Thursday, March 14, 2013

Curried Quinoa with Spinach and Goji Berries - Gluten-free and Vegan

Curried quinoa with spinach and goji berries were a great side dish for lunch yesterday.  I cooked up some fluffy quinoa and flavoured it with grated fresh ginger (I grated a slice of frozen ginger and it turned out great), turmeric powder, coconut oil, curry powder, cumin, coriander and no-salt seasoning (e.g. Mrs. Dash).  The dish needed a bit of colour, so I added some thawed frozen chopped spinach and soaked goji berries. I was inspired by a simple red lentil dahl recipe from the book Digestive Wellness.  Instead of lentils, I used quinoa.  

I threw this together at lunchtime.  I like my flavours mild, but if you like spicier or more stronger flavours, please feel free to double or triple the amounts of spices and seasonings.  I am watching my sodium, so I used no-salt seasoning (e.g. Mrs. Dash) instead of salt.   

If the quinoa mixture is too dry, you can add a little extra water or liquid from the soaked goji berries.  I think a little vegetable broth, orange or apple juice would be nice too.  

Curried Quinoa with Spinach and Goji Berries - Gluten-free and Vegan
2 servings

1/2 cup rinsed quinoa + 1 cup water (or 2 cups cooked quinoa)
2 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (I grated frozen ginger)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp no-salt seasoning (or salt and pepper to taste)
1/4 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach, drained
2 Tbsp soaked goji berries*
optional:  1-2 Tbsp water or liquid from soaked goji berries, if quinoa mixture is too dry

*More ideas for add-ins:
- raisins, chopped apples, chopped mango, diced bell pepper, green onions, fresh spinach, parsley, cilantro, etc.  

Cook quinoa according to the package (In a medium pot, bring 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa + 1 cup water to  a boil and simmer for 15 min, turn off heat and let stand for 5 min).  

When the quinoa is cooked, mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Enjoy!

- Adapted from Digestive Wellness Book:  Melody's Dahl

What I ate for lunch:  3 oz chicken breast topped with tomato/spinach/coconut milk sauce, curried quinoa, a large green salad and sauteed sugar snap peas.  
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Italian Style Turkey Meatballs with Flaxseed - Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free

I am very happy with how my Italian style turkey meatballs turned out.  Hubby loved them so much, I made these two nights in a row!  Ground lean turkey meat is normally very dry, due to its low fat content.  Unlike conventional meatball recipes, I used a magic combination of ground flaxseed and water instead of breadcrumbs and egg to bind the meat together for a moist, soft meatball.  I also add ground flaxseed to my hamburger patties too. 

I quickly pan-fried the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned and cooked.  I used a 1" ice cream/cookie dough scooper and dropped each meatball onto the hot frying pan without getting my hands dirty.  Note:  the uncooked turkey mixture is very soft but cooks up beautifully.      

I topped them with a tomato spinach sauce with coconut milk.  Hubby LOVED these and he normally prefers the classic all-beef Italian style meatball.  

Italian Style Turkey Meatballs with Flaxseed - Gluten-free, Dairy-free and Egg-free

1lb lean ground turkey
3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
3 Tbsp water
1 clove garlic, grated or chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried basil or 1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp salt or no-salt seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl, and combine with your hand or mixer. (I used my KitchenAid mixer.)   Form into desired sized meatballs.  Turkey mixture is very soft.  

Preheat pan on medium-high heat with about 2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil.  Pan-fry each side for 2-3 minutes until browned and cooked.  Serve with your favourite sauce.  

Dinner tonight:  Italian style turkey meatballs and spaghetti squash smothered in a hearty tomato-spinach-coconut milk sauce.  Served with a huge green salad and sauteed kale with garlic and ginger.  The kiddies enjoyed their turkey meatballs with cheese tortellini and sauteed kale.  
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Carrot Apple Coconut Muffins

Another Snack Day approaches for Nessa tomorrow and I decided to make Carrot Apple Coconut Muffins from Weelicious.  It is such a great resource for healthy snacks and meals for toddlers, babies and the whole family.   

To make life easier, I used my Cuisinart food processor to grate the carrots and apple.  Earlier today, I used it to make some roasted garlic and sundried tomato hummus.  

This recipe makes 30 mini-muffins but I made 24 mini muffins (as per my mini muffin pan) and 6 regular sized muffins. After filling my mini muffin pan, I used the remaining batter to fill 6 regular sized muffins in 4 oz custard ramekins lined with paper muffin liners.  

Carrot Apple Coconut Muffins
makes 24 mini muffins + 6 regular sized muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
  •  (I used 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1/3 cup wheat germ + 2 Tbsp flaxseed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used 1/3 cup sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 carrots, peeled & grated, about 1 cup
  • 1 apple, peeled and grated, about 1/2 cup (gala, fuji, pink lady or red delicious are good choices)  (I forgot to peel my apple.  I ended up with 1 cup grated apple with great results)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine.  
  2. Mix in the grated carrots, apple and coconut.   Place 1 tbsp of batter into greased mini muffin tins.  Bake mini muffins for 10-15 minute.  Regular sized muffins for 15-18 min for until toothpick comes clean.  Serve.

- Adapted from Weelicious:  Carrot Apple Coconut Muffins

My youngest couldn't wait to get her hands on one!  It was a hit!!  Hubby and the kids approved of this recipe (even when I used a blend whole wheat flour/wheat germ/ground flaxseed instead of all purpose flour).  The kiddies ate 2 mini muffins each and wanted more.  I had to hide the rest to bring for Snack Day tomorrow! 

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Green Juice or Smoothie: Kale, Spinach, Celery, Cucumber and Apple

I have been reading so many health benefits regarding juicing and smoothies.  Why drink my calories when I can enjoy eating food and I have a good diet?   Then I read more about how juicing and smoothies can help supplement a well rounded diet and it is considered a beauty ritual for better skin.  

I used my 10-year old KitchenAid blender.  I do not own a juicer nor do I have a fancy $500 high speed blender.  When I found this tutorial on how to make juice with a blender and then strain it, I had to try it!   

Since I have a regular blender, I diced all my fruits and veggies.  I snipped the kale and spinach with kitchen scissors as small as I could. I wasn't sure if my blender was powerful enough to pulverize and liquify the kale and spinach.  A high speed blender would not require the extra step of chopping the fruits and veggies this small.  

I wanted to pack as much "green", nutrient dense fruits and veggies as possible.  Most recipes call for a handful of this and that, which mean that they are forgiving recipes.  As this is my first juice/smoothie recipe, I decided to write down exact measurements so I can repeat the same drink if my results were fabulous.  I am so glad I am writing it down now!

I made this as a juice.  I blended everything to a smoothie and passed the contents through a jelly bag and squeezed the pulp dry (I had about 2 Tbsp of dry pulp).  If you do have a regular blender, put the coconut water first, then the leafy greens and diced fruit/vegetables afterwards.  The leafy greens get blended better.  After the first sip, I was amazed how delicious, fresh and sweet a combination of kale, spinach, celery, cucumber and apple turned out.  Almost too sweet. 

Green Juice or Smoothie:  Kale Spinach, Celery, Cucumber and Apple
Make 1 serving, about 3/4 cup juice

1/4 cup (2 oz) coconut water, unflavoured/unsweetened
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup diced apple
1/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup crushed ice (optional) 

Blend until smooth.  For a smoothie, pour into a glass.  For juice, strain in a jelly or nut milk bag.  Discard or re-use the leftover pulp in baking or cooking. 

- Adapted from GetFitEatRight: Green Smoothie: Kale, Spinach, Celery, Cucumber, Apple

 I had to serve this in a martini glass.  The juice was so delicious and pretty.  Each sip was savoured.   

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