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VeganMoFo Day 4-Eat and Run

VeganMoFo caught me at a bad time. I’m a much better cook than these early entries would lead you to believe. Lately, though, I’ve been relying more on prepared foods for dinner and sometimes breakfast (I’ve always been a bit of a spendthrift when it comes to eating lunch out during the work week). I’ve been meaning to do some bulk cooking on the weekend, or at least make a big pot of something that will last a few days, but I just haven’t managed to set aside time to do so.

Lately I’ve been trying to fine-tune my eating to support my running. While I recognize the importance of a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, I’ve learned that I need to back off a bit on anything with too much fiber or fat a couple of days before my races, lest I spend race day preoccupied with bathroom availability. So leading up to a race I allow myself a modest amount of carbo loading, usually in the form of white pasta and bagels. (I have a possibly superstitious belief that anything from our beloved local Vietnamese restaurant produces magical results in my running, so I sometimes allow myself a comforting plate of Ginger Tofu as late as the day before a race.)

Ginger Tofu with Vegetables. Just look at all that ginger.

Ginger Tofu with Vegetables. Just look at all that ginger.

Tomorrow morning I’m doing my first off-road 5K. Tonight’s dinner, then, is cavatelli–my favorite pasta because of its pleasing shape and small size–with 365 Organic Marinara and Gardein Meatless Meatballs. Ordinarily I back off a bit on protein too the day before a race, but I’ve found two or three of the vegan meatballs stick to my ribs without vexing my digestion (I especially like Gardein’s because they’re chewy, rather than mushy like some other brands I’ve tried).

After this race, I’ll devote some time to making use of the No Meat Athlete Health Made Simple meal plan to which I’m subscribed (more on that another time). For now, my pre-run eating is based a little on reading Runners World and a lot on trial and error. So far I’ve only run 5Ks and a four-miler, so GI distress hasn’t been too much of an issue. I’m a little worried that I, um, overfueled today–it’s a delicate balance. Tomorrow morning, based on how hungry I feel, I’ll have a small cuppa black coffee, a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel (or instant oatmeal, another pre-run breakfast that goes down easily) and maybe a banana. In the meantime, I’ll lay out my running gear and try to get a good night’s sleep.

#TBT–Breakfast for Dinner

For VeganMoFo Day 3, here’s a post I wrote two years ago but never published. As the French say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

October has been a bit of a blur, and a lot of my meals have been on the fly. Last week I made a pot of vegan chili and ate chili for five nights straight–chili over polenta, improvised tamale pie with chili, polenta, and Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds, and chili in a bowl straight-up, with toast for dipping.

This week, my spouse is away and given that my child pretty much eschews everything I cook, I’m cooking for myself. I had to quell an initial impulse to eat nothing but Earth Balance Vegan Aged Cheddar Flavor Puffs for dinner. Despite being fired up after attending the inaugural Triangle VegFest and sampling many a tasty vegan item, I haven’t had the time or motivation to do much cooking this week. Fortunately, this recipe for Grits Casserole posted by Triangle Chance for All, a microsanctuary in the heart of North Carolina, scrolled by on my Facebook feed. I didn’t have any corn on hand (used it all in the chili), but I did have an assortment of half-used items–half a box of sliced mushrooms, half a box of baby spinach, a quarter of a pack of Daiya cheddar shreds, three-quarters of a package of my favorite analog, Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage vegan sausages. img_4307And polenta. Only here, it’s called grits. Either way, it’s not just for breakfast. And few things give me greater please on a chilly fall evening than breakfast for dinner. I cooked the Field Roast sausages and mushrooms on the stovetop and the grits in the rice cooker (no need to watch the pot), stirring the spinach and vegan cheese shreds into the hot grits when they were done.img_4308

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ve probably gleaned that I don’t stand too much on recipes, either following them to the letter or carrying them through to completion. It was a Monday night, after all, and transferring already cooked ingredients to a casserole dish to cook for another 20 minutes in the oven seemed excessive for a weeknight. So I dished out a bowl of the hearty, flavorful grits mixture for immediate consumption and spooned the rest into a little 4×6 casserole for reheating the following day. img_4317The grits/polenta firmed up overnight, and day two’s leftovers neatly fit into a single serving casserole dish for lunch the third day–comfort to go.img_4318

VeganMoFo Day 2–Down with OPC (Other People’s Cooking)

Yeah, you know me. Some days just get away from me. Today was a couple a ticks above the usual level of dukkha. It was an instant oatmeal in a paper cup at work kind of day. By lunchtime, I was in need of some Southern comfort. In my case, that translates into the #8 at Banh’s Cuisine, a veritable institution in our fair city. Don’t bother Googling their website–they don’t have one. What they do have is a devoted local following that packs the tiny joint, particularly on Wednesdays and Saturdays when they feature Vietnamese specials. Banh’s has always taken good care of their veg customers, with regular specials like the beloved #8–Black Bean Tofu with sticky rice, broccoli, and baby bok choy–Banh Mi sandwiches with tofu and eggplant, Vegetable Wonton Noodle Soup, Ginger Tofu (my favorite), and salad rolls.

As with Wednesday’s lunch, dinner was courtesy of other people’s cooking. Yesterday I bought these lovely sweet potato “steaks” and garlicky mustard greens for lunch at Whole Foods, but hadn’t gotten around to eating them (I filled up on WF’s minestone and an everything bagel instead…). Boy, was I glad to see that little brown box in the fridge tonight.img_6107

Well, tomorrow is another day. It’s also $3 dinner night at our local co-op (always with a vegan option), so I may avail myself of OPC yet again. I promise, I’ll get around to posting about some of my own cooking before the Vegan Month of Food is out.