Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quinoa Patties

Quinoa Patties, Spinach & Salad
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. - Genesis 1:29

These passed the test! Simple ingredients, not many spices, but the quinoa is very flavorful in the best way. yum yum!

If you're a meat eater these would make great crab cakes. Or you could add fish (salmon perhaps?) That was suggested by family members who tried it :)

The patties take awhile to cook so be patient with them. Start them early and keep them warm if you're planning on serving them all at the same time. I wilted the spinach and served the patties on top. The salad pictured is iceberg lettuce and nappa cabbage, with snacking cucumbers and tomatoes. Nappa cabbage is very yummy; goes well in salad. It doesn't have a flavor that's too strong.

To cook them just mix all the ingredients together and plop the patties onto a sprayed nonstick pan and let them cook. I got the recipe from my little T25 recipe book that came with my workouts.

Sidenote - - - if you want to buy it shoot me a comment and I'll get you my BeachBody coach's name so she can get credits. She'd love me forever. And yes, I plan on posting about T25 and exercise in a future post. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Super easy recipe. And quinoa is not hard to find. It's usually in the health food section. Bob's Red Mill brand sells it.  But if you have a health food store nearby you can find it there too.

HOORAY for Quinoa!
Personally, I love quinoa. Some people don't feel the same. But I think it's fantastic, and apparently other people do too; The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa."  - taken from The World's Healthiest Foods website

Did you know?! That quinoa is not actually a grain. It's actually "a member of the same food family that contains spinach, Swiss chard, and beets."

Quinoa apparently does not oxidize as quickly as people might expect; it is higher in heart healthy fats but these fats are not broken down when the grain is cooked. It is also high in fiber.

Unlike most grains, quinoa is able to serve as a complete source of protein because it has two important amino acids which other grains do not. It also seems to help as an inflammatory; at least in animal studies. It would seem that the anti-inflammatory properties are more present when the grain is not soaked before cooking.

 It has more calcium than milk! Just more proof that you don't NEED to drink milk. And neither do your kids.

Ciara's Health Snippet of the day!
If you know me very well at all you may know that I love a good quote. Here's one by Ellen G. White who had much to say about our physical and spiritual health. 

“Never cheat the stomach out of that which health demands, and never abuse it by placing upon it a load which it should not bear. Cultivate self-control. Restrain appetite; keep it under the control of reason.”Counsels on Health, p. 156.

1 Corinthians 9:27 - But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Eating healthy and disciplining ourselves does not always come naturally. Especially when we are bombarded on all sides by the product-pushing media and fast food on every corner. It's NOT easy! I've been there. Sometimes we feel like it requires so much will power! But there is more to it than will power. Highly flavored and fatty foods actually act as drugs with addictive properties. "It changes our mood and it impacts on the chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain in a similar way to alcohol, nicotine and cocaine..." Children especially "develop very strong learned preferences - junk food can become a psychological addiction". (Toxic Childhood by Sue Palmer)

So we really are fighting a battle here. But Galatians 5:16 says "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh". If we ask God to help us grow and learn how to walk by the Spirit, He will follow through with His promise that we will not gratify the desires of flesh.


Quinoa Patties

3/4 cup Cooked Quinoa
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 tsp. flaxseed (or chia seeds)
salt; to taste and pepper
1 large egg

Mix ingredients all together. Cook patties on a sprayed nonstick pan for about 2 minutes. (they take awhile to cook. I let mine cook longer to brown them well).

Serve on wilted or raw spinach.

Thank you to World's Healthiest Foods for all my great quinoa information!

They also have a great list of healthy recipes - click here!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Veggie Spring Rolls

Veggie Spring Rolls, yes please! ... and a snippet about fats...

The beauty of spring rolls is that you can change them up and make them different every time. All you have to do is change the insides and the dipping sauce. You can even make them with meat or eggs if you like. It really doesn't matter what you put inside. Just pick what kinds of veggies you like, chop them up, add a little seasonings and put them in the wrappers. 

These are actually quite fun to make and not as hard as they look. The hardest part is the hardest part of making a salad; chopping all the vegetables. After you've mixed everything together you just eat them raw with a dipping sauce of your choosing.

They pair nicely with wild rice or even a salad. I didn't really eat anything else with them as they were enough for me.

You can make them with or without the noodles that most recipes call for. I like the noodles. There are many different kinds you can choose.
Rice Noodles
Asian Vermicelli noodles
Glass Noodles
Soba noodles (made from buckwheat)
You could probably even make them with regular pasta noodles or quinoa noodles.

About rice wraps & filling them:
Here's the thing about rice wraps. It takes a few tries to get it right. Here's the trick; have a hand towel ready, soak one wrap at a time for shorter than the package says. Usually about 5-10 seconds is long enough but you can play with it. 

Soak it in warm water; the texture will slowly disappear, take it out and lay it on your hand towel; pat dry. Lay it on a plate and fill the wrap on one side with about 1 tablespoon of filling and the same amount of noodles. Be careful not to let it stick to itself.

Fold one side of the wrap over the fillings and then take the other two sides, fold them in, and then finish rolling the wrap to completion. The rice wrap will stick to itself and close.

Here's a nice tutorial on how to roll wraps. Their pictures are also much nicer than mine :)

Ciara's Health Snippet of the day!        THE BRAIN & FAT
Here's an interesting fact about trans-fats. God designed our bodies to need fats. In fact, the brain is a fatty organ; it's almost two-thirds fat! Which means that it requires fats in order to function properly. People call it lubrication. The brain must be properly lubricated in order to function properly. Just like a car or any piece of machinery, it needs a certain type of oil. Also just like a machine, if you give it the wrong type of oil it can gum up the system. 

The brain requires essential fatty acids. The human body cannot produce these fatty acids and therefore we must eat them. To me this says that God wants us to eat! He wants us to enjoy foods and even to enjoy certain fats. Here's the interesting part, he created these special fats that we need in vegetable form! Usually when we think of fats we think of animals, cake and oil... but the most important fats come from vegetables. 

Omega 3 is a big deal to the brain. Walnuts have plenty of omega 3, as do chia seeds and hemp hearts. That's why I sprinkled chia seeds in my spring roll filling mixture *winky face* !

So what's this talk about the trans-fats then?

Trans fats are man-made fats. They are the hydrogenated oils. The fats that are found in your twinkies and little debbies and all sorts of other packaged products that you would never even know where there unless you read the packaging. 

So why are they bad? Because they actually INHIBIT brain function. Healthy fats lubricate the brain and help it run properly. They help you concentrate and think. Potato chips actually stop your brain from working the way it should. 

This is an even bigger deal for kids because omega 3 deficiency is linked to distractibility and learning difficulties.

I know this snippet has gone on a long time and I didn't mean for it to, but I just get so excited about sharing this stuff that I can't stop! I just have one more thing to add... omega 6. In the past, back before all this processed boxed food was available people ate a balance of omega 6 and omega 3. This is a healthy balance. Omega 6 fats generally come from animals and dairy products. However nowadays people eat way more omega 6 fats than they do the 3s. Because of this our systems have malfunctioned and we are getting sicker faster and more dramatically. 

Go veggie. At least do your best to eat less meat. The more you try the easier it gets. I haven't even given up meat completely. But I don't eat it often. And make SURE you eat some walnuts regularly. And look into chia seeds and hemp hearts and other forms of that all important OMEGA 3!!!    

I googled veggie spring rolls and found this website; Two Peas and their Pod. They have a nice typical spring roll recipe. They also have a nice recipe for peanut sauce that they claim is delicious. I didn't try it but I'm sure it's wonderful. It doesn't look too hard either. You can choose to make your own or you can buy some pre-made sauces in the oriental section or anywhere else. As you can see from the picture we chose an Indian curry sauce which was very good. And this particular brand was very healthy; with no additives or extra garbage that so often comes in pre-made canned items.


Veggie Spring Rolls
Things you'll need for this insides:

1/2 sweet potato or 2 carrots; sliced into matchsticks or grated
cilantro or basil - add as much as you prefer (chopped up)
Spinach or romain lettuce about 1.5 cups - chopped
1 green or red pepper - sliced into matchsticks 
1 cucumber - sliced

Rice wraps of some kind 
Asian rice vermicelli noodles - or any type of noodley item. 

Cook the noodles separately. 
Add the mixed veggie insides together 
Soak the ride wraps per box instructions (see above for details)
Wrap everything up in the wrap and set aside (also see above for details)

Serve with a dip. Enjoy!

Go ahead. Eat another one. They're healthy & guilt free!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tofu Rancheros

Hooray for Tofu Rancheros!

"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" 
- 3 John 2 

These were delicious! I've had them with real eggs but Mom and I wanted to give them a try with tofu. 

Before I begin, let me share with you a little Ciara Health Snippet of the day...

TOFU! Tofu is a great source of protein. Most people already know this. A lot of people don't know how to cook it or what to do with it. It does have a weird texture. But the good news is that it takes up any flavor that you put into it. 1/2 cup of Tofu contains 10 grams of protein. If you ate a whole cup you'd be half way to your total amount needed for the day (46 grams for women, 56 for men... according to About.com.) Check out that link to find out more about tofu. 

For 100 calories you get a lot more protein than 100 calories of ground beef. Plus, ground beef has a lot of bad fats and animal cholesterol. 

There are a lot of different ways you can eat it. I actually like it a lot so you can count on more tofu recipes from me!

And now! ON TO THE FOOD!

Instead of scrambling the tofu we opted to just cut it into big slices and season them and cook them in a pan to sortof crispy up the outside. We sauteed them with chili powder and garlic salt. You can be generous with your seasonings because the tofu is pretty bland by itself. I'm sorry I don't have pics of the tofu preparation. I was so excited to eat it I didn't think to take preparation pictures!

Step One: cook up your tofu any way you like it. Scramble it up with the seasonings or cut it into slices and crispy the outside. You can use Olive Oil or just water, or a mix of the two. 

Step Two: While tofu is cooking (it may take awhile to get crispified) cut up your cilantro. I just plucked off the leaves and ate them whole. But you can chop them up if you like. Cilantro is my favorite herb so I used a lot of it.

Step Three: warm up your beans

Step Four: top everything on top of your tostada. Tostada, beans, cheese(if you use cheese), tofu, spinach, cilantro, tomato, sour cream.

EAT! Yum! 

Go ahead and eat another because it's so healthy and tasty :)

Tofu Rancheros. Picture complete with orange juice and begging canines.

eating in progress...

By the way...
(Here are some additional Tofu Scramble recipes) 


Tofu Rancheros
What you need:

Tostadas (or tortilla chips)
Tofu (firm or extra firm... but it doesn't really matter how firm)
Pink Beans (or black or any type of bean)

For the Tofu: any seasonings you might enjoy. 
Chili Powder
Garlic Salt
Onion Powder
Tumeric (for color)

Optional or Additional:
Sour Cream
Chia Seeds and Hemp Hearts - sprinkle on top for added brain lubrication bonus!

Sorry, the tofu is missing from the picture. But don' you forget to get it!