It’s a perfectly balanced plate of macrobiotic foods. My favorite macro plate consists of…
Beans or tofu
Seaweed (hijiki is probably the most common)
Steamed greens (kale, collards, chard)
Steamed carrot or sweet potato
KABOCHA or other squash
Dipping sauce (I like tahini-based ones)
What does perfectly balanced mean exactly? This goes back to the concept of yin and yang that I touched on earlier this month. Foods (and everything, really) can have yin qualities (expansive, cooling, moist) or yang qualities (contractive, warming, dry). We should try to avoid things that are way off on either side of the spectrum. Let’s go through the list of foods in a macro plate…
Brown rice –> this whole grain has almost equal parts yin and yang.
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I belong to a CSA – the 92nd Street Y CSA – and each week we get a shipment of fresh, organic, local vegetables from a farm just an hour or two north of the city.
This means that I tend to eat similar foods week to week, because the CSA sends me foods that are in season. It’s great when we get my favorites, like squash – but it can sometimes be overwhelming in the summer when I’m getting pounds and pounds of greens.
This CSA is organized by volunteers, so each member has to volunteer to man the pick-up table at least one. Last week was my week (Thursday). I got sent home with about 4 full bags of veggies and I could barely carry it the 2 long blocks to my apartment. In the bags I got:
many pounds of beets (and then more again this week!)
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Zuzana is back. I used to do her workouts when she was on Bodyrock but they got a new girl (who is not as classy as Zuzka).
She has been back for a few weeks but I only just got around to doing one of her workouts tonight. This workout was:
Split squat jumps (in lunge position, jump up and down X times on one leg; then switch to other side)
Single leg lunges with back foot on a chair (X times on one leg; then switch to the other side)
Superman pushups (do a pushup, but come down to the floor and do a superman, then another pushup, floor, superman, etc…)
It was a pyramid scheme where you go through the rounds and do 5 reps, then 10, then 15, then 10, and finally 5 again. I just did it along with Zuzana and if I finished ahead of her I did jumping jacks. This workout took me about 18.5 minutes.
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I got this question at work the other day (we’re a fairly healthy-minded bunch):
What are complex carbs vs simple carbs?
This question seems complex, but the answer is quite simple. Simple carbs and complex carbs end up in the same place of the nutrition facts label, but they are most certainly different.
Are all carbs bad?
Clearly not all carbohydrates are bad. We need carbs to live – glucose (what carbs break down to in your body) is what your body uses for energy. That’s why when you eat a candy bar you get hyper for a little while – your body just got a big dose of easy-to-use energy because the carbs were partially processed before they got to your stomach. Simple carbs and complex carbs both turn into sugar in the body; the process just happens faster for simple carbs.
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I made this salad ages ago (early January) and almost forgot to post, but it was so good that I just had to. It’s a Whole Foods-inspired recipe and it’s quite good. Back in January I was in a kale phase so I made this several times and each time it did not disappoint.
Butternut Kale Salad (Whole Foods Inspired Recipe)
1 bunch of kale
1/4 cup water + 1/2 veggie boullion cube (or vegetable broth)
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
10 ounces chopped butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt + pepper
chopped romaine lettuce (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the chopped squash with the olive oil and a little salt. Roast for 30 minutes, or until it’s done to your liking.
Rip up the kale into pieces, removing the stems.
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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.
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I bring my breakfast and lunch to work on most days. It is easy for me to do, and it definitely saves me money. But sometimes I don’t like eating my oatmeal at my desk, so I allow some extra time in the morning to enjoy my breakfast at home. Which is what I did today.
Roasted butternut protein powder oat bran.
Oat bran will always be my favorite breakfast grain; oatmeal is certainly delicious but you just can’t top the goodness that oat bran is. The ingredients / method for this bowl:
Cook 3/4 cup oat bran in 2.25 cups water (3 to 1 ratio) over very low heat with a dash of salt; let this simmer for a long time (20 minutes or so) to get it creamy, thick, and voluminous. (3/4 cup is the “heart healthy” serving.)
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Back when I first arrived in New Jersey (for new readers – I just moved to New York city from California, but on the way I stayed in NJ with my parents for a few days) I hit up Whole Foods for some awesome prepared foods, like this butternut squash with baby spinach recipe:
Then the other day Sue sent me a link to the recipe on Wegmans’ site and I knew I had to try it. I didn’t really have many of the ingredients – I only had butternut squash, actually – but what I made was great. The original recipe had butternut squash, baby spinach, red onions, and dried cranberries (craisins). My recipe was…
Roasted Butternut Squash with Broccoli and Raisins
Ingredients (serves Maggie and Bobby got a few bites)
1 butternut squash, chopped in 1-inch cubes (probably 2-3 pounds) (optionally peeled – I never peel squash though)
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Last week on Tuesday night I met up with one of my favorite bloggers… Dori! She took us to a great vegan place on the upper west side called Peace Food Cafe. It’s completely vegan and they also have a lot of raw options.
Unfortunately neither of us had working cameras so I don’t have a picture of us together… but I did manage to take (crappy) pictures of the food with Bobby’s Droid. Bobby and I split 2 dishes – the kabocha sandwich ($9) and the mushroom duxelle pizza ($9.95). Dori got the kabocha sandwich too.
Did you really think I wouldn’t get the kabocha sandwich? It’s actually listed as roasted japanese pumpkin sandwich on the menu. It came with some kind of pickled veggie and sprouts. It was really good, but the bread was a little bit dense for my tastes. I loved the caramelized onions and mashed squash in the sandwich. The vegan cheese and walnuts didn’t sit too well in my stomach either.
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On Thursday night Bobby and I met up with one of my friends from a long long time ago. Gosh, I missed her. We met her very smart and cool boyfriend as well. Thursday (December 3rd) was actually Bobby’s and my 4 year anniversary as well as my brother’s birthday and Bobby’s sister’s birthday. Pretty awesome day.
Anyway, Kate and Simon suggested that we check out Josie’s West on 75th and Amsterdam. It’s a restaurant that serves food and uses “healthy & wholesome ingredients”. Their menu had a glossary (maybe people kept asking questions?) that described some of the more atypical ingredients like “Air baked organic Belgian fries” and “coulis”.
Disclaimer: I didn’t take pictures; I found what I could online.
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