February is heart month. This year I decided to give my heart, as well as body, a Valentine’s Day gift and joined CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program.)
The first step in this new venture was to commit to a lifestyle change in eating habits. Through CHIP classes, I was introduced to an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans and nuts. I stocked my pantry with healthy grains, rice, and seeds. Armed with determination, a textbook, workbook, cookbook, pedometer, and water bottle, in addition to including exercise and drinking more water, I jumped into embracing a new way of life.
One of the first recipes I tried was quinoa, a seed high in protein and rich in nutrients. I was a bit reluctant, because I had cooked quinoa once before and was not happy with the results. However, the secret to a tasty quinoa or other whole grains, is to rinse under the tap, then lightly toast by stirring in a non-stick fry pan prior to cooking.
I rinsed and toasted, and when the little round yellow seeds turned a golden brown, I prepared the quinoa according to the instructions on the package, but substituted a rice cooker for a pot on top of the stove.
Another tip I learned through CHIP class was to use dried dates to add sweetness to a dish. Loving to experiment with food, I added 1/4 cup dried dates to the mix. The quinoa turned out perfectly cooked and was delicious. I can do this!
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup sweetened chopped date crumbles
Rinse quinoa under the tap. Lightly toast in non-stick frying pan stirring until golden brown. Place quinoa, chopped date crumbles, and water in rice cooker.* Stir. Cook approximately 20 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.
Makes two servings.
For stovetop cooking, bring ingredients to a boil, cover pot, lower heat and cook for 15 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes, before serving.
For more information on CHIP visit www.chiphealth.com.
Bernadine Chapman-Cruz is a contributing writer for Big Monkey Group Publications. Raised in Stockton, she lives in Lodi with her husband, a cat named "L" and dog, "Forest." She enjoys writing, cooking and dining out.