polenta and kale recipe

Easy Cooking: Polenta and Greens for One!

*Bare with me right now. I’m going to try something completely new!*

Who said that cooking for one had to be boring? When I used to live by myself, people at my work thought I was kind of crazy to put so much effort into making meals for myself – especially since I didn’t have a stove in my apartment.

I’ve always found pleasure in cooking the food that I make. So it doesn’t really matter if I’m cooking for 10 or just me, I’ll enjoy the process and I’ll enjoy the food too!

Every quarter or so, my husband gets these schedules when he doesn’t have time to have lunch with me.* So I often find myself searching for things I can cook that will be easy, tasty and that I don’t need to make huge portions.

*In Brazil, lunch is the main meal of the day, and even though it’s not the custom here, we still do it.

IMG_6631

One of my go-to’s is Polenta. It’s so easy to make and you can make as much as youneed to. Just add cornmeal to hot water, season it and let it cook. Voila!

You need a complement for this meal, so chop some onions and garlic and stir-fry it with any leafy green – like spinach or kale – add color and a whole lot of nutrients. Win-win in my opinion. Oh, and you’ve gotta have kimchi!

Lastly,  fry an egg and add to top it off. It’s a low-calorie protein option and to be honest, it’s probably my favorite kind of protein!

This is one of my number one meals for when I’m eating by myself. It warms you inside as you eat that creamy polenta. Not to mention that it balances the bitterness of the green of your choice.

Hope you enjoy it! Let me know what are your feelings about the polenta once you’ve tried it!

Camila-2

polenta and kale recipe

Polenta with Stir-Fry Kale, Fried Egg, and Kimchi.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 3 large kale leaves (can be substituted for 2 cups spinach)
  • 1-2 tbls olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and crushed red chili flakes (optional)

Procedure:

  1. In a medium-size pan, boil water. Once it’s boiling, season with salt, then reduce heat and stir the water in circular motions. Slowly add the cornmeal while continuing to stir – the cornmeal with slowly start to thicken. Stir for 5 minutes and cover the pan. Add more hot water if necessary. The polenta should be ready in 15-20 minutes.
  2. While the polenta is cooking, chop onion and garlic. And prepare the kale leaves by removing the stem. Chop the stem into small pieces. In a frying pan (or wok) add the olive oil and fry the garlic, onion and kale stems. Fry them until tender.
  3. In a separate pan, fry the egg.
  4. Once the polenta is done, add the kale leaves to the garlic, onion and, kale stems until the leaves are tender and bright green. Season with salt, pepper and chrushed red chili flakes.
  5. Plate the polenta, kale and, egg. Add the kimchi.

 

SaveSave

Advertisements

Mindfulness Monday: Mindfulness and Curiosity

word of the day curiosity

One of my favorite things about living a more mindful lifestyle is being more curious about things. Exercising curiosity while meditating is a great tool to help keep focus in the moment. There is much more to being curious than just seen the world differently. Dr. Judson Brewer, from the University of Massachusetts, is finding in his research that being curious can help you with much more than your daily meditation.

The TED Talk bellow is him explaining how you can break bad habits from being more curious/mindful of them. Personally, I’m trying to break my own bad habit of overeating – which I have been cultivating for years. I’m keeping a log of when I notice that I’m in my bad cycle and trying to figure out what led to it and how I feel – physically and emotionally. Hopefully, this video encourages you as it has encouraged me.

What are you curious about?


Camila-2

free time ideas

Free Time Ideas – #1 Have a Picnic

We all have to eat, right? And if you are like me, you really need to eat or else you’ll get hangry*. If you have a longer lunch break than usual, why not make it special and eat outside?

hangry definitionMy husband was on winter break the last few weeks and we’d been spending so much time on our couch watching TV – we watched all the seasons of Game of Thrones in 10 days so you have an idea of how bad we are. If we weren’t taking care of some of our neighbors’ pets, we wouldn’t really have a reason to leave the house; so taking our lunches outside by making them into a picnic is a great way to do something different with our extra free time.

There seems to be a misconception that to have a picnic you need a huge preparation. In our experience, it really doesn’t need to be like that. Just take a look at what you already have in your fridge and pantry, gather some things and put them in a cooler, then take them out! Simple as that! Don’t forget drinks, cutlery, and some napkins. Other than that, it’s really a no-brainer. If you have kids it’s still that simple, you probably have already some treats and portable food that you can take with you, as wells as a big with all the stuff you need so they are entertained on the go. If you are still wondering what to take: as a rule of thumb, if you don’t need to cook it, you can eat it anywhere *wink wink*.

free time ideas

We’ve taken anything from cheese and salami with freshly baked bread (which I happen to bake often), our regular lunch sandwiches and chips and even leftover from our New Year’s Eve dinner. I’ll confess, that sometimes, we do think ahead and buy stuff with the intention of having a picnic, but this means that we got a fancy cheese instead of the ordinary sliced cheese. Usually, it’s what we would already have for lunch – we don’t really put too much thought ahead.

We are, though, very privileged to be living in Irvine, CA. There are so many parks around, that in our case we can just walk to the nearest one with our cooler or drive 15 minutes and find beautiful ocean views to have a picnic. Raise your hand if you wished you lived in Orange County right now! But any outdoor space can be turned into a great picnic spot – your backyard, for example; or even your small patio. Just last week, for instance, we decided on making ourselves brunch and eating it on our patio just to change things a bit. The whole idea of having a picnic is to eat outside breathing fresh air; moreover, a picnic is a way to make an everyday need special.

free time ideas

So next time you’re staring at your fridge thinking “what should I eat?”, why not add the question “where can I take it?”.

I’d love to hear some of your picnic experiences. I bet you have some great ideas for foods to take to a picnic and unexpected places to have one.

Camila-2

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

how to practice mindfulness

Mindfulness Monday: How to Start a Mindfulness Practice.

 

Now that the holidays have ended and my husband is back with his classes, it feels like the new year has officially started. We had guests over and extra quality time with my husband that I sort of had to put my mindfulness practices on hold.  I have to admit that a ton of overeating and mindless time in front of the TV was a huge part of the last three weeks – and I am not proud of it. That said, now that we’re going back to our routines, I want to be able to go back to meditating on a regular basis and being more mindful.

This lead me to go back to basics of mindfulness and meditation. I found this article on Mindfulness.org on how to practice mindfulness. I’m not going to try and re-invent the wheel here so click on the link above and to read this short article. I especially liked tip #4 on things to consider before practicing mindfulness. This is something that I am trying to work on, myself. I tend to not be kind towards my own flaws holding on to unrealistic expectations of how I should be living my life.

how to practice mindfulness

How to Practice Mindfulness

Becoming more aware of where you are and what you’re doing, without becoming overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you practice mindfulness.

Camila-2

 

SaveSave

Mindfulness Monday: New Beginnings

Coming from Brazil, the new year is much more than just a change in the calendar, as I’ve noticed here in the U.S. It’s a huge celebration of life met with an abundance of food and fireworks. For some, the new year is met with the marking of what life was the year before, for others it brings the idea of purging mistakes made or bad experiences lived. For many, it’s a much needed fresh start with all the possibilities the new year brings. It’s the idea of turning the page and starting with a clean slate. And it’s a lovely thought.

In my view, change and new beginnings should be celebrated. But sometimes these changes are left for the passage of the new year or the next month, next week and so forth. I feel sometimes that people love the idea of change but are afraid of it, so they keep putting off these new beginnings. I myself am found guilty of that. How many times have I eaten more than what I needed and then told myself, I’ll go back to my diet tomorrow? It turns out that behaviors like this completely sabotaged my goal of losing weight in 2017. And this is just one example that comes o mind.

What needs to be reminded is that every breath is a new beginning – a new chance to change. So set up goals for the next year and take advantage of the new calendar year to create new habits and start fresh – I know I am! They are all good reminders of where and who we want to be. Just don’t fall into the trap of I’ll start again next ___. I’m writing this mainly as a reminder to myself. Hopefully, you’ll be able to appreciate it too.

Happy New Year! May it be whatever you want it to be!

Camila-2