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Posts Tagged ‘quinoa’

Super Green Silent Quinoa Salad

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Recipe on June 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm
green quinoa salad

Green Quinoa Salad

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~W.B. Yeats

Silence is golden. And not just at the movie theater. I am speaking about intentional silence. Not silence because you live alone and didn’t leave the house all weekend. I tried being purposefully silent.

For 27 hours and 45 minutes, I went entirely without electronic and verbal communication.

In my own home, on an ordinary weekend, I spontaneously designed a mini, silence retreat. Since I had attended longer, silence retreats with groups at Zen Buddhist centers in the mountains outside LA and ashrams in India, I thought to myself – I’ve got this, it’s only one day – failing to take into account how supportive it is, both energetically and physically, to attend an organized retreat with others. Everything is set up for your success. The environment and everyone in it is dragging you along to finish line with their earnest intentions of spiritual salvation.

So why bother trying this on my own? Why would I or anyone want to do this? Aren’t there many more “fun” things one could be doing with their weekend? Well, cost and convenience, for one. But, also, because I really needed it. I was actually craving it. And I found it to be an accessible undertaking all on my own.

sound of silence

The sound of silence…

At organized silence retreats, journaling and reading are strongly discouraged. You are instructed not to give your mind anything to hold on to or work with. Without distractions your mind goes ballistic and roves wildly and aggressively from topic to topic. The resistance hits a fever pitch within the first 24 hours and right when you’ve decided to sneak out of your bunk in the middle of the night and haul ass home so you can at least talk – or something – everything goes quiet and you are flooded with joy as well as relief.

Since this at-home silence retreat was only approximately 24 hours, I allowed myself the luxury of cooking as a distraction. This recipe is perfect for focusing your attention at the task at hand rather than letting your mind wander into the future or fantasy (those might be the same thing!). The making of the herb paste is tedious (really tedious) but only if you are focused on finishing. If you merely focus on individually separating each leaf from each stem, one leaf at a time, it becomes very meditative and quite Zen. Cooking in a gentle and mindful manner while being conscious of your thoughts leads to super duper delicious food.

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa

2 onions, peeled and very thinly sliced into rings
2 TBSP (I like more) olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp ground cumin (or toast and grind your own seeds)

Herb paste
1/2 cup parsley
2 cups cilantro
1/2 cup dill
1/4 cup tarragon
1/4 cups mint, fresh
3 TBSP olive oil (try citrus-infused olive oils)

1 cup shelled pistachios (or sub tamari toasted pepitas)

3 cups baby arugula (1 box works great)

Cook quinoa in 2 cups of water in a rice cooker or on the stove-top until all water is absorbed. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes after cooking and then fluff with a fork.

herbs

Herbs for green paste: dill, cilantro, tarragon, mint, parsley

Use an immersion blender to process de-stemmed herbs and oil until very smooth. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. I recommend making a large batch and freezing for future use. You can stir this paste into almost anything to add tons of flavor. And, yes, the herb paste is very tedious to make. So (if you aren’t on a homegrown silence retreat) put on some music, get really zen, maybe have a glass of wine, and hyper-focus on separating tiny leaves from their stems.

It can be a good idea to do this part the night before. Store the de-stemmed herbs between damp paper towels in plastic baggies. Herb paste can be stirred into greek yogurt as a topping for grilled fish or whipped into hummus or spread on sandwiches.

Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat oil and add cumin. Add onions and sauté over medium heat until soft and golden brown.

Add the herb paste to the fluffed quinoa and use fork to thoroughly combine. Add the hot onions to the arugula and toss well. Then add green quinoa and mix well. Lastly, top with pepitas or pistachios. Serve immediately or chilled.

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Red Velvet Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on May 16, 2013 at 10:03 pm
IMG_3407

Beet root, red lentils, tri-color quinoa.

I honestly cannot find the original source for this recipe which is a shame because I did not modify it at all (except for the name!). It is simple and brilliant just as it is. I’ve made it for two SoupAsana groups and was met with rave reviews. Both times, during the prep and cook process, I was skeptical due to the color and consistency but once I started simmering the spices in coconut oil, I knew everything was going to turn out just fine 🙂 Beautifully-colored and deliciously-edible, this soup is high in fiber, antioxidants, folate, and iron. Even more delicious served with corn muffins.

Ingredients:

boiled-over pot

A watched pot never boils but an un-watched pot boils over!

1 cup dried red lentils
½ cup quinoa
1 medium beet root, grated
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
¼ cup diced red onion
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric powder

Garnish w lime wedges, rock salt, honey Greek yogurt or feta

beet lentil stew

Stew topped with feta and lime

Place lentils, quinoa, grated beet, ginger, onion, bay leaf and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add cumin seeds, coriander, and turmeric and lightly saute for 1-3 minutes on medium heat (making sure they don’t burn). Add to stew…do a little taste taste…perhaps add fresh ground pepper and/or tamari.

Quinoa Chowder

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 21, 2013 at 3:15 am
quinoa sweet potato soup ingredients

Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes

Last week’s SoupAsana felt extra special. I made a soup from a recipe I got from a friend-of-a-friend who liked to make this soup for her friends after long days of boarding and skiing. Apparently, she got it from a friend who modified it from a recipe by Deborah Madison. And I believe I may have modified it even further based on my tastes and those of my friends attending SoupAsana. Anyway, this soup felt like it had a lot of history, friendship, and good times behind it and, after 90 minutes of yoga and meditation, was easily devoured by all!

Homemade cactus fruit kombucha

Homemade cactus fruit kombucha

Making things even more special was the homemade kombucha from my friend and neighbor, Robin. She even hand-harvested the local cactus fruit for her beautiful, vibrant, cactus fruit kombucha. You can read about her adventures with the cactus fruit here. We combined the kombucha with prosecco since I was celebrating finally (3rd try!) being admitted into a dietetic internship program. Woot, woot! Huge relief and accomplishment…now I just have to complete the program in order to become a Registered Dietitian. It’s been a long road. I might write about it one day.

This soup is vegan until you get to the toppings, which are, of course, entirely optional.

eggs and cilantro

Backyard eggs and cilantro.

But adding feta and hard-boiled eggs, from the happiest chickens in SoCal, really makes this chowder, well, chowder-y. Even though I’ve admitted to not caring for quinoa, it’s really quite delicious in this recipe. Soup is one place where quinoa works. As a side dish or pilaf…not so much. I seem to use sweet potatoes a lot in my soups but will probably be moving away from that ingredient as the weather gets even warmer. Although the name of this soup invokes winter, it’s actual quite light and refreshing and appropriate for springtime.

scallions, jalapenos, garlic

Scallions, jalapenos, garlic.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup quinoa

8 cups veggie stock

olive oil

4-5 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup finely chopped ginger

1 large jalapeño pepper, diced/seeded

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger, jalapenos, cumin.

1 sweet potato, peeled/diced

1 bag baby spinach

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts

Top with: chopped cilantro, crumbled feta, and chopped, hard-boiled egg

Bring quinoa and 4 cups stock to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the quinoa after 10 mins and reserve the liquid.

quinoa chowder

Top with feta cubes and crushed red pepper.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeño. Cook for about 1 minute, then add ginger, cumin, salt/pepper, and sweet potatoes. Cook for a few minutes then add reserved stock as well as additional stock so you have about 7-8 cups liquid. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add quinoa, spinach, and scallions and simmer until spinach is wilted. Garnish individual bowls with cilantro, feta, and hard-boiled egg. Super delicious and I don’t even like quinoa.

Love It or Leave It

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 10, 2013 at 3:43 am
greens

Swiss chard, parsley, and kale

Life’s too short to eat kale…if you don’t actually like it! Yes, it’s really good for you but if you’ve tried it every which way (raw, sautéed, baked as chips, blended in a smoothie) and you still hate it, then simply eat a different leafy green – swiss chard, collards, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.

I don’t like quinoa. There’s nothing particular ‘wrong’ with quinoa, it’s just that this itty-bitty, fluffy seed appears really wimpy to me – like it should be a garnish instead of the main event. So I rarely eat it. I like short-grain brown rice instead (sometimes w quinoa mixed in). I also eat pinto beans way more than black or garbanzo or kidney or adzuki (who eats those anyway?).

Do the healthy eating thing YOUR WAY while still holding yourself to a high standard. As long as you are eating something from each major plant group (beans, greens, nuts/seeds, oils, etc.) then don’t stress if you dislike the one deemed MOST NUTRITIOUS. The most nutritious food is the food you will actually eat! Find the leafy greens and grains you like, eat those, and ban the kale and quinoa from your repertoire. Be open to trying those banned foods in new variations or preparations – you might be surprised.

So, I REALLY like kale; therefore, it’s featured in Curried Sweet Potato & Kale Stew. You’ve got 2 choices: substitute another leafy green or give kale a try…loosen up and get creatively experimental with your food preferences.