Joe's Eats

Twitter - @joesenigaglia

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Time is flying!

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on May 22, 2013 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I’m starting to stress a tiny bit in how fast time is passing. When I first had this idea of running a marathon in my head, I saw October on the calendar, figured out it was 24 weeks away, and was like “yeah, that’s plenty of time to figure it out”. Week 3 is already here and gone. Crazy. Training bumped up a tiny but this past week, but still nothing crazy. Sundays are always the long run days, and 5 miles was as long as it got this week.

  •  Monday – Cross Train
  •  Tuesday – 3 Miles @ Easy Pace
  •  Wednesday – 3 Miles @ Easy Pace
  •  Thursday – Cross Train
  •  Friday – 3 Miles @ Easy Pace
  •  Saturday – Rest
  •  Sunday – 5 Miles @ Easy Pace

 

It’s funny how some things work out, too. It was a LONG weekend this past weekend celebrating my lovely brides birthday, so after staying up late Friday AND Saturday, I drug my happy ass out of bed on Sunday AM (way past when I usually wake up) and decided to suck it up and just head to the gym and do my 5 on the treadmill and call it a day. Well, apparently everyone and their Mom go to the gym after 8AM on Sundays cause it was freaking packed. Seriously. Every treadmill had someone on it, so after 15 mins of waiting, I was pissed (mainly at myself since I was already tired) and bailed. What a dummy I am though. I live 5 miles from the ocean. What the hell do I want to run inside for? I hopped in the truck, headed down to the strand and ended up running a beauty of 5 miles staring at this –


Amazing.

Moral of the story? Shit doesn’t always work out the way you plan, but just let it work itself out. A potentially awful day (because of my own issues) turned into a very cleansing one. Ahhhhhhh.

So what did we eat this week? A little of this, a little of that…

Tofu "fried" brown rice -

Sweet potato & seitan tacos -

Chiogga beet salads - 

Sweet potato pancakes (courtesy of Swami's Cafe in Oceanside!)

And as always, my trusty daily Vitamix shakes (I seriously couldnt live without that blender) 

If anyone is interested in any of these recipes, drop a comment and let me know.  

Bring on Week 4! :)

 

2 down, 22 to go!

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on May 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Week 2 has come and gone, and it was mostly more of the same as week 1. Nothing crazy yet, enjoying getting back into regular running and all the extra food I get to eat, hahaha! Still no pains, no aches, no hating getting up super early, and definitely no complaining.

Week 2 looked like this –

  • Monday – Cross Train
  • Tuesday – 3 Miles @ Easy Pace
  • Wednesday – 2 Miles @ Easy Pace
  • Thursday – Cross Train
  • Friday – 2 Miles @ Easy Pace
  • Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – 4 Miles @ Easy Pace

11 miles for the week. Again, nothing crazy, building slowly, enjoying the whole process. Gotta crawl before you walk, right? Right.

This past Sunday was Mothers Day, so happy Mothers Day to all the awesome Mom’s out there. Mom’s are the greatest invention ever and I am so lucky that mine is so AWESOME!


I’m also lucky that my wife is such an amazing Mom to both of our little boys. I love all of them to the moon and back.


Also special Happy Mothers Day wishes to my amazing Mother-in-law, and my Big Sis – who hasn’t complained once about all my texts, emails, and conversations I have bombarded her with about my marathon training. There isn’t anyone who will help me more along the way than she will (running wise) and I’m so thankful to have her there with me!


Oh – and to keep this all food related, here is some of what fueled this weeks training -

Veggie Udon!

Veggie ragout with roasted artichokes -

Heirloom tomato salad with fresh herbs and balsamic -

"BLT"s with pesto aioli - 

...and one of the best meals of the week during our Mothers Day brunch.  Roasted portabello omelette! 

Talk soon!

 

Week 1 is in the books...

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on May 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Week 1 of my Long Beach training is done, and it went well.  I guess the early stages of your training are the easiest, so its no shock that this first week was a breeze but it went as follows - 

  • Monday - Cross Train
  • Tues - 2 miles @ easy pace
  • Wed - 2 miles @ easy pace
  • Thurs - Cross Train
  • Fri - 2 miles @ easy pace
  • Sat - rest
  • Sun - 3 miles @ easy pace

One thing you will notice the next 23 weeks is that EVERY SINGLE run will say "easy pace" next to it.  The more I read and try to process about Joe Schmoe's like me with distance running, the more many lean towards training in whats called "Zone 2".  Zone 2 is roughly 75% of what your max HR would be if you were running as hard as you possibly could.  Without getting into a ton of specifics or science (or arguing with friends who think its complete bullshit ;)) I will say that essentially running easy - over the long run - will get you running faster (at the same amount of energy output).  Is it all BS?  We will see.  My runs to start are averaging 10min/mile times, and while I can do these much quicker, Im not even going to think about, or try doing so.  Zone 2.  All day, every day.

So what have I been eating this week?  Same as usual - tons of plants.  The coolest part of this whole marathon journey will be that my training will be fueled almost 100% on a plant based diet.  I say almost because I usually let myself slide on the weekends and eat egg whites, fish, chicken, and pork.  I may or may not eat meats on the weekends, but thats neither here nor there.  Eating plant based is awesome when it comes to training because its much less inflammatory, and when your body is less inflamed, you can recover faster and get more training sessions in.  When I started training for my first 1/2 marathon back in Jan of 2011 I over trained, my diet was shit, and I eventually succumbed to awful shin splints, and didnt even get to run my first race I signed up for.   Over the past 2 years I have tried to educate myself as much as possible on proper diet as it relates to recovery, so hopefully this marathon training goes smoothly.

So yeah, here is some of what I have been eating this past week - 

Quinoa stuffed peppers-

White bean and kale portabellos -

Seitan Tacos -

Roasted Veggie Quesadillas -

My trusty Vitamix blends - (I have these every single day)

So yeah, I know its really early into the training but so far so good.  No issues with any kinds of fatigue, sorness, or pain with anything which is a plus - and Im loving mixing up the run days with the lift days.  Really looking forward to the upcoming weeks!

The Road Never Traveled...

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on April 30, 2013 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (2)

I awoke the morning of April 15th bummed out by having to send two large checks off to the government, but other than that it was a typical Monday. I got a workout in at the butt crack of dawn – or as my Big Sis calls it #BCOD), got showered, ready, and in to the office around my normal 6:20 time. Made the office pot of coffee, opened my email, did the typical checking of Facebook and twitter (please don’t read this boss), and started my day. Growing up a Patriots fan (and that’s a whole ‘nother story) I know all about the importance of Patriots Day in Boston, and how huge the Boston Marathon is. Excitement was present in the majority of the tweets from the Boston based writers I follow (mostly for Patriots football), and I was really looking forward to seeing all of the highlights of the race (and party) on TV when I got home.

Then, it happened.

11:57 PST a tweet from The Boston Globe was sent. “BREAKING: A witness reports hearing two loud booms near the Boston Marathon finish line.”

The heck? Booms? Like fireworks went off? I was confused at what I could have possibly been reading. What does ‘booms’ mean?

Minutes later at 12:02 PST a tweet from Tom Curran (from CSN New England) was sent. “Consecutive explosions being reported at Boston Marathon finish line minutes ago. Reportedly a “horrible situation.”

Explosions? Like, bombs were detonated? Were we under attack again? Why would anyone do this during the running of the Boston Marathon? My mind continued to race. I quickly sent a text to my Sis (who is an accomplished marathoner herself, and had her sights set on being there running this year) asking if she had heard/knew what was going on. She confirmed it was terrible, and that she was trying to get in touch with all she knew were there and running.

What followed was a blur. Thousands of reports, rumors, speculations, thoughts, ideas, and conclusions were thrown around numerous social media, and news websites. Nobody knew who was behind this, nobody knew why it was happening, and there was no sense that could be made. Gruesome pictures were shown, violent video was seared into my brain, and the hoping that everyone was OK was all I could think about. Admittedly, I don’t pray near as much as I should, but I sat at my desk with tears welling in my eyes, asking for God to help these poor, poor people who were there. The reports of deaths were out, horrendous pictures of people badly hurt, the loss of limbs, destruction, sadness, panic. It was all there for all of us to see, and it was frightening. I probably spent way too much of my work day that Monday searching the news for answers, anything to help wrap my brain around what I was seeing, reading, and listening to. I sent texts, emails, participated in online threads trying to figure this all out. There were no answers. This was terror, people were dead, people were hurt, and a city was under attack.

I went home that night and could only think about Boston, and those poor people. As I continued to read news, discuss this with people on Facebook, talk to my Wife, and read tweets from those who were there, I decided that Tuesday morning I needed to go for a run. Why? I really don’t know why. I’m not, and have never been a runner. I’m not “good” at running, I’m not a fast runner, and I’ve never been a consistent one. Is it laziness? Absolutely. I will say that I have ‘run’ 2 half marathons in my life (and I use the word run lightly since both were half assed trained for (and I walked a bunch in both), and I really only did it as a quick fix weight loss regime for being a lazy fatty) and a handful of 10Ks. But after seeing the images of people who lost their legs, hearing the stories of the people who were killed (one of which was a young boy), and those who didn’t get to finish the race, I really felt a need to run the next day. Not for me, but for them. I didn’t care that I was some shmoe in Southern California and that nobody there would know I was doing it. It was for my own peace of mind, and hoping that all of the victims could find theirs. I wanted to run for them.

So I did. I woke up at 3:15 the next morning and I went for a run. Hoping the run would clear my head, all I could do is think about what I had seen and read the previous day. How a city was in shambles, people were hurting, and the monsters behind this were still at large. All I wanted was to run that morning, get it out of my system, and go back to my “normal” life. It didn’t happen. All 6.2 miles I ran that morning I thought about the city we have visited, the family who is from there, the friends and their families who are from there, the football team that I so dearly love, and all of the images of those poor people and what they had to endure that day. My head wasn’t cleared. I got done and still felt bad. There was no clarity; there was no steam that was blown off. Nothing.

I decided that morning if ever there was a time in my life that I was going to attempt 26.2 miles, it was now. Running a marathon has always been a bucket list item of mine, so it was time to cross it off. Last week I signed up for the Long Beach Marathon set for October 13th 2013. 24 weeks from now I hope to cross the finish line there in one piece, with money raised for the Boston Relief fund, and with a sense of accomplishment that I could mentally overcome this, and help others along the way.

I’ll be setting up a site to accept donations here in the near future, so if that’s something that interests you who are reading this, I would love the help. If not, no worries. Any kinds of positive thoughts and encouragement is appreciated too, haha.

So, what does this have to do with my food blog? Well, not a whole lot other than I’ll basically be using my blog to update how my training is going, what I’m eating, and how I’m feeling.

Buckle up, and enjoy the ride, will ya? These next 24 weeks will not only be a physical test, but a mental one as well. Come along with me as we all #Run4Boston.

Cheers.


 

Its Ramp Season!

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on April 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Hooray for ramp season!

If you missed it, I blogged about getting to cook with ramps for the first time last year - http://jowskitchen.webs.com/apps/blog/show/15469502-cooking-with-ramps-

Well, it’s that time of year again (remember these guys are only really available from end of March through May) and we picked up a bunch from Specialty Produce down in San Diego.


If you are in SoCal, you absolutely HAVE to check them out. Amazing produce, amazing service, amazing people.

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/

Since I have an abundance of these, I plan to cook with them all weekend. Ramps can be used in all the same ways you would use green onion, or garlic. I made pesto with them last time (and I plan on doing that again) but rather than make a sauce out of them again, I wanted to enjoy their delicious oniony and garlicky flavors (are those even words?). My philosophy with cooking (and I’ve said this over and over) is that simple is best. What’s simpler than 3 ingredients? 2 I guess, but stop being smartasses, ha.

I had ramps, I had fresh asparagus, and I had grape seed oil. Quick sauté. Boom. Done.

Heat your grape seed oil, trim and cut your asparagus in about 2” pieces, and sauté until the asparagus starts to become tender. Once the asparagus is to your liking (I like mine still pretty crunchy) rough chop the ramps, throw them in your pan to finish, season to taste (you dont need garlic!) and serve immediately. So simple, so good.


It really does behoove you to seek out ramps in your area. They aren’t cheap (usually around $12-$14/lb) but they are so worth it. I look forward to spring time more and more now these days, ha.

 

Meatless Monday!

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on April 8, 2013 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Quick and easy little Meatless Monday recipe.

My best friend sent me a picture of his dinner last week and it was an awesome looking asparagus risotto recipe. I realized that I hadn’t had risotto in forever (my last risotto blog was from last year!) so I saw it, wanted it, and made it, ha. Typically risotto is made with butter, chicken stock, and cheese which technically ARE “meatless” but they all come from animals, so this recipe is 100% vegan (without even intentionally trying).

Cook your risotto per the package instructions, but substitute the butter for Smart Balance, and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. I cut my asparagus into bite sized pieces, and lightly sautéed them in grapeseed oil with shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper and added them to the risotto at the end. We served it on a bed of steamed baby broccoli, finished it with thinly sliced green onion and red pepper for a little bit of heat, and absolutely devoured it, ha.


Really, really good. The original recipe called for saffron, but I didn’t have any so if you’ve got it, throw it in your risotto for a little something extra special. The veggie stock did turn the risotto that nice saffron yellow color though, ha.

The boys like it, too!  Anytime a 4 and 3 year old eat a ton of veggies, its a win.

Enjoy :)

 

Ohhhhh, pretty...

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on March 29, 2013 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

We all eat with our eyes before our mouths, so how could you not want to eat this if you saw it in the market?


Dude, so rad!

I’ve been looking for purple cauliflower for a while now, and hadn’t had any luck finding it (which I guess is kind of weird since it isn’t anything super rare) until this past week. I saw it, it was on sale, and I was a happy camper. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but I was happy to have my grimy little paws on it, and it sat in the fridge for a few days while I pondered.

So, I’m at the point of my cooking where it’s time to try new things. Out with the old, in with the “fuggit, let’s see if this works together”. A very wise chef friend of mine said to me “the only way to cook great food all the time is to start learning what DOESN’T work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gagged myself with some science experiments in the kitchen…” It was all I needed, and I will keep that with me forever. Thanks my man. Now, my wife may not appreciate that advice, since she’s the one who is eating my food daily, but how will we know until we try? You gotta have that attitude, and the best part about it is that 99% of the time, you will like what you came up with. How do I know this? I eat almond butter and avocado sandwiches and they are FREAKING AWESOME. Call me a liar all you want. Go make one right now, eat it, and tell me it wasn’t awesome. I’ll be waiting.

Anyway, back to my purple cauliflower. I decided its fate was in a salad – and it was going to be paired with golden beets, arugula, feta cheese and green onions. Have I ever had beets and cauliflower together? Nope. Let’s see if they work together, shall we?

Short answer? Yes. They work wonderfully.

The cauliflower was drizzled with grape seed oil and balsamic vinegar and roasted @ 400* for about 20 mins (to where it starts to get a little charred, and still has a little bit of a bite). The beets were scrubbed, trimmed and boiled until done. Once done cooking (a knife will be able to go into the base easily) the skin was removed, and they were sliced into thin medallions. I chopped green onion and placed them in a bowl and covered them with red wine vinegar to soak. That was awesome, too. The vinegar actually made them sweet, and the flavor paired well with the peppery arugula. The best part about this salad is that it doesn’t need to be heavily dressed. The red wine vinegar and green onion dresses the arugula, but the natural flavors of the beets are awesome, and the roasted balsamic cauliflower gives it more than enough flavor. Top it all off with a little feta, and you are stoked on this salad.

All of these colors (contrary to some comments) looked fantastic on the plate, too –


So what did we learn today? A) Some people hate cauliflower (you crazy folks, you) and B) until you take chances in your cooking, you will never know what works well together. I’m here to tell you that beets and cauliflower absolutely work.

 

Avocado Tacos!

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on March 13, 2013 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

So I must admit that these tacos are inspired by a local spot downtown Oceanside called the Longboarder Café. It’s an awesome little spot just blocks from the beach (you can actually see the water from their patio seating), they have good food, and we used to eat lunch there all the time. One of our favorite things to get was the Avo Tacos. Now, you know eating out can get expensive if you are doing it all the time, and these little tasty treats were $10/plate for lunch. We figured it would be super easy to make these at home for cheaper, and we were right.

Their version of the tacos included avocado, tomatoes, red onion, sprouts and a ranchero sauce (which I have no clue what it is) all wrapped in corn tortillas.

Our version is similar in having the following –

 

  • Avocado
  • red onion
  • yellow heirloom tomatoes
  • sprouts
  • jalapeño
  • whole wheat tortillas with green chiles
  • cilantro
  • quinoa/flax salsa

 

The salsa comes pre made and it’s really, really good. I grabbed it at the local Sprouts market, so if you can find it, by all means use it. It’s gooood.

The cool things about these tacos are that they are raw, so the only time you spend is prepping your produce. I halved the avocados, removed the pit and cut them into thick slices. They spent the rest of their time in a bowl with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and some lime juice while the rest of their friends were prepped. The rest is easy – chop your tomatoes, onion, jalapeño and cilantro, and start building some fantastic tacos.


When comparing costs, it breaks down like such -

Avocados are 10 for $10 right now (I love living so close to Fallbrook), so if you were to use half an avocado for your tacos, you are looking at $.25/taco. With the tortillas, produce and salsa depending on your stores you are looking at another $2.25/ea taco. $2.50 a taco gives you $5 for 2 (like you would get at the Longboarder). They do however add rice and beans (which I didn’t use) but I get my brown rice for $1/single serving, and a can of organic black beans is $1.33 at our store (you get 3 for $4). Using one serving of the beans it comes out to $.54/serving. Is my math correct on that? So if we were to add the beans and rice throw on another $1.54 to bring your grand total up to $6.54 for dinner. You save at least $5 (leave a good tip you cheap asses!), you don’t have to go anywhere, and you can use all fresh organic ingredients (except for the avos – I don’t ever worry about buying those organic).

Win.

 

Meatless Monday...

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on March 11, 2013 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Real quick little Meatless Monday blog.

I had some beets in the fridge that I wanted to eat, but was getting tired of the old roasted/boiled beets with spinach salads.  I wanted to eat them raw, and though I never had I figured there had to be a way to do it.  

Enter the beet 'slaw' -

I guess you could consider this a salad, but it looks more like coleslaw and its great.  If you have a food processor, use the blade that grates, and run 3-4 large beets (washed and peeled) through it with 1 large peeled shallot.  To taste - add salt, pepper, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and fresh dill.   If you dont have a food processor, you could use a standard box grater (though it would probably get messy with all the red from the beets - or you could use the golden beets to save yourself some cleanup and misery, ha!).  The dijon and white wine vinegar give this a nice kick and the dill helps to mellow it out a bit.  Add your mustard and vinegar a little at a time to not overwhelm the flavors of the beets.


Serve as a side, and enjoy :)


Food Review Friday...

Posted by Joe Senigaglia on March 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

In an effort to change thing up a bit (so I don’t get bored, ha) I’m going to try out a new thing each week and call it “Food Review Friday”. Cheesy? Yes. Got a better idea for something that goes with Friday? I’m all ears ;)

In an effort to try and replace my beloved flour based pastas, I recently picked up some Ezekiel brand sprouted grain pasta to give it a shot.

First things first though. If we are being honest, there is NO replacing pasta. There just isn’t. I’ve tried a TON of different kinds and while some are better than others (Ronzoni Smart Taste being my favorite – though still flour based) NOTHING compares to semolina pasta. It just doesn’t, and there is no arguing. If you think you have found something then by all means, share.

I chose Ezekiel pasta because I LOVE their breads, English muffins, and cereals. I’m not a huge fan of their tortillas only because of texture rather than taste, but their breads and the bomb dot com. Seriously. Anywho, I saw some of this at the store the other day and figured why not. It was on sale for $2 a box so I grabbed one and hoped for the best –


Ok, so it’s not the worst pasta in the world, but it’s definitely far from the best. The box says to only cook it for 4 ½ mins, but it’s much too al dente that way and the texture isn’t the greatest. If I were to try this again, I’d probably cook it for 6-7 mins to try and soften it up just a bit more. The actual flavor of it wasn’t terrible though it has a much more “mealy” flavor if that makes sense? My lovely wife wasn’t a fan at all. I’m pretty sure her comment was something like “ahhh, so this is what cardboard tastes like when you cook it!” Haha, gotta love her. I for sure didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. I can see myself eating this again if she is working late, or out of town with the boys during the summertime, ha.

The sauce – however – was awesome! A simple little red sauce where I just took a big box of grape tomatoes (the big boxes like you get from Costco) and simmered them in a little bit of veggie stock until they burst. Once they cooked and did their thing, I added some chopped baby broccoli, some garlic, salt, and some red pepper flake and covered that and let it cook until the broccoli was tender. Simple with pasta sauce is always the best if you ask me. It was perfect.


The search for a good swap for pasta continues...

 


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