Tag Archives: Clean Eating

Healthy Breakfast Quinoa

This morning I woke up and realized I only had a tiny, tiny amount of oatmeal left. Since I’ve been trying to eat mostly vegan lately, I didn’t want to eat yogurt or eggs for breakfast, so I thought I’d get a little creative and use inspiration from many recipes I’ve seen to create my own breakfast quinoa.

The result was actually amazing! I can’t wait to try this again tomorrow morning.

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Since I rarely use real recipes and I just make things up as I go, here I’ll try to describe my process, in case you want to recreate it (which you should, because this was SO good).

Ingredients:

Quinoa

Almond Milk

Raisins

Dried Apricots (or any dried or fresh fruit)

Cinnamon

Honey

Almonds (or walnuts)

I already had quinoa pre-made from last night, but if you don’t, you can start from scratch, which might actually be better. (I’ll be trying that tomorrow.) Mine was a quinoa-bulgur wheat mix, but I recommend just straight quinoa. I had… a normal serving size? About a cup? Not really sure. You can be more precise if you want.

I put it in a little sauce pan, turned the heat on low, and poured in some almond milk (but not too much at first). I tossed in some raisins, and a small amount of honey and cinnamon and some sliced dried apricots (though you can use whatever fresh or dried fruit you desire). I mixed it all together and kept adding almond milk until it was a consistency that looked good to me (I didn’t want it to be too watery but you can make it as watery or dry as you’d like). At the end, I chopped up some almonds (if you have slivered almonds, or shelled walnuts, even better so you don’t have to deal with cutting whole almonds) and tossed them in, and gave it a little taste test to see what I thought. YUM.

Since I had a tiny bit of oatmeal, I cooked that and mixed both together, and the result was a delicious, sweet, healthy, protein-filled, fiber-filled, nutrient-dense breakfast to start my day. Seriously this might be my new favorite thing. Dare I say… better than oatmeal??

TRY IT. I dare you.

Here are some suggestions for things to add, though the beauty of this is that you pretty much can just do whatever you want and it will most likely be amazing.

– Fresh blueberries

– Fresh strawberries

– Almond butter

– Avocados

– Maple syrup

– Peaches

– Mashed banana

– Protein powder

– Chocolate chips

– Greek yogurt

… The list can go on as far as you’d like. Just some ideas to get you started.

Seriously this is my new favorite discovery. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

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Mid-Day Mind Munchies and Yoga

Sometimes I wonder if I think about food too much. Am I alone here? Or does anyone else ever feel like they just obsess over food all day, every day. I plan my whole day around my food and exercise, and I plan my food and exercise around each other, and its not because I’m some inspiring, intense, die-hard foodie or fitness goddess. I’m not. At all. I’m the laziest sonofabitch you’ll ever meet, and (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog), I seem to love stuffing my face with food until I want to cry. It really should be pathetic.

But, alas, I somehow still get myself to exercise, and since food already takes up 90% of my brain space, I inevitably plan my exercising around my food and my life around my food.

I FUCKING LOVE FOOD. And I think everyone out there does too, but some people like to act like food doesn’t consume their thoughts, because they think it makes them look cool. Or strong. Or healthy. Or who knows. But don’t kid yourself… I can see riiiiight past it. Your brain is salivating.

Anyway… What I meant to say was… Here are some pictures of my food today!

Because, I love food, and I take pictures of food and I don’t care.

photo 1

Lunch salad, which I ate out of a huge bowl, because spinach takes up a lot of space, and its easier/more fun that way if you’re savage and happen to be eating alone like I am. It kind of feels like I’m the guy from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, eating an entire box of Lucky Charms out of a huge mixing bowl, like a boss:

Anyway… My salad consisted of spinach, chickpeas, corn, carrots, tomatoes, almonds, pine nuts, raisins, and for dressing, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

photo 2

[This part needs to be read in a snobby British accent.] As the second course for todays prix-fixe menu, we have featured our house specialty, the Artesanal Dry-Farmed Herloom Beta-Carotene Puree with an H2O Reduction Sauce.

In other words… microwaved sweet potato.

Literally the most gourmet thing you’ll ever find in nature. It blows my balls off.

Sweet potato is what happened when God had a lot of liberating sex on Saturday night with Mr. God (or Mrs. God, since LadyGod could have very well been a lesbian. Who am I to make that kind of assumption…) and was feeling happy and overly generous to Her children on the 7th day, so She said, here, kids, take all my gold and my money and my secrets and run wild. So they partied hard, got really drunk, and passed out in the dirt and all the gold got stuck somewhere deep in the soil, and months later sweet potatoes popped up. So now you know some agricultural history. You’re welcome.

Later in the afternoon, I was feeling hungry (as if my enormous bath tub of salad wasn’t enough), so I made myself a smoothie much like this one, but with almond butter instead of peanut butter. After it was blended, I added a little more almond butter, and right now, as I’m drinking it, I keep finding little chunks of heaven amidst this delicious smoothie, and I’m patting myself on the back for having such a brilliant idea.

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So far, so good. I actually didn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast, because my almond butter needed attention (I can already see that my goal to not finish this jar by the end of the week is going to be really difficult), so I ate an open-faced sandwich: whole wheat bread, almond butter, banana. Bomb dot com.

After watching a bunch of TED talks and killing all the ants I found in my room (don’t ask… I’m pissed), I did half an hour of yoga, following a Jillian Michaels’ video:

 

And now at the early hour of 4:49pm, I’m finally getting my day started. Its Sunday, don’t hate. I’m going to the movies, and I’m making my promise ahead of time – I will not eat anything from the concession stand. I’m bringing a bag of almonds and maybe a piece of fruit, if I get hungry (though this smoothie should keep me full for a while), and tonight I’m eating the rest of my salad (yeah… I forgot to mention, I couldn’t finish it) and maybe some plain soy yogurt with honey for dessert.

HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE, okay!?

If all goes well, today will be another successful vegan day. Hooray!

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“Lean, Clean, and Green”

IMG_2345 Yesterday was Wednesday (you’ll probably hear me talk about Wednesdays a lot), and as part of my duties on Wednesdays as an au pair, I get the pleasure of cooking lunch for myself and the girls. I love this part of my day for many reasons, but mostly its because I get to be in control (for the most part) of what I eat, when most of the time, eating with the family means I don’t really get to choose. I try to make the Wednesday lunch as healthy as possible, filled with lean protein and vegetables, because I want the girls and I to get all of our proper nutrients. Especially for their sake, I know kids don’t often enjoy eating all the things that they should eat, so feeding them a balanced meal sometimes involves a little creativity. I’m lucky that my girls (there are 3 of them) are good eaters, at least the older ones, and they actually love a lot of vegetables that I would have hated as a kid, so in that sense, its not too difficult to feed them something healthy. I struggle more with the youngest girl (6 years old), obviously, but I’m glad she loves quinoa and chicken and green beans! So thats exactly what we ate yesterday.

My baked chicken breast was really simple, and incredibly juicy and flavorful. I just laid out the chicken breast in aluminum foil (in a baking dish) and spread a little bit of olive oil on both sides, added some salt, pepper, and a few random, unlabeled spices that smelled nice (mostly like italian seasoning, rosemary, etc), and I covered it with chunks of onion and tomato, and cooked it in the oven at around 350 degrees for… a while? I don’t know, I just eyeballed it. To make sure its ready, just cut a little slice in the thickest part of the chicken to see if its still pink inside, and if it looks ready, well, you know what to do.

The quinoa we had was a combination of quinoa and bulgur wheat. Prepare it just like rice, in other words, 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Bring the water to a boil, pour the quinoa in, and lower the temperature to a slow simmer for about 15-18 minutes (or until all the water has been absorbed). I sometimes add salt to the water before cooking, but not always because occasionally (meaning, I’ve done it once and I always mean to try it again but never do) I might want to use the quinoa for breakfast and I’d rather it not be too salty. Sometimes I’ll add olive oil, maybe I’ll cook it with half water, half chicken broth, or maybe I’ll toss in some diced onions, or some raisins, or whatever, and let it cook all together. Quinoa is super versatile, so just let your imagination run wild, and don’t be afraid of messing up, its pretty impossible with quinoa.

**PS: Quinoa is great for kids because its a complete protein (you know, like chicken or fish), so if they’re fussy and they’re the type of kids who only want to eat plain pasta or rice, try substituting any of those terribly nutritionless grains (white carbohydrates are worthless) for some hearty superfood quinoa and you can easily trick your kiddos into eating protein (8 grams in a 1-cup serving!) and not just refined carbs. Quinoa is also high in fiber, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and its gluten-free (because it’s a seed) so it is all-around a nutritional powerhouse, and your kids have no idea. Sneaky little food. **

The green beans were frozen. Not ideal, but there weren’t any fresh ones available and French people love to say that their frozen food is better than everyone else’s (i.e. Picard), so I just bit my lip and accepted frozen veggies over no veggies. Those are easy to make… just boil them, until they’re ready to eat (10-15 minutes)! I added some salt, pepper, and olive oil for taste.

The girls and I loved our healthy little lunch, and even though the little one didn’t eat green beans, she finally accepted the quinoa after fussing over the “weird little black things in it” that were “stressing her out” (her exact words) and she ate the chicken like a champ. I felt pleased with my meal, and I was even able to sneak a really quick picture of my plate while the girls weren’t looking (I imagined the oldest one would wonder WTF I was doing) so I could post it here on Le Blog.

As the Tone It Up girls say, it was lean, clean, and green. And I feel great about that.

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