Tag Archives: Quinoa

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.

photo (22)

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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Lessons Learned

Yesterday I learned a few things. Or rather, re-learned.

Eating shitty feels shitty

– Eating well feels great

– I am stronger than I think I am

Let me explain.

I went to work and because I was in a rush in the morning, I didn’t have time to pack a lunch and was thus at the mercy of whatever everyone else was eating when lunchtime came around. Chinese food was ordered and I, slightly excited because of my AFD (Asian Food Deprivation) here in Paris, filled my plate up with whatever was offered: general chicken (i.e. deep-fried chicken bits, generally the worst parts of the chicken that really shoudln’t be eaten at all), some other saucy chicken-y thing, white rice, a fried shrimp egg roll, and a meat potsticker. There were no vegetables, so I ate little bits of onion mixed in the sauces. After a few bites, I already knew this meal was going to be a bad idea, but I was hungry and everyone was eating, and I couldn’t not eat it now, so I ate it, every bite causing my stomach to hurt a little bit more. By the end, my stomach was hurting so bad, I was bloated, and I felt sick. Likely there was nothing directly wrong with the food (meaning, it wasn’t food poisoning or anything like that), but I think my body just isn’t used to eating so much awful, unhealthy fried food, and it rebelled. I pretty much hated my life the entire rest of the day… I couldn’t walk up straight because of my stomach ache and I was so bloated that I had to wear stretchy leggings and lie in fetal position any chance I could. I felt AWFUL! (Even now as I write this, I still feel remnants of this shitty feeling). This was a very immediate reminder: EATING SHITTY FEELS SHITTY.

To compensate, I prepared myself some sautéed vegetables (onions, carrots, zucchini, red bell peppers, tomatoes) and some quinoa and set it aside for dinner. Every night, my host mom is in charge of dinner, but a few weeks ago she sweetly brought up my cholesterol and said that if I ever feel like the food they eat is too heavy or anything, that I am free to make myself something else for dinner too. I really appreciated her telling me this, though, perhaps because I’m shy, I only took her up on this offer once before last night, and even then I still ate some of what she had made. Last night, however, because I was feeling like death, I reminded myself that I do have more control over what I eat than what I realize, so I asked my host mom if she would mind if I ate some quinoa and veggies I made myself earlier, and she said “of course” (as in, of course I won’t mind), so thats exactly what I did. I added some salad and half an avocado to my meal, and felt satisfied and healthier than I had felt all day.

Eating clean just FEELS right, and there are no two ways around that. So, lessons learned, and learned, and learned again. And likely they will be learned again and again and again over time, hopefully improving each time these things come up. I am stronger than I think I am. I can make good choices if I want. I totally can.

 

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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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