Ode to Quinoa

So sue me, I’m on a quinoa kick. I’ve made at least three dishes with a base of quinoa over the past few days. I can’t help it though. Quinoa is so versatile. You can make it into a warm and comforting dish, or a light and fresh chilled dish. Either way it will be delicious, nutritious and super quick and easy to make. I promise. This first recipe I like to call Pile of Goodness, hopefully you can deduce why…

Close-up loveliness. This dish was served warm, topped with a combination of fresh veggies and a pomegranate balsamic vinegar reduction.

The other dish I made is one of my favorites. It is a Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad.

Serve this one chilled for best results!

Quinoa is actually one of my favorite ways to incorporate protein into my diet. One of the biggest misconceptions about vegetarians is that they cannot consume adequate amounts of protein without eating meat. This is simply false. So as a vegetarian, perhaps I’ll do a post soon on my favorite meat-free protein sources. It really is much easier than you’d think!

Pile of Goodness

Serving size: one

1/4 cup dry quinoa

3/4 cup raw broccoli

1/2 tomato, diced

1/4 red pepper, sliced

1/2 medium zucchini, sliced

1 generous handful raw kale, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp pomegranate balsamic vinegar

To make this recipe, follow instructions on the box to prepare the quinoa. While quinoa is cooking, pour olive oil into a medium skillet and turn to medium heat. Once heated, add garlic, broccoli, tomato, red pepper, zucchini and kale. Stir veggies frequently until they are as tender or firm as you like them. Probably about 8-10 minutes. Plate pile of veggies over the quinoa, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and you are ready to eat!

Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad

Serving size: four

Recipe adapted from Iowagirleats.com 

1/2 cup dry quinoa

1/4 small red onion, minced

1 grapefruit, diced

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 avocado, diced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced

1/2 orange bell pepper, diced

1/3 fresh cilantro, chopped

1  1/2 limes (for their juice)

1 tbsp olive oil

Again, for this recipe follow the instructions on the box to prepare the quinoa. Then, simply slice, dice and chop the following 8 ingredients and place them in a bowl. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the mixture and pour in olive oil. Mix to coat. When quinoa is cooked, combine with the rest of the salad and place in refrigerator to chill before eating. 1 hour will be plenty of time to chill.

Defy the protein myth,

Sydney

Chai me

The Office anybody? Andy Bernard’s “beer me” line is forever in my head…Anyway, think “chai me” for all those who want a tasty summertime treat. Introducing the Chocolate-coconut-chai shake.

So delicious. Even the kitchen towel kitty thinks so.

Nature approves as well. It’s truly a one kind satiates all shake.

Chocolate-coconut-chai shake

3/4 cup chai latte

1/4 cup chocolate almond milk

1 large frozen banana

1 tbsp shredded coconut

1 tbsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend away. Makes one large shake.

 

Please do yourself a favor and make this shake. You won’t be sorry.

Get Vegucated,

Sydney

Another four letter word

Tofu. It’s gotten a bad rap forever, but I’m determined to do something about it. It’s not SPAM for Pete’s sake, give it a chance! Maybe the delectable, tofu-based recipe I’ll share with you will inspire you to take the leap of faith. A few nights ago I made Baked Tofu with Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice. It. was. divine.

The leftovers were even better! All the flavors melded together overnight and led to pure lusciousness.

And before you get scared away by the perfectly cubed shape of the tofu, know that you can cut, chop, and shape it however you like. Triangles, trapezoids, whatever trips your trigger. You can even crumble it like scrambled eggs if you please. I went for the classic cube, but you can break out of the box and dare to be different.

By itself, tofu is a blandly flavored, soy-based product. The magic happens when you flavor it. The tofu will miraculously absorb whatever flavors you introduce it to. The pineapple salsa and coconut rice recipes were adapted from one of my favorite blogs, Oh She Glows.

Pineapple Salsa

1/2 pineapple, diced

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 orange pepper, diced

3 tbsp fresh lime juice (1 large lime)

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, minced

A sprinkle of red pepper flakes

To make the pineapple salsa, simply combine all ingredients into a bowl and set aside.

Coconut Rice

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 cup dry brown rice

1 can light coconut milk

2 tsp packed brown sugar

1 tsp coconut oil

A sprinkle of nutmeg

To make the coconut rice, place the cup of brown rice and the entire can of coconut milk in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn down the heat to low and then cover and cook the rice for about 25 minutes. At this point the rice should have absorbed most of the coconut milk. Then, remove the pan form the heat and let it sit with the lid on for an additional 10 minutes. Once it has sat for 10 more minutes add in the shredded coconut, coconut oil, brown sugar and nutmeg. Stir and enjoy!

Baked Tofu

1 package extra firm tofu

3 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

1 tbsp white rice vinegar

2 tsp agave nectar

Start preparing the tofu by ridding of all its excess water. Simply place the block of tofu between two kitchen towels and place a weighted object (frying pan, unopened almond milk carton, etc.) on top of the towel. Let the towels absorb the extra liquid from the tofu for ten minutes, and then it will be ready to chop.

Again, I cut the tofu into one-inch cubes, but you can shape them however you like. While the tofu is drying, prepare the marinade by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl. Then, once you have your tofu cut and the marinade ready, combine both in a ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Letting the tofu soak overnight would be ideal, so let it marinate as long as possible.

After the tofu has marinated, place the cubes on a foil-covered baking sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Flip cubes over halfway in between, and tofu will be golden around the edges and slightly crispy when ready. Golden delicious people.

Eat tofu and be Happy,

Sydney

Lake livin’

On the fourth of July I had a red, white and blue breakfast! Blueberries, cherries and granola with milk. Patriotism never tasted so good.

That night I enjoyed the GB fireworks with some of the fam! Hey bro.

Soon after we headed up north to my grandparent’s cottage to visit my dad’s side of the family. Road trip! It is the most beautiful and relaxing environment. I can’t really describe it, so hopefully the pictures will do it justice!

It was so nice to be outside all day long. I’m taking advantage of my relaxing summer days before they are all gone! Here we are swimming in the lovely lake.

My sister, the butterfly whisperer.

On our last night we enjoyed an evening pontoon ride around the lake. My family and I on our last night there.

Take time to look at the stars!

Sydney

Smoothie Central

Happy Monday everyone! Hope your weekend was a good one. I had a fantastic weekend because 1. my brother came to town for a visit, 2. I went to the farmer’s market with my mom and stocked up on some amazing food, and 3. my sister and I went swimming and enjoyed the sweet summer sun.

Besides just having a relaxing weekend home with the family, I also was cooking away! I know, surprise, surprise. I ended up making lots of smoothies. Has it been 100 degrees for the past week for anyone else? If so, smoothies are a perfect and refreshing snack to combat the heat.

Chocolate chip Kahlua milkshake anyone?

How about a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal breakfast smoothie? Yes please.

I made these grilled goat cheese, swiss chard, blackberry jam and nectarine sandwiches for my sister and I. Glorious.

And for lunch on Saturday I made pizza. A sweet potato, date, swiss chard, and zucchini version, and a roasted bell pepper, kale, onion, and cilantro pizza with peanut sauce. I made this second pizza on garlic naan bread. Heaven!

Lastly, for breakfast this morning I had bran flake cereal with blueberries, vanilla almond milk and some peanut butter.

Our dog Sophie thought it looked pretty good too!

Peanut butter makes the world go round,

Sydney