healthy eating – easy quinoa

I have a good friend in MN that blogs daily about food, wine, tea, music, life. Lots of things, and she is truly a professional writer. Author of a few books, including Chin Deep in Bubbles, Melissa has the corner covered on all things delicious and pampering. And beautiful. She’s a peach – visit her blog: http://www.chindeep.com/.

She could probably give you a thousand recipes on quinoa, or point you to her many friends in the culinary world that have their versions, but I’ll keep it simple and give you my little quick take.

I will admit right now that I do avoid carbs, and that’s not good. I know I need to consume more, especially with my workout schedule now. So I’m getting back to incorporating them, but focusing on the HEALTHY ones. Healthy, as in, less processed, not fried or packaged. Love me some tortilla chips and multi-grain crackers, but quinoa is a great source of protein as well, and pretty simple to prepare.

ingredients

This morning, I added one cup organic quinoa to a small saucepan and put the heat on high.

before toasting

I stirred my little pearls til they popped and crackled and turned a bit darker colored. If you like, you can add a little oil to the pan for this stage. Toasting the quinoa helps bring out the nutty flavor. If you are unsure, you CAN skip this step!

after toasting

After about 5 minutes of dry toasting, I added 1.5 cups low sodium vegetable broth and stirred.

adding broth

Then I turned the heat to medium-low and put the lid on. I simmered the quinoa for 10 minutes, gave it another stir, replaced the lid and turned the heat off, leaving the pan in place. I had to take my daughter to school :).

put the lid on and leave it alone

When I came home, about 10 minutes later, it was done. Nice and fluffy, although admittedly needing salt.

done - so fluffy!

Quinoa can be used in place of rice or couscous. You can use it with stir fry or fajita vegetables, and it’s great with fish (if you eat fish). Squeeze a little lemon over it. Add different herbs. Be creative and try a different flavor profile, or add veggies to make a pilaf.

If you make it with water instead of broth, you can also make this into sweet applications. Add raisins and apples, cinnamon and treat it like a hot morning cereal. Or almonds, blueberries and maple syrup. It’s quite versatile. And tasty. 🙂 enjoy!

Advertisements

Juicing the fruit

I had to share this, because it just makes so much sense! When I lived in Phoenix (and after I moved, before shipping was too expensive), my mom would bring me (literally) suitcases full of citrus fruit from the trees in their backyard. I love it, especially since I was eating so many grapefruits. But I didn’t eat all that many lemons…

So my mom told me a secret. OK not so much a secret as a hint, but it’s stuck with me and helped me save on my grocery bill. I was at Kroger the other day buying a few produce items and noticed the sale rack tucked in the corner. It was packed full of bags of overripe fruits. And each bag was marked at $1. HELLO!!!!!!!

So I bought 12 bags: 1 bag of limes, 2 bags of lemons and 9 bags of oranges and tangerines. When I got home everyone thought I was nuts and asked, “WHAT are you going to do with all THAT??”

So I showed them. I started with the oranges and tangerines, cutting each one in half. Then I pressed the juice with my hand-squeezer (I should have used the larger countertop model my mom got for me, but I worked my hands out instead) into a large measuring cup. Don’t throw out the squeezed fruits yet…

Then I poured the juice into ice cube trays of any size and shape I had on hand. I overfilled them a bit, so I used an old cookie sheet as a base in the freezer so the juice wouldn’t spill over. I let the cubes freeze overnight and then popped them out into large zipped top bags and stuck them back into the freezer.

Ever need a teaspoon of orange or lemon zest for a recipe, and find you have to run to the store to buy just one so you can finish making your meal, just to end up throwing the fruit out afterwards? No more! Before descarding the fruit halves that you’ve already squeezed, cut the peel off, and then use a sharp knife to remove the pith. Or you can use a zester, but you’ll have better luck with that PRIOR to squeezing them. The best news is my lemons were all organic, so I know my zest will be the best possible!

Out of all this I have all the citrus juice and zest I need for anything. I have freshly squeezed lemon juice for lemony green beans (or chicken if you eat it), fresh lime juice for salsa fresca or guacamole, orange zest for cashew cream (all my vegan friends will understand) and fresh orange/tangerine juice to complement a tall glass of soda water. Making lemonade is as easy as adding a cube to a half-glass of water with some sweetener and stirring.

There are infinite possibilities of what I can do with my new stash. If you find the opportunity to save yourself some time and money, join me in this venture! I look forward to hearing new ideas! Enjoy!

Roasted Organic Beets

Sprouts had a sale, and I was there. Their golden and red organic beets were on sale, so I loaded up and excitedly got to work on them as soon as I returned home. Not a fan? Try this recipe. It is not only simple, but roasting the beets brings out their natural sweetness, which compliments that wonderful earthy flavor.

I bought 6 medium-sized beets, three of each color (of course you can use all red beets if that’s what is available). I rinsed off the dirt and peeled the beets, cutting off the bottom and top ends. Then I cut them into approximately 1″ chunks, placing them on tin foil.

Once I was finished cutting, I drizzled the beet chunks with olive oil and sprinkled sea salt and fresh cracked pepper over the whole lot. I transferred the tin foil full of delight into a glass baking dish and baked them at 375 until they are tender, stirring a few times for even cooking.

NOTE: I have had better results by using clay baking dish, so if you have one of those, I recommend using it. The foil is not necessary, but keeps clean up to a minimum.

If you aren’t a beet fan, I hope you will give it a try, even with just one beet. I have made believers in my household (children and skeptical men included). Happy cooking!

Baking. Well, sort of…

I’m not truly much of a baker. While I am meticulous about certain things being just so, that’s not at all the case when I’m in the kitchen. Countless times I’ve been asked to share a recipe that I cannot recreate because I didn’t measure anything when I was making it.

Regardless, I make my efforts and do love to create in the kitchen. So when I found this blog I was immediately HOOKED! I actually stumbled across it on Facebook somewhere, but perusing through her recipes is a daily delight. Please, give yourself a treat and check it out!

I’ve also discovered another bake shop, only this one deals with fabric, not flour. It’s a fun place to play, shop and find new things to make. The Moda Bakeshop has a bakery, measurement charts, free patterns for just about any fabric project, tips and even options to submit your own recipe! It’s a fun place to look through and you may find yourself wandering around the site like a culinary specialty store, unable or unwilling to leave.

Happy browsing my friends!