Mexican Inspired Millet with Goat Cheese, Corn and Avocado

*If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m doing another 21 Day Intuitive Eating challenge in March. Check out the details and email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com if interested. *

Hi guys!

I hope you’re having a great start to your week. I just found out that it’s Presidents Day on Monday (I live in a hole sometimes) and hope you guys have it off from work. 4 day weeks rock.

Speaking of work, I get asked ALL the time for more work lunch ideas. People want things that are quick, easy and satisfying to make to bring to work, so here is an idea for you. I made this in about 20 minutes from start to finish and it made a huge batch that is now chillin’ in my fridge for the entire week.

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I used a grain called Millet which I have never used before. I decided I wanted to expand my whole grain carbohydrate horizons and try something other than brown rice, quinoa and oats, and Millet caught my eye in the grocery store.

Good things about millet:

– it falls into the completely unprocessed, whole grain carbohydrate category, meaning it comes straight from the earth and is super healthy!

– it is SOOO cheap

– it cooks in 15 minutes flat

– it has kind of a pasta/nutty texture to it and you can use it in anything

– it’s gluten free (not that I avoid gluten, but if you do, it’s another option)

– like most whole grain carbs, it offers a lot of vitamins and nutrients, most notably it’s a really high source of Magnesium which supports heart health. Read more about the nutrients in millet here

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I started by cooking the millet in a sauce pan using the simplest method I could find on the internet. 1 cup millet, 2 cups water. I brought the water to a boil, added the millet, then simmered it, covered for 15 minutes.

While it was cooking, I got the rest of my Mexican themed ingredients ready. I love tacos and taco salads, so this is kind of a spoof off of that. We’ve got some beans (lentils), cheese, avocado, and corn. Sounds taco-salad-ish to me!

I chopped a red pepper, rinsed my lentils and corn, and got out the cheese and avocado.

When the millet was done cooking, it looked like this. I thought the tiny holes were cute:

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Then it was time to just add everything in! I fluffed the millet with a fork, added it to a large bowl and started creating my Mexican fiesta.

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One reason why this is so easy is because I used a can of black lentils that I bought at the store, already cooked, and a can of corn. Using canned vegetables and beans can cut down on cooking time big time! I try to always go for low sodium or no salt added cans, and then I rinse everything off in a strainer before I use it to remove some of the additional sodium.

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I chopped an entire avocado, and added goat cheese at the end.

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I would pack this for lunch, add it to a bed of greens for a salad, top it with salsa, or heat it up for dinner. And did I mention how CHEAP this is? I didn’t do the exact calculations because I didn’t save my receipts, but I would say that this entire batch, including all of the ingredients listed, only costs about $7.00, if that. Which means that per serving, you’re looking at around $2.00. Not too shabby, huh?

Anyway, enjoy this Mexican inspired dish. And if millet just doesn’t strike your fancy, you can do the same sort of thing with couscous, quinoa, brown rice, or pasta. And if you’re looking for some more protein, add some cold diced chicken to this… yum!

Mexican Inspired Millet

(makes 3-4 servings)

  • 1 cup millet, dry
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can corn, rinsed
  • 1 can black lentils, rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 T goat cheese
  • S&P

1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan.

2. Rinse millet and then add it to the water. Stir once, turn down the heat and cover, simmering for 15 minutes.

3. Once millet is done, fluff it with a fork and move it to a large bowl. Top with corn, lentils, pepper, chopped avocado, and goat cheese. Stir it all together. Add S&P to taste.

 

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Massaged Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

I really wish I could make this salad for every single one of you. As someone who is mildly obsessed with vegetables and their benefits, I would practically pay you to let me feed this to you.

It is one of the healthiest (and in my opinion- most delicious) things you will find on this blog, and it is a heck of a way to kick off the New Year. This salad is LOADED with things that are good for you, and I made it in a way that you will want to eat the entire bowl in one sitting. Even if you think you don’t like Kale!

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Caramelized onions add a sweetness factor, avocado is hearty with lots of healthy fats, salted sunflower seeds add a punch of flavor and crunch, and a creamy tahini dressing brings it all together. If you’re not familiar with tahini, it is just pureed sesame seeds. It goes into hummus, so it resembles that type of flavor. You can pick it up at any grocery store and it comes in a jar similar to that of peanut butter.

I even “massaged” the kale leaves to break down their tough exterior. By massaging the leaves, it breaks down their tough cellulose structure, making the kale softer, less bitter, and easier to digest.

And…. this entire salad comes together in 15 minutes. Not to mention you can store it in your fridge and eat it 3 or 4 times during the week.

So let’s get started. First of all, get your red onion cranking. You want to let the onions cook for the entire time you are putting the salad together (about 15 minutes) so that they get nice and soft. Simple coat a pan with some EVOO, slice your onions super thin, and add them to the pan. Move them around every few minutes so that they don’t burn, and cook over medium heat.

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Now, let’s get the Kale going. I bought one bunch of Kale at the grocery store for about $2. Rip the leaves off the stems, and using your hands, just break the leaves into bite sized pieces. Add it all to a strainer and rinse. Transfer to a large salad bowl.

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Now let’s do the dressing. Mix 1 tablespoon tahini with 2 tablespoons water and a half tablespoon of EVOO. Mix in a small dressing bowl.

Are you ready to massage!??!

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Make sure your hands are clean, pour the dressing over the kale, and just spend two or three minutes massaging the dressing into the kale with your hands. Press it into the leaves, and you’ll notice the leaves immediately break down and wilt a little bit. Make sure the dressing is all up in there.

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Fannntastic.

Next step is to chop half an avocado. You can also use a whole avocado depending on your preference. Once that is done, you are ready to assemble.

Your onions should be done now, so add them to your kale, then top with avocado and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.

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And there you have it! One of the healthiest things you can possible cook, all dressed up with tons of flavor and a delicious dressing.

I served myself a heaping bowl of this for lunch yesterday and added a drizzle more of straight up tahini on top for a little more flavor.

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I have a feeling this salad will turn into a staple in my lil’ Studio. I already can’t wait to break into the leftovers and I feel amazing eating this. I hope you give it a shot!

Massaged Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

(this makes at least 4 or 5 small servings…but I eat it as a meal so it made about 2.5 large servings for me. )

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 2 T sunflower seeds (I used roasted and salted)
  • 1 T tahini
  • 2 T water
  • 1 T olive oil (half for the pan for the onions, half for the dressing)

1. Slice onion very thin. Add to a oiled pan and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Every few minutes, just stir the onions to keep them from burning.

2. While onions cook, prepare Kale. Break leaves off stems and into small bite sized pieces. Rinse and transfer to salad bowl.

3. For dressing: mix together tahini, water and 1/2 of EVOO. Stir. Add to Kale and massage into it with your fingers for 2-3 minutes.

4. Top kale with onions, avocado and sesame seeds.

5. Optional: drizzle your portion of salad with a little more tahini if you’d like some more flavor.

WIAW {11.28.2012}: Wine Night First Timer

Oh man, am I feeling groggy right now. I had the hardest time sleeping last night! But we will get to that in a second. First, let’s back up. Thanks to Jenn for hosting the WIAW tradition.

My day started yesterday with some Starbucks and a trip to the grocery store in the early hours. I love strolling around the grocery store with coffee while the store is still empty. It’s so peaceful 🙂

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I picked up a loaf of fresh rye bread from the bakery and wanted to use it for breakfast immediately. This may look like a strange combo, and it is, but it totally worked. Rye toast with avocado and raspberry jam:

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I headed to a meeting at around 11:15 and then quickly met up with Amanda for some chit chat before heading to class. I packed a quick lunch filled with sautéed veggies (spinach, carrots, zucchini, yellow pepper, green beans, mushrooms), marinara sauce, and a generous helping of goat cheese. Topped with slivered almonds.

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Mmm goat cheese!

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I ended up coming home in between classes and having an unexpected break. Since it was SNOWING in NYC yesterday, a warm snack was definitely needed. I warmed up a granny smith apple, drizzled with almond butter, and paired it with tea.

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Ohhhh yea.

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Then I picked myself up, got all bundled, and headed back out to class at around 4:30. Another cup of tea was picked up from Starbucks to keep me warm during the commute. It was a nasty weather day here in the city!

Vanilla Roobois Tea:

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And then, I commuted from the Upper West Side downtown and met up with a bunch of lovely ladies for my first appearance at their monthly wine night!

When I was in Cape Cod with Mara (my brother’s fiancé) and her friends a couple of months ago, they invited me to start coming to their monthly wine nights. Their group of friends rotates the responsibility of hosting wine night each month. Each girl brings over a bottle of the wine of the month and the host provides some appetizers or whatever they’d like to cook. Sounds like my kinda thannng!

Leah was, as expected, an awesome host. She had been talking to me about things she wanted to cook for wine night since we hung out at the Cape a couple months ago and she really impressed us all. She even took pictures of the set up before everyone got there so that she could send them to me for the blog. What a pal!!

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About 2/3 of the girls:
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Some stars of the night included her pumpkin cupcakes with dairy-free cream cheese frosting (Leah tries to stay away from too much dairy):

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And a Tart made with butternut squash, pancetta, shiitake mushrooms, onion and vegan cheddar cheese:

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Both were SO delicious. Leah, maybe you can post the recipes in the comment section??

I had about one and a half glasses of wine (the wine of the month was Malbec), the above picture of the Tart, some cheese and crackers, some veggies and dip, and half a cupcake. I had so much fun hanging out with these girls, mostly a crew who met at Cornell and went to college together, and love the concept of this wine night. Thanks, Leah, for being such a great host and cooking up a storm!

And THEN. I got home at around 11, got ready for bed, and just could. not. sleep. My stomach was grumbling, probably because I didn’t eat a real dinner, and I knew I couldn’t go to bed hungry. My stomach literally felt like it hadn’t eaten in days, I was so hungry! It was strange.

After an hour or so of stirring in bed, I finally gave in. I got up and made a snack…Raisin Bran to the rescue. I love this brand of cereal. The ingredients could not be simpler.

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I also had a couple small slices of rye bread + almond butter. Finally I was full and could fall asleep, but man those couple hours are always so frustrating!

So that’s my day! How was yours? Do you ever have trouble sleeping? Can you fall asleep hungry? What are your fav pre-bedtime snacks? So many questions!! 🙂