The Happy Health Project #1

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“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” – Mahatma Gandhi

Today I’ve decided to start a new series I’m calling The Happy Health Project because at the moment I am neither happy nor healthy. As a full-time working mum, I work flat out with little time for proper nutrition and exercise.

Most recently, I had to have my third surgery (in two years) for a re-occurring health problem which has left me completely wiped out – did you know it can take up to a year for general anesthesia to leave your body?

So with this in mind, I’ve decided to make some small but significant changes to my life to put me back on the road to good health and share them with you every week.

One of the easiest ways of getting healthy is through a good diet. Today’s post is dedicated to quinoa – that tricky to pronounce and even trickier to prepare grain. (I’ve already been through a box of the stuff just trying to cook it properly).

Quinoa is an awesome little grain with amazing health properties – it’s one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat and contains all nine essential amino acids. I want a piece of that! It tastes great and I’ve been trying to use it to replace my old wheat reliable cous-cous in my daily salads. This next quinoa recipe is from one of my favourite Irish health gurus, Susan Jane White,  and is so easy and delicious I cannot tell you – the addition of smoked paprika is a revelation. I’m hooked.

Susan’s Smoked Paprika and Cumin Quinoa
Serves 2-3

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup hot chicken stock
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2-3 eggs
Splash extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Chopped rocket/dill/parsley


Wash the quinoa in a sieve under running water to help remove the bitter coating. Transfer to a heavy-based saucepan.

Add the hot chicken stock, sprinkle in the spices and simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes until the stock has been absorbed and the quinoa fluffs up. (Watch closely! I can’t tell you how many pots of quinoa I’ve burnt.)

To poach the eggs (this also took me a couple of attempts), bring a pot of water to the boil. Swirl the water in a circular motion with a spoon, and crack a fresh egg into the whirlpool. Allow to cook for 60-90 seconds, before scooping out with a slotted spoon.

Serve immediately on a bowl of the quinoa with the chopped herbs/greens of your choice, a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of black pepper. Delish!

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