Friday, May 29, 2009

Quinoa Salad Anyone?

My man John looked at me funny the first time I made quinoa. "What's that stuff?" he asks poking at it tentatively, not sure what these alien grains were. I encouraged him by telling him it is like rice, just a little different. "Huh" he says and takes a tiny bite. Immediately, his head shoots up, "That's good stuff."

Yeah, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is pretty darn good stuff. It was one of the most important foods to the Inca's. Recently it has become more popular and thus more readily available in most supermarkets. I always made it in place of rice. I never thought of making a quinoa salad until I visited my friend Tam. She made this quinoa salad that had for dinner one night while camping. It was awesome - what a great idea for summer barbecue instead of pasta or potato salad. And it is a total protein, all good stuff there.

Cooking Quinoa
Heat water or broth to boiling, add quinoa. Let boil for 5 minutes, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Done. No kidding, it works.

Quinoa Salad
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 red bell pepper
1 tbs minced red onion
1 small cucumber diced
1 can of black beans, washed and drained
1/2-3/4 cup fresh cilantro (you can use parsley also, but I love the refreshing taste cilantro gives to this)
1/4 cup Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing (or make your own, I didn't have time)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper (to taste)

Mix everything together. Yeah, really, just like that. Add more dressing if you want, I like mine lightly dressed. Eat. Yum!



Friday, May 22, 2009

Breakfast

Breakfast is always a challenge for me. The easy thing to do is grab a breakfast sandwich from some general store...or McDonald's - depending on which way I am heading. Of course, that leads to my butt growing by unbelievable proportions...that, and I am really making an effort to eat non-processed stuff without synthetic crap in it....Which, by the way is not easy, because processed food with high fructose corn syrup and unpronouceables is so darn easy and convenient....So, what to do? My friend Tam came up with this awesome breakfast that is so yummy. You can mix and match this one around and add nuts, fresh or dried fruit (I always use organic when I can find it, living in Caratunk makes that no small feat).

Oats and Nuts ~ Trust me guys, it is better than it sounds...
I never measure, but I will try...Now the oats - I keep a batch of roasted oats on hand in a Ball Jar, but also use the raw ones once in a while...either is really yummy. Next time I roast them I will post on it and take a pictures..(it is easy, throw the oats on a cookie sheet, mix with maple syrup, bake at 350 until golden...20 minutes or so)

But, here is my favorite breakfast (right now)

1/2 cup oats (raw or toasted)
1/2 cup...I use nuts, seeds, dry fruit, chopped apple or pear, banana...but mix and match as you see fit.
~ I add a few shakes of cinnamon, and some flax seeds
Vanilla soy milk, or regular milk

Throw the oats in the bowl, throw the fruit/nuts on top, add cinnamon/flax seed if you wish, and then add milk. Eat...yummm

Heathlier Breakfast Sandwich ~ to Go!
So I also love breakfast sandwiches, but they are like a 500 calorie bomb that heads straight to my butt. How do you lighten it up? WELL, this is quick and easy, and you can be out the door quickly.

Whole Wheat English Muffin
Spray oil
2 eggs (1 whole egg, one egg white)
Sliced low-fat cheese (you pick the flavor)
I like it meatless, but you can add your favorite cooked breakfast meat to this list
Aluminum foil

Pull a small piece of aluminum foil (like 6-8 inches), tear and set aside. Put English Muffin in the toaster. Crack and separate eggs (get rid of one yolk), then beat them. Spray a small bowl with spray oil, put eggs in and put in microwave (covered with a paper towel). Cook for 1 minute, check to see if it is done, cook another 30 seconds until done. If you are using meat, put it on the cooked egg, then cheese on top. Take one half of the toasted English on top, holding it, turn the bowl over and remove, then put the other half of the English muffin on top to make a sandwich. Wrap in foil, and run out the door...Eat...yummmm

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nut Butter Banana Smoothie ~ Bliss

I am thinking about food...
I have been trying to get all the processed/chemical/etc crap out of my diet, which is no small feat. This has been an evolving process, and I now find that there are more and more people who want to know what is in what they eat. I have a few recipes that I really love, I thought I would post them here to share and as a way to start my first blog.

Sorry no pictures of my finished recipes yet, I will add them when I get my camera working again, or when I buy a new one...With all of the recipes I post, I use organic ingredients when available.

Nut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 tbs nut butter (I like almond, but any nut butter works)
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (Use what you like, I love Stonyfield Farms, it is organic and made close to Maine. I choose plain to keep the sugar down, but vanilla works well too)
1 cup milk (soy or almond milk OK)
1 banana cut into large chunks (OHH yeah, even better, frozen banana...)
Cinnamon to taste

Blend all ingredients together. Eat. Yum.

I have an immersion blender that I love, just make sure you unplug it before you clean it out with your finger...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

IIIIImmmm Baaack!

A lot has happened in the 9 months since I have posted here. First, my camera broke, so for now, I have no pictures, I hope I can add them into this blog later.

Sooo...What's New With Mandy?

I started knitting - I am so happy to have started, and I plan on doing a section on knitting. And I also gained about 10 lbs, my usual winter treat - so I plan on adding a section on fitness and my training. As far as my garden goes, my garlic is coming along super well, my peas need more support, and my tomatoes are dying to get in the ground...BUT all seeds are from seeds I saved! So that is great news. And my sweet Bailey boy is doing great, 8 years old and going strong!!

My Plan

My plan is to get into shape, have a fabulous garden, make all homemade gifts from now on, and to take great care of Bailey. Let's break this down...

Let's Get Into Shape!

My getting into shape plan includes creating and posting recipies and my weekly workout post to show if I have been keeping up with my plan. I have signed up for a triathlon, 2 bike rides (one is 180 miles, the other 100), and a marathon. That should keep me busy.

Fabulous Garden!

Yeah, I know I can do it, wait until I post pictures! I have broccoli, cauliflower, beans, beans, beans, corn, potatoes, peas, carrots, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, basil, leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, zucchini, lettuce, beets, parsnips, turnups, and who knows what else out there.

Knitting

I am currently knitting 2 new scarfs. I have to quit giving things away so I have something to give away at Christmas/birthdays...I hope to have a stash of stuff by year end. My proudest work is Susan Pierce Lawrence's Forest Canopy Shawl

Bailey
Well, my boy is doing great. I hug and walk him daily. Don't have much to report here!