Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spin and Kitchen Messes and Mishaps

Back & Spin
Today was another pretty day out, and rather warm, though windy. I feel guilty for not taking advantage of the weather and going out for a run. Tomorrow the weather changes on us, so I feel like I wasted an opportunity.

However, I am trying to workout smarter. I don't "have" to run. I don't "have" to put in a certain number of miles this week, or any week really. And I must let my piriformis and sciatic nerve heal. While the pain isn't constant, it's still there when I walk or move a certain way and most definitely when I run.

Thankfully, I am lucky to have the option of spin for cross-training. So I hit up spin again today. But before class, I did get in back. I went with a triset of 3x8:
Underhand barbell row (time to increase weight)
Pullovers
Double-arm rows

I won't lie, my legs were actually a little sore from yesterday's class. Duh, spin is a great leg workout. I was worried today would be a struggle, but once I got moving, my legs were fine. It was a great class, very glad I went. I love how spin can force you to dig deep - it's something I need to remember I can do when running as well, like in that last half mile...dig in and push like there's no tomorrow.

Messes & Mishaps
For dinner, I decided to get a little creative. It turned into a huge mess in terms of pots, pans, baking sheets. Oh and there was one tiny knife mishap. Been a long long time since I've cut myself cooking, forgot how bad that hurts, and how shocking it can be.

Thankfully, dinner made up for the mess and the mishap. I had been wanting to try to do something with both kale and tofu. I also had a kabocha squash staring me down. So, what's a girl to do but use all three ingredients? Kale, Tofu & Kabocha Squash in Mustard Sauce over Polenta Cakes.

Kale, Tofu & Kabocha Squash in Mustard Sauce over Polenta Cakes
Ingredients:
Roasted kabocha or butternut squash, cubed (as much or as little as you prefer)
1 package tofu, cut into 3 thin slabs and dry seared until crisp, then cubed

Polenta:
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup no-salt vegetable broth
1/2 cup polenta
To taste: salt, black pepper, nutritional yeast flakes

Kale and Tofu:
1 small-medium bunch kale, cleaned and chopped
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup no-salt vegetable broth (or white wine)1/4 cup (or to taste) Dijon mustard
1/2 cup OJ
Agave nectar (to taste)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
To taste: salt, black pepper, garlic powder


Directions:
Cook your polenta first following package directions - typically letting water boil, adding in salt, polenta and and seasonings then stirring on low for approximately 20-30 minutes until thick.

Transfer to a prepared baking dish - you want it to be about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate until cooled. Once cooled, cut into desired size and pan sear until crisp.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, orange juice, agave, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Drop in cubed tofu and set aside to marinate while the kale cooks.

For the kale, saute onion for approximately 3-5 minutes until soft, add in kale and broth, cover and allow kale to wilt down, approximately 8-10 minutes.

Once kale is wilted down, uncover and add in seasonings, and stir in tofu with the sauce and add in the nutritional yeast flakes. Allow to simmer and thicken for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in your roasted, cubed squash.

Serve over the polenta cakes.
 

This turned out to be really great. The textures were perfect together. My only regret is that I didn't make enough of the mustard sauce to drizzle onto the polenta cakes. This is one I will definitely make again.

Don't forget to enter my Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes Cookbook Giveaway - you have until Thursday night to enter! 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Spin class
  • Weights
  • Another sunny, warm day