Tag Archives: quinoa

hello, 2011!

13 Jan

Wow, I’m finally getting to my first post of the new year. I can’t believe it’s 2011!

Every year I eager anticipate the holidays, to a bit of an extreme. I just love everything about the holiday time! The lights, the music, the food, family, wrapping presents… it’s just the best. Unfortunately, once the new year rolls around we’re just left with winter. Dreary, boring winter. Blah.

To counter the dark and the drizzle, here’s a healthy, hearty quick bread that is delicious and sure to perk up a wintery afternoon.

I’ve gotten really terrible with quinoa. Whenever I make it, there always seems to be some that’s left loitering around in my fridge with nothing to do. This quick bread uses some cooked quinoa to add protein and substance to this lightly-sweetened bread.

Cherry Almond Quinoa Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 1/2 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/4 teas. salt
1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. milk of choice
1/3 cup mild oil
1/2 teas. almond extract (optional)
1/4 teas. vanilla extract (increase if not using almond)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour a standard sized loaf pan.

In a small bowl combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the quinoa, milk, oil and extracts. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches until just mixed. Gently mix in the chopped almonds, cherries and chocolate chips.

Bake for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (no batter, but okay if crumbs stick to the toothpick). Let bread cool in pan, on a cooling rack, for 30 minutes before serving.

Yields: 10-12 slices


winner, winner, chickpea dinner!

23 Nov

When there are lots of things going on in your life at the same time, the first thing to usually go is a good meal plan. Quick fixes and faux meat tend to fill the gaps and I always can always feel it. It makes me sluggish and just feel icky, frankly.

We’re mid-move and I’m trying hard to not let that happen this time and it’s going much better than expected, thanks to my lovely rice/pressure cooker and some help from a bottle- Original Yumm! Sauce from Cafe Yumm! Yumm Sauce is an indescribable, tangy, cheezy sauce that makes everything delicious. Jess even made her own version of it (with links to other adaptations!), so you can try it, too!

yay! crappy cell phone pic!

Quinoa in the cooker, chickpeas from a can, some chopped up zucchini and carrots sticks on top and a drizzle of sauce on top- perfect, delicious and nutritious. Spot on when you need good food, fast and ready in about 15 minutes, with leftovers.

What satisfying eats do you enjoy when you’re short on time?

ode to my rice cooker

1 Oct

I love my rice cooker. It’s one of my best friends in the kitchen, which is ironic because I used to think they were stupid.


This is a very cheap rice cooker. Soon I will be upgrading to a very nice one, but we bought this one as a tester a little over a year ago to see if we would actually use it. See, I always thought they were for lazy people. I thought, “Hell, I’m a rice cooker.” Pot + lid + rice + water + me =rice cooker. Ah, but I was foolish. Rice cookers, yes, can be for lazy people, but they are also for perfectionists. Being the Virgo that I am, I can readily appreciate the consistent perfection this little unit turns out with every batch. Fluffy, soft, never burnt on the bottom or soggy like my pots always were. And you don’t have to play the guessing game, poking around with a fork, not trying to disturb the surface while wondering, “Is it done? A few more minutes?”

And oddly enough, I have only made rice in it once. We usually make quinoa, sometimes millet and I’ve made wild rice a couple of times. I’m hope to experiment more with it this winter. But for now, my love affair with quinoa continues.

My favorite way to make dinner is to get home, pop some quinoa into the cooker, do yoga and then when I get into the kitchen dinner is halfway done. Excellent…


This bowl was inspired by the BBQ and Brussels bowl at Bye and Bye. I made BBQ chickpeas, garlic roasted brussel sprouts atop a layer of perfectly fluffy quinoa, topped with a sprinkle of Parma. This is the kind of food that makes me deliriously happy it’s autumn.

As a sidenote, suppose you’re interested in buying my book (and I swear that I’m not trying to turn this blog into an infomercial for my book. the shameless self-promo is winding down, I promise) but you also need some vegan jerky, makeup or marshmallows… head on over to Cosmos Vegan Shoppe, which is a one-stop shop for all the vegan goodies you can cram in your mouth. Yum…


10 Jun

So, I’ve had some stuff in my personal life sidetracking me from blogging, so excuse my absence. Things will be back to normal soon.

In the meantime… reminder:


The Portland contribution to the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale is in less than 2 week, on June 20th, at People’s, so please come and eat some yummies for the kitties!

With the warm weather we had in Portland recently (90 in June? Unheard of!) we have taken to eating pretty lightly, which has been refreshing.


This was a quick dinner, trying to use up some produce, as I have a tendency to over-purchase vegetables… chickpeas sauteed in a little EB with some nooch, asparagus, garlic broccolini and our standard issue quinoa. Simple, satisfying and yummy.


A bed of baby greens, topped with black beans that I cooked with some garlic and a little cumin, sweet corn, zucchini, avocado and some chips and salsa on the side. The chips are these new little corn chip “dippers” from Trader Joe’s that are like Fritos but a million times better. Well, I was never a fan of Fritos, so I’m a bit biased.


I wanted to make some Italian cookies with pine nuts in them and came across this recipe by Giada on the Food Network. I’m not one to normally have much faith in the Food Network, but the recipe was basically vegan, it involved chocolate (always a plus) and it seemed pretty authentically European, using little sugar, so my interest was piqued. Being skeptical of our American palettes accepting something that tastes less sweet, I added my new topping du jour: demerara sugar mixed with a pinch of fleur de sel. I’ve found that 1 tbsp. of sugar to 1/4 teas. of salt is a great mix for dipping cookies and it gives them a nice, slightly sweet crunch accompanied with the occasion tang of salt. The topping definitely helped. They were a little crumbly, more like a biscuit-type cookie, and the flavor was greatly aided by the chocolate chunks. I really like pine nuts, but they didn’t really do it for me in this recipe. Can’t win them all.


While I worked on these cookies, Linus made himself comfortable on the blanket that he pushed off the back of the couch. Spoiled kitteh…

More stuff to come, including some yummy reviews… it just might take me a week or so. Cheers!

not-mystery not-meat and a recipe

29 Apr

There is food being cooked! I haven’t had much to post lately because, frankly, we’ve been eating terribly boring food. But I’ve been trying to mix it up a little bit, plus bring back some classics.


Ooh, surprise, surprise, quinoa! I never could have guessed! Well, I never said it would be thrilling. 🙂 I will admit to being a quinoa addict as of late and the 4 lb bag of organic quinoa I picked up at Costco last week for $8 is going to keep the love alive. I sauteed some chickpeas and mixed them with 1 1/2 smashed heads of roasted garlic. Some snap peas and sweet potato on the side and I called it a meal.


This may not look like much, but wow have these sandwiches been hitting the spot! Tofurky slices with mustard, baby greens and pickles on Dave’s Killer Bread… yum! We haven’t been keeping bread in the house for the past few months because we normally only use it for toast and in the winter we default to oatmeal mode, but I just can’t say no to a loaf of Dave’s. Sometimes revisiting those nostalgic foods really satisfies and this is one of them.

A week ago I went to work in a short sleeved shirt, with no jacket, and we took the duvet off our bed, foolishly thinking spring is here. Today it was 45 and raining, much like the past week. With my spring cheer hiding underneath the bed, I fell back into some fall comfort food.


Real Food Daily tempeh meatloaf with mashed potatoes and some broccolini. I loved the ingredients in the meatloaf (tempeh, a little gluten, miso, fresh veggies) but I’m just not a meatloaf kind of gal, even in vegan form. Jim LOVES meatloaf and was deliriously happy to come home to this dinner. I haven’t heard that much lip-smacking come out of the boy in awhile. I wasn’t too big on the texture, it reminded me of stuffing, although the flavor was awesome. Next time I may add a little more gluten to make the texture firmer and a splash of liquid smoke.

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, from observers and tasters, on the French Toast Muffins from my upcoming cookbook. And I have to admit, they are one of my favorites, so I wanted to give a sneak peek and share the recipe with you. Not having handheld French toast is no way to live.

French Toast Muffins- 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes

French Toast Muffins- 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes

French Toast Muffins

Prep time before baking: 20 minutes

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teas. baking powder
1/8 teas. salt
1 teas. cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. yogurt (equivalent to 1- 6 oz. container of soy yogurt)
1 1/2 teas. maple extract
1/2 teas. vanilla
cinnamon and powered sugar to dust tops of muffins

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease with margarine or oil, or line with paper liners, 6 jumbo or 12 regular sized muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, oil, yogurt, maple extract and vanilla to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 batches until just mixed.

Fill each muffin tin to just just below full. Bake for 18-20 minutes for regular sized muffins or 25-30 for jumbo muffins until lightly golden and a tooth pick comes out clean. Remove muffins from oven and let cool completely before removing from tin. Sift powdered sugar and cinnamon on top of each muffin. Store leftover muffins covered at room temperature.

Yields: 12 regular sized or 6 jumbo muffins

*For extra maple goodness, combine 1 tbsp. of maple syrup with 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar and glaze the tops of the muffins with the maple topping before sifting on the cinnamon and powdered sugar.

With some fresh, spring berries on the side and washed down with a big glass of almond milk- now that’s what I call breakfast! Yum!

playing catch up

31 Mar

Hello! I’ve been so busy that my camera has just been accumulating pictures for the past few weeks. Last week I officially finished the book manuscript (yay!!!!!!!) and got that sent off and last week was technically spring break, so I took some time off to just be wireless. No internet, email, nothing, just relaxing. Quite nice, I’d say.

But now, we’re here to talk about food, not my boring life. Boring life = good, no drama. Boring food = bad. This food, thankfully, isn’t boring.

What do you get when you are too lazy to put together a real meal?


Soy nuggets with BBQ sauce, garlicky broccolini and rice cooker quinoa. I cannot profess my love for broccolini enough, it is simply my favorite vegetable and I could eat it every day. And someday, when I finally win the lottery, I will.

I’m not a cold cereal eater and have been bored with my morning oatmeal and soy yogurt, so I decided to plan ahead and make some mini quiches. They worked out perfectly, reheated well and totally hit the spot.


In a food processor, I tossed in two packages of extra firm silken tofu, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp cornstarch about 3-4 tbsp of almond milk, a little oregano and some salt. I mixed it until it was smooth then poured it into a bowl and added 3 tbsp of chopped, rehydrated sundried tomatoes and 6 stalks of asparagus, chopped (but I reserved the tops). I spread the mixture into 6 lightly greased muffin cups and topped each one with an asparagus tip. Baked at 400 for 1 hour and viola! Breakfast is served.

I’m still trying to be good with food and working out… but it’s not always easy. When you have a sweet tooth like mine, it’s hard to fight those post-dinner cravings for dessert. My latest treat feels really indulgent, but actually isn’t too bad. Nutritious even!


I have been obsessed with Peanut Butter and Co’s Dark Chocolate Dream Peanut Butter. It’s peanut butter mixed with a little sugar, cocoa and cocoa butter for an intoxicating treat that will ruin regular peanut butter for you forever. I’ve been enjoying it on a lightly salted rice cake with a smear of Morello cherry spread on top… it’s seriously heaven in your mouth.

Oh, I added my flickr account to the sidebar. I added a handful of pictures of some of the new recipes, but I have a bunch more that I will be adding over the next few days, so keep an eye out for new noms!

dinner and a workout

15 Mar

My beloved Trader Joe’s has added some more vegan goodies to their store and I am here to share them with you. I swear to my cats that I am not paid by them, because that would be my dream job, rather I am a fanatical shopper who you have the fortune or misfortune of reading the blog of. 🙂

First off-


Chicken-less Stuffed Cutlets. Chikey-style cutlets, stuffed with black beans and corn in a flavorful red sauce with mild jalapenos. Unlike most TJ’s finds, a little pricey for regular consumption, but again it’s convenience food so there you go.


Black Cherry Gel Cups. Imagine my surprise when my eyes honed in on that little “V” in the bottom left hand corner. Vegan jello cups! Bestill my heart! They have black cherry and peach mango. With Jim not being the biggest fan of mango, I went with black cherry.

So, how do you make dinner and fit in a workout in 30 minutes?

1.) Rinse 1 cup quinoa thoroughly and toss in your rice cooker. Add 1 2/3 cups water. Set it and forget it. 🙂

2.) Do 1 level of the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred Work-out DVD (22 minutes), which I will now admit is a great workout, but I still think she’s mean. 🙂

3.) Quinoa will be done, open lid and let set.

4.) Place water in a pot with a steamer tray and bring to a boil. Add pre-washed green beans and put a lid on it!

5.) Cut a little air vent in the Chicken-less Cutlets bag and microwave for 2 minutes.

6.) Plate it all up and nomnomnom. Also remember to drink plenty of water!


The cutlet was pretty darn good. The sauce was plentiful and tasted great and the cutlet itself, while a little smaller than I’d imagined, was very tasty and packed full of beans and corn. We ate the quinoa in the most simple way possible, but in a way we’d never tried- with a little pat of Earth Balance melted on top and a sprinkling of salt. So good! Who’d of though that something that small would make something uber good, but it certainly did!

One step dessert: Peel back foil from gel cup. Serve.


The gello has a good texture and excellent flavor. It is thickened with carragennan and is all natural, of course. I can’t wait to try the peach mango. I’ll get it next time and what makes it better is that I won’t have to share with Jim!

Oh, and while you’re hanging on the interwebs, check it: my brother in Minneapolis has started his own vegetarian food blog. He is a cook of the most virtuous variety, he actually cooks with what he has in his kitchen. If only I were that smart and economical. He’s a newish cook who likes to break all the rules (or stray from the directions to his liking), and he’s documenting his experiments in his Veggie Lab. Check out his blog and show him some love, he’s new to this whole food blogging thing and is still finding this sea legs.