Grains & Veggies

by HEAB on March 5, 2013

Maggie has declared March the Month of Macrobiotics. I’ve always been intrigued by the Macrobiotic lifestyle, and although it’s never something I could do 100%, I do like many of the principles.  So, I decided to partake and make more of an effort when it comes to meal preparation.  We still keep meals pretty simple around here, but lately, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen.  All three kiddos now go down at the same time for their afternoon naps, and I have a couple hours to get things done around the house, including sitting down to lunch and doing dinner prep.

Lunch: salmon, quinoa, and sauteed veggies.

The above bowl took very little time to prepare.  Quinoa went into rice cooker along with a few chopped carrots in the steamer basket.  I cooked the frozen stir-fry veggies in a bit of butter and chicken stock for 5 minutes.  I then removed them from the heat and covered the pan until steamed cooked to my liking.  For the salmon, I removed the cooked veggies from the pan, added a bit more chicken stock, and sauteed the salmon until cooked through.  PS I LOVE my rice cooker!

Dinner: red quinoa, steamed carrots, and this kale (my new favorite kale recipe!), all with a drizzle of tahini.

A really ugly iPhone photo of a yummy dinner consisting of the same kale recipe from above, quinoa, and roasted kabocha squash…with more tahini.

Basically, I’m enjoying plenty of whole grains and more veggies.  Again, I could never go 100% percent macrobiotic as I love red meat and butter.   However, I do love the thought of eating simple whole foods, and I’m also working on eating more slowly.  Too often, I find myself scarfing down whatever I can get my hands on while trying to multi-task my to-do list.  It’s also nice for our children to see me eating something other than tortilla chips dipped in the cottage cheese container. 😉


Ella March 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Dear Heather,
I am reading through your lovely blog, learning&learning….
I would like to ask for your opinion on sourdough rye bread.
I am from Scandinavia and rye bread is for us what rice is for Asians.
Let me add that I do like a lot…. warm with nut butter or avocado…. ohh….

Thank you in advance for you precious advice.

HEAB March 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Hi Ella,
Thanks for reading my blog, and as far as sourdough rye bread goes, I think it sounds wonderful, especially with nut butter or avocado! Sourdough bread is fermented and provides the body with good bacteria, and rye isn’t a bad ingredient in my opinion. I know it contains gluten, and everyone seems anti-gluten these days, but if you grew up eating it, and your body does okay with it, then ENJOY!!! Some people’s bodies simply haven’t adapted to gluten, but for other cultures, it’s a part of their everyday lives, and gluten doesn’t bother their digestives systems. All that to say, that I think sourdough rye bread made from whole real foods sounds just about perfect, especially for you. Wish I had a big slice right now for myself. 🙂

Ella March 31, 2013 at 11:15 am

Thank you, Heather, for your piece of mind, I truly value it.
Fortunately no issues with gluten, my digestive system seems to like this sort of bread as much as my soul does.

Now my two (three on training days) daily slices will taste even better 🙂

I wish you and your sweet family a peacefull Easter time.


Katie March 12, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Ahhh, tahini. I haven’t found any of my beloved Joyva in over a year! I’m going into withdrawls here.

I’m all about the frozen veg/fish combo dinners. I like to this it is gourmet, because I stir fry them in bacon salt. Yes, bacon salt is a thing. An awesome thing.

Biz March 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

I love Maggie – I’ve learned so much about macrobiotics from her!

Question though – do you use the same ratio of water/quinoa when you use the rice cooker?

HEAB March 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Hi Biz,
I love Maggie too! 🙂

For the longest time, I used a 1:3 ratio (quinoa to water) in my rice cooker, but now I do 1:2 and the quinoa comes out better – more fluffy. So, if I cook one cup of quinoa, I use 2 cups water.

Jade C March 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Those eats look good 🙂 I love quinoa since finding it last year 🙂 I generally cook it in veg stock and toss veggies through, but want to make a curried version, soon..
I have to say, I’m glad you’re blogging more again, I think you’re brilliant and missed reading it!!
I understand how you feel with eating fast. When you’re often in a rush, it can be hard to concentrate on it when you have the time to!!
I’ve seen your roasted squash meals on here before and they look so good!! Why do I never do that..?? Going to remember!! 😉 .
..oops, I appear to have rambled on a bit :O sorry!!

HEAB March 11, 2013 at 8:41 am

Hi Jade,
Isn’t quinoa the best. I know not everyone likes it, but I love the taste. Also, I find it more filling than most grains. I’m thinking that’s from all the protein it contains. I’m sure your curried version will turn out delicious, and I hope you don’t have to scarf it down. Savor every bite!

Thanks for reading and for your kind words, and I hope you find yourself some kabocha squash soon. 🙂

sophie March 9, 2013 at 2:33 am

I am so jealous of your squash. I haven’t had it for so long 🙁 it’s ridiculous!

I swear I could have a heab meal every single meal time. Your food combos are too yum!

I was wondering – I know it is a while back – but when you had amenorrhoea was it a case of cutting back your exercise and eating more or mainly cutting back the exercise? I’ve been eating 2500 + for a while and still no give. I workout prettt much everyday though. – thanks for any tips (understand completely if you’d rather not give any advice!)

HEAB March 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

I hadn’t had any kabocha in forever either. Man, that stuff is good! Come on over, and I’d be happy share my meals with you anytime. 🙂

I don’t mind discussing my amenorrhea at all – I’ll email you later today.

Liz (formerly VeggieGirl) March 8, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Delicious, colorful, and wholesome. Can’t beat that!

HEAB March 9, 2013 at 8:44 am

Thanks Liz, so enjoyed our chat yesterday! 🙂

Ana March 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

All the meals look so good Heather! Sometimes the simplest foods are truly the best!
And I so agree with your answer to one of the comments… quinoa = happiness!! I love it too!!
Love cooking quinoa with butternut squash in chicken broth, then adding a pat of butter on top and eating it hot/warm, it has been one of my favorite things to eat lately!

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Oh my that sounds good. Love how much flavor chicken broth adds to quinoa. Add butternut squash and butter? Like icing on the cake. 😉

Jen @ Existential Evolution March 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

I don’t really know much about the Macrobiotic diet although I’ve heard the term. All those veggies and grains look like amazing side dishes but I’m with you on needing some protein such as fried eggs, fish or chicken. Is that canned salmon? Happy eating!!!

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Yes, love my animal proteins, and no that’s not canned salmon, although it does look like it. I mashed up a salmon fillet while cooking it in butter. And so fun you got to tie-dye in Jamaica. Your shirt sounds a lot more intricate than my onesies. 🙂

Kath (My Funny Little Life) March 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I’m like you in that I very much like the principles but couldn’t go 100 % macrobiotic (I don’t eat soy and I’d miss the chicken). Everything being cooked well very much agrees with my tummy, and I love vegetables anyway. Also, I want to eat more whole grains, starting with brown rice and probably quinoa (still have to develop an appetite for it), so this is a good thing to start with now I think. 🙂

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Hi Kath,
Brown rice is yummy, but for some reason, all I want is quinoa these days. I find it more filling. Maybe it’s the higher protein content, I’m not sure. However, if you don’t enjoy it, there are many other choices out there. Again, love rice, but also love millet, oats, etc. Happy graining. 🙂

Riss March 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I introduced my fiancee to kabocha squash for the very first time this past week, and he’s hooked! I haven’t sprung nutritional yeast on him yet (okay, I snuck it in a salad) or oats with tahini+bakers chocolate…but we’re building up to that! 🙂

By the way… I think I need to enlist you as my squash-consultant EVERY time I’m at the farmer’s market picking out kabocha squash. It’s STILL hit or miss for me on whether I’m going to get a yummy kabocha squash or the yucky, mushy impostor squash. I’ve studied your Kabocha v. Buttercup post again and again, but to no avail!

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Hi Riss,
Haha, baby steps. He’ll be eating bakers before you know it, and I can’t seem to pick out kabocha 100% of the time either. That mushy buttercup sometimes sneaks its way into my basket too. 🙁

Katie March 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

These meals look delicious! I was just wondering if Summer eats what you eat (or some of it). Very curious about her diet, as I have a two-year-old myself. She will eat a lot of healthy food, but leafy greens are another matter… 🙂

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Oh gosh, we definitely go through phases with Summer’s eating. Some days, she only wants blueberry oatmeal, and other days, she’ll eat whatever we’re having. Oh, and we’ve found that she’ll eat pretty much anything with a dollop of sour cream. Chris always comes homes for lunch, and shares whatever he fixes with her (I’m usually feeding the twins while they eat), but she eats an early dinner before Chris even gets home from work. So, I usually just fix something small and simple for her, and let’s just say it doesn’t often include leafy greens. Someday, I hope we’ll enjoy our big veggie bowls together. 🙂

anne March 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Hi Heather,
Longtime lurker/follower…Like you, I once was addicted to running (or feeling like I needed to run to maintain weight, etc) but then found that walking seemed to be more fun and work as well. As I get a bit older though, I’m thinking that it might not be enough (metabolism changes?). I’m not overweight by any means – actually still a bit underweight – but how did you get to a place mentally where you could ignore all the blogs/magazines/family/friends who extoll all their amazing high intensity workouts from cycling to crossfit to whatever, and here I am “Just” walking (but boy do I love it).

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Hi Anne,
Thanks for reading and good to hear from you. I’m happy that you’re getting out for walks and enjoying some exercise. One of my friends was just telling me the other day about her metabolism changing right around 40. Since then, it’s harder for her to keep her weight at an optimal level and stay in shape. Crazy how our bodies change. I’m not there yet, but I know it could very well happen. So, I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it…although I’m thinking no “cross”-fitting will be involved. (sorry, that was bad, but I couldn’t resist).

Anyway, to answer to your question, it took me actually doing nothing but walking and yoga to see that my body didn’t need all that cardio. Honestly, I thought if I stopped working out so hard, that I would gain all my weight back, but I didn’t. Never even came close. It just felt so freeing to know that I could wake up and go on a hike or on a walk later that day instead of lacing up my running shoes when the last thing I wanted to do was go on a run. I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore, but I still love long walks and a good yoga class when I can get to the studio. I see my friends posting pics post workout, and I’ll admit – sometimes, I covet their toned arms and amazing looking stomachs, but their workouts simply don’t sound enjoyable to me. All that to say, that I feel great and enjoy my exercise, and that makes me happy. I never want to go back to an exercise/fitness routine that feels forced and unenjoyable. Been there, done that and no thanks.

Hope that helps!

anne March 8, 2013 at 10:59 am

Yes, Heather, that definitely helps and it warms my heart to hear (read?). I sometimes think back to just two generations ago (my grandmother) and how she would take walks, sometimes go for a swim in summer, and try to be “sensible” about her diet but never saw the need to sweat her face off every day in a gym. And she was beautiful for so many other things than her “fitness” – it was more about her style, hospitality, etc. I really try to keep that in mind.

HEAB March 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Your grandmother sounds like a very sensible and inspiring women. 🙂

Abby March 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I make my grains in my veggie steamer (so easy) and always have a container ready in the fridge. I’m boring. At least one meal a day is a big bowl of a grain (rice, farro, etc.) a protein/bean, veggies and a fat. It’s so easy and there are a million variations, as you showed!

Right now I’m obsessed with farro. I’m a wild child.

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Crazy Abby, you really need to calm down. Hehe, no worries. I get pretty excited and obsessed with my grain bowls as well. 🙂

Tracy March 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Oh boy do I ever love my rice cooker!! Favorite appliance for sure.

Great to hear you’re having more time to spend in the kitchen. It’s nice to hear that everyone’s napping together.

Good luck with your macrobiotic month. Kudos to you…I’m not very good at restrictions with my food. However, I do really like the inspiration to eat simple whole foods, which I try to do anyway. I am the world’s SLOWEST eater so I don’t need help with that. lol

Melissa @ Fit 'n' Well Mommy March 7, 2013 at 1:08 am

Your meals look wonderful! I love quinoa and kabocha! I have read a little bit about macrobiotics, but I’m not sure I could do it 100%.

Anyhow, I just stumbled upon your blog and I have enjoyed reading through your posts and drooling over your recipes, especially your One Minute Flax Muffin! I am your newest follower!

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Hi Melissa,
So glad you found me and thanks for reading. I consider anyone who loves quinoa and kabocha a kindred spirit. Welcome, and I hope you enjoy the flax muffin. 🙂

Rosa March 7, 2013 at 12:22 am

I love your pictures of your (relatively) simple meals. They give me such inspiration/ideas in terms of what to stick on my plate on an every-day scale (vs a I HAVE COMPANY OVER I WILL “COOK”!!!)

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Oh good, I’m so glad. One of my friends always jokes with me that my “simple” meals are way too complicated. Ha! I guess for most people, “simple” means slapping some PB & J on bread, but I need a little more excitement on my plate…err, in my bowl. 🙂

Lou March 6, 2013 at 11:10 pm

EVERYTHING is better with tahini isn’t it? Man I love that stuff. Macrobiotics is such a fascinating topic – I’ve got a really good recipe book (it’s about 30 years old!) and I make a lot of the dishes – it makes sense to me as a way to eat.

Wow, that’s good work, getting the 3 kiddos down at the same time – score! I have bought my dye for my tie-dying adventure too 😉

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Yes!!! Love my tahini…except if I’m pregnant. Then the thought of it makes me want to barf. Glad it’s back in my life, and happy tie-dying. So fun! 🙂
PS Old cookbooks are THE BEST. My go-to cookbook is probably about 30 years old as well. Still some of my favorite recipes.

Lorne March 6, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Yum! We are living on dinners cooked by wonderful girls from church and my mum. Those photos of your meals look amazingly scrummy!

Rice cooker love here too…. we own three :0)

Ps – still not feeling the cooked carrot love. Raw all the way for me.

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm

So envious of all the rice cooker lovin. I have an old one that was super cheap. Works pretty well, but I’d love to upgrade one of these days.

Natalie March 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Haha! I inhale my food! Good thing to think about eating slower and it shows the kids too! Tahini was in ” the plan” – don’t remember why I’m supposed to avoid that one. I guess I am in a time of healing too – trying to detox and see what causes inflammation. Almonds was one food that caused me inflammation – can do raw but not roasted !

Glad you are getting some time to yourself!

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I think all moms with three young kids pretty much HAVE to inhale their food. 😉

purelytwins March 6, 2013 at 7:44 pm

this makes us miss tahini!! that is something we avoided during our time of healing, and we hope to bring it back soon 🙂 as we love it! hopefully our bodies like it too.

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Ahh, I know you guys love your tahini and hope it’s back in your lives soon!

vanillasugarblog March 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm

heather you would be very proud of me.
i have been eating quinoa for a while now.
started a few months ago when i finally found a recipe i love: it’s just plain quinoa cooked with massive amounts of curry, and with almonds and raisins tossed in.
i couldn’t be happier.
after all quinoa has i think, almost all 5 amino acids in it; so it’s literally quite the perfect food.

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm

So proud…you asked for quinoa with extra Oreos though, right? 😉

vanillasugarblog March 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

I’ve taught you well!
I’m proud!

Hannah March 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm

While I have no interest in labels/particular diets myself, I must say these meals look splendiferous! Also, it’s lovely to see/read you popping back in here again. Hurrah! 🙂 xo

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Those meals were pretty splended. Come on over and eat dinner with me. You can bring the chocolate. 🙂

Meagan March 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm

HAHA! Have you ever tried corn chips, dipped in sour cream, then dipped in shredded cheddar cheese? I warn you, it’s delicious, and I dare you to try it 🙂

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Um, yes, during some chowing down on nachos, I’m sure I’ve had that combo before. I should revisit soon. 🙂

The Delicate Place (@misathemeb) March 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

i’ve been eating pretty close to macro lately actually. loads of fish and little other meats but the only grain that i seem to do well on is white rice. yep WHITE haha. people are freaking i’m sure. i love fruit but have found i can only do 1 piece a day without having some stomach rumbling action. apples after dinner really screw me up but hey, sometimes i just need something sweet and it’s all we got! i can’t live on wine and chocolate every night…though sometimes i wish i could 😉

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

You will receive no judgement from me on either eating chocolate every night or the white rice. White rice has gotten a bad wrap over the past few years. Although I prefer the taste of brown (mmm, nutty chew!), I’m not down with all this hating on white rice business. 🙂

maggie @ say yes to salad March 6, 2013 at 8:28 am

I had butternut + rice + shrimp last night. Love these dishes! I can’t tell from the first pic, it looks like maybe it’s the 3-color quinoa from Trader Joe’s – but if it’s not, you should check it out. It’s reallllly good.

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hi Maggie,
Nope, just plain red quinoa, but I’ll have to try the TJ’s tri-color mix soon. We just restocked our quinoa at Costco, and when that runs out (which won’t be too long), I’ll hit up Trader Joe’s!

Tabitha March 6, 2013 at 6:09 am

I had the exact same dinner last night, salmon and quinoa is my new favourite thing, it was delicious.

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Great minds think alike. Quinoa = happiness. 🙂

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance March 6, 2013 at 5:13 am

After studying more about macrobiotics at IIN, I have a better understanding of the “why” and “how” than I did before. So, I’m less intimidated and agree with most of the ideas, but I’m not sure I could ever do it 100%, like you said. Just had some roasted kabocha with dinner last night–delicious!!

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Yeah, not the lifestyle for me, but I do vibe with some of the principals, but that “no burger” thing would be a problem. 🙂

lindsay March 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm

you got me hooked on my rice cooker, and now i’m a rice cooker junky. In fact, i cook everything in it. The best is wild rice with tahini and tuna and curry.

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Probably my favorite kitchen appliance…well, lately anyway. I have a lot of appliances I love. 🙂 Your wild rice combo sounds right up my alley!

Averie @ Averie Cooks March 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm

roasted kabocha squash…with more tahini. <— Some things really have not changed at all since 2009! Other than you have 3 kids now 🙂

Looks like great food and hats off to you for embracing the challenge!

HEAB March 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

You know me well. 🙂 Actually, that was the first kabocha I’ve eaten in over a year. It was on sale at Publix so I thought why not. Darn good too. Missed that squash.

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