Say the Magic Words!


Say them after me: calcium and exercise give you strong bones! Remember those words, because there will be a quiz later.

Let’s have some dramatic lighting to shake up the usual breakfast pics:

Can’t … look away … must … ogle pictures …

That would be oatmeal with strawberries, Chillin’ Chocolate, AND Adirondack Jack (live large, I say).

Today, I taught three nutrition lessons with two of the other girls in my dietetics program. The 3rd, 4th, and 6th graders learned about calcium and dairy and why they’re so important, especially when they’re growing. Did you know that 90 percent of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 for girls and 20 for boys? So, get your calcium before then to prevent weak bones! (You can still build bone mass after those ages, but mostly in your arms.)

Teaching the 6th graders:

Not sure what I’m doing in this picture, but I seem really into it.

So, do you remember what the magic words are? (I ask the 6th graders) That’s right! Calcium and exercise give you strong bones! 😀

(Is it just me, or do 6th graders seem larger nowadays? I swear most of the girls were taller than I am. And I ain’t tiny.)

Last night’s dinner consisted of an adaptation of Joanne‘s Nigerian Baked Beans with Spiced Carrot and Zucchini Barley.  (If you’re not reading Joanne’s blog, you should. This girl is in a prestigious MD/PhD program and she STILL has time to not only eat, but cook gourmet meals with a flourish.)

Since I made so many adaptations to the recipe due to *ahem* missing ingredients, I’ll write it here.

Nigerian Baked Beans
Serves 4, adapted from Eats Well With Others, adapted from 660 Curries by way of Lisa’s Kitchen

1 can of beans of choice, drained and rinsed REALLY well (use dried beans if you’re not as lazy short of time as I am. Navy beans would work well. I used black beans.)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (told ja I was a spice-chicken)
1 Tbsp curry power (I used a combo of sweet curry and Maharajah)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
3 6 tbsp peanut butter (I had to, I just had to 🙂 )
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Chop yer veggies. If you’re using dried beans, cook them according to package directions.

Saute shallots in a skillet over medium heat until soft. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for 30 seconds. Add curry and ground spices.

Add tomatoes and beans, stir well. Stir in peanut butter and pepper until combined.

Foreshortened spoon!

Just kidding. Here’s what it actually looks like.

Spoon into casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes (you’ll have to bake longer if you started with dried beans).

Spiced Carrot and Zucchini Red Pepper Barley Quinoa (my kitchen was not well stocked)

1/2 cup quinoa
1 red bell pepper
2 Tbsp raisins dried cherries (Who has dried cherries in their pantry, but not raisins? I mean, WHO??)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Rinse quinoa well and simmer in 1 cup of water with the cherries.

Saute bell pepper in olive oil until soft.

Add spices and stir. When quinoa is cooked, toss with bell pepper.


Delicious, Joanne, delicious! 🙂

Q: Have you ever eaten quinoa? How do you like to prepare/eat it?


  1. We eat quinoa all the time! I like to prepare it w/ veggie stock and vegetables steamed in while it cooks, or sometimes I replace half the water w/ salsa while it cooks and top w/ sour cream and avacado. I also love stuffing things w/ it – squash, zucchini, etc. and baking. I’ve also made a quinoa casserole that was pretty cool – sort of like a quiche cousin.

    haha The caption for the pic of you cracked me up. You DO seem really into it!

  2. Calcium and exercise make strong bones! 😀 That is probably so rewarding to help young kids learn more about nutrition. I never realized that you can increase bone mass mostly in your arms. Interesting. And YES! Kids are so much bigger now!!!!

  3. I have quinoa in my cupboard but haven’t made it yet. Someday I will, someday.

  4. That dinner looks amazing! Please come make it for me. Tonight would be fine.

  5. Hehe, calcium and exercise make strong bones!! Love it!! I wonder if it’s possible to undo damage from childhood. Because as a kid I never drank milk. Still don’t drink milk now, but I do eat yogurt and cottage cheese. Anyyyyywayssssss… 😉

    You should see the 5th graders at our school. They’re huge! And it’s so sad that some of the girls are wearing bigger clothes than me. Breaks my heart.

    Your quinoa dish looks great!! I love making Kath’s quinoa greek salad. Omg, it is so good and the perfect summer dish.

    1. Yogurt and cottage cheese are GREAT sources of Ca! Nice one, Em!

  6. Thanks for the calcium reminder! Definitely a good motto to remember, too 😛
    The dinner looks great! I’ve been loving curries AND quinoa lately. In fact, I’m enjoying some for dinner at this very moment.
    …and I am always jealous of those beautiful strawberries.

  7. What gives you strong bones? Just kidding girl. Calcium and exercise give you strong bones. It amazing how much more attention people seem to pay when you tell them there’s going to be a quiz later, haha.
    Kids are definitely getting bigger these days. I’m only 5 feet and some of the grade fours and fives I taught were already taller than me.

    I’ve never tried quinoa before. Would like to someday as I’ve heard such great things about it. Have a lovely rest of the week 😀

  8. I love quinoa!! I always cook 1 cup in water, that way later on I can season eat whichever way I want. Since one cup ends up rendering 3 cups, I end up eating it for days, haha! I love making quinoa pudding too!

  9. You look like you’re having so much fun teaching the kids! I’ve noticed it too, kids are getting bigger, lol!

    Oooh, these Nigerian Baked Beans look pretty fantastic, and I think I’ve got all the ingredients on hand…dinner tomorrow! 🙂

  10. Hooray for teaching, sounds like a great time was had by all! Your food looks so delicious! All my favourite components – contrasting colours, textures, lots of flavour, veggies, and liquidy-ness 🙂 Yum! I usually just cook quinoa in my little Cuisinart rice cooker – it comes out fluffy, moist, and quite tasty. I want to make a quinoa bake but lately I haven’t been cooking much at all. Cheerio!

  11. I love quiona! I like it any way but I never have the motivation to rise and cook it. That sounds horrible! This take on it looks amazing and I’m loving the blog you linked to, too! 🙂

  12. I think you know my answer to that question, since I just used oodles of quinoa in my GREENola!
    I do love quinoa…I think its so great and so versatile because I have it both sweet and savoury. I want to try soaking it instead of cooking to retain more nutrients, but usually i just cook it on the stovetop and mix it with whatever flavours I want. In the morning, with bananas and cinnamon and sweet goodness. Later in the day, with veggies and spices.
    That quinoa recipe looks great and so do the baked beans. I love that you added extra PB! Must have made for the perfect peanutty flavour. I would have wanted to do the same thing.
    By the way, I know you said you’re not tiny, but you absolutely do look tiny (and lovely) in that picture! Just had to say it. Most 6th graders are taller than me but I’m very short so that doesn’t say much…
    I’m talking too much as usual…I hope you have a good night 🙂

    1. Haha, thanks Lauren! I guess I am pretty compact 😉

  13. I’m so glad you made this! And liked it! You were definitely right in adding more PB. there is no such thing as too much. Ever.

    Thanks so much for your sweet shout-out. You are adorable.

    I love quinoa. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Eating it and saying it. A lot of times I’ll just use it instead of rice but I’ve also made pilafs with it that were wonderful!

  14. You are so cute! Haha! Always the teacher and nutritionist.

    I don’t really like tastes fishy to me! But perhaps I should try the fabulous Joanne’s recipe…

  15. Calcium and exercise make strong bones!

    I am trying to like quinoa but I haven’t found a way to eat it that I like it. Yet. I’m working on it! It is one of the like THREE foods I’m not crazy about, and I hate that! It’s so wonderful nutritionally-speaking!

  16. The funny thing is – I have never tried quinoa!

    I see a lot of pictures of it though. And hear a lot of good things about it. I guess it’s a matter of getting over my aversion of cooking grains. Maybe I’ll use it in GREENOLA next time. 🙂

    And yes, like Sophia, I think you are way awesome : teacher and nutritionist. It’s completely complementary, ya know?

    Lots of love,
    Aletheia 🙂

  17. My mum always used to tell me that calcium and exercise makes strong bones 🙂

    I’ve eaten quinoa (but never prepared some myself) and I quite like it 🙂

  18. These meals look delicious!!! I have actually never even thought about adding peanut butter to beans…which is saying a lot, because I add PB to most things. 😉 I will definitely have to try it!

    And I love quinoa, though I only started eating it relatively recently. My favorite way to cook it is in veggie broth (I think it has more flavor that way) and then load it up with tons of different sauteed veggies.

  19. Do I spy…a conjoined twin strawberry?? Love the dramatic lighting 🙂

    I love quinoa! I pronounced it “quin-oh-uh” for the longest time lol.

  20. Looks like this dish turned out well. I love quinoa and use it when I can.

    That is great that the 6th graders remembered your point. They do seem to be a little bigger these days, but I am short, so it could just be me.

  21. i LOVE your curry canisters! adorable. i adore the teaching photo. u must be an amazing teacher-seriously! especially sicne u have the passion for it obv. GREAT FOOD EATS!! xoxoxoxo have an AMAZING day love

  22. oh and to reply to yesterdays post.. about the wrapes. .the tapioca in it is actually the white wrap ‘tapioca paper’ neat huh!

  23. Yum, that looks like a wonderful dinner!
    I remember going to a middle school to teach some kids (our lesson was about sugar in drinks) – SO fun!

  24. Kids are HUGE these days!

    Your dinner looks amazing. I have yet to try Quinoa but I really want to.

  25. That quinoa looks delish!! I am fairly new to quinoa but LOVE it! This recipe looks fab!
    How cute are you teaching the kids. I always think that about the kids I see. I am always surprised by how much older they look.
    Have a great day!

  26. hey suga!!!!
    WOW your oats look amazing for REALS!! oh my gahhhh! i LOVE the chocolate and strawberry combo!

  27. This post has caused me to guiltily take a calcium supplement. Kudos.

  28. As for my choc chip cookies, that is what happens when 2 people really want cookies and everyone thinks they know what they are doing. The stackable cooling racks came from Bed, Bath and Beyond and I do not think they were too expensive. They are great for tight kitchens.

  29. Love quinoa! I like to mix it with some truffle oil (although I like to mix anything with some truffle oil 😉 ) and balsamic. Plus a bunch of veg. Yum!!

  30. I love quinoa, but I overdid it last year, so I am taking some time off 🙂 I tend to find one healthy thing I love and eat it until I want to fall over. This recipe looks delicious though and may inspire me to work it back into the rotation!

  31. It is Quite a dish!!!! very complicated, but definitely worth it:-D the little curry box is sooo cute!! I am a big fun of this kind of pungent flavor too. Thanks for such detailed recipe, very enticing one!

  32. I love quinoa and eat it with veggies or meat instead of rice. It replaces the total carbs of rice with something healthier. And tastes better also.

  33. Nanette Murdick says:

    A great article. The first and most important thing is to get out of bed right away. I clap my hands and say “I’m having a great day,” then splash water on my face. I like the idea of the drink of water too. Everything else falls into place.

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