Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘quinoa’

Meatless Mondays

Posted by terrepruitt on March 20, 2012

Have you ever heard of Meatless Mondays?  I thought about it when I was talking to my Nia student who is about to go vegan.  Seems as if we always try to make things sound neat or nice.  The double M has a nice ring.  MEATLESS MONDAY.  It is just a tool that someone thought up to help and encourage people to eliminate meat from their diet. I guess the thought process is that people eat meat every night for dinner so one night would be good to not have meat and why not make it Meatless Monday.  I always thought it was just for dinner, but I guess you could have a whole day of non-meat.   The reasons for eliminating meat from the diet range from health to environment.  We don’t have a meatless Monday in our house.  What we have is a oh-snap-I-forgot-to-take-any-meat-out-for-dinner-so-we-aren’t-having-any kind of meatless dinner.  Or sometimes I just decide I am not going to cook meat and I figure something else out.  We do not have meat every dinner.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like meat.  It was a few years after we had been married that my husband gave me the go ahead regarding meatless dinners.  I probably was whining about having meat every night and he said he was ok with not having meat for dinner.  WAHOOO!  That was a happy, happy, happy day for me.  Meat for us primarily consists of chicken breast or ground turkey.  Yes we do have pork every once in a while.  Beef even less often.  But actually more than we used to.  Just not having to have meat every night was so freeing.  Because having that freedom meant to me that we could have less meat.  So sometimes we can still have meat but instead of having a piece of chicken each we can split one.  Since he is ok with not having meat than having less is ok too, right?

But we do have meatless dinners.  Having the added help of quinoa to get a seedy/grainy protein is nice.  Because I am not a fan of beans I usually don’t substitute beans for meat.  Sometimes I do during the summer when we are having a bean salad, but not always.  Sometimes we will just eat soup for dinner.  If we are not having soup or bean salad then we are filling up on a ton of veggies.

Tonight we had a green salad, roasted eggplant, and mushrooms with broccoli thrown over pasta.  It was pretty good. Between the pasta and the mushrooms I am ok with the amount of protein.  We don’t have just pasta every night.  (I took pictures because I actually thought, “Hmm, I might blog about this.”  And they didn’t come out.  I mean my computer is giving me that little question mark in a red box.  Hmmm.  Oh well.  You would have drooled.)

Even though I might be having meatless dinners for other reasons there is still the same benefits that some people are doing it for.  It seems as if it is a “movement” and it is for those that truly do eat red meat every night.  That is probably why when I first heard about it I didn’t really get it, because we rarely eat red meat and we don’t even eat meat every night.  I can see how it can help people that do, although I didn’t know that people did eat red meat every night.

What about you?  How often do you eat red meat/beef?  Do you eat meat every night?  Do you have a Meatless Monday (or one night a week that you plan to not have meat)?

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Leeks Are Awesome

Posted by terrepruitt on February 16, 2012

If you’ve read a few of my “recipes” you have probably figured out one of my go-to meals is ground turkey.  It is so easy to cook with and to make into almost anything, using any flavor.  I cook it with whatever vegetable I have around or new one I want to experiment with.  I usually start by sauteing an onion then I add food accordingly.  I find that most of the time I need to cook at least one of the veggies first.  I feel some vegetables need to be cooked more than turkey, like mushrooms.  But broccoli is one that gets added when the turkey is almost cooked.  My latest veggie to add to my turkey is a leek.  I was in Campbell this weekend signing the studio contract where I am going to have my new evening Nia Class and the city of Campbell has a great farmer’s market.  While I was walking down the aisle I saw leeks and I thought, “I should add that to the turkey.”  So I bought one.  I have never cooked with a leek before.  I was thinking I would saute a little bit of onion then put the leek in then saute it then add the turkey.  But when I chopped up the leek it smelled so onion-y I decided I didn’t need to use an onion.  I mean leeks do belong to the same family as onion and garlic.  After cooking the turkey until it was almost done, I added some broccoli.  When the broccoli was almost done I added a couple of tablespoons of whipped cream cheese with chives.  The leeks have such a great flavor I loved them.  I am going to cook with them more often.

According to WHFoods vegetables in the same family as leeks, such as onions and garlic supply their nutrients better if they sit for about 5 minutes after cutting before cooking.  Furthermore since they all belong to the same family leeks have many of the same health benefits.

Leeks have a lot (over 50% of the daily value) vitamin K.  They also have a large quantity of vitamin A. They contain vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B9 (folic acid). They also have a flavanoid shown in research to help protect our blood vessel linings from damage.  Leeks also contain compouds that convert to allicin and this has been shown to help relax blood vessels by producing of nitric oxide (NO).  With all this good stuff they do for our blood vessels it seems logical they will add to cardiovascular health.

Since leeks are so onion-y for me it will be easy to include them in our diet either cooked right into our food to add an additional layer of flavor and nutrition or even chopped and raw.  We can add them to our kale salads or throw them in with our quinoa.  I am definitely going to add them in my soups.  I think the more vegetables I add to our soups the better.

I really was impressed with the flavor that the leeks add to this dish.  I thought they were amazing!

(I took this picture to post to Streamzoo just to show our dinner fixings.  I didn’t know I was going to post about leeks until I tasted them and loved them.  the leeks are the green things chopped up on the right.)

Do you include leeks in your diet?  How?  Do you cook them?  Do you eat them raw?

Posted in "Recipes", Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Eating Kale – Cooked and Raw

Posted by terrepruitt on February 11, 2012

I have heard about kale chips for I don’t know how long.  I know I have heard about them for a long time.  I had just never gotten around to making them until recently.  After I completey burned beyond salvage, the first batch, I carefully baked the second batch.  I was not impressed.  They were ok, but not something I would actually want to eat enough to make them.  But one of my blog readers, Mike over at Perception is Reality Corner, asked about eating kale raw.  I told him that I had seen information about some nutritional differences between cooked kale and raw kale so that probably means it can be eaten raw.  It is so close to a lettuce (it is considered part of the cabbage family) but it is all the same, right?  I asked him to report back after he had tried it.  He said it was a little bitter, but he liked it.  So on my next trip to the store I bought another bunch of kale.  We have been eating it a lot lately.

With the second batch I bought, I mixed it with a bit of lettuce we had and we ate it in a salad.  It might be bitter raw, but some of the lettuce in the batch was bitter anyway so I couldn’t tell the difference.  I am used to eating lettuce that is bitter so to me it didn’t matter if I was eating bitter lettuce or bitter kale.

dance exercise, Nia teacher, Nia class, Nia dance, Nia workoutAt the store where I have been purchasing the kale it comes in a rather large bunch so I can use a lot and still have a lot left.  My next dish was a bunch of veggies; mushrooms, onions, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, and kale mixed with quinoa.  Because I think quinoa lacks any type of flavor and I didn’t add enough flavoring to the water when I cooked it, I threw some feta on top of this dish to add an additional layer of flavor.  The vegetables were packed with flavor, but not enough to withstand the nothingness of the quinoa.

Next kale dish was left over rice that I cooked with some zucchini and chicken.  I put the kale in last because I don’t like it really soggy.  I like for my leafy greens to still have a little form to them when I eat them.  They might not have any crunch left, but they are not just a soggy green mess on my plate.  This dish was really yummy.  I put a little bit of feta on it and some chopped water chestnuts.  It was so good that my husband was happy I didn’t go out to get bread because I sent the leftovers to work with him for his lunch.  I always talk about when I was “on my home from Nia” because I tend to run all my errands when I am on my way home from my Nia class.  So if I don’t have a class I don’t always get out to the store when we need something.  So breadless, my hubby got our leftovers.  He didn’t mind because it was really good.

Since then I taught a Nia class and I went to the store and bought bread and what?  Yes, MORE kale.  So today when I couldn’t think of what to have for lunch I decided to use up some leftover steak in a sandwich.  I made a sandwich that I cooked in my panni press.  I thought to take a picture, but I didn’t because I wasn’t going to post about it but then . . . here I am.  Anyway,  I put cheese, steak, and a pile of kale in the sandwich.  This was not so great.  While the flavor was good–of course, what wouldn’t be good meat and cheese—I didn’t rip up the kale enough so as I bit the sandwich the kale came out in big pieces.  I was not able to bite through it.  So to fix that, next time I will tear up the kale into little pieces.  But using kale on a sandwich just like lettuce worked.

Then tonight – and this is why I decided to blog about cooking with kale – I added kale to our meal again.  This time I used mushrooms and pasta instead of zucchini and rice.  And it was just as good.  I cook the base vegetable first, the one I want to cook the longest, in this case the mushrooms, then I add the chicken (it was already cooked so I was just warming it), then I rip the washed kale into pieces and toss it in the pan.  I even turn the heat off at this point.

So that is how I am adding another green to my diet.  How about you?  Have you made the kale chips?  Have you eaten it in a salad?  Kale in your pasta?  What are you doing to add kale to your diet?

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Quinoa

Posted by terrepruitt on April 19, 2011

I heard about quinoa awhile ago, but I never actually went ahead and bought some to prepare.  I had never had it.  Today I went to lunch at a friend’s house where she made a beautiful and yummy quinoa salad.  I had heard that this grain-like food was GREAT because it had so much protein.  I’ve heard some people use it in place of rice, pasta, or couscous and I was thinking of doing the same thing.  The way my friend prepared it was awesome.  She cooked it, sautéed some vegetables, made a dressing with cilantro, and tossed it all together.  We also added thinly sliced almonds and dried cranberries.  We ate it warm, but it can be served hot, room temperature, cold . . . . however you like it.  It was very good.  I am happy to have finally tried quinoa.

I don’t understand how they categorize things, but quinoa is more closely related to greens such as spinach than it is to a grain.  We tend to treat it like a grain in the way we cook it and think of it nutritiously, but its scientific classification is, as I said related to spinach and we eat the seed.

According to WHFoods, quinoa is a great source of magnesium which helps loosen the blood vessels so it is a good food for migraine suffers to add to their diet.  Even it is actually a seed, as I said they compare it to a grain when it comes to nutrition so it is thought to have all of the health benefits of a whole grain.  Quinoa is gluten free.

A cup of quinoa has 222 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 cholesterol, 13 mgs of Sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, and 8 grams of protein.  Since it has all nine essential amino acids it is a complete protein.

Even though quinoa has almost twice as much protein and a lot more fiber than white rice, and more than brown rice and couscous, it has much more fat.  A significant amount more.  Here’s some numbers for comparison.

1 Cup of cooked white rice:  calories:  203     fat:  0.4     carbs:  44.1     protein:  4.2     dietary fiber:  LESS THAN 1 gram

1 Cup of cooked brown rice:  calories:  216    fat:  0.4     carbs:  48.1     protein:   5      dietary fiber:  3.5

1 Cup of cooked couscous:    calories:  176    fat:  0.3     carbs:  36.5     protein:   6      dietary fiber:  2.2

I believe it can be a nice substitute for a rice or couscous every once in a while, but I would not consider it as a replacement.  I would like to try it as a breakfast treat with honey and maybe nuts.  I think that would be a good way to start the day. Good protein, fiber, and whole grains.  Quinoa sounds very versatile.  I’ll have to remember to thank my friend again for introducing me to yet another great food.

What about you?  Do you eat quinoa?  How do you prepare it?  How do you eat it?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »