What’s in the Crockpot? Part Two

February 4, 2011

How lucky are you, to have two games in one week!  I’d say really lucky.  I still don’t know if What’s in the Crockpot? is as popular as the the original version of this game, What’s in the RediSetGo?, but I trust that you all will let me know your thoughts in the comments section.  That’s what comment sections are for.

Before we play, though, I wanted to give a quick update to the egg re-boil I mentioned earlier this week.  As you’ll recall, I messed up hard-boiling some eggs by not cooking them long enough, so I re-boiled them, and was unsure of what would happen, or if they’d be edible.  The other night I tried a couple re-boiled eggs, and while I wouldn’t recommend them, they were edible.  Just chewy.  Very chewy.

OK – that’s out of the way, so back to the game.  Make sure your apron is securely tied around your waist, and your bonnet is securely tied around your chin, because it’s time to play!  Are you ready?

WHAT’S IN THE CROCKPOT?

SEITAN AND VEGETABLE STEW is in the crockpot!

Let’s jump back to the beginning.  A few days ago, I invited my friend Lisa to come over for lunch, thinking I’d whip up something healthy and delicious.  Then, at 11pm the night before she came, I realized that I hadn’t thought about what I was going to make.  So I started rooting through the fridge and cabinets, and voila!  A made-up-on-the-spot recipe was born.

When I got up in the morning, the first thing I did was prep a bunch of vegetables:

From left to right, that’s mushrooms, carrots, red onion, red pepper, 1 sweet potato, and green pepper.  Into the crock they went.

Then I added a box of seitan:

I first heard of seitan a few years ago, when I started eating at a vegan restaurant, Lotus Vegan, that had opened not far from me.  I saw it on the menu and asked what it was, and our waitress responded: ‘wheat meat.’  That piqued my interest enough for me to order it, and I liked it.  Its texture is very similar to chicken, and it tastes good.  I bet you could fool some people and actually pass it off as chicken pieces in a recipe, even.  I’ve had it a couple times at restaurants since then, but the other night at Whole Foods was the first time I’ve seen it a store, and, therefore, the first time I’ve bought it.

The box calls seitan ‘wheat protein,’ and it’s 120 calories a serving, with 2 grams of fat and 320mg of sodium.  From what I can glean from the interweb, it’s basically made from the protein that’s left in a wheat stalk after you wash away all the starch.  I also found a recipe to make your own seitan, but it looks like it’d take close to two hours to make, so I’d rather let WestSoy make it and have Whole Foods sell it to me for $3.39.

So the 8 ounces of seitan went into the crockpot with the veggies, and I also added some plum sauce:

A serving of plum sauce has 100 calories, no fat, and 520mg of sodium.  Since there was just two of us having lunch, and I anticipated having leftovers, I added 2 and 1/2 servings of plum sauce – 5 tablespoons.  I didn’t add any more liquid, because I know, from years of crockpot usage, that crockpots draw more liquid out of their ingredients than you could ever imagine.  So I powered the crock to ‘high’ and walked away.

Four hours later, Lisa were here, and we were chatting away.  We made a simple couscous to go along with the stew, which involved adding 3 scallions, 2 cloves of garlic, and a teaspoon of basil-infused olive oil to some plain couscous, and a pinch of marjoram, because neither Lisa or I had tried marjoram before, and it was sitting there, unopened, in my spice rack.

The end result:

The couscous was still a little bland.  I don’t make couscous too often, and I always forget that you really have to punch up plain couscous a lot (more than we did) for any flavor to come through.  Lisa also suggested making it with vegetable stock instead of water, another great idea.  The stew was tasty.  The plum sauce added a little sweetness but wasn’t too strong, and the seitan added a nice bite.

Keep it up, David!

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Monday Grab Bag

January 31, 2011

I had a long and full weekend, and am gonna use today’s post to catch up on some odds and ends that I haven’t blogged about yet.  What’s first?

1) H&M. Thanks, first of all, for all the great comments on all the new clothing I picked up the other day.  I’ve been wearing all new clothes for the past two days and I’m lovin’ it!  (I even have a picture to prove it – keep reading.)  But when I was getting dressed the other night, only a few hours after leaving the mall, I realized that I bought the wrong pants.  Ugh.  Remember these?

They’re the kick-ass black/white/gray subtle plaid cargo pants from H&M.  I tried them on in two sizes: 38, which I was pretty sure would fit (and they did), and 36, because I was curious how close I was to fitting into a size 36 (the answer, by the way, is pretty far off).  I thought I had a pretty good dressing room system, since I was trying on about 10 things: keepers in one pile, and no-thank-yous in another, but I must not have been paying attention, because the 36s ended up with me at the counter, where I paid for them, then brought them home, then desperately tried to squeeze into them later that night.

So yesterday I went back to H&M – a different H&M, since I was already in a different part of town.  I found the rack with the pants, and searched for a pair of 38s.  Crap.  They were out. Annoyance level quickly rose.  I decided to go find someone that worked there, to see if they had any in the back or something, and as I approached the counter, there, on a random rack, that must have been returns or go-backs or whatever, I spied a singular pair of my pants.  I beelined for them, and sure enough, they were 38s!  Score! H&M gladly swapped the pants and I went on my merry way.

2) Cirque Berserk. On Saturday night, my friend Steve and I went and saw our friend Tavi, who’s an aerialist (read about my recent hike with him here), perform in a circus called Cirque Berserk (I’d post a link, but the final performances were yesterday – you missed out!).  It had a lot of trapeze and trampoline and acrobatic elements, and it was really fun, and a good show.  Tavi and his acrobatic partner, Neal, do an aerial act called straps, where there’s two hanging cords, with adjustable loops at the end.  Tavi and Neal loop their hands or feet through the loops, and seconds later, they’re performing feats of strength and flexibility 15-20 feet off the ground.  It’s amazing.  Here’s a photo of Tavi and me after the show (Cirque Berserk has an death/underworld theme and sensibility to it, which explains Tavi’s ghostly make-up):

Yep, that’s my new shirt and jacket – thank you for noticing!

Before the show, Steve and I had dinner downtown, near the theater.  Two restaurants had waits of an hour or more, so we ended up at Rock’N Fish, mainly because they were able to seat us in about 5 minutes.  I’m glad we ended up there – it was tasty!  I had the Napa Sonoma salad.  It had baby lettuces, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and pine nuts.  I had the balsamic vinaigrette on the side and had them add some seared Ahi tuna.  It also had mozzarella, which I asked them to hold, but they didn’t, but it was two slices of buffalo mozzarella that I could easily take off, and I ended up eating one of them anyway.

3) Eggs. I hard-boiled 5 eggs on Saturday before leaving for the mall, and yesterday I cracked open one of them and found out I didn’t cook them long enough.  The white was almost done, and the yolk was still runny, and the shell didn’t come off easily at all.  Yuck.  I was running out the door, so I couldn’t do anything about them yesterday, but right now, as I type this, I’m re-boiling the other four.  According to this blog post, it can be done, but the eggs may end up a little rubbery.  Hmmm.  Will keep you posted.

4) January Workouts. I can’t believe it’s already the last day in January.  January was a great month for working out – all in all, I worked out 27 out of 31 days!  Here’s my most recent workouts, since I haven’t blogged about them lately:

  • Friday, 1/28:  Rest Day.
  • Saturday 1/29:  Richard’s class at Slimmons.
  • Sunday, 1/30:  45 minutes on stationary bike.
  • Monday, 1/31:  40 minutes on arc trainer, followed by 15 minutes of toning/abs.

5) Chart Update. I’m ending the post with some photos that I know y’all love – my weight loss chart!  I weighed myself on Saturday, and I’m down another pound!  That puts my weight loss at 160 pounds even.  Here’s the updated chart:

Only 22 pounds until I reach my next goal!

And here’s the whole chart from a fun new angle – from the beginning of it, when I was at my heaviest, looking down at the weight I’ve lost.

Keep it up, David!