What I Ate Wednesday

Guys, I forgot to take pictures of what I ate yesterday so that I could post this this morning. Oops. And then I vowed to take pictures of my food today and definitely forgot to take a picture of my snack...well one of my snacks and my lunch. It's a make shift What I Ate Wednesday post today. I woke up super well rested at 6:30 this morning. I washed my sheets yesterday and my bed was so comfy last night. It's the little things in life...My stomach was still feeling a little bit off so I stuck with toast this morning (one slice with butter and jam and the other with peanut butter). I also had my first tempo run and needed the carbohydrates for fuel and I will not let any of my Great Harvest loaf go to waste. Thank you to Kath for getting me addicted to Great Harvest bread. Luckily I live in a place where a bakery exists. Where I work there is an indoor farmers' market and Great Harvest sells there and I love it.

Side note about my stomach being a bit upset lately. I had a physical on Monday and my doctor asked me if it could be from something I have been eating. My job is to pay attention to what people eat and how it affects them and yet I don't do the same for myself. The only food that I have recently been eating more of which I don't normally eat are bell peppers. They were on sale this week and I bought four...impulse buy. So then my doctor starts telling me that peppers are high in a type of carbohydrate that isn't easily digested in the small intestine...blah blah blah... I just look at her and I ask, "Are you going to put me on a low FODMAP diet?" She starts laughing, realizing that I am in the nutrition profession and that I have known what she was hinting at all along. She shook her head and suggested that maybe I food journal though. Isn't that my recommendation as a future RD?! I felt put in my place. But I had better plans to take pictures of what I eat...although clearly I am slacking.

Moving on to that tempo run! I decided to run on the treadmill because the weather yesterday said freezing rain this morning (no...just no) and because then I could be sure that I was running at the right pace. I can't wait for my running watch to arrive. It's pink...insert emoji with the waving hands...Do you guys know which one I am talking about? It's my favorite and I definitely abuse it.

I went into the run thinking that 5 miles on the treadmill would be absolute torture and so I aimed for 4, cutting my warm up and cool down from a mile and a half to just a mile. However, I needed the full mile and a half to warm up. Then I cranked up the pace until it said 8:06 being careful to not look at the level until I hit my target pace because anything over 7 freaks me out a bit (anyone else scared of shooting off the back?). Two miles at level 7.4 went by so fast. That's a lie. The first mile went by so fast and the last mile dragged and I kept staring at the mileage. My sister's mantra stuck in my head, though. "Run the mile you're in" she wrote on her blog. While running I also listened to an episode of Food Psych about orthorexia which had me captivated. By the time the mile and a half cool down came around I figured why not finish out the full 5 miles?!

I spent the rest of the day doing homework with my friend. I brought leftover spaghetti and a blood orange to her house for lunch. Before I left I had a snack of a yogurt topped with some cereal. I have come to the conclusion that I love yogurt but without something else it just doesn't fill me up. I went to the store on my way to her house and picked up some Uncle Sam's Raisin Bran cereal. I chose an on-sale brand and it has only four ingredients, winning! I love adding some crunch to yogurt and extra carbohydrates for marathon fueling.

I spent the afternoon shopping at Michaels for scrapbooking supplies and totally got sucked in...does anyone else go into Michaels and purchase everything in sight? It's like Target...

I am currently making dinner while I type up the body of this post. I had a date-less energy ball while I was cutting up a sweet potato because I knew I wouldn't make it to dinner without getting "hangry" and nobody wants to experience that. Even now I feel hungry again. Those hard runs really get my metabolism going...I think tempos are harder than long runs. I will let you know if my mind changes after Friday when I do my long run at 6:30am after a late night on Thursday...

Dinner tonight consisted of roasted sweet potato nachos. I have really been loving Mexican-inspired meals lately. It could be the cheese. I love cheese and salsa and beans and guacamole. I love it all. I decided to take a break from enchiladas tonight since I've had them three days this week already. I should have roasted the potatoes longer but some were getting dark. Others were still a bit soft but still delicious.

Later tonight I am going to watch This is Us with my neighbor and I cannot wait. Anyone else loving this show? It has some really great lessons and inspirational messages. Not to mention Milo...

Side note...I need to start taking better pictures...

 

 

Why do I need to brine?

As a college student without a steady income I make it a priority to shop the sales at the grocery store (although it doesn't stop me from paying extra for foods that I love - oftentimes peanut butter and yogurt). Over the years, I have found myself becoming more and more of a vegetarian and not because of ethical issues or a distaste for meat, but more so as a response to price. Meat can be expensive. Most weeks I buy tofu, beans and eggs, which when paired with other foods can be complete proteins (meaning you get all of the essential amino acids). This week I saw that pork chops were on sale. Have I ever cooked pork chops? No. Have I ever bought pork chops? No. However, when I got to the store and saw that I could get four pork chops for just shy of $4 I decided to give it a whirl. A quick Google search later and I had somewhat of an idea of how to cook pork. Apparently it's very easy to overcook (gulp...) and with a gas oven I tend to overcook everything...

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Upon my doing research, I read that when cooking leaner meats, which includes pork, you should brine the meat ahead of time to make it more tender (Corriher). Originally I was confused by how soaking meat in a water solution would make meat juicier because of the theory of osmosis...water goes from a lower concentration to a higher concentration so hypothetically I thought that the salt solution would pull the water out of the pork making it drier. However, the salt is the main player here according to the brining article as it denatures the protein thus making the meat less tough (Corriher). How cool is that?! It's definitely a more complicated process and the cited article does a great job of breaking it down. Click the hyperlink to learn more. Now to get cooking or should I say brining...

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While I had my pork chops brining I got to work on cutting the sweet potatoes into wedges (more like rectangles). These would eventually be mixed with some oil (I used olive but it's up to you!) and pepper (I skipped on salt because the pork was sitting in a salt bath for a few hours) and roasted in the oven until done. I also mixed some brussels sprouts in oil for roasting as well. I just went grocery shopping yesterday so I enjoyed the bounty in my refrigerator. It never lasts as long as I imagine it will.

I drained the brine and patted the pork chops dry before adding some oil to a pan and searing on both sides. Then I threw it in the oven with the potatoes and brussels sprouts. One of the things I love about cooking is taking a recipe and adapting it to the ingredients that I have on hand, the space that I cook in (tiny), or the patience that I have (oftentimes not much). When cooking the pork chops I followed The Kitchn's recipe and adapted it somewhat. Follow the link for inspiration on how to cook your own pork chops!

Before I knew it every component of dinner was done and I was ready to eat.

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It doesn't look that pretty, but boy was it delicious. I went back for a few more wedges and sprouts because they were just too good. Winter vegetables are my favorite!

When it comes to cooking don't be afraid to try new recipes or cooking new meats. I was nervous about cooking the pork, but it came out pretty well (I'm biased though). Of course there is room for improvement, but until next time I'm satisfied.

Have a delicious day.

 

References:

Brining article: Corriher S. Why brining keeps turkey and other meats so moist. Fine Cooking. http://www.finecooking.com/articles/why-brining-keeps-meat-moist.aspx. Accessed January 2017.

Christensen E. How to cook tender & juicy pork chops in the oven. Kitchn. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-perfect-pork-chops-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-194257. Published December 19, 2016. Accessed January 2017.