Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The current trendy carb: quinoa.

What is this difficult to pronounce food?

Quinoa (keen-wah) is usually considered to be a whole grain, but it is actually a seed that comes from South America. But it is often prepared as grains are like rice or barley. I had seen all sorts of recipes and articles and such about this grain and I didn't think I was trendy enough to try it out, but I put my insecurities aside and purchased my first bag. Speaking of isn't the cheapest item in the grocery store, but keep in mind, a little bit goes a long way because it fluffs up when you cook it just like rice.

Reasons why quinoa is "in" right now:

1. It is considered a healthy alternative...and these days all things healthy are "in"...thus...
2. It is gluten and cholesterol free. Another big thing right now, the gluten free phenomenon. I do understand some people are required to eat gluten free however, so for them, this is great!
3. Although high carb, also very high in protein--it fills you up very quick! So bulk it up with veggies and other goodies and you have a hearty healthy meal that will keep you full and satisfied.
4. It cooks quickly. Once your water is boiled it only takes about 10-15 minutes to get that high protein grain nice and fluffy and ready to eat.

So that's all of the reasons I could come up with...but I think they're pretty least for me who is easily lured in by trendy things. Congratulations Quinoa, ya got me.

I posted a recipe in my last post that included quinoa in the recipe and I highly recommend it. If you like pizza, you'll enjoy these yummy quinoa pizza creations!

I had tried another recipe before that because the picture on Pinterest caught my eye. Anything with broccoli and cheese has to be good! I've tried to spread the broccoli love to my kindergarteners...they're not quite on my level yet. is a broccoli and cheese casserole, but instead of rice, I'll give you one got it! QUINOA! Very very yummy. LOVED this one!

I tried another recipe last week which has been my favorite so far! I am always looking for things to take in my lunch that are healthy, that will keep in a lunchbox, and preferably don't have to be heated. We eat lunch in our classrooms so its a little difficult to run to the microwave everyday. All that to be said, I discovered this quinoa recipe, surprise surprise; which turned out to be a great lunch box option.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Recipe adapted from here

What you will need:

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, diced into small pieces
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
(Another great addition is tomato if you want to add more to it!)
Lettuce to serve on (optional)

Dressing Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile pepper
pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 

What to do...
Check the quinoa package to see if it needs to be rinsed (it often needs to be rinsed in a mesh strainer). Combine quinoa, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork and let cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Combine diced red pepper, drained black beans, green onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Set aside and make dressing.

Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together.

Add the (fairly cool) quinoa to your other ingredients and then stir in you dressing. Add enough to moisten all ingredients. 

The salad absorbs the dressing especially well when it is refrigerated so it is best after it has chilled for a little while. I scooped mine on top of some lettuce and ate it as a salad, but it is also great by itself! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

football and food: my life as of late.

Fall is officially here! As cliche as it may is my most favorite season of all. The colors, the smells, the food, the leaves, the weather, and football season! My "visitor" as mentioned in my last post, warned me that when football season came, our weekends would look a little different. Having grown up with two brothers, and a family who thoroughly enjoys watching sports, I (thought I) knew what to expect.

I do enjoy watching football. I enjoy attending the event more than anything, but when that isn't an option, I do enjoy watching it on TV. There's something about the sound of the band, the announcers and ESPN Gameday echoing through the TV on Saturday that I just love. One of the first weekends of football this season, I spent with Visitor at his house. Auburn played at 11 AM that Saturday, so I (stupidly) thought "Oh good! Then we'll have the afternoon and evening to do something fun/enjoy this beautiful day!" Wrong. That evening I totaled the hours of football viewing. 13 hours, my friends. 13 hours. I guess I can't say I wasn't warned.

Now regardless of the 13 hours of football, I did have a great time. I'm glad I can do something with Visitor that I know he loves. And bless him, because he is so patient with me when I ask silly questions about this sport that I still don't completely understand. To this day, I get umpires and referees confused. Embarrassing...I know. So...Visitor, if you're reading this, thanks for opening my eyes to the unknowns of sports. I know my brothers appreciate you.

Once I accepted the fact that football season meant "different looking" weekends, I decided I could still have my fun during these viewings. When we don't get to make it to the Plains for the game, and we are sitting on the couch, I have found I can spend way too much time (and run down my phone battery three times in a day) on Pinterest. Thanks to this lovely invention, I have been pinning a million and one scrumptious looking recipes. If any of you Pinners can relate, you have pages and pages of recipes on your Pinterest boards and have never attempted any of them. I decided this would stop. I was going to tackle some...while Visitor watched football.

So this weekend, Visitor and little brother (home from college) got to be my taste testers for some Pinterest inspired creations. I have been on a quinoa kick lately. If you haven't cooked with it...and you like carbs...go get some! It is a great healthy alternative and is full of protein (and gluten free!).

*Recipes linked to the pictures below.

Visitor and I at the Auburn vs. LSU game

family at the tailgate--missing brother and sister-in-law!

reunited with my best friend on the Plains! 
Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes

a taste of fall in a bite size treat

Quinoa Pizza Bites

And can always find a reason to need a cookie cake, right?