Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cooking with Beer

Ahhh...I know you were all waiting for a new beer post...

My new saying during the 9 months is "if you can't drink it, might as well cook with it."  Before I get to my recipes, I need to share some thoughts on the great beers we have on tap at the house. 

As you know we have three taps, but I bought Mike a temperature regulator and new freezer to keep some beers.  This came in handy in early December when Mike went to pick up our Christmas beer from our beer guy and he said "so Mike, I figured this was Heather's year with the beer and I got her favorite beer Scaldis Noel."  Mike didn't know what to do and didn't want to tell him we were expecting but had to get the ridiculously expensive beer from him since he didn't want to stick him...he came home and I said, "well, no offense, but we will have to hold that till next year, because I am not letting other people drink that when I can't."  For those of you that don't know it's a very expensive Belgium Christmas beer that is not easy to get in a it is currently sitting very patiently till I deliver a baby.

So sitting currently on tap and in our fridge (besides Scaldis):

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe (American Double/Imperial IPA) - this is a hoppy IPA and very smooth.  I love the color of this beer - a dark amber.  It's smells of pine and citrus, so clean and crisp.

Neshaminy Creek Leon Russian Imperial S'mores Stout - I haven't actually drank this one since we got this post-prego so I am going to give you Mike's input.  First off, the beer poured like syrup for the first 5 pours then changed to more of a thick stout consistency with a nice head.  He told me it tastes exactly as written in it's description "Leon is a big beer. So big, it has twice as much malt as any other beer we brew, and also requires us to do a double mash just to reach such a high wort gravity. Each 15 barrel brew has 45 pounds of freshly handmade marshmallow fluff made by our in house chef and Production Manager, Steve Capelli, as well as 16 and half pounds of bittersweet bakers chocolate, and 30 pounds of crumbled graham crackers." 

Dogfishhead Sah'Tea - Sah'tea is flavored with black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black pepper. The beer is a wheat beer and although Mike and I aren't huge wheat beer fans the spices in these make it very drinkable.

Allagash Fluxus - Strong Ale brewed with spelt and green and pink peppercorns.  You can taste the peppercorns on the back end.

Okay, now to get to the meat (literally) of the post - I got lots of comments and questions regarding recipes on these two dishes I recently made and posted on Instagram and Facebook so here they are:

Sah'Tea Turkey Sausage with Caramelized Onions (print recipe)

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves minced
1 lb turkey sausage (4-6 links)
16 ounces of sah'tea or other spiced beer
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat oil on medium and add onions cooking for 5-7 minutes or when browned.  Add 4 cloves of garlic minced for 2 more minutes.  Add turkey sausages browning on all sides.  Add beer and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes until turkey sausages are opaque.  In the meantime heat the grill. 

Take out turkey sausages and grill on all sides adding some grill marks.  While grilling bring sauce back to boil and add brown sugar and worchestershire sauce.  Simmer until reduced by 50-60%. 

Add turkey sausages back to sauce for another 2-4 minutes on simmer.  Serve over mashed potatoes and corn.

Chocolate Stout Vegan Chili (print recipe)

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
1 yellow and green zucchini chopped
3 carrots chopped
1 16 oz Green Flash Brewing Stout
2 Tbsp Giradelli Unsweetened Chocolate
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 16 oz can black beans
1 16 oz can pinto beans
1 32 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 32 oz whole tomatoes
Spices - cumin, chili powder, cayenne, African smoked spice from Trader Joe's

Place black beans, pinto beans, tomatoes and seasoning in crockpot and heat on high.

Heat oil on medium and add onions, garlic, carrots, zucchini cooking for 10 minutes until softened.  Add beer and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes, add chocolate and brown sugar. 

Add vegetable mix to crockpot and let cook for 4-6 hours. 
Some additional recommendations:  Add ground beef or buffalo or potentially sweet potato or butternut squash. 
Also the longer it cooks the more the bitterness cooks out from the stout.  It ends up amazing. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

First Swim Since September....

I know I was just I didn't want to....literally I felt like I was kicking and screaming going back to the pool the other day...I think after AC Tri, I just figured I was in off-season, I would take a couple weeks off from swimming and just run and bike.  Then a couple weeks turned into months...and then it got cold and who feels like going into a pool when it's cold outside even if the pool is indoors.

After finding out I was prego, my first thought was ohh, I am just going to focus on swimming and I'll be awesome by the time next August comes!  I thought to myself, "new motivation." But then the negative voice in my head said "But it's sooo cold....and I am so tired...I have the flu...oops can't find my goggles...shit I found my goggles but my bathing suit! I need a new one, the other one smells like chlorine and is gross......"the excuses were insane.

Finally, this week I had no nausea and wasn't as tired! Game on! I decided I would swim at least 2 days this week and run/bike the balance with some weights/yoga thrown in.  I went on Wednesday, I kicked and screamed a little then I got a break in the day from work at lunch and left the house with my swim gear.  When I got to the gym, I dipped my toe expecting coldness and it was I jumped in and went for it.   I only did 2000 meters but I thought "not bad" from not doing ANYswimming since September.  My arms were a little tired in the beginning but after about 600 meters I had some pep in my arms/legs and was fine.   I mixed it up with some intervals and pull sets and kick sets.

I then went immediately home and ordered new goggles, a swim cap and new TYR one-piece suit....

as much as I would have rather ordered a cute Betty Design suit, I just wasn't sure if I wanted to spend the money until post-baby.

So now, it's Friday, I plan to go back to the pool after work and work through my favorite swim workout (I usually add to the main set during real training):

W/U - 300 SW 200 K 100SW 200 K
Main Set - 2 x 250 (100 mod 50 fast 100 mod) with 30 sec rest
                 4 x 150 (50 mod 50 fast 50 mod) with 20 sec rest
                 4 x 100 (25 mod 50 fast 25 mod) with 15 sec rest
C/D - 100 Free
Total - 2400

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An After the Holiday's Meal - Vegan Protein Spaghetti

You know that after the holiday's feeling - the feeling of being bloated from eating too much of what you don't normally eat?  The feeling of will I ever get back to normal again?  The first full week of January should be called "Reset Week."  It's the week of reflecting, getting back to work (both training and actual work), getting back to those healthy foods!  So after my 45 minute strength training session yesterday, I hit Whole Foods.  I mean who doesn't walk out of Whole Foods feeling super-uber healthy, like you just lost 5 lbs and you have this massive glow and giddiness, or it could be from the feeling that you just spent $150 on 3 bags and you have NO CLUE what you just bought cause it looked so good....

I picked up some organic kale that was on sale for $1.99 a bunch.  I am really trying to stay with organic fruits/veggies while being pregnant.  I got some fancy mushrooms from a local place in Jersey and some zucchini.  I have also had massive cravings for veggies while pregnant (I guess very good).  I remembered I had a bag of black bean spaghetti.  This stuff has 20 grams of protein in it and is vegan and gluten-free.

Vegan Protein Spaghetti (print recipe here)


2 zucchini/yellow squash
2 cups mushrooms
1/2 large red onion
1 cup chopped kale
1 tsp Earth Balance (or butter)
1 package of black bean spaghetti (or mung bean pasta)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley.


1 Tbsp Earth Balance
3 chopped garlic cloves
1/4 cup mellow white miso
1 Tbsp tahini
1 cup pasta water


Boil water for pasta and cook pasta for approximately 5-6 minutes (noodles cook quickly - similar to soba noodles).
Heat saute pan to medium heat, melt Earth Balance and saute chopped onions for about 3-5 minutes, add mushrooms, zucchini and kale and cook until soft. 
To make sauce use a separate pan, saute garlic in Earth Balance for about 2 minutes, add miso and tahini.  Slowly add 1/4 cup of pasta water and mix until smooth consistency.  Continue adding pasta water until 1 cup.
Add chopped parsley.
Mix veggies sauce and pasta and serve.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 Year in Review and a Toast to New Beginnings in 2013

I realized I haven't posted anything in a while and the last thing I wanted to do was another downer post.  My last post was titled "Life is Short - Celebrate Every Moment" which was a little tribute to my friend Laurie that passed away very suddenly at a young age.  As most of you may know, my father in law has ALS and in June I did Mooseman Half-Ironman in New Hampshire for him.  You can read more on how the disease progressed when I posted on Thanksgiving.  On Christmas night, actually at 2am on the 26th, he passed away.  It has been quite a holiday.  I want to thank EVERYONE for your love and support  to Mike, his family, my family and myself through the holiday.  Carle was a wonderful man, a great father-in-law that told me I was the best daughter-in-law (even though he had one but claimed I would still be the best even if there were others).  He shared my love for math, chemistry, humor and reading so we always had much to talk about.  I had many bonding moments with my 2nd dad, as I called him, whether that be sneaking a cigarette on the back stoop and talking about my new job when I was 22 (I know I know not healthy but it was when I was young and stupid) to going to lunch when we both worked about 20 minutes from each other to chatting of the latest book we read to staying with me while I was in my early stage of snowboarding while he was skiing and everyone else was ahead to making his famous cheese dip while he oversaw when he could no longer use his hands.  It was a beautiful funeral and tribute and he would have been very happy.

Despite life's obstacles that were thrown along the way, there was some really good times... 

In racing, it was a great year for me, my training partners grew with Yasi and Team Triumph which I really feel helped push me to have a very PR year. 

In life, there was definitely lots of good moments with some new friends like Yasi and my new Brewtal family as well as Mike, family and all my wonderful friends that there is just not enough room to name them all.  They all are so different and special and are so amazing.

not to mention good brews....

and then obviously lots of good healthy food....

.....and to top it off we found out in early December that there will be another addition to our family and it's not another animal....yes, Mini FancyPants will be joining the LaCouture's come August 2013.  The most wonderful aspect in all this was that we were able to tell both our families that we were having a baby on Christmas Eve which meant that my mom was so happy (she's been impatiently waiting for a long time) and my father-in-law was able to be happy to hear the news before he passed away the next night.  Both of our families and our friends are ecstatic and it has really helped us through a tough time, especially when you see a heartbeat and a picture of an ACTUAL baby inside of you.  It was bittersweet.

In the meantime, I will keep to the purpose of the  Miss FancyPants blog of running, biking and LOTS of swimming and of course lots of healthy food.  Obviously my beer list will have to wait to August...haha but I may post vicariously through Mike, Brewtal Beer and Broken Goblet (more on that as well).  I don't want to bore you to death with my prego details so if you choose to read I am starting Mini FancyPants (like you didn't know that was coming).

Here's a toast to a good 2013!  To Life and Happiness!

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