Chicago, Family and Breakfast Pumpkin Quinoa

Hi Blogging Friends,

I’m back. It feels like a very long time since I last posted even though it has only been a few days. I got back from Chicago last night after hanging out with my family. We spent some to with my Apu who just moved into nursing home, made sure my Anyu was settled at home and celebrated my mom’s birthday. It was a busy weekend of visits and errands but we managed to squeeze in a little fun and food.

Just a few highlights:

Happy Birthday chocolates for my mom!

A run, coffee and the Mt. Prospect farmers market with my sister. We laughed after we took this picture because no matter where we go we end up doing the same thing. Running, walking, coffee and farmers markets. Morning workouts with my sister are one of my favorite things ever. It’s always so fun to laugh and talk and get a sweat on at the same time. Plus the soy latte reward at the end of course.

We ran lots of errands as well. Nothing at Costco is small. I couldn’t resist this bag of Popchips but it’s about as big as my upper body.

I also got a cooking lesson from my Anyu. She doesn’t even use a cutting board; she just chops the onion into perfectly thin slices right into the pot! Much to learn still.

Visiting with my grandparents and my Aunt Mary.

And, by far, my favorite picture from the weekend. US Weekly knows no bounds. It’s trash captivates women of all ages, ha.

This morning I woke up feeling sort of blah. I’m not sure if it was the king size bag of Popchips or the travel but there was only one remedy…get moving. Eli and I went out for an early morning run along the river.

The sun coming up over the skyline. So pretty.

Then something healthy for breakfast.

First and foremost I apologize for the photos. I was really hungry after my run so I didn’t try to make the photos pretty, I just snapped as quickly as possible and ate. I suppose that’s the great thing about these breakfast quinoa recipes, they are so fast, especially if your quinoa is pre-made although mine wasn’t and it was still ready in less than 20 mins.

Breakfast Pumpkin Quinoa

3/4 cup of cooked quinoa

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon cinnamon

dash of allspice

dash of powdered ginger

1-2 tablespoon sugar, to taste

handful of cashews

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Cook quinoa according to package directions or use my perfect quinoa recipe.

In the meantime, mix pumpkin puree and spices together.

Add quinoa to pumpkin puree. Add in cashews and sugar. Mix.

One note about the sugar: many people are very against white sugar. Feel free to use agave or maple syrup in its place. I’m of the camp that moderation is key to all ingredients so I don’t shy away from using a few tablespoons in my recipes but feel free to substitute whatever works best for you.

This picture obviously sucks of the quinoa but it gives a nice view of the trees changing outside our living room window.

Such a filling and tasty breakfast. Chases the blahs straight away.

Have a great Tuesday.

Pumpkin Acorn Squash Soup

If I’m not tweaking someone else’s recipe, I’m developing my own. Although recipe development seems really high-tech and makes me sound way cooler then I am. In truth, I’m not that high-tech or cool, the process is pretty simple and goes something like this:

1.) What do I feel like eating? Some days this is clearer than others. There are days when I sit around for a long time trying to decide what I feel like. Those are often the days you get smoothie recipes. 🙂

2.) What do we have in the house?

3.) Based on what we have, what looks interesting and inspiring on Tastespotting, Foodgawker, Epicurious or other food blogger’s sites?

Then I pull up a word doc and start writing out an ingredients list. Then I cook. If the recipe turns out worth sharing I then write the directions out for you all, adjusting the ingredients to match how I made something. If the recipe sort of sucks, you get pictures of my dog!

Today the recipe did not suck, in fact, it was down right tasty. And I’m sorry that you’re getting another pumpkin recipe but you can omit it if you’re all pumpkin’d out. I just happen to have 1/2 a can leftover from the smoothie yesterday. I also used the other 1/2 of the jalapeno from Monday’s juice as I try to use up what’s left in the fridge before Michael leaves for London for work and I head to Chicago for my mom’s birthday weekend.

Pumpkin Acorn Squash Soup

1 acorn squash, roasted, fleshed scooped out

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 apple, cored and chopped

2 ribs celery, diced

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/2 jalapeño, diced

1/2 can pumpkin puree

4 cups veggie stock

1 tablespoon cumin

1 bay leaf

salt to taste

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Preheat oven to 375.

Carefully cut the acorn squash in half.

Scoop out the seeds, lay face down on a sprayed cookie sheet and prick with a fork a few times. Roast for 30 minutes or so until a fork can slide through easily.

In a stockpot over medium high heat, saute apple, celery, onion and jalapeno in olive oil until tender.

Add vegetable stock.

Scoop squash out of skin and add to the pot with the 1/2 can of pumpkin puree.

Add cumin and bay leaf. Let soup come to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.

Salt soup and remove bay leaf.

With an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. You can also do this in batches in a blender or a food processor.

This soup has the perfect balance of earthiness from the squash, sweetness from the apple and spiciness from the jalapeno. I serve with pepitas, sunflower seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy!

Little Bits of Random 2 and a Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

This post was just titled Pumpkin Banana Smoothie but then Eli ate half my breakfast and the picture below is so priceless that I decided to do a little bits of random post dedicated to the pets.

I’m sorry I ate your bagel but you left it unattended lady. If I give you this look you’ll forgive me in 3 seconds right?

Me and Eli getting ready for a run.

Kitties need chapstick too.

And puppies need kisses.

Apparently this is what morning looks like in our bed.

And how Guy looks when held against his will.

 

Best friends!

And for those of you who want the pumpkin banana smoothie recipe here it is, super simple.

Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup almond milk

3-4 ice cubes

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

dash of vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup

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Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy!