All posts in grain

Wellness Wednesdays: 3 Make Ahead Grab n Go Breakfast Recipes

The most frequent question I get is, “what can I make in the morning that is fast and healthy?”  So here we have it:

3 Breakfast Recipes:
Prep on Sunday + Grab n Go during the week!

Chia Hemp Porridge 
I make this EVERY morning! I even take it camping and on every flight.  I’ve never shared this recipe for the fear people will think I am a weirdo hippie…I mean, hemp protein powder in porridge is a bit strange. It is delicious, satisfying, satiating, healthy  and I guaranty you’ll love it.  And best of all, it can be prepared in jars or sandwich baggies weeks in advance.
Ingredients: 1/4 cup Hemp Protein powder (super high in fiber too).  2 T chia seeds.  2 T oats.  1 t coconut oil.  vanilla and cinnamon to taste.  Add boiling water  to the jar and let sit or cook on the stovetop on low until nice and gooey.

For the paleo people and meat eaters…
Mini Frittatas: 

Fill non stick muffin tins with veggies like:
kale.  spinach.  zucchini.  sun dried tomatoes.  feta.  bell peppers.  artichokes.
whisk eggs and poor over.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Keeps 5 days in the fridge
Enjoy at room temp or warm.

Medjool Dates, Almond Butter & Chia Seeds
My second favorite breakfast.  This is perfect early in the morning when you are not quite ready for a meal but you’re needing a little bit of energy to get you going.  I find this to be the perfect combination of carbs, sugar, fat and protein before a morning workout when I know I wont be having breakfast until around 10am.  Note: 2 have about 200 calories.


Sliced Seedy Bread

At my parent’s house with nothing on the agenda for the afternoon, an  avocado on the counter I’d been admiring for a day and a nutty/bready consistency sounding very comforting.  The result was a loaf worth sharing…for having had thrown literally every grain, seed and nut they had into a bowl, this turned out surprisingly well.

I would have liked for it to have sliced better and not crumbled so much…I’ll keep working on perfecting this…I think another egg would have done the trick.  Bonus: gluten free and packed with vitamins, omegas (from chia seeds and flax) and full protein (quinoa and grain + seed + nuts! here)


Mix Dry:

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 cup sun flower seeds

1/4 cup sun flower seeds

1 cup Gluten Free Flour

1/4 cup Brown Rice Flower

1/4 cup quinoa flakes

1/4 cup quinoa crisps

1.5 t baking soda

1 t good salt

separately mix wet ingredients:

4 eggs

1 T sweetener (maple, honey, sugar)

1 T apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup walnut oil

MIx wet and dry ingredients together.  Grease a loaf pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

I had leftover rosemary butter I made on Thanksgiving and dolloped it on top before baking.


Happy Day 4… To A New You!

Today was a whorl wind and it’s only getting windier… I just got home from my client’s house at 9pm having to write this post (scratch that) wanting to write this post and my camera is acting up… Anyway, today was a perfect example of the inspiration for todays topic…

How to have healthy food in your fridge all the time, that you only have to prep on Sunday, or whatever day works for you.  Making it super easy for you to just grab and reheat a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner.
So, I had 3 hours between coming home from teaching classes at the gym and going to Marin to cook for clients in their home, to create, cook and photograph the 3 meals.

Not to mention I’m on 4 hours of sleep!  That Italian meetup happy hour I went to last night was a blast!  After 3 hours and 3 glasses of wine my Italian was flowin like a native and I ended up at an Italian restaurant in North Beach with 8 bello Italian men 🙂 So far I’m  LOVIN meetup!

Crustless Quiche

Here’s an example of something you can make on Sunday and they will keep 4 days in the fridge.
The Combination possibilities are endless.  My mom taught me how to make these crustless quiches, and she would make them in muffin tins.
Broccoli and eggs go really well together.  I did spinach and tomatoes because that’s what’s on hand.
So, chop up your veggies and place them in the dishes.  Beat eggs and pour it over veggies.  Bake and you now have crustless quiches all week long.
It takes 5 minutes to assemble and 15 minutes to bake at 350.

Roast Acorn Squash Stuffed with Qunioa and Beans and Sprinkled with Toasted Walnuts

I love stuffing vegetables.  Acorn squash, eggplant and portobellos are my favorite.
They freeze really well and reheat really wonderfully.
I chose the acorn squash because they are amazing just by themselves.
Rice and chickpeas make a great combo, along with the pesto kale (that you’ve already made) and chopped nuts on top.
It is just as easy to make 1 acorn squash as it is to make 4 halves.  So why not just make 4. Why not make 12 crustless quiches.  It’s just as easy and it saves you time during the week.
They pack great and reheat really well at work.  Super filling and satisfying too.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Spinach Patties

These are A-mazing, I’m going to tute my own horn for a second here.  I made up the recipe and they are freakin fabulous.  So moist inside ad they have that crunch on the outside because I put them in gluten free bread crumbs before pan frying them and baking them.
So, really easy… black bean, steamed spinach and sweet potatoes and you already have your whole grain in the fridge. Cumin, grama masala and a little cayanne for a kick and some fresh squeezed lime.  Add 2 eggs, mix it all together and voila!
And now you have 8 patties.
Place on the slaw that you already have ready to go in the fridge.  Mix with a little lime juice too.
Cabbage does not get enough good credit.  It actually provides tons of Vitamin K and C, B6, folate and magnesium….just to name a few.  You can read up here.
Top with Tahini Sauce.  Typically Tahini sauce is made with lemon and water, but we’re using limes because we squeezed in the limes in the patties and slaw.  Plus sesame seeds.
So again, we are pairing the sweet potato in the burger with the sesame tahini because that’s the vitamin A and zinc combination that is really powerful for your body.

So there you have it.  Todays 3 meals that can be made on Sunday.  I know we’re al busy and we don’t want to be cooking for 3 hours every day, so just cook for 3 hours on Sunday.  And you know what, hey, you might have the same lunch all week, but that’s fine 🙂 that’s how you stay healthy.  And then you switch it up the next week.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes

I feel as though the only recipes I post are sweet/dessert recipes…which is not a good representation of the foods I really love and enjoy.
So I am going to start making a conscious effort to post what I really eat, on the day-to-day, the healthy whole veggies and grains!
We’ll start with a couple of eggplant dishes.  I love cooking with eggplant because there are a lot of different options, roast, stuff, puree…

So, the story behind this delicious dinner: My best friend (slash, roommate) from my days when living in Milan came to SF for a two week visit! Cecile is such an amazing person and fills any room that she’s in with love and positive vibes.  Unfortunately, for me, she is still living in Milan (running the marketing for a very high end jewlery/accessory company!) but we still manage to meet every year somewhere in the world!

The day after she touched-down into SF we took a day trip up to Napa Valley for a little wine tasting.  Something all guests love doing when visiting, and something I never get tired of “tour-guiding”
On our way out of Napa we passed a big beautiful produce stand and stopped to load up on goodies for the house (after having already loaded up on the vino!).
Japanese eggplants, asparagus and cherry tomatoes were among the many things we grabbed (great low prices too)

This is a simple dish to make when you don’t want to spend a lot of hands oh time- plus I did it all on the same pan in the oven.
Serve this on a whole grain (I used this) or over pasta or polenta

Serves 2 for Dinner or a 4 for a side
2 medium Japanese Eggplants
1 cup tomatoes
1 garlic clove thinly sliced
olive oil
Fresh Basil
Parmesan Cheese
Sea Salt fresh Pepper
10 spears of Asparagus
Lemon zest

preheat the oven to 375
Chop the eggplant into about 1 inch cubes
Halve the tomatoes
toss in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, good salt and pepper to taste
Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes.
In the meantime trim the asparagus toss with a little olive oil, minced garlic and salt and pepper
Up the temp to 400
Toss the veggies and scoot them to one side of the baking dish
Add the asparagus in a single layer
Roast for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through

I like to toss my veggies in lemon zest because I am obsessed with it.  It is so fresh and clean feeling, I love it, but definitely optional
Serve the Eggplant and omato over your starch of choice and top with fresh basil.


Nori Rolls with a Raw Almond and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

Get creative with the fillings.  Really anything works in Nori Rolls.  I used quinoa to make this a full protein lunch and a raw almond and sun-dried tomato spread to add healthy fats, protein and flavor.
Once you get the hang of rolling and assembling you’ll be amazed at how easy it is and wonder why you don’t make them more often

You can lay the seaweed out on parchment paper if you do not have a bamboo roller (I just didn’t feel like getting mine down from storage- how often does one really roll seaweed!?)
Thin layer of spread, followed by a grain then veggies
Easy a 1-2-3!

Nori Rolls:
Sliced Veggies
Grain (quinoa or rice are my favorite)
Have a little bowl of warm water near by.  You will be using this to dip your finger into when securing the seaweed roll closed
Lay a piece of seaweed down on bamboo (wax paper…)
Working in the third closest to you
Top with a thin layer of spread (Almond Pate, Hummus, Tahini with lemon and watered down a bit, peanut sauce…)
Top with veggies
Roll Tightly
Dip your fingers into the water and run them across the last 1/2 inch of seaweed
Press the wet seaweed against the roll

Almond Pate:
1 cup Almonds Soaked 8-24 hours
Sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 T fresh squeezed Lemon juice
2 t Tamari, soy sauce or shoyu
Cayenne for a kick (optional)
Salt and pepper
Drain the almonds
Place Almonds into a food processor and blend until smooth
Add the remaining ingredients and process until well mixed and blended.

Use a grain that is cooled completely.  If you must- throw it in the freezer for a few minutes if you’ve just cooked it.  If you do not have rolling bamboo (I’m sure there is an actual name for it) you can use wax of parchment paper.

Cut into bite size pieces, these little guys make pretty party appetizers


Broccoli, Beans and Pesto Rice with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

grain, nuts, side dish 0 Comments
Like most of the things I make, they’re inspired by what ever happens to be in my fridge and the ingredients can easily be changed and adjusted to your liking

If I had a term term for my cooking style it would be “don’t make it so technical”
This dish is a perfect example of just that.  
The grain is up to you, actually, this is my favorite combination with orecchiette pasta.
Asparagus or spinach could be used in place of the broccoli
Feta crumbled on top is a delicious option too.
Yields 2 for main, or 4 side dishes
Basic Grain Pilaf, or 2 cups of a cooked grain
1 T olive oil
2 cups Broccoli
1 cup Cannellini Beans
2 T Pesto
2 T parmesan 
1 T pine nuts
Heat the oil in a large skillet 
saute the broccoli for a few minutes
Add a little water, cover and steam for a few minutes until tender
Add the beans and pesto to the skillet, turn up the heat
Add the pesto and heat
Top with toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese

ingrained in your memory…your Basic Grain Pilaf

Actually, there is not even a recipe for this post!
The point is, we need to always keep cooked whole grains on-hand in our fridge!
The first step to eating healthy:
Stock your fridge with healthy,  pre-made (by you) foods!
There are many verities for grain pilafs, my favorite is quinoa 
with this rice medley I buy in bulk (brown, red and black)

Having this on hand will keep you from turning to processed foods like toast for breakfast, croutons on your salad at lunch or pasta with your fish at super.  And it is always available and ready to eat, which mean NO work for you! And, it can keep in the fridge for days!

I know we all complain about “not having enough time to cook”… well, you can’t use that excuse anymore!

For example, you can use your already made Basic Grain Pilaf for:
Cook with eggs in a frying pan (2 minutes)
Heat up in a pot with milk, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins and almonds for porridge (2 minutes)

Throw on your salad (timeless!)
Mix with bean and wrap in a tortilla (1 minute)

Throw into your soup instead of pasta (I do this with Thai curry too yum yum)
Put in a baking dish with white wine, top it with fish, rosemary, tomatoes, capers etc and bake

If you know that you will be using your Basic Grain Pilaf for savory dishes only, substitute the water for broth and even cook up a chopped onion in the pot before adding the rice.
This will really add a lot more flavor.
I usually choose to make mine with water (and no onion obviously) so I can have the option to make porridge in the morning too

Get creative with your combinations, portions and quantities of each grain.
Combinations I enjoy:
Millet and Quinoa
Rice and Amaranth


Miso Cod and Japanese Eggplant over Sesame Cabbage Rice

Asian, grain, seafood 0 Comments

a winner for sure
I’m asked repeatedly by clients to make this

Miso-Glazed Fish:
(note) To make it really simple, just mix equal parts miso paste with brown sugar and spread that evenly over the fish

2 T Mirin
2 T rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup miso paste, white or brown
2 T sugar
oil for baking
4 skinless cod fillets (about 6 oz)
Scallions for garnish

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small pan
Whisk constantly over low heat until the sugar melts
Transfer glaze to a small bowl and let cool completely

Heat the broiler, with rack 6 inches from the flame
Coat a baking sheet with oil
Arrange the fish on the sheet and brush generously with the glaze
Broil until fillets are browned on top and opaque throughout 6-8 minutes

(note) You can use your Basic Grain recipe here! After you have made the cabbage add about 2-3 cups of grain and mix well.  Add the 2 t rice wine vinegar, cover, and warm at low for a minute or 2.
Also, I did not have fresh ginger once so I used my pickled jarred ginger that I always have on hand in the fridge, it is so delicious, I eat it plane 🙂

2 T safflower oil, or other natural flavor oil
1 cup cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 t peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, small minced
1 cup long grain brown rice (I like Basmati because it cooks the fastest)
1 1/2 cups water
2 t rice wine vinegar
1 T sesame seeds

Heat Oil
Add cabbage, garlic and ginger, cook uncovered for about 2 minutes on medium until wilted
Spoon cabbage mixture onto a plate (or at this time add your pre-made Basic Grain)
Add rice to the pan and stir until lightly toasted, about 1 minute
Add a pinch of salt and water
Bring to a boil then reduce to low
Cover and cook for 30 minutes
Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes
Stir in the cabbage mixture, vinegar and sesame seeds
Toss and enjoy

Japanese Eggplant:
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 T soy sause
1 T sesame oil
1 T brown sugar
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove minced

8 Japanese eggplant, cut crosswise into about 1 inch pieces
oil for pan
salt pepper
sesame seeds and scallions for garnish
Whisk the first 6 ingredients
Heat the oil in a large skillet (maybe cook in batches, you want the eggplant to have lots of wiggle room while cooking)
Add the eggplant and cook for a few minutes, tossing often
Add the sauce, being sure that all the eggplant is covered equally by the sauce.
Turn the heat up and really grill and brown the eggplant
reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has turned glaze-like

Acorn Squash Risotto

I just read that It is possible to make risotto in a dutch oven! Wow, talk about much simpler and less hands on time.

Until I experiment with that… here’s a risotto recipe cooked the traditional way… 30 minutes of standing over the pot adding broth a little bit at a time while stirring continuously…
Time consuming, but delicious and worth every minute.

I am O-bsessed with acorn squash, but you can use butternut squash instead. Butternut squash can be found in stores pre-cut.
Serves 6
6 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cups acorn squash, peeled and chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 T unsalted butter
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano
Simmer the broth in a large stock pot
In a heavy, large saucepan, heat the oil
Cook the onion until translucent
Add the squash and mix well for a few minutes
Add the rice and toss to coat
Add half of the wine and stir until absorbed
Add the stock 1 ladle at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid is absorbed
Continue until you have used all the stock
Add the remaining wine and stir until the rice is al dante, a total of about 20 minutes
Stir in butter and Parmigiano cheese

Butternut Squash with Brown Butter, Crispy Sage, Pecan & Quinoa Pilaf…

…It’s a mouth full- Literally!

’tis the season to eat SQUASH

breakfast, lunch, side dish or dinner…
bake, roast, steam, stuff or mash…
The possibilities are endless

Since August I have eaten squash at least 3 times a week… I know, 5 months later I am just now deciding to write about it.
My favorites are Acorn, Butternut and Spaghetti Squash.

Mindee’s beautiful blue and white China, classy.

This Sunday my cousin and I took a stroll to our lovely neighborhood Farmer’s Market at Fort Mason– and it was here that I came across these adorable little baby size butternut squash.

To help understand the petit-ness of the squash, I served them on 6 inch plates.

Because butternut squash does not have a very large opening in the middle with seeds (see photo below) you will have to scoop out extra to make a larger space, big enough to fill with your yummy pilaf. Leaving about 1 inch of the “meat” around all sides.


Butternut Squash (or acorn squash)
1/4 cup quinoa
1 T butter
A few fresh sage leaves chopped
A handful of pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375
Cut the Squash lengthwise
Scoop out the seeds and using a knife, make an even larger opening.
Place cut side down on a baking sheet and prick many times with a fork (this allows steam to escape when baking)
Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa.
Rinse the quinoa well before adding to a sauce pan. Add double the amount of water as quinoa, and a pinch of salt to the sauce pan of quinoa, cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, partially covered, cook for 15 minutes- viola!

For the good stuff:
Add the butter to a small skillet, melt and let burn a little, add a pinch of salt sage and pecans.
Cook for a minute until sage and nuts become fragrant.
Add the Quinoa to the pan, coat and mix well with the butter.

Stuff the baked squash with the warm quinoa pilaf and top with a pecan half for a little extra touch.

If I were making these for a crowd (or men) I’d probably serve skirt steak and sauteed dark leafy greens too. But for my cousin and me, this was plenty for dinner.

These last a few days in the fridge. Today after the gym I reheated my last half in the oven for about 30 minutes at 300 while I was in the shower- and viola- lunch is served :o)
Not to mention, this is a good source of full protein after a workout.


Ball of Fire!

Like Power Bars, they’re Power Balls!

I’ve recently been experimenting with making healthy, whole, full protein, gluten free workout snacks…and these I think are a winner. Just one will sustain your energy for at least 2 hour workout.

I had a bowl of cooked grains (quinoa, millet, amaranth) in my fridge that I had made the day before and decided to use this as my base.
I have also been obsessed with almond butter- I finished 2 jars in 3 weeks! oooops :o)
So I decided to go with a nut butter to hold the grains together and provides a good source of protein and healthy fats.
I also prefer almond butter over peanut butter because it has more vitamins and minerals.
Now that we have chosen the carb and protein (grains and almond butter) I decided to roll the balls in coconut as a source of natural sugar. The coconut also helps hold the balls together and keeps from getting your fingers sticky with almond butter… not necessarily a bad thing.
You can use any grain here, even rice. I recommend using quinoa though because it is a full protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids).

Quantities here, like most things I make, are not important at all, you have complete control here. If you prefer, walnut butter, use that. If you prefer cocoa, roll your balls in that. The possibilities are endless.
I didn’t think it needed to be sweet, but again, it’s up to you. You can add 1 T of a natural sweetener like honey, during the first step

Other Options Inside:
ground flax seed
protein powder…

Other Options for Rolling:
chopped nuts
Cocoa Powder
Chopped Dried Fruit like Cranberries…

Makes about 10 Power Balls:
1 1/2 cups cooked grains
1/2 cup nut butter
Coconut for rolling

Combine the first 2 ingredients in a bowl (at this point add your sweetener or protein powder)
Form into little balls about 2 tablespoons worth
roll in coconut (nuts, cocoa powder, dried fruit, etc.)

Keep in an airtight container i the the fridge for, well I’d say forever- but just to be safe, 3 weeks!

Now Go and Run a Marathon!


Mushroom and Barley

This dish goes very well with many fall recipes. If you are gluten sensitive, try using rice or buckwheat in place on barley.

Even the young boys of my clients I cook for adore this dish and request it almost weekly.

olive oil
1 T butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup barley
Walnuts, chopped and toasted
Parsley, chopped
In a heavy sauce pan, heat the oil and melt the butter
Add the onions and cook over medium heat, about 3 minutes
Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms release their moisture, about 5 minutes
Add the broth, barley and Salt and bring to a boil
Simmer partially covered for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally
Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with nuts and parsley

Winter Citrus Salad

This Saturday at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market I saw something  I had never seen before.  Red Walnuts!  They are so pretty, almost too pretty to eat.

I knew I’d have to make something that would incorporate these beautiful walnuts.  I decided on a winter citrus salad (I almost always add chopped nuts to my salads because I think they add an extra heartyness).  Citrus fruits are everywhere this January, so I bought oro bianco grapefruit and blood oranges (of course regular grapefruit and oranges would work just fine too).  I choose avocados too because they go nicely with citrus and are in season. 
(check out more seasonal fruits and veggies!)
Last stop, Cowgirl Creamery, my favorite local cheese store, to pick up some raw goat feta to crumble on top.
To give this dish a little more substance, I made quinoa flavored with mint and lemon!
I made a dressing of fresh ginger and avage- so delicious.  The sweetness of the agave and the strong flavor of the fresh ginger really go well with the citrus fruits.  If you don’t have agave, honey will work too.  I bought fresh crushed ginger in a jar, and since I made this salad I’ve used it about 3 more times in recipes- it’s my new favorite “must have”!  Ginger is also super good for you! (Ginger’s health benefits)
This salad can be presented in many ways.  NO need to make it technical like I did- I just had the time to spend making it look pretty.  These ingredients all thrown together in a bowl will look pretty no mater what.
Blood oranges
1 cup of quinoa
Fresh mint
Lemon zest
Feta cheese
Equal parts fresh crushed ginger and agave.
Add extra virgin olive oil until you reach the consistency you like- stir really well
A cooking technique that Erin taught me.
Add your Quinoa (1 part to 2 parts water) to boiling water.  Stir a bit, bring to a simmer for about a minute.  Then turn off the heat and cover.  Let site for about 15 minutes- it will cook itself in the steam!  
Add lemon zest and chopped mint to taste
Stir in good olive oil salt and pepper to taste
I used a cookie cutter to shape the quinoa nicely.
Pile on the grapefruit and chopped avocado.
Sprinkle with walnuts and crumble feta.
Drizzle with the yummy agave ginger dressing! 
And lastly, ENJOY! 

Gloomy Day in SF Soup!

grain, soup, vegan 0 Comments

Today’s lunch was inspired by nothing else other than the bad weather…

San Francisco is known as the “Fog City,” which actually is not fair to say because we usually have very mild, beautiful weather 🙂  
But I willl admit, today was a particularly grey day.
By the time I had my coffee and was hungry for breakfast it was nearly noon- Time to get cookin!
I decided to use barley as my grain because I think it adds a really nice hearty flavor and texture to soups.
As for the vegetable I chose, they had been in my fridge waiting to be eaten.
I really liked the way all the flavors came together 
1 cup of Barley (soak for a bit if you have time)
1 onion chopped
2 T olive oil
8 button mushrooms chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 leeks slices
2 cloves of crushed garlic
3 cups of water with vegetarian bouillon 
In a heavy bottomed pot combine the oil, barley and chopped onion.
Cook for a few minutes over low heat.
Add about 3 cups of hot water and the vegetarian bouillon
Bring to a simmer
Add the remaining ingredients and cook for about 20 minutes
This soup honestly tasted better the second and third days!