Eating Well On A Tight Schedule: Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

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In the last several months, I have had little time do anything else but work on my startup. It’s a really exciting and busy time for Glamour Games, which means I have very little time for Club Dine In. Though, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been eating well. My health is a priority, so I still try to squeeze in 3-4 workouts per week, grocery shop, and cook. I don’t devote my free time for elaborate meals, but stick to the basics. I still cook and eat fresh, unprocessed food that take 30 minutes or less to make. I am also becoming an expert on making large batches of food, so I only have to cook about 3 nights a week. I mostly make Indian curries, sauteed vegetables over soba noodles or quinoa, and hearty salads.

One of my go-to recipes is the One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf I found on the Food 52 website. It has a nice balance of protein (quinoa, pine nuts), healthy fats (walnut oil, pine nuts), carbohydrates (quinoa, pine nuts), vitamins and fiber (kale, chives, quinoa). Good quality walnut oil can be expensive, but it’s worth the investment. Walnut oil is delicious and a little really goes a long way. You can also just use a good quality olive oil, but I really do love the flavor the walnut oil lends to this dish. In this recipe, I substitute chives for scallions often. It really is about what I can find at the farmer’s market. When we are tired of kale, I add in arugula (without steaming it) or spinach. I’ve even added a few sprigs of fresh mint to the mix. It’s easy to make this recipe vegan, by nixing the goat cheese altogether. The texture and taste is lighter without the goat cheese and the walnut flavor really comes thru.


I refuse to eat takeout food near our office, so I bring in food for us everyday. With this dish, I introduced one of our engineers to quinoa and kale. After that, I decided to bring this dish in every Monday for the team. The pilaf also costs a lot less per serving than fast food. A little prep and planning does go a long way for your budget, time and health!

Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips!


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Meatless Monday: Pistachio Quinoa and Butternut Squash

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Meatless Mondays: Staples in the Pantry

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In order to maintain healthy, unprocessed eating habits, you have to do some advance planning and thinking. This will prevent you from loading up on junk food and then feeling sluggish and guilty afterward. I always make a tentative meal plan each Sunday morning (before heading out to the farmers market). I pin recipes I want to try, analyze the items I have in the fridge, and make a grocery list. Then, I head off to the Farmer’s Market. The planning process takes me about 15 minutes, (sometimes longer if I get distracted by all of my cookbooks and pins). I also always default to a few staple recipes, so I make sure my pantry and fridge is always stocked with the items needed. Of course, it took me a little longer when I first started this planning process. Since the both of us work from home, I plan out lunches too. Though, even if we were commuting to an office, we would  take a bagged lunch (more on that later).  I like to spend 30-40 minutes in the kitchen each day and then be done with cooking and cleaning. I also like making large quantities at once, so we can eat the leftovers or transform them to something else rest of the week. Two vegetarian staples I always keep on hand and make in large quantities are quinoa and French green lentils. I always have these two in my pantry, because they store well and they are cheaper to buy in bulk. Also, when my fridge is empty and I don’t have any fresh vegetables, I can make do with these two. (A lot healthier and tastier than pasta.)

1. Quinoa– Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a South American complete protein grain. A complete protein grain means that it has a balance of essential amin0 acids (needed for tissue development), vitamins, and minerals. Quinoa has a nutty flavor and is rich in antioxidants. Even though, quinoa is not a true grain,  it is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of it’s cooking characteristics. It has the same preparation method as rice, taking only 15 minutes to cook, and can be used in casseroles, soups, salads, stir-fries, and stews. Quinoa tastes even better when it’s Fair-Trade!

Quinoa comes in many varieties- red, black, white, pink. This one is a red varietal.

2. Lentils– Lentils are widely used in India, Africa, and Europe and boasts many health benefits. They can be cooked in a variety of ways and have an earthy flavor. Lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world. They also contain fiber, folate, vitamin B1 and minerals.  Lentils are not as daunting to cook once you give it a try. Some lentils are super easy and quick, others require overnight soaking or a pressure cooker. I like using French Green Lentils (FGL), because they are super easy to prepare, higher in fiber, and I have mastered them.

I cook large batches of either quinoa or FGL (sometimes both) at the beginning of the week and use them as a base for our meals or quick snack. For instance, I can spruce up cooked quinoa with dried fruit and nuts for a power snack. Or, I can mix in vegetables with the lentils and have it be dinner. On Meatless Mondays, I usually center one meal around either the quinoa or lentils.

About 1 cup dried FGL will be sufficient for Satish and I to use throughout the week.

FGL are very satisfying with mixed, seasonal vegetables, olive oil, and seasoning.

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Farm to Table Brunch

June 20th marked the one year anniversary of our official engagement, meaning a ceremony in front of 120 family members. To celebrate, we decided to stay-in and make one of our long, scrumptious brunches. The morning before, we filled up our market bags with organic heirloom tomatoes, mint, basil, baby leeks, ricotta cheese, goat cheese, a brioche bun, farm fresh eggs, bing cherries, nectarines, raspberries, lavender, and gladiolus.

making it official, again

The Ambiance:

Our dining room

The Menu:

Floral Cherry Salad

Floral Cherry Salad is a staple salad that I make during the spring and early summer. Mix salad greens, flower petals, slivered almonds, and pitted cherries together in a mixing bowl. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and pepper.  Toss and serve.

Fresh herbed Omelet

Fresh Herbed Omelet

Roasted Tomato with Quinoa

The Roasted Tomatoes stuffed with Quinoa is really easy to make. Try for yourself.

Raspberry and Ricotta Brioche

Raspberry and Ricotta Brioche makes for an elegant brunch dish or dessert. It is also very easy to make.

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