Chicken adobo, a classic Filipino dish, consists of chicken simmered in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce. It is easy to make and reheats well. Perfect for a brown bag lunch, along with a salad. If you do not have a microwave at your workplace, please check the menu on this blog and look up the “Equipment and Gadgets” category. There you will find descriptions of portable heating devices. I would recommend both the Crockpot Lunch Warmer and Hotlogic thermal bag for reheating this dish.
Here’s a recipe that I tried just yesterday. It turned out great!
CHICKEN ADOBO (6 servings)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
6 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
6 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
1.Place the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large saute pan. Place the chicken thighs, skin side down, into the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, and then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, and then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
2.Uncover the pan, and then increase the heat to high and return the sauce to a boil. While occasionally turning and basting the chicken, continue boiling the sauce, uncovered, until it is reduced by half and thickens slightly, 5-7 minutes. Serve with steamed white rice.
The site from which I obtained this recipe indicates 332 calories per serving. (Not counting the rice.)
The next time that you go to that vending machine for your afternoon cookies, crackers, et al, please consider selecting a bag of nuts. Nuts are nature’s way of providing maximum nutrition in a small package. Filled with protein, minerals, fiber, and healthy oils and fats, nuts provide a nourishing pick-me-up when you feel the need for a snack in between meals.
Below is a list of nuts and the nutrition they provide. Keep in mind that to receive optimal benefits from the fats in this food, it may be better to eat most types of nuts raw. You can obtain raw nuts at your local whole foods store; for example, Sprouts.
In this post, I am giving calorie estimates for raw nuts. Roasted nuts may have additional calories because of oil added in the roasting process.
Almonds. Can be eaten raw or roasted. Almonds are a source of biotin, vitamin E, copper, managanese, vitamin B2 phosphorus, magnesium and molybdenum. One oz. of raw almonds (23 almonds) is approximately 132 calories
Brazil nuts. Can be eaten raw or roasted. Brazil nuts are a source of selenium, which is necessary in regulating the thyroid gland. They are a source of copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, thiamine, and vitamin E. One oz. of raw Brazil nuts (6 large nuts) is approximately 187 calories
Cashews. Can be eaten raw or roasted. They are an source of copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. One oz. of raw cashews (18 whole cashews) is approximately 221 calories.
Hazelnuts (also known as filberts). Can be eaten raw or roasted. They are a source of vitamin E, thiamin, magnesium, copper, and manganese. One oz. of raw hazelnuts (20 kernels) is approximately 176 calories.
Peanuts. Can be eaten roasted or boiled. Strictly speaking, peanuts are a legume and not a nut. They are a source of copper, manganese, vitamin B3, molybdenum, folate, biotin, phosphorus, vitamin E, protein, and vitamin B1. One oz. of raw peanuts (28 whole peanuts) is approximately 207 calories. Consider getting dry roasted peanuts to save on additional fat and calories.
Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas). Can be eaten raw or roasted. Pumpkin seeds are a source of manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, zinc, protein, and iron. One oz. of shelled, raw pumpkin seeds is approximately 180 calories.
Sunflower seeds. Can be eaten raw or roasted. Sunflower seeds are a source of vitamin E, copper, vitamin B1, selenium, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B6, magnesium, folate, and vitamin B3. One oz. of sunflower seeds is approximately 204 calories.
Walnuts. Can be eaten raw or roasted. Walnuts are a source of omega-3 fat, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. One oz. of walnuts (14 walnut halves) is approximately 196 calories.
Healthline.com, “7 Proven Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts,” “7 Ways Hazelnuts Benefit Your Health,” “Raw vs Roasted Nuts: Which Is Healthier?”
wh.foods.com, “Almonds,” “Cashews,” “Peanuts,” Pumpkin Seeds,” Sunflower Seeds,” and “Walnuts.”
Until now, this blog has focused on food, recipes, and gadgets that facilitate the preparation of healthy brown-bag menus. Today, I would like to address another topic: How to stay physically fit when you’re working full-time.
It’s not easy. When I was employed as a full-time HR trainer, I typically rose at 5am in order to get to the training site by 7am. I had an hour for lunch, and finished work at 5pm. Because so many of my training assignments were far from home, it sometimes took more than two hours to get back to my condo.
Nevertheless, I found ways to incorporate exercise into my daily schedule. Here are some things that worked for me:
Public transportation. Do you have access to public transportation? Consider using it. On days that I didn’t train, I used Metrolink and subway lines to get to my office in L.A. On the way, I walked through railroad stations and up boarding ramps. Finally, I exited the subway onto Wilshire Blvd and started moving my feet. By the time I got to the office, I had probably walked at least 1/2 mile.
Stair Master, the old-fashioned way. Do you have an upstairs office? Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. It’s a more intense aerobic exercise than walking, and good for you.
Take a stretch break. Keeping fit as an office worker means taking periodic breaks in order to move and stretch, especially if you do a lot of repetitive tasks using office machinery. I learned the hard way that pounding out reports on the computer without an occasional break will send you to Workers Comp with tendinitis, carpal tunnel, or worse.
Program your iPhone to give a reminder every 20 or 30 minutes. When the alarm goes off, spend 5 minutes doing stretching exercises like the ones on this mayoclinic.org link: mayoclinic.org 2006525.
Lunchtime activities. One reason that I advocate bringing your own pre-made lunch to work is that it saves time. Instead of wasting precious minutes ordering and picking up takeout, you can polish off your midday meal and use the rest of the lunch hour doing the following:
Go back to that stairwell that you used earlier, and spend 20 more minutes walking up and down the stairs.
Get together with some of your coworkers and go walking. Making an exercise date with others will be force you to be accountable to the group. No excuses for not putting on those walking shoes!
Do you have a gym at your offices? If so, use it! And If you don’t have time to change into exercise gear, just throw on some tennis shoes and do 20 minutes on the treadmill.
Is there a gym near your offices? I have been an L.A. Fitness Gym member for several years. They have locations all over Southern California. If there was one near my training site, I often spent some time on the treadmill during my lunch break.
Use exercise CD’s. One of my favorites is the Leslie Sansone Walking in Place series. You can get them on CD at amazon.com. You can also download them onto your IT device from the same site. What’s great about Sansone’s aerobic program is that you need very little space to execute the steps.
After work. Okay, you just got home from work. It was a long day, and all you want to do is eat, have a glass of wine, and watch some TV. Well….why not exercise and watch TV at the same time? That’s what I still do almost every night. Again, Leslie Sansone is great! I play my CD on a mini CD player while watching my favorite TV programs. I’ve exercised at night using this method for more than seven years.
I hope that I’ve given you some fitness ideas that you can use at work. And if you have additional suggestions, it would be great to see them in my “Comments” section.
I took this photo during our visit to Buchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. Here are some additional photos of the greenhouse garden:
So: Today’s brown bag recipe is another offering from our Vancouver Island hostess, Gail Bishop. Edamame (Japanese green soy beans) can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. The beans are tasty and filled with high-quality protein.
Try this edamame salad with teriyaki chicken or salmon. You can also serve it as a vegan entree.
EDAMAME, RED PEPPER, AND CORN SALAD (4 servings)
2 tsp. Sodium-reduced soy sauce
1 tsp. Toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. Honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed and drained
1 cup diced sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
In bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and garlic until blended. Stir in edamame, red pepper and corn.
To all my readers….my husband and I will be on the road until the beginning of July. We are driving up the Pacific coast all the way to Victoria, British Columbia. How exciting!
I will continue to write posts as we make our way north, and then south. I’m anticipating lots of stops at restaurants, diners, etal. It will be interesting to see how the foods we encounter might translate into brown bagging. Also, my husband is expert at RV cooking. Which means that we may have to change this blog to “RV Cooking,” at least for the present, lol!
Meanwhile, there will be lots of opportunities to discuss books and articles I read on the way. I already have a list of books I’d love to recommend.
I’m always on the lookout for gadgets and tools that will make weekend brown bag meal prep easier. This week, I found some neat plastic containers at Walmart that will do the trick nicely.
These 2-compartment containers can be used both in the freezer and microwave. And for those of you who have been following my posts concerning the Hot Logic thermal bag….it works well in that device also.
A 15-pack of the containers cost just under $10.00. My opinion? They’re worth it. You can portion out your meals for the week into the containers and stack them in the freezer. In the morning, you just grab one and take it to work.
By the way, you can purchase 1-compartment containers at Walmart also. Not sure about 3-compartment, but I’ve seen these advertised on amazon.com.
Many of my FaceBook friends have asked about low carb and paleo recipes for brown bagging. With this in mind, I am recommending 31 Paleo Brown Bag Lunches To Go as an easy way to access recipes for lunch.
Before we go any further, let’s define “paleo diet.” According to mayoclinic.org:
A paleo diet is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, which dates from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.
A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds–foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering. A paleo diet limits foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago. These foods include dairy products, legumes and grains.
Adherence to this diet means no breads or pastas made of grain or legumes; and no dairy items like cows milk, yogurt, or cheese. Also, honey is used as a sweetener instead of cane sugar. Because of the absence of these food groups, the paleo diet will tend to be lower in simple carbohydrates and sugars than other meal plans.
Scott’s book includes paleo versions of sandwiches, salads and hot main dish meals such as chili without beans and taco salad without tortillas. Sandwiches are to be wrapped in lettuce, and at least one recipe for enchiladas substitutes collard greens for the traditional corn tortilla wrap.
Hot main dishes: “Chicken Enchiladas,” “Beef Curry,” “Bacon and Beef Chili.”
While the hot main dishes will require the availability of an office microwave or Hot Logic device, there are also plenty of cold dishes that require less prep. I would strongly recommend that fillings for sandwiches be packed separately from lettuce wraps, to avoid unnecessary sogginess and mess.
Big plus: The author lists detailed nutritional info for each of the recipes.
You can purchase this book on amazon.com in Kindle ($5.99) or paperback ($7.99) form.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve shared my experiences using the Hot Logic Mini Thermal Bag. It’s a portable nylon convection oven with a hot plate insert. When used with a sealed Pyrex dish, this wonderful gadget seals in flavor and odor while warming up and cooking a variety of foods.
This week, I cooked a raw food product for the very first time: Frozen salmon. I must admit that I had my doubts as to whether this would work. However, the manufacturer assured that the thermal bag could do the job.
I picked the fish up at my local Sprouts. Although wild salmon is rather expensive at almost $5 per serving, I’m really fond of the flavor and am willing to pay extra. Also, wild salmon tends to contain more healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids.
I put a slice of the salmon in my Hot Logic, skin side up, along with some frozen vegetables. Then I topped the fish with Lawry’s Lemon-Pepper Marinade and added chopped fresh dill. Finally, I plugged in the device. (By the way, I did not defrost any of this food prior to cooking.)
Two and a half hours later, here’s the result:
Everything was completely cooked and piping hot. The vegetables were tender but not overdone; the salmon was cooked just right. It was delicious!
Best of all, there was no fishy odorwhile the food cooked. And when I opened the Pyrex dish, the aroma was far less than it would have been with the use of a microwave oven. I should mention that glass Pyrex seems to be the only material that seals in flavor and odor. You can safely use the Mini Logic with plastic and foil containers, but you end up with a smellier cooking process.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Hot Logic Mini thermal bag, please see https://myhotlogic.com for more information. Also, look under the “Gadgets” category under the Menu section of this blog. Finally, you can purchase the Hot Logic Thermal Bag (also referred to as a “mini oven”) on amazon.com. The bag plus matching Pyrex dish runs about $55.
After wining and dining throughout eastern California this past week, I felt the need for a healthier, lighter lunch. So I pulled out my Hot Logic thermal bag and went to work.
In case you have not been following my posts on the subject, the Hot Logic thermal bag is a marvelous invention for brown baggers who want a hot lunch, but who do not wish to use the office microwave. The device is essentially a small, aluminum-lined lunch bag with an inner hot plate. I usually place my food in a glass Pyrex dish that I purchased with the bag. It takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to cook most foods with the Mini Logic. By the way, if you’re going on a road trip, you can plug the Mini into a car converter.
Today, I heated up some frozen breaded tilapia and frozen mixed vegetables. This is what the food looked like going into the Hot Logic:
I plugged the device in. Two and a half hours later, this is what lunch looked like:
All of the food was completely cooked and piping hot. My only criticism is that the breading on the fish was kind of soggy. Otherwise, very tasty.
I should mention that using the Pyrex dish insured there were no food smells emanating from the oven. Great if you want to heat your lunch in your own work area.
My next experiment: Cooking breadless, frozen fish in the thermal bag. The Hot Logic manufacturers guarantee that it can be done. So stay tuned…..
If you are interested in finding out more about this device, please see https://myhotlogic.com for more information. Also, look under the “Gadgets” category under the Menu section of this blog. Finally, you can purchase the Hot Logic Thermal Bag (also referred to as a “mini oven”) on amazon.com. The bag plus matching Pyrex dish runs about $55.