Sunday, February 13, 2011

balancing acts

This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by fabulous online self help magazine creator, Camilla Jones from Tame Your Mind Monkey, about the art of balance.  It's such a fabulous site with a plethora of inspiring content to really aide you in taking charge of your own happiness.
I was also asked for my most balanced recipe, so I went with an old fav. One that's so versatile and truly great for any time of year.

One of the reasons that it's so great is that it involves interactivity! It asks you to go to your local farmers market to use the fresh and local ingredients that are available to you.  So in winter it's all about root vegetables and having it piping hot with your choice of protein {beef, lamb, chicken} and in summer it's about Zucchini's, eggplant, arugula, capsicum and mushrooms, chilled or at room temperature with a light protein {fish, prawns, scallops etc}.

The Chirpy Birds Quinoa Salad with Seasonal Vegetables

serves around 6
1 cup of Quinoa
2 cups of good quality Chicken stock
3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 onions finely diced
2 cloves of garlic
around 4 cups of chopped seasonal vegetables. Be sure to keep them all around the same size so they cook evenly.
1/2 teaspoon of dry red pepper flakes {for some spice}
pinch of ground cumin
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
zest from half a lemon and a good squeeze of juice if using fish or lemon as your protein accompaniment
Quinoa is an ancient grain that is processed in the body as a protein. It's a fabulous alternative to rice and once you learn to use it, it's abilities are endless! It also comes in a red variety.

Put the Quinoa in a saucepan with the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for around 15 minutes until the quinoa is soft, has sprouted and the stock is absorbed.  Set aside.

If you're using this recipe in the Northern part of the globe where it's still winter, I love to roast my root veggies in the oven {or use left overs from a previous roast} before adding them to my quinoa. It ups the flavor 100 fold. If you're using this recipe and you're in the Southern parts where it's almost too hot to breathe, I lightly saute my veggies in the olive oil.  To be honest, when temps are truly scorching I really enjoy my veggies still crunchy. So if you're using capsicum (red peppers) I don't even cook them, but throw them in at the last minute.

Either way, heat your oil and cook the onion until translucent.  Add garlic and remaining veggies and continue to stir until warmed through. Remember, if it's summer, keep it light and crispy, if it's winter you want it piping hot. Either way, you don't want the mixture to go soft and soggy so keep an eye on that one.

Add the veggies to your quinoa mixture and season with salt, pepper and cumin. Garnish with parsley and then, most importantly, have at it!
Follow this recipe with something delicious and sweet. I recommend this, this or this or this or this or this.  Okay, okay I think you get the point.... Enjoying the sweet stuff in life is all part of living a balanced life. Any excuse for me to indulge really :)

Now hope on over HERE to check out that interview!

xo tash


  1. Yumm!! I love Quinoa! Thanks!


  2. Yah! for you! What fun.
    I did an interview this week as well... I will post about it when it's done being edited and released.
    I love quinoa, I try to use it often.
    I will have to try your recipe above for both seasons.
    but summer I know it will be really tasty with all the summer fresh veggies!! mmmm can't wait.

  3. I bought some Quinoa from a healthfood store about a month ago and its been languishing at the back of my pantry in a brown paper bag since, cause I don't know how to cook it! (Quinoa isn't used very widely here in oz). Anyway, now I have the perfect excuse to try it. Thanks Tash. Beautiful and balanced as always. :) x

  4. Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  5. How healthy Tash, great choice! What a wonderful opportunity to share. Congrats!

  6. Congrats , sweetie and that recipe sounds fantastic. I will make sure to try it sometime soon. Happy Valentine's day,sweetie

  7. That's awesome! And that quinoa salad sounds incredibly delicious!

  8. yum!! for our wedding picnic dinner we had baskets filled with picnicky foods, including grain salads with grilled veggies. it was such a beautiful experience that we could go back to the same farmers we bought the food from and tell them how much our guests liked their vegetables. so i love that you made a point here about this meal being interactive. i think we would all take more care in eating well if we had this experience more often.

  9. I have been eating quinoa with everything lately- So tasty and so easy to make- nice alternative to couscous.

  10. umm that sounds so good! Today I have had so many sweets those veggies sounds really good right about now!



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