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I’ve been exploring a lot of other blogs lately. I’m a little isolationist by nature, so it’s good for me to branch out and learn about new blogs and, by extension, the people behind them. During these explorations, I’ve been struck by the number of amazing women who’ve decided they weren’t happy with the state of their bodies and lives and have committed to healthier lifestyles. I know I’ve written about Dannii from Healthy, Hungry, Happy before, and she is just the tip of an iceberg filled with strong, determined, inspiring women.

So I’ve decided to join those women and take control of my life. I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. My weight has isolated me, crippled my self-esteem and done god knows what to my health. I’ve constantly pushed things off, thinking “I’ll do that once I’ve lost the weight.” Well, I think I’ve hit the point where I can’t do that anymore. I was listening to a lecture by Marianne Williamson today and one thing she said just caught my attention: “We decide what we want in life.” Well, here are some things I want. I want to feel comfortable in my body, fit properly in my clothes, be able to run again and sleep in a tent without my back feeling like it’s on fire. I want to wear my cute heels without feeling off balance and be able to hike for hours (not in heels). Basically, I want to be healthy, strong and comfortable in my body.  I don’t want to spend another decade killing time until the day I feel perfect; it all starts now.

And on that note, here’s my recipe for Quinoa Pilaf. It’s healthy a flavorful. While traditionally a rice dish, I substituted in quinoa to get that extra protein boost. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

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2 C Quinoa
1 Onion, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 C Golden Raisins
1/2 C Pistachios, coarsely ground
1 Orange
Pinch Saffron, soaked in 1/3  C hot water
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Bay Leaves
6 Cardamom Pods
1/4 tsp Cumin
scant 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
2 1/3 C Vegetable Broth (chicken broth will work as well)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

 

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Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Start off by rinsing the quinoa and then soaking it in fresh water for 5 to 10 minutes. This is an important step because quinoa typically has bitter coating on it. Some commercial versions are pre-washed, but better safe than sorry. Give the quinoa one last good rinse once it has finished soaking and then set aside to let the water drain out.

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Melt 1 tbsp of butter on the stove top in an oven-proof pan that has a lid. Saute the onion over medium-low heat with a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper until the onions are translucent.  Add in 1/4 C each of the ground pistachio and raisins, along with the orange peel. Cut the peel from the orange over the pan to capture all that good essence that sprays from the orange as you cut the peel off. Saute everything for another minute or so.

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Add another 1/2 tbsp of butter to the pan, along with the quinoa. Toast the quinoa in the pan for about 5 minutes.

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Add the vegetable stock, saffron water, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cumin and nutmeg to the pan. Add another good sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring the dish to a boil.

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While the stock is heating, thoroughly wet and wring out a clean dish towel. Wrap the lid to the pan in the towel. Once the stock has come to a boil, cover with the towel-wrapped lid and transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

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Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the pot from the oven, but keep it covered. Let it sit for another 15 minutes before removing the lid. Remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cardamom pods and then fluff up the quinoa.

Garnish the quinoa with the remaining pistachio and raisins when serving.

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Quinoa Pilaf
 
Recipe By:

Ingredients
  • 2 C Quinoa
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1½ Tbsp Butter
  • ½ C Golden Raisins
  • ½ C Pistachios, coarsely ground
  • 1 Orange
  • Pinch Saffron, soaked in ⅓ C hot water
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 6 Cardamom Pods
  • ¼ tsp Cumin
  • scant ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • 2⅓ C Vegetable Broth (chicken broth will work as well)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Start off by rinsing the quinoa and then soaking it in fresh water for 5 to 10 minutes. This is an important step because quinoa typically has bitter coating on it. Some commercial versions are pre-washed, but better safe than sorry. Give the quinoa one last good rinse once it has finished soaking and then set aside to let the water drain out.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp of butter on the stove top in an oven-proof pan that has a lid. Saute the onion over medium-low heat with a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper until the onions are translucent. Add in ¼ C each of the ground pistachio and raisins, along with the orange peel. Cut the peel from the orange over the pan to capture all that good essence that sprays from the orange as you cut the peel off. Saute everything for another minute or so.
  4. Add another ½ tbsp of butter to the pan, along with the quinoa. Toast the quinoa in the pan for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetable stock, saffron water, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cumin and nutmeg to the pan. Add another good sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring the dish to a boil.
  6. While the stock is heating, thoroughly wet and wring out a clean dish towel. Wrap the lid to the pan in the towel. Once the stock has come to a boil, cover with the towel-wrapped lid and transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  7. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the pot from the oven, but keep it covered. Let it sit for another 15 minutes before removing the lid. Remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cardamom pods and then fluff up the quinoa.
  8. Garnish the quinoa with the remaining pistachio and raisins when serving.

 

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