Sprouted Quinoa, Pear & Molasses Granola

26 Tue, 2011 § 2 Comments

Did you miss us?  No?  Did you even notice we had left?  No? 😛  Tricky aren’t we?

I eluded to our camping trip, which we thoroughly enjoyed…last Tuesday through Sunday.  I prepped a couple posts, hit schedule, unplugged & lost myself in the desert for 5 days.

Aw.

(even despite the rain.)

Aw.

Are we really back?

We are, but now I can reminisce over our adventures with you.

We should always start with food though; don’t you agree?

I love quinoa granola & have found its perfect match: molasses.  Try it.  You’ll never look back.

Molasses is a rich source of iron & calcium — important for those following a plant-based diet — as well as magnesium & potassium, providing 20% of the daily recommended value for each of these nutrients.

Sprouted Quinoa & Pear Granola with Molasses & Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 250*F.

  • 1 pear, diced
  • 1 C quinoa, sprouted
  • 1/2 C almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 C ground flaxseeds
  • 1/2 C black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 C pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 C buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 C hemp protein powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • cinnamon, optional
  • 1/4 C coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 C molasses
  • 2 T apple juice

Stir together dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients separately.  Stir wet ingredients into the quinoa mixture & mix together.  Spread granola onto a parchment-lined baking sheet & bake ~1 hour.  Allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces & storing in an airtight container.

Homemade granola — especially quinoa granola — is great for camping, backpacking or hiking.  It is the perfect way to cram a lot of nutrients into a light-weight, easy-to-pack & store snack.  Along with pieces of banana, this was delicious, light fuel in the mornings.  Dave enjoyed it so much, I’ll be sure to make enough to share next time.  😉

~

Do you cook with molasses?

Simple, Fresh

21 Mon, 2011 § 10 Comments

The bulk food bins & I have bonded deeply the last few years.

You know it’s serious when your husband says,

“I’ll leave you to it – this is like Disneyland for you,”

before he darts off for the meat & cheese counters.

Buying bulk is less expensive & less wasteful, especially if you BYOB [bags].  It offers variety & a chance to try small quantities of something, by buying only what you need; this means your goods are likely fresher.  It also seems fresher to pour my grains, seeds, beans, nuts & dried fruit from glass rather than plastic bags or containers.

We keep a lot of our bulk items in our favorite snap containers from World Market.  I always have more bulk than I have containers for though, so I also store food in mason jars as well as reuse other food jars, which once held oils, pickles, etc.  Food storage does not have to be expensive; in fact, it can be downright cheap.

As long as it stays fresh, I am happy.

Dave is right: the bulk section makes me embarrassingly excited.  Whatever my food mood, I can generally fill it here.

Lately, my Spring [fever] mood has been light & distinct, using only a few ingredients to highlight simple flavors.

Five[or six]-ingredient grain salads.

[I have seen variations of these online but can’t find the links now.  Sorry.]

Lentils & Barley with Cardamom

  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup almond or hemp milk
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup coconut, toasted
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cashews, toasted

Combine & rinse barley & lentils.  Combine with water & milk & bring to a boil.  Lower heat, cover & simmer 30 – 40 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.  Toward the end of cooking, stir in cardamom, salt & raisins.  Once water is absorbed & grains are cooked, allow to rest a few minutes.  Stir in coconut & garnish individual servings with cashews.

Tarragon Vinaigrette over Quinoa & Roasted Beets

  • 3 T champagne vinegar
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T tarragon [fresh if available; I used ~1 tsp dried]
  • ~6 medium beets, roasted
  • ~2 cups cooked quinoa
  • pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • sea salt & fresh pepper

Combine  vinaigrette ingredients & toss with quinoa & roasted beets.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper & top with roasted pumpkin seeds.  Tarragon is my new favorite combination with beets.  I can’t wait to get my hands on some fresh.

~

Do you shop the bulk section?  What has been your favorite find?

“Sunshine” in January

18 Tue, 2011 § 1 Comment

I spend nearly 8 hours a day typing away on a computer.  I am going to be completely honest:  coming home & sitting in front of the screen is one of the last things I feel like doing.

Frankly, I am still figuring my work schedule out, prioritizing how I spend my time & trying to ensure I get enough rest.  I am still anxious to talk more about how I am loving my body but I do not want to just throw some words on the page tonight.

So bare with me, please keep coming back & add a little lot of color to brighten your own busy day.

Oranges in January?

I have never lived where citrus grows.  Though it is certainly not blooming in Flagstaff,  we are less than three hours from Phoenix.  Apparently they are blooming there, & a lovely, young women brought a bag of fresh oranges & lemons from her grandma’s trees to share with everyone at work!

Blood Oranges nonetheless,

& who doesn’t love having fresh lemon juice around to add to dishes?

Orange-Kissed Quinoa with Fennel & Apricots

A new favorite! I wanted to throw together a dish that was clean & flavorful. This was it.

  • 1 C quinoa, rinsed
  • 1.5 C water
  • small piece kombu
  • ½ fennel, cored & thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dried sage

Combine in a pot, bring to a boil, cover & simmer ~20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked & water is absorbed, adding sage toward end of cooking time.  Discard kombu.

  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ C dried apricots, chopped
  • ¼ C walnut pieces, toasted
  • generous [or not so generous ;)] pinch of sea salt

Toss the remaining ingredients with the quinoa.

Savor this burst of citrus sweetness amidst the brisk, January air.

~

When your free time is limited, what do find yourself doing most?  What do you find you cut out?

Gingerbread Quinoa Crunch

8 Wed, 2010 § 2 Comments

Quinoa granola has been an obsession of mine ever since Ashley first created it.  This time I didn’t want to cook the quinoa in coconut milk though, & I wanted to give it a very distinct autumn flavor.

Tea!

Another obsession of mine that might be more apparent: I get a little carried away infusing foods with tea & not just for breakfast.

Ginger & quinoa?  There was no way that wasn’t going to turn out beautifully.

One problem: I only had one bag of ginger tea left.  So I added another teaspoon of powdered ginger to the cooking quinoa & carried on, ending up with subtle ginger undertones.  Lovely!  I knew it wouldn’t stand out much once combined with the other ingredients, so I adjusted the recipe to make double strength tea & also added gingerbread spice to the mix.

Mmmm.  Festive & warming — great for snacking — & even more delicious if it’s drowned in almond milk.

Autumn Quinoa Granola

makes ~4 cups

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 bags ginger tea [I like Yogi Lemon Ginger or you could just add powdered ginger]

Steep tea 5 – 10 minutes.

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed

Combine tea & quinoa & bring to a simmer.

  • 2 tsp vanilla

Stir in vanilla.

Cover, reduce heat & simmer 15 – 20 minutes until quinoa is cooked & water is absorbed.

Allow to sit covered for a few minutes before fluffing.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup almonds, chopped
  • 2 T raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 T raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 2 T hemp seeds
  • dash salt

Combine with quinoa.

  • 2 T brown rice syrup
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T coconut oil, melted

Whisk together syrups & oil.  Stir into quinoa mixture.

  • ½ – 1 tsp gingerbread spice mix, optional

Mix into granola.

Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet & bake for 1 hour at 350*F, stirring every 15 minutes, until slightly browned & dry.  If it starts to brown too quickly reduce to 300*F.

  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Sprinkle cranberries over cooked granola & allow to cool completely before transferring to an air-tight container.

~

What is your favorite granola?

SD, I Am Ready

25 Wed, 2010 § 3 Comments

We leave for San Diego tomorrow, & I could not be more excited!  I have been resisting the urge to pack for weeks!  FINALLY, this week has been all about preparing for our trip.

To keep fueled & feeling my best for SD, I have been pushing especially hard while working out & making meals that keep me feeling light  & energized.

I have been trying to stick to only fruit in the mornings for a couple weeks now.  Terry Walter’s Fruit Soup has been great for a nice pre-workout boost of energy.  Its combination of carrot juice, cantaloupe, mango & peaches is chock full of nutrients, & ground clove enhances the refreshing flavor.  I also had ginger added to the fresh carrot juice.  I am really enjoying this end-of-summer-bounty-in-a-bowl, garnished with champagne grapes; the hint of spices offers just a touch of warmth — perfect for these mornings that are becoming cooler.

I have also been devouring variations of fresh salads [piled high with sprouts Dave surprised me with] as well as Green Monsters.  I finally found a real juice bar in SLC!  The Blue Star.  Yesterday, as a post-climbing treat, I was delighted with a juice combination of romaine, bok choy, celery & watermelon.  Yum!

I will definitely make a Green Monster as pre flight fuel tomorrow & squeeze in interval training [our flight is not until 8:45am] before leaving.  Exercising makes travel much more comfortable; stimulating my muscles & blood flow should make the flight more tolerable.

Even though it is only a short flight, because I eat a small meal or snack every couple hours, packing a few goods for the plane is a must:  peaches, tea for an upset tummy & homemade Quinoa Granola will fill my carry-on [the only bag I am taking – yay].

My variation of Ashley’s original, amazingly creative, Granola.

  • Preheat oven to 375*F

~ Bring to boil & simmer about 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed:

  • 1 C Quinoa, rinsed well [I used a combination of red & white]
  • 1 Can light Coconut Milk
  • 5 Cinnamon sticks [1 tsp]
  • 2 tsp Vanilla

~ While quinoa simmers, combine:

  • ½ C Almonds, chopped
  • ½ C Cashews, chopped
  • 2 T Chia Seeds
  • ¼ C ground Flaxseeds
  • 1 T Sesame Seeds
  • Sea Salt

~ In a mixing bowl, add nut/seed mixture to cooked Quinoa.

~ Stir together:

  • 2 T Brown Rice Syrup
  • 1 T Maple Syrup
  • 1 T Coconut Oil

~ Pour over Quinoa Mixture & mix well.

~ Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

~ Bake until golden brown & almost completely dried out, ~1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

~ About halfway through baking, I sprinkled & pressed 1/2 C dried Cherries into the granola.

~ I also reduced the temperature  to 325* because it was browning too quickly.

~ Allow the granola to cool completely, before storing in an airtight container, to prevent it from going mushy.

~ I dusted a substantial amount of cinnamon over the granola before storing [I keep it in the fridge but do not think this is necessary].

In an old Yoga Journal issue, I found an amazing post flight sequence to help “get us grounded & enjoy our destination”.  It will be perfect while waiting for Dave’s sister, Christine.  I am anxious to enhance my practice, exploring new yoga classes & instructors, while in SD.

Did I mention we are going to a Padres’ game?!  Baseball is my favorite sport to watch.  Really.

Also, we will be bouldering on the beach.  Aw.

We may never come back! 🙂

~

Any tips or tricks for traveling & flying?

Dave & I will also be having a Friday date night, just the two of us, if anyone has suggestions.  [We have never been to SD.]

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