Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Are you up for a CHALLENGE?

As most of you know, I am addicted to cooking, especially finding good, healthy recipes using fresh, whole ingredients. Don't get me'll find the occasional box of Lucky Charms and Cheese Its in my pantry (all for the kids, I swear!) but for the most part we try to play it pretty healthy around here. Steer clear of the transfats, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), and anything with more than 50 different ingredients. I am queen of pouring over different "Clean Eating" cookbooks and experiment with my family and friends (which I KNOW they SO appreciate). So here is my challenge to you, me and anyone else bored enough to be reading my blog consistantly (which I hope there are some of you out there b/c it can get kind of lonely!). Let's try a new FOOD every week. You know, going down that aisle of Meijer (insert your favorite grocery store) that's labeled "International Foods" and wondering what in the heck some of that stuff is? Or actually checking out the section of produce that is "exotic" fruit? Not buying it? OK, how about this? I will try the mystery food first and give you the bottom line. Then you can decide if you want to check it out. Fair enough?

And this is active participation...I want you to comment about what you've tried on this post. So. My first challenge food for you is QUINOA. According to Body and Soul mag: "Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) isn't a true grain but a plant related to chard and spinach (it is the seed). It has more protein than most grains (5 grams per serving) and is gluten- and wheat-free. Quinoa is also a good source of dietary fiber, packing 5.2 grams per 1 cup serving. In its unprocessed state, quinoa is coated with saponin, a bitter substance. Most quinoa has been "desaponized." However, it's still a good idea to rinse it under running water in a fine-mesh strainer before cooking to remove any remaining residue." You can find it easily at Trader Joe's by the rice, but for those of us not priviledged to be near TJs I found in good old Meijer, also near the rice. I also found in the bulk bins at Better Health.

Below is a recipe I tried. My kids wouldn't even look at it and my husband was a bit leary. But, I think it was b/c it had red peppers in it and he doesn't care for those. But...I LOVED it. It is a perfect replacement for rice. I wound up eating the leftovers all week for lunch. I even threw it cold on top of a bed of spinach.

Quintessential Quinoa (from Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno)
1 tbsp EVOO
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 large red pepper, chopped
1 cup rinsed quinoa
2 cups water
1 veggie soup stock cubes or low sodium chicken-flavored cubes

add chopped onion, garlic and salt to EVOO and saute until onions are slightly brown. Add chopped red pepper and continue to saute until onions are caramelized. Add water, stock cubes and rinsed quinoa. Bring mixture to simmer for another 35 minutes or until water has been cooked in. Fluff mixture with fork.

Here is another one (from the same book) that I want to try:

Sweet Inca Porridge
1 cup quinoa grains, soaked
1 cup rolled oats, not instant
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 cups water
1/2 cup chopped dates (might try raisins instead)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Place first 4 ingredients in pot with tight fitting lid. Cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer 30 min. Add remaining 4 ingredients and mix together well. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for five minutes. Serve for breakfast with berries.

Or, feel free to find your own recipe out there. I love, or or (if you find a good one, post it!)


  1. I *love* quinoa. Definitely going to try the 1st recipe, and I wonder if cranberries would be good in the porridge?

  2. Susan-I think the cranberries would be totally YUM in the porridge.
    Tracy Wescott also sent me this message so I wanted to share:

    I LOVE quinoa!! Here is my fav recipe to share. It is from Pillsbury Simply Vegetarian cookbook.

    Quinoa and corn

    1 c. uncooked quinoa
    2 c. water
    1 c. frozen corn


    2 T. olive oil
    1/2 t. grated lime peel
    2 T. lime juice
    2 T. white wine vinegar
    1 t. sugar
    1/2 t. salt
    3/4 t. chili powder
    1 garlic clove, minced


    1 (15 oz) can black beans
    1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
    1 large tomato, chopped
    1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

    1. Cook quinoa according to directions. Add corn last 2 minutes. Rinse with cold water in strainer and cool. Place in large serving bowl.

    2. In nonmetal bowl combine all dressing ingredients; blend well. Refrigerate.

    3. Add beans, celery, tomato, cilantro and dressing to quinoa and corn; mix well. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to mix flavors.