Practical, healthful eating and living.

Beat the heat: Curried Quinoa May 23, 2010

When it’s hot and humid, all I want to do is pull something easy out of the fridge. This salad can be made in big batches, and can accommodate all kinds of substitutions.  Originally, this recipe was for couscous.  Since I’m gluten-free, I’ve switched to quinoa.  This year, I started adding slices of steak to create a more protein-rich lunch on-the-go.  No Italian parsley? Cilantro works just fine.


3 cups cooked quinoa or couscous ( 1 & 1/2 cups uncooked couscous or 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa)

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon curry powder (I like Penzey’s Maharajah curry powder.)

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1  1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated or small-diced carrots

1/2 cup minced Italian parsley

1/2 dried currents (white raisins, dried cranberries or a mix of dried berries are good substitutions.)

1/4 blanched, sliced almonds

2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

1/4 cup small-diced red onion

Make the quinoa or couscous according to package directions.  Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper.  Pour over the fluffed quinoa or couscous and mix well with a fork.  Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions and red onions; mix well and taste for seasonings.  Serve at room temperature.

Based on Ina Garten’s “Curried Couscous” in “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.”


A Lesser Evil? May 5, 2010

Warning: highly addictive food ahead.  Unable to locate nutritional benefits; not even via Google.  The culprit? Sweet, chocolaty Nutella.

Here’s how I look at it.  I’m a dessert person.  I LOVE desserts.  And in the world of desserts, this is probably one of the more innocent choices.  Is it less bad for you than chocolate cake? Oreos? Ice cream? The truth is, I really don’t know.  I just know that I love Nutella, and that desserts are an everyday part of my life.  I am still a size 2.  No health issues, aside from an allergy or two, that I know of.

So, let me put it this way: a schmear of Nutella on a Trader Joe’s rice cake, topped with bananas, is AMAZING.  Crunchy.  Filling.  Sweet, salty and the freshness of bananas.  Just have one, for goodness sake!  Maybe the beauty of this is that one is pretty satisfying.  And in the greater scheme of things, having a filling, satisfying dessert that involves healthful bananas…  There are worse things a person could do.. !