Friday, July 29, 2011


Another great quinoa recipe to add to the collection.  I like the combination of quinoa, basil and tomatoes. You could add more tomatoes to the recipe if you wanted but I thought that three were enough.

Chopping tomatoes and green onion.

Mixing up the dressing, chopped herbs, tomatoes and green onions.

The finished salad and ready for the table.


1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of water
3 small tomatoes, finely diced
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Place the quinoa and water into a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked.  Cool and fluff with a fork.

      In a bowl mix the other ingredients together.  Add the quinoa and combine.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serves 4. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Costco sells salmon fillets marinated in an asian sauce.  You can cook the fillets right in the metal foil container or remove them from the sauce and then bake or barbecue them.  I looked at the ingredient list and thought it would be easy for me to make.  I had all of the ingredients in the pantry or fridge to make the marinade.  I bought a package of salmon fillets to marinate and then would bake them in the oven.  They turned out very well, they were moist and had a nice flavour.  Both the DH and I enjoyed the dish.

Fish just out of the oven.  I like lining the baking tray with tin foil to make clean-up a lot easier.

The portion of fish that I had for supper.


2 to 2.5 pounds of salmon fillet (no skin)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced


Cut the salmon into serving size pieces, a bit larger than a deck of cards.  It is also easier to marinate the salmon when the pieces are small.   Into a zip lock bag add all of the other ingredients and swish it in the bag to mix the marinating ingredients.  Add the salmon.  Place in the fridge for two hours, lying the bag flat if possible.  Every half hour or hour flip the bag over.

Place the fillets onto a tin foiled lined baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 to 25 or until done.  You can also bake the fish on the barbecue.  Serves 5 to 6.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This quinoa recipe joins the list for another great salad to make.  This salad can be served as a side dish or as the main dish, particularly for lunch. I found the original recipe in a Canadian Living magazine and made some modifications.  I used one cup of dried french lentils and cooked them in 2.5 cups of water.  French lentils are a smaller lentil and great for using in salads.  They also hold their shape.  To cook the quinoa I used some low salt chicken broth instead of water as I wanted to finish a carton of broth that was in the fridge.  When I use broth in a recipe I won't add salt as there is salt in the broth which adds to the flavour.  I also will not add the tomatoes to the salad until ready to serve.  Since the salad will keep for several days in the fridge, if you add the tomatoes with the other vegetables, I think the salad could become too soggy.   The parsley used in this recipe came from the garden so that was a nice added touch.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup warm water
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (add when ready to serve)
1 cup diced cucumber or 2 mini cucumbers, diced 
1 - 19 oz can of drained rinsed lentils or 1 cup dried lentils cooked
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint or 1 tbsp dried mint
3 green onions thinly sliced

In saucepan, bring quinoa, half of the salt and 2 cups water to boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and simmer until no liquid remains and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, tahini, warm water, garlic, cumin, pepper and remaining salt. Stir in quinoa, cucumber, lentils, parsley, mint and green onions, tossing to coat.  Serves 6.  Adapted from Canadian Living magazine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Every year I grow green beans in the garden.  They are not ready yet for picking so I bought a bag from Costco.  Of course being from Costco it is not a small bag.  I like to add seasonings to the cooked beans and made this easy recipe with dill from my garden.  I like this recipe as it has fresh dill and lemon.

Beans washed and drained in a colander.  I wash about two handfuls.  Using a chopping board I cut the beans into halves and thirds. They are then placed in a saucepan and cooked until soft but more al dente.  Drain the beans and place into a bowl.

I zest most of a lemon and will chop a small handful of dill. Add to the beans. Squeeze a few slices of lemon and add to the beans.

Add 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil to the beans.  Salt and pepper to taste.   Mix the beans with all of the added ingredients.

Ready to serve.  

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I have several books by Tosca Reno. Her first book, which I have, was released in 2007 and was titled "The Eat-Clean Diet".   Tosca has written a number of books and articles in magazines about her philosophy of eating clean, exercising and nutrition.  It all started when she was about 40 years old and unhappy about how she looked, how she felt, and how her life was going.  She decided to make some changes including losing a lot of weight and started going to the gym.  She transformed herself, competed in physique competitions and wrote about it in several magazines.  From there, the books, speaking engagements, motivational and wellness seminars, consulting and television shows occurred.  Tosca has two websites: eat clean diet and tosca reno

Recently I bought one of her latest books, the Eat-Clean Diet Stripped, which focuses on dealing with these last 10 pounds that you want to lose.  This diet is to be followed for a month as it limiting in the number of starchy carbohydrates you can consume.  Her premise is based on eating clean which means getting rid of eating processed food; reducing intake of sugar substitutes; eating fruits, vegetables, lean protein and high quality carbohydrates; watching your fat intake; and eating every two to three hours.  She is a proponent of combining a protein with a vegetable or fruit for snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon.   She is also a strong advocate of tracking of what you eat and the exercises you do.  You don't go hungry on her program but it is not a free for all where you can eat like you are at a huge buffet table.

You have to measure your portions but you don't need a scale or measuring cup.  You use your hands as a guide for measuring your portions.  For example, a cupped hand is one portion of starchy carbohydrates.

After being on this diet for for a week and half, I have lost 2.5 pounds. It has been a long time since I have lost this weight in this time span.  What am I eating differently than before?  I had been eating clean before and exercising.  There are a few differences. I am including a protein with my mid morning and afternoon snack and I am eating less starchy carbohydrates.  I have gone from eating five to six servings to two servings of starchy carbohydrates.  Furthermore, my options for what kind of starchy carbohydrates is more limited in that I am not eating bread or pasta.  I can have rice, potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal and other non-processed carbohydrates.  Do I miss bread?  At times, you bet!  But I feel less bloated and leaner.  Am I a perfect student?  Not 100 percent but close.  Today I took two bites of the DH's chinese bun that was just out of the oven from a local chinese bakery.  The smells from this box of chinese buns was intoxicating when we were in the car.

After a month on this program I will graduate to eating more starchy carbohydrates and increase daily servings to up to four.   I will keep you posted on how I am doing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I made this quinoa recipe from a Tosca Reno book on 'The Eat-Clean Diet Stripped".  Of course I modified some of the ingredients.   It is spicy and I didn't even add the cayenne pepper.  It is an easy recipe to make and takes about 20 to 25 minutes to cook.

Onions and red pepper being sauteed.

Just added the quinoa and broth.

Ready to be served.
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped or diced
1 small red or yellow pepper, seeded and diced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup quinoa
2 cups of water or low salt chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lime, about 1 to 2 tbsp
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a medium size saucepan or frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, red pepper, salt and pepper and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder and cayenne and cook for another minute.  Stir in the quinoa and broth, and let it come to a boil.

Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from the stove, fluff with a fork and add the cilantro and lime juice.  Serves 4.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I made this salad one night for supper after coming home from my pilates class.  The DH and I ate this salad as our meal and enjoyed it.  There were leftovers which will make a great lunch.  I liked the flavour combination of feta cheese, lemon juice, cilantro, tomato and chick peas.


1 cup dried orzo pasta
3 cups water
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 - 19 oz can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 stalk celery, diced
1 green onion, diced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 orange or red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
pepper to taste


Boil the water in a medium size pot, add the orzo pasta and reduce heat to medium.  Cook until al dente. About 2 minutesd before the pasta finishes cooking, add the chopped carrots to the pasta pot.  Drain the pasta and carrots in a colander and run cold water over the pasta and carrots to cool it down.  Drain.

In a mixing or large serving bowl, add all of the ingredients except the lemon juice, olive oil and pepper. Stir to combine and then add the oil, lemon juice and pepper.  Stir all of the salad ingredients.  Serves 4. 

Friday, July 8, 2011


I don't always marinade meat.  It is partly about thinking ahead and doing the necessary planning.  This recipe is a great marinade for steak or beef roasts.


1/2 cup vegetable oil
            1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp  ground black pepper
2 tbsp Dijon-style prepared mustard
1 tbsp dried onion flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a medium bowl or zip lock bag combine all of the ingredients.  Use this marinade for your favourite cuts of red meat.   Place the meat with the marinade in a zip lock bag and place flat on a shelf in the fridge.  Every few hours flip the bag with meat over to its other side.  I usual cook the meat after it has been marinaded for a few hours.  Makes enough to marinade four to five steaks.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


This past spring we had a pair of partridge that spent time in the backyard quite often in the afternoon or early evening.  I am sure they were the same pair along with other partridges who would come in for an afternoon snack of niger seed during the cold winter months.  The DH would cast niger seed on the snow swept ground for these birds.  

This spring, the pair came to feed on birdseed and also rest.  When the female was eating or resting, the male bird would be on the lookout for any potential or real danger.  The only danger in the backyard is the dog.  At some point after the birds had been in the backyard for awhile and the dog wanted to be let out, we would open the back door and he would sometimes stay on the deck and watch what was going on in his kingdom.  He didn't always notice right away that the partridge were there.   Once he noticed that these birds were on his territory, he quickly trotted down the few steps and ran in the direction of these birds.  They would quickly lift off and fly away.  

I am sure that if the dog didn't occupy the same backyard, this pair of partridge would have nested here.  Access to seed and water from the pond was very tempting.

Friday, July 1, 2011


υγεία - the Greek name for health

Many articles and books have been written about the Mediterranean diet.   The diet reflects the eating habits of Crete, Greece and southern Italy around 1960 when rates of life expectancy rates were the highest in the world and occurrences of chronic diseases were lowest in the world in people from these regions.

The diet has been promoted as one of the healthiest diets to follow.  The diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and olive oil.  It is a plant-based diet with milk, cheese and yogurt also being part of the daily diet.  Red meat is eaten only a few times a month; chicken, fish and eggs are eaten several times a week.  Butter and margarine are seldom included in the diet with the principal fat being olive oil.  The diet uses seasonal grown foods and doesn’t include processed foods.  In many ways it is about clean eating.

If you want to follow a Mediterranean diet  you need to focus on consuming fruit and vegetables daily, half your plate at lunch and supper should be vegetables; consume grains such as barley, bulgur, couscous, faro, millet and oats; choose low fat dairy; eat fish at least twice a week; eat red meat three times a month and don't consume large portions, your portion should be the size of a deck of cards; increase your consumption of beans; consume unsaturated and healthy fats and drink in moderation.

In a Globe and Mail article this past March, the nutritionist Leslie Beck quotes some research work done on the Mediterranean diet.  After reviewing more than 50 studies completed on over half a million people, the diet was found to substantially lower the risk of metabolic syndrome and is highly protective against the risk factors that cause this disorder.  Metabolic syndrome occurs when an individual has a large waist circumference plus two or more of the following: high blood pressure, low HDL (good cholesterol); high blood triglycerides and elevated fasting blood sugar levels.  Your risk of heart attack doubles plus you have five times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

I think this diet is a smart way to eat and is not complicated to follow.  If you want to loose weight you still need to be mindful of portion size.