A needy baby. Tired is setting in. Friday Recipe: Super Okra

This morning I went out for my usual 4 mile route.  Lately, I’ve been feeling way more tired than usual.  It might be that it’s dark in the mornings, but it’s more likely the fact that I have a needy little one and am trying to train for a marathon- and mixed with busy life; it’s all catching up to me.  Brax is in a very-clingy-to-Mama stage.  It’s hard.  It’s a lot to take on, and I when I take off my shirt, to my despair, I have no Superman sign on my chest.  In all honesty, I haven’t even been changing into my pj’s before I hit the bed- work skirts are quite comfy.  I truly don’t know how people do it with more than one child, but you guys rock.  I’ll know someday- and I’ll probably have a lot more to say than “Poor me, I’m tired.”


me.

It was easier fitting in short runs, but now that things are getting more intense, the fatigue is setting in.  Time is getting crunched, and I feel guilty sometimes leaving.  But I set a goal, and I’m not going to quit (I’ve done that before).  I’ll consider this a speed bump- one of the millions life tosses at us all.  Imagine my glee in the fact that this veggie can help with tired and fatigue (or so I’ve read)!  I’m trying these recipes this weekend.  In bulk.  That, and  a nap later- if b’s into it.

Okra to the rescue!  Have you ever heard of it?!  I had no clue what to do with this stuff when I brought it home yesterday from the farm. It was all you can pick, so I picked a lot.  Why not, I thought.  You know what they say, when on the farm…

As it sat on my counter, I still didn’t know what to do with it.  I stared at it for 14.2 minutes.  I decided to cut it up and eat it raw in my salad. The verdict:  I really didn’t even notice it in there.  It was a little slippery, but that’s not something that will deter me from it.  If you are weird with textures (Niki), it might not be your thing.

So what is this thing?

Okra is a plant that grows an edible pod.  The pods can be cooked similar to beet greens, and some people eat the leaves raw in salads.  To get the most nutirents out of it, cook it as little as possible.  When you do cook okra, it can get a little slimy- this is called mucilage.  That’s why people either love it or hate it.  You can limit this by cooking it with acidic ingredients (lemon juice, vinegar) or cooking it until the sticky dissolves (like in a gumbo).  Another tip?  The leaves of these guys are used as soup thickeners!

From what I see, people all over the world use it in stir-frys, plain fried, and in stews.  The seeds are even groud into a non-caffeinated form of coffee!  Well well well, Okra- you are a Jack of All Trades.

It’s nutritional benefits:

A half-cup cooked okra contains:
* Calories = 25
* Dietary Fiber = 2 grams
* Protein = 1.5 grams
* Carbohydrates = 5.8 grams
* Vitamin A = 460 IU
* Vitamin C = 13.04 mg
* Folic acid = 36.5 micrograms
* Calcium = 50.4 mg
* Iron = 0.4 mg
* Potassium = 256.6 mg
* Magnesium = 46 mg

Tell me more, tell me more!

-It’s shown to stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol

-There’s a lot of fiber packed in that little pod

-It helps feed the good bacteria in the body

It’s a good veggie for those of us feeling tired, weak, or suffering from depression

-(Maybe that’s because it helps with constipation too!)

Try it with me this weekend:

Roasted Okra

1 pound okra
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh thyme leaves to taste (optional)
Freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse the okra, and drain on a kitchen towel. The okra should be dry. Trim away the stem ends and the tips, just the very ends, and then place the okra in a large bowl. Salt to taste, and toss with the olive oil until coated.

2. Lift the okra from the bowl, leaving behind any excess oil. Place on a sheet pan in one layer. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes (large okra might take a little longer), shaking the pan every five minutes. The okra should be lightly browned and tender, with a nice seared aroma. If you don’t want it to brown as much, set the oven at 400 degrees.

3. Remove from the heat, toss with fresh thyme, if desired, and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to a platter. Serve hot.

or

Okra, Avocado, and Tomato Salad With Chili and Lime Juice

1 pound okra
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, minced
1 Hass avocado, cut in small dice
1 pound tomatoes, cut in small dice
1 small white or red onion, chopped, soaked for five minutes in cold water, then drained and rinsed (optional)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
5 to 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 to 2 ounces crumbled queso fresco or feta for serving (optional)

1. Trim the stems and tips from the okra, and place it in a steamer above 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and steam four minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water, then slice about 1/4 inch thick and place in a large bowl.

2. Add the jalapeño, avocado, tomatoes and onion, if using. Season generously with salt, and toss together. Add the cilantro and lime juice, and toss well. Serve garnished with crumbled queso fresco, if desired.

Hey, it’s worth a try!  Happy Friday:)

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/giving-okra-a-second-chance/

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