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Monday, April 25, 2011

Attempting Organic

It was a lazy lazy day around here.

The morning after a hike left my body with very little energy. But luckily, I wasn’t sore at all.

However, my stomach was dying. I doubt that I replenished all of the fuel that I burned yesterday, and my body was punishing me for leaving such low reserves.

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So I filled up with a warm and comforting bowl of banana whipped oats.

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Topped with this week’s new granola find: “Dates Crunchy”—did they mean Crunchy Dates???

This is not your typical flashy box of Lucky Charms. The box knows its audience, declaring its high fiber, suitability for vegetarians and advertisements for elderly culture homes … I hope I’m not aging that quickly!

We actually brought a Ziploc of this stuff for refueling during the hike, and it really lives up to its name.

Crunchy, sweet, with lots of oat-y clusters (the most important granola criteria), and also packed with little chunks of dates. Nature’s bites of energy Smile

Even though this granola was delicious, it was a little too sweet, and I can’t wait until I go home and remake my own not-so-sweet granolas.

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Mixed into the oatmeal was this new Westsoy Plus Vanilla Organic Soy Milk. I love their plain version, and this vanilla one was even better.

I usually buy the HK staple brand, Vitasoy Less Sugar Soy Milk, since it’s cheaper, but the sugar content is much lower in the Westsoy.

Vitasoy will always be an HK classic, and you can find their milks and beverages all over the city, from malls to street stands to even vending machines!

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A great start to my day, and perfectly filled my belly.

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The morning was spent on the couch, again, trying to force myself into writing my paper for a Hong Kong Politics course.

I wrote zero of those 3,000 words, and procrastinated by making lunch instead!

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Can you guess what it was?

Kidney Bean Burgers!

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I just took a recipe for any normal burger, but made a couple twists.

For 2 patties, begin by rinsing and draining 1/2 of a 16 oz. can of kidney beans (or you could boil your own). Mash them to a thick paste.

Then, add in 1/8 cup finely chopped carrots, 1/4 of a finely chopped onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic. You should chop them finely with a food processor, but since that’s not an option for me, I did it by hand.

Then, beat an egg and add your preferred spices. I went with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 tablespoon of sriracha.

Add the egg mix to the beans and stir to combine. At this point, the mixture should be really runny and goopy.

Finally, add in 1/4 cup raw rolled oats incrementally, until the mixture can hold together. You could also use the equal amount of bread crumbs, but I thought the oats added a nice texture!

Form the mixture into two patties, and place onto a very hot, lightly greased skillet. Let it cook about five minutes on each side, or until brown and firm.

Take them off and top with whatever you’d like!

Instead of burger buns, I wanted to use up some of our cornmeal and this giant bag of glutinous rice flour.

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We’re moving out in a month, an I’m trying to use up the last of our bulk pantry stuff!

To make some simple corn pancakes, I used 3/4 cup cornmeal and 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour. Then, add 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. A teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of brown sugar goes in, and mix the dry ingredients together.

For the wet, beat 1 egg, and add in 1 cup of buttermilk (or set regular milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar 5 minutes before), along with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Mix the wet into the dry, trying not to stir too much, until the wet ingredients are evenly distributed.

Drop onto a hot skillet, as you would a regular pancake, and flip when the top starts to bubble. Cook on the other side and plate!

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It was nice to have such different flavors for lunch, and it was all so delicious.

Oh, and did I mention that I like ketchup on everything? The more ketchup and sriracha, the better. Hence the crazy blood stains across my food.

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The bean burgers had an amazing flavor, and tasted very Mexican. Even better when topped with slices of Parmesan (another thing we have to eat up soon!)

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I was kind of disappointed that they fell apart so easily, though. I’ll chalk it up to the fact that my veggies were pretty large, and I may have needed to wait a little longer for the oats to soak up all the liquid.

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The pancakes, however, were amazing!! Totally surprising, but the glutinous rice made the cakes really fluffy, albeit a bit thin.

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And, of course, a mini side salad, dressed in soy sauce and sriracha!

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For Wesley’s lunch, he actually did the cooking!

He marinated this man-meat (organic Australian topside beef steak) with some soy sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika.

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Served with 2 eggs and some chopped carrots.

That’s a man’s meal Winking smile

As you can see from this post, I’m starting to shift towards buying more organic food (milk, beans, meat). I hope it’s not just a temporary wake-up call after the Pangassius scare, but switching to buying all-organic is actually challenging.

It’s overwhelming to go into a regular grocery store (unlike Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods—which need to come to HK!) and try to buy everything organic.

So as of right now, I’m going to buy organic when: it doesn’t break the bank and mostly for meats, poultry and fish.

I’m was just starting to get the hang of efficient regular grocery shopping, so this switch feels like starting all over again.

But if I can do something that will make my body feel better, while making a proactive choice, then it’s totally worth it.

Tell Me About You!

Do you have any advice for buying organic? Any suggestions for reducing the bill and specific foods that I must buy organic?

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