Breakfast quinoa with cinnamon and ginger

Breakfast quinoa with cinnamon and ginger

Now that it’s cool outside, you can kick the cold cereal to the curb.  If you’re tired of oatmeal, given quinoa for breakfast a try?

I tend to have a lot of quinoa on hand from previous cooking demos.  It’s a favorite grain for me because of its versatility and strong nutritional profile. Quinoa is higher in protein and fiber than other grains, which means it promotes satiety (read FULLNESS). In addition, it’s a decent source of iron- a nutrient that can be deficient, particularly for women and kids. Typically, I have used it for savory dishes with vegetables and beans. Today was different! I made a small batch as a trial, but the recipe can be doubled or tripled to serve more. Below is what transpired.

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ginger paste (Spice World)
1 Tbsp. slivered almonds

Cook quinoa according to directions.
While still hot, add cinnamon, ginger paste, brown sugar and slivered almonds. Mix and serve warm.

Makes 2 (1/2 cup) servings. Nutrition facts per serving: 184 calories, 4.1 grams fat, 6.7 grams protein, 30.5 grams carbohydrate, 3.8 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 mg sodium

Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Want a simple recipe that’s also delicious?  Look no further.  Adding peanut butter to your diet adds healthy mono-unsaturated fat, protein and flavor.  This easy recipe can be used with chicken, turkey or tofu.  Add more vegetables like green beans, broccoli or zucchini or use gluten-free noodles if needed.  If you like a more mild sauce, skip the crushed red pepper.



1 lb. brown rice or Soba noodles

2 cups cooked chicken or turkey or sautéed firm tofu cut into cubes

½ cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

½ cup water

1 ½ tsp. ground or minced ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ½ Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 medium-sized red or yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

3 green onions, sliced diagonally (~ ¼ cup)

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro




  1. Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
  2. Sautee peppers in non-stick canola spray and set aside.
  3. Combine peanut butter, water, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger in a large sauce pan and whisk until blended. Simmer over low to medium heat for ~10 minutes until sauce is creamy.
  4. Add cooked pasta, chicken, turkey or tofu and toss in peanut sauce. Add sautéed peppers, green onions and toss lightly.
  5. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve while hot.


Makes 8 servings.  Nutrition Facts per serving (using chicken):  331 calories, 10.5 grams fat, 36.4 grams carbohydrate, 22.2 grams protein, 2.5 gm fiber, 68 mg cholesterol, 267 mg sodium

Thai Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Thai Chicken & Vegetable Soup

I created this soup when I purchased a carton of culinary broth at a popular discount store.  It was so easy and tastes like something you’d eat at your favorite Thai restaurant.  It’s got a decent dose of folic acid from broccoli, but may be a little high in sodium for some.  Enjoy!



1 cup chopped yellow or white onion

1 cup broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)

½ cup diced carrots

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp. curry powder

1 Tbsp. canola oil

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

½ cup broken vermicelli or rice

1 carton (32 oz) College Inn Thai Coconut Culinary Broth

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 cup diced/cooked chicken

1 cup light coconut milk

¼ cup each green chopped onions and cilantro



  1. Cook the onion, broccoli, carrots, ginger, garlic, curry and red pepper flakes in oil for ~3 minutes.  Add noodles or rice, broth and lime juice.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.  Simmer for ~7-15 minutes or until noodles or rice are soft.  Stir in chicken and coconut milk.
  3. Garnish with green onions and cilantro.


Makes 6 (1 cup) servings. 


Nutrition information per serving: 189 calories, 5 gm fat, 1.75 gm saturated fat, 0 gm trans fat, 12 gm protein, 18 mg cholesterol, 17.5 gm carbohydrate, 1.4 gm fiber, 568 mg sodium, 30 mg calcium, 35 mcg folic acid

Kale quinoa salad with lemon ginger dressing

Kale quinoa salad with lemon ginger dressing

Be kaleful!  Kale is in season and it’s time to embrace the leafy green.  This nutritional powerhouse is loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin K, nutrients needed to fight cancer, high blood pressure and protect your immune system.  Kale is often dismissed because of its rough texture.  If you massage kale before using it, it softens the texture and sweetens the flavor a bit.  In this recipe, I blended corn oil with a few other ingredients to create an Asian type dressing, then added quinoa, dates and pumpkin seeds for added texture, taste and fiber.  This is a great recipe for picnic or potluck.


8 cups fresh kale, cleaned and ripped

2 Tbsp. corn oil

2 Tbsp. lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)

1 Tbsp. honey

2 ½ tsp. sesame seed oil

2 tsp. minced ginger

1 tsp. fresh lemon zest

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds

¼ cup chopped dates

1 cup quinoa, cooked



  1. Cook quinoa according to directions and set aside to cool.
  2. Place cleaned, ripped kale in a large bowl. “Massage” the kale for 3-5 minutes to soften it up.  It will look shiny after a few minutes.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together corn oil, lemon juice, honey and sesame seed oil.
  4. Add ginger and garlic to the dressing.
  5. Add cooked quinoa to the kale mixture and toss in pumpkin seeds, lemon zest and dates.
  6. Pour dressing over the salad and toss before serving. The salad may taste better the second or third day after the kale surrenders.


Makes 10 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving: 125 calories, 5.9 grams fat, 3.7 grams protein, 16.5 grams carbohydrate, 2.5 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 26 mg sodium

Cumin Nature

Cumin Nature

If there’s one spice I never like to run out of, it’s cumin.  As far as spices go, it’s one of the least expensive, but most versatile spices around.  Cumin is an herb that originated from Iran and the Mediterranean and comes from the umbelliferae family.  Say that one five times fast!


It is used in a variety of cuisine including Mediterranean, Indian, Middle Eastern and Latin American.  From a nutritional perspective, cumin has been used as an aid for digestive problems, diarrhea and respiratory disorders and touted for its role in promoting menstruation, urinary flow and as an aphrodisiac.


Personally, I just like the taste.  Its savory flavor compliments soups, stews and chili as well as chicken, beef and pork.  I use it frequently to season root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots.  Cumin goes well with sweeter spices such as cinnamon and ginger as well.  Try the recipe below for something deliciously different!



6 regular carrots, peeled with ends cut, sliced into wedges or sticks

Pam or other non-stick spray

Ground cumin

Ground cinnamon

Season salt



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a large baking pan or sheet with non-stick spray.

Spread the carrots out on the baking sheet.

Spray the carrots with non-stick spray.

Shake cumin, cinnamon and season salt over the carrots (using approximately ¼  tsp. of each spice)


Makes 4 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  38 calories, 0 gm fat, .8 gm protein, 9 gm carbohydrate, 2.2 gm fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium

Fresh corn tortillas

Fresh corn tortillas

Do you like tacos, but dislike the non-fried shells because they crack when you fold them? You’re not alone!  Once you try this simple recipe, you’ll never use them again.  As for flour tortillas, I was hooked on them, but once I tried fresh corn tortillas, I never went back.


These tortillas are not only simple, but very healthy.  They’re made with just 3 ingredients and are gluten and preservative-free.  You can use for tacos, enchiladas or by themselves with salsa or guacamole.  Try them at your next gathering.  Your guests will gobble them up!



1 cup corn masa (ground corn flour)

7 oz. warm water

1/8 tsp. salt

Non-stick cooking spray



Place corn masa in a bowl and add salt and warm water.  Mix until dough forms a soft ball.  It will be playdough consistency.


Roll dough into eight, 1” balls.


Cut a gallon-sized plastic bag in half.


Place 1 ball of dough inside the bag and using a pie plate or tortilla press, press the dough into a flat tortilla.


Heat a large skillet and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the tortilla in the skillet for ~1 minute, then flip and cook the other side.


Place on a plate and cover with a clean towel to steam them a bit before serving.


Makes 8 small tortillas.  Nutrition information per serving:  53 calories, .6 gm fat, 11 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm protein, 1.1 fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 37 mg sodium.

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