Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fake 'N Bake

Growing up in Ohio, I'd say that my family ate pretty standard Midwestern food.  Comfort food, if you will.  I was fortunate to have home-cooked meals pretty much every night, and they were always balanced with protein, starch and/or carb, dairy, and vegetable (+ applesauce - a staple at almost every dinner in our house).  A pretty standard dish for my mom to make was meatloaf.

Since I tend to cook only vegetarian meals for myself, I was excited to stumble upon the concept of a lentil loaf - basically, a vegetarian form of meatloaf.  I perused one of my go-to recipe blogs (Oh She Glows) to see if Angela had made one, and sure enough, she had a Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf recipe.  

I followed her recipe, adding the optional celery, substituting the grated apple with unsweetened applesauce because I realized at the last minute that I didn't have any apples (tragic!), and I used oregano instead of thyme (how do I never have the right spices?  I feel like my cupboard is overflowing with spices).  I also had to bake my loaf longer than 45 minutes, which I think was a combination of the type of dish I used (a coated glass pan instead of a metal pan), and because of its size - it seems like my loaf was thicker than Angela's.

The best part is the delicious sauce on top (made from ketchup, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and apple butter).  And I'm not even a sauce person.  At all.  So that's saying a lot!

It was a little time-consuming to make (for me, anyways - I'm prettyyyyyy slow in the kitchen), but the good thing is that the recipe makes a lot, so this loaf will last me through the week.  It's funny how leftovers seemed so boring growing up, and now I live for them.  Dinner ready and waiting for me when I get home?  Yes please.

I re-heated leftover roasted veggies from the other night and had a great meal.  While it doesn't taste like meat (obviously), the texture is very similar to that of a real meatloaf, and it has that stick-to-your-ribs quality that's a must for comfort foods.  I'm thinking that it would also be good served with a baked (or mashed) sweet potato.  

To reheat, I popped the whole loaf in the oven to warm it up while I was doing some things in the kitchen, and then I cut a slice and heated both sides for a couple of minutes on the stove in a skillet on medium low.  

This afternoon I got in a great workout thanks to two of my favorite fitness bloggers.  I followed a strength-training plan from The Fitnessista and another treadmill incline interval workout from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers.  In general, I really love group exercise classes and wish I could take them regularly, but you have to pay for them individually at the rec center where I belong.  I used to just stick with cardio machines if I couldn't take a class, rather than try to navigate the gym on my own.  I missed strength-training, though, and I've found that by planning ahead and following a set workout plan, I have the confidence and focus to strength train by myself.

Post workout smoothie:

1 cup almond milk, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 1 T chia seeds, as much spinach as I could fit in there, 7 frozen strawberries, a frozen banana, water to thin it out, and 2 ice cubes added after everything else was blended together.

Brrrr now I'm cold!

What's on your agenda for tonight?  Yesterday I spent a lot of time prioritizing my to-do list; it seems like all of a sudden I have a million things I want to/ need to accomplish.  It must be the end of the semester drawing near (how did that happen?? ah!) that kicked me into overdrive, so I'm off to tackle some to-do list items.  Have a great night!

Reader question:  What's your favorite "comfort food" and/or food from your childhood?

Song of the day:

"Dead Hearts" by Stars.  This was in the film Like Crazy - has anyone seen it?  I got it out from the library recently and am still kind of unsure of what I thought about it.  I really love Anton Yelchin as an actor (watch Charlie Bartlett if you haven't seen it) and I thought the lead female actress, Felicity Jones, was very talented and absolutely stunning.  Like Crazy is more of a realistic love story than a fairytale, though, so it wasn't wrapped up with a neat little bow at the end - I think that's why it left me feeling a little unsatisfied.  Regardless, this is a very pretty song - I'm a sucker for any song with a guy and girl singing together.  

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