A friend sent me this last night and I had to laugh… We always seem to come full circle don’t we? Whether it’s with the change to buying local fruit and veg again from a market, rather than supporting the big supermarkets, or to shopping at the wonderful butchers that are around, we seem to be trying to reestablish a network of great quality fresh food, as well as the way we look at our health and I for one am happy :)
Some of you may know that I have recently started working at a nearby bar whilst studying and today I discovered one of the perks – wine training!
We met at the upstairs bar at 3pm and tried every wine that we sell by the glass and some of the new menu items.. Nice way to spend a cold Tuesday afternoon? Certainly!
Anyway, I came home starving and wanting something hearty and easy and went to the fridge. I don’t follow recipes much so I grabbed a few things, threw them in the pan and voila!
I started with onion, garlic, chopped tomato and some parsley, added a dash of white wine and the mushrooms and let it simmer on a very low heat… Then went in some chilli, dried thyme, tuna and a dash of balsamic to caramelise.. Instead of pasta I used soba noodles and mixed them through once cooked.. All in all a very quick, tasty meal with great health properties :)
Do you make your own pasta sauces??
It has been one of those days in Melbourne where the rain doesn’t abate and the cold gets in through every crack. The kind of day that deserves a hot cup of tea, maybe some Kale and Chorizo soup and a warm blanket. So when my sister came home an hour ago to grab her overnight bag and change her sopping wet shoes before rushing off to a wedding (on a day like this?? yep) I grabbed her carry cup, added a drop of YL Peppermint Essential Oil and topped it up with hot water..
Now i know what you are going to say – is it safe to drink these oils?? And the answer is a resounding yes. The process in which they are grown and distilled is the purest you can imagine and the health benefits show through – one drop of peppermint oil is equivalent nutritionally to 27 cups of peppermint tea.. and the smell.. divine..
Now Peppermint isn’t the best for a cold rainy day i’ll agree – it is cooling to the system, however in our household we use peppermint for everything and after the morning she’d had, I knew it would be comforting. Also, with her driving off into this weather I feel more comfortable knowing she is superdooper alert now as it is brilliant when you are feeling tired. A study at the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint oil increased mental alertness by 28%.
It has the added benefit of being wonderful for the digestive system, and has shown to curb appetite (thus is great sniffed prior to eating to stop overeating and assist with weightloss) and is great for pain – a recent study at the University of Kiel found that peppermint blocked headache pain though its anti-inflammatory actions, so along with its antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-tumoral, anti-parasitic, and respiratory effects its kind of amazing that one simple herb can be an all round healer..
Below is an excerpt from Life Science Publishings: Essential Oils Reference. (My apologies, I don’t have a scanner at the moment :) )
What’s your favourite oil?
Ok, so if you’ve read my quinoa post, you know its good for you, but I said it didn’t taste like much – so i’m sure you’re all inspired (not). Haha
Well this recipe will have you gobbling it up, and will sway even the harshest critic/husband/wife/child.. Because who doesn’t like cheese and garlic??
I found this recipe on my Pinterest travels one day and whilst it has plenty of other ingredients i’m just going to share the basics and let you decide what to have with it..
It can be hard introducing new food items into in a family, and saying ‘it’s good for you’ doesn’t always cut it.. so this way its tasty, whilst still healthy (come on, cheese isn’t that bad).
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Olive oil
This can be made all at the same time, or from leftover quinoa, but its a great way to add flavour in a few simple steps.
I cook my quinoa in the rice cooker – 1 cup to 2 cups of water, but this is easily done in a pot also, and takes around 15 minutes.
Once the quinoa is done, heat a frying pan with some olive oil, toss in some crushed garlic and spoon in the quinoa.. Allow it to soak up the garlicy flavours then grate some parmesan over the top and let it melt through.. And you’re done!
Its that easy.. now just choose what to pair it with – so far I have tried roast veggies like the original post, a chicken fillet and some broadbeans, and plan on trying it with fish next time.. A good handful of fresh herbs wouldn’t go astray either..
I always try and cook extra quinoa so I have some handy in the fridge (it can also be frozen) and I have been known to come home late after uni and eat it as is in all its cheesy goodness.. :)
It’s a great base to build on – what would you add?
Quinoa… It’s good for your right??
Everyone seems to know this but doesn’t know why, nor what to do with it.. It’s fast become one of my favourite foods, partly because it makes me feel like I’m doing something right when I cook with it, and partly because it’s so versatile..
So what is it? Quinoa is a seed that is high in amino acids, fibre, magnesium and a host of other wonderful things.. It comes in black, red and white varieties and all have similar health benefits. It doesn’t have much of a flavour to be honest, but soaks up whatever you put it with, and has a nice texture and bite to it.
Amino acids are what make up protein and there are 9 amino acids that are classed as ‘Essential’ because our body can’t make them – and these are all in quinoa – so if you’ve heard it referred to as a ‘complete’ protein this is why.. Not many other grains/vegetarian options have this profile – most have at least one missing and thus food combining comes into play – but I digress.. (and will post about this soon).
So what do you do with it??
It is really easy to cook, only taking about 15 minutes. One cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water is the ratio needed (obviously extrapolate that out depending on how much you need). Let it simmer in the pot until absorbed, or be lazy like i am now and make it in the rice cooker… Just fluff it up at the end and it will be perfect!
When made like this it can be substituted for the rice in a stir fry, for couscous in a salad, or eaten my favourite way – recipe to follow! :)
Another option – and apparently my sisters favourite – (I asked her what she had to say about quinoa tonight) and she said: Its good in soups. And it certainly is.. we always throw some in (say quarter to half a cup) while its bubbling away and it will help thicken the soup slightly, add some protein, as well as a great texture.
It also makes a great breakfast option – stay with me, I know we have been talking savoury – but you can cook it with milk (or cook it with water as above), then add coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, almond milk – you get the drift, along with berries, nuts, compotes etc and it will keep you nourished and full through the morning..
When grown it naturally forms a bitter coating, so make sure you wash it prior to cooking – we forgot once and had to throw out the whole pot full :(
As you can see from the photo below it becomes somewhat translucent with a white little ‘tail’ ( or more technically: germ) kinda thing wrapped around..
Here is a recent salad where I added lentils as well, and chopped up fresh herbs and salad.. that recipe to come soon too :)
Whilst writing I came across an interesting site about the health benefits associated with quinoa – and how it is helpful to migraine sufferers, and its role in reducing cardiac disease.. if you’re interested have a read..
How do you use quinoa?