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Easy Delicious Dinner Ideas Vegetarian

A Confession

February 3, 2020

Bless me Father, for it’s been 40 years…no wait. Not that kind of confession.

It’s this: For the past six months I haven’t felt like cooking.

For a person obsessed with food like me, it’s a little weird. Usually, all I have to do is smell, hear about, or see something and I’m inspired. I even subscribed to the New York Times Food section for inspiration, but it’s left me feeling pretty meh, until this past weekend. I saw a recipe for Carmelized Shallot Pasta and I thought – YUM!

Part of the reason I’ve been so lackluster is because I recently got my blood tested and it came back in the pre-diabetes range. So, of course, I’ve been trying to figure out how to eat better. I’ve read you should exercise every day for a half hour.

You should also avoid too many carbs and lose weight. Both really easy things – if you’re locked in an empty storage unit. But if you live in LA, a food wonderland, and work in a place where, every day some new delicious, melted cheese food temptation shows up, you’re totally screwed.

Plus I’m trying to eat less red meat and meat, in general because it’s not good for the environment, so there’s that. So, I’ve been buying things like quinoa, sweet potatoes, nonfat Greek yogurt, blueberries, blackberries and avocados because that’s what all the experts say to eat. I think this means I’m turning into a Californian.

The silver lining is this: Anything that forces you to get healthier is a good thing, even if you have to be dragged into it by your hair. So, over the weekend I made toasted quinoa, (I like the flavor better when you toast it) roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, a baked sweet potato and experimented with a very delicious Carmelized shallot mixture that can be used as a sauce or topping. It’s really good and I didn’t even follow the recipe properly! That’s in my next blog post.

So, for lunch today, I put about 3/4 of a cup of toasted quinoa in a bowl, topped it with some roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, a quarter of a baked sweet potato, added a little avocado, a few grates of lemon rind, then drizzled a little teriyaki sauce on top.

I ate it cold, which was delicious, but it would have been great warm too. (I just didn’t have the heart to warm Brussels sprouts and broccoli in the microwave at work – the smell makes you eye your cubby mates with suspicion.)

I hate to admit it, but those healthy people are apparently right. I wasn’t hungry all day. That’s never stopped me from eating, but I suspect paying attention to actual hunger, instead of eating out of boredom or frustration at work, could possibly be helpful with that whole weight loss thing. I hate it when common sense interferes like this.

Quinoa with sweet potato, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and lemon rind. (I added the avocado when I ate it.)

Toasted quinoa with Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and Lemon rind.

Yields1 Serving

 1 large Sweet potato
 1 cup Quinoa
 2 cups water
 1 lb broccoli heads
 1 lb Brussels sprouts
 ½ tsp lemon zest
  cup Teriyaki sauce
 4 tbsp olive oil

1

Scrub the sweet potato, dry it, poke it with a knife, and wrap it in foil. Bake it in the oven at 375 for about an hour and a half.

2

Place the quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat and stir it until it starts to get toasted. You can smell it and you'll hear small pops. Just keep watching it and let it get a slightly toasted brown (about 15 minutes). Then remove it from the pan and set it aside.

3

Place the toasted quinoa in a medium sauce pan with 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Then lower it to a simmer and put a lid on it. Check it after 15 to 20 minutes. It should have absorbed all the water. Turn off heat, fluff it with a fork and set it aside. This makes about 4 cups of quinoa, so you can have some for later!

4

Rinse the broccoli, then place it in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and stir until the broccoli has been coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Place the broccoli on a greased cookie sheet in a 450 degree oven. Check it after 15 minutes, turn it and and bake for another 10 minutes or until it's lightly browned.

5

Rinse the Brussels sprouts. Cut the Stem and remove one or two of the outer leaves if yellowed or damaged. Cut them in half and place them in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and toss them until they are coated. Drizzle more oil if needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Place the sprouts on a greased cookie sheet in a 450 degree oven. Check them after 15 minutes, turn them and and bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

6

When all the ingredients are cooked, take about one cup of the quinoa, place it in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup broccoli, 3/4 cup Brussels sprouts, and 1/4 of the sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch pieces. You may add fresh avocado too if desired. Grate lemon zest on top. Drizzle lightly with Teriyaki sauce and enjoy! This could feed four people.

Ingredients

 1 large Sweet potato
 1 cup Quinoa
 2 cups water
 1 lb broccoli heads
 1 lb Brussels sprouts
 ½ tsp lemon zest
  cup Teriyaki sauce
 4 tbsp olive oil

Directions

1

Scrub the sweet potato, dry it, poke it with a knife, and wrap it in foil. Bake it in the oven at 375 for about an hour and a half.

2

Place the quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat and stir it until it starts to get toasted. You can smell it and you'll hear small pops. Just keep watching it and let it get a slightly toasted brown (about 15 minutes). Then remove it from the pan and set it aside.

3

Place the toasted quinoa in a medium sauce pan with 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Then lower it to a simmer and put a lid on it. Check it after 15 to 20 minutes. It should have absorbed all the water. Turn off heat, fluff it with a fork and set it aside. This makes about 4 cups of quinoa, so you can have some for later!

4

Rinse the broccoli, then place it in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and stir until the broccoli has been coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Place the broccoli on a greased cookie sheet in a 450 degree oven. Check it after 15 minutes, turn it and and bake for another 10 minutes or until it's lightly browned.

5

Rinse the Brussels sprouts. Cut the Stem and remove one or two of the outer leaves if yellowed or damaged. Cut them in half and place them in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and toss them until they are coated. Drizzle more oil if needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Place the sprouts on a greased cookie sheet in a 450 degree oven. Check them after 15 minutes, turn them and and bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

6

When all the ingredients are cooked, take about one cup of the quinoa, place it in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup broccoli, 3/4 cup Brussels sprouts, and 1/4 of the sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch pieces. You may add fresh avocado too if desired. Grate lemon zest on top. Drizzle lightly with Teriyaki sauce and enjoy! This could feed four people.

Toasted Quinoa with Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato and Lemon Zest

  • Reply
    EmilyAnn Frances
    February 6, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    Wish you success with healthy eating and regular exercise. Here is to a healthy and fit you in. 2020.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 10, 2020 at 8:02 pm

      Thanks Emilann. I am working on it, but it’s not coming naturally.

  • Reply
    Bernie Tunno
    February 3, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I have a hard time getting the quinoa out of my toaster

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 4, 2020 at 9:36 am

      You may not be completely clear on the concept. xoxo

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