Sucks to my assmar. Holler to my quinoa.

Growing up, I always was embarrassed.

I have some kind of asthma like thing going on.

There, I have said it

I. Have. Allergies. And Breathing problems.

It sucks. It doesn’t mean I’m fat. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. Or that I’m a hypochondriac. Or that I am a dork or a nerd. I don’t own a pocket protector. I don’t need to live in a plastic bubble. I am athletic. I can sing and don’t need to breathe every other note. I was a record setting swimmer and can hold my breath under water for ridiculous long times.  I can dance and do high impact cardio.  I yoga like crazy. And, sometimes, once in a blue moon, I get in a situation where I really can’t breathe.

Yeah, not breathing sucks y’all.

Since I started doing yoga, I’ve had way less problems. Over the last few years. I hate taking medicine. So thanks to my first yoga class (through theater) in 2003, I’ve had a significant improvement in my problems with asthma. I also think my living in warm places helps. But that could just be in my head.  But I’m a yoga teacher. And I have allergies, colds, and flu.  They are not mutually exclusive.

We had a mold/mildew issue at work yesterday. And they decided to tackle it with some crazy anti-mildew spray. Of course, the mold was already triggering my allergies.  Add in some chemicals I’m allergic too and I became a hot mess. I went home. Of course I waited a bit too long and already had my extremities getting tingling, a lovely super duper loud dog barking cough, and a titch of wheezing. Sexy. Oh yeah, that wheezing. Nothing sexier than that. It’s been hours, but my breathing still hurts and is hard to do.

Sucks, yo.

Not breathing–gotta be one of the worst things in the world.

So I did what anyone would do. Finished up my work. Rejoiced when a late work meeting got rescheduled. And proceeded to give my body some fresh air and rest.

Short walk to get outdoors and try to do some better breathing. Did a brief meditation and some heart-opening yoga poses for allergies. I put on a chick flick. (Thank you Notting Hill— that movie can cure any blues.) And made some amazing quasi-healthy comfort food: Quinoa “Mac ‘n Cheese” with Pancetta and Greek Yogurt.  I still can’t breathe very well. But at least, I went to sleep happy.

Check out my Quinoa Mac ‘n Cheese with pancetta and Greek yogurt. Served with steamed asparagus. AMAZING!!!

Quinoa “Mac ‘n Cheese” with Pancetta and Greek Yogurt
Serves 6-8

Ingredients: 

  • 1 and 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 and 1/2 cups low sodium organic vegetable broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp organic, unsalted butter
  • 4 oz chopped pancetta
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup organic, all purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic skim milk
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt, preferably organic + 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt (reserve for later)
  • 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (reserve for later)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup shredded reduced fat three cheese blend (cheddar/monterrey jack/mozzarella)
  • 3/4 cup light shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Panko or 1/4 cup Wheat Germ
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Canola Oil Spray
End result! Nom nom nom nom nom.

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cook quinoa, using the vegetable broth and water–per quinoa instructions. After boiling, the quinoa should simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp–approximately 6 minutes.
4. Add onion and saute for approximately 5 minutes–or until onion is tender.
5. Add crushed garlic and crushed red pepper, saute for an additional minute.
6. Add remaining butter. Allow butter to melt and then add flour.  Stir and cook for one minute.
7. Add milk and 1/2 cup of the Greek yogurt. Whisk vigorously. Cook for approximately five minutes–or until the sauce is thick and slightly bubbling.
8. Remove skillet from heat. Add remaining Greek yogurt and cheeses (reserving the additional 1/4 cup of Parmesan). Whisk vigorously the entire time to ensure sauce does not get lumpy and cheese is evenly distributed. Salt and pepper, to taste.
9. Combine cheese sauce with cooked quinoa.  Stir to mix cheese sauce with quinoa completely.
10. Pour quinoa/cheese mixture into a baking dish (13 x 9 x 2) sprayed with organic canola spray. Top with panko or wheat germ (you may want to gently saute the panko first) and remaining parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle chili powder on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes–or until the panko-parmesan topping is golden brown. Serve immediately with a green salad or steamed vegetables.
 

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