[Recipe] Summer Quinoa

I posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook a couple days ago and got such a good reaction that I decided it was blog worthy. I’m still eating the batch I made and it’s just as delicious.

Driving home from work on Sunday evening, I was hungry, tired and craving a shower. My mind turned to “what the heck am I going to make for dinner?” I had not the patience for a long cooking extravaganza. Luckily, quick math reminded me that quinoa only takes 15 minutes and I could definitely multi-task and either shower or get other food thrown together in that time.

I seriously started out thinking I’d just toss some grape tomatoes (my love!) in with quinoa and OH! OLIVES and just splash a little vinegar and oil, sprinkle a little sea salt and pepper and that would totally suffice. But then I got thinking about all the other veggies I could add. Gee, I really needed to get some green stuff in there. And wait, I still had mini peppers. Hmm, mushrooms are nice. OH, and cashews add a nice texture.

So, that’s how this was born.

SummerQuinoa

The veggie chopping is the hardest part, and I have this handheld chopper/scissors like thing from Pampered Chef that made it really easy. I didn’t really measure anything except the quinoa, so these are all estimates. [Vegan and gluten free]

Ingredients:
1 cup (dry) quinoa

Wonderful Plants
½ large cucumber
¾ container of grape tomatoes
½ – ¾ of a large red onion
¼ – ½ cup raw cashews
¾ container of baby bella mushrooms ( had the whole ones)
½ – 1 cup olives (I used half green, half black and I used the natural no weird chemical added kind)
5 or so mini peppers (the kind in the bag that are just like lovely little bell peppers)

Seasoning
Sea salt (to taste – I didn’t use very much)
Ground white pepper (didn’t use very much)
Extra virgin olive oil – approx. 1 TBSP
Balsamic Vinegar – approx. 1-2 TBSP
Coriander (a few sprinkles — like everything in this category, it’s to taste)

Plating
Garnish – ½ avocado
1-2 cups chopped kale

Directions:

  1.  Cook quinoa. [Cooking quinoa is 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Put it in a saucepan and boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to simmer and cover. It takes about 15 minutes to cook down. Let sit for a few minutes and fluff.]
  2. While quinoa is cooking, combine all the wonderful plants in a large bowl and chop! If you don’t have the hand chopper thing, chop in whatever fashion works for you to get the plants bite-sized.
  3. Once quinoa is finished cooking and has fluffed, dump it in the bowl with the veggies and mix it all up!
  4. Add seasoning items and stir! (I didn’t really measure when I added them, but I didn’t use very much. Definitely adjust to taste.)
  5.  Add some chopped kale to a plate to make a bed for the quinoa-veggie combo and serve it up! I added some avocado slices because they are delicious.

Saturday Morning is the Best: a Salute to Breakfast

Saturday morning is arguably my favorite time of the week. I long for it on Tuesday night. I imagine it on Wednesday morning. I reminisce about it on Thursday afternoon. [FOOD PICTURES BELOW! OMG!]

Saturday breakfast

Saturday morning is also a great breakfast day. Earlier in the week I’d planned to attempt a sweet potato hash brown type item. Maybe tomorrow post-run. I was inspired by two things this morning:

1) a friend who posted about pumpkin flavored things on Facebook yesterday (pie = excellent; coffee/lattes = barf-o-rama). I happen to enjoy pumpkin-flavored beverages, but I also enjoy pumpkin in my oatmeal. The first time I made it was not so great, but since then I’ve learned a few things that make it delightful.

2) a new week of daily challenges started today and the theme of the week is small goals to accomplish bigger goals. A lingering thought was with me about getting vegetables in at breakfast and making sure to eat veggies at 2 meals per day minimum. I haven’t been doing as well with my fresh veggies lately.

Okay, so today’s Saturday Breakfast turned out to be Pumpkin Oatmeal and Super Green Salad with Fried Egg.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin Oatmeal

[Note, I made a full serving but I only ate half this morning because I was also eating the egg with the greens. Now I have enough oatmeal for a snack or to eat as part of my Sunday Breakfast! I realized I didn’t have enough protein going on with my breakfast with just the oatmeal, hence the egg.]

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats (You can use regular old fashioned oats of course)

1/2 cup Libby’s Canned Pumpkin (or other canned pure pumpkin – or fresh pumpkin if you are so included! Tis the season!)

1 TBSP Silk unsweetened almond milk + 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (make sure you have pure vanilla extract and not the kind with corn syrup!)

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (adjust this as needed for sweetness but I encourage you to start with 1 tsp)

To taste, but start with 1/4 tsp of each: ground cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg (play with these to get the flavor combo you like)

Directions:

  1. Measure and cook the oats in a good size bowl according to directions. (I cook mine in a big soup mug in the microwave. Takes 3 minutes.Water to oats ratio is 2:1 (so, 1 cup water for 1/2 oats))
  2. Add the following to the oats: pumpkin puree, almond milk, maple syrup, spices (so, EVERYTHING else.) Mix well.
  3. Microwave 1 to 2 minutes (depending on desired temperature and thickness of mixture. If your oats were a little thin and watery you might need a wee bit longer cooking time to get the consistency you want.)
  4. Stir, cool (don’t injure yourself!) and ENJOY!

Super Green Salad with Fried Egg

Super Green Salad with Fried Egg

[Greens are so good for you. They are filling and full of vitamins! I am trying to get back on track with eating them at 2 (or more) meals per day instead of just one.]

Ingredients:

2 large handfuls Organic Girls Super Greens (or your preferred mix of greens – plain spinach, mixed greens, whatever as long as it’s not just plain old lettuce. I think that would be icky. I love OGSG because the colors are so vibrant they make me feel healthier just looking at them!)

1 TBSP Shredded parmesean cheese (you can shred your own from a block or buy it pre-shredded. I look for the lightest, least chemical-laden kind possible.)

1 large organic cage free brown egg (or you know, an egg – I choose to eat the organic cage free but that doesn’t mean you have to – but consider it!)

2 pieces sun dried tomato (I prefer the kind the grocery store makes and puts out in the veggie section, but there are good brands – just look at the ingredients and such before you buy – some of them have way too much added sodium and oil.)

Directions

  1. Get that egg started! Heat a small non-stick skillet and once hot, crack open that egg and let it cook.
  2. While the egg is cooking (5 minutes or less), tear up the greens into managable pieces (you can omit if you really like eating big leafs or if you do a good job cutting them up when you cut up the egg. For me, it’s just second nature to tear the greens as I pull them from the container and dump them on the plate.)
  3. Cut up the sun dried tomato pieces (you need a sharp knife for this due to the toughness of the skin) and drop on top of the greens.
  4. Measure and sprinkle the parmesean cheese on the greens and sun dried tomatoes.
  5. Once the egg is finished cooking (I recommend you cook to the point of a runny yoke) lay it on top of the salad.
  6. Cut up the egg (this is where runny yoke is delightful) so you can eat it! ENJOY. (I end up with everything all mixed together. No need for any dressings or goo – plenty of flavor!)

I Love Food

Oh yes, I do. I do love food. And I eat a lot of it.

One of our challenge components for this week is “write it down.” Yesterday, I wrote down my intended workout and then I wrote down the result. I had to follow-through after putting it out there on the Internet. [Point of order: Are we still capitalizing “Internet?” A stiff thumbs up to anyone who can tell me the proper style.]

Today, I’m sharing my food with you – in pictures. You might already know that I track what I consume on MyFitnessPal and that I keep my “food diary” open to the public. Why hide it? If I’m eating too much or not tracking it’s going to show on my body and in my mood. No hiding from it. So why not let everyone see what I eat? Anyway. I was lax last week with my food consumption and tracking. I had a few dark spots on the tracker where I simply didn’t bother to input what I ate. I did still manage a loss in the scale department and I was still working out. Anyway (again), I wanted to use this as one of my ways of being accountable for tracking and monitoring what I’m consuming. I also measure and weigh my food (mushrooms and greens are generally the only exceptions to that rule.)

I’ve basically consumed the same things today that I ate yesterday. So, let us begin.

Breakfast

oatmeal with frozen strawberries
Breakfast both days: Gluten Free Oatmeal with Frozen Strawberries, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Put it all in a bowl, add water, microwave for 3 minutes. Stir and break out the strawberries into whatever size you like. This picture is pre-stirring.
coffee
Coffee. Black. 1 Dark Magic + 1 Decaf Breakfast Blend (yes, I drank half-caf.) I’m breaking my {expensive} latte addiction.

Snacks (between meals and pre/post workout)

This is everything I ate that wasn’t at a regular “meal.”

snack
Eaten at different times. Organic banana (Mon & Tues) and KIND bar (Madagascar Vanilla.)
afternoon snack
Unsweetened Passionfruit Tea from Starbucks (grande) – Monday
Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries (Monday and Tuesday) – Monday, I had a Chobani Non-Fat Honey yogurt so I used that. Tuesday I had plain Fage 0% (1/2 cup) and added vanilla extract and cinnamon. Please note: vanilla extract and cinnamon are magical and wonderful. I keep some of both in my lunch bag at all times.
udis-cinn-raisin-bread
Udi’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread. My other processed bit of joy. This is easy and quick for me first thing when I need to eat something before heading to the gym to train with Cheryl. It’s a splurge for me both because of the cost and because it’s got more than 5 ingredients and it’s sweet and it’s BREAD!

Lunch

I ate the exact same thing both days. It was leftover from cooking on Friday night.

lunch
This was a stuffed red pepper. I cut it up and such because I’m civilized. The innards: white rice (when I make these again I’ll use brown rice or quinoa – we only had white rice on hand), corn (a grain, not a vegetable), black beans (one of my staples), Pace Picante (no fake junk and no sugar added), cojack shredded cheese. Delicious. Stuffing things is excellent. I plan to continue stuffing things. (except animals because I don’t eat them)

Dinner

Tonight’s egg white omelet was better that last night’s egg white omelet. This is one of my standard dinners because it’s easy, it’s variable, you can add a lot of veggies, and you get protein. The egg whites are sort of a vehicle for the veggies, herbs, and spices. I never add salt. With the right herbs and spice YOU DO NOT NEED SALT.  [While we’re at it, I don’t add sugar or fake sugar to things either. Trust me, you CAN live without it if you learn how to creatively use a few things – vanilla extract and cinnamon!] Sorry, for the preaching.

omelet
Tonight’s Egg White Omelet: 3/4 cup egg white, ground white pepper, rosemary, thyme, shredded italian cheese blend (my one processed bit of sadness and joy), super greens, diced garlic, yellow onion, baby bella mushrooms, and grape tomato. I cooked the garlic, onion, and mushrooms with an olive oil spray and some white wine vinegar. After they were sufficiently cooked, I poured the egg in and then sprinkled the herbs and pepper in. Cook, cook, cook. Then sprinkle the cheese, then tear and add the super greens. Top with sliced grape tomato! YUM. (last night was just spinach, egg whites, herbs & spices, and swiss cheese because I ran out of stuff.)

Dessert & other

So, I live in moderation. That means I allow myself a little bit daily (or near daily) of what I crave or love so I won’t go bat shit crazy and binge. [Full confession: I binged on plain M&Ms on Sunday. But I moved on.]

I like unsweetened coconut milk a lot. I tried to replenish my supply at the grocery store tonight and they no longer had it. I was unhappy. I ended up with some unsweetened almond milk.

I also allow myself one of these every (or nearly every) night:

dark chocolate bar
Ingredients:
Natural Chocolate Liquor (Non-Alcoholic), Evaporated Cane Juice, Non-Dairy Cocoa Butter
Allergen Info
MADE IN A DEDICATED NUT- AND GLUTEN-FREE FACILITY, GLUTEN-FREE, CASEIN-FREE, VEGAN, KOSHER

So, there you have it. That’s what I consume. Last night I only had half of the dark chocolate bar. Tonight, I’ll probably eat a full one. 170 calories. I now boast quite an assortment of herbs and spices due to my cooking and eating whole foods habit. Honestly, it is so much better than things from boxes, cans, bags, and chain restaurants. (I exclude a few restaurants because there are places that are magnificent.) I just like knowing what I’m putting in my body since I have bad reactions to (aka am intolerant to) multiple things that are used FREQUENTLY in processed food. (soy, gluten, meat)

Not pictured: Water x LOTS

P.S. If you use MyFitnessPal feel free to add me as a friend! Trmndsblndtte

Under 200 Pounds 50 Pound Weightloss Reward

So, I posted last week about being very close to being under 200 pounds and weighing in the 100’s again. It’s been years. Probably 6 years since my weight started with a 1 and not a 2. And before that it was years.

In my post I asked what I should give myself as non-food reward for hitting this first big goal. (I have mini-goals along the way and I give myself non-food rewards 3-4 times a month.) There were a lot of great suggestions of things to pamper myself and make myself look pretty. I think I’m going to save some of these for my giant goal of hitting the 150 lb weight mark. Why 150? Because it puts me back in the normal weight range for my height. From there, I can figure out what I should do next and how much I still want/need to lose. I’ve always wanted to weigh 125 lbs, but that might not be the right number for me so I’m trying to be cautious with that final number. [Side note: Weight is not the be all end all. I know this. But when you are at a point where you are obese and more than just festively plump, it matters. I don’t just judge my success on weight, but I use it as a tool.]

Anyway, I chose something for my “Back in the 100’s”/Halfway!/Lost 50lbs mark:

I bought a food processor and an iron skillet. Things that will make cooking easier and more fun. When I lose another 25lbs, I am going to have someone come in and clean my house. And when I reach 150, I am going for that spa day with the facial, massage, and mani/pedi.

My non-food reward is a gift to myself, and yes, it’s a practical gift, but it’s also sort of a splurge. Something to make my kitchen happier and exciting. Even though I haven’t hit the goal, I went ahead and made the purchase – because I’m that confident – and because the really good sale ended today, so I wasn’t going to be able to get as good of deal if I waited.

Tomorrow’s weigh-in is going to mean a lot. I’m pretty sure I’m at least halfway to my goal. I’ll post an update tomorrow. It may be in the form of a lolcat, but you know, whatever.

My (soon to be) pretties!

Cuisinart Food Processor

Reg. $149.99
Was $99.99
Sale $69.99

Iron Skillet

Reg. $54.99
Sale $27.99  + an extra 15% off

Recipe: Katie’s Concoctions – Vegetarian Black Bean/Kale Bowl

Since “cleaning” up my diet (essentially, cutting processed products/foods and eating out) I’ve been experimenting much more with cooking and different ingredients.

Enter:  Kale.

I’ve heard so many people talk about it as though it is the most super of super foods. Yet, I had never tried it. I finally bought some and today, I found a non-threatening way to incorporate it into a recipe. (Looks like lettuce, but smells kind of like broccoli when chopped.)

If I continue to post recipes, you’ll probably notice a few things: I eat a lot of black beans. Wonderful food. I also consider lentils a super power food. They are cheap, filling, and so nutritious.

Anyhow, here’s my latest lunch concoction (in truth, I found it hard to name because it’s almost equal parts everything, so there you have it – it’s also nimble and easy to adapt depending on what veggies, beans/legumes, etc you have):

Vegetarian Black Bean/Kale Bowl

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

1) prepare brown rice (while this is cooking, go to step 2), set aside
2) add corn and black beans to bowl and microwave 2 minutes (while this is cooking, go to steps 3 & 4)
3) wash and chop kale
4) chop onion
5) add kale to bowl with rice
6) remove corn/black bean mix from microwave
7) microwave kale/rice for 40 seconds (enough to wilt the kale) – remove and mix into rice (you will notice a considerable change in volume)
8) add seasonings to kale/rice and stir
9) add corn/black bean mixture and onion to kale/rice bowl and mix

Seasonings: garlic, chili powder, cumin, red pepper

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount per Serving
Calories 344
Calories from Fat 43.7
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4.85g
7%
Saturated Fat 0.3g
1%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 692.5mg
28%
Total Carbohydrate 64.45g
21%
Dietary Fiber 14.25g
56%
Sugars 6.45g
Protein 16.75g
33%
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat
10%
Carbs
74%
Protein
19%

Chocolate Me! A Healthy Chocolate Shake Recipe

Facebook was down earlier so I had nowhere to aimlessly shuffle on the internet. Enter Pinterest. Oh Pinterest. There were so many food posts in my stream tonight. It’s hard to not think about dessert when it’s in your face. Annd I had eaten fewer than 1200 calories for the day and needed a bit more healthy fat and protein to round out my day.

As I was drooling, I stumbled on a healthy chocolate shake recipe that I pinned this week. After reading it, I realized I was missing several ingredients and I was not willing to try to find them at 8:30pm. I also stumbled onto Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe, but didn’t have the ingredients for that either. RATSSSS.

And then, oh yes then, I found my childhood roots. I was quite the concoctor when I was a kid. So, here’s what I threw together tonight (it was DELICIOUS!!!!):

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to blender. I add in this order:
1) Coconut Water
2) Protein Powder
3) Cocoa Powder
4) Flax Seeds
5) Ice*
6) Greek Yogurt

And blend!!!! (until smooth – at least 30 seconds, maybe longer)

Pour into glass and enjoy.

*I used 10 ice cubes and added a tiny bit of plain old water. Also, blend long enough to grind up the flax seeds or use the kind that’s already ground up. I love “travel flax” because it’s ground up, portion controlled, and portable. It will also disappear into whatever you blend or mix it in.

I posted it online in my Livestrong account if anyone is *that* interested: Healthy Girl’s Chocolate Shake


Nutrition Information for Healthy Girl’s Chocolate Shake: Nutrition Information for a Medium Chocolate Shake from McDonald’s Nutrition Information for a Large (32 oz) Chocolate Shake from McDonald’s
Serving Size: 1 shake (this made over 20 oz)
Serving Size: 1
Serving Size: 32 oz.
Amount per Serving
Amount per Serving
Amount per Serving
Calories 363 Calories 580 Calories 1,160
Calories from Fat 76.5 Calories from Fat 189.0 Calories from Fat 243.0
% Daily Value *
% Daily Value *
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8.5g Total Fat 21g Total Fat 27g
13% 32% 41%
Saturated Fat 1g Saturated Fat 41g Saturated Fat 0g
5% 204% 0%
Cholesterol 45mg Cholesterol 17mg Cholesterol 100mg
15% 5% 33%
Sodium 172.7mg Sodium 11mg Sodium 510mg
7% 0% 21%
Total Carbohydrate 44.18g Total Carbohydrate 6g Total Carbohydrate 193g
14% 2% 64%
Dietary Fiber 9g Dietary Fiber 0g Dietary Fiber 0g
36% 0% 0%
Sugars 31.63g Sugars 0g Sugars 145g
Protein 29.65g Protein 0g Protein 0g
59% 0% 0%
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat Fat Fat
19% 88.70% 23.90%
Carbs Carbs Carbs
48% 11.30% 76.10%
Protein Protein Protein
32% % %
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.

Zig-a-zig Ahh

I was never really a Spice Girls fan. I may have accidentally liked a song or two, but you can’t prove anything. I don’t really want my lovers to get with my friends. I do however, want to be more of a spice using girl. (I KNOW this is a loose a connection. I KNOW.)

One of the most important parts of changing how you eat is finding foods that satisfy you – and I don’t just mean fill you up. You want volume and robust, zesty flavors. Tangy, sweet, and spicy. Please excite my palette!

I’m not eating diet food. I’m eating good food. And that food needs to have flavor, without fat and sugar. I’ve never been much of a spice or herb user. This weekend we had fresh basil and garlic and yes, even the very simple pepper and I was reminded of a whole world of flavor. So Posh and Sporty, here I come.