Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Hello Everyone! I hope the week has been good to all. Tonight will be the last of my Muffin Making Monday series on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and I will be back to sharing recipes with y’all on my usual Wednesday night uploads. I’ll still be continuing the overall theme for the year of Breakfast Foods, but next week I’ll be sharing a completely new sub-theme on the blog so stay tuned for that!

Yesterday was such a tiring day overall that I think I crashed in bed right after dinner and probably had one of the best sleeps that night – it would’ve been even better if I hadn’t had to wake up so early for work. We held a garage sale yesterday morning from 7am to (officially) 10am, but people still kept coming by the house past 11am that morning. The night before we invited our close friends to the house so that they could have the first choice in picking out what they wanted before we sold our stuff to others the following morning. We made almost $500 that night and morning for all our small items such as clothes, jewellery, bags, accessories, toys, etc. and about $1000 more on our large furnitures. After a tiring morning of turning our unwanted things into money, I spent the afternoon catching up with friends and food at one of our friend’s open house. That was my day in a nutshell.

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Moving on, plums are extremely nutritious, offering a wide variety of health benefits. They contain over 15 different vitamins and minerals, and in addition, fibre and antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. To have a further read on the health benefits of Plums (and Prunes), head on over to Health Line. Moving on, in addition to the many vitamins and minerals packed into these breakfast muffins, quinoa also gives them a major protein boost. Check out the original recipe from The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen.

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS | SERVES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup full-fat plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup raw white quinoa
  • 113g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 plums, 1 roughly chopped and 1 sliced, thinly
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, quinoa, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt together.
    In another mixing bowl, medium-sized, whisk the eggs, yoghurt, melted butter, and honey together. Gently fold the egg mixture into flour mixture until just combined; then stir in the chopped plum.
  3. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cases (about 1/4 cup each) and top each with a couple of plum slices.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centres of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool down completely.
  5. Drizzle with honey, if desired, before serving and enjoy!

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Health Tip: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Hello Everyone! I am back on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the year and I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year and a Happy Chinese New Year to all my Chinese Family, Friends, and Followers! May the Year of the Golden Rooster bring you and your family your family Happiness that comes from within, the best of Luck to keep you pushing, and Peace in all days of this New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭喜發財!

Now, before I move on to this evening’s post, I just want to clarify to those who haven’t read or been following my blog last month – I did mention that I would be taking a break from Amcarmen’s Kitchen due to the fact that I had a hectic schedule for the past few weeks, preventing me from having the energy to be in the kitchen on my only day off for the month of January. When the New Year kicked in, I had been staying a little later in the office every night to expedite the completion of the many design collaterals needed for the 19th Consumer Fair that happened just last week from the 18th to the 22nd of January 2017. Right after the Consumer Fair, we had family friends visiting us for 5 days, and then I had a Car Launching Event to manager alongside another colleague just 2 days ago. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the start of the year and I still haven’t been able to have a good rest as the inevitable post-Consumer Fair virus decided to kick in. I am currently, and slowly recovering from a blocked nose, an itchy throat, and a migraine as I am writing this post. Thank goodness for the long weekend ahead, otherwise I wouldn’t be seeing myself recovering for the next week or so.

Now, all that aside, let’s get onto tonight’s post! Tonight will be something different, but it will serve as the ultimate guideline for the year to come. As you can see from the title, the main focus of this post is to target High Blood Pressure, or also known as, Hypertension. In my recent trip to the Philippines, back in the middle of 2016, I underwent a health check as part of my requirement to process my employment permit to work in Brunei. It was then that I found that I suffer from high blood pressure. I admit that when I found out about this, I was feeling a little bit depressed; and whilst I was still in the Philippines back then awaiting for the approval of my employment visa, I sat down and started researching on hypertension and what foods to eat/avoid to help regulate blood pressure levels. Ever since I found out about my blood pressure levels being exceedingly high, I have also made changes to the food I eat, and have tried to become more active in my lifestyle habits.

High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension, is a serious health problem, where over time it causes blood vessel damage that can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other health problems. Hypertension is sometimes known as the silent killer because there are no real symptoms to detect whether or not you are prone High Blood Pressure. If you don’t get your blood pressure checked regularly, hypertension could go unnoticed, and untreated, for years.

Your diet plays a big role in whether you have high or normal blood pressure. Dietary recommendations for lowering blood pressure include reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol. It is also suggested that you eat more foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In general, you should eat more high-fibre, low-sodium, low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here are 20 foods & drinks that you should include in your daily diet to help prevent, lower, or control your high blood pressure naturally without the need for medication:

1. Avocado – All you need is about half a medium-sized avocado everyday as it provides 1% of the calcium, 5% of the magnesium, and 10% of the potassium that you need daily. The dark green flesh just under an avocado’s brittle skin contains large amounts of disease-fighting compounds.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Avocados


2. Bananas – Slice a banana into your breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or take one to work everyday for a quick, easy, and inexpensive snack. One medium-sized banana provides 1% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium, and 12% of the potassium you need daily.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Bananas


3. Beets – People with High Blood Pressure saw significant improvements from drinking beetroot juice. The nitrates found in the juice brought down one’s high blood pressure within just 24 hours. If you’re not too keen on drinking beetroot juice, you can easily roast or steam the whole root and add it to a green-packed salad, stir-fry, or stews.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Beets


4. Berries – Blueberries especially, are rich in natural compounds where when consumed, is known to prevent hypertension and reduce high blood pressure. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet; put them in your cereal every morning or keep some in the freezer for a quick and healthy dessert.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Berries


5. Broccoli – This cruciferous vegetable is a famous source of cancer-fighting nutrients. One cup of cooked broccoli provides 6% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium, and 14% of the potassium you need everyday.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Broccoli


6. Celery – To lower mild cases of high blood pressure, one would eat about a cup of chopped celery daily. You should begin to see results after only a week or two. Celery contains a chemical that smoothes the muscles lining blood vessels, which increases vessel diameter and allows for easier blood flow at lower pressures.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Celery


7. Fat-free Plain Yogurt – Cool and creamy, yogurt is a star ingredient in mineral-rich breakfasts, sauces and salad dressings, and even in entrée dishes. You can control the fat and nutrient content by making your own yogurt at home for your high blood pressure diet. Here’s a recipe to making your own yogurt at home.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Fat-free Plain Yoghurt


8. Hibiscus Tea – Hibiscus tea has been a traditional remedy for high blood pressure and one that must be used continuously to maintain its positive results. Look specifically for tea made from Hibiscus sabdariffa. It is generally made from the flowers and fruit of the plant.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Hibiscus Tea


9. Kiwi – Kiwis contain more vitamin C than a same-size serving of orange slices. One kiwifruit provides 2% of the calcium, 7% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Kiwis


10. Leafy Greens – Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula (rocket), kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach are high in potassium. This allows your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine, which lowers your blood pressure. Stray away from canned vegetables though as they contain high amounts of sodium; instead, opt for frozen vegetables as they contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables and are easy to store.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Leafy Greens


11. Oatmeal – Oatmeal for your breakfast is a great way to charge up for the day. It is high-fibre, low-fat, and low-sodium, which is essentially just what you need to help lower your blood pressure. On its own, oatmeal can be bland; however, you should refrain from adding too much sugar. Instead, add fresh or frozen berries (see point 4) to sweeten it up, and maybe just a touch of honey.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Oatmeal


12. Peaches & Nectarines – Frozen unsweetened peach slices are a great alternative to fresh peaches and nectarines on a high blood pressure diet. Just defrost ahead of time or, for smoothies, simply toss in the blender. One medium peach or nectarine provides 1% of the calcium, 3% of the magnesium, and 8% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Peaches & Nectarines


13. Pomegranate Juice – The pomegranate has been revered as the “fruit of life.” One of its remarkable powers is to improve cardiovascular health. If you drink pomegranate juice to naturally lower your blood pressure, be sure your juice has no added sugars.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Pomegranate Juice


14. Pork Tenderloin – Meat lover’s can now rejoice! You’re probably wondering how pork even made it onto this list, well just 85 grams (3 oz) of pork tenderloin provide 6% of the magnesium and 15% of the potassium you need every day. This lean cut provides plenty of meaty flavour and satisfaction without the overload of saturated fat found in fattier types of beef and pork.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Pork Tenderloin


15. Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes – Potatoes and sweet potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help to lower your blood pressure. One medium sweet potato with the skin provides 4% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium (7% without the skin), and 15% of the potassium (10% without the skin) you need every day. Bake several sweet potatoes at one time so you’ll have a ready supply for quick smoothies and other recipes.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes


16. Quinoa – This high-protein whole grain has a mild yet nutty flavour, contains a variety of health-protecting nutrients along with an impressive amount of magnesium, and cooks in less than half the time it takes to make brown rice. A half-cup of cooked quinoa provides 1.5% of the calcium, 15% of the magnesium, and 4.5% of the potassium you need every day. Quinoa is gluten free, making it a great option if you’re gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. The most widely available quinoa is a golden beige color, but red and black varieties are also available and worth a try for your high blood pressure diet.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Quinoa


17. Red Capsicum – One cup of raw red capsicum provides 1% of the calcium, 4% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Red Capsicum


18. Skim Milk – Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. Swap out your higher-fat milk for skim milk. If you’re not a fan of milk altogether, then eat more low-fat or nonfat yoghurt. Just make sure to avoid yoghurt that is high in sugar.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Skim Milk


19. Tilapia – This mild white fish is available year-round in supermarkets and fish stores, fresh or as frozen fillets. You can roast it, bake it, and sauté it, flavor it with a variety of seasonings, and even top it with mineral-rich kiwi-avocado salsa (see points 1 and 9). Just 133 grams (4 oz) of tilapia provides 8% of the magnesium and 8% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Tilapia


20. White Beans – And last but not least, you can use this comfort food in side dishes, soups, and entrées. As a meatless source of protein, it’s a great choice for vegetarians. One cup of white beans provides 13% of the calcium, 30% of the magnesium, and 24% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): White Beans

Of course there are other factors that help control, lower, or prevent high blood pressure such as exercising regularly and keeping an eye on your waistline, but I won’t be going into too much detail on those aspects. Just always remember that eating foods that are rich in minerals is better than taking supplements.

So yes, earlier above I made mention that this list will serve as the ultimate guideline to the monthly themes on Amcarmen’s Kitchen – each month I will pick a certain food to cook with from the list above and dish up meals highlighting the chosen ingredient. For example, I have chosen to focus on Bananas for the month of February. Stay tuned as Amcarmen’s Kitchen will be back with some exciting recipes starting this Wednesday!

Cheers!

*Note: All imagery used in this blog post do not belong to me, they have been sourced from Google Images and Freepik. Likewise, information gathered for this post has been sourced from Dr. David Williams, Eating Well, Health Line & Prevention.

– Ally xx

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa “Meatballs”

Hello Everyone! Before I begin, I would like to check in with everyone and see if you all were able to guess the theme for this month. I’m pretty sure that by this post, you’ll have an idea of a recurring theme, but nevertheless, I will share it with you guys right here, right now! Drumroll please!

BALL BALLS! Yes, you read that right, ball balls, and here is a little back story to the name – so there was one day, back when I was still living in Australia for my university studies, my then roommate and I were talking about Christmas I guess, well I actually don’t remember the root of our conversation but it was more like I misunderstood, or I didn’t quite hear the pronunciation of the word “baubles” when my roommate had said it. At that time, I assumed that she said “ball balls” and that, that was what those round Christmas ornaments were called. Fast forward to another time, I was correct by someone (sorry I can’t remember who) that it was actually baubles and not ball balls. I was so disappointed at the time because I thought ball balls was such an epic name to call these Christmas ornament. Just recently, and when I say recently I mean like about a year ago or so, Jialing shared with me a folder name in their office server and it was titled BALL BALLS, to which I replied to her “SEE I TOLD YOU THEY ARE CALLED BALL BALLS!” I was just overly excited at the fact that I wasn’t the only dumb one to call them ball balls.

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Jialing has been quite helpful this year in a way that she has helped me with some blog themes for this year. At first, she asked me what the theme of my blog would be for the month of December, and we both came up with the idea of doing ball-shaped food as we recalled our “ball balls” story. So, as I do not have a backstory for this particular recipe since I just came across it while browsing through Pinterest, I will just get right in to the recipe. Before you do, check out the original recipe by Erin over on The Almond Eater.

“Add a spicy kick to meatless meatballs with these vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs. With simple ingredients, like cauliflower, quinoa, garlic, and breadcrumbs, they’re sure to be a hit for the whole family!” — Erin, The Almond Eater.

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs" Ingredients

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 24 BALLS

INGREDIENTS

For the cauliflower quinoa ‘meatballs’

  • 1 cauliflower head, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp flour (whole wheat, all purpose or oat)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

For the buffalo sauce

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes

For the blue cheese-yoghurt dip

  • 3/4 cup greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Ground salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and set aside.
  2. Cook the quinoa in a small sauce pot according to the packet instructions (about 12-15 minutes). While the quinoa is cooking away, steam or boil the cauliflower in a separate medium-sized pot at the same time until they are tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the buffalo sauce by melting the unsalted butter in a heat-proof bowl, in the microwave (or over a stove as well). Once melted, stir in the hot sauce, minced garlic, and chilli powder. Set aside.
  4. Combine the yoghurt, blue cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, milk, and lemon juice in a medium-szied bowl and whisk together until combined but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Once the quinoa is done cooking, turn the heat off and set aside. Once the cauliflower is done cooking as well, drain (if boiled) and place half the cauliflower, along with the minced garlic, into the food processor or blender and pulse for about 10-15 seconds. Remove and transfer the cauliflower into a large bowl before adding the second half of cauliflower to the food processor/blender and repeat the process.
  6. Stir in the cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, dried oregano, and half of the buffalo sauce together with the cauliflower and then place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, allowing everything to cool off a bit.
  7. After 15 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and, using your hands, form the mixture into golf ball-sized balls (or smaller, depending on your preferred size), placing the balls directly onto the prepared baking tray. If the mixture is too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.
  8. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the balls and bake for 15-20 minutes and golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  9. Once done, remove from the oven, Pour a small amount of the rest of the buffalo sauce over the top of each ball, making sure they all get covered with the sauce but without drowning them otherwise they will get soggy.
  10. Serve with the blue cheese-yoghurt dip and share with family and friends!

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

Hello Everyone! Wow! I can’t believe that we’ve reached the end of Cooking with Quinoa month, and with that, I can’t believe that September will be ending in a couple of days! Now that we’re approaching October soon, I can’t believe that we’re already into the 10th month of the year — which also means that I will have been working in my current company as a Creative Design Executive for a year already. *sigh* Time is flying by in the blink of an eye. I don’t know why, but the introduction to this blog post is feeling very overemotional *cheeky grin* and I guess I will stop here.

I’ve saved the best recipe for last! Well actually, now that I think of it, I think the best recipe for this month was the very first that I posted in the beginning of the month with my take on a Californian-inspired Quinoa Salad. I still consider tonight’s a recipe one of the best as it is a creative and healthy take on a classic kimchi fried rice recipe — and you guessed it! Quinoa will be replacing the rice in this recipe. I was going to try an attempt to make my own Kimchi at home, but I forgot why I didn’t try to DIY it since it’s actually super easy to do — I guess the reason was because I saw a shelf of ready-made kimchi at the supermarket and just could not resist to pick up a jar to speed up my time in the kitchen for that day  *cheeky grin* The original idea for this recipe can be found over on Simply Quinoa.

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

For those of you who do not know, kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that uses the process of fermentation to pickle and preserve fresh vegetables. The spicy, crunchy, cabbage-based vegetable mixture has a texture similar to sauerkraut but boasts much bolder flavours thanks to garlic and spicy seasonings. This process of pickling and preserving fresh vegetables was originally developed in 7th Century Korea as a means of storing vegetables during cold winters. Though of Korean origin, the dish has been steadily — if not, slowly — gaining recognition beyond the boundaries of its native country. Fermentation in general has been shown to increase the nutritional properties of food. Kimchi specifically has been linked to anti-obesity effects, and might help treat atopic dermatitis and even lower cholesterol. Other than that, the dish’s health benefits are in large part attributable to its high probiotic content (i.e. good-for-you bacteria), and it is also loaded with fibre and vitamins A, B, and C. Spicier varieties also get a boost from capsaicin, a component of hot peppers that’s been shown to improve metabolism.

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cooked tri-colour quinoa, cooled
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup kimchi, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 tsp gluten-free tamari
  • 2 tsp kimchi “juice” (the liquid from the jar)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

Optional

  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions, for garnish
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • Fresh ground black pepper, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Add the grated ginger and garlic and sauté for until golden and fragrant, about a minute.
  2. Add the quinoa and kimchi and cook until just lightly heated through, about 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in kimchi juice, tamari, and hot sauce if using, then turn the heat down to low and stir occasionally while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. In a separate frying pan, cook the eggs on low until the whites have cooked through but the yolks are still runny, about 3 – 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Steam the kale in a separate pot for 30 – 60 seconds until soft. Set aside.
  5. Transfer the kimchi-quinoa mixture and kale to two separate serving bowls evenly and top it off with a sunny side up egg each. Garnish with some green onions and fresh ground black pepper if using. If you fancy, top with more kimchi.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe the month is going by in the blink of an eye! It’s already the third week of Cooking with Quinoa and I’ve got another colourful recipe to share with y’all. I’ll keep tonight’s post short as I’ve got nothing much to tell really – other than the fact that it was a slow day at work today, and has been for the second half of last week up until today. Tomorrow may be another slow day and I guess it will be like this for a while until another event creeps up on me. Even though there’s not much to do, I’m still slowly preparing the things that I need to deliver for January’s event so that I won’t find myself stressing out and doing things last minute a month before the event. At least I can enjoy my Christmas and New Years when it comes.

All that aside, if you’re obsessed with fresh fruit, then this is a dish you’d want to whip up as an easy pre and/or post workout meal. This salad is also very versatile in a sense that you can easily mix and match fruit combinations depending on what you like and what fruits are in season. The original recipe can be found over on The Recipe Critic: Tried and True.

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup tri-colour quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 large orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1 punnet (125g) blueberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

For the honey lime glaze

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

METHOD

  1. Rinse the quinoa before combining it with 2 cups of room temperature water in a medium-sized pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring the quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and then set aside to cool. Note: Quinoa holds lots of water, so you have to make sure you drain it thoroughly after it’s cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the honey and lime juice in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add all the fruits into a large mixing bowl together with the cooked and cool quinoa. Mix until well combined.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish with the spinach leaves and then drizzled with the honey lime glaze. Serve as a healthy morning or afternoon snack, pre or post gym workout. Enjoy!

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit & Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Hello Everyone! Week 2 of cooking with quinoa is here and I’ve got a classic recipe with a twist. For those of you who don’t know, minestrone soup is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables that range from, but are not limited to, beans, onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes. Often, rice or pasta is added to the soup to bulk it up with some carbs. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth.

I’ve made this soup a couple of times before in the past, and is featured in the Mediterranean section of my blog – but today, I’m going to add a little twist to a traditional minestrone soup. I’m switching out the pasta that I would normally add to my soup, with quinoa. Using quinoa in place of pasta adds extra protein and makes this soup gluten free! In addition to using quinoa for this soup, I’m topping it off with some kale pesto as well to give the dish a touch of freshness – and of course, if you have any extra leftover, you can totally whip up another dish just by mixing it through some freshly cooked pasta! Top it of with some grilled chicken or seared tiger prawns for a complete lunch or dinner. The original recipe for this dish can be found over on Taste Australia.

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the soup

  • 1 can (400g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (410g) Italian chopped tomatoes
  • 150g bacon, diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup tri-coloured quinoa, rinsed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into small chunks

For the kale pesto

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale leaves, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 small garlic clove, halved
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water

METHOD

  1. For the Soup: Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon bits and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Turn the heat up to high and then add in the garlic. Sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute or so. Then add in the onions and cooking, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the carrot and celery, together with the bay leaf, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until soft.
  4. Next, add in the chicken stock and canned chopped tomatoes to the pot. Bring to the boil.
  5. Once boiling, reduce the heat down to medium-low and then stir in the quinoa. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, and then add in the cannellini beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the quinoa and zucchini are tender. Season with a touch of ground salt and pepper.
  7. For the Kale Pesto: Add the kale leaves, parmesan cheese, and garlic into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Combine the juice, oil, and water in a jug, and slowly stream the juice mixture into the kale mixture until well combined. Season.
  8. Divide soup among four equal bowls and top with the kale pesto and extra parmesan if you wish.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Hello Everyone! A new month calls for a new theme on the blog, and for the month of September, I’ve got some creative and healthy quinoa recipes for everyone! Now, I remember the times where people would ask me… “What is quinoa (kee-NOO-ah)?” Firstly, I’d correct them and say that it’s pronounced KEEN-wah, and not kee-NOO-ah – but then again after doing some research, I realised that both are actually correct in a way. Apologies to those that I’ve made a big fuss with in terms of how to pronounce this grain.

So back to the question, what is quinoa? Well, I have always been stumped whenever this question pops up, and all I could respond was “it’s a grain, like rice – but it’s not really rice.” Yeah, that doesn’t help. Quinoa is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. The seeds are cooked in the same manner as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fibre. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa also has a low glycemic index, which is good for blood sugar control, however, be mindful as it is still pretty high in carbs, so it is not a good choice for a low-carb diet.

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Find the original recipe over on Jo Cooks. She used sultanas in her salad, I didn’t. If you know me personally, I really despise raisins and sultanas – don’t ask me why, I just do. So I’ve omitted them from my salad and replaced them with wake instead. Wakame is a sea vegetable; edible seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines. It has a subtly sweet flavour and is most often served in soups and salads. Wakame is a good source of the following (Source: MindBodyGreen):

  1. Magnesium: A mineral critical in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, function of certain enzymes in the body, production and transport of energy, and the production of protein.
  2. Iodine: Iodine is needed for strong metabolism of cells – the process of converting food into energy. It also maintains the balance of the thyroid gland and is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
  3. Calcium: Wakame easily allows for the absorption of calcium into the human body. Each 100 grams of raw wakame contains 150mg of calcium. Calcium is needed for strong healthy bones and the prevention of osteoporosis.
  4. Iron: We need iron because it is essential for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia.
  5. Vitamins!
    • Vitamins A, C, E, and K: These vitamins are all amazing for skin health and repair as well as immunology.
    • Vitamin D: Promotes the absorption of calcium for healthy bones and enhances the nerve, muscle, and immune systems.
    • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): We need riboflavin to use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. Riboflavin helps us use these nutrients for energy in our bodies for growth and is also necessary for red blood cell production. Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant and works in the body with other vitamins such as niacin, folate, and vitamin B6.
  6. Folate: Helps the body make new cells and is especially important for pregnant women.
  7. Lignans: Thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

California-inspired Quinoa Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 1 cup shelled edamame, steamed
  • 3/4 cup almond slices (toasted if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup tri-coloured quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or parsley if you don’t like cilantro
  • 1/4 cup wakame
  • 1 large mango, cut into small chunks
  • 1 small red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
For the dressing
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon

METHOD

As easy as whisking all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, and then tossing all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed; dressed and then served cold. Enjoy! It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, but of course, it’s always better when it is consumed right away!

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

California-inspired Quinoa Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2016: Diandra Cappelut

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Hello Everyone! Diandra here. Just another third culture foodie.

A few months ago, I delved into the weird side of Youtube and somehow ended up watching a documentary about the cruelness of pig farming at three in the morning. From there, I watched a famous vegan Mukbang star, Mommy Tang, who talked about how she became vegan and how a plant-based diet has helped her lose weight, overall positively affecting her health. Intrigued by the idea of veganism, I watched more and more documentaries on the negative impact of animal farming on the environment and animal products on our health.

Mind-blown by the influx of information, I decided to cut down my consumption of animal byproducts overnight. Mind you, I was that girl who ate meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I LOVE MEAT. But, after educating myself on the many issues that come with consuming meat and other animal byproducts, I simply couldn’t live with myself if I continue eating meat mindlessly for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Could I let go of meat and dairy completely? No. Not right now. But maybe one day. However, currently I have drastically cut down my consumption of animal byproducts to the point where I eat a plant-based diet 6 days out of the week. I give myself one cheat day. Still, not bad for a girl who was pretty much a full-time carnivore.

I always encourage others to try and lessen their consumption of animal byproducts. You don’t have to give it up completely, but at least lessen. The secret of eating a plant-based diet without passing out halfway through the day is to fuel yourself with CARBS. This Quinoa Black Bean Taco recipe is the perfect filling and delicious vegan meal. Oh and it’s extremely high in protein 😉 Yes, you can find lots of protein in plants too, not just in meat! Hope you like it!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Superlife Co. mixed quinoa, cooked
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 brown onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Jalapeños
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Taco Shells

Optional

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt-free Mexican seasoning blend

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos Method

METHOD

  1. Dice the tomatoes, onion and bell pepper. Mince the garlic.
  2. Add olive oil, garlic and onion into a heated pan. Sauté until the onions and garlic are nice and golden.
  3. Add the bell peppers and frozen corn, and continue sautéing until the peppers are soft and the corn is defrosted.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa into the pan, sprinkle in the taco seasoning and mix everything together.
  5. Taste the quinoa/black bean mixture. If you would like additional spice and seasoning, add in the cayenne pepper and Mexican blend seasoning. Note: Taco seasoning is normally already pretty salty, so additional salt is not necessary.
  6. Turn down the heat and add the tomatoes into the pan. Mix everything together.
  7. ASSEMBLING THE TACO: Take a warm taco shell and line the bottom with some spinach leaves.
  8. Add the quinoa/black bean mix into the taco shell.
  9. Lastly, top the taco off with some jalapeños and voila!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | diandracappelut // saladhunter.sg

Eat them all up! 😉

Diandra.

myTaste.com

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! Hope everyone had a good weekend! I’m finally feeling better than I did last week, but my voice is still a bit husky. I can’t hit the high notes to a song whenever I’m performing in the shower, so I know I’ve still got a bit more of getting better to do. Other than that, things have been pretty chill at work – but I know it’s going to be hectic soon! There are two event coming up within the next 3 months, so I pray that I will have enough strength to persevere through! Over the weekend, my very first Uni friend from COFA (or now known as UNSWAD) visited me here in Brunei! It was so surreal as I never thought that we would meet… in Brunei! He is currently working on a project in KL and he had a free weekend to spare to come over for a visit! We toured him around a few places in Brunei, and we also caught up on work life, love life, and just anything else in general. I cannot believe that it had been exactly a year since we last saw each other in Sydney! It was definitely a great weekend.

Anyway! It’s week 3 of healthy eating month and I’ve got another quinoa recipe to share with you guys. As you already know, or not if you haven’t been following my blog on a week to week basis, quinoa (pronounced as KEEN-wah) is very beneficial to our health. It is incredibly nutritious as its fibre content is much higher than most grains. It is also very high in protein, containing the essential amino acids that we need . Quinoa contains a great amount of minerals – minerals that we other do not get enough of, especially magnesium, potassium, and zinc. If you would like to read up more on the health benefits of quinoa, click here. Pair it with some heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid avocados, grapefruit and orange segments, and you’ve got yourself a salad that is packed with minerals and vitamins such as: calcium, copper, fibre, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins A, B5,B6, C, E, and K, and the list goes on.

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 5-6

*Plus 4-5 hours waiting time to marinate the chicken.

INGREDIENTS

For the Salad

  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • 1 packet (250g) rocket leaves

For the lemon & thyme roast whole chicken legs

  • 500g whole chicken legs, washed and cleaned
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 springs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon

*You can make you own stock by boiling chicken carcasses for about half an hour, together with whole black peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt. Or you can use the store bought ones, again, whatever tickles your fancy.

METHOD

  1. Combine all the roast whole chicken leg ingredients in a large baking dish. Leave to marinate for about 4-5 hours. Preheat oven to 190C. Sprinkle the chicken legs with paprika and place the baking dish in the oven and roast chicken for about 40 minutes or until done.
  2. Bring the quinoa and chicken stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat down to low, cover, and then simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the sliced avocado, feta cheese together with the herbed olive oil, grapefruit, orange, and rocket leaves into the large mixing bowl together with the quinoa. Give it a good toss until well combined.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish together with a piece of lemon and thyme roast chicken leg.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

Quinoa, Avocado, & Grapefruit Salad with Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone has had a relaxing CNY long weekend unlike me – well, it was relaxing as I stayed home all day on Sunday doing nothing, but it was also because I was sick over the long weekend *sad face*. I think I got sick from fatigue which resulted in a painful dry cough, a very high temperature, and muscle aches especially in my back, shoulders, and thigh regions. I’m feeling a little bit better with thanks to the long weekend as I get to rest up for 3 days after a straight 13 days of working from an average of 8am-11pm. Yes you read that right, I’m officially employed! I actually started working in late October in Brunei’s leading Advertising Agency known as D’Sunlit Sdn. Bhd. as a Graphic Designer for the Marketing Team. I was under a 3-month probation contract, and last Friday I was able to sign a permanent contract! Oh and the 13 days of straight working, that was because I was involved in an event known as the 17th Consumer Fair. I worked from Monday-Sunday two weeks ago, and last week I worked Monday-Saturday (yes no rest in between for working on that Sunday). So I guess that’s where my fatigue came from. I was actually already starting to feel under the weather last Thursday, but it only came into full effect on Saturday morning. I guess it didn’t quite help as well that I was surrounded by sick colleagues, and a sick mom and sister at home too. My sister got sick first, then me, and lastly my mom. I today in the office, I learnt that I may have made a few other colleagues sick too. How am I ever going to recover?!

Anyway, let’s move on to the recipe shall we? It’s week two of healthy eating, and I’ve got a yummy salad for you that you can pair up with any kind of meat be it beef, chicken, or lamb – whatever tickles your fancy that is! If you’re like me, and you can’t go without meat in your diet, then whip up your favourite roast chicken to go with your salad – we roasted some whole chicken legs with my Mom’s secret and special BBQ marinade. Otherwise, you can keep the dish vegetarian or vegan friendly. We all know that avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids known as oleic acid. Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. Not only does it contain this fatty acid, it also contains minerals and vitamins such as: fibre, folate, potassium, and vitamins B5,B6, C, E, and K.

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, belong to the legume family, which includes a variety of beans, peanuts, soybeans and lentils. Opting for legumes over foods high in saturated fat might lower your risk of heart disease. Chickpeas also offer specific health benefits, and consuming them regularly boosts your intake of a few key nutrients such as: protein, fibre, manganese, and folate. The mineral manganese helps support bone development and wound healing and also helps carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism. Folate, or vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication and protects against genetic mutations that contribute to cancer development.

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 5-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • 2 brown onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas in water, drained
  • 1 packet (250g) mixed salad greens
  • 1 packet (150g) semi-dried tomatoes, halved, oil reserved
  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil

METHOD

  1. Rub the yellow capsicum with a little bit of oil and place directly on open flame of gas stove. Rotate occasionally so that the capsicum blisters and chars on all sides. Once done, set aside to cool down. Peel the skin off and cut into strips once it has cooled down enough to handle. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Blanch the chickpeas in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain and add to the large mixing bowl together with the roast capsicum strips.
  3. Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until soft and caramelised. Once done, transfer to the large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the semi-dried tomatoes together with its herbed oil, mixed salad greens, and balsamic vinegar. Season with a touch of ground salt and black pepper and give it a good toss until well coated. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the sliced avocados.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad

Avocado, Chickpea, & Roasted Capsicum Salad with Roast BBQ Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com