Sweet Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa

We woke up to more rain and drizzle today. It looks like this outside, again.

Not very inspiring running weather. But then again, I think after 3 straight days of running and Monday’s race, I’m due back in the yoga studio pronto.

As Eli and I trudged through said rain on our walk I started thinking about breakfast. For the most part I keep breakfast fairly simple, I’m usually an oats girl.

But I was feeling more motivated than usual so I created this spin on the classic apple cinnamon oatmeal by using quinoa. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to make sweet quinoa before but I’m so glad I did. It added a crunch that worked really well with the apples and if you have some extra quinoa hanging around this whole recipe takes under 5 minutes.

3/4 cup cooked quinoa

1 apple, I used a fuji but any variety works

1 tablespoon vegan butter, or regular butter if you prefer

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 tablespoon sugar, or agave nectar or maple syrup

handful or raisins or nuts, optional


Cook quinoa using this technique.

While quinoa cooks, peel and core apple then cut into thin slices.

Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted add apples. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, cinnamon and ginger to apples. Cook for another minute or until apples are soft.

Scoop quinoa into a bowl and add remaining teaspoon of sugar, then pile on apple mixture.

Top with raisins and nuts if using.


Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake Bars

As I sit here and type this I’m not actually sure by the time I get to the end of this post that there will actually be a recipe to share with you.

I set out to make carrot cake breakfast bars. I was attempting to replicate the carrot cake flavor from Clif Bar. One of my favorite flavors. But as the bars cool they are looking rather soft so I may end up with more of a crumble than a bar. Regardless, the ‘dough’ tasted delicious so all is not lost.

Before I get into the recipe I wanted to recap yesterday’s race. My friend Amanda and I ran the Tuft’s Health Plan Women’s 10k yesterday. It was a perfect day for a race. I heard there were over 8,000 participants and I believe it. Most of the time races open up early, but we were jam-packed until at least mile 3.

I started the race feeling sort of sluggish. Too many beers at the Pats game on Sunday 🙂 But there’s something about racing that gets my adrenaline pumping. After mile 2, I was feeling pretty good. The race started at the Commons, sorry there aren’t pictures, I intended to take some but got distracted. We then looped around Cambridge, came through Back Bay and back into the Commons. I finished the race in 51.18 (8:16 pace). I actually don’t know if I’ve ever run a 10k before, but if I have I don’t remember my time so we’ll make this my new PR!

Here’s a pic from the finish line.

Okay, the bars have cooled. They’re still not hard but there more bar like then I thought they’d be so I’ll give you the recipe, with some pointers on how to make them better if you recreate.

Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake Bars

1 cup shredded carrots, about 2 big carrots

1/2 cup cashews

1/4 cup almonds

10  Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled (optional)

pinch salt

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, add nuts and dates. Pulse until fairly fine, don’t make too smooth though.

Add shredded carrots, coconut, cinnamon, powdered and fresh ginger, salt and lemon zest to the mixture.  Pulse until everything is incorporated.

Next add maple syrup and vanilla. Run processor until dough creates a ball.

Spread mixture evenly into a greased bread pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

You might be able to make these raw if you use a dehydrator but I do worry that they might not gel.

Two things I’d suggest you do differently than me.

First, I added the raisins in with everything else but they got sort of lost once they were chopped so fine. I would fold the raisins into the batter if you like their whole texture like I do.

Second, I think this needs a binder. Hence the reason my bars are on the wet side. I’d suggest a half cup of gluten-free oats or maybe even uncooked quinoa could be added. I’ll try both soon and revise this recipe accordingly.

I would also add more fresh ginger but then again I’m a ginger lover.

If you try these with the binder let me know how they turn out.

I will say they taste pretty darn good as is and great for snacking on while putting off a recovery run.


Weekend Update

I know today wasn’t a holiday for many people but they take Columbus pretty seriously in New England so we had a nice 3 day weekend here in these parts.

The weather was a sort of mixed bag. It was 80 and beautiful on Saturday and by Sunday it was 60 and rainy. We made the most of it regardless.

Friday night looked a lot like this.

Wii bowling!

And Michael looking shocked that I’d won 2 in a row. In his defense I’m not usually this lucky.

Saturday we explored Boston by foot. We had brunch in the South End at a place called El Centro. The service was pretty sub par but the food more than made up for it. I had a veggie quesadilla and Michael had the huevos. We shared a side of guac.

After lunch we walked.

North End

Old men playing bocce.

Cute street in Beacon Hill.

Some PDA.

Beautiful fall colors.

On Sunday we went to the Patriots Broncos game! I’ve been a Patriots fan since even before moving to Boston (don’t ask) and Michael is from Colorado so this game was extra special for us. We scored some really great seats. I’m pretty sure it’s the closest to Brady I’m ever going to get 🙂


Patriots win! Too bad Manning.

Tomorrow a recipe and a recap of today’s race.

Happy Monday.


Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Happy Friday all.  I was watching the news this morning and noticed that the meteorologist puts a Pats logo on the Sundays when the Patriots play at home on the 7-day forecast. In California they limit the use of ‘weather icons’ to things like St. Patrick’s Day and 4th of July.  I guess I have some things to learn about Patriots mania.  Amazing.

Speaking of amazing check out the kale I got at the farmers market this morning.  Along with other goods.

I also spent some time at the Boston Public Library getting my new library card.

For those of you with kindles or ipads, you must, must get a library card and check it out.  You can download e-books for free in seconds.  I’ve never read so much in my life.  San Francisco and Boston both have the service so I imagine it’s fairly common.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re not here to listen to me ramble about weather and library cards. (Or maybe you are, hi mom!).

So as promised, a recipe.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I took yesterday’s quinoa and made a delicious salad today.  Which is another beautiful thing about quinoa, it stays for a few days in the fridge.  Just make sure to put it in a covered dish so it doesn’t dry out, and fluff with a fork when you’re ready to use it again.  When Michael and I were both working full-time I would make a big batch on Sundays and we’d keep it the fridge for easy lunches or dinners throughout the week.

For the salad:

3 cups of perfect quinoa

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 ear of corn, you can also substitute a cup of frozen corn if it isn’t in season

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

Optional: hot sauce, avocado, cilantro and green onions (we’re divided on cilantro in this house so I usually add it at the end just to mine)

For the dressing:

Juice of one lime

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon of cumin

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar would also work but add a few pinches of sugar if you substitute

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon water

Add quinoa and drained black beans to a big bowl.

Boil corn if using fresh.  Once cool, cut kernels from the cob and add to bowl.

Halve cherry tomatoes.  Add hot sauce, avocado, cilantro and onions if using.

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Add dressing to quinoa mixture.  Toss.

You can serve right away but the salad will also be good once the dressing has had a chance to merry with the quinoa so leftovers may be even tastier.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

I love veggie burgers, they are a staple when I go out to eat.  But I never eat them at home. Most pre-made, frozen burgers contain gluten and for some reason I’ve never gotten around to making one of my own, until last night.

I searched a ton of recipes online before realizing that they all follow the same basic formula. Veggies, grain, binder.  So why not create one from what I had on hand instead of going out to buy new ingredients?  After all, there were football games to watch and fantasy matches to win (or lose)!

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 ribs of celery, chopped

1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 carrot, grated

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup rolled oats (mine were certified gluten-free)

1/2 cup of cashews

1/2 tablespoon cumin

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

juice of half a lime

salt to taste

The easiest way to make these is to use a food processor.  Ours was still packed away somewhere so I improvised by using the chopping attachment on my immersion blender.

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

Chop and grate veggies.

Saute chopped bell pepper and celery in olive oil over medium heat for 6-7 minutes until soft but still crunchy.  Add minced garlic for the last minute.

While veggies are cooking, put oats and half the can of beans in the food processor.  Grind for 30 second to a minute, you want some texture to remain.  Place mixture in a big bowl.  Add second half of beans, unground, to bowl with oats/beans.

Add half the sautéed veggie mixture to processor for 30 second.  Add all veggies and grated carrot to the oat/bean mixture.

Place cashews in the food processor with a tablespoon of water.  Process until it starts to becomes paste-like but still grainy, a minute or so will do.  Add to bowl with oats/beans/veggies.

Add cumin, chili powder, salt and lime juice.

Mix.  I used a potato masher which helped smooth out the mixture a bit.  Avoid over mashing, you want some texture.

Shape into patties.  And place on non stick cookie sheet.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  They should be firm on the outside but still soft in the middle.  My patties were fairly large, so I only got 5 out of this recipe but I’m sure you could get 6 if you pared back a bit.

Michael had his on a gluten-free bun.

I had mine plain with bbq sauce and honey mustard and a side salad with miso dressing.

The beauty of veggie burgers is you can substitute for whatever you have on hand.  This recipe would work well with any kind of bean, nut or veggie mixture.  Just get creative.


Side note: I found my digital camera today, so hopefully the quality of my photos will improve. Thanks for your patience while my food continues to look like the photos you see on bad Chinese take out menus.

Moving, Moving, Moving

Thursday was moving day.  As were Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  How can two people, one dog and a cat have so much stuff?  Granted our place in SF was bigger than our apartment in Boston but still.

We spent most of the weekend just trying to maneuver around the boxes.  This is the guest bedroom, cozy and inviting right?  West coast friends, it’s waiting for you!

Master bedroom.  Love the windows and the light in this room.

Living room.

The space is a bit odd.  Michael and I spent all of Saturday moving couches and rugs trying to configure the furniture.  I think we found a solution but had to get rid of a ton of stuff to make it work.  Thank goodness for Craigslist and living in a town full of needy college students.

Here’s a work in progress.

Not very impressive for a weekend’s worth of work.  Better pictures to come tomorrow, hopefully.

In the meantime, these two were less than impressed with all the chaos in their little worlds.  Guy spent most of the weekend under the bed or in the back of the closet.

And Eli took his rightful place on the bed as soon as it was made.

Time for more organizing and navigating the T for the first time.  Apparently it should only take me 20 minutes to get to the yoga studio, we’ll see, I’m giving myself an hour.

And lastly, my Papa would have been 59 today.  Happiest of birthdays to the greatest dad who ever was.  Tonight, I celebrate his life by spending some extra time in the kitchen.