Beginner’s Guide to Quinoa

These days, quinoa seems to be all the rage in the food industry. There are countless varieties lining the shelves in grocery stores, and restaurants are adding this nutrient dense whole grain to their menus. Quinoa has been labeled a super-food by many nutritionists and dieticians, and reasonably so. Quinoa is a great addition to any healthy diet, and is a great substitution for starchy grains like rice and pasta.

Quinoa can be delicious if you cook it properly.This ancient grain boasts numerous health benefits. First, quinoa is one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. In addition, quinoa contains a high ratio of protein to carbohydrates due to the fact that the germ makes up 60% of the grain. Another appealing trait of quinoa is that it is gluten free, which makes it a great option for anyone with a gluten sensitivity.

In a study aimed at measuring how satisfying quinoa is compared to rice, researchers at the University of Milan found that quinoa has a higher Satiating Efficiency Index than white or wheat rice. Participants reported that they felt more full after eating quinoa than they did after eating rice. This is probably due to the fact that quinoa contains twice as much fibre than other grains. So, quinoa is a great way to satisfy your hunger and keep you feeling full throughout the day.

The high vitamin and mineral content in quinoa also contributes to its super-food classification. Quinoa is high in iron, which helps to increase brain function and boost the energy metabolism. For those who suffer from migraines, quinoa may be able to help, as it is a rich source of magnesium. Riboflavin, or B2 is also found in quinoa, which helps to improve energy metabolism and facilitate proper energy production in cells.

So, how do you prepare quinoa? First, you have to choose from the many varieties at the store! I usually purchase white or red quinoa. When you are ready to make your quinoa, always be sure to rinse it thoroughly before cooking. To cook, use a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. The package usually recommends 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa. This makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. If you want a smaller portion, use 1 cup of water and 1/2 a cup of quinoa. Any leftovers will store great in the fridge for about a week!

Just like rice and pasta, flavour needs to be added to quinoa. This can be done a few ways. First, you might want to cook the quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth. Try using 1 cup of broth and 1 cup of water. Or, you could add a tablespoon or two of olive oil at the beginning of the cooking process along with the water. I like to make my quinoa with water, add a little oil, and sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper. I bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, and is light and fluffy. This will usually take about 15 minutes, but keep an eye on it!

Now you are ready to start experimenting with your quinoa! Add some fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley. Steam and chop some vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms, or carrots, and mix them in at the end. The possibilities are endless when it comes to quinoa, and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Is it a Good Idea to Buy an Electric Soup Maker?

In the past, making soups used to take a lot of work and we certainly had to spend a lot of time for the preparation. However, what was a tricky task has turned into a very simple automated task thanks to soup makers that are widely available in the market these days. A Morphy Richards soup maker is generally a worthwhile investment for your home but there are other good brands as well.

This electric soup maker by Morphy Richards makes excellent soup.The main question you need to ask yourself is whether it is a good idea for you to get a machine like this. You must consider this because I’m sure you already have lots and lots of kitchen appliances at home and most of these you probably don’t even use anymore. This is a question you must answer because it will prevent you from wasting money on something that you might not even use more than once or twice.

At the end, after one or two uses, you might chuck it away under the counter, in the attic or wherever the useless junk is kept. But, what can you do to answer this properly? There are several other questions you need to answer in order to determine an answer for the main question.

At the end of the day, you need to decide whether you really need one of the best soup makers. The first thing you need to ask is how often you currently make soup and how often you’ll be making it in the future. If you have family members that love soup and you’ll be making it a few times per week then it would probably be the right decision to get one.

The machine will definitely allow you to save a lot of time and it will also ease your workload and provide an element of convenience. However, not many people like to have hot soup in the summer and will only ever use an electric soup maker once every few months. In this instance, it’s probably best to avoid buying this because you’ll probably put it away after using it once or twice.

When it comes to features, the most soup makers will usually be able to prepare all kinds of foods. These days the modern-day models come in a blender design that can be used to make milkshakes, smoothies, soups and even sauces. This can act as an all in one machine that will save up a lot of space on your kitchen counter. If you don’t have a blender or lots of separate appliances, then it’d be worthwhile getting an electric soup maker that can be used to make various different things.

If you’re on the hunt for an electric soup maker, then you also need to think about how much money you have available for this purchase. If you haven’t got too much money saved in the bank then it probably would be a good idea to pass up on this.

Obviously, some of the above factors will matter more than others. But, I think that the most important thing to determine how useful this machine will be for you. Will it make things a lot easier for you or are you going to use it once or twice every few months? Obviously, a machine like that will be very handy to have around at home and it’ll certainly provide a lot of convenience.

If I was you and planned to use this a few times per month, then I would probably go for the best Morphy Richards soup maker. I would do this mainly due to the fact that it would save a lot of time, which will allow me to focus on other things.

In addition to this, buying something like this would also make things a lot easier for me and this is probably the most valuable thing for me.

My Love for Smoothies

I love smoothies! I am obsessed with them, honestly. Smoothies are one of the key components in my diet and I think they are a great option when trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Smoothies are perfect as an afternoon pick-me-up and before or after a workout. When running short on time in the morning, they are a quick and easy breakfast.

This Blackberry Protein Smoothie is healthy and delicious.I started making smoothies when I was a kid. I had this awesome cookbook that my mom picked up for me at a garage sale that was filled with great smoothie recipes. That cookbook was the first step towards discovering my love for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen!

Once I started working out in high school, I began making protein smoothies using whey protein powder. I loved using the chocolate flavour and blending it with milk, a banana, and peanut butter. That was when I started to realise how you can really pack nutrition into these delicious drinks.

There are endless possibilities for a smoothie and I have learned a few tricks to making a well-balanced and delicious smoothie.

If you don’t like fruits in a liquid form, have a look at this delicious smoothie bowl recipe.

In order to make the perfect smoothie, you have to first start with your protein source. This can be a scoop of protein powder, a pasteurised egg, half a cup of plain Greek yogurt, or even cottage cheese!

Next, pick your liquid. Milk makes for a creamier smoothie, but water works well too. Almond or coconut milk are great options.

Add a tablespoon of nut butter.

Pick a fruit or fruits to flavour your smoothie. I almost always add a frozen banana. I also like adding berries. Experiment here!

If you want some omega 3s, add flax seeds or chia seeds to the smoothie. Chia Seeds will add thickness.

Lastly, add a handful of ice cubes. You can put all of this together in a soup/smoothie maker, as this will make the process a lot easier.

Optional: add some spinach or kale for added nutrition and a beautiful green hue.

For most of my smoothies I use a brown rice protein. I highly recommend using this instead of the traditional whey protein that most of the big brands sell.

The end result turned out fabulous. The smoothie was so thick, creamy, and delicious. You probably won’t understand how this drink can actually be good for you. Here’s the recipe:

Blackberry Protein Smoothie

What you need for this Recipe:                

1 scoop of vanilla flavoured protein powder

1 cup of vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup of plain Greek Yogurt

Half of a frozen banana

Handful of frozen blackberries

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

shredded coconut for topping

How to Make this Recipe:

Slice a banana into coins and place into freezer for at least an hour or until frozen.

Pour milk and protein powder into a blender, blend on low for a few seconds.

Add all other ingredients except coconut.

Blend on high until all the frozen fruit is broken up.

Pour into a glass and top with shredded coconut if desired.

Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl

I decided this morning that I needed a really good workout to start the week and act as a reset button for the weekend. So, I headed to my local park and did my regular workout routine. I love it because it combines cardio with toning, and really has your heart rate up for the entire workout. It is definitely a challenge and feels like an accomplishment when you finish. If you have about 45 minutes to workout I recommend this routine because it scorches calories and has your metabolism revved up for the whole day.

This smoothie bowl looks delicious and is very healthy.Post workout I needed a protein rich recovery breakfast. So, I decided to make one of my favourite breakfasts: a smoothie bowl. I am calling this smoothie bowl the Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl because I added baby kale to give it extra vitamins and also some aloe vera gel for added antioxidants. You can get aloe vera gel at any health food store.

I started with the base of the smoothie bowl. Last night I made some chia pudding. I mixed 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and a scoop of designer whey vanilla protein.  I put that in the fridge to thicken up, and in the morning I decided to use it in my smoothie bowl. Along with that I added 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, a few ice cubes, a handful of baby kale, and a tablespoon of aloe vera gel.

I threw it all in the blender and let it rip! I l blended it for about a minute on the high setting. I know it’s done when the frozen pieces of banana and ice are all broken up. Once it’s smooth, I poured it into a bowl and start adding my toppings.

A general rule I like to use for smoothie bowl toppings is to have some type of fruit and something crunchy. So, I added mango, blueberries, and goji berries for the fruit. I added vanilla almond granola and toasted almonds for the crunchy aspect. To add a tropical flare I threw in some unsweetened coconut flakes. This combination turned out to be really good! The mango is juicy and creamy and the granola and almonds add a nice crunchy texture.

Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl

What you need for this Recipe:

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1 scoop of protein powder

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel

A few ice cubes

Toppings:

Fruit

Toasted nuts

Unsweetened coconut

Granola

How to Make this Recipe:

Place all ingredients for the smoothie in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.

Pour smoothie into a bowl and add desired toppings.

Grab a spoon and enjoy!

Healthy Whole Wheat Cupcakes with Chocolate Spread

One of my friends is extremely health conscious. She has given up making stuff with normal all-purpose flour and has switched completely to whole wheat. For her husband’s birthday she made a delicious cake with a lovely chocolate ganache. Naturally I had to make this cake. I couldn’t remember the entire recipe properly, but had a rough idea and used my initiative!

These whole wheat cupcakes are healthy and still taste delicious.You can either use 1 egg or if you prefer, you can substitute it with 1/3 cup curds or 1 tablespoon of flax seed powder mixed with 1/4 cup warm water. I have also used homemade butter and salt in place of the standard butter you get at the supermarkets. As for the chocolate spread, you can use a supermarket branded one or make it yourself at home.

A good friend of mine has come down from the USA to visit me and has brought a lot of gifts for me, including cranberries, and a cupcake stand. I just had to use them!

I made 6 cupcakes and one small cake.

Healthy Whole Wheat Cupcakes with Chocolate Spread

What you need for this Recipe:

2 cups wheat flour, heaped

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups butter, level

2 cups sugar, level

1 tbsp cocoa powder

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

½ cup cranberries

1/8 tsp salt

How to Make this Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease the cupcake moulds and line them with paper.

Mix the wheat flour, cranberries, cocoa, salt and the baking powder with a whisk and set aside.

Add the sugar and butter in a bowl and using the hand mixer beat well till light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and vanilla essence beat well.

Using a spatula fold the flour mixture till the batter is well mixed.

Transfer the cupcake moulds to a batter till ¾ full. Tap sharply on the platform to get rid of any air bubbles.

Bake in the oven 18-20 minutes or till done. The best test I feel is to check if the skewer comes out clean when it is inserted in the centre.

Transfer the moulds on the rack. Let them stand for 10 minutes them remove the cupcakes from the moulds.

Spread the chocolate spread on top when the cup cakes cool.

Healthy Whole Wheat Cake with Chocolate Butter Icing

The round cake was ready in 25 minutes. I spread the butter icing on the cake. I kind of wished I had split the cake and spread the icing in the centre. But this thought occurred to me after I struggled to spread the butter icing and smoothen it out. I really need to learn how to ice cakes properly.