Quinoa Spinach Patties

I found this recipe while doing one of my favorite mindless pastimes- Pinterest! Hard to believe I have found yet another thing to keep me on my computer but unlike other social media, It can be very relaxing and dare I say- inspirational!  I choose to pin healthy recipes, fitness tips, motivational quotes, and cool houses. It’s my little way of relaxing and daydreaming. I have found TONS of great healthy recipes on there.

This recipe is super easy and the end result makes you look like a fancy chef!

quinoa spinach feta patties

I love the thought of protein packed quinoa mixed with dark leafy greens for a great nutritional pairing.

The lemon dill sauce is divine too on other things like chicken or fish.  Prepare sauce before making patties so that it has time to chill and marinate.

Lemon Dill sauce:

1 cup plain greek yogurt

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon fresh lemon

1 tablespoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill

1 clove minced garlic

Mix well and refrigerate.

Quinoa/Spinach/Feta Patties

3 cups cooked quinoa

fluffy quinoa

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

fresh spinach

1/2 white onion

3 garlic cloves

1 egg

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup ww bread crumbs

Cook onion, garlic, spinach in olive oil over low heat until soft.  Add to cooked quinoa and bread crumbs.

Add one beaten egg and feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Shape quinoa mixture into small balls and press lightly into pan to form patties. Mine were a little bigger than a golf ball.

Let cook until golden on each side.

Serve warm topped with sauce.

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Homemade Energy Bars

I haven’t bought an energy/power/protein bar from the store in years. OK, maybe a stray lara bar earlier this year because of an emergency, but that’s it. The marketing and packaging lead you to believe these bars are healthy and good for you, but one look at the ingredients and it’s obvious that’s not true. Check out the ingredients listed for the “Power Bar”:

GLUCOSE SYRUP, RICE AND SOY CRISPS (RICE FLOUR, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, ALKALIZED COCOA), CHOCOLATE FLAVORED COATING (SUGAR, FRACTIONATED PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA, WHEY, NONFAT MILK, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL FLAVOR), WHOLE OATS (CONTAINS WHEAT), ROASTED PEANUTS, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, OLIGOFRUCTOSE (FROM CHICORY ROOT), PEANUT BUTTER (PEANUTS ,SALT), RICE CRISPS (MILLED RICE, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY), INULIN (FROM CHICORY ROOT), VEGETABLE GLYCERIN, AND LESS THAN 2% OF: CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SOY LECITHIN, SUGAR, NATURAL FLAVOR, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT, GROUND ALMONDS, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), FERROUS FUMARATE (IRON), BUTTER (CREAM), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2).
That is not what I call healthy, clean, or powerful.
I made these oat-y, seed-y, fruity bars the other night from a recipe adapted from the kitchn. I changed it slightly because I wanted to add more ingredients.
Mix in a small saucepan: 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup brown rice syrup, 1/4 cup coconut oil. Stir well over low heat until blended.
brown rice/peanut butter
Remove from heat and add 1 and 1/2 cup apple sauce,  2 tablespoons ground flax seed (I used flax meal), 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well.
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In a separate large bowl combine:
3 cups whole rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 pumpkin seeds
1/2 sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
oat bars
All of these dry ingredients can be adjusted to your taste. Be Creative! I chose to also add:

shredded coconut
cinnamon
cacao nibs
chia seeds
homemade granola bars
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly and spread evenly in a greased  8×8 baking pan.
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Bake at 325 for 40 minutes.
chocolate covered granola bars
I wanted a little extra something on these so I melted some organic chocolate chips on top and spread with a knife. Not enough to cover them, but enough to get my daily chocolate fix in a healthy way! Check out my recipe for homemade protein balls here!
homemade energy bars

Mediterranean Wheat Salad

This is the first time I’ve made anything with bulgur wheat since I’ve been experimenting with different grains. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m happy to say I’m a big fan of the nutty, crunchy texture and the simple preparation. Traditional tabouli is made with these grains and I wanted to do something like that but not quite that.

I created my own version of this popular greek and mediterranean dish using mostly the same ingredients

tabouli

Soak bulgur wheat in boiling water- 1 part grain 2 parts water. I used one cup of wheat, 2 cups boiling water. Allow to sit until all water is absorbed. About 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop up fresh tomato – I used some cute heirloom green and dark red guys

herbs and tomatoes

1/3 white onion

3 cloves garlic

And a good bunch of fresh herbs. I picked what looked fresh and green on my patio: Parsley, Orange-Mint, and Basil. Mince to make about 1/2 cup or more to taste.

chopped fresh herbs

Mix together with grains after they have completely absorbed the water and cooled.

Add 1/3 cup olive oil and the juice of 1 fresh lemon

fresh lemon

Toss in 1/3 to 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles

bulgur wheat salad

Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir well and refrigerate before serving

mediterranean salad

Such a cool, refreshing, light salad for summer. I love the combination of the different herbs. I thought about adding chopped nuts or raisins but had to stop myself from over-doing the simplicity of this salad. There’s always a next time……

I am going to use bulgur wheat a lot more. I get tired of brown rice and oatmeal and am enjoying trying different whole grains like buckwheat, oat groats, black rice, wild rice,  and now wheat bulgur. Next stop: Amaranth!

Be sure to visit my new website CreateWholeHealth for more information on healthy eating and lifestyle!

Coconut Thai Legumes

After weeks of eating meat and upping my protein intake every chance I can I’ve hit a wall. I’m craving my simple vegetarian meals that I ate all throughout the winter. The stews, soups, and slow-cooked meals that kept me warm. It’s only August so there is still a lot of hot weather left but today I wanted warmth. I stopped at my favorite natural foods store for some hot soup for lunch and it inspired me to want to cook tonight.

I made this very simple but hearty bean stew. I kept throwing in different ingredients and flavors until it turned into something sort of thai flavored. It’s also high in protein so I don’t have to worry about getting off track with that. It’s just nice to have a break from chicken breasts every so often.

Lentils and Chickpeas go so well together and luckily I had both!

coconut lentils

1 cup dried red lentils

3 cloves garlic

1/3 white onion

1 can coconut milk

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can tomato stewed sliced tomatoes

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup broccoli florets (I used frozen)

2 tablespoons fresh basil

1 tspn red pepper flakes

1 tblspn curry

½ teaspoon turmeric

salt/pepper

Saute chopped onion and garlic in coconut oil Add dry lentils and 1 cup water. Cover and let simmer 15-20 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add tomatoes with juice, coconut milk and spices. Cover and let simmer on low 5-8 minutes Add fresh spinach, broccoli and basil. Stir well, turn off heat, cover and let steam 10 minutes.

Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or basmati rice

~www.createwholehealth.com~

Amazing Buckwheat Waffles

This Sunday is my last Sunday to post to WordPress so please be sure and sign up by email if you’re not already to keep getting my lovely posts delivered to you. My new website will be up very soon and this blog will continue there!

Last night I did something I haven’t done in a very long time- I stayed out late. I was shocked to see how many people were out at midnight running around, dressed up, full of energy, and mostly drinking. How quickly I’ve forgotten that lifestyle. I am so happy when I get to go to bed early! This morning started slowly and I was craving something hearty so I made these buckwheat waffles. I was SO HAPPY with how they turned out- thick, fluffy, and grainy- just how I like them.

buckwheat waffle

I started with 1/2 cup of whole buckwheat in the blender until finely ground. Add 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, cinnamon.

To the dry ingredients I added: 1 egg, about a cup of almond milk, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 tablespoon honey. It was still thick so I added a smidge of olive oil and a few drops of water.

They took a long time and a lot of steam was coming out of the waffle iron so I knew they were going to be nice and dense. I topped with my usual fruits, organic syrup, walnuts, and greek yogurt.

buckwheat waffles

Was this enough of a Sunday breakfast though? Where was the protein?

I whipped up an 8 egg omelette with chicken, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese. I used feta and sprinkled cheddar on my man’s since he is lifting heavy and wanting to add calories.

cheese omelette

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I ended up only eating half of my waffle because they were so thick and dense. Next time I will make a smaller size rather than filling the whole iron with batter.

buckwheat waffles

I work with some people who are afraid of grains and carbs. They think “This will make me fat” or “Carbs will lead to weight gain” but nothing could be further from the truth. Simple carbs like sugar, processed foods, crappy packaged snacks, and diet food will do that but not good quality whole grains and vegetables. Whole grains are fiber and keep us feeling full! Carbs are fuel that we need for energy. Energy = Movement = Calories burned and muscles built.

Don’t be afraid to try new grains in your diet. The caramel colored “whole wheat” bread in most grocery stores just doesn’t cut it. Some of my favorite whole grains are buckwheat, oat groats, steel cut oats, whole oats, brown rice, and quinoa.

Natural Naked Beauties

OK I used the title to get your attention, but real food really excites me! Especially right now when all the produce is so boastfully and beautifully displayed. Wearing no stickers, labels, or plastic wrap; they proudly sit, unabashedly baring themselves for us to admire. And I do.

The market this week was so beautiful with ripe, local produce that I wanted to buy one of everything. But I am leaving town and that wouldn’t be a good idea. I did, however, get my blueberries and a couple cucumbers which I knew I would eat quickly.

homegrown cucumbers

I am reminded how nature always knows what’s best for us and what we need- if you follow her, you will never have to over-think how to be healthy.

A bright rainbow of colors gives us all the nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins we need- no supplements necessary!

peppers and tomatoes

This is the time of year when just about everything is bursting with “readiness”- Do you feel that way at all? Our bodies and energy are meant to be one with the seasons and now is the time to show off your ripeness like these beautiful juicy blackberries-

local blackberries

It’s the season to relax and enjoy life’s offerings without caring so much about perfection- like these beautiful heirloom tomatoes, imperfectly perfect

heirloom tomatoes

Summer provides us with balance to the heat with these cooling greens and refreshing herbs- we can also find balance emotionally by enjoying quiet downtime amidst the sometimes overheated pitta energy of summer. The greens below are amaranth, the seed can be eaten as well like millet or quinoa.

cooling summer greens

And summer has special things that we don’t get other times of the year, like this okra. I try to enjoy it as much as possible before the season is up. Check out my recipe that was featured on “Freshly Pressed” I think they are tiny works of art!

okra

Summer is a great time to experiment with new produce and to try out new cooking techniques. Keep it simple and make it about the vegetable, not the “add-ins”. Simple steaming, grilling, or gentle sauteing is usually all that’s necessary.

What is your favorite summer fruit or vegetable?

Chilled Quinoa Pesto Salad

This might be my new favorite thing to eat this summer!  I stumbled onto it accidentally, or actually because of a rabbit….

I had purchased a beautiful basil plant and put it on my back patio with great excitement at watching it grow and thrive during the long summer months. 2 days later I awoke to an empty pot with no evidence of any plant other than all of the leaves being left on the ground around it. A rabbit had come and eaten all of the stems and conveniently left me with the soft fresh leaves. What else could I do but make pesto?

I stuffed the washed leaves into my food processor-

fresh basil pesto

I added olive oil,

basil and olive oil

walnuts, and fresh garlic cloves and blended on high speed. Done!

walnut basil pesto

Nothing tastes as good as fresh homemade pesto! It can be stored in an airtight container or frozen in ice cube trays for later use.

homemade pesto

For the salad I cooked 2 cups of quinoa after rinsing the grains thoroughly. I added a scoop of fresh pesto and halved cherry tomatoes that had been marinating in balsamic vinegar and chopped basil (Thanks again bunny!)

quinoa pesto salad

After blending well,  I added feta cheese and raw cashews for more protein. I snipped some fresh parsley and threw that in too-

quinoa pesto salad

Let chill in refrigerator for more flavor- stir well before serving and garnish with fresh basil!

pesto quinoa salad

I have been eating this straight out of the fridge with a spoon! It’s so refreshing! I did end up buying a new basil plant and placing it high up on a table out of the way of any visitors who think my herb garden is a salad bar!

container herb garden

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