Meal Prep & Nutrition

Take IN : Fried Rice

Craving take out, but don’t want to spend the money, wait for delivery, or feel (*insert greasy/bloated/word of choice here*)? I have just the recipe for you! It is endorsed by three others who I made it with so I am feeling pretty confident about this one. A classic, chinese food take out staple: Fried Rice. This recipe is great because it can be completely vegetarian, vegan, or you could add proteins of your choice (chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, tofo, etc). The recipe is originally from this website — I have included the instructions below, while editing them with my suggestions (in blue).

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ teaspoons + 2 tablespoons avocado oil or safflower oil, divided (We used olive oil because we didn’t have either of these and it turned out just fine.)
  • 2 eggs, whisked together
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 cups additional veggies, cut into very small pieces for quick cooking (options include snow peas, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, bell pepper, and/or fresh or frozen peas—no need to thaw first) (We used broccoli, bell pepper, and celery, but as someone who LOVES peas, I would probably add those if I were to make this again!)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grated or finely minced fresh ginger (Powdered ginger works as well!)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (These definitely added a little heat to the dish–omit if you don’t want your fried rice to be any bit spicy. As someone without a huge spice tolerance, I found this to be delicious and not overwhelming.)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (*see notes!) (We used white because that is what we had, but using brown makes this a bit healthier.)
  • 1 cup greens (optional), such as spinach, baby kale or tatsoi (We used spinach AND kale #health)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (We didn’t have this, so we omitted it!)
  • Chili-garlic sauce or sriracha, for serving (optional)

Instructions:

  1. To expedite the cooking process, make sure you have all of your veggies chopped before you begin cooking! Also, the rice can be made in advance. I’m suggesting that you start over medium-high heat, but if at any point you catch a whiff of oil or food burning, reduce the heat to medium.
  2. Warm a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet (or Wok) over medium-high heat until a few drops of water evaporate within a couple of seconds. Immediately add 1 ½ teaspoons of oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add the eggs and swirl the pan so they cover the bottom. Personally, low and slow is my motto with scrambling eggs. It takes a while, but it is worth it–keep stirring! Transfer the eggs to a bowl and wipe out the pan with a heat-proof spatula.
  3. Return the pan to heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining veggies (not the greens!) and salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally (don’t stir too often, or the veggies won’t have a chance to turn golden on the edges), until the veggies are cooked through and turning golden, about 3 to 5 more minutes. In the meantime, use the edge of your spatula or a spoon to break up the scrambled eggs into smaller pieces.
  5. Use a big spatula or spoon to transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl with the cooked eggs. Return the pan to heat and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Honestly, we did this with the onions, but you could do it here as well. It would be interesting to see how it influences the flavor. Add the rice and mix it all together. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is hot and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the greens (if using) and green onions, and stir to combine. Add the cooked veggies and eggs and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tamari and sesame oil. Taste, and add a little more tamari if you’d like more soy flavor (don’t overdo it or it will drown out the other flavors) or salt, if the dish needs an extra boost of overall flavor.
  7. Divide into bowls and serve immediately. I usually serve mine with chili-garlic sauce or sriracha on the side. Leftovers store well in the refrigerator, covered, for 3 to 4 days (if you used purple cabbage, it might stain your scrambled eggs a funny blue color, but it’s fine to eat).

RICE NOTES: You’ll need to cook about 1 cup dry rice to yield enough for this recipe; be sure not to over-cook it or it will stick to the pan. I prefer short-grain brown rice since it’s a little chewy, but medium-grain or jasmine rice will work, too. You can use freshly cooked rice if you spread it onto a large tray and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes first (this gives it a chance to dry out a bit so it doesn’t steam itself in the pan). Day-old leftover, refrigerator rice is great, too. Just break up any clumps of rice before you add it to the pan.

 

Mental Wellness

Spring Term Reset

With each new term at Drexel, I have the same feeling I do at the start of each new calendar year. It is fitting then, that I like to make resolutions or goals for the upcoming few months. These goals are in a wide range of categories from academic, to career, to health goals, to political engagement and environmental conservation. By breaking up my goals per term, they are a lot easier chip away at than when made on New Year’s Eve or Day. Often, those goals—made with the hindsight of the year before and the hope of the year to come—feel insurmountable a few days later. However, if i take those goals and break them up into more achievable pieces that I can tackle each term, it allows me to feel like I have made significant process and that motivates me to continue. That doesn’t mean that I achieve all of them or that they are easy, but approaching them is a bit less daunting. This process also provides me with a space to reflect on the past term, while actively planning for the one ahead of me. As important as planning is, reflection is an often neglected part of our growing process that is so important! This reflection can be on the last term, the last 6 months, or my last co-op as I prepare to start a new one. I have included some examples below.

Reflections:

  1. During the past 6 months, I have seriously struggled to get sufficient sleep due to a number of factors, including an inconsistent sleep schedule.
  2. I tended to stop running during stressful weeks of the term in the Winter, which didn’t make me feel less stressed, but rather, more stressed.
  3. Last co-op, I felt fairly isolated from people as I was not used to being in an office rather than a social, college campus.

Goals for Spring Term:

  1. Establish a more consistent sleep schedule. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep.
  2. Aim to Run 3x per week until field hockey ends and then reevaluate exercise schedule.
  3. Find ways to easily socialize with people over co-op.

How Will I Work to Achieve This?:

  1. I will turn my phone on Do Not Disturb at 10pm. I will alter my sleep schedule in my FitBit so that it reminds me to go to sleep earlier.
  2. I will plan what days I am running at the beginning of each week. I will have my running clothes and equipment out and ready to be used when I get home from work or for when I wake up in the morning.  
  3. I will sit with people at lunch at work. I will establish certain nights of the week that I come home from work and see friends.

These are just some examples of the process that I like to go through. Your process may look different—everyone needs to find what works for them! If you have a method for your goal making process, please comment it below! If you have goals you’d like to share, please also comment them below!

 

Meal Prep & Nutrition, Uncategorized

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

This recipe comes to us from Drexel SWE Alumni, Jane Maurer, and receives rave reviews by other SWEeties who have tried it. I can’t wait to test it out myself! The original link to the recipe can be found here, but I have also included it below for convenience. It yields 4 servings and should only take about an hour to cook (or if you have an Instant Pot, one commenter said that you can cook it in 6-10 minutes on soup mode)!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
  3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
  5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

 

Extra bonus: This recipe is vegan as long as you use vegetable broth!

 

 

Podcasts/TEDtalks

“The Power of Believing That You Can Improve”

Professor Carol Dweck discusses the “growth mindset” and the concept of “not yet” in this TEDtalk, which was recommended to us by our wellness chair, Nisat!

Carol talks about a study she conducted with 10 year olds and how they reacted when facing a problem that was hard for them. Some students wanted to run from the challenge, while others took it as an opportunity to express their willingness to learn.

Looking at the inability to solve a problem as, “I am not able to solve this yet” versus looking at your difficulty as a failure is applicable to everyone in many aspects of their lives. You could not yet know how to solve a school or work related problem, or a problem with a family member, or a physical challenge that you are working to overcome.

This talk comes at a fitting time for me actually. I have found myself underperforming in one of my classes this term and it has been really frustrating. While processing my errors, it was easy to look at them as failures and feel unmotivated. However, when listening to this talk, I began to think about how my motivation might change if I thought about the class as “I do not know everything yet”. Carol emphasizes praising the process and not necessarily the outcome, which will help to change your mindset. I’m going to work on applying these concepts in the coming weeks so that I can process my errors, learn from them, and correct them (hopefully!).

Thanks, Carol Dweck for the insightful information and thank you Nisat for the recommendation!

 

 

Mental Wellness, Physical Wellness

The 7 Dimensions of Wellness

Listen to the first podcast of Wellness Revolutionaries that addresses the 7 dimensions of wellness with host, Blake Beltram, and guest, Alessandro Giannetti. Blake Beltram is a co-founder and evangelist at MINDBODY and Alessandro Giannetti is a healer and the founder of Guided Light Healing. Check it out here!

The 7 Dimensions of Wellness:

  1. Physical [Discussed at minute 13:49]
  2. Spiritual [15:58]
  3. Occupational/Vocational [21:00]
  4. Environmental [24:55]
  5. Emotional [28:13]
  6. Intellectual [36:22]
  7. Social [38:28]

    woman wearing black sleeveless dress holding white headphone at daytime
    Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com
Meal Prep & Nutrition

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

From Guest Contributor: Elvira-Marie Mikhael

I really liked this recipe because it was easy to make and healthy too! Definitely a good option if you’re vegetarian, thinking about transitioning to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, or just looking to incorporate more veggies into your diet. I made these for the super bowl with some ranch dressing. The original recipe listed below makes 8 servings. I put the leftovers over some rice, seasoned chickpeas, and spinach and had that for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white, whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup FRANK’S RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce (I imagine that you could substitute another type of hot sauce as desired/needed.)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:

  1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F.
  2. COMBINE flour, water, salt, and garlic powder in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Add cauliflower and stir gently until florets are evenly coated with batter.
  3. ARRANGE cauliflower in a single layer on lightly oiled, large baking sheet (preferably nonstick). Bake 20 minutes or until golden.
  4. COMBINE Cayenne Pepper Sauce and melted butter and pour evenly over cauliflower. Toss gently until cauliflower is evenly coated.
  5. BAKE 10 minutes or until cauliflower begins to crisp, rearranging florets occasionally if needed. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing.

 

cauliflower cooking pot delicious food
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Physical Wellness

Active Office Lifestyle

This past weekend at We Local, I went to a workshop titled, “Adopt an Active Office Lifestyle”, which addressed the harm sedentary jobs pose against our health and suggested ways in which to stay active while at work. I was surprised to learn that 80% of US jobs are sedentary and these sedentary habits are linked to obesity and diabetes. Throughout the whole talk, the presenters stressed that too little exercise is not the same as too much sitting. This talk was focused on the too much sitting aspect, while acknowledging that too little exercise is also a problem that many Americans face.

In order to combat the negative effects of sedentary jobs, they recommended low intensity, short duration muscular movements that happen frequently throughout the day. They suggested that every 20 minutes, you should do approximately 2 minutes of standing or movement so your body is stimulated. Some of their (and my) recommendations are below:

  1. Change positions regularly
  2. Hold meetings standing up
  3. Take the stairs
  4. Hold walking meetings (walk around the office or block)
  5. Stand up and pace during phone calls
  6. Walk to a colleagues office/cubicle instead of calling or messaging
  7. Set calendar reminders for posture check and movement
  8. Add an office exercise break to your day (lunch is a great time to do this)
  9. Relocate commonly used items to force you to get up to retrieve them
  10. Park farther from the office
  11. Do small exercises while heating up your lunch
  12. Stretch as you walk through the office
  13. Download movement reminder/suggestion apps
  14. Walk briskly
  15. Walk to the farther bathroom/printer
  16. Do squats in the bathroom
  17. Walk or bike to work
  18. Deskercises!

Some common deskercises are:

  1. Stretching
  2. Arm circles
  3. Squats
  4. Wall sits
  5. Lunges
  6. Desk/wall push ups
  7. Standing leg extensions
  8. Balancing
  9. Squeeze knees together
  10. Engage core
  11. Straighten and bend leg when seated
  12. Raise bent leg when seated
  13. Leg circles
  14. Glute clench
  15. Seated calf raise

I’m excited to try and incorporate some of these tips on my next co-op. I am also going to try some this term during my long hours at the library. Let us know some of your favorite active office tips below in the comments!!

Meal Prep & Nutrition

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars

If you ask me what 2 of my favorite foods in the entire world are, I’ll probably answer “bananas and natural peanut butter”. Although my reliance on peanut butter has dwindled from being one of my main food groups freshman year of college, it is a rare day that I don’t eat a banana. I am particular about my bananas and peanut butter though! My bananas must be slightly green to just turned yellow and if they have brown spots, they will be put in my freezer to be used later for baking. I always buy natural peanut butter with a sole ingredient, peanuts. I try to avoid peanut butters that adds salt or sugar and if it has hydrogenated oil in it, it is a no go as hydrogenated oil has trans fats in it, which never leave your body. Therefore, when I found this recipe for banana peanut butter oatmeal bars by Fit Foodie Finds, I was so excited! The recipe below yields 4 servings and it can be found originally here:

Ingredients:

  • 1 very ripe banana, medium
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, creamy (I recommend using natural!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (or any kind of flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. First, preheat oven to 375ºF and spray a medium-size baking dish or cake pan with coconut oil cooking spray (I’m sure that PAM would work too).
  2. In a large bowl, mash 1 very ripe banana until liquid. Then, add in eggs, peanut butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and almond milk and mix until smooth.
  3. Add rolled oats, flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until everything is thoroughly combined.
  4. Transfer batter into baking dish and slice a few bananas on top (I’m probably going to skip the bananas on top, but that is personal preference).
  5. Bake at 375º for about 30-40 minutes (it will depend on the size and depth of your baking dish) or until firm.

I can’t wait to try out these bars! I think I will make them on Sundays and then I can eat them for breakfast throughout the week. I’m sure they would also be good as a dessert with chocolate chips in them 🙂

Meal Prep & Nutrition

Cauliflower Rice

Growing up, cauliflower was not my favorite vegetable. I wasn’t particularly picky, but for whatever reason I couldn’t get over cauliflower. I thought, “why eat cauliflower when we can just eat broccoli? Aren’t they the same??” Flash forward 15 years and not only do I love cauliflower, but there are tons of great recipes that utilize cauliflower! I’m sure many of you have seen all of the food videos that use cauliflower as pizza dough or tater tots or even bagels! (See 23 Insanely Clever Ways to Eat Cauliflower Instead of Carbs). However, something new that I recently tried was cauliflower rice. I had seen a few recipes that used it and I figured, why not? So when I was at Trader Joe’s, I grabbed a frozen bag to keep in my freezer until I was ready to test it out.

One of the great things about cauliflower rice is how easy it is to store and cook. You can stock up on some and leave it in your freezer and then either microwave your serving size for 3-4 minutes or cook it on the stovetop for 5 minutes. That’s really all it takes! Since cauliflower does not have a particularly strong taste, it is easy to spice up and experiment with. One of my favorite recipes so far is this recipe for Chicken Fajita Cauliflower Rice Bowls, which is originally from Delish and yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 bell peppers, sliced (I like to use a variety of colors.)
1 sweet onion, sliced
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
24 oz. bag frozen riced cauliflower (I’ve purchased this from Trader Joe’s and Aldi.)
1/3 c. freshly chopped cilantro (I rarely have this, so I often go without it.)
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 avocado
Cheese and sour cream as desired

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Arrange chicken breasts on half of a large rimmed baking sheet, then arrange peppers and onions along remaining half. Drizzle chicken and vegetables with olive oil.
  2. In a small bowl, add chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and salt, and stir to combine. (I made extra of this and put it in an old spice jar that I had lying around, so I can use it for other recipes or again for this one!) Sprinkle mixture over chicken and vegetables, tossing to coat both sides, then bake until internal temperature of chicken reads 170º on an instant-read thermometer and vegetables are roasted, 30 minutes. (I don’t have an instant-read thermometer, so I just monitor the oven closely and cut a piece of the chicken to make sure it is cooked before removing everything from the oven.)
  3. Meanwhile, prepare riced cauliflower according to package directions. Once cooked, toss with cilantro and lime juice.
  4. Serve chicken and vegetables over cauliflower rice with cheese, sour cream, and avocado.

Note: Recently, I had some left over roasted brussels sprouts that I reheated and also threw into this “rice” bowl. I thought they made a good addition!

gallery-1490286540-chicken-fajita-cauliflower-rice-bowl-5.jpgPhoto: Karly Campbell

Overall, I like cauliflower rice. I think it is easy to store, easy to make, and yummy. I don’t think I would ever eat a side of cauliflower rice plain, but I am sure that if I added some spices or overall flavoring to it, then it would be a much better side dish.

Have you cooked with cauliflower rice before? If you have recipes you’d like to share, please comment them below or send them to swe.drexel@gmail.com!

Mental Wellness, Physical Wellness

Finding my Metaphorical and Physical Rock

From Guest Contributor: Manisha Rajaghatta (Wellness Director, 2017-2018)

Back in middle school, I found myself enrolling in a rock-climbing program through my town’s recreation center. I had never had much exposure to it except in summer camps when I was little, but this slight familiarity was comforting as I explored different after-school activities.

It started with top rope climbing. For those unfamiliar with the sport, there are three major types of climbing when indoor: top rope, bouldering, and lead. Top rope is the one most people are familiar with, where the climber is in a harness and is attached to a rope as they climb up routes on tall walls. The slack is picked up by a “belayer” who also ensures safety and helps them down securely. This is the type of climbing our after-school program focused on and where my love of climbing really started.

As I got older and started climbing with robotics teammates in high school, I was introduced to the world of bouldering.

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This is when you free climb with mats to catch your fall at the bottom of the wall. These routes, like their top rope counterparts, involve a variety of hold types: volumes (like the one my feet are on in the picture above) that project off the wall for added complexity, and “top outs” where you can climb up and over the top of the wall.

While there is also lead climbing where you feed the rope as you climb, my experience has limited me to top rope and boulder climbs. The interesting components of this sport are the two different workouts you can get depending on the type: bouldering is like a sprint, focusing on testing your strength, while top rope climbs are like a marathon, testing your muscular endurance and ability to climb for a long time. This enables the tuning of a workout to target different physical wellness – combining climbing, with cardio and weight training, allows for a comprehensive workout as rock climbing is truly a whole-body workout as legs, arms, back and abs are all used when approaching a route.

This physical component has made rock climbing a passion that’s grown over the years in addition to sports and other activities I’ve done. My athleticism is worked on overall throughout the week depending on my workouts and in turn, so is my brain. Rock climbing is very much a mental sport as well as physical since your biggest enemy can be your motivation and willpower. By training my brain to keep going through a climb or moving on a route, I have been able to work on my focus and internal drive in all aspects of my life. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll never get through the route, and further, you won’t be able to climb at higher levels and try moves that are super fun. Especially on the top rope climbs, the combined test of motivation and endurance really pushes me to be able to achieve my best, both in the sport and in life. It’s a stress reliever in so many ways whenever I get to the rock wall and I find it as a great escape when I need to step back from anything and revisit it with fresh mind and body.

This is actually a part of the sport that has always resonated with me, no matter what is going on in my life. Regardless of the challenges, physical and mental, that life throws at me, rock climbing is always there for me to blow off steam and push myself to achieve more and do better. I’ve left rock climbing temporarily a few times in my life because of time/life choices or injuries.

The first time was from middle school to high school as the transition had me pursuing other activities and in a way, forgetting about rock climbing during my weekly schedule. The second time was freshman year of college, again because of time commitments. The third time was actually for a super short time this past year as a result of a rock climbing injury. Each time, I found myself rediscovering the sport and finding how it fit into my life in a new way each time. The first time was a social activity to do with friends, the second time was a way to blow off stress while getting back into working out, and the third time was a way to maintain my love for the sport as a hobby but also as a competitive sport.

The key takeaway from this has been that no matter what has been going on in my life, rock climbing has been my metaphorical and physical rock to keep me grounded. Each time I’ve drifted from it, I’ve found my way back because it’s something that makes me feel physically and mentally complete. Without it regularly in my life, I find myself itching to get back to the rock wall and trying a new climb. It’s a way to keep me mentally and physically well and if I hadn’t found something like this, that I could rely on no matter what my life throws at me, I’d be very unbalanced.