I began my first online fitness and nutrition boot camp–which, you know, changed my life–on January 4th. Kellen’s surgery was that Friday, January 8th. I was only four days in, but I had already noticed changes in my eating habits. I no longer craved sweets and snacked incessantly. I desired balanced meals full of protein rather than the fruit and processed foods meals I ate before. I needed my morning shake to kick off my day and rev up my metabolism. I feared that these new habits would easily slip away while we spent 3 or 4 days in the hospital. Of course Kellen’s health was my top priority, but I also knew that I needed a sense of normalcy, too, in order to mentally survive this with him. I spent the night before his surgery packing a lunchbox full with one day’s meals. I made my first-ever overnight oats; I packed leftover crockpot salsa chicken and spinach for lunch. That morning, I made my shake and added a protein bar, apples, and baby carrots to the bag. I wasn’t concerned with missing workouts. I’d make up for lost time when and if possible after our long CHOP weekend. I needed to stay on top of my nutrition, however, to stay in as much control of the situation as possible. Control gives me balance. I adore balance.
Then day 2 hit. I had spent the night at Kellen’s bedside in the NICU taking brief cat naps, pumping, and trying to assist the nurses in managing his pain. I woke that morning cramped, exhausted both physically and mentally, and hungry with an empty lunchbox. “Go get yourself some coffee. He’s going for chest X rays soon,” one nurse urged me just before 7 am. I went down to the near-empty cafeteria and bought a tea, but nothing else. The cafe was filled with hash browns and egg sandwiches and flavored yogurts and prepackaged smoothies and mini boxes of sugary cereal. No fresh fruit to be had. I knew that two days of eating like I’d been eating for years wasn’t going to set me back, but I was resolute in my control. I needed to keep my new desire for clean eating and balanced macronutrients going. I immediately text Mike with directions on making my protein shake and requested he bring along some bananas and apples. “Don’t worry. Lunch is so much better there,” he insisted. He was right.
This is when I–or, more accurately, we–fell in love with brown rice bowls. Our good friend Andrea works at CHOP as a child life specialist (God bless her! Truly!), and she recommended we check out the Asian station for one when we went down for lunch. Oh. Em. Gee. They were so delicious that even my husband, who had only really eaten brown rice for the first time a few days prior in his support of my new nutritional goals, had one for every real CHOP meal from that point forward.
A few weeks after Kellen’s surgery, my mother and I took him back to the hospital for his follow-up. The desire for a brown rice bowl hit me like a pregnancy craving would have a few months before. I played around with some ingredients we had on hand, and made it for dinner that night. The recipe I am providing here is based on my second, and even more delicious attempt.
This version can easily be made with chicken or shrimp or the protein of your choice. I decided to make my own ginger soy sauce as well. I found plenty of recipes for it online, but made my own by eliminating many of the ingredients I either did not have on hand or wanted to avoid, such as sugar or teriyaki sauce. Play around with the veggies you include as well. The hospital served these with the option of eggplant and brussels sprouts as well, which I loved, but Mike isn’t a big fan of them so I went a more traditional route. I selected frozen veggies for this also for two reasons: this is a good recipe to make in a pinch or when fresh ingredients have run out and second, frozen produce still contains many of the nutrients that fresh produce contains without the added chemicals that many cans can add to food.
I’ve made this recipe super easy. It is quick and delicious! Enjoy! Comment below with your own adaptations. #whoneedstakeout 🙂
Steak & Brown Rice Bowl
A clean, flavorful, and simple take on take-out.
FOR RICE BOWL
- brown rice, and 1/2 cup dry per person
- lean steak, about a 1/4-1/2 lb per person, cut into thin strips
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup frozen edamame
- 1/2 can bean sprouts
FOR THE GINGER SOY SAUCE:
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp ginger (I used powder, you can use fresh if you have it on hand)
- 1 tsp green onions, diced
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- Cook rice according to package directions. I added a tsp of apple cider vinegar and garlic salt to add flavor, but this is optional. When finished, set aside.
- Preheat grill pan to medium. drizzle steak strips in EVOO and grill 2-3 min per side, sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat corn and edamame in a microwave safe bowl with 3 tbsp water for approx. 2 min, though cooking times vary.
- Combine all ingredients for sauce and whisk together.
- Spoon a serving of rice, a scoop of corn and edamame, and a spoon-full of bean sprouts in a bowl. Top with slices of steak. Drizzle with sauce.
Easy-peasy and nummy-nummy. Please let me know if you give it a try and if you swap out any ingredient. Shrimp would be delicious!