My Healthy Veggie Stir-fry for Meatless Monday

Sometimes you just have to think outside the box and go back to things that you loved eating as a kid or at a friends house / restaurant but never made it yourself.

Stir-fry is something that I always find tastes delicious when you eat it at a Asian restaurant. It just seems that sometimes when you eat it at home it either lacks flavor or there is too much flavor or it’s mushy or it just doesn’t taste the same. I figured I would try this out as it would make a perfect meatless Monday meal. I mean Veggies with brown rice??? What more could you want.

Now, I have never in my life or as far as I can remember ever cooked a stir-fry so this was gonna be tricky. I know; I can make a lasagna from scratch but a stir-fry frightens me. Crazy.

Of course I know that you generally put broccoli and some other array of veggies. I also know that you use soy sauce but to be honest I try to use as little soy as possible; after all it is high in sodium and so unfriendly to the woman figure, it really has crazy day after bloating effects which cause so much discomfort, nothing like eating a healthy meal but having your pants fit you too tight because of the MSG you just inhaled. So, I kept a close watch on that one.

This was going to be a test of my culinary skills per se, because I wanted to see if I could achieve the deliciousness and still keep it healthy. The health benefits of this dish are many.
Broccoli is so good for you and high in so many great nutrients, it’s high in potassium, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, which benefits anywhere from brain function to the common cold.
Ginger is another great natural remedy especially for this cold weather, it’s an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, anti-viral, circulation-stimulating, detoxifying, digestive, lymph-cleansing and warming.
Mushrooms are another fantastic source of nutrients and amazing for the following niacin, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin D, potassium. They are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and extremely low in sodium.

So the above are the ingredients I used to make my veggie stir-fry accompanied of course by non other than delicious brown rice. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients

1 medium head of Broccoli

1/4 lb. Mushroom Pleurotos *

3 Celery stalks

2 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tbsp. fresh Ginger, Minced

3 drizzle count Extra Virgin Olive oil

4 drizzle count Soy Sauce**

Salt and Pepper to taste

Start  by slicing your broccoli into thin florets set aside on separate dish. Then move on to your mushrooms cut longwise and in-between thick and thin set aside on separate dish. Get your celery stalk and cut longwise as thinly as possible and 2 inches long set aside on separate dish. Move on to you ginger, chop up very thin and set aside. And now mince your garlic.

Heat a wok over medium heat, drizzle your olive oil and add the garlic and ginger at the same time. Allow your garlic to get golden and throw in your celery, mix well and then throw in your broccoli. Sprinkle some pepper and add 2 count drizzle of soy. Mix all the ingredients well allow to cook for another 3 minutes and then add your mushrooms. Mix again well with all the ingredients and then add the remaining 2 drizzles of soy. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes mixing ingredients in between. I like my veggies a bit crunchy but if you want to cook more feel free.
Serve over brown rice.

* Use whatever mushroom you like, shitake, portobello, porcini or champignon.

** If you can find Light soy, use that otherwise feel free to use the regular kind.

**If you feel like you need to, you can add a little water to help the cooking process.

 

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My Easy, Quick, No-Carb Veggie Stack…It’s that Good

So today’s post is about finding time to eat healthy always, no excuses whatsoever. Sometimes I think that people feel that when you have to eat healthy you really need time for it, although I can understand completely I also think that it takes time to cook a meal even if it’s not considered “healthy”.

We as a whole have to get into the mentality that our body is truly a Temple, it needs clean, healthy and most of all homemade foods to feel energized, peaceful, strong and to look it’s best. Lately I, although seem to have a ton of time feel like I am constantly pressed for time, and although it’s delicious and easy to come home and throw some salad, and other veggies in a bowl and mix it up and voilà dinner is served; I also feel like I would like to serve something a little different but that also looks as though I put time and effort in it. Ha! That must be the little cook in me….always trying to achieve perfection.

I’ve mentioned previously how much I love to grill, it’s low fat and quick. So, I decided that I would make grilled Veggies and kinda give them a sort of lasagna layering. You can grill whatever veggies you like it’s really up to what you have in the fridge and what you enjoy most that can be put on a grill….Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Onions, Radicchio, Endive, Potatoes, Asparagus. But remember if you’re in a rush don’t stress out use what you have, it’s going to be delicious. Trust me.

Ingredients:

2-3 Zucchini

1 large Eggplant

4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tbsp. Vinegar (any flavor you prefer)

1/2 Garlic Clove, minced

6 Parsley stems, chopped

1 Chili chopped, optional

Salt and Pepper to taste

Turn on your grill at medium setting and let heat. In the meantime slice your eggplant and zucchini 1/2 inch thick longwise. Once grill is warm put your veggies on top allowing to cook for about 5-8 minutes.
Chop Parsley, Garlic and Chilli and mix in a small bowl with Olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Put aside.

You may flip over your veggies now and allow to cook another 5 minutes allowing to reach grill marks.
Remove from heat. Get your plates and drizzle a little of your Olive oil mixture on the bottom and layer some eggplant drizzle again and layer some zucchini, drizzle again and  layer eggplant, continue this until you’ve atleast achieved 4 layers and top off with a drizzle. Do the same with other dish and serve.

Now you’ve cooked up a delicious, healthy, quick meal and you still managed everything else. You can do all sorts of variations, sprinkle pine nuts on top, feta grape tomatoes…you choose. This is what I had and it was perfect. Enjoy.

What’s more Healthy than: Quinoa Primavera

So as you know I love Meatless Mondays and an All Vegetarian meal whenever I can….??!!

I especially love Quinoa, for me it’s the best substitution to heavy carbs and it marries so well with vegetables (really anything, in this case I am focusing on vegetables 😉 ), I love the fact that it really will just blend with whatever flavors it is paired up with.

It’s been winters and although I love salads it’s been pretty hard to just have a salad when outside it’s snowing or just plain cold. So, what I resort to is basically roasted, steamed or lightly sauteed vegetables. On this particular day I hadn’t gone to the store in a while it was snowing outside and I just was going to use whatever I had in the fridge. I always have a large variety of veggies so I figured that I would make vegetables accompanied by……??? I opened the cupboard and there was the Quinoa, so I decided I would make something using both. I seldom will serve my Husband just vegetables, unless requested by him. Even if I just eat all vegetarian I always try to make him, chicken, beans or pasta or something (healthy) to go along with the veggies. So in this case it was Quinoa.

I do have a post I completely dedicated to the Nutrition facts and health benefits for Quinoa, you can see here: http://mythineats.com/2011/11/11/quinoa-nutrition-facts/

However this dish is simple, light, healthy, low carb, and low fat. So I hope that you like it. You can serve as a main dish or as a side dish to chicken, salmon, meat, eggs; whatever you like or prefer. Enjoy

Ingredients:

Serves 2 as main dish 4 as side dish

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups of Water

1/2 cup frozen Peas

2 Zucchini

1 Endive

A couple leaves of Radicchio

A handful of Arugola, washed

Salt and Pepper to taste

A few drizzles of Olive oil

Preheat your oven at 180° C (350° F).

Now put the quinoa and the water in a small pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste, mix, cover and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and lower flame to minimum and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes (until all water is absorbed).

Get your slice in 1/4 in rounds and place on a baking paper over a big baking tray or cookie sheet tray, lay them out one by one. Do the same with the endive. You should be able to fit your leaves of radicchio also, drizzle some olive oil over the vegetables and add salt and pepper to taste. Put in oven and allow to bake for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Place about 1 cup of salted water to boil in a little sauce pan, once boiled throw in the peas and allow to cook for about 5-8 minutes. Drain immediately in cold water and set to the side

Fluff your Quinoa, join all ingredients in a salad bowl and mix lightly and if you like you can squeeze a little bit of lemon over it and serve.

I have included a photo with an fried egg on top, or you could also chop up some feta or any cheese you like and throw it in. There are so many endless variations. Enjoy!!!

 

 

Low Fat and Low-Calorie: Zuppa alla Contadina (Farmers soup)

Vegetable soups are very popular here in Italy, it seems that anywhere you go you can order a delicious soup made with farm grown seasonal vegetables, light and just simple flavors cooked together and delicious. I love soups! But I do hate when they are more fattening than eating a piece of fried chicken.

Soups for me are something I choose to eat when I am trying to stay light, detox and stay warm, not for the opposite. Don’t get me wrong there are lots of soups out there that are just over the top and taste great, I don’t know like say chicken and dumplings, potato soup, tomato soup, etc… but one thing they all have in common is how heavy they are and how many calories are in them. I say if you really are craving it and that is all there is to eat then feel free (I’m no one to judge) but I just can’t justify eating it all the time; and for the amount of soups I eat and how I was raised in Italy with all these fresh low cal and delicious soups, the soups mentioned above just don’t even fase me, or exist in this country for that matter.

I am going to say that I have had them a couple of times while in the States and I do like them, but I definitely didn’t eat them if I was trying to be healthy or detox.
All this is to say that there are alternatives to soups not all of them are bad and heavy, they can be light, nutritious and perfect for a cold winter day. I hope that you enjoy this soup and lets all have a light and wonderful day!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup each of mixed dried Legumes, soaked over night (makes sure you have at least 5-7 different ones)*

½ cup Barley

1 Carrot

2 Celery stocks

1 Onion

1 Garlic clove

2 small Potatoes

1 sprig of fresh Thyme

1 sprig of fresh Rosemary

5 leaves of fresh Sage

2-3 Bay leaves

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil + ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop up your celery, carrot, onion, and potato into small cubes. Put a medium pot over medium flame and heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the cubed, celery, carrot, onion and potatoes as well as your garlic clove peeled but still whole. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then throw in your soaked legumes and barley, mix together and add water, you always want to make sure when cooking legumes you add double the water (so if you legumes arrive to 1/4 of the pot add 3/4 water.)

Add bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 2 – 3 hours.

In the meantime chop up finely your thyme, sage and rosemary. Put 1/2 the cup olive oil over heat in a small pot or pan and add your thyme, sage and rosemary, allow oil to get hot and then turn off heat and let sit.

Once your soup has boiled and the legumes are cooked remove the bay leaves and grab 3 ladles and blend smooth rejoin the blended soup to the pot and mix. You may begin to plate once all are served get the aroma olive oil and drizzle over the bowl of soup and enjoy!

* I used: Adzuki beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, soy beans, dried split peas, dried lentils.