Refreshing Quinoa Salad

My sister called today and said she would be over for lunch around 11:30 am - What to make! what to make!! I grabbed the "Vegetarian Times" Magazine --which my sister subscribed to for me as a Christmas gift (best mag ever!) I knew we would want something healthy.. especially after all of the Holiday foods we consumed and this is what I found. Sort of a Summer dish -but absolutely DELICIOUS!
Leah Matthews came up with this tabbouleh-inspired salad while working as a sous chef at Twist, a Rhode Island restaurant specializing in gluten-free food. When the summer menu needed an additional item, she worked out a recipe in a matter of hours. "I grabbed seasonal and versatile ingredients from the refrigerator, knowing the cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon and parsley form a flavor profile," she says. Using quinoa instead of wheat-based bulgur or couscous keeps the dish gluten-free.

Refreshing Quinoa Salad

1 1/2 cups of quinoa
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 English cucumber, peeled and
finely diced (2 1/2 cups)
3 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and
finely diced (3/4 cup)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
(1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest

  1. Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low Simmer 12-14 mins, or until quinoa is tender and small "tails" bloom from grains.
  2. Preheat oven to 400*F . Spread pines nuts on baking sheer, and toast 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Coo, then transfer to large serving bowl.
  3. Drain Quinoa, and rinse under cold running water. Drain again. Add qunioa to pine nuts, and stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and parsley. Fold in oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper if desired.
PER 1/2-CUP SERVING: 167 CAL; 4 G PROT; 10 G
53 MG SOD; 2 G Fiber; 2 G SUGARS

8 Foods You Think are Healthy (but Aren't)

So many foods out there are claiming to be healthy, but there are also misleading claims being made on so many foods. That is because of the abundance of information. You can pick up a magazine one day that tells you what is good/bad for you only to pick up a newspaper the following week with a totally contradictory article.

Every food is okay in moderation, make sure you aren't fooled into thinking you can consume these foods with no constraints. A lot of us try and make the right food choices without realizing that what we thought was healthy are actually not. Here are several foods that may seem healthy, or that we have accepted as healthy, but ones that really aren't.

  1. Fruit Juices: Millions of people around the world rely on juices to quench their thirst each day. Drinking juice is a quick way to gain weight and to ruin your teeth. They contain very little fruit or fruit juice, but lots of sugar, water, chemical additives for flavoring and of course preservatives that are unhealthy. Also, there is hardly any fiber in fruit juices. Choose fresh fruit whenever you can as a fresh fruit always has more fiber apart from being low in calories as compared to its juice. Even 100 percent fruit juice is good source of vitamins and minerals but they too are low in fiber, so consume them in moderation.

  2. Breakfast cereals: Many cereals are so loaded with sugars, that the sugar obliterates any nutritional value that the cereal may have had. Always check the nutrition label and never buy anything with less than 3 grams of fiber per 30 gram serving or more than 2 grams of sugar per 30 gram serving. Aim for 5 grams of fiber if possible.

  3. Salads: Many people believe that any dish with word 'salad' in its name is a healthy choice. Unfortunately, the truth is that many times salad is the worst choice on the menu. Salads, especially those served in restaurants, are loaded with mayonnaise, calories, and sodium. Avoid ordering salads with calorie-packed extras added like noodles and heavy dressings. If possible, choose a dressing made with olive oil. If you want to choose a heavy dressing then just dip your fork into the dressing before taking the salad.

  4. Alcohol: Alcohol is not exactly bad for your health if taken in moderation. More than that and the benefits are wiped out by increased risk for disease and addiction.

  5. Whole milk dairy products: They were once considered healthy; they no longer are because of their high cholesterol content. There are now unhealthy additives added to some dairy products to extend the shelf life, texture or taste.

  6. Smoothies: Smoothies are one of those foods that dieters consume with really good intentions. But just like the fruit juice mentioned above, smoothies can pack a lot of calories into one easy to drink package.

  7. Diet soft drinks: Many people switch to diet drinks from regular soft drinks thinking it saves on calories and sugar. But many of the diet soft drinks have unhealthy levels of aspartame (the substitute of sugar used in diet drinks), chemical preservatives and chemical colors. As a result, many people who consume such drinks have an unbalanced insulin and blood sugar. Aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar, and has been linked to depression, insomnia, neurological disease and a plethora of other illnesses.

  8. Fat-free: 'Fat-free' doesn't make it healthier. In fact, some fat-free products contain more calories than the original as often sugar or artificial flavors and sweeteners is added to improve the taste of such products.

The important thing to remember is to never blindly allow a food products packaging or public relations campaigns lull you into thinking that they are a consequence-free food. Read labels and ask questions. That way you can enjoy the nutritional meal you thought you were eating all along.