Wednesday, May 4, 2011

un-tempted by tempeh

Eating healthy is hard enough, but when you are pressed for time it's even harder. When I flew home Monday, plans for a ride home from the airport fell through which meant plan B (train, bus, car) got me home after 2 pm instead of at noon! No good, since I had to work at night. I had planned on making some chicken to serve with pita, but the chicken was frozen and my naptime was in serious danger of evaporating from existence. I set my mind to it and made three lunches as quickly and nutritiously as possible from the groceries I bought on Thursday. Here's what I came up with: 
  • Pita w/ Cuke, Green Pepper, Tomato, Jicama, Grilled Vidalia Onion, Romaine Lettuce
  • Cannellini-Chipotle Hummus (homemade- tastes OK but needs work before posting!)
  • Organic Braeburn Apple
  • TJ Low Sodium Butternut Squash Soup
  • TJ Fresh Mozz Stick
  • Organic Kiwi
  • Diet Coke... of course
  • For the drive home: Oikos Organic Plain Greek Yogurt, frozen organic raspberries, splash of vanilla, 1 T hemp granola, unsweetened coconut
I know it looks like a lot of food when written down, but it is mostly fruits and veggies. I don't bring a lot of any of  the items... the focus is variety rather than volume.

Ezekiel Pita (100 calories)

I spread the hummus on the pita and piled on veggies. I thought I'd make a neat stuffed pita, but I overpacked the veggies so I ate the pita open-faced.

Fresh Veggies

I reused a glass jam jar for my soup. It came in a carton of four 1-cup servings (70 calories each). I divided the soup into 3 reused jars, so the serving ended up being more like 95 calories. The glass jars are great because they don't leak, are BPA free, can be microwaved, and are gentle on the Earth! Just beware of the material the top may be before heating. Note on the TJ Low Sodium Butternut Squash- add a little salt and pepper and it makes a HUGE difference. May have made the "low sodium" choice pointless, but it was so much tastier!


While I rushed to make my lunches, I sliced up the eggplant and zucchini I had on hand and put it on a medium-heat grill.. I brushed on an Asian-inspired mix of rice vinegar, EVOO, soy sauce, garlic, and TJ 21 Seasoning Salute.

Look at those grill marks!

I had all intentions of serving these yummy veggies with the tempeh that I marinated in a similar Asian mix, but plans changed. I seared the tempeh in a hot pan before work and made a sandwich with the veggies. Smelled and looked great. I took a bite and the texture was almost meaty, a pleasant surprise. I wanted to enjoy the tempeh, but a few bites in I had to stop. The tempeh had an off-flavor that I think is from the fermentation process. It was acidic and reminded me vaguely of whatever they use these days instead of formaldehyde to preserve biology animals. Clearly, this analogy shows why I had to ditch the tempeh. Looks like this alternative protein is off my list for awhile.

After ditching the tempeh Monday, I added a slice deli roast beef to my sandwich and headed out the door. For Tuesday's dinner I decided to add some roasted tomatoes and bleu cheese to my grilled veggies. Instead of tempeh, I went with a fried egg on the side. Much better. As has been the usual lately, I had a banana with flax PB for the car along with a coffee with milk and 1 1/2 TSP organic, raw turbinado sugar.

The yolk broke before I could snap a pretty pic...

Can't wait to sleep tomorrow and finish up the week with work tomorrow night. Monday really threw me off!

Also, my apologies if my reference to formaldehyde made you lose your appetite or turned you off from trying tempeh! I will probably try it again some time and hopefully with better success.

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