Breakfast Quinoa — Take I

Every kitchen-minded friend of mine has one or two key ingredients that they just can’t imagine surviving without — and I’m no different. Fresh garlic, olive oil, avocado, kale… Those are definitely some of my favorites, but there is one thing I am even more loyal to — and that’s quinoa.

I remember the first time I heard about quinoa. I was a newly recommitted Weight Watchers member (for possibly the 3rd or maybe 4th time) and I was on a mission to find some new-to-me healthy, whole grains that didn’t involve the words “brown” or “rice”. And after searching high and low, I finally came across a small package of this mysterious new ingredient. And it didn’t take me long to become attached, finding recipes to eat this for every meal — dinner, lunch, and even breakfast.

So when I heard about someone using quinoa in place of oatmeal, my interest was piqued. After some trial and error, I found success with this recipe. Fun fact? This recipe was even featured by FitSugar during their “Get Fit for 2010” challenge — go me! And while that may have been well over 2 years ago, that recipe is still going strong in my kitchen.

This is also a great recipe to make ahead for a week full of healthy breakfasts. I usually whip up a batch of this on Sunday afternoons, so all I have to do is add my fruit of choice and the yogurt, or almond milk, before sitting down to breakfast.

Summertime Breakfast Quinoa

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and picked clean of any debris
1 cup water
1 cup juice, cider, or nectar — I prefer something fresh-squeezed, or a no sugar added variety
2 tbsp walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp chia seed
1 cup blueberries, rinsed
2 fresh plums, pitted and diced
2 cups of plain yogurt, or almond milk

Directions:

Bring the quinoa, water, and nectar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Let cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the quinoa cool completely. Carefully mix in the walnuts and chia seed and divide the mixture among 4 bowls.

Top each bowl with an equal amount of fruit and 1/2 cup of the yogurt or almond milk just before serving.

Additional Notes:
There are plenty of seasonal variations that work with this recipe as well — proving that something this good never goes out of style. Keep tuned here and I share a few more of my favorites over the next few months!

What is your favorite “go to” recipe that you enjoy all year-long?

Advertisements

Keeping It Fresh — Savor the flavors

Ever since starting my Boston Organics deliveries back up, I feel like I have been more involved with my boxes than ever before. Whether it means making changes to the service because of my personal taste preferences, travel schedule, or challenging myself to try something new — I love the flexibility that is allowed!

Since I’m trying to cut back on my sugar intake, I’ve already bumped up my vegetable ratio in the box, but that isn’t all it takes to satisfy my different taste preferences. So now it’s time for me to experiment more with combining my vegetables with fruits to find that perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors. This week, I even managed to take advantage of the Grocery Add-ons service — allowing me to add everything from some extra vegetables to spices to coffee beans to snacks to my order. I don’t use this all the time because I have a weird obsession with being able to pick these items out in person, but once in a while it comes in handy. Like when I leave my shopping list at home on the kitchen table…

The savory:

The sweet:

The extras:

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • 2 local chocolate treats — I had a hard time deciding what to send to my “Foodie Penpal” this month, so figured it was better to be prepared. I’m sure I can think of something to do with the one I don’t send… Yum…

It’s really so convenient being able to add certain random staples and treats — this isn’t the first time I’ve been saved from making a trip back to the store to get something I forgot from my shopping list. The only decision I’m weighing now is whether or not I make the leap to the “all vegetable” box. While I won’t let the fruit go to waste, I’m not grabbing fruit as my go-to snack anymore. Instead, I’m eating more vegetables, nuts, and homemade popcorn. Luckily, I have another 10 days to decide.

A couple of new things I tried from the last box:

  • Rutabaga — I didn’t come up with any crazy recipe, but instead opted to simply chop the rutabaga up and roast it. While it was a little sweeter than the turnips I have grown to love, it was a perfect along with some baked lemon-herb chicken for a light and healthy dinner.
  • Blood oranges and pea shoots — these were my two favorite, “novelty” items in my last box. And who would have known they would go so well together on top of salads?! Can’t wait until these make a seasonal comeback!

What recipe would you recommend that uses some of both the vegetables and fruits from this Boston Organics box? Please describe or link to your favorite recipes or tips in the comments below!

Keeping It Fresh — More Vegetables, Please!

A new Boston Organics box is here and I working up a whole new list of things to make with this week’s treats. Now that we have had a taste of that early spring weather, some of my favorite vegetables are making an earlier appearance than normal (*cough* kale *cough*) — no complaints here! But this got me thinking — instead of my usual half-and-half delivery, how about changing it up to a mix of 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 fruit?

That is one of my favorite parts about my delivery, as long as I make my delivery changes by noon the day before my delivery — the Boston Organics team will make it happen. This includes changing my veggie to fruit ratio and updating my “no list” — sorry, I still don’t eat peas or lima beans and even I have a limit as to how many potatoes and onions I can use in a two week period.

So while I didn’t get the kale I was keeping my fingers crossed for — I still ended up with a nice selection of vegetables to keep me cooking, and eating, light over the next couple of weeks.

The vegetables:

  • 1 bunch chard
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 package pea shoots — a first for me!
  • 1 package white mushrooms
  • 2 packages carrots
  • 2 black radishes — so happy I can give Shulie’s Indian-Inspired Black Radish Salad another try!
  • 1 rutabaga — hmmmmm, what’ll I do with this?

The fruit:

  • 3 apples
  • 3 bananas
  • 3 blood oranges — so excited for these, I absolutely love them in salads and smoothies
  • 2 kiwis

This was a great change of pace for me. Believe it or not, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by all of the fruit. I was starting to get worried my crisper drawer was going to launch a rebellion. All of this aside, my last box gave me a lot of snack options — including a personal favorite, celery stalks with peanut butter (and maybe some nutella) — and fresh fruit for smoothies. Not one bit went to waste, and I did get to try out some new recipes.

A couple of new dishes that I tried:

  • Sautéed chard with garlic and lemon — this is a new favorite dinner side dish
  • Braised dandelion greens with pancetta — pancetta, my favorite kind of bacon, makes everything better. So much that I can eat this in a bowl like ice cream.

What would you make with any, or all, of the treats I got in this week’s Boston Organics box? Please link to your favorite recipes or tips in the comments below!

Keeping It Fresh — Bring on the Greens!

A new Boston Organics box is here and I have a whole new batch of cooking opportunities ahead. This week’s box was right in line with the St. Patrick’s Day spirit that is around just about every corner you can turn in my neighborhood — brimming with green. All sorts of great treats, but not as challenging as some previous weeks.

The green:

  • 1 bunch chard
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 5 bananas — well they came to me green, which is exactly how I like them
  • 2 kiwis
  • 2 pears

The not-so-green, but still delicious:

  • 3 apples
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 tangelos

In case you forgot, my last Boston Organics box left me with a few ingredients I needed some recipe ideas to use up. And you guys did not disappoint. In fact, I was actually hoping a black radish or two would make an appearance in this week’s box.

What I made:

I wish I had gotten photos of these new (well, new to me) dishes — but, alas, they disappeared too quickly. But stay tuned — I’m sure they will make another appearance in my kitchen soon.

What would you make with any, or all, of the above? Please link to your favorite recipes or tips in the comments below!

Grilled Fruit Salad in a Lemon-Herb Dressing

When planning my first ever BBQ, I was on the hunt for a refreshing, non-lettuce based salad that could be enjoyed as a started while the steak tips, corn and other goods were on the grill. So with a little bit of some recipe searching and my own substitutions and tweaks, this is what evolved. And it is now requested on a fairly regular basis.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I didn’t actually try this salad before serving it to my guests (I’m an awful hostess, I know) and I was honestly TERRIFIED it didn’t come out how I had hoped. But, I let one of my friends take a huge tub of it home that night and then I actually texted him the next day to tell him I regretted sending as much home with him because I tried some as a snack and was hooked.

Grilled Fruit Salad in a Lemon-Herb Dressing

Serves: 6-8 (a very rough estimate)

Ingredients:
4 – 6 plums, pitted and cut into quarters

4 – 6 medium sized peaches, pitted and cut into quarters

1 pint of fresh bluberries, washed and picked free of stems and debris

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 tsp fresh grated ginger

2 tsp fresh thyme

Directions:
For the fruit — Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray and preheat to a medium heat. Place the fruit on the grill until the grill marks start to appear, typically 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the fruit from the grill and let cool. Once cooled, cut the fruit to bite-sized chunks. As an example, I typically cut each wedge in thirds. Place the fruit in your serving bowl and add the blueberries, mixing together. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.

For the dressing — Add the sugar and water together in a small saucepan, over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Add the lemon juice, zest, ginger and thyme and let simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for about 10 – 15 minutes. Pour the dressing over the fruit, using a mesh strainer to remove the lemon zest, ginger and thyme remnants.

Carefully toss the salad to make sure the syrup has coated all of the fruit. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Additional Notes:
I prefer to line the grill with some heavy-duty foil to minimize the cleanup effort and sticking. Also, with or without the foil, it’s important to spray the nonstick cooking spray BEFORE starting the grill. At least if you are attached to your eyebrows.

As for the mesh strainer, I’ve found that the mesh saucepan covers that I use when making tomato sauce work really well.

Other herb flavors that work nicely with this dressing are, in no particular order, mint (also nice as a garnish if you want to be fancy), rosemary and basil. Playing around with the flavors is half the fun!

And lastly, this salad is almost just as delicious with freshly chopped fruit, no grilling required. Which is great if you are in a rush and have people invading your kitchen, waiting to be fed.

%d bloggers like this: