Thursday, September 26, 2013

Quick Quinoa Stir Fry

Sonny left today for his annual man trip- a weekend of hanging out and fishing in the streams of Southwest Virginia.  Buddy misses him already...

But, why is this a win for me?  Hopefully, Sonny will be returning from the trip with a cooler full of delicious freshwater trout so we can stock up our freezer for the winter...YUM!  Look for trout recipes to come!

But tonight, it's just Buddy and me.  So, while Buddy is content with a bowlful of dog food, I decided to create a hearty, balanced meal with the random items I found in the fridge. 

I found some leftover quinoa (made earlier this week) and some delicious, fresh and local NC veggies that we got in The Produce Box delivery we received this week.  Some beautiful yellow squash, a crisp green bell pepper, a yellow onion and some leafy green tatsoi just begging to be eaten!  You can certainly substitute any vegetables you have on hand. 

Not familiar with tatsoi?  This delicious leafy green is often used in Asian cuisine in salads or stir fries, similar to how bok choy may be used.  Unlike the mild flavor of bok choy, tatsoi has a spicier, mustard-like flavor.  Perfect to add some zest to my meal. 

Get a sauté pan nice and hot over medium heat and add in some oil.  I used peanut oil to contribute to the Asian flavor.  Olive oil would work as well.   I chopped my veggies while my pan pre-heated.  You are looking for about 6 cups chopped vegetables.  I started my onions and peppers first since they take the longest to tenderize.  After about 4-5 minutes, I stirred in my squash.

After another 5 minutes, I stirred in my peppery tatsoi, along with a touch of low sodium soy sauce and lime juice.  Stir for about 1-2 minutes, just until the greens start to slightly wilt.  Remove veggies from the pan and set aside.

Keep your sauté pan over medium heat.  Add a little more oil and scramble some eggs right in the hot pan.  When eggs are set, add in leftover quinoa, along with roasted garlic and ginger (both the minced, jarred varieties to save time), a little more soy sauce, sriracha (gotta have a little heat), and some peanuts for texture. 

Now all that's left is to stir your veggies back into the pan.  Mix together just until heated through. 

Who said comfort food had to be heavy and high in fat?  And I have more than enough for lunch leftovers tomorrow.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can make so many substitutions depending on what you have on hand.  Don't have onions, bell pepper, and squash?  Use broccoli & carrots.  Don't have tatsoi?  Use spinach, bok choy or swiss chard.  Don't have quinoa?  Try leftover brown rice.  Don't have peanuts?  Try sesame seeds or cashews.  You get the idea... enjoy!


Quick Quinoa Stir Fry
6 cups chopped vegetables of your choice (any combination of onions, bell peppers, carrots, scallions, broccoli, water chestnuts, leafy greens, eggplant, cauliflower, etc)
2 cups leftover whole grain (quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, barley, etc)
1 Tb peanut oil, divided (may use olive oil)
2 Tb low sodium soy sauce, divided
1 Tb lime juice
3 eggs
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp minced roasted garlic
1tsp minced ginger
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
ground pepper to taste

1. Heat 2 tsp peanut oil in sauté pan over medium heat.  Cook your vegetables in hot oil until crisp tender.  Stir in 1 Tb soy sauce and lime juice.  
2. Remove veggies from pan and set aside
3. Add remaining tsp peanut oil to pan and scramble your eggs.  When eggs are set, add leftover grains, sesame oil (if you have on hand), sriracha, garlic, ginger, peanuts and ground black pepper.   Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin season is upon us. The past few mornings have been chilly and perfect for a warm cup of coffee and hot slice of pumpkin bread! If it weren't for pumpkin and the leaves changing I think I'd hate fall. Thank goodness for pumpkin!!

Breakfast with a paleo pumpkin spice latte (recipe in the works)

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

-1 overly ripe banana (mashed)
-1/2 c. pureed pumpkin
-3 eggs
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 T coconut oil
-1 T vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
-dash cardamon
-2 c. almond flour or hazelnut flour
-1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. It'll be a little lumpy, that's a-ok! Spread into a greased bread loaf pan (I used coconut spray). Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven.

I like to top my bread with a spoonful of almond butter but it's great plain too.

*Sorry everyone, I forgot to snap a picture of what this looks like mixed and coming out of the oven. If you look back a few posts (meal prep one) you will see the bread cooling in the picture.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Protein Brownie Bars

Protein bars are good- convenient for a pre-workout pick me up, or post-workout refuel.  Or even to just keep in the car for a quick snack when your day doesn't quite go as planned.  However, store-bought bars can often be loaded with preservatives, lots of added sugar or artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients that just don't offer you any nutritional goodness!  Lucky for us, homemade bars are even more delicious than something you unwrap from the store.  Try this new recipe for protein brownie bars- tested out on Sonny, and approved ;)

Protein Brownie Bars
Makes 12 bars

1 cup rolled oats
3 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup pure cocoa
1/2 cup chopped prunes
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 Tb local honey
3 Tb unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Process first four ingredients (oats, protein powder, chia seeds and cocoa) in a food processor.  Oats should look roughly chopped, and the rest of the ingredients well combined.  Pour the dry ingredients out into a bowl and set aside.

 Next, add your fruit, coconut, almond butter, pecans and honey to the food processor.  Blend until fruit is chopped into small pieces. 

 You will alternate between adding back the dry ingredients (one third at a time) and your almond milk (1Tb at a time).  Pulse your mixture in the processor between each addition.  Your mixture should come together, and hold shape, when squeezed between your fingers. 

Lightly coat a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Pour your mixture into the pan and pat with your fingers until evenly spread.  Place the baking dish in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove and cut into 12 even pieces.  Store your bars in the refrigerator to best keep the desired taste and texture.  Feel free to play with the recipe- try different fruit and nuts to suit your taste preferences!

Nutrition information per serving- 175 calories, 8gm fat, 2gm saturated fat, 43mg sodium, 19gm carbohydrate, 4gm fiber, 7gm sugar, 10gm protein