Quinoa salad

In Russia we say that the way to man’s heart goes through his stomach.  If that is true, the road to my husband’s heart is paved with vegetarian burritos, pizza, and this quinoa salad.

Quinoa_Salad_WM (1 of 1)

It’s perfect for winters when all you see at the farmers markets are chard and kale.  It’s so hearty, it could be served as your main dish.  We use whatever there is in the fridge – I chop up fresh vegetables that we like to eat raw and top them with cooked ones (doesn’t matter hot or cold). Voilà!

If only I had Dave’s taste buds and didn’t crave a dessert after this….

A very healthy dinner or lunch idea – this salad is a meal on its own

00:55
00:15
00:40

cal Calories 276kcal

High fat Total Fat 14g

Low sat-fat Saturated Fat 2g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

Low sodium Sodium 54mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 34g

Serving size 362g Calories from fat 126kcal Fiber 5g Protein 7g Sugar 7g
6 servings

Ingredients

  • salad
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rainbow quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 strings green onion
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful bean sprouts
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus
  • 2 tbs pine seeds
  • dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Wash brown rice and quinoa. Place the grains in the rice cooker, cover with water, and cook until done.
  2. Chop all the vegetables and cilantro.
  3. Saute or steam the vegetables you want cooked until tender
  4. Once the rice-quinoa mixture is ready, open the lid of the rice cooker and let it cool for just about 5 minutes.
  5. Make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together.
  6. Combine all salad ingredients and toss with the dressing.

Tips

  • This salad has no limits! Don’t waste anything in your fridge. You can use your favorite veggies and fruit, sprinkle nuts or seeds over it, and dress with your favorite salad dressing!

Nopales Salad

Did I mention that we have the bestest neighbors?  If the Awesomest neighbor fixes our food processors and washes our car, the other neighbor feeds us.  This guy is pretty cool even though he has guns. He makes the best nopales salad I have ever eaten!  It is heavenly! I guess it reminds me of the Russian vinegret, though the pickles are replaced with cactus, that has a somewhat salty-sour flavor; black beans are used instead of potatoes and carrots, and Mexican cheese is added for a more delicate flavor – all in all a healthier, more nutritious version.

Our first attempt at making nopales ended up in a complete disaster as we bought unprepared cactus leaves at the farmers market.  Unless you enjoy tedious tasks similar to fish filleting combined with hedgehog petting you will not appreciate dealing with these guys! 

Apparently, they sell dethorned and chopped nopales at Mexican grocery stores – easy, breezy, …easy!

My neighbor encourages to use your own imagination when coming up with ingredients and dressings (in fact I had 3 different versions of his salad and made a couple of different versions myself ).  So, turn your creative side on and enjoy!Apparently, they sell dethorned and chopped nopales at Mexican grocery stores – easy, breezy, …easy!

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NAPALES SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of black beans, soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours
  • 1 large beet
  • 1,5 cups of chopped and de-thorned nopales
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, and chopped
  • 4 oz of queso fresco (Mexican cheese, could be substituted with feta), chopped or crumbled
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4-5 radishes, chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, diced
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and drain the beans, place them into a soup pot, cover with water (about 2 inches of water over the beans), and boil for about 45 minutes until soft. Drain and chill.

Peel the beet and slice it into ¼ inch-thick disks, steam for 10-15 minutes until tender. Let chill for about 10 minutes, and chop the disks into cubes.

Bring 4 cups of water to boil, add a little salt.  Dump chopped nopales into the water, and boil for about 10 minutes.  Drain and wash under cold water to remove all the goo.

Make the dressing: whisk olive oil and vinegar together, add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine all the salad ingredients and add toss them with the dressing.

Serve by itself or with chips or tortillas.

Kale Salad

“Well, if you like burgers give ’em a try sometime. Me, I can’t usually get ’em myself because my girlfriend’s a vegetarian which pretty much makes me a vegetarian. But I do love the taste of a good burger.” 

I don’t even like them, but I was dreaming of a Big Kahuna Burger, as my husband turned all vegetarian on me last weekend.  Our good friend from Denver was visiting, and instead of barhopping with my man every night (like they always do when Jayson flies in), he brainwashed Dave on healthy lifestyle and hit every vegetarian joint in the area.

After long negotiations, we agreed that at least our weekend diet remains unchanged.  However, weekdays are vegetarian.  Ouch!  While mourning my beloved chicken, fish, and occasional beef, I got totally high on ice cream and chocolate. Which I think is a good start to any diet, since I cannot look at chocolate.. nah… more than 4 pieces of chocolate at once.

This Kale salad (Whole Foods recipe) was our first vegetarian dinner.  It turned out tolerable I suppose… The husband ate two bunches of Kale, and I didn’t turn green after eating a bowlful either.  I paired the salad with baked sweet potatoes, which complimented the dish very well. 

Print this recipe

KALE SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bunches kale, stems and tough ribs discarded, leaves very finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seed discarded, cubed
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, chili powder and salt. Add kale and avocado, toss to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Make ahead: this salad will keep well refrigerated in an airtight container for a couple days.

Poppy seed salad

So, last night during my hot yoga class all I could think about was that the French Crapes I made yesterday morning should be renamed to BAD IDEA crapes!  Oh, despite the usual gallon of water and no eating before the class I was dying out there! 

 

Hence, a healthy recipe today.

 

When my husband and I moved in together in (ohm) Taxes, we used to OD on this salad – it’s that good! The mango and strawberries go surprisingly well with steaks.  Now that we are out of TX, the steaks are not served as frequently in our household.  So, here is a vegetarian version.

The secret is in the dressing.  I bought this one at Whole Foods, thought they have them pretty much anywhere, even on Amazon.

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POPPY SEED SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups of mixed greens
  • 1/4 bunch dill, chopped
  • 1 green onion stem, chopped
  • 1/2 mango, cubed
  • 4 strawberries, sliced
  • 2-3 tbs Briannas’ Poppy Seed dressing

DIRECTIONS:

Toss everything together.  Voilà!

Can models eat “Vinegret”?

What a wonderful day!  I think I’m still experiencing aftereffects of the yoga class last night.  We were up for a treat – our instructor (and the studio owner) ran a special class of Flow yoga (still in the hot room).  My entire body feels like new!
I still managed to work out today.  While Lil’ Jem was at school, baby Pea and I took the BOB out for a jog. 

 

By the way, I want to take a moment of your time.  My son goes to this incredible school in Hearing and Speech Center to work on his speech delay.  I am absolutely amazed by their talented, kind, and compassionate teachers.  It takes so much patience and dedication to spend your days working with disabled kids – I wholeheartedly bow to them.   The school is trying to win a big donation ($10k) from PG&E.  Please vote for them if you have a minute.  They truly deserve to win!

 
Now, back to jogging…  Day 2 of diet and workouts is going very well indeed.  Those Victoria’s Secret models’ bodies are so inspirational!  My husband e-mailed me a CNN article about them, here is a passage:

 

“It is important to remember, as with all fashion shows, that what you see on the runway is not what you will see in a store — it’s a projection of desire,” Esquire magazine’s Matt Sullivan said.
These angels aren’t always naturally blessed with the bodies they have. Many of the models follow a strict diet and exercise regimen.Lima admited to The Telegraph that she has been working out with a personal trainer every day since August.
Fast-forward to nine days before the show, and the only thing she eats or drinks are protein shakes made with powdered eggs. Speed up to the final 12 hours, and Lima doesn’t consume a speck of anything — not even water. /For the full article click here/

It wasn’t any less encouraging though.  I’m still as vain as they come! I’m still determined to work those baby pounds off!


With some help from my Healthy Recipes of course!  This one is from my motherland.  Not sure if models can eat it (with all the potatoes and oil), but it’s good enough for me!


I must say, Russians are cool! We ate beets way before they became so chic here!  Almost every holiday dinner had a beet dish, and the today’s recipe is one of the winter to-go salads. It’s called “Vinegret”, and it’s absolutely amazing if you manage to find good (big and juicy) beets.

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RUSSIAN BEET SALAD “VINEGRET”


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large beets
  • 3 mid carrots
  • 3 mid potatoes
  • ½ cup sauerkraut
  • 4-5 pickled cucumbers
  • ½ apple
  • 1 small onion
  • Salt
  • 2-3 tbs sunflower oil (unrefined)

DIRECTIONS:

Boil the beets till soft (about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size).Let cool.
Boil the carrots and potatoes till soft (about 10-15 minutes).  Let cool.
Dice pickles.  Peel, core, and shred the apple.
Finally chop the onion.
Mix all the ingredients and season with salt.


Bon Appetit!

Trim your waistline with yoga and cabbage!

I got my calorie counter in place and ready to roll!  The first challenge on the way to skinny me – bribing my kids with ice-cream this morning to get them smile for the Christmas photographs.  Oh… that ice-cream looked so good!   

And the happy-smiley-looking-at-the-camera-shot:

“You wish, mom”…

Mommy stayed strong and didn’t touch the ice-cream!  The kids won yet another battle – I didn’t manage to get a single image of them both smiling and looking at the camera at the same time!  

So, tonight’s plan is to load the kids on the husband and let them enjoy Russian Story Time (heh heh heh!  With Dave’s 5-word Russian vocabulary it’s going to be interesting…).  Meanwhile I’m going to be making myself gorgeous for 90 minutes at Ocean Avenue Hot Yoga!  The best way to lose 2 lbs in 1.5 hours!   If you never did hot yoga, and interested in trying, here is my  advice.  First of all – drink a lot.  I usually have about a gallon of water throughout the day before the class.  One more tip – don’t eat anything for 1.5 – 2 hours before the session.  With these two tricks it’s almost guaranteed you will enjoy the torture!

Here is a light yet delicious dinner idea for tonight. By the way, I find that LiveStrong.com is an excellent (and free!)  way to help you track your calories!

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HEALTHY CABBAGE SALAD

  • 1 small cabbage, shredded
  • 2 mid carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 mid apple, peeled, cored, and shredded
  • Salt, pepper, sukanat or sugar to taste
  • 1/3 long English cucumber, diced
  • 1/3 bunch cilantro
  • ½ bell pepper
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • 1 lb chicken breast, diced
  • ¼ cup peanuts, slightly crushed
  • Chow Mein Noodles (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the first 3 ingredients with a little bit of salt, sukanat or sugar, and pepper in a large bowl and push with your fist for about 1 min to let cabbage juice.

Add the next 3 ingredients

Make a dressing by combining lemon juice, honey, sesame oil.  Taste it before pouring over to make sure it’s not to sweet or sour, modifying the quantity of ingredients to your taste.

Sprinkle the salad with sesame seeds

Separate the mixture in half.

Pour the first half over the salad and let stand.

Preheat a medium frying pan and grease it with sesame oil.  Sauté chicken pieces on it until browned, add crushed peanuts, mix on the pan for about 30 sec, and pour over the rest of juice/honey/oil mixture.

Serve hot chicken on top of the cabbage salad.

Sprinkle with Chow Mein Noodles if you wish.

Yummy and healthy!

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