Peanut Butter and Jelly Quinoa

Looks like winter is planning to stick around a bit longer. Everyone keeps saying March is the worst month in New England. It sounds like it should be a spring month and we’re all so ready, but Mother Nature keeps us waiting.

Oh well, at least there are cute pictures of puppy paw prints in the snow…

paw prints in the snow

and lattes…

coffee

and peanut butter and jelly quinoa…

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Yesterday’s attempt at a quinoa casserole turned out to be a semi-flop. The flavors were good but overall it was way too dry. I ended up eating it with salsa on top but it still didn’t do it for me. I have some ideas on how to fix it and will keep tweaking until it’s sharable.

quinoa casserole

I also made a basil, pear, pineapple smoothie yesterday. I’d never made a smoothie with basil but I had some wilting in the fridge (like always) and thought I’d try. I don’t know what to make of it. At first sip it was not good, then I had another, the pear was making it gritty, still not good. Then I had another sip and another until the whole thing was gone. Hmm, couldn’t have been that bad. 🙂 It definitely wasn’t ready to share, but with the right fruit pairing I’m sure it can be a refreshing drink.

Okay, where was I? Ah, peanut butter and jelly quinoa, yes.

I love pb&j’s. I ate them almost everyday when I was growing up, except on the days I’d switch it up to have a delectable ketchup sandwich. Yup, I just said ketchup sandwich! I bet my mom is wondering why she ever let us make our own lunches.

This quinoa has the same flavorings as a traditional pb&j but is made with healthy quinoa instead of white or wheat bread, plus, no crusts to cut off! Also, if your quinoa is already cooked it takes less than 3 minutes to put together. Perfect for a quick breakfast or kid’s lunch.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Quinoa (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk of choice, I’ve been loving rice milk instead of almond lately

1 tablespoon of your favorite jam

————

Cook quinoa according to these directions.

While quinoa is cooking mix peanut butter, milk and salt together. If the mixture is to thick add a little bit more milk.

peanut butter and milk

Place quinoa in a bowl.

quinoa

Top with peanut butter mixture.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

Then some jelly.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

Mix. Eat. Gobble the whole thing up like a kid.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

Enjoy and Exhale!

Quinoa Vegetable Spring Rolls

I made these on Friday after coming back from a super hot and sweaty yoga class. I was in the mood for something light but still filling and frankly I was looking for an excuse to eat a bunch of dipping sauces. These spring rolls were just the thing.

quinoa vegetable spring rolls

I didn’t have any rice noodles so I substituted red quinoa; it added some heft and substance to these rolls. I love how versatile this recipe is. Swap in some tempeh, tofu, maybe even some lentils instead of the quinoa. If you try lentils let me know how it goes, I worry they might not hold together well. You can also mix and match the veggies, I wish I’d have had some bean sprouts, next time.

Quinoa Vegetable Spring Rolls (vegan, gluten-free)

5 brown rice paper wrappers

water for wetting the wrappers

1 cup cooked quinoa, any variety

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1 small carrot, cut into match sticks

cilantro

sriracha

spicy mustard

————

Cut your veggies in long match sticks. Still working on my knife skills. 🙂

spring roll vegetables

Grab your rice paper wrappers. I used brown rice wrappers. They were a little old and kept breaking on me. Buy a fresh package if you’re looking to wow with the presentation.

brown rice spring roll wrappers

Put some water on a large plate, place one wrapper on the plate at a time. If you have plates without the center rim I would use those. If not, make sure to move the wrappers around so the water evenly coats the wrapper.

place water on a plate

The wrappers should be soft but not falling apart. Let excess water drip off before placing on a second plate. Pile with quinoa, vegetables, cilantro and sauces.

veggie spring roll prep veggie spring roll prep

To roll, turn two sides in on the topping. Then roll the far side over the two sides you just turned in until the seams are covered. I’m sorry there aren’t step by step pictures. I’ll try to take some next time I make these.

veggie spring roll prep quinoa vegetable spring rolls quinoa vegetable spring rolls

Eat with additional mustard and sriracha if you’re like me and love sauces. These would also be tasty with my cilantro stem dressing.

quinoa vegetable spring rolls

Enjoy and Exhale!

Seeing Red

All anyone can talk about in these parts is the big storm headed our way tomorrow. It could bring up to 24″ of snow and everyone is acting like it’s the first time New England has ever seen snow. I’ve never actually experienced a blizzard myself so I don’t totally understand what the fuss is about but I’m sort of excited to see. Famous last words I’m sure.

Just in case we’re covered in white all weekend, let’s talk red today.

This recipe wasn’t intended as a Valentine’s Day recipe, I’m not really one to celebrate the holiday anyway, but as luck would have it I made this dish in February and I think it would make a great addition to a love themed dinner. It has quinoa in it after all. What’s not to love?

This was an impulse purchase. I don’t usually buy red quinoa, mostly because white quinoa is always cheaper, but I was standing in a ridiculously long Trader Joe’s line last Sunday that wrapped around the aisles and grabbed it on a whim.

When I got home I noticed an unused pomegranate and thought the two together might make a good combo. Turns out they not only look pretty together but taste wonderful.

red quinoa pomegranate salad

Red Quinoa Pomegranate Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

For the salad:

1 cup red quinoa

2 cups water

pinch of salt

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp lemon zest

For the dressing:

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1.5 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/8 cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

————

Rinse quinoa then place in a pot with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium low heat for 20 minutes or until water has evaporated. Stir to fluff.

Place cooked quinoa in a big bowl with black beans and pomegranate seeds.

Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

Toss dressing with quinoa, beans and seeds.

Top with lemon zest.

red quinoa pomegranate saladred quinoa pomegranate black bean salad

I ended up eating this salad for breakfast after shooting the photos. 🙂 Yum!

As a total aside, I went to my first power class in many months at Baptiste Yoga yesterday. It was so hot in the room I felt months of cold melt from my body. It reminded me how much I love hot yoga and that as a naturally cold-blooded person it’s important that I feel hot from time to time. I can’t believe I waited so long to go. I have an unlimited month’s worth of classes. If you can’t find me in all the snow I’ll be sweating it out in the studio.

Lastly, teaching 12:15pm at Sangha, 4:30pm at All One and 7pm back at Sangha today. If you’re in Boston come do some yoga!

Enjoy and Exhale!

Works in Progress

I’ve made three recipes over the last few days. They are all good. Tasty. Consumed. But none of them made my taste buds do handstands and arm balances at first bite. My official taste tester was also less than impressed with one of the three recipes, he didn’t taste the other two. I believe his exact words were ‘it’s a little bland.’ I’m not going to share a little bland with you all.

But, because I still wanted to post something and say hello today I’ll share the works in progress. Not so secretly, I also wanted to show off my new camera which makes my bad photo skills a little more palatable. However I’m still hoping to find a Photography 101 class I can take over the next few months. I don’t think good equipment equates to stunning photos without some knowledge behind them.

On to the recipes or lack there of, I mentioned this beet quinoa salad yesterday. I liked the earthy mixture of the beets with the quinoa and I love the addition of slivered almonds. I also made a cashew garlic cream to go on top which was exceptional on it own. The salad just didn’t sing when everything was mixed together. It has potential and I have another beet waiting in the wings so I’ll work on it. The color is pretty fabulous though right?

beet quinoa salad

Next up, another calcium rich smoothie. Yep I’m making smoothies when it’s 10 degrees outside, God knows why. This smoothie was a mix of banana, apple, pineapple, almond milk and chia seeds. It was perfectly fine. I drank the whole thing this but it wasn’t amazing. I probably wouldn’t have shared it at all if not for the fact that the picture is nice. I’m going to try coconut milk instead of almond milk and may also add some sunflower seed or peanut butter. I’ll report back when I’ve got a winner.

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Lastly, I tried to make gluten-free banana bread this morning. I wasn’t in the mood for dates so following my recipe for Banana Bread Muffins was out. The recipe I concocted seemed promising as I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately. When I combine everything though it resembled something oddly familiar. This! It was by far the tastiest of the three recipes and I ate two slices for breakfast but this is not banana bread. It’s more of an oat loaf. It was lacking the airiness of bread with all its heaviness. I think I’ll play around with the flour mixture, maybe try my hand at some gluten-free baking flour that’s been sitting in my pantry since the pancake debacle of 2012.

Banana oat loaf

As you see, a lot of WIPs but not a lot of results. I suppose that’s all part of the process though. You have to cook a few duds or semi-duds to get to the really good stuff.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. It’s still supposed to be bitterly cold here again tonight. But never free, we have a hot date planned with our fireplace and a bottle of wine.

I’m also teaching a bunch this weekend. My usual classes tomorrow at 9 and 10:30 and then subbing Sunday at 9 at Crossfit and teaching a special community class at Athleta on Newbury at 10. The community class is free if you’re not busy.

Happy Friday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Christmas Colored Quinoa

It’s been a lot of sweets around here lately and although I love me some sugar, it’s time for something savory.

tomato basil quinoa

This quinoa salad seems a little summery for late December but let’s use red and green to our advantage and say this is a Christmas themed quinoa salad shall we? Even if it’s really just a product of the leftovers from my paninis earlier this week.

This basil has been taunting me, slowly turning brown with each passing day, and yet I didn’t know what to do with it. And these grape tomatoes, although completely out of season, taste surprisingly sweet and shouldn’t be wasted. So I decided to keep with the panini theme in quinoa form. I mixed the grape tomatoes and basil with sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and a big squeeze of lemon for a dish that makes it feel like August in December.

Just a little something healthy in between all the Christmas cookies.

Tomato, Basil Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

2 cups dry quinoa

4 cups water

pinch of salt

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/4 cup

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt to taste

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/4 cup basil, cut into ribbons

————

Cook quinoa according to these directions.

While quinoa is cooking, heat the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan on medium low. Reduce to about half, approximately 7-8 minutes. The vinegar should still be liquid-y, don’t let it get too thick.

Chop tomatoes into bite size pieces and chiffonade the basil (i.e. French for cut into little ribbons).  grape tomatoes

sundried tomatoes and basil

Place quinoa in a bowl with the tomatoes and basil. Mix in balsamic reduction, olive oil, lemon and salt.

quinoa salad

I mixed the basil in when I took these photos but you can also just top with basil at the very end if you prefer.

tomato basil quinoa

I also only used 1 cup dry quinoa in my recipe and found it a little heavy on the vinegar. Hence the quinoa in my photos will seem a bit darker than yours will, use 2 cups quinoa as the recipe states and I think it will be just right.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

A couple of months ago I was watching the Today show and they were making Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies. I liked the sound of them but hadn’t gotten around to making them until this morning. Cookie baking at 8am, ’tis the season.

I made a few changes to the recipe, namely cutting it in half. Now that only I can eat the gluten-free oats I knew I’d never be able to eat 24 cookies on my own. Turns out I also forgot the coconut so this yielded 8 cookies instead of 12 anyway. Worked out perfectly. Speaking of the coconut, I think these would have been a lot better with it so I’ve included it in my recipe below even though I didn’t personally make them that way.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies (vegetarian, gluten-free)

2 frozen bananas, thawed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons peanut butter

pinch of salt

1/4 cup white sugar, I thought about subbing maple syrup but didn’t this time. If you try it, let me know how it turns out

1/2 cup gluten-free oats

1/2 cup cooked quinoa (here’s how I make mine)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup chocolate chips

————

Preheat oven to 375.

Thaw frozen bananas or use very ripe ones. Mash with a fork in a big bowl. Add vanilla, peanut butter, salt and sugar. Mix.

Quinoa cookie wet ingredients

Add oats, cooked quinoa and shredded coconut. Mix again.

Stir in chocolate chips.

chocolate chip quinoa cookie dough

Grease a cookie sheet and drop cookies on tray (don’t use parchment paper like I did, the cookies stick).

chocolate chip quinoa cookies

Cook for 25 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

This recipe couldn’t be simpler and I love that it calls for unused quinoa which I usually have on hand.

These would be great with raisins instead of chocolate chips, sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter, or ginger and cinnamon for a holiday themed cookie. I’m thinking of this as the basic recipe for a variety of different cookies.

With so many rich, buttery treats this time of year, it’s nice to have something on the lighter side.

On a totally unrelated note, I had to share some pictures of my run yesterday evening. I caught so many beautiful shots of the sun setting, unbelievably pretty.

Sunset over BostonSunset over BostonSunset over Allston

Enjoy!

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

————

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.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I alluded to this recipe when recapping my trip to NYC. These quinoa stuffed peppers are one of my very favorite meals and the first thing I recommend to people looking for vegetarian recipes that will satisfy meat eaters. It’s so filling you won’t think twice about the missing meat, perfect for a Meatless Monday dinner.

Although this recipe is a little time-consuming, it’s not hard. It’s a one pot meal and unbelievable delicious. However, I can’t take credit as the creator, the recipe comes from here. If you’re looking for better pictures you should also visit Christie’s site, mine were taken late last night and I am still trying to figure out how to take photos that don’t look so yellow in the evening darkness.

The thing I love most about this recipe is its versatility. I stuffed peppers with the mixture last night but when my sister and I made it, we stuffed kabocha squash and it was equally as amazing. I’ve also used this as filling for tacos in corn tortillas or eaten it on its own simply topped with salsa and avocado. The flavors only get better overnight so it’s great for lunch the next day as well.

Here is the recipe and the slight changes I made:

1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

2 ribs of celery, chopped

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 10-ounce box of cooked spinach, thawed in a bowl, reserve the liquid from the thawed spinach, you’ll use it later

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, I don’t drain the can as Christie does, I just add less water at the end, no need to toss all that extra flavor

2 cups cannellini beans, I used dried but canned will work here as well

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 ears fresh corn, I boiled the corn for a few minutes before removing the kernels and then reserved 1/2 cup of the liquid for use at the end

1 grated carrot

1 grated zucchini

salt to taste

2 bell peppers, halved

———–

Find your biggest pot, you’ll need it. Chop onion and celery. Saute in olive oil for 5 minutes until soft.

Add chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic, saute for another 2 minutes.

Add spinach, although frozen kale or collard greens would be really nice here as well.

Add tomatoes, beans, quinoa, corn, carrot, zucchini.

Then include 1 cup of reserved liquid from the spinach and the corn.

Simmer on the stove for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Halve the bell peppers.

Once the liquid has evaporated fill the bell peppers with the quinoa mixture. Cover with tin foil and cook for 30 minutes or until the peppers are soft but still have a slight crunch.

I added cheese to Michael’s peppers at the very end and cooked for a few minutes uncovered until golden brown.

The original recipe will fill two bell peppers and two zucchini. But, as I mentioned above, we use our extra filling in a bunch of different ways, like for lunch, now 🙂

If you have spare time, make these quinoa stuffed peppers this weekend, you won’t regret it.

Enjoy!

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.

Enjoy!

Chickpea, Curry, Coconut, Quinoa Soup

You must try this soup.  Like today, or this weekend, or as soon as the temperature gets to 70, okay, maybe 65.

Yesterday I was browsing the epicurious website and stumbled on a soup that I’d bookmarked long ago. I’m on a mission to cook all the recipes I bookmark and rip out of cooking magazines so I decided to give this one a try. I had a lot of odds and ends left over from the chili I made earlier this week so many of the ingredients will seem familiar. I suggest making both in the same week, it makes grocery shopping much easier.

The recipe is adapted from here.

I took some liberties that I will outline below.

Chickpea, Curry, Coconut, Quinoa Soup:

(try saying that 5 times fast)

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced

1 bell pepper, chopped

8 cremini mushrooms

1 tablespoon garlic

1.5 cups cooked chickpeas

2 cups vegetable stock

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 can light coconut milk

1-2 teaspoon salt, add until it suits your taste (everyone likes different

2 cups cooked quinoa

————-

In a stockpot, saute onion and carrots in peanut oil until softened. I used peanut oil instead of canola thinking a hint of peanut might go well with these flavors. I was right, if you’ve got peanut oil definitely use it.

Add jalapeno and bell pepper to onion mixture, cook until soft.

Next include mushrooms and garlic, saute for a minute or until garlic is golden brown.

Add chickpeas, veggie stock and tomatoes to pot.  I just started using bouillon cubes instead of buying vegetable stock and I must say it’s a lot easier.

I used these guys.

They are vegan and after much research I determined they are also gluten-free. In case you’re wondering, I wasn’t sure about the yeast extract. Turns out it’s gluten-free most the time, unless it says it’s made specifically out of malt barley. Moral of the story, check your labels!

Anyway, back to the recipe, add tomato paste, curry powder and salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or so.

In the meantime, make your quinoa.

Add coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Once soup is done, ladle into a bowl and top with 1/2 cup of quinoa. The quinoa added something really special to this dish. The texture reminded me a little of tomato and rice Campbell soup but with about 10 times less salt and 100 times more flavor.

I mean it, try this recipe. We ate the entire batch last night. Hence the somewhat dark photos. I was planning to take some pictures in the morning light but someone had the last of the soup too fast…not naming names though.

Makes 4 servings.

One side note, if you’re making this for kids, I would omit the jalapeno. It had a kick for sure.

Looking forward to the long weekend. I’m assisting my first yoga class in Boston tomorrow morning and then we’re going to try to make a day trip out of town, location TBD. If you’re in the Boston area let me know if there are some must see spot this time of year. Sunday we’re hoping to find tickets to the Patriots Broncos game (big rivalry in this house) and Monday is my race.

Have a wonderful weekend.