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Posts Tagged ‘Kale’

I was first introduced to quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) 6 years ago while working at the Kootenay Co-op in Nelson, BC. This ancient grain, native to South America, has become a staple in my home ever since. It’s versatility, nutritional value and taste make it the perfect all around superfood. When comparing quinoa to other grains, meats and white rice, here’s how it stacks up:

* great source of protein
* contains all 8 essential amino acids (not the case with any other grain)
* ideal for those who suffer from digestive disorders, wheat and gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or colitis
* helps promote weight loss, stabilize blood sugar levels and even helps to build muscle
* can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes and takes mere minutes to prepare…15-20 to be exact!
* it’s even great cold and stores in the refrigerator for up to one week
* great for pregnancy as it contributes to a healthy baby and enhances a mother’s milk production
* contains the amino acid histadine, which is necessary for human development therefore ideal for growing children
* it’s chock-full of fiber, iron and calcium among other vitamins and minerals – necessary for children and adults alike

Not only do I enjoy quinoa for its many health benefits but also because it’s great for people who have a wheat or gluten intolerance; something I have just discovered I do. My digestive system has been compromised for several years (see my previous blog post) but I was unaware of exactly what the culprit was. A recent trip to the Naturopathic Doctor and Colon Hydrotherapist have indicated that I suffer from non-celiac gluten intolerance, and in order to heal my digestive tract, I must avoid gluten all together.

Although this news did not come as a total surprise to me, regardless if you’re prepared or not it always takes time to adjust to a new way of eating and essentially, living. If you find yourself dealing with digestive discomfort, wheat or gluten intolerance or even more serious digestive diseases, quinoa is a grain I think you will appreciate.

One of my all time favourite dinner recipes –


Quinoa and Veggie Bake (from Vegetarian Times)

1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups celery tops
4-6 kale leaves, shredded
3 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
1 medium onion
2 green onions thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 1/2 Tbsp. dried dill
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup grated cheese (we use white cheddar)
1 egg lightly beaten

1- Rinse quinoa in a sieve. Toast in small pot over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until almost dry. Add 1 cup of water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

2- While quinoa is cooking, prep veggies and sauté onions for 6 minutes, using 1 Tbsp of the oil. Add celery and green onions and sauté for another 2 minutes.

3- When quinoa is ready, pour 1 Tbsp. olive oil into 9-inch glass pie pan. Place in oven to heat.

4- Put shredded kale in a large bowl and then cover with the cooked quinoa. Then add the sautéed veg, dill and cheese into the bowl. Stir in egg and season with salt and pepper.

5- By now the oil in the glass pie pan should be hot. Remove from oven, ensure oil is covering the bottom, and then pour entire quinoa veggie mixture into pie pan. Bake 20 minutes, then drizzle 1 Tbsp over the top and bake 20 minutes more until golden brown.

Be sure to be on the lookout for quinoa grains on your next trip to the grocery store. They come in red, black, white or golden coloured seeds as well as ground for use as a creamy textured flour.

The majority of the information presented in this blog was taken from the cookbook “Quinoa – The Everyday Superfood 365” by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. This book is amazing! It’s filled with all kinds of great recipes that use quinoa as the main event for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacking options. Enjoy!

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Why Kale you ask?

Black Lactina and Purple & Green Kale

Black (Lacinato), Purple & Green Kale

For those of you who are not familiar with kale, it’s a leafy green vegetable abundant in many vitamins and nutrients. Kale is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables and is similar to collards, cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli. It provides the body with 45 different flavonoids and carotenoids that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Kale is highly abundant in many essentially nutrients, especially vitamins K, A and C as well as manganese and dietary fiber.

I like to think of kale as a “superfood” due to its’ cardiovascular support, it’s ability to lower cholesterol and its’ anti-cancer properties (specifically bladder, breast, colon and ovarian). Kale also supports our bodies natural detoxification systems which are very important in eliminating free-radical damage from the body. Free-radicals are those elements that enter our bodies from the environment; things like exhaust fumes, pesticides on foods and second hand smoke, to name a few. Free-radicals are highly destructive once inside the body and capable of causing numerous health issues, so that’s why eating vegetables containing antioxidants like kale, is so important.

To achieve maximum benefit you should aim to eat cruciferous vegetables 4-5 times each week (1-2 cups per sitting). Kale, like most cruciferous vegetables, should only be steamed lightly- less than five minutes to maintain their optimum nutritional value. Kale is best when added to salads and soups or even used as a topping for pizza and nachos. I also like my kale raw in my morning smoothie (the smooth, “black” or Lacinato type is best). I hope you try the recipe I’ve included for Yam and Kale salad. It’s delicious and of course, nutritious!

YAM AND KALE SALAD

  • 2-4 jewel yams, cut into 1-inch cubes with skin on (depending on the number of servings you need)
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 1 tsp Bragg’s Liquid
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • handful of unsalted cashews (optional)
Directions
1. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion and garlic until the onion has caramelized to a golden brown, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, using a double boiler, steam yams for approximately 8 minutes. Add red peppers and shredded kale and continue steaming until yams are fully cooked, 3-5 minutes.
3. Mix oils, Bragg’s, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
4. Once veggies are cooked place in a bowl and coat with oil mixture.
5. Add sesame seeds and cashews. Serve warm.
Enjoy!

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