Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quinoa and Carrots 'n' Cake Review

What a lovely weekend I had. Nice and quiet and filled with sunshine!
I also had my last long run before the half marathon, it's less than two weeks away now so I am tapering off my runs and just adding some walking instead. It is a little strange to run for 3 miles and then stop and think 'oh, that's all there is for today huh?'. Not that I'm complaining, I do some of my best thinking while I walk and it is a little bit of a welcome rest. Now I've just got to battle the nerves that are slowly creeping in over the fact that I am about to run my first ever half marathon. In my mind I know that I am capable of doing it, I have trained well,  my body is still in one piece (at this point) and I have awesome green runners! But in my heart, I am a little apprehensive still, and there is a little nagging corner that questions whether the girl who couldn't even run one lap of the oval (400m) when she was younger, really belongs in a 21.1km race? I just keep putting that voice back in her corner by reminding her that this chickpea has definitely grown up a bit since then, and can face any challenge put to her.
Nice to get that off my chest.

Now onto the quinoa salad recipe that I promised to share last week. I have actually been seeing a lot of recipes around like this lately so I must have been channelling the same culinary vibes when I created this dish to take into work for our picnic.

Quinoa Salad with Lemon Oregano Dressing

Ingredients for salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
300g mixed cherry tomatoes
1 small jar artichoke hearts
100g reduced fat fetta
1/2 cup chopped semi dried tomatoes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 small bag rocket leaves
1/2 small bag baby spinach leaves


  1. Place quinoa and water in saucepan and bring to the boil, lower to a simmer and cook until all the water has been absorbed. Place in a large bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Halve cherry tomatoes and artichoke hearts and add to cooled quinoa. 
  3. Dice fetta and mix through along with other remaining ingredients.
  4. Add dressing (recipe below) and toss salad gently.
  5. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Lemon Oregano Dressing
Take the juice of one lemon and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of dried oregano (adjust to taste) and whisk together. 
Add to salad and enjoy.

There was heaps of this salad left over after our luncheon and it made an excellent lunch and dinner the day afterwards. I just jazzed it up with some extra chickpeas and some steamed broccoli. Perfect and pretty.

Book Review: Carrots 'n' Cake by Tina Haupert
I finished the first book on my reading list over the weekend (in amongst reading some cooking magazines that I had picked up...) and I really enjoyed the approach to fitness, health and overall wellness Tina has taken in Carrots 'n' Cake. 
Interlaced with stories about her life with her husband and their gorgeous pug dog, this book suggests simple strategies for gaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I enjoyed the straight forward nature of the writing and the way that Tina provides the methods that have worked for her without attempting to take the expert's stance or wow the reader with study results. 
An excellently positive healthy living read and I can't wait to try the recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies (they have chickpeas in them!).

Next up I am reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan while simultaneously drooling over the gorgeous recipes in the latest offering from the Hummingbird Bakery 'Cake Days'.
Expect (many) pictures of cupcakes to start appearing here...


  1. that's great that you're running a half marathon! it's probably good to take it easy beforehand so your body isn't totally worn out on the day of the race.

    your quinoa salad looks light, healthy, and super delicious!

    also, thank you for reviewing carrots 'n' cake. i've heard a lot about it recently and was thinking of reading it! your review definitely has me interested ;)

  2. SO excited for your half marathon!! I can totally relate...so many times I have held myself back by thinking I could never be "fast" or I could never run that far because I am not as athletic, or I am bigger, or my body is just different. I think that is what I most appreciate about running though...there is a place for everyone. You will be amazing and crossing the finish line will be such a memorable experience. I do not think I ever stopped smiling the day I crossed the finish of my first half. And each one I have done since then feels a bit of the same...I am constantly amazed at what my body allows me to do :) So...don't hold yourself back! Trust yourself and cherish the moment...you deserve every moment of that race as you have worked so hard! I can't wait to hear about it and will be thinking about you on race day!

    I LOVE carrots n cake! such a good book! also..thanks for the recipe...definitely one I will give a try!

  3. I'm excited for you and the big run - you are such an inspiration!
    I've been having quinoa for breakfast a lot lately. Once it is to the boil I whack in sunflower seeds, flax seeds, cinnamon and a dried fruit - this time I used craisins. Very yummy.
    I checked out carrots n cakes blog from your last links n enjoyed the red muchly. Thanks!

  4. Fun review! I knew Tina had put a book out but hadn't gotten my hands on it. Glad you liked it though :D.