Cooking

Quinoa Walnut Smoothie

UMPProtein

My preferred protein powder

Quinoa Walnut Smoothie

This here smoothie creation is great when you need a go-to pick-me-up and something to keep you full, longer. True staying power. I realize the quinoa could seem like a peculiar component, but trust me. Quinoa gives it a boost of fiber, as well as protein. It also helps in making this smoothie thick and creamy, as does the coconut oil. So who is up for the challenge to give this a try?

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

1/3 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1 cup water
1 frozen banana
1 1/2 tablespoons walnut halves (adding a little more for some garnish is optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil (good fats right there)
1 date – the kind you pit, not the kind you invite … so yes, one pitted date
A pinch of cinnamon (the ground up kind)
A dash of vanilla (pure or imitation extract)11.5 grams of your preferred chocolate protein powder (or two heaping teaspoons if that is easier to measure) … I use UMP Protein Powder by Beverly International

Preparation: Purée all ingredients in a blender until smooth. I like to use my VItamix. Transfer to a glass and serve immediately.

As Always, Make Champion Choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

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Are You Keen on KEEN-Wah?

Quinoa Black Bean Salsa

Quinoa Black Bean Salsa

For the longest time, I was incorrectly pronouncing Quinoa.  I am probably not alone in this. The correct way to say it, is ‘KEEN-Wah’.  Well, now that you know how to say the word, do you know what to do with the stuff?  Or why you should even bother? Well, to be clear, it is a food. More specifically, it is a grain.  Let’s take a peek.

When quinoa is cooked, the outer germ surrounding the seed breaks open to form a crunchy coil; while the inner grain becomes soft and translucent. This double texture makes it delicious, and versatile. You can save time and cook a lot of quinoa at once and eat it many times.

Quinoa is something that can be reheated with a splash of milk for breakfast.  Additionally, you could add dried fruit, berries, cinnamon or nuts to give it a sweet twist.   Other ideas include finely chopped raw vegetables and dressing for a cool salad.  Or go hot; and add roasted root veggies for a side dish. The photo up top is of a Quinoa black bean salsa.  The possibilities are endless.

A Few of Quinoa’s characteristics are:

  • It has the highest nutritional profile of all the grains.
  • Quinoa contains all eight amino acids to make it a complete protein. This is a big deal.
  • It cooks the fastest of all grains.
  • It has a protein content that is equal to milk.
  • Quinoa is high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium & vitamin E.
  • It is gluten-free and easy to digest.  Great for sensitive tummies.
  • Quinoa strengthens the heart, kidneys and lungs.

It is an extremely high-energy grain.  Meaning, it can give you high, long sustaining energy. Quinoa has been cultivated and eaten for over 8,000 years  in South America. The Incas were able to run long distances at high altitudes in the mountains because of this oh so powerful grain known for endurance.

SO, do tell, when was the last time you tried Quinoa?  Or have you yet?  What do you do with it?  I need ideas.  Share your recipe thoughts in the comments.

As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

Categories: Cooking, Food | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Winging It With Eggs

Try this for a great post-workout snack, or on the morning run 🙂

So do you ever just throw something together and call it a recipe?  I will confess, I am not really one to do that all too much. I am a rule follower.  I read directions.  I find a recipe on the internet, or from a friend, and I follow it – as listed.  At best, I leave something out – – like I know hubby hates mushrooms – – so I leave those out.  Or I might substitute, if I am seriously confident I can get away with the substitution.   But being a self-proclaimed Kitchen Klutz I am not usually known for winging it in culinary arts.  Until today.

I decided I needed to use up some bread and eggs; as well as some pancetta diced meat … and embarked on a journey. I found a recipe for bacon lined muffin tin cups to use as a general guide – but that is not what I made at all.   {and if you do not know what pancetta is, Google it, because until recently I had no idea myself}

First I decided I wanted perfectly shaped circles of bread to put in the bottom of the muffin tin.  I sprayed my pan with grape seed oil and proceeded to figure out I do not really have any circle cookie cutters.  I have a heart, and Texas, and a biscuit cutter thing that is too big – but no circles.  So I decided the bottom of a jello mold would work just dandy.  And it did.

Perfect little circles - if you twist it just right

Perfect little circles – if you twist it just right

After I put bread in the bottoms of my muffin slots, I tore up the extra bread and stored it to use for a french toast breakfast casserole.  More on that in a different blog. Then I spritzed the bread circles lightly with butter.  (REAL butter, not margarine).

Next after the bread … comes the cheese.  I had 12 muffins to make and decided to get really whacky and do six one way and six another.   So half of my egg muffin things had shredded cheddar cheese and the other half had Swiss Laughing Cow triangle cheese (cut in half).  After this experience I definitely decided that I do not like working with laughing cow cheese, and you definitely have to unwrap the little triangle thingamabob before you try to slice it.  But alas, messy lesson learned.

Now since I’m being a crazy rebel anyway, I somehow decided to do half of the muffins with pancetta and the other half with thin slices of deli Virginia ham.  Now that this whole experiment is said and done, I will say that the best combination is pancetta and shredded cheddar.  I won’t be doing deli ham or laughing cow in the future.  But you can try it. It wasn’t bad, we just liked the other better.

The cups are filling up!

The cups are filling up! They’re filling UP!

SO… what comes after the meat?  Well the eggs of course.  Some blogs suggested breaking your eggs into a separate bowl and then pouring the eggs into each muffin spot.  I did no such thing.  I cracked the eggs and landed them right there in the holes.  I’m not sure it matters; but I will say that after 10 minutes of cooking … some of the yolks were in like a BIG bubble I had to pop.  It was kind of hilarious.  So maybe if I had poured the eggs elsewhere and stirred them up; and THEN put them in the tin – it would have been better?  Who knows.  At any rate; I use real eggs … not from a carton … but I imagine that works too.  Your choice of course.

Time to cook these babies.  I had pre-heated my oven to 350.  Being the somewhat picky perfectionist I can be sometimes, I decided to return to the blog examples before cooking.  Most of the egg muffin recipes I read stated 400 was the preferred temperature.  Um, okay.  I bumped it up to 400 – but now the oven does not say that lovely ‘pre-heat’ word anymore.  How do I know when it has effectively changed from 350 to 400?  I certainly was not going to turn it off and start over. So I did what any busy mama does; I said screw it and proceeded to cook.  I figured the temperature issue would work itself out somehow.  I baked them for 10 minutes at whatever temperature it was actually at in there – but the digital number said 400. After 10 minutes I had those bubbles I mentioned earlier.  So I popped the bubbles and put them back in.  I baked them for 5 minutes more.  And of course I would have two people ring my doorbell and my phone ring about three times in those five minutes; but nonetheless, the timer sang its song – – and I came a runnin’ !  They were done. They were perfect.  I wouldn’t exactly say they were beautiful, but they were perfect in my humble opinion.  I have permission to do them again.

Finished Egg Creations

Finished Egg Creations – very HOT indeed !

So I let them cool off for a moment while I decided (more like figured out) how the heck I was going to extract these handy dandy little egg creations from their holding place and transfer them to something suitable.  Hmmmm….. what to do, what to do?  Well, when in doubt, grab a serving spoon and a round plate and begin.  My timing was perfect, as just about the time all was complete, daughter dear and friend came home and declared them delicious … right about the time she asked me why I am not cooking more, lol. UM, I’m trying here, I’m trying!

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Quick Facts (Kind of like a recipe):

  • Pre-heat oven to 400
  • Spray bottoms of muffin tin holes with oil
  • Place bread or tortilla or similar in bottoms of holes
  • Spray with butter (not margarine)
  • Add cheese of choice (shredded was easier)
  • Add meat of choice (diced meat was easier)
  • Crack eggs and add on top of each muffin hole
  • Bake between 10 and 15 minutes depending on preference of yolks

As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

Categories: Cooking | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Suzie Slacker Meets Betty Crocker

So I’ve been cooking a bit.  More so than usual.  Let’s face it, I’m a kitchen klutz of monumental proportions. Not even gonna lie. But that’s okay – – we all start somewhere, right?

This week I have made my very first pumpkin pie, blueberry pie and chicken pot pie.  I also made a pizza bubble bake and chicken soup creation.  Kids are happy.  I am happy.

I have lots of amazing kitchen gadgets and tools at my disposal.  I also love my new kitchen (I moved about a month ago into a new home).  It also helps to have great friends who are willing to come over and help you out.  I’ve had the microwave mama thing down pat for years.  Me and my smoothie blender are best buds.  I’ve made crockpot creations without much drama (God bless crockpot liners).  But now I have a Kitchen Aid mixer that a lot of women will drool over, so I intend to use it, indeed.  It only took me about three months to open the box.  I have some gorgeous pie plates and fancy crust tools (that I forgot I had). I’m having a bit of fun.

My next thing to tackle is going to be freezer meals – – like where you spend a day cooking and end up with a bunch of meals to freeze that can be made at a later date.  I mean if you’re going to pop something in the microwave or oven to heat up and serve the family – – it might as well be something worthwhile and wholesome – – instead of processed crap with mystery chemicals and who knows what else.  Praise God for Wildtree … they help me with my cooking adventures and they are the experts on freezer meal workshops.  Now it’s time to plan one.   What do you think is better?  Weeknight or Sunday afternoon?  Or more like a Friday Night Mom’s Night Out? ♥

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As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

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The Uncorking of Mama

Sometimes I wonder how I have lived 45 years on this Earth and still feel like such a novice newbie when it comes to all things cooking, especially if it involves wine.  This mama is wine-impaired, I tell ya.

So in my adventures of making new things in the kitchen, I went shopping to get the missing ingredients for my weekly meal plan.  Yes, I actually made a meal plan.  Shocking, I know.  Not typical of my ENFP personality.

First recipe on my list was Beef Burgundy.  I needed to buy Burgundy Wine.  Um, okay – can’t find that.  So I finally gave up and settled for red wine!  I was also looking for Marsala Wine to make a Chicken Marsala recipe. Um, can’t find that one either.  And it’s not like the wine selection is some tiny little section, we’re talking bazillions of choices here.  Now being the total geek that I am, I pull out of my phone and Google this wine, and it says NOT to substitute in Chicken Marsala, that is the equivalent of substituting a lemon for an orange.  Gosh, okay.  Finally, I find someone to ask.  She says that Marsala wine is in the cooking aisle, like where the vinegars are located.  I would never have known that.  The internet bloggers say not to substitute Marsala wine, but this bottle says Marsala ‘Cooking’ wine.  I decided it would just have to do – and this wine thing is exhausting.

Now it’s a good thing i’m in this aisle because the third thing on my list was ‘Rice Wine Vinegar’.  Not one single bottle had those exact words, but I found some that simply said ‘Rice Vinegar’.  Surely that is the same, yes?  It must be…. but I’m a literal kind of person.  I take instructions literally.  When I am doing or making something new, I follow the directions carefully, so as to learn.  It bugs me when the information is either vague, unclear or just downright wrong.  In my vinegar paranoia, I ask a stranger to confirm that ‘rice wine vinegar’ is indeed the same as ‘rice vinegar’.  After all, I’ve never bought such a thing in my life.  She was so rude … and condescending.  Yet in her ruffled irritation, I deduced that yes it must be the same, and moved on.

Now where are the spices ?  Ah yes, here they are.  I find the spice aisle.  I need something called ‘Red Pepper Flakes’.  Um, okay – I have red pepper at home, but it does not say flakes on the bottle, so might as well find what they ask for in the recipe.  Um, no bottle in this store says that either.  I found ‘Crushed Red Pepper’, but no flakes.  I decided I did not care at this point, and crushed would work.  But my brain is irritated that I do not have exactly what these things require.  Let it go, mama.  Let it go.

Home sweet home, let’s get cooking.   Now did I mention lately that we’re in the middle of moving?  Surely I did.  So I’ve been packing things up like a maniac.  I now have two brand new wine bottles with corks and NO tools to open them.  None. Where are they?  They are in boxes, buried under other boxes, taped up and stacked in the garage.  Because I’m organized like that.  Um, wasn’t expecting to buy wine I guess.  Oh well.  I’ll improvise.  Yeah – that didn’t work out so well.  Apparently I am not very talented at getting a cork out of a wine bottle with a knife.  Oh but wait, my full blooded Italian neighbor is the cook of all cooks and surely she can help this clumsy mama.  Out I go – knock on her door – she answers and looks at me holding a bottle with the mangled cork.  She laughs.  No words were spoken as she was on the phone speaking Italian, she just took the wine from me and got the thing out with an awesome corkscrew.  No chance to get that mangled cork back into the bottle though.  Oh dear, guess we’ll just have to drink it all up.  NO worries, no waste in my house.

Fast forward … the meals turned out just fine.  Sometimes ya just gotta wing it.   And even though I have been juggling one bamboozled mess after another these last weeks; I will not become unglued over the uncorking of the wrong red wine.

WineCorkBottleMess

The Wrong Red Wine

As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

 

 

Categories: Cooking, ENFP, Food | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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