Disclosure: I received a selection of whole grain products from the Whole Grain Council to sample, as a whole grain ambassador for “Whole Grain Sampling Day”, but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
There’s nothing better than finally feeling in control of things again…at least diet-wise. Sure, I still have my splurge days, but for the most part, I don’t go over my calorie count. I have to admit, it really helps that the new office discourages eating at your desk. Walking to the break room for a handful of dried fruit or a granola bar makes me think twice before snacking. I actually like it….mindless snacking while at work was one of my biggest issues, and the new job sort of figured it out for me.
I’ve also started trying new food items again. I was recently approached by the Whole Grains Council about being a Whole Grains Ambassador this year, along with some other fantastic food bloggers. I definitely jumped at the chance, because one thing I’ve learned throughout my weight loss journey, is that there is nothing wrong with giving new foods a try. One of my favorite whole grains is quinoa, which I wouldn’t have ordinarily tried when I was almost 300 pounds. I was looking for other options for lunch at the office, and there were so many great recipes out there involving quinoa…I just had to give it a try! I know it’s all the rage lately, but I can’t get enough of it. Not only is it tasty (it reminds me of brown rice, but with a nuttier taste), but I also think it’s versatile. You can serve it hot or cold, savory or sweet, and you can easily enjoy it anytime of the day!
Now, while quinoa is my favorite whole grain lately, I also enjoy whole grains like barley (also new to me), brown rice, corn, oatmeal (hello baked oatmeal) and whole wheat breads, to name a few. I was sent a box of whole grain samples by the Whole Grain Council to try some new things, and I especially loved quite a few of the snacks that were included.
On the right were my favorites out of everything so far: Pops A Lot Saigon Cinnamon popcorn, Pamela’s Whenever Bar & Real McCoy’s Rice Puffs. However, everything in the box has been pretty darn tasty!
Now, while whole grains taste great, there’s also quite a few health benefits, too. Check out the facts on Whole Grain Council’s website. There’s also information on their site on how to cook various whole grains! It’s a great resource if you’re looking to give other whole grains a try.
The Whole Grains Council is generously offering one lucky reader of The Nifty Foodie a box of whole grain samples to try as well.
To enter to win, check out the Rafflecopter widget below.
Note: This giveaway is sponsored by Oldways and the Whole Grain Council, and is open to readers in the continental US only. Entries will be accepted until April 9th at 11:59 pm (central standard time). Winner will be emailed (make sure you leave an email address in the form), and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
Since I mentioned how much I love quinoa, I thought I’d share this recipe that I’m loving lately. It’s really simple to make and is such a fun, colorful dish, perfect for a spring picnic or potluck! I actually heard about this recipe from a blogging friend of mine, and if you love peanut thai sauces…this is a must make!
Peanut Thai Quinoa Salad
Source: Ambitious Kitchen
For the salad:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup uncooked, well-rinsed quinoa
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 diced red onion
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup diced green onions
- 1/2 cup peanuts
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter
- 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 3 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, add in the quinoa and wait for that to come to a boil as well. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and allow the quinoa/water to simmer for 15 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove the quinoa from heat, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Place the quinoa in a large bowl, and set it aside to cool for 10 minutes. In the meantime, make the dressing for the salad.
- Add the peanut butter and honey to a medium microwave safe bowl, and heat the mixture in the microwave for 20 seconds. Add the ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and olive oil, and whisk well until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the dressing to the quinoa and mix well. Allow the dressing to soak in for a few minutes to really flavor the quinoa. Then, fold the prepared red onion, cabbage, carrots and cilantro into the quinoa/dressing. Garnish the top of the salad with green onions and peanuts. Serve chilled or at room temperature.