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19 September 2014

Mediterranean Quinoa-Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

When I was young, my choice of entertainment reading was my family's enormous dictionary that was a quarter of my weight which I alternated with our three sets of encyclopedia. One set was from my Dad's schooldays which had pages made of onion-skin paper with minute printing. The other set was current, bought by my parents for us kids to do our school researches (there was no internet then) and the third one was a child's set when we were smaller with more pictures and simple text. For years, I would carry one volume at a time to my bedside and read them. I thought it was normal because my older brother had the same choice of reading material too.

This happy reading all ended when my other brother told me to stop being weird and read more normal books. My Mom introduced me to her big collection of Mills and Boons romance novels. I read a few until I couldn't take it anymore. Then my Dad introduced me to his own collection of books which was much better. He loved espionage books and Robert Ludlum was his favorite author. He had all his books. I read my first espionage book, The Bourne Identity and I too, got stuck. I took all his books with me to Italy when I moved and continued my collection until Robert Ludlum's last one. 

I cleaned out my library a few months ago and let go of almost all my books. It was sad to let them go but they have already reached their limit. Most were more than 30 years old. We are now in the digital age so next time I have the time, I can just order one online. Still, the feeling of holding the pages in between my fingers is different. Sigh. But we must move on with time. 

One of the things that remained embedded in my mind during my encyclopedia reading was the food pyramid. I used to draw it a lot and try to follow it to the letter. I was a picky eater but I tried to eat what it said. I just had a problem with the dairy group because I was not into milk at all.

Being in Italy, I found that Mediterranean diet perfectly fits what I want about eating and nutrition. High consumption of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes and unrefined cereals. Moderate to high consumption of fish. Moderate consumption of wine and dairy. Low consumption of meat and meat products. My husband is Sicilian and he grew up with the Mediterranean diet and together, we impose that at home. I never went on a restricted diet because I think moderate eating works best for me.

This recipe is actually adapted from the classic Italian dish called Pomodoro al Riso (Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice). In the place of rice, I used quinoa which is a highly nutritious pseudocereal. It is not a member of the grass family, rather, it is in the family of spinach, beetroot and tumbleweeds. If you would like to see my Mediterranean Quinoa-Stuffed Baked Tomatoes recipe, you can get it at Skinny Ms. It's a site dedicated to healthy living with lots of information, tips and recipes to get you going. Buon appetito!

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