Sunday, May 19, 2013

Random Vegan Things, Running Ramblings, and a Recipe: Roasted Eggplant Bruschetta, Garlic Bread, and Italian White Bean Spread

So confession time.........I've been vegan for about 2 years now, and vegetarian for 5 or 6 (I lose track) and I've pretty much heard everyone and their mother's opinions and questions about veganism. But some of the most common stereotypes are actually interestingly accurate. Some of my favorite things I've heard are:
- "So, you just eat lots of lentils?" Haha, while not entirely true, I do love me some lentils, and they do come in handy in things like vegan patties and vegan meatloafs. So while I don't only eat lentils, I guess I do enjoy them quite regularly.
- "What do you do about protein? You need to be careful about that." The way people phrase it, it often sounds like the protein monster is out their trolling for vegans to capture or something......well I am aware of my protein intake. While it is easy to get more than enough good protein on a vegan diet, it always helps to check on just how much protein you're realistically eating everyday.
- "So you eat lots of salad, all the time?" Well yes.......and no. Yes in that I really love me some salad, and anything that can be eaten in salad form I will do, but that's just because I'm wierd that way. But having salads is really something that everyone should do regardless of what type of diet you subsist off of. So yeah, I eat lots of salads, you should too. (I also balance this out by baking large ass the one in the previous post......let's never lose site of how hypocritical I am)
- "Don't you miss meat, or cheese?" Um. No? I mean I guess at the beginning it was harder just because I had to get used to ordering things without meat or cheese while people around me were doing so, but it was because I wanted to. There was more motivation to not eat those things than to eat them. And especially now that I feel so much better without those things in my diet.....I don't miss them at all. Mostly because I have foods in my diet that are much more whole and satisfying.......just look at any of the recipes I have posted, or the produce section of your supermarket, or a farmers market, or the beans & legumes isle of any get where I'm going with this.
I hope none of my comments sound bitter, because they're not at all. I love when people ask me about a vegan diet and I get to talk about it, and I have no problem with people eating non-vegan diets (I live with two of them). There are just some funny comments that I get alot as a vegan and I thought I'd share. Now on to more important things.....

Running News: The Half Marathon Challenge
After one of my runs on a particularly windy day.
(The wind-breaker saved the day)
What is the half-marathon challenge?: It's basically a product of my crazy mind, where I basically have a goal to run a half marathon or further at least once a week indefinitely. Let me be clear that I am not running a race; I just throw on my garmin watch and make sure that I run at least half-marathon distance. I have been doing this for 6 weeks now, and have actually run 14 miles the last few sundays rather than 13. Also, All of my 13 mile runs have been under 2 hours, and my 14 milers have been right at 2 my pacing is getting better! Yay!
How do I feel?: Ummm.....the same as before? I don't feel fatigued, I recover from my longer runs really well, and my other shorter runs during the week are feeling just as good as ever. I really do believe that part of the reason why I am able to do these distances week after week is because of the whole foods that my diet is based on.......and my badassness, that's a real thing in science.
When will it end?: Never? Haha, I kid. I'm sure it will end at some point, but I would love to be able to do this for as long as I can. I am totally fina with missing a week, and picking it back up the next week; or if I'm feeling fatigued, then I will totally back off on the running....but I haven't yet.

Recipe Time: Roasted Eggplant Bruschetta with Garlic Bread and Italian White Bean Puree
Inspiration: I wanted an easy, light, italian-ish dinner and I also bought eggplants at the farmer's market and needed to use them. This recipe was born.
Nutrition Note: The White bean puree plus the whole wheat bread provide a complete protein. The veggies in the bruschetta provide lots of fiber and antioxidants. Garlic also has tons of antioxidants and other healthy phytochemicals, and it is used quite abundantly in this recipe.

Eggplant Bruschetta:
- 1 large or 2 medium eggplants cut into 1 inch cubes (6-7 cups)
- 7 roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into thin slivers (should make about 3 cups)
- 1 large diced yellow onion
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced or grated garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil or lemon juice (or both)
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a small bowl add the garlic and oregano to the olive oil and/or lemon juice so that the oil and be infused with the flavors.
3. In a large bowl mix together the eggplant, onions, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
4. Pour the garlic and oregano mixture over the eggplant-tomato mixture and mix until everything is evenly coated.
5. Line to large baking sheets with tin foil.
6. Spread half of the mixture onto each baking sheet evenly.
7. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, making sure the eggplants are just slightly browned at the corners.
8. Remove from oven and let cool.

Garlic Bread:
- 2 tbsp grated garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 loaf of whole wheat french baguette or other bread that you like
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a small bowl mix the oil, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
3. Cut the baguette into 6 or 7 inch long pieces, and then cut each piece in half the long way.
4. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and place the bread on the sheet so that the cut side is facing up (hard crust is facing down).
5. Brush/spread the garlic olive oil onto each piece of bread and make sure the oil and garlic are covered the entre face of each slice.
6. Place in the oven for about 6 minutes. It may take a little longer; start watching it after six minutes, and when it reached the level of toasty-ness that you prefer, remove from oven.

Italian White Bean Puree:
- 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup or 10-20 fresh basil leaves, depends on how much you like basil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 cans white beans or cannelini beans
1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until everything is smooth and well incorporated. About 2-3 minutes for me.
2. Pour into a bowl and set aside until ready to serve.

The setup.
How I like to enjoy this meal.

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