Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sprouted Quinoa with Cinnamon Apples and Coconut

Since going gluten free we nearly always have a hot breakfast. We usually have eggs or our 9 grain breakfast cereal. Last night I had trouble sleeping and I laid here thinking of all the things I wanted to make today in the kitchen. I then remembered a breakfast I haven't made in a long time. I ended up getting out of bed way too early because of it. I just had to start it. I was starving. I started the quinoa soaking long before the sun was up. When it was finally ready to eat the house had filled with the scents of coconut and cinnamon. I like to soak quinoa instead of just rinsing it. If you have the time to soak it long enough for it to start sprouting it is even better. The flavor is mellow and nutty. This morning I made a huge pot so I could have some leftovers. The weather here has been cold and this is the perfect start to the day.

Sprouted Quinoa with Cinnamon Apples and Coconut

2 cups whole quinoa (soaked for at least a couple hours then well rinsed - this helps remove the bitter coating and any grit)
4 cups of water
pinch of salt
2 diced apples
pinch of cardamom
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
1 cup of coconut milk
1 t vanilla extract

Bring water to a boil. Add all ingredients except for the coconut milk and vanilla. Cook on medium for approx 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat. Add coconut milk and vanilla. We like to eat ours with some maple syrup or agave nectar. YUM!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Quinoa and Black Beans

In my attempt to eat healthier, cheaper and with less meat I came up with this tonight. It was I think the best vegetarian meal I have had in a while. Ron liked it too. The kids.... ya right!

1 cup quinoa, soaked for several hours and rinsed well
2-3 T olive oil
1 small onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 t cumin
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups broth (I used chicken)
1/2 package of frozen spinach
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the quinoa for several hours so that the grain swells. Rinse well. Heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook until soft and onions are clear. Add quinoa, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and add tomatoes, broth and spinach. Cover and cook maybe 15 minutes or until quinoa is to desired doneness. Add beans and corn. Stir to warm through. Check for seasoning and serve.

GF DF Millionaire Shortbread Bars

The original recipe comes from Karen at Gluten Free Sox Fan. She called it Millionaire Shortbread Bars The original was not casein/dairy free so I had to make some changes. I also do not use baking mixes so I created my own mix for that. I don't think Sage had even swallowed her first bite before she was mumbling "mom this is soooo good. I want some more." And Rori was saying "own piece mommy, own piece mommy" after I gave her a bite of mine. Here is what I did.

3/4 cup butter flavored Crisco
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt

Caramel filling:
1 - 14 oz can coconut cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Chocolate topping:

3.5 oz bar 70% cocoa, chocolate. I used Lindt which is dairy free.
Powdered sugar to taste. (I used about 1/2 cup. Ron will say that is not enough but I like it that way)
1 T coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease with coconut oil (or use a cooking spray) a 8 x 8 inch pan.

For Shortbread:- Cream the Crisco and sugars until just light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl combine the flours, xanthan gum and salt. Then add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Beat until it resembles a course sand. It should clump together when pressed between your fingers. Press onto the bottom of your greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until pale golden in color.- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.

For Caramel Filling:- Add coconut cream and sugar to saute pan. Mix over med high heat. Continue cooking for 20 or 30 minutes until it reduces, thickens and turns light brown. Pour the coconut cream over the shortbread and leave to set.

For Topping: Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in microwave by heating for 30 seconds and then stirring. Repeat this until it is all melted. Once it is melted add the powdered sugar. Pour the melted chocolate evenly over the caramel and leave to set. Keep refrigerated.

Lentil Cesear Salad with Pine Nuts

I whipped this up for lunch today and loved it. I am hoping this lunch negates my breakfast of peanut butter fudge which was so fantastic. That was a recipe where I can't find the one that inspired the final product. I will keep searching because it too is a keeper. Anyway the salad was terrific too and ultra healthy.


3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 anchovy fillets
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1 egg yolk *make sure you have really fresh eggs*
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in a mini food processor and blend until creamy.

For the salad I combined one romaine heart, 1/4 cup pine nuts and half a cup (raw measure) of cooked brown lentils. I cooked them in salted water and I like them a little firm to the bite. I hate it when they get over cooked and started to fall apart and taste grainy. Spoon dressing over top, as much or as little as you like. Then toss it all together and voila lunch is served. Actually I added 5 or 6 anchovy fillets diced finely but I love them and no one else seems to so feel free to omit.

A Flurry of Blogging

A flurry of blogging here. I have tried several new recipes in the previous silent weeks. I never thought to write down what I made and consequently some of those things will be one time wonders. I have to make a better effort to write down / blog about what I do so I can repeat them. So the recipes that will follow on my blog are as much for me as anyone.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Belly Laughs

No explanation necessary.

For My Dad

My Dad just left this morning after visiting for 4 days. He drove here all the way from BC. He loves to drive and dislikes flying - hard for me to understand that. Anyway, we had a great visit. I think the last time we had a visit that long and unrushed was before we had kids. I was a different person back then. Actually, Ron and I are nearly unrecognisable from ourselves of back then. I think that if him and I were to meet that couple now we wouldn't like them. We'd probably hate them. We stood for everything that we disagree with now. So when he visited the last time we didn't have much to talk about. Actually he ended up leaving a day early. Since that visit all of our visits have been pretty quick. Short and sweet we'd say. So now jump forward about 6 years and things are different. I found that I really loved having him here. We have a lot in common now. I enjoyed just hanging out with him. We didn't really do anything and stayed close to home. I loved to see him with my kids. It is a very sweet side of him that I can't remember seeing before. I know he was always like this but I just don't remember seeing it. It warmed my heart to see him cuddling Justus and feeding him. He read to the girls at night and tucked them in at night. That made my heart swell. My dad loves music and brought along his mandolin. (He plays in a bluegrass band that I have yet to hear play, much to my disappointment.) Sage and Rori love music too. Sage would sing, making songs up as she went along and my dad would accompany her on the mandolin. It sounded great to this mommy's ears. Rori would dance to the music they were making and Justus watched intently and excitedly kicked his legs. I can't think of a better Christmas gift. I also enjoyed cooking for him. His favorite of the week was a Latin themed dinner. I have posted the recipes so that his sweet wife Cari might make it for him. The black beans and rice dish would be good all by themselves but we always add the Picadillo. I first had Picadillo in a Cuban restaurant here when I was in labor with Justus. It was very good but kinda pricey. Then I found a recipe for it on and I have been making it frequently ever since (and for a whole lot less money). The original recipe was posted by a DarcyStarz7 and I have made a few changes that work for us. Now I like this version much much more than what I had in the restaurant.

Cuban Black Beans

2 cups dried black beans, washed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
6-10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 T dried oregano
1 T cumin
2 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes with green chili's
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt to taste
1 TBSP white sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper

Soak beans overnight. Drain water and replace with fresh water. Boil beans in water only for approx 1.5 hours until they are tender. (Adding anything acidic i.e salt, tomatoes, onions etc during the initial cooking process makes the skin of the bean more tough so it takes much longer to cook.) In a large pot add olive oil. When hot add onion, garlic and green pepper. Cook until tender. Add cumin, oregano, tomatoes and chili's and cook until fragrant about 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and cook covered over med low heat for another couple of hours. Keep enough stock in the beans so they don't dry out but not enough that you have a soup. Think thick stew consistency. When you are ready to eat you can remove the lid to reduce the liquid if necessary. Then add salt to taste, apple cider vinegar, sugar and pepper. Serve along side white rice.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup chopped prunes
3/4 cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, drained

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef. Cook and stir until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onions and bell pepper. Cook until soft, then add the garlic. Season with cumin, chili powder, oregano, paprika, and cinnamon. Cook and stir for about one minute to release the fragrance. Pour the tomatoes and beef stock into the pan, along with the sugar. Stir the prunes, olives, capers. Simmer on med low for 20 - 30 minutes. Add vinegar before serving. Serve along side white rice and black beans.
Here are a couple pics and a video of my dad's visit. Thanks for everything Dad/GranDan. We love you!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cooties and Houdini

It seems like forever since I have posted. We've been sick. All of us. Each more than once. It has been going on for nearly a month now. I am starting to wonder if it will ever end. When every one else gets sick I usually don't but this time I got it too and bad. I even went to the doctor and agreed to antibiotics which I haven't had since before Sage was born. I am a firm believer that a huge part of your immune system comes from your GI tract and if you take antibiotics and kill all those good bacteria then you are leaving yourself more vulnerable to getting the next thing that comes around. But this time I was desperate. I had a sinus infection that was so painful that my teeth hurt so bad that I couldn't eat. The silver lining of course is that I ended up loosing 6 pounds. It made me wonder if anyone ever tried to come up with a way to eliminate your sense of smell as a weight loss gimmick. I cooked yesterday for the first time in over a week. I made my 10 veggie spaghetti sauce. I also have more than a weeks worth of laundry and house cleaning to catch up on. Justus is sick now. He has a fever but no other symptoms. Last night I had to give him Tylenol every 4-5 hours. His temperature got as high as 103.3. I can't imagine how miserable he must have felt. I was soooo miserable at 101.7. You know, it really sucks living here so far from family when we are sick. Ron was as sick as I was and also took a trip to the doctor and got some antibiotics so he wasn't any help to me. I really felt like if I could have just had lots of good uninterrupted sleep this wouldn't have gone on so long. But we have no family here to help out. All our friends also have kids so understandably they need to stay far far away from us. Okay I will stop complaining now.

Houdini the Mouse has set up residence in our CAR. We were at home a couple days ago and Ron needed to get something out of the glove box. He opened it, screamed like a girl and jumped back exclaiming "Holy Crap! There are 2 mice in the glove box!" Sure enough, there was a mound of foam shreds, from somewhere in the car, all piled up in there like a comfy little nest. So glad that discovery wasn't made while we were on the interstate. Not only that but there was mouse crap everywhere! Dandy. How can mice crap that much? We saw one run out of the car later that day and since then we have traps set up in there. But that mouse is friggin Houdini. It keeps getting the treats out of the traps and tripping the trap all without getting caught in the trap. I am scared to use mouse poison for fear of it dying in there and then the car stinking of dead mouse. And Mom, I bet you are rethinking about not renting a car when you come visit!

Out of time again.