[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I'll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I've recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days. For this third entry, I'm focusing on Avocados. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. ]
Since today was the first Sunday following my Total Health course (and I promise–that’s the last time I’ll mention it!), I realized it was time to resume my regular Progress Tracker entries.
It’s been nine whole weeks since I had a regular Sunday weigh-in, so this morning, I donned my sweats and and finally returned to the workout club (Well, hi again, Elderly Gentleman Who Always Wears Black Knee Socks! I’m back, Burly Guy Who Stares at Women’s Breasts Between Sets! I actually missed you, Septuagenarian Couple with the Matching T-Shirts!).
After completing various stretches and weights, I performed the official post-course, ritual weigh in. And the result? After NINE WEEKS of eating healthfully and stepping up my exercise routine (literally–I’ve doubled the amount of walking I do each day since the osteopenia diagnosis), I lost. . . . are you ready for it? Okay, here goes. . . . I lost. . . . FOUR POUNDS.
Yep, four. Quatre. 4. Vier. Quattro. IV. Tessera. FOUR!!!! In nine weeks.
Lovely, no? That’s just under half pound a week. Okay, I suppose that’s not awful considering that the goal of the course was not to lose weight so much as to learn about healthy eating and to undergo an attitude adjustment in that area. During the course, I consumed just as much (healthy) food as I wanted to and never deprived myself in any way (except during the cleanse week, obviously). What this means is that I am now exactly back where I started when I began this blog–with 40 pounds to lose to reach my goal. And while I do feel better since taking the course, that’s simply not acceptable. Nope.
And so. . . I’ve decided to take up the challenge offered by Gizmar from Equal Opportunity Kitchen, who wrote in her recent comment: “Ok, I’m throwing down the gauntlet – I want to lose some weight – I challenge you to a slim down!!!” Giz, you’re on! Ah, but how much weight? And in what time period? I will contact you so we can work out the details. But for now, I’ve decided, it’s time to get serious! (Again). Watch out, excess avoirdupois! Take a hike, jiggly thighs! Run for the hills, cellulite! I am on a mission.
* Sigh. *
(Okay, end of weight rant. We now return to this week’s regularly scheduled Lucky Comestible.)
One thing I realized while on my cleanse week is that I don’t eat nearly as many legumes as I should. Sure, if you consider peanut butter and carob, I suppose there’s a regular intake, but in general, my diet is sorely lacking.
As a child, the only beans I was ever served were the canned variety. Heinz Baked Beans made a quick and yummy dinner, just on their own. (Of course, my mother bought the “in tomato sauce” flavor so she wouldn’t have to deal with that one pasty, white, slimy chunk of pork fat that always rose to the top of the can. A few years ago, the HH and I took a course called Mini Med School at the University of Toronto. One evening, we were led down winding, clandestine hallways through an unmarked door into the actual anatomy lab, where we examined formaldehyde-infused hunks of human limbs, their outer layers peeled away to expose the muscles and bones underneath. One thigh had a rectangular chunk of flesh carved out, the cutout placed neatly on the counter beside it like a rubber bathtub stopper. Well, that little cube of pork fat looked just like the rectangular hunk of thigh. Good move, Mom.)
When I moved into my very first apartment the summer before my Master’s program began, my father’s housewarming gift to me was a smoked ham. (Not so strange if you consider that he owned a butcher shop–what else would he give me?). With the help of my trusty Joy of Cooking, I ended up making split pea and ham soup (even then, I couldn’t stomach the idea of an entire piece of ham on its own). I had just started dating my first true love a couple of weeks earlier (hey, Spaghetti Ears! How’s tricks?) and he, along with his two room mates, kindly relieved me of any superfluous soup–which, as it turned out, was pretty much all of it.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy bean dishes, either. It’s just that I never really think to make them. In more recent years, I’ve amassed a fairly reliable roster of bean recipes that I use on a rotating basis. There’s hummus, of course, but also sundried tomato hummus and roasted garlic hummus. Oh, and I can’t forget white bean hummus or fava bean hummus or even no-bean hummus (which, come to think of it, doesn’t really belong in the “dishes with beans” category, does it?). The HH and I also enjoy lentil-spaghetti sauce about twice a year, as well as my version of Tuscan baked beans (with olive oil and sage) and a classic three-bean salad in the summertime. Other than that, though, it’s pretty much hummus all around.
Well, I decided it was time to create something new and interesting with legumes. In keeping with the focus on avocado, I naturally gravitated toward the green legumes–or, more correctly, “legume”: lentils. Besides being one of the quickest to cook (they’re done in only 25 minutes, with no soaking required), lentils also provide a substantial contribution to your daily mineral requirements. In addition, they’re extremely high in fiber (both soluble and insoluble, important for healthy cholesterol levels), and they’re known to help keep blood sugar levels steady. Oh, and they taste really good!
I seized the green theme and just ran with it (okay, I kind of “speed-walked” with it), throwing pistachios into the mix as well. In these patties, the avocado acts as an egg substitute, while the nuts and beans work in tandem to provide a complete protein. While they’re not overly “meaty” in texture (the outside is crispy while the inside remains soft), these burgers are great either baked or fried, and would probably make a tasty loaf as well. Just for fun (and because I’m weird that way), I baked half the recipe and browned the other half in a frypan. I have to say that I actually preferred the baked version, which also held its shape better.
These patties are a great way to subtly add more legumes to your diet. And if you happen to be watching your weight–well, as it turns out, they’re pretty low-cal, too (about 150 calories each patty). Shall we start with these for dinner, Giz?
Lentil Pistachio Patties
These substantial patties offer a full-bodied flavor with a wonderful protein content, courtesy of the lentils and pistachios. The trio of avocado, olive oil, and pistachio adds richness and a healthy dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
1/2 cup (60 g.) shelled natural pistachios
1 medium carrot, trimmed and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2-1/4 (560 ml.) cups cooked green lentils (about 1 cup dry)
2 small ripe Hass avocados (300-320 g. unpeeled), peeled, pitted and cut into quarters
1/4 cup (60 ml.) ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) tamari soy sauce
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) ground coriander
1 tsp. (5 ml.) ground cumin
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) sea salt
2/3 cup (160 ml.) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
If you’ll be baking the patties rather than frying them, preheat oven to 375F (190 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with nonstick spray.
In the bowl of a food processor, whir the pistachios until coarsely chopped. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, and cooked lentils, and process until you have a fairly smooth purée. Add the remaining ingredients except for oats and process to combine well.
Turn the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the oats. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
If you’ll be frying the patties, preheat a nonstick frypan over medium heat.
Scoop about 1/3 cup (80 ml.) of the mixture per patty.
If frying: Place the patties in the frypan and flatten slightly. Cook 4-6 minutes per side, until deep golden brown. Gently remove to a platter or place in hamburger buns with desired toppings.
If baking: Place the patties on the baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake in preheated oven 30-40 minutes, until deep golden brown. If desired, flip the patties over about halfway through baking (though this isn’t absolutely necessary).
Serving suggestions: lettuce, tomato and hummus; sliced red onion, ketchup, and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast; or lettuce, chutney and mustard.
Makes about 12 patties. These may be stored tightly wrapped in the fridge up to 4 days (they firm up even more after the first day). May be frozen up to 3 months.
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Other posts in this series: