Tag Archives: Quinoa

Asparagus, mushroom, and kale egg casserole with quinoa crust

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Remember when I told you guys about my party planning skillz? Surprisingly, this was the one recipe I didn’t test prior to my party, and it was a real winner. It’s a GD miracle that it not only turned out, but was a favorite!

Here’s the amazing thing about this recipe: You don’t have to cook the quinoa beforehand. In fact, it falls to the bottom and makes a crust. Oh, quinoa: What will that sassy little minx think of next? Cleaning it’s own dishes!?!

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Before we get to the recipe, though, I have to thank Mia for giving me a Liebster award nomination! A Liebster award is given to blogs with less than 300 followers as a way of making them more well-known. The rules for the acceptance are:

1) Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you
2) Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back
3) Answer the 10 questions posed by the blogger who nominated you
4 ) Select 3 – 5 bloggers for the award
5) Pose 10 new questions to the new nominees
6) Post the award on your blog

Here are my questions and answers from Mia:

1) Why did you start blogging?
I took a few photography classes as a graduation gift to myself when I finished grad school. I was following a few food blogs and started taking pictures of my own recipes as a way to keep practicing my photography when it was too cold to shoot outside. Nothing keeps you honest like a little public humiliation, I decided to post the pictures on the internet.
2) What is the most important thing you have gotten out of your blog?
Meeting other bloggers!
3) Favorite memory from childhood?
One summer night my family was coming back from dinner and we passed an office building that had the sprinklers on watering the lawn. We stopped the car and all ran through the sprinklers in the dark. Fun times.
4) Favorite song?
Hard one! My ipod says that Flight Test by The Flaming Lips is the most played, so that must be my favorite song!
5) Favorite thing to do in your free time, if you have any.
Take Ruby to the dog park and watch her get mad at dogs that try to hump her.
6) What book could you read over and over?
This is a hard question. I hate reading books or watching movies more than once (exception: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) because the list of things I want to read/watch is too long. But I would re-read any of Michael Pollan’s books again, especially Omnivore’s Dilemma.
7) Worst subject in school?
I feel like I had to try way harder than everyone else in Biology.
8) What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?
Cliché alert! Veterinarian.
9) First thing you would buy or do if you won the lottery?
Pay off the mortgage? That’s boring, so I’d pay to have Avon Barksdale brought back to life.
10) If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?
Elvis. Obviously.

Now for my nominations. I have no idea how many followers anyone has, so I’ll just tell you I like these blogs, and it’s safe to say that none of them are Young House Love famous:
Shut up Duffy. Rebecca’s posts always make me laugh. See: this post.
Erica finds. Erica always has thoughtful posts about running, shopping and life in general!
Hope for healing. Somehow Stephanie makes amazing desserts that are gluten, dairy, soy, and refined sugar free.
liebster
And the questions for my nominees:
1) Why did you start blogging?
2) What is your absolute favorite blog to read?
3) Favorite memory from childhood?
4) Favorite movie?
5) You can only eat one food for the rest of your life. What is it?
6) What is the last book you read?
7) Dessert island. What 3 things would you bring?
8) What is your dream job?
9) Magazine test: which one do you pick up in a waiting room?
10) If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?

Asparagus, mushroom, and kale egg casserole with quinoa crust, serves about 12, inspired by Whole Foods
-1 t butter
-12 eggs
-1 3/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
-4 cloves garlic
-1 T fresh thyme leaves
-1 t salt
-1 t pepper
-1 bunch asparagus
-2 cups unpacked baby greens (I used baby kale and baby spinach)
-1 cup mushrooms
-1 3/4 c uncooked quinoa
-1 1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
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Let’s do this:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9×12 baking dish and set aside. Make sure you do this step; nothing ruins a party faster than quinoa stuck to the bottom of your pan.
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Roughly chop your asparagus and greens. Slice the mushrooms.

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Roughly chop the garlic and the thyme.

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Combine the eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and quinoa in large bowl and whisk.

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Add the asparagus, greens, and mushrooms.

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Stir to combine.

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Pour the mixture into your baking dish. Shake side to side a little so the quinoa settles to the bottom evenly.

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Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the tin foil.

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Add the cheese.
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Bake uncovered for 10 more minutes. Leave the casserole in the oven but turn the oven to broil. Broil for 3 minutes to brown the cheese and remove from oven.

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Serve to hungry guests!

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Thanks again, for the nomination, Mia!
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Curried sweet potato and quinoa wraps

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First things first: A very big birthday shout out to my bestie! True to form, it’s a gazillion degrees out today. In the 25+ years we have been friends, I’m not sure we have a picture from her birthday where my hair isn’t freaking the hell out and my eye makeup isn’t rolling down my cheeks. Que sera, sera.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like every year starting on January 1st the temperature increases a tiny bit each day, reaching a dramatic crescendo on July 7th, when every restaurant/bar’s air conditioning breaks. If I wasn’t so grateful for her friendship, I’d probably hate this day. Love you, Jo!

Curried Sweet Potato & Quinoa Wraps, serves about 4, inspired by Healthy Happy Life
-2 sweet potatoes
-1 T oil (I used coconut, but any oil will work)
-1 c quinoa
-2 t curry powder
-1/2 c frozen peas
-1/2 c raw cashews
-2 T maple syrup
-1 T rice vinegar
-1 avocado
wraps (I’ve used both spinach and plain wraps with success)
salt & pepper to taste

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Measure out your cup of frozen peas and leave them on the counter to thaw.

Cut your sweet potato into cubes. Toss with the oil and spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.
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While the sweet potatoes are baking, add your quinoa to a saucepan and top with 2 cups water. Stir in the curry powder. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the quinoa is cooked (you can tell it is cooked when it’s little tail pops out). Usually takes about 15 minutes.

When the quinoa is done, stir in the peas, cashews, maple syrup, rice vinegar and salt & pepper.
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Now assemble your wraps! First up, add a layer of sweet potato cubes:
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Now add the quinoa mixture:
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Top with avocado:
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Ready to eat!
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Weekend BBQ, DR-style

Continuing on with my boycott of the stove, I now present you a weekend BBQ menu. This menu makes for an especially fun and relaxed weekend party since you can a few things in advance and just relax until you are ready to eat. Super easy + tasty = DR style. You’ll have plenty of time to go shopping for a new outfit.

Here’s our menu:
Summer Shandys (Fill a glass with 2/3 Pacifico, 1/3 San Pellegrino Limonata)
Black bean & quinoa burgers
Grilled romaine salad
Grilled peaches & vanilla ice cream

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First thing’s first. I made the burgers in advance and kept them in the fridge for a few hours:

Home-made black bean and quinoa burger,
makes about 6 burgers
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can black beans
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup nuts or seeds (I used pepitas, but you can use sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, whatever your heart desires)
1 ear corn
2 carrots (I had a bunch of little ones from the farmers market)
1 egg
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t cayenne (omit if you don’t like your food spicy)
2 cloves garlic
bread or buns
optional toppings: cheese, avocado, pico de gallo

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Let’s do this:

Cook the quinoa according to package directions (mine is 1 cup water to 1/2 cup quinoa). Meanwhile, shuck your corn and roughly chop your carrots.
In your food processor, process the garlic until minced. Then I added the ingredients in the following order, processing about 10-20 seconds after each addition:
-seeds or nuts
-carrots
-mushrooms
-cumin and cayanne
-half of the corn, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, and half of the black beans (save the other halves!)
-egg
-half of the quinoa

Looks like this:
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Now combine the remaining black beans, quinoa, and corn in a bowl, and add the food processor mixture:
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Form patties and add breadcrumbs as necessary. I ended up adding the entire 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs since the burgers were a little wet. To ensure the burgers didn’t fall apart I grilled them on our grill pan for about 6-7 minutes per side.
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Toast your bread/buns and serve with cheese, avocado, and pico de gallo!

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Grilled Romaine Salad, serves 4
1 large head romaine lettuce
dressing (I poached this one from Cooking Light and made it in advance)

Let’s do this:
Cut the romaine in half lengthwise:
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Spray or brush both sides with olive oil and place cut side down on the grill for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from grill and cut each half again lengthwise. Serve with dressing.

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Grilled peaches & ice cream dessert, serves 4
4 large peaches
Vanilla ice cream (I used So Delicous Coconut Milk ice cream. If you haven’t tried this, its a must!)

Let’s do this:
Cut your peaches in half and remove the pits.
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Lay them cut side down on a hot grill for about 3-4 minutes. Flip them over and cook for 1-2 minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice cream:
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Reader Request, part 2: What’s in your cabinet?

I’m following up my super exciting post on my fridge with what’s in my cabinet? I always have a random assortment of stuff in my cabinets that I keep in these glass jars, which helps me see when I’m running low on stuff, and it also makes cooking easier when you don’t have to fumble with annoying packaging. Most of the stuff in these jars changes often based on super random impulse buys at Trader Joe’s.

My fave dry goods (lowest cost in green):

Oats: I’m a sucker for oats, but Kath wrote the book on oatmeal, so I’m not even going to go there on this blog. Check out her site for a zillion ideas! I usually buy rolled oats (not instant – trust me, its worth the extra 3 mins!) from Costco or the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

  • Trader Joe’s: $.13 per oz
  • Whole Foods (bulk bin): $.08 per oz
  • Costco: $.04 per oz

Quinoa: I always have this on hand to use in place of rice, which I dislike. (Anyone else think eating rice tastes like you have mouse droppings in your mouth? No? Huh). I usually buy my quinoa at Costco, but its in the bulk bins at Whole Foods as well if you don’t want to make a Costco-sized commitment. When I encounter a recipe that calls for rice or couscous, I usually use quinoa because I prefer the taste, and it cooks a bit quicker than brown rice.

  • Trader Joe’s: $3.99 per lb (box)
  • Whole Foods (bulk bin): $2.99 per lb
  • Costco: $2.25 per lb (comes in a 4 lb bag)

Black Beans: I usually buy cans of black beans at Costco and keep them on hand for quick dinners. Its so easy to throw together tacos or toss some black beans on a salad for a quick week night meal. Note: the cheapest option is definitely to buy dry beans and cook them, but for some reason I haven’t tried this yet! I’ll be sure to blog about it when I do.

  • Trader Joe’s: $1.19 can (organic), $.89 can (non-organic)
  • Whole Foods: $.99 can (organic)
  • Costco: $.62 can (organic)

Nuts & seeds: I always keep a few varieties of nuts on hand. Right now I have in my pantry: sliced almonds, walnut pieces, pecans, and pumpkin seeds (pepitas). As long as I have one of these, its easy to substitute into any baking recipe. And I love topping a salad with seeds for some crunch.  Since I’ve given up sugar for Lent, its handy to have some seeds and nuts around to cure my sweet tooth with a sad excuse for trail mix of: pumpkin seeds, raisins, and cacao nibs.

Protein powder: I’m pretty picky about my protein powders since a lot of them contain metals (gross!). I like Sun Warrior Vanilla and Vega Vanilla Chai since these are vegan and have great nutritional content. The Vanilla Hemp Protein powder at Trader Joe’s is good in a pinch (some people think this tastes too “woody” but I don’t really notice it)! I usually buy Sun Warrior and Vega online when they are having a deal (I get their emails). They seem expensive, but I use about a tablespoon at a time so they last forever.

Chia seeds: Loove these. They have all the benefits of flax seeds (read: Omega-3s) but don’t need to be ground up (did you know that the body can’t utilize the omegas in flax seeds unless they are ground?). I put these in my morning smoothie, in oatmeal, or use them to substitute for an egg in baked goods. I’m sure you can get a great deal on these online, but I have found Navita’s Naturals brand 1 pound bags for $9.99 at Whole Foods, so I usually  just pick them up there. Since I only use about a tablespoon at a time, one bag lasts a long time.

So here’s whats in my easy-access grain shelf currently:

And the pantry:

Top shelf:

  • Misc oils, baking powder, whole flax seeds*, cacao nibs
  • Sliced almonds, whole raw almonds, unsweetened coconut

Middle shelf:

Bottom shelf:

  • Powdered sugar, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar

These pictures make our kitchen look far more organized than it actually is, so don’t be fooled. Let’s call a spade a spade: I’m a lot of things, but organized just ain’t of them.

In other whats-in-my-cabinet/fridge news, here’s what happens if you let me loose in Stanley’s with $30:

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*Note: flax seeds are a great way to get fiber and Omega-3s into your diet. But they are a little complicated: your body can’t digest them whole (probably because our teefs aren’t good at grinding seeds!), but they oxidize quickly when ground, and there is little nutritional value once they are oxidized. For this reason, I buy them whole and grind them in our coffee grinder before using. If this is too much work for you, buy the ground flaxseed meal (they have this at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods) and store it in your fridge or freezer in an airtight container after you open it.

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Swiss chard, mushroom, asparagus and quinoa dinner

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I had some swiss chard in the fridge that was starting to get a little wilted. Did you know that if your greens are getting wilty you can trim the stems and throw them in a glass of water and they’ll perk right up? I swear these were wilted before I left for work, and after a few hours in water they were good as new!
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Point being, it was time do something with these suckers. So I consulted my new favorite cookbook, Power Foods. Seriously, if you need a new cookbook, this thing is amazeballs. Really simple recipes with no weird ingredients.

Swiss chard, mushroom, asparagus and quinoa dinner, adapted from Power Foods

2 c water
1 c quinoa
2 T olive oil
2 bunches swiss chard, washed and a little bit wet
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bunch asparagus (I had very thin asparagus, you might add the asparagus earlier if yours is thick)
16 oz cremini mushrooms
2 t fresh thyme
sea salt
pepper
2 oz grated parmesan (optional topping)

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Add quinoa to a small saucepan and cover with water, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover until quinoa is cooked and all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut your swiss chard into about 1/2 inch strips (including the stems), and slice mushrooms thinly.

Add 1 T olive oil to a large saucepan and cook chard until it becomes wilted and tender. I actually had so much swiss chard at first that I had to cook mine in two batches since I didn’t have a pot big enough! It takes about 6-8 minutes for the chard to wilt, so you have time to do two batches while the mushrooms are cooking. Season chard with salt and pepper and set aside.

Add remaining 1 T olive oil to a skillet, then add garlic. Stir for 2 minutes until garlic is golden. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until they are almost cooked through, then add asparagus. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once asparagus and mushrooms are cooked through, season with salt and pepper. Add quinoa and thyme, stirring for about a minute.

To serve: divide chard among plates and top with quinoa/asparagus/mushroom mixture. Sprinkle parmesan on top and enjoy!

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Now, wanna guess what I had for dessert?

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(topped with unsweetened coconut flakes and banana – almost enough to curb my sweet tooth!)

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