Thursday, July 14, 2016

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto

I ran across this video the other morning and it basically is a direct reflection of my own personal experience.   It turns out that exercise isn't the best way to lose weight.  I can see all you gym rats rolling your eyes.  Look, I've been a "big girl" all my life.  I've also worked out all my life.  And yes, I've lost weight exercising......when I was younger.  But now that fucking hot flashes rule my life, exercise does nothing for me as far as weight loss.  Love the way it makes me feel and I still work out 6 days a week, but that's not why I've finally started to lose weight.

I've always eaten relatively healthy, but changing how much I eat has been the most beneficial.  I never thought I was an overeater, but as Americans, our sense of how much food should be on our plate is seriously messed up.  Turns out we need a fraction of what we think.  

In May, hubs and I spent a week in beautiful Laguna Beach with our niece, Annie, who recently became pescatarian....vegetarian that eats fish.  So in solidarity, we joined her.  And we liked it!  So that's how we eat 90% of the time now.....Mostly fruits and vegetables with some fish occasionally thrown in.

Which reminds me of a funny story.....Right after we got back from Cali, my parents came for a visit. My mother had just had a bit of a health scare so she said she wanted to be more conscious of what she was eating.  My father pipes in...YES.  We should just be eating fruits and vegetables!!  He would so be on board for that!  I asked him if this meant he was going to give up his Bob Evans pancakes/eggs/bacon/waffles for breakfast with the guys every morning and his burgers/fries/etc for lunch after golf every afternoon.  Well, NO but he'd be happy to have fruits and vegetables for dinner!!  HA!

Also, can I just say how EASY it is to eat healthily in California.  Every restaurant, no matter the cuisine, always has fresh, healthy choices.  Alabama.....not so much!

So I don't know where I first saw this recipe (not claiming it as my own), but this Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto has become something I make a big batch of almost weekly.  It's delicious, satisfying, very filling because of the quinoa and extremely versatile.  It works with whatever vegetable you have on hand/that you enjoy/are in's accommodating!  

I typically use fennel, red onion, brussels sprouts, butternut squash or sweet potato, red or yellow peppers and kale.  I've also subbed out zucchini and squash this summer although I like to roast them separately because they cook a quicker that the heartier veggies.

I load up two sheet pans so I have plenty left over.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and roast them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until they're knife tender but still have a bit of a bite to them, rotating the pans halfway through.

For the quinoa, I use a cup of rainbow quinoa (I like the different colors, but the white kind works just as well) cooked in a cup and a half of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until all the water is absorbed.

Combine the veggies and the quinoa in a large bowl, add a cup of pesto, salt to taste, stir everything together and serve!  I've made this with good quality store bought pesto in the winter and it's fine, but when I've got tons of basil in the garden in the summer making your own is worth the effort.

(Check this article out for everything you need to know about making your own pesto, and this one for some fun variations.)

I've served this to just about everyone that's graced my kitchen table and not a single person had just one serving.  It's a crown pleaser every time, even for the self-proclaimed veggie hater!  When that same niece that was with us in California came to visit us in Alabama, I packed up a large portion of this for her to eat on the 20 hour drive back home to Colorado.  She texted me the day she got home asking for the recipe so she could make it for dinner.  Boom!

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