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

All Natural Hair Care

A few years back, I was reading through the internet news (if you’d call it that) and stumbled upon an article about all natural hair care. I read through the entire story and did a little research on the side, finding the information really interesting. I didn’t think with the amount of travel I had to do for my job that I could pull off doing the all natural hair care despite the need for few simple ingredients. Despite that feeling, I didn’t forget about the idea.

Fast forward a few years, and I decided to check it out again. So I searched the internet and found the simplest directions for my new regime. If you want to check it out first hand, do a search on “all natural baking soda shampoo”, and you’ll find a plethora of articles to peruse, all with instructions (they vary a bit) and LOTS of details on the perils of shampoo.

So for the past three weeks, I have been following this regime. After the first use my hair felt incredibly light, like years of waxy buildup from my conditioner had all been stripped away. About four days later my hair was a bit greasy, and then my scalp figured out the right amount of natural oil to produce and my hair has been fantastic ever since.

You see, shampoo is a detergent, and strips all the natural oils from your hair and scalp, which causes your scalp to produce excess oils, which is why your hair gets greasy after a day or so without reshampooing. I had to use conditioner to “rehydrate” my hair. Mass produced shampoo also contains very harmful ingredients to your health, such as sodium laurel sulfate and waste products such as mineral oil. Do you really want to put that on your body? See how great my hair looks now:

DIRECTIONS: This is so simple it’s ridiculous. And it’s VERY cheap. I take a glass measuring cup and put 2 cups of water in it. I heat it up a little (the first time I didn’t heat the water and it was sort of a shock to put the cold water on my head!) I then pour one cup of the water into my RINSE squeeze bottle, to which I add a little over one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Then I add one tablespoon of baking soda to the cup of water remaining in the measuring glass and stir until the baking soda has dissolved. I pour that into my SHAMPOO squeeze bottle.

Squeeze bottle? Yep, I spent a whole $2 for an empty ketchup and mustard squeeze bottle at the local grocer. They are the perfect size and work great!

Warm up your shower, get your hair and scalp thoroughly wet, and squeeze on your ‘shampoo’. Mainly focus on your scalp, it will inevitably get through your hair as well. I usually squeeze with one hand and rub it into my scalp with my fingers of the other hand. Then I rinse under the shower head.

To ‘condition’, squeeze the contents of your rinse bottle on your scalp in the same manner. Leave it in for a few minutes and rinse out under the shower water. As you do this you will find your hair easier to put fingers through to the ends.

Of course you can make this in larger batches if you like. I like to make it quick right before I shower, it’s SO easy.

Benefits? Money saving. My hair is lighter and more manageable. My hair doesn’t get greasy anymore. No chemicals and excess oils being put on my body. Better for the environment. I have been losing less hair. AND I only have to wash my hair every four days or so. The alternate days (like yesterday) I just rinse through my hair with the shower water.

Try it and you will be amazed. There is really no risk. Just gain! Enjoy!