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I love sports.  Well that’s not exactly true.  I don’t really know how to play any and my hand-eye coordination makes anything that requires catching or throwing a ball out of the question.  However, I do love trying new activities that don’t require a ball.

I’m a huge fan of yoga, particularly the hot kind. I like most things that get me outside: mountain biking, hiking, running, walking, and rock climbing are favorites.  I enjoy this fitness class when my schedule permits.  Tim and Stephanie are amazing motivators.  I’ve also enjoyed swimming and boxing in the past.

So, even though I try to stay away from tennis balls, I truly love sports, most sports.  I think my interest began with my dad.  He was a football player in high school and college and he’s a huge sports fan.  I think his passion for sports (both watching and playing) comes from the respect he has for those who dedicate so much effort and energy to something they love.  He admires excellence more than almost anything else.

His sport of choice after college was weight lifting.  He has always been very strong and has the expected stature of a man who has been lifting heavy weights for 35 years.  Since he has always loved sports and working out, he never really had to watch what he ate. Recently, he has put on a few pounds due to a very busy work schedule, the all too common problem of too little time, along with a happy marriage to a wonderful cook.

When I got back from Argentina, he decided to make a few changes in his diet and really dedicate himself to being more active.  He asked me for help with an eating plan.  The plan was super simple and requires no great sacrifice.  I asked him to eat whole foods, avoid sugary things (including fake sugar), and save alcohol for his one free day every week.  He has said that it is the easiest “diet” he’s ever been on.  I would not really call it a diet but a way of eating.

The view from my kitchen window.

He’s been on the program for four weeks and he has already lost 17.5 pounds!  He’s not losing muscle either, just yesterday we were in the gym together and he bench pressed 285 pounds with me as his spotter.  Not too bad for a 51 year old.

The last time I made this salad for him, he said I should share it with you.  I eat some version of it at least once a week.  It is so simple and I make a point to always have everything on hand to make it.  Feel free to improvise.  Add and subtract as you see fit.

This is something I turn to when I want to get a meal on the table in less than twenty minutes.  I often cook dried garbanzo beans and roast red peppers myself and of course you can do that.  But, I think it’s important to have a few five-minute meals up your sleeve.  Otherwise, eating clean can seem like too much of a hassle.  I promise you this salad will be on the table before you can get to McDonald’s.

Ensalada de Garbanzos

A Spanish friend of mine introduced me to the first incarnation of this salad.  Roasted red peppers and garbanzos are staples of Spanish cooking and also quite cheap. Perfect for our grad student budgets.  Leave out the tuna and you have a vegetarian meal.

1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 jar of roasted red peppers, sliced  *reserve 1 tablespoon of liquid

½ small red onion, chopped

¼ cup olives, sliced

½ avocado, cubed

1 can of tuna, drained

2 cups baby spinach

1 boiled egg, cut into eight pieces

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon cumin

a sprinkle of salt

lots of freshly ground black pepper

Combine garbanzos, peppers, onion, olives, avocado, and tuna in a medium bowl.  Drizzle with red pepper liquid, olive oil, vinegar, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano.  Stir to mix.

Put one cup of spinach into each serving bowl.  Scoop half the garbanzo mixture over the spinach and top with half of the egg.  Drizzle with a bit more olive oil if you wish.

**You can prepare the garbanzo mixture and save it in the fridge.  You then just have to pour it onto a bed of spinach and top with the boiled egg to have a meal in less than 2 minutes!

Serves 2

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