Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Trying new things

Lemon Talapia served over Tomato Leek Quinoa photo via iPhone :)

Last night I took a small adventure. With Ella serenading me & apron on, I braved the waters of "let's see if Chris will like this" & began cooking a most fabulous dish. When cooking fish or chicken, my usual sides consist of rice & vegetables....Very normal, safe choices. Right? Right. Well for those of you who are like me, who like to mix it up but struggle with the energy to do so, this recipe will be great for just that. Do you like rice but want to make something else, something healthier & don't know what? Do you need a dish that is quick, easy, & healthy? [don't we all?] There are many other options as far as grains go, such as CousCous etc. My healthy gem? QUINOA. Quinoa, once called the "gold of the incas" is a south american miracle. Many confuse it for a grain, but this seed is actually more closely related to ...spinach! Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. In other words: you can eat this all by itself, no meat or fish & have all the protein you need (vegetarian & vegan friendly). A $5meal my friends!


Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. It is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Now that you've read all that, you are probably thinking there's a catch right? There is a reason I haven't seen this on every menu etc. If it's that healthy for you, why aren't more people eating it? No catch. It's quick & easy to make, affordable, & yummy. If you already make it, here's a fabulous recipe packed with vegetables for you to add to your collection. If you don't, I highly recommend you give it a shot. I mean, look how good for you it is! We only have one body, let's take care of it & feed it nourishing, healthy foods.

*note: this was my very first experience with Leeks & I was very hesitant, but for the sake of the adventure I did it & loved them!

Tomato Leek Quinoa

adapted from Bon Appétit

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups quinoa

2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only), about 3 medium-sized leeks
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-size tomatoes, seeded, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Mix quinoa, 2 cups water, and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is just tender and water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. [or see package directions if provided] Set aside.

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add broth and cover. Simmer until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa and oil, stirring until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, onions, basil, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Healthy food makes me Happy



  1. Yum! I'm definitely going to try this one. Like you, I have also been trying to be adventurous lately in my cooking. I found this great Rachael Ray recipe for Southwest Turkey Burgers. She makes them a little too spicy for me so I toned them down a bit, and I didn't add bacon like she suggested, but they were DELICIOUS! Jason loved them. Google it on You have to try it! A fabulous alternative to traditional beef hamburgers.

  2. Yum! Thanks Jess I'll definitely check it out!! We can be adventurous together!

  3. Oh my gosh, I was JUST going to blog about quinoa!!! How funny is that? I just discovered it last week and am in love! I didn't realize just how good it is for you though. I love that it has everything packed into a tiny, delicious package! I am obsessed with it. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I am going to try this recipe tonight!

  4. yay! i've been cooking quinoa for a while, but it's always kinda bland, but i make the family eat it anyway. i am soooooo going to try this this week.