Quinoa is a delicious grain that is high in protein, low GI and so good for you! It is now freely available in the health food section of your supermarket or health food shop. Quinoa cooks a lot like rice, in fact I’ve been told it’s really easy to cook in a rice cooker covered with a fingernail length of water (although I actually have never tried to cook it this way). I love having quinoa as a sweet porridge for breakfast (will post this recipe in coming weeks) and I especially love having it with chicken and veggies for lunch.
Here is a yummy Quinoa recipe to try…
Chicken and Vegie Quinoa
You will need:
1 cup Quinoa
Half a sweet potato
Half a head of broccoli
A handful of precooked chicken (see finger lickin chicken post)
A small amount of feta
Juice of a lemon
Some chilli/chilli flakes/ sambal to taste
Cook the quinoa by adding 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water and a squeeze of lemon. When the water boils turn the heat down, it will take about 10-15 mins. You might need to add more water if it goes dry – keep an eye on it.
In the meantime, chop the veggies into fine dice and steam. If ‘steaming’ sounds too complicated you can cook them for a couple of minutes in a saucepan of boiling water (I would do sweet potato for a minute, add the carrots for a minute and broccoli for just under 2 minutes.) They should be vibrant in colour so make sure you don’t overcook. Drain veggies.
Add veggies, chopped (pre-cooked) chicken and lemon juice (to taste) to the saucepan with the quinoa and mix through over a low heat until the chicken is heated. Finally add the finely chopped feta and chilli (if required) and stir through.
This should be enough for 2 servings – you could double it and portion it up for easy lunches to take to work, or it would make a quick and easy dinner too.
So yummy and tasty and HEALTHY!!!
Of course you can experiment with different veggies, different proteins (think tuna, beef, lamb …), maybe drizzle with some yoghurt, stir through some pesto – whatever tickles your fancy!
So it was Andrew’s birthday last week and I was all set to make him a healthy roast lemon chicken for dinner with roasted cauliflower, eggplant and steamed asparagus but he requested my Spicy Lamb Mince instead.
I have been making this lamb mince for years – used to serve it with risotto and toasted flatbreads – so many naughty carbs!!! The way we eat it now it is just as delicious and much healthier served on a bed of mixed salad greens with a dollop of hummus (yummmmo).
In the unhealthier days Andrew’s requests would have been crumbed lamb cutlets fried up and served with fried rice, or takeaway pizza, or a huge creamy pasta or a big burger with the works and fries undoubtedly followed by a big tub of ice cream! For him to request this much healthier meal on his birthday as a celebration meal is an indication of just how far he’s come.
I have added diced eggplant to this recipe as we love eggplant and I am always looking for ways to bulk up a meal with veggies. If you aren’t partial to eggplant just leave the whole eggplant process out – will still be delicious!
I usually double the recipe and freeze half – it’s a great alternative to takeaway to have on hand!
Please try it and let me know what you think – it is seriously yummy!
Spicy Lamb Mince
You will need
2 onions finely diced
1 kg (2 pounds) Lamb mince
1tablespoon olive oil (I love using garlic infused olive oil for dishes like this)
3 cloves garlic (or 3 teaspoons crushed garlic – I love the spiral organic crushed garlic)
2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (can get this from Harris Farm, or delis)
50 g (1/4 cup) toasted pine nuts
Bunch of fresh mint
Good quality store bought hummus (love the PilPel brand – just make sure there are no nasty additives …)
Bag of mixed salad greens (love the baby spinach and beetroot mix from Woolworths)
For the Spice Mix
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground all spice
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried mint
Slice the eggplant lengthways and lay on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt (I use celtic sea salt for this kind of thing – don’t waste your murray river pink salt!) Leave for about 10 minutes. Once your eggplant has started weeping (see pic below) get some more paper towel and wipe the salt and the juices off. Then cut into small cubes and set aside.
Heat up a large pot and add the olive oil. Throw in the chopped onions and garlic. Sprinkle some salt and sauté until transparent. Add the eggplant and toss it with the onion and garlic until cooked through. Add the lamb mince and mix together. When cooked, throw in the spice mix and pomegranate molasses and cook until the flavours come together.
Toss through the toasted pine nuts and the chopped fresh mint and then it’s done!!!
Serve on a bed of salad greens, with a dollop of hummus. It ain’t a pretty dish but it tastes AMAZING!!!!
We have learned so much on our journey so I thought I would sum up the top 10 things that have helped us and share them with you. I will elaborate on these in the coming weeks and of course there is so much more information to share. I do not claim to be an expert in nutrition, and I’m not qualified to give medical advice on such matters. I am simply sharing with you what works for Andrew and I.
Here we go …
- Diet drinks are TERRIBLE! Stop drinking them NOW!!! When we started seeing the food coach Andrew was drinking up to 6 cans of diet coke per day – as soon as he cut it out he noticed a difference on the scales!!!! Drink plenty of water or sparkling mineral water instead. A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime in sparkling water is a refreshing alternative to those nasty chemicals which confuse your body, make you hungry and ultimately inhibit your weight loss. If there is one thing you ever take away from my ramblings it is this!!!
- Sugar is the enemy. When I was growing up we were always taught that fat was the problem when trying to lose weight but in fact good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, and nuts) in moderation are actually really good for you, sugar on the other hand causes lots of problems not least of all weight gain and is hidden in so many foods.
- Eat as cleanly as possible – check the ingredients of food you buy – avoid artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, flavour enhancers, SUGAR and sweeteners. You will be surprised where you find these nasties …
- Enjoy a healthy breakfast every single day!!! Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day – I have always found that eating a good breakfast results in better habits throughout the day.
- Keep eating!!! Not eating will not help you lose weight in the long term! Starving yourself tells your body to hold onto everything in case it never gets food again!!! Rather eat a good breakfast, a decent mid morning snack (containing protein preferably), lunch, mid afternoon snack and dinner. You will be less likely to feel hungry and your body’s metabolism will work more effectively.
- Move!!! Whether it be a brisk walk, light jog, weights session, or a bootcamp your body will love to get moving. I find it much more effective to exercise first thing for many reasons, but it really doesn’t make a difference when you train as long as you get moving! Although at the end of the day most of your weight loss will come down to nutrition, the benefits of those feel good endorphins released when training will make you feel happier, healthier and more inspired to treat your body the way it wants to be treated!
- Preparation is vital to a healthy diet! At the beginning of the week write down a food plan –what are you going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks? When making healthy and delicious meals is it possible to make double and freeze half? Having delicious home made meals ready to go in the freezer will save you from resorting to unhealthy takeaway at the end of a hectic day.
- Drink lots of water (ideally filtered)– at least 2 – 3 litres a day, especially if exercising. Water is everything to our bodies, and you will notice a huge difference when you drink more water if you haven’t been drinking enough. When we are dehydrated we feel tired, lethargic, hungry and unwell. First thing in the morning drink a glass of water with some fresh lemon squeezed in. It is a great detoxer and a refreshing energising start to the day.
- Avoid starchy carbohydrates after lunch. Try and eat dinners that do not contain carbs such as potatoes, pasta, rice and bread. Instead load up on veggies and protein and you will notice a change super fast! If you really feel like you need carbs at night swap the starchy carbs for low GI options such as sweet potato or legumes.
- Get enough sleep!!! We need at least 8 hours sleep a day in order for our bodies to regroup and recharge and not getting enough sleep has been scientifically proven to negatively impact weight loss – with 3 young children sleep is golden in our house!!!
It’s also really important to concentrate on your goal – what is it that you are really seeking to achieve for yourself. It’s much easier to work to specific goal than a vague idea of one. Is it a pair of jeans you want to fit into, a special occasion coming up, an event you want to train for, your fat percentage? Concentrate on working towards that and know that you can do whatever you set your mind to!!!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and I look forward to your feedback, don’t forget to click on the follow tab so that you can follow me via email ….
Have a great week everyone!