Posts tagged ‘Quinoa’

Books I took(s)

Greetings from this side of Christmas 2010!  I hope that yours was an enjoyable one.  Mine involved a sick baby and a sick self, but was still an enjoyable time regardless.  One thing I have learned this Christmas is that now that I have a child, Christmas is no longer about me.  Huh, who woulda thunk?  I didn’t realize how relaxing Christmas was until now, when it no longer is.  But I am not complaining even though that’s exactly what it looks like!  I am just grateful to have a (relatively) healthy baby boy, family and friends with whom to spend it, and a giant pile of gifts all for me me me me me 🙂

I won’t bore you with tales of what I specifically received, but I will tell you about the books!  I LOVE to read, but having a wee babe 24/7 doesn’t leave much time for perusing the ol’ library looking for the next Curtis Sittenfeld or Alice Munro.  A couple of weeks ago, I actually checked out six books from the library and was excited to stimulate that part of my brain again, only to have read through a mere half of one of the books!  Piddly!  And I call myself an English Major?!  Unacceptable!

So I am very happy to have received five books this Christmas.  There is no due date so I can take my time with them.  At this rate, my goal is to complete them by the end of the year.  Way to aim low, Robyn!

Books I received for your voyeuristic information:

1.  Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi

I love biographies, especially autobiographies.  I was disappointed to see there is no glossy section in the middle full of pictures of her.  However, I guess a book about struggling with anorexia and self-image doesn’t really benefit from readers staring at pictures of her during this difficult time, eh?

2.  My Booky Wook by Russell Brand

I’ve always found Russell Brand funny, but it wasn’t until I saw him on Conan about a month ago that I realized how intelligent this guy really is.  What a wordsmith!  (Note: I have never referred to anyone as a wordsmith EVER, so this really counts for something).  Since his life is pretty much the polar opposite of mine, I was interested in reading this and mentioned it to Husband in passing.  Well, he remembered and got me this!  I am already 1/4 through.  Given my recent track record, this is noteworthy and deserving of many accolades.

3.  Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

This tome is about as highbrow as I get these days.  I had this in my library queue but after seeing him on Oprah and hearing some of the glowing reviews, I figured I should own this one.  Plus, since it is so large, there is no way I could finish it within the three weeks permitted by the library.  I am hoping that once I read this, I will be ready to read heavier works that I don’t just hear about on Conan or Oprah (where, in fact, I heard about all three of these books!  Oh my).

4.  Quinoa 365

Every recipe calls for quinoa!  I am really excited to try some of these out, especially since I have two Costco-sized bags of quinoa in my possession.  Many call for quinoa flour, which gets me a bit less excited (I imagine quinoa flour is $$$).  However, I have a $50 gift card to Bulk Barn as well, so perhaps all of my culinary aspirations can come true in 2011.  Let’s hope.

5.  Muffin Mania

As the title suggests, this one just has muffin recipes.  It was originally printed in the early 1980s by a local printer and looks like something assembled in your neighbor’s basement.  It was so popular, however, that this edition was reprinted in 2008 or thereabouts.  It has about 60 different muffin recipes, including a chocolate cheesecake recipe and a “muffin that tastes like a donut” recipe.  All of the recipes are very easy and call for basic ingredients, so I thought I could challenge myself to try every recipe in 2011, like a Julie and Julia project!  Then sanity returned as I figured that baking 60 different types of muffins would turn me off muffins forever.  I’ve already tried the pumpkin recipe with success!  I am itching to bake a muffin that tastes like a donut.  I am a self-proclaimed Fritter Fiend, after all.

So there you have it.  Two biographies, two cookbooks, and one work of fiction.  Hopefully these keep me occupied and out of trouble until 2012!

December 28, 2010 at 9:42 am 12 comments

Another Sunday

It has been a very relaxing, lazy sort of day in which I watched not one but TWO episodes of Jersey Shore.  I also showered at 3 pm, if that gives you any idea of how the day has been scheduled!

For breakfast, I had Breakfast Quinoa.  This time, it cooked up a lot faster and absorbed most of the milk.  I added the blueberries, sugar and cinnamon in while it was still cooking.  Excellent!

For a snack, I had some watermelon.  It was very juicy and ripe.  So far, today’s food has been stellar!

For lunch, two slices of reheated pizza.  This was a white pizza with basil, bruschetta, black olives, and goat cheese!

I have really not been eating enough coconut butter, so I decided to toast an english muffin and spread one side with peanut butter and the other with coconut butter for an afternoon snack.  To say I licked the butter knife clean is an understatement.  I don’t believe there was a molecule of coconut butter left anywhere in the vicinity.

I had it with a sliced peach.  I am on strike from taking pictures of whole peaches, not sliced 🙂

Because of my carb-heavy day(s), I decided to keep it light with a gigantic salad for dinner.  You would think that my weekday salads for lunch would make me not want to have one for dinner, but spinach is nature’s elixir, didn’t you hear?

There is so much going on with this salad, I’m afraid I will have trouble remembering!

I started with my usual salad fixings of:

  • Baby spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Mushroom
  • Tomato
  • Red pepper
  • Summer squash
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Feta cheese

But then I added corn and green beans that I had boiled for about five minutes.  The corn is straight from my husband’s hometown.  It is a bit sacrilegious to not have that first cob of corn slathered in butter, salt and pepper, but I really wanted it on top of my salad.  The green beans were grown in my in-laws garden.  Who needs a CSA when one has relatives with green thumbs, right?

I dressed this salad in my own concoction of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and ground black pepper.  It was perfect!  I would gladly eat this salad every day in August while corn is fresh.

For dessert, I had a slice of almond coffee cake.  The texture of this dessert is more pastry than cake, therefore making it infinitely tastier and harder to resist.

I think that I am done eating for the day, but lately there has been no predicting when the hunger beast strikes.  I know that the wee babe is mostly just packing on the pounds now, which may explain my ever-growing appetite, but who knows?

Big Brother is on tonight and I still don’t know who won HoH.  Never been have I avoided online spoilers and exercised such restraint!

July 25, 2010 at 6:46 pm 4 comments

Breakfast Quinoa

My friend Janet shared with me this recipe for Breakfast Quinoa and I knew I had to try it soon!  The only problem is that it takes about 15 minutes to cook on the stove, making it less-than-ideal for weekday mornings.  Lately, weekend mornings have been too busy, or the ol’ ball-and-chain has requested pancakes or egg burritos.  Today, aforementioned ball-and-chain could drive me to the subway, so I had an extra 25 minutes to play with.  Of course, I opted to play with quinoa!

Breakfast Quinoa

Serves two

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Blueberries

As you can tell, I am very exact about measurements 🙂

1.  Heat up milk in a saucepan until it boils.  Make sure to stir often so it doesn’t scald.

2.  Add the quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and stir occasionally for 15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed most of the milk.

3.  When you have about 1 minute left, add a few sprinkles of cinnamon and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.  Stir to mix.

4.  Pour into two bowls and top with blueberries and another sprinkle of cinnamon.  Since I was low on blueberries, I also added half a sliced banana to each bowl.

The consistency reminded me of Cream of Wheat (made with milk of course!)

It looks like tapioca pudding!

I really, really liked this hot breakfast.  It was very comforting and satisfying and would be a good one to make on a cold January morning (or a hot July day — you’re pick!).  I will definitely keep this one in the record books.

Thanks Janet!

July 21, 2010 at 8:23 am 4 comments

Quinoa (aka “Best Grain Ever!”)

For a snack this afternoon, I had some very poorly photographed Coconut Banana Cherry bread.  Thankfully, poor photographs do not equal poor flavour.

The white chunks are either banana or solidified coconut butter.  Delicious either way!

I also had a peach but it went unphotographed.  It happens.

If you’ve been reading food blogs for very long, by now you’ve heard mention of quinoa.  I will tell you right now that this funny looking word can easily change your life.  Let me show you how.

First things first:  It’s pronounced Keen-Wa.  Funky, right?  Kind of exotic?

Wait, it gets even better!

The next important thing to mention about quinoa is that it is a complete protein.  This is when the angels start singing and the heavenly clouds part, because if there is a phrase that a vegan/vegetarian loves to hear it is “complete source of protein”! In terms of grains, it is the odd man out in that it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids unlike almost any other grain.  It is 12-18% protein, is a good source of fibre, and is gluten-free.

Oh yeah, baby.

Luckily, quinoa isn’t just a funky-named, healthy grain eaten by hippies on communes.  It actually tastes good!  When cooked, it is light and fluffy in texture and nutty in flavour (and if there is one thing you know about me, it’s that I like nuts!)

It’s also incredibly versatile.  It can stand in the place of pasta, rice, or other grains.  Made a stirfry?  Put it in quinoa!  Have some of Grandma Ciccone’s homemade tomato sauce leftover from Sunday dinner?  Dump that tasty stuff onto quinoa.  Just roasted a ton of vegetables but need a grain and some protein for your meal?  Quinoa can help a sister out!

What I am getting at here is that I am a huge fan of quinoa.  Subtlety is not my strong point.

After the DISASTER that was my attempt at Protein Pancakes for dinner last night, I knew I wanted a fail-safe meal.  I have to keep a husband, two cats, and a fetus happy, right?  I needed a dinner that would impress!  Impress AND be frugal!  That is my modus operandi and tonight I was determined to accomplish it.

Enter:  Quinoa and Beans!

This meal should be the poster child of this blog.  It is so cheap to make and very healthy. Done and…done!

Serves 4 (or 2.5 pregnant ladies)

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1.  Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until soft.

2.  Add quinoa and broth to the saucepan as well as cumin, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed by the quinoa.

3.  Stir frozen corn into the saucepan and cook for 5 more minutes.  Mix in the black beans and then serve!

I am totally loaded down with organic quinoa right now so I need to find more quinoa recipes.  Maybe I should experiment with a weekly quinoa recipe?  Ooh, potential blogging fun! 🙂

For dessert, I had some freshly diced pineapple…

And a Chocolate Cherry Bomb!  I have mastered my ideal recipe.  For two:

  • 2 cups of almond milk
  • 1.5 sliced frozen bananas
  • 3/4 cup pitted, frozen cherries
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Topped with cacao nibs

I love topping things with cacao nibs.

Wine glasses make everything fancier

Well, it is time to go spend quality time with my husband by forcing him against his will to watch Coco Avant Chanel with me.  Moooohahahahaha.

July 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm 4 comments

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What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!

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