Loaded Veggie Tacos

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When I moved to New York, I learned a whole lot about tacos right from the start. The shredded lettuce, canned corn kernels and chopped tomato add ins of my childhood were all of a sudden nowhere to be seen – instead, the most elaborate combinations were served up and a food concept I had felt sort of “meh” about for a while became a new favorite. I recall this one conversation I had with Mike early on, where I sort of “explained” to him that in Sweden, we approach tacos in a much different way. I went on and on about the standard concept of ground beef, the aforementioned vegetables, the taco sauce or salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese – only to have Mike tell me afterwards that that’s how tacos are normally eaten in America too. Little did I know, back then, that I’d only been taken to these contemporary, trendy Mexican food places, where pickled red onions, thinly sliced radishes and habanero relish had just recently risen to the sky as the “new black” of taco toppings.

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Black Bean Brownies

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In all honesty, we were kind of like… really? when first hearing about black bean baked goods. Don’t get us wrong (I doubt you would by now), we LOVE beans and lentils. They’re the best. But we also love our baked goods. Cakes, cookies, buns… you know, the whole spectrum. And around here, we tend to lean towards the attitude of “if you’re going to bake buns, bake buns. Not a ‘health-ified’ bun that no one will really enjoy anyway”. I think you get my point. But we also happen to know that from a sports nutrition point of view, having an evening snack with a touch of protein is beneficial. And one simply can’t have too much of all the good stuff in legumes. Enter black bean-based baked goods.

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West African Peanut Stew

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I know, I know, we do like to put peanut butter in/on just about anything around here. What can I say – it’s just one of many glorious things Michael (and America) has opened my eyes to. As a matter of fact, I think peanut butter has an undeservedly bad reputation – why, really? If you get (or make) unsweetened peanut butter, it’s just ground up nuts with a dash of salt. That’s all. Peanuts pack a lot of protein, good fats (both mono and polyunsaturated), vitamins (especially folate, some B’s and E) and minerals (good amounts of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and iron, for example). And it’s energy dense. All of the above together make peanut butter a great staple for athletes. And while it’s quite amazing slathered on bread, we use it primarily as an ingredient in energy bars/balls, as an oatmeal topping (oh my, it’s the best) and as an amazing flavor and nutrient booster in savory meals, such as this stew. 

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Black Bean, Butternut Squash and Kale Enchiladas

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Ah, Mexican food. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas – flavorful fillings, soft tortilla breads, endless variations. What’s not to like? (Maybe those overly greasy concoctions, I guess). Whenever we make enchiladas at home, we ask ourselves why we don’t do it more often. It’s the perfect meal all those days when your training load is heavy and you need to seriously reload – it packs both lots of protein and carbohydrates and will send you to bed feeling comfortably filled up and ready for the next day’s session(s). With both butternut squash, black beans, kale and walnuts in the filling, each enchilada also holds plenty of vitamins and minerals, and you can choose whichever type of tortilla bread suits your fancy.

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