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.

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.
100_2977
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.
100_2983
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

Stewed Okra w/Tomatoes and Kale

I bought my first okra of the season last week at the local farmers market; the purple and green variety, along with some cherry tomatoes of various hues. See more CUTE veggies here

okra

cherry tomatoes

I didn’t have a plan of action other than stewing together with some onion.

I started with that basic plan and added several cloves of chopped garlic.

sauteed okra

After adding chopped tomatoes, I let it cook on low for a bit to get nice and stewy (not sure that is a word?)

stewed okra and tomatoes

Then I got creative and added some kale that was sitting in the fridge. This mixed right in with the stew-ish-ness of the okra and tomato combo.

kale

I was missing protein and didn’t want meat, so I added some red beans I had pre-cooked and put in the freezer. Not quite sure how this would turn out, I gambled the whole dish on this one additional ingredient.

stewed okra/tomato/kale reciipe

I added some spices: chili powder, paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes.

After a good 20 minutes of low heat stewing, I served over brown rice.

stewed okra recipe

Substantial. Hearty. Healthy. That’s how I would describe this mash-up. What I liked the best was that I got my complex carbs, my greens, and my protein all in one dish. So simple!

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~

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

Intuitive Eating vs Dieting

“Are you GF? Vegan? Do you eat meat? What about fish? Do you use dairy? Are you grain free?” There is an overload of food labels out there and everyone seems to want to claim a certain diet that fits into a neat little box with rules on how to be healthy. That is not always the best thing to do though. We all have different bodies and digestive systems, and our needs are constantly changing.  What works for one person may not work for another, or for that same person at a different time in their life.

I am an “Intuitive Eater”.  I listen to what my body wants/needs and I try to meet those needs in the best way possible. I don’t let myself get so hungry that I reach for anything to satiate me. I eat with my head AND my heart. I take my time to think about the process before making decisions around food or following someone else’s rules on eating. I’ve never been good with rules.

Try this the next time you are craving something: drink a glass of water, take some breaths, think about the hunger; where is it in your body-  is it emotional or physical? If it’s physical, ask yourself what would REALLY satisfy you, not just a quick fix, but a deep satisfaction. I promise if you practice this and have a good supply of real, whole foods available, your body will start giving you clues to eat healthier. The body knows what it needs for optimal health.

The best rules are the ones we create for ourselves

I am still more drawn to a vegetarian diet these days. I have had a bite of chicken here or there and a piece of fish every so often but for some reason my body is responding best to meat free. I’ve been making lots of grains, veggies, and wraps.

veggie wrap

I love these for lunch: WW tortillas, sliced carrots, tomatoes, baby spinach, avocado, cottage cheese, and sunflower seeds.

I also try to eat with the seasons when possible. I take advantage of local farmer’s markets and the offerings from local farms. Strawberry season is almost over and I am devastated. I am truly in love with local homegrown berries!

local strawberries

I would be lying if I said I don’t care about how my body looks as well as how it feels. Rumor has it there is a beach trip in my not too distant future and  I want to keep a lean, strong body that I work hard for. I’ve given up bread with breakfast to lighten my carb intake. I make egg whites with veggies, avocado, and cottage cheese with sunflower seeds.  I don’t even miss the toast with all this great protein.

scrambled egg whites, avocado

Weekday breakfasts are steel cut oats with fruit/nuts/local honey. But this Sunday I had my new waffle iron and couldn’t wait to make waffles!!! I used a 10 grain mix and added vanilla and coconut oil so they were sweet. I separated the eggs and frothed the whites so they had some good fluff to them too! My bf said “I’ve never seen anyone get so happy about a waffle iron”  Here is my first one with berries, bananas, walnuts, and greek yogurt:

belgian waffle

Sigh….such a beautiful way to start a Sunday. This one was definitely from the heart.

Sexy Vegan Fudge Brownies

OMG How can something so healthy be so……delectable?? I love chocolate and when I crave it I really crave it!  I don’t mess around with drugstore candy-  I go for the extra dark, rich, exotic chocolate bars that you find in bookstores or coffee shops. I love the pretty packaging, the interesting names, the intoxicating smell, the thin shape, and the melt~in~your~mouth goodness of just one square.  Nothing else will satisfy me when I need my dark chocolate. Until now….When I tried these black bean brownies I wanted to shout out “YES! It worked! I’m satisfied!”  I get very excited about healthy food.

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe courtesy of whole foods:

black bean brownies

2 cups cooked black beans, 10 medjool dates, 2 tablespoons raw almond butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. I was forced to splurge on a new one after  getting dates and beans stuck in my old one that gave up on me midway.

I bought this perfect size processor this weekend and the world’s best boyfriend bought me a matching waffle iron! Can’t wait to try that next Sunday!

food processor

I had to add a tiny bit of water with the dates and beans because they were really thick. The cocoa powder smoothed it all out.

cocoa powder

Spread mixture evenly in a lightly greased 8×8 baking pan and bake 1 1/2 hours at 200 degrees. I ALMOST messed up and kept my oven at 350. These need to cook low and slow.

brownie batter

Let cool slightly before icing with the following:

I melted 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1/2 vegan chocolate chips (or whatever version you like) to spread over warm brownies

making chocolate frosting

The icing sort of melts into the brownie and gives it a sweet subtle coconut flavor!

black bean brownies

I am in love with these brownies!  Did you know chocolate releases the same hormones that we feel when we’re falling in love? Can that explain why we CRAVE it so much and have an almost worship-like adoration for the dark stuff?  I can’t wait to try these again and add nuts and also experiment more with my new food processor.

black bean brownies with icing

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