Quinoa with Steamed Kale and Sweet Potato Fries

Since my last post, I have started my final semester of college. Come May, I will be a university graduate and will hold two bachelor’s degrees! How crazy is that? Knowing that this is my last semester has made me re-evaluate my life a bit, not only in terms of career choices but also in terms of lifestyle. Since my course load is lighter than it has ever been, I’ve had more time to focus on my long-term lifestyle goals: exercising more, sleeping better, and eating better. I have also had a lot more time to cook, so hopefully this blog will be significantly more active in the next few months!

The meal that I am about to share with you was a bit of an epiphany for me. I had never tried kale or quinoa before, but I love spinach and couscous, and my roommate happened to have these ingredients on hand when we decided to make dinner together. We decided to be adventurous and sort of ended up winging it as far as cooking methods and flavorings went, but everything smelled incredible so I wasn’t too worried. As soon as I took my first bite of quinoa, though, I was floored. It was SO DELICIOUS! And the kale was just as good! After the initial amazement wore off, I swore that this would become my default meal template for the rest of the semester, and it has. Here’s to healthy eating and pleasant surprises!

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Peel the sweet potato and cut into chunky slices. Place onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, toss, and place in a 375-degree oven for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your fries. Turn fries halfway through baking.

Steamed Kale

4 or 5 stalks of kale, washed and very coarsely chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat about 1/2 inch of water in a small saucepan or sauté pan until boiling. Add the kale and garlic and cover with lid. Steam for about five minutes or until bright green and soft. Drain any remaining water and add apple cider vinegar; add salt and pepper to taste.

Lemon-Dill Quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water
1/2 cube vegetable bullion
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove of garlic
a pinch of dried dill
feta or parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute garlic over medium-high heat in a little bit of olive oil. Add water and vegetable bullion and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and finish cooking according to package instructions. Toss with lemon juice, dill, and salt/pepper. Top with cheese (optional).

As you can see, this entire meal was incredibly easy and just as delicious. It certainly inspired me to be more adventurous with my ingredients and to try new things, because discovering a new healthy food that I haven’t tried before distracts me from the delicious, unhealthy ones! I hope I’ve inspired you to try something new, even if these specific ingredients aren’t a novelty for you.

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