means ten.
  • Scale of one to ten: “a general and largely vernacular concept used for rating things, people, places, ideas and so on.” (Wikipedia.) It’s the most popular rating scale, followed by 1-5 and 1-4.
  • Breathe and count to ten: I can’t find the origin of this phrase, but it’s a way to calm down when you are about to blow your top off.
  • TEN: the word “ten” itself comes from the pre-Germanic (a long-ago ancestor of English) base *tekhan. If you go back even further to PIE (proto-Indo-European) the base was *dekm (you can see this led to the Latin decem mentioned above).

And now onto the rest of my weekly wrapup…

Interesting Health Articles

  • US Life Expectancy Lowered by Poor Healthcare: Researchers found that our life expectancy is lagging behind the life expectancy in other (civilized) countries. Why? It is not, in fact, obesity, smoking, homocides, or car addicents – it’s our horrible horrible healthcare system.
  • New York tries to ban the use of Food Stamps for sugary drinks: a while ago NY tried to pass a tax on sugary drinks and it didn’t go through, so now we’re trying to at least not allow food stamps to be used towards sugar-laden drinks. My opinion? I’m all for it. I was all for the tax, too.
  • Too Much Noise at Work Bad for Your Heart: a Canadian study showed that people who work in a noisy environment are 2-3 times more likely to get heart disease. The reason is probably that noise –> stress –> constantly elevated cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones, which are good in moderation but not all the time) –> heart disease.
  • Sleep Makes the Body Leaner: a study showed that if you get 8.5 hours you burn more fat than people who sleep 5.5 hours. The people who slept 5.5 hours burned more of their lean muscle mass. You’re also hungrier if you don’t get enough sleep

Other Random Stuff (blogs, Macbooks, etc…)

  • Eden’s Euphemisms: I have linked to Eden before, but you have to read this post of hers – she lists a bunch of fun euphemisms and also talks about why sometimes it’s better to just say what you really mean instead of masking it with a more PC phrase.
  • Macbook Air Update Coming Soon: I have been waiting and waiting to get a new computer for the Macbook Airs to get updated and I think they finally will be – a bunch of places (including Amazon) are out of stock of the current ones and they are not getting replenished until either 10/12 or 10/16, and I am guessing (hoping) that the new shipment will be new Airs!

My Salad Roundup

My weekend has been great so far. I…

  • Brunched at Alice’s Tea Cup with an old friend and current neighbor (Saturday)
  • Got my nails done (Saturday)
  • Discovered a new and awesome Duane Reade (Saturday)
  • Found a yummy Asian restaurant close by (Saturday)
  • Took Nia (Sunday)
  • Took Yoga (Saturday)
  • Am meeting up with another old friend for dinner (Sunday)
  • Cleaned (mostly Sunday)
  • Am very happy! (both days)

Okay off to do some work. How was your weekend?

How to Maintain Good Health (Cafe) Habits

Good health is important.

For me good health includes:

It also includes frequenting Good Health Cafe. Here are some of the things that we have gotten on recent treks to the ever popular restaurant. (Thank you so much Gaby for introducing it to me! And now I have taken Coco there too. Links: Gaby’s meetup; Coco’s visit.)

When Coco visited, we went for brunch (this was this past Saturday). I got an omelette (whole eggs please) with seasonal vegetables. The vegetables included kabocha squash (!) which made my day. There were also zucchini and carrots; I cannot remember anything else though. It came with a side salad and that amazing carrot-ginger dressing. I need to recreate it; Coco did so I will use her recipe. In addition to the dressing, I also used ketchup. (My ketchup recipe here.)

Note: Technically neither eggs nor tomatoes are macrobiotic, but for me being macrobiotic means being balanced. I do consider this a macrobiotic meal because it is dairy-free and organic and I ate it mindfully.

The weekend before last, Bobby and I also went there for brunch. We are creatures of habit; we like what we like and sometimes trying new places can be disappointing. I opted for the roasted vegetable salad (again, starring my favorite ingredient: kabocha squash) with grilled tofu and again that amazing carrot-ginger dressing. They brought the dressing on the side in a bowl and I ate so much of it. I think I actually had too much because my stomach did not feel so great after that. Eating 1/2 cup+ of an oil-based dressing will do that to you! Lesson learned. I think that I actually eat more dressing when I get it on the side, which sort of defeats the purpose. What are your thoughts on this?

Bobby got the vegetarian sausage link breakfast which came with a choice of scrambled tofu or scrambled eggs – he chose tofu. It also came with roasted potatoes, grilled mushrooms and onions, and a small salad.

And here is a closeup of a dinner side salad. I forget what night this was from but I know I haven’t posted it yet. I really like their appetizer salads; they are big enough, topped with delicious shredded carrots and cabbage, and come with the ubiquitous carrot-ginger dressing.

If I ever start cooking again I would love to cook like this.

When eating out ends up costing about the same as cooking in, I tend to eat out. In New York it can be expensive to cook for yourself, and there are so many healthy restaurant options here for me. And speaking of healthy options, I will give you a teaser about a new restaurant I tried during my birthday week that I will post about soon…

It’s Japanese, macrobiotic, and on the upper west side. Any guesses? I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the name.

Quick Yoga Update

Wednesday was the last day of my 30 Days of Yoga challenge. I noticed significant improvements in my practice, my body (arms), and in my life. Going forward I will not be doing yoga every day (and I did miss a few days during the challenge) but I will make sure to go to a few classes weekly.

What do you do to maintain good health?

Family, Salads, Documentary, Flowers, Dessert, and Zumba (!)

This post is full of random.

Family Time

Last night after work I headed home and found my brother waiting in the cafe under my apartment. I like being with family; I’m glad that I get to see him a couple times a month. I miss the rest of my family and Bobby’s family too. Luckily we will be hosting Bobby’s parents later this month, which we are both excited for. We want to take them out to all of our favorite places. These are my siblings now (left to right: sis, bro, me, bobby, sis-in-law):

Salad Time

The cafe downstairs was having $1 off salad day yesterday so that is what I had for the first course of my dinner. I said “tofu” but the guy heard “tuna“, so that was my main ingredient. I should accidentally order tuna more often; this was delicious. It also had: egg whites, portobello mushrooms, mandarin oranges, olives, grapes, apples, broccoli, sprouts, roasted peppers, regular peppers, beets, tomatoes, and I can’t even remember what else. It has unlimited toppings so I get pretty much everything. I get the chipotle ranch dressing on the side (but I use the whole thing).

Mind Over Money

I ate my salad while watching a Nova documentary called Mind Over Money. If you are an economist (Coco) or if you just enjoy learning, check it out. It talks about the debate between behavioral and traditional (more rational) economics, and basically says that humans don’t act rationally when it comes to money – we are irrational and very much influenced by our emotions. It talks about the (in)efficiency of markets, why the crash in 2008 might have happened (and why economists didn’t predict it), the housing bubble, the tulip bubble of the 1600s, decision making, and more. I really enjoyed it. I double majored in econ and math so this was right up my alley.

We have Netflix and I watched the documentary streaming on my computer (we can watch Netflix streaming on the TV too using Bobby’s XBox). We don’t get cable and I don’t watch TV aside from Netflix documentaries anymore. And Hoarders.

Flowers for Sanity

I read somewhere that keeping flowers in the house helps keep you happy and healthy. I like them because they are a little bit of nature right in my Manhattan apartment. These are from Trader Joe’s and they were just $3.99. Good deals make me happy too 🙂

Dessert Snack Time

I never have “just a salad” for dinner and tonight was no exception. I don’t usually like nut butter, but I was in a nutty mood last night so I spread a large Trader Joe’s blueberry muffin with probably too much peanut butter and savored it. I don’t have a picture though. It wasn’t that pretty but it sure was toothsome, sapid, and titillating. There are some good vocab words for you!

And… Zumba!

I went to a gym class and I ran into Missy! We chatted and then did class together. I have been to better Zumba classes though – the instructor last night was very repetitive and too fast.

Do you have any random things to share?

The Non-Hunger Diaries: How I Eat And Move {Part 2 of 2}

Today’s post is a continuation of Monday’s post on how I eat. Today’s topic: How I move! If you’re curious about the Non-Hunger Diaries title, see this response.

A Chillax Workout Routine

I’ve been talking up my new gym a lot lately, but I haven’t turned into your typical gym rat. Update – I have actually quit the gym. I tend to stick to milder workouts like yoga, pilates, ballet, and Nia (my new favorite workout). Not to say that these things are always “mild” – but they’re definitely customizable. You can work at the level that you’re comfortable with for that day and not feel guilty about not giving it your all.

I like to fit in some kind of movement each and every day so I’m never hesitant to take a step back in class and stick with the lower level option. In yoga I always take a few extra child’s poses; in Zumba or other cardio classes I never go full intensity for the whole hour. It’s not what feels good for my body so I just don’t do it. On the other hand if you do love giving it your all in class, go for it! (Just make sure you take a break sometimes.) For me, I enjoy moderate exercise every single day. It keeps me healthy (body and mind).

I walk for exercise anywhere from 1-4 miles a day. It’s so important to listen to your body and give it rest. I will always think that walking is the best form of exercise (as long as you have proper form) but in a city of smelly streets, sometimes it gets to be not so fun, and it’s also getting cold. For most of history humans did lots of low intensity “exercise” all day long – we were not built to go full out for an hour and sit on our butts the rest of the day. (This is why I love Nia.)

Other linkies on exercise:

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That’s all, folks.

What’s your workout routine like? Have you found something that works for your body?