Tag Archives: vegan


6 Sep

Quinoa has the most protein of any grain, and the highest fat content. It’s a great source of vitamins & minerals.  Quinoa is higher in lysine than wheat, and is considered a complete protein. Quinoa is not really a grain; it is a seed belonging to the Goosefoot family. We cook and eat it like a grain, so that’s why it’s known as a grain.
Red or White? White quinoa is most common, red is less common and more expensive. Red quinoa is harder and holds its shape better, and it has a stronger more earthy taste. Some people think it is more nutritious, but as far as I can tell that’s not necessarily so.

Nutrition Data  1 cup cooked quinoa: 185g: 222 cal; 39g carb; 4g fat; 8g protein; 5g fiber; iron 15% DV; Good source of: Vit E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese; estimated glycemic load 18

**Because of its high fat content, quinoa should be stored in the fridge or freezer so it doesn’t go rancid.

To Soak or Not to Soak Quinoa: Quinoa naturally comes with a bitter coating called saponin which must be rinsed off. Most quinoa that you buy in the U.S. has been pre-rinsed and dried, but I usually soak it 5 minutes just in case, to loosen up any residue of saponin, or dust or chaff that remains. Skip soaking if you like, but always rinse quinoa.

Quinoa Cooking Directions:

1. You’ll need a 2 quart pot with a tight fitting lid, and a fine mesh strainer

2. Double the recipe if you want to have leftover quinoa for another meal or two

3. Optional: Soak the quinoa for 5 min in the cooking pot. Soaking helps quinoa to cook evenly, and loosens up any residue of saponin (usually removed in processing), which can give a bitter taste

4. To Rinse: Stir the quinoa with your hand, and carefully pour off the rinsing water, using a fine mesh strainer at the last.

5. Drain quinoa well in the strainer, transfer to the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water & 1/4 tsp salt if desired. No salt will make quinoa softer and fluffier, a little salt will make it firmer and it may take a couple extra minutes to cook.

6. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer.

7. Cook for 15 minutes.

8. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on.

9. Fluff quinoa gently with a fork and serve 🙂


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Pressure Cooker Directions:

1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cups water

1. Rinse quinoa, add to pressure cooker with water and 1/4 tsp salt if desired.

2. Lock lid on high pressure setting. Bring up to pressure, reduce heat to simmer, cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.

3. Use natural pressure release

What To Do With Cooked Quinoa:

When I cook quinoa I always make a double batch so I have some left over in the fridge or freezer toquinoa-bb2-150x150 use in other quinoa recipes.

Use the basic quinoa recipe above as a starting point, and substitute quinoa for pasta or rice in almost any meal.

See my favorite Quinoa Recipe, Quinoa & Black Beans HERE


Quinoa with Black Beans

5 Sep

I LOVE this stuff!!!  This is a great recipe if you are trying quinoa for the first time.

AND this is what I ate for breakfast the morning of my first triathlon (Yes, it’s THAT good!)


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in 1/2
1 chopped Avocado


1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans.
4. I always leave the tomatoes, avocado, and the cilantro on the side so they can be mixed in each serving individually. That way, if there is some leftover I think it stores better.

*** This is even good cold! Love to make extra for my lunch the next day.

Spicy Baked Chickpeas

5 Sep

A Healthy Workday Snack: Spicy Baked Chickpeas

recipe from: The Daily Muse

Spicy baked chickpeas are an easy healthy. Seriously—all you have to do is toss some chickpeas together with olive oil and whatever spices or herbs you’re in the mood for, a little bit of salt and pepper, and then bake. That’s it! And, if you’re like me, you usually have an extra can of chickpeas hiding away in your pantry, so you can make these any time you’re hit with a snack attack.

Chick peas are low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. They is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Folate and Manganese. Before the extra oil or seasonings (watch the salt by the way- don’t be too heavy handed)  One 15.5 oz can  of chick peas has  385 calories, 21g Protein, 21g Fiber, 7g  Fat, and only 1g Sugar.

The basic recipe & some extra ingredient variations are below.

chick peas

1. Rinse one can of chickpeas under running water, then dry with a paper towel.


2. Pour onto a baking sheet and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.


3. They’re ready when they’re crispy and golden! Serve warm with an extra sprinkling of salt.

There are so many different options you can try with these, so experiment with any ingredients you have on hand. Or, try these yummy combinations:

  • Paprika + cayenne pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar + garlic
  • Lime juice + chili powder + cumin
  • Lemon juice + ginger
  • Cinnamon + honey (light on the honey)
  • Thyme + rosemary
  • Curry powder + garlic


5 Sep

Sprouts are a powerhouse of nutrition and Delicious!!!

Sprouts are not new. They have been grown by many civilizations over the past 5,000 years. The practice of sprouting is becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. This ancient practice, can turn a hard to digest grain, seed, or bean into a food product that your body digests as easy as a vegetable.

Research shows that sprouts are a veritable fountain of youth. Sprouts abound with antioxidants, they are full of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Seriously check it out: Broccoli sprouts have been found to contain 50 times as much of the antioxidant sulfurophane as mature broccoli.

Wheat Grass juice is the closest substance to hemoglobin, and is therefore a phenomenal blood purifier and liver de-toxifier. Sprouts contain enzymes, giving your body a much needed rest as they digest themselves – invigorating you while requiring no help from your body to process them. New research indicates that peanut sprouts reduce harmful cholesterol and that sunflower, buckwheat and grain sprouts dramatically improve the quality of life for diabetics. The list goes on and on.


What Can Be Sprouted?

You can sprout just about anything that could be considered a seed. You can sprout vegetable seeds like radishes and broccoli or grain seeds like wheat or quinoa. You can sprout beans like chickpeas or lentils. Anything you might be able to put into the ground to grow into a larger plant can be sprouted.

When purchasing vegetable seeds for sprouting be sure that they are marked “sprouting seeds”. Some seeds are sold with a chemical residue that prevents sprouting.

How Sprouting Works

Put simply, sprouts are the first growth of a seed, before they turn into what will someday become the plants we know and love in our gardens. When you keep the seeds most and warm they begin to sprout and create tiny little plants.

Where once there was a hard to digest seed, after sprouting you have a nourishing plant food. Sprouts are chock full of nourishment including vitamins and minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.

Sprouting Equipment: 

You can purchase sprouting kits like THIS one  I use for making sprouts, or you may want to use two pieces of very basic equipment; A wide mouth canning jar and ring lid plus a sprout screen. A quart jar works well for vegetable sprouts and a half gallon jar works well for grains or beans.


That’s really all you need besides the seeds themselves and the water you will use to soak and rinse them.        

Cultures for Health has some great kits, lids, and seed packets.

Sprouting How-To: Basic Principles for Any Seed

Whether you wish to sprout broccoli seeds for a fresh addition to your sandwich or wheat grains to make healthier bread, the principle of sprouting remains the same.

1. Soak Sprout Seeds Overnight. Start by rinsing your seeds (vegetable, grain, or bean) in water. Then cover  them with at least four times as much water and allow to soak overnight.




2. Drain and Rinse Seeds. The next morning you are going to dump off the soaking water, rinse with fresh water, and begin the sprouting process. If you are using a jar you will want to invert it at a 45 degree angle over a bowl or other container to allow the water to slowly drain off. If you are using a sprouter just replace the lid. you want to cover or keep them in a dark place at this point.


3. Rinse, Drain, Repeat. Two to three times per day you will want to pour water over the sprouts, swirl, shake, & drain well.. Every day your sprouts will grow a bit more until they have filled your entire vessel.

after about 2 days the seeds are beginning to sprout, but they are not ready yet

alfalfa101-150x150*You will want to allow vegetable seeds to grow until they fill the tray. Remove the lid and expose them to the sunlight for a few hours so they can begin to produce chlorophyll and turn green. Grains and beans you may only want to sprout until the tiniest sprout “tail” emerges for best flavor. the length of time it takes the seeds to sprout depends on several factors, mainly temperature; the warmer it is the faster they grow.


4. Store Sprouts. When you are satisfied with the length of your sprouts you are ready to store them, either in the refrigerator for vegetable or bean sprouts or, in the case of grains, in a dried state if you wish to grind them.

No matter which type of seed you are sprouting you want the storage point to coincide with a dry point in the sprouting process in order to prevent mold. So don’t rinse them and then cover tightly and store in the refrigerator.

To dry grains you can lay them evenly on a lined dehydrator tray and dry at no more than 145 degrees to preserve enzymes. Or you can simply lay them out on a sheet pan covered with cheese cloth (to prevent bugs) on a warm, dry day. You want the grains to be as dry as they were when you started so they will run easily through a grain mill. You can test them out by simply biting or chopping into one to make sure it is dry and crunchy.

Vegetable sprouts can keep in the refrigerator for around five days, bean sprouts up to a week, and dried grain sprouts indefinitely (though consuming them sooner may enhance their nutrition).

5. Eat Sprouts!!!

Vegetable sprouts can be used in salads, sandwiches, or on top of soups. Mung bean sprouts can be used in stir fries or added to other Asian-inspired dishes. Other bean sprouts can be cooked just as you would regular beans. Sprouted grains can be ground to make everything from bread to biscuits to pancakes.

Sprouting is actually a lot easier than most people think, and only takes minutes of hands-on time. So if you are interested in the benefits of sprouting don’t be intimidated, start sprouting today!

Nutrition 101

5 Sep

What we NOURISH and FUEL our bodies with will not only affect HOW WE LOOK – but HOW WE FEEL, THINK and ACT. It is important and it is WORTH your time to study and learn all you can about nutrition so you know how and what you need to be eat.

BUT conflicting health and nutrition information can be confusing. How do we know which ‘expert’ is right? How do we know which foods and habits are the best for our particular lifestyle, and health status? Honestly, sometimes even when we KNOW what we should eat, it is hard making healthy choices happen in everyday life.

There IS a lot of conflicting, confusing information surrounding what exactly is a healthy eating plan.  A few statements to establish where I stand or don’t stand.

  •  Crash dieting is never the way to go. You need to figure out what is best for your body, within certain healthy boundaries, and make the choice to develop habits that lead to a lifestyle of eating in a way that nourishes your body.

  •  I don’t believe there is one healthy eating plan (Paleo, Vegan, etc) that is the ONLY way and ‘right’ for all people at all times. God created us different and there is no one size fits all eating plan; However, there are some basic guidelines everyone should follow.

  • In our pursuit of health and wellness we need to be careful we don’t get caught up in perfectionism. We know we need to eat as much unprocessed, whole, live foods as possible to be healthy; and we know most of them should be fruits and vegetables; and they should be organic if possible; and they need to be as fresh as possible- shopping everyday or two is best, and ideally they need to be raw or sprouted, or was that fermented… and all of a sudden we are stressed and confused and we are so overwhelmed we are thinking ‘I can never do this I might as well go have a Big Mack’ 😦 DON’T DO THAT!!! It is OK to make small changes where you can, as you can. Canned vegetables are not ideal- but they beat Pop-tarts every time!! Do the best you can for where YOU are, and grow and improve as time goes on.

The BIG magic eating secret to be healthy is:

EAT REAL FOOD– There are specific foods that our bodies actually need, and then there are other foods that are not only ‘not needed’ by the body, they are quit harmful to it. In general, our bodies need foods that come from plants and animals.

Eat mostly Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Seeds, &  some whole grains: Now remember what I said about perfectionism- but ideally you want as much raw organic food as possible. WHY RAW? Raw foods have enzymes. Cooked foods do not.

Enzymes are extremely important. Every system, every process, every chemical reaction in our bodies is initiated and carried out by enzymatic activity. There are thousands and thousands of different types of enzymes that function in our bodies.

Alkalize or Die. A second important reason for eating a diet of mainly raw fruits and vegetables has to do with the bodies need for alkalinity. The human body functions best when our blood is slightly alkaline. All foods burn down after digestion into acid or alkaline ash.  Most cooked foods burn to acid in the body and most raw fruits and vegetables burn to alkaline. Acidic conditions are the forerunner of degenerative diseases & leave the body highly susceptible to parasitic activity (reason enough to eat your veggies don’t you think??)

Fiber & Nutrients are another great reason to eat raw.  Fiber: plants have it, animals do not. Fiber is essential for keeping waste products from getting congested in our intestinal track and eventually our livers. This congestion has been considered a leading cause of cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Eat lean meats and healthy fats. I believe lean meats and healthy fats have value in most of our diets too. Proteins are made up of amino acids that are absolutely essential to every cell function within our bodies. Complete proteins are high-quality proteins that contain the essential amino acids we need for basic body function. These proteins are more easily absorbed by the body and are found in meats, eggs, fish, and poultry. Quality and quantity are huge when considering protein. It is best to only eat meat that has been raised naturally and humanly, such as free range chickens, grass fed beef & non farm raised fish.

I want to be honest and say: I do personally still eat some processed foods BUT I am working to eliminate them. They definitely make up a very small percentage of my total diet.

There is so much more to consider concerning nutrition. Look for posts coming soon about what fats are good fats, different types of fiber and how our bodies use it, is a grain-free diet the way to go for you? , and many more.

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