Food Blog – Quinoa Upma

We want to share heart healthy recipes and inspiring stories with you!

Forward by Yuki Kotani

We are very excited to introduce our newest social media intern to the Harboring Hearts’ team, Pareesha Narang.  Our interns are invaluable to our organization.

Pareesha is a recent graduate of University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill’s College of Journalism and she came to us with a strong interest in working for a start-up non-profit organization.  Michelle Javian (co-founder) and I immediately saw potential in Pareesha because of her willingness to learn and take initiative on projects.   Most importantly, we felt she truly grasped Harboring Hearts’ mission and vision because of her own personal experiences.  We appreciate Pareesha for sharing her story with us today.

I hope you are inspired by her story and heart-healthy recipe!

——————————————————————————————————–

My family made a choice to be heart-healthy when my father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor back in 1995.  Note that I say family, not just my father. My mother had consulted a special dietitian, and he told us that in order for this to work, we had to do it as a family.

My younger brother and I were both under 10 at the time, and we were told that we weren’t allowed to bring home cookies and all sorts of other unhealthy foods anymore, we were pretty bummed — it seemed so drastic!

As time went on, we got used to better alternatives to all the sugary, fattening foods.  We kept hearing that cancer loves sugar (just Google it and you’ll see what I’m talking about), so as a family, we became more conscious about what we put in our bodies.

I was born with a sweet tooth, so it definitely took work to get to where I am today.  Over time, I’ve limited the amount of sweet things I eat in a day, drink lots of water and eat a balanced diet filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein, and a couple of supplements.  I don’t count calories because my weight isn’t a concern, but I do read the ingredients – I like to know what I’m putting in my body!

In April 2009, my father passed away — but he proved the doctors wrong for many years.  I believe that his dedicated change in diet and meditation kept him with us for 14 years since his diagnosis.

When an illness happens to one person, it impacts the whole family.  What helped our family was sticking together and supporting each other.  After my father’s passing, my family continues to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.   It was a good reminder for me that though I’ve been blessed with good health so far, it takes work to keep it that way.

My challenge to you:

  • Replace one unhealthy food in your diet with a healthy alternative.
  • Do something for yourself everyday.

A powerful motivation for me to eat healthy and stay positive is my ability to be there for my mom and my brother – my family.

Here is the recipe for a scrumptious dish I made with my mom, with heart-healthy ingredients including quinoa and chana dal.

Quinoa Upma

Serves 6-8

2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, we use extra light
1 tsp. mustard (rye) seeds
1 stem curry leaves (about 15 leaves), remove leaves from stem
1/4 cup of chana dal, stones/junk removed and washed (find it at any Indian grocery store)
black pepper
12 oz. quinoa, washed
8 oz. pack of frozen mixed vegetables
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt (less if you’re watching your salt intake!)
1/4 tsp. red chili powder (cayenne)
24 oz. water
fresh cilantro, chopped
lime
roasted peanuts (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pan (make sure you have a lid for it), medium heat. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and a generous pinch of black pepper.  Stir, then add the chana daal and saute for 2 minutes.  Add quinoa, dry roast for about 7-8 minutes until it gets a little color (turn down heat slightly if needed).  Add onion and frozen vegetables, saute until cooked, about 5 minutes. Add salt and red chili powder, saute for 30 seconds, then add water.  Cover the pan. Once water comes to boil, lower the heat and let cook for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle a handful of cilantro, juice of a lime, and sprinkle peanuts on top.  Enjoy it guilt-free!

Follow me at my food blog! http://itsallfoodlove.blogspot.com

Meet Tamara Jerardo!

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts.  Without the help of our amazing volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

I have known Tamara “Tam Tam” Jerardo since our college days at the University of Virginia and I have always been in awe of her artistic talent and vision.  When Michelle and I started Harboring Hearts, we knew we needed help with our logo and brand.  I immediately thought of Tamara and asked for her creative input.  We met at a coffee shop in Soho, NYC to discuss our preliminary ideas for our brand. (See below for our first logo!)

We have revised our logo since those formidable days of working in coffee shops (with wi-fi!) but the essence of the first logo is still evident in our logo and brand today.

Tamara has continued to support Harboring Hearts in various ways from creating event invitations, taking photos at events, volunteering at community events and co-hosting fundraising events on behalf of Harboring Hearts.  Learn more about our “Super Volunteer”, Tamara! – Yuki Kotani

  1. Name: Tamara Eve Jerardo (I often go by “Tam” or…”Tam-Tam”)
  2. Current Occupation:  Freelance Graphic Designer and Visual Design Intern at Blenderbox, Inc.
  3. How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts?:  I met Yuki when we were both students at the University of Virginia, and we’ve remained friends into our years as NYC-dwelling twenty-somethings. Yuki explained her idea for Harboring Hearts to me in a Soho coffee shop in 2008, and I instantly wanted to be a part of this touching cause. I had a vision for the branding, and how this broad idea could be summed up visually. It wasn’t a question for me – to be able to do something I love to serve the greater good was an obvious opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
  4. How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully?:  When I started volunteering with Harboring Hearts, I was working as a project manager for a start-up company. I blocked out time after work or during weekends to work on projects for Harboring Hearts. It’s a commitment, but if you really care, you can make time for these things.
  5. Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience?:  The people who have inspired me most have one thing in common: fearlessness. There are so many dimensions of fear, and to take action in spite of possible negative outcomes is a risk, but you have to know that you can recover from failure if that becomes the case. Once fear is eliminated as an obstacle, possibilities abound. This form of boldness doesn’t come without work, however. I think the best risk-takers are also well-informed and dedicate a lot of time to knowledge acquisition.
  6. What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts?: I would have to say volunteering at the Children’s Hospital uptown teaching the kids arts and crafts. I would do that any day. It was heartbreaking to learn of what some of those kids were going through, but you’d never know; they were so bright-eyed, cheerful and eager to learn. To see the smiles and sense of accomplishment the children felt from creating things was an extremely rewarding experience. That in and of itself was an inspiration. Such simple gestures can make a huge difference. It’s up to the rest of us to take the opportunities to do these things as they come.
  7. Tam’s Favorites
    • Favorite City? Can’t choose just one. San Francisco, New York City, Paris, Florence. The almost palpable sense of ambition and culture in SF and NYC is what attracts me to these cities, and the sense of history to European cities.
    • Favorite Food? Again, undecided. But I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of Vietnamese food. Healthy, fresh and delicious.
    • Favorite Activity? Exploring, in many senses of the word. Making art and music, reading, biking, conversing and traveling are at the top of my list.
    • Favorite Music? Mood-dependent. Old jazz standards and their modern interpretations, 90s alt rock, motown, female r&b vocalists are among my favorites.
    • Favorite Museum? A tie between Musee d’ Orsay in Paris, The Tate in London, and MoMa. I have a love affair with modern art because I feel like much of it is a harmonious marriage between art and graphic design, and I’m a big fan of conceptual work.
    • Favorite Travel Destination? Pacific Northwest/West Virginia. I’m quite fond of adventure sports and the great outdoors. Yosemite in CA and the Gauley River in WV are the origins of great memories for me. Both places are mindblowingly beautiful.
    • Favorite Book? A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry is one of my favorites in the fiction realm – it’s just one of those books that forces you to age intellectually, in a good way. For entertainment purposes, I enjoy the anecdotal memoirs of the sardonic, self-deprecating type authors: Sedaris, Sloane Crosley, Augusten Burroughs, etc. I willingly suffer the consequences of embarrassing hysterical laughter on the subway.
    • Favorite Movie? The Before Sunrise/Before Sunset series. The introspection, the sense of adventure and spontaneity. I googled Before Sunset and read all this literature on it after watching the movie. Highly recommend. I also love all the hilarious Judd Apatow movies.

A couple of examples of her work. She is available for freelance work too!

Her design portfolio is available here.