On the occasion I’m partaking in some form of physical exercise, which is pretty rare these days considering the heat, I plan ahead and eat things that will work to my advantage when I need them. For example, my body runs well on protein, like chicken, eggs and beans; steamed veggies; and rice. If I’m participating in a race, I’ve learned that lots of water, black coffee and a banana are the way to go. As much as I prefer to eat for sheer pleasure, I’ve learned a thing or two about properly fueling my body with the things I put in it.
Similarly, my brain depends on food to function. As many times as I want a sloppy cheeseburger and salty, greasy fries for lunch during the week, I know the end result will not only be a rock in my stomach, but also heavy eyes and a lack of energy – I’d be better off calling out sick the rest of the day, because I’d be useless at work. Brain lethargy really messes with my ability to be creative, so I look to foods that promote brain activity and functionality when I need to think outside of the box.
Recently, I’ve been devoting more than the normal time I allot myself during the week nights to read a book, write, or brainstorm – time that’s set aside strictly to enhance creativity. Much of it has been spent improving my blog, learning to take better pictures, and thinking of ways I can reach more readers. Obviously, I can’t do anything on an empty stomach, except maybe complain and whine, so I had to eat a balanced dinner beforehand. I relied on a mélange of protein and veggies to nourish my appetite and my mind.
Quinoa Stir Fry
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water or chicken broth
1 ½ tablespoons Hoison sauce
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
¾ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ small onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 scallions, chopped and divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 eggs, scrambled (still raw)
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly with cool water, then drain. Once dry, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and add drained quinoa. Cook, stirring for about 1 minute, allowing the water to evaporate. Add water or broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, covered. Fluff and set aside to cool in fridge. Mix Hoison, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat and add onion and carrot, cooking for about two minutes. Add 2 scallions, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for another two minutes. Add in the remainder of the olive oil and the cooled quinoa. Stir-fry for about two minutes. Add the sauce and cook until incorporated, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the quinoa, then pour in eggs and scramble. Toss in peas, and mix everything together until the peas are warmed through, add remaining scallion and serve.
Relatively popular these days, quinoa is considered a super food within the athletic community, thanks to its makeup of healthy starch, protein and amino acids. If it’s your mind you are exercising, though, quinoa’s iron content will aid in the increase of brain function by sending it more oxygen. Thanks to a well-rounded mix of veggies, silky scrambled eggs, and immunity boosting ginger, this dish is perfect to serve just before a creative brainstorming meeting. The mix of sauce ingredients takes this recipe beyond just another healthy choice, and provides a feeling of satisfaction and slight indulgence in a way that vegetable fried rice from a Chinese restaurant would. I’m a huge fan of sauces and condiments and initially thought the measurements of sauce ingredients didn’t look like enough to boost the flavor of the veggies and quinoa; luckily, I was wrong – a little goes a long way.
My brain simply goes on strike if I have any type of appetite, but rather than eat things revolving solely around my cravings, it’s sometimes best to go for all-together good and healthy meals that will benefit and improve my general well-being; as much as I like to think I’m just naturally brilliant, I need all of the help I can get. My hunger for delicious food is constant, but this recipe also helped feed my appetite for creativity.