11 consecutive days of working out and 3 consecutive days of trail running lead me to draw one very simple conclusion: There was no way that I was working out on a rainy Monday morning. (By the way, this is what I’m dealing with this week, so bear with me.)
There aren’t many instances in which I can wholeheartedly say that staying in bed beats running. On Monday however, with the dull gray fog, the sound of heavy rain, and the way my body was melting…melting…melting into the mattress…
…there was nothing I wanted more than to pull the covers over my head and press snooze. And so that’s exactly what I did.
Still, the occasions that actually warrant a get-out-of-running-free card are numbered. Rest days? Not for me. Personally, I don’t even incorporate the idea of “rest days” into my routine. Instead, I take rest days when my body needs them based on physical or mental exhaustion.
Monday was just that, and what made my impromptu rest day even better was that I wasn’t forcing myself to be sedentary; rather, I was listening to my body.
So what do I talk about when running’s not in the cards? Eating (obviously). And usually leftover ingredients at that.
Last week, using the dregs of a Mother’s Day meal, I created a delicious, super-healthy and man-friendly stir fry out of leftovers from the holiday feast. Stir fry dinners are one of my favorite ways to create a quick and effortless meal that incorporates both colorful veggies and whole grains (if you use brown rice, that is). It’s also extremely easy on the wallet and a surefire way to use the last of your produce before it rots away in the fridge.
Sound appetizing? Come and get it!
Asian on the Cheap: Vegetarian Stir Fry Teriyaki
What You Need
If you didn’t steal the rest of the crudités from your parent’s house, then load up on veggies—any kind. Remember that vegetables cook down a lot once the water steams out, so even if your wok is filled to the brim, you’ll probably end up with a lot less than you started with. For this meal, I wound up using broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, red pepper and a few random veggies left in the bag. Other favorites of mine include mushrooms, squash, and Brussels sprouts.
Note: Canned vegetables are your friend! Even when using up leftover vegetables, I’ll simply add a can of baby corn (as I did during this meal) or water chestnuts. It’s easy, cheap and usually very low in calories.
For the sauce, I use a combination of low-sodium teriyaki, Soy Vay Very Very Teriyaki, and a spoonful of Dijon mustard (weird, but trust me, it’s delicious). Sriracha is a must too if you can handle the heat (squirt to taste). If you can get your hands on sesame seeds, I find this adds texture, taste, crunch and a hint of aesthetic beauty to the dish too.
For the grain, I prefer brown rice, though I suppose white rice lovers can opt for that as well. Another possibility is to switch out the rice for quinoa, which works really nicely too.
As for tools, be sure to have a non-stick wok and either cooking spray or olive oil (so the veggies don’t get stuck).
What To Do
This is the best part about stir fry: You can’t really mess it up, no matter how hard you try.
- First, get the rice going, since brown rice especially can take up to 45 minutes to cook.
- Next, heat up the wok using your cooking spray or olive oil and add in the veggies. Remember to save vegetables that tend to get mushy quickly for last. (I usually put peppers and mushrooms in first. I like my broccoli crunchy so I save that for the end.)
- Also remember that canned vegetables are cooked already, so add those last as well, as they only need to soak up the flavor of the sauce.
- Condiments can be added after the vegetables have simmered and are slightly cooked—this is probably sometime around 5 minutes into the process.
To serve, make yourself a comforting rice bowl, placing a spoonful of your grain first followed by veggies and sauce. Enjoy!
- Are you a rainy day runner? I usually am, but after my most vigorous year of running so far am feeling a little burnt out lately. This rain is not helping at all.
- What are your favorite stir fry veggies?
- I’m always looking for ways to use up last minute ingredients. What’s your go-to garbage meal?