Friday, April 18, 2014

Week 43: Healthy Feast fit for a King




Summer Greens Salad .::.
recipe courtesy of "A Feast of Ice & Fire"

This past week, I decided to try something completely and utterly new... 

To cook a full-fledged feast!

In honor of King Joffrey's wedding on HBO's "Game of Thrones", I felt it was only appropriate to draw inspiration from the amazing food of George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series.


Luckily for me, I happen to own my very own copy of "A Feast of Ice & Fire" by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer. 

You can also find other Game of Thrones themed recipes on their food blog: InnattheCrossroads.com

Since I have been trying to eat healthier lately, I also gave myself the added challenge of trying to turn the gluttony of a feast into something more, something I wouldn't feel guilty about the next day.

This Summer Greens Salad has to be the most delicious salad I have ever eaten in my entire life.  I did not follow the book's recipe exactly because I don't like Gorgonzola, but pretty much everything else is the same...

It's base is arugula topped with fennel fronds (the feathery part of the plant) and halved green grapes.  The vinaigrette is made up of white wine vinegar, olive oil, apricot jam, shallot, and salt and pepper to taste.

The secret is in the fennel bulb.  I let it soak in the vinaigrette while I cooked the rest of the meal so that it fully absorbed the flavors of the apricot and white wine vinegar.

Fun Fact:  I had never eaten fennel before, and now I love it!


The makings of a beautiful Summer Green Salad.
Sliced fennel bulb and fennel fronds.
The gorgeous finished product with pecans on the side.

Roasted Root Vegetables .::.
recipe inspired by a staple on my mother-in-law's dinner table

Nothing says summertime quite like grilled russet potatoes and sweet potatoes with the in-laws.

Unfortunately, it was raining on the day I attempted my feast so I had to settle for the oven instead.

I chose to roast russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.  These veggies provided the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

They were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.

All around tasty.




The makings of a Roasted Root Vegetable side dish.

Tossed the veggies in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus .::.
recipe inspired by Allrecipes.com
I saw a picture of wonderfully roasted asparagus with a golden brown Parmesan crust on Pinterest, and I instantly wanted to try it.

Never mind the fact that I had never eaten asparagus before...

It looked marvelous and healthy and I had to at least give it a chance.

This dish was so easy to make that I am actually bringing it to Easter too!

Just lightly coat the asparagus (and pan) with olive oil, sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese and minced garlic, and bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.  As a finishing touch, top with a little balsamic vinegar.

Perfecto!


Honeyed Chicken .::.
recipe courtesy of "A Feast of Ice & Fire"
This Honeyed Chicken recipe is another Game of Thrones inspired dish.

I did make a few substitutions (used dried cranberries instead of raisins or currants), but overall it turned out better than I could have possibly hoped.

That honey sauce makes a huge difference.

I had never made anything like it, and I can tell you right now that I will definitely keep this one in my cooking arsenal.  The chicken was not dry by any means, but pouring the sauce over the slices before serving just adds something extra.

Something you never realized was missing from your life... Yet somehow you could not possibly imagine eating plain chicken ever again.




 

The makings of the main attraction: Honeyed Chicken.

The chicken roasting sans sauce.
A reduction of honey, apple vinegar, mint, dried cranberries, and a little butter.
Honey-lemon sauce infused with Thyme
topping for the Peaches in Honey .::.
recipe courtesy of "A Feast of Ice & Fire"

Pictured: Roasted Root Vegetables, Peaches in Honey,
and Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
I also attempted a dessert which did not turn out as good as I had hoped.

Since it was raining, I was not able to grill the Peaches in Honey as planned so it was difficult to tell how long they needed to cook on each side in the oven.  I erred on the side of caution and ended up undercooking them unfortunately.

They were intended to be expertly cooked peach halves topped with a honey-lemon sauce infused with thyme (which did turn out to be amazing) and chopped pecans served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I gave myself a break since the rest of the feast turned out so well.

Another day for the perfect dessert I suppose...

I don't think I did too bad considering my severe deficiencies in the cooking department...

And, at least I didn't attempt anything as dramatic as pigeon  pie...






Also, last week... Week 3 of my modified Couch to 5k (C25K).  Check out Weeks 1 and 2.

  Week 3:

SUNDAY
MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
40 min hip-opening yoga
5 min walk @ 3.5 mph
REST
4 min jog @
5 mph
4 min jog @
5 mph
REST
REST

 6 min jog @
5 mph

5 min walk @ 3.5 mph
5 min walk @ 3.5 mph



5 min walk @ 3.5 mph

4 min jog @
5 mph
4 min jog @
5 mph



6 min jog @
5 mph

5 min walk @ 3.5 mph
5 min walk @ 3.5 mph



5 min walk @ 3.5 mph

4 min jog @
5 mph
4 min jog @
5 mph



3 min jog @
5 mph

5 min walk @ 3.5 mph
5 min walk @ 3.5 mph



5 min COOLDOWN

3 min jog @ 5.5 mph
3 min walk/jog @ 4.0, 5.5, 6.0 mph



60 Squats

5 min COOLDOWN
5 min COOLDOWN





CIRCUIT






60 Squats




 (These are all on an incline of 1.5.)

Day 15 required yoga as my hips were still sore from the Allerton GLO-Run 5k.

Day 16 reached 2.40 miles in my 35 minutes and increased my squats to 60.

Day 17 was a rest day.

Day 18 reached my personal best of 2.47 miles in 35 minutes, added circuit training, and stuck with the squats.

Day 19 was not as good as the previous day.  I struggled with running for the last three minutes.  2.46 miles, no squats, no additional weight or circuit training.

Day 20 was a rest day.

Day 21 was a rest day.  After all, I had a feast to get ready for...


 Coming up... Week 44:  Lucky Number 7

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