Bring on the Pumpkin

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The fall baking has arrived!

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Despite the weather not exactly cooperating (it sort of did yesterday…. I wore a light sweatshirt past 10 am. Omg. It was awesome), I have checked the box next to the ‘first pumpkin baked good for fall” box. Would have been earlier, but 90 plus temperatures don’t really lend themselves to pumpkin… I mean, they can but apparently for me they don’t.

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BUT. Solved that problem yesterday (made this, with a few tweaks: chopped dates instead of chocolate, omitted coconut flour; used difference spices and only 1/4 coconut sugar + maple), plus mashed potatoes, shredded ginger-rosemary chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, hardboiled eggs… And I also somehow found time yesterday to have brunch+a walk with a best camp friend, run a grocery errand, go to Target, clean my apartment, do laundry, read for epi, write more of my midterm paper, and finish my stats homework…. which as anyone in my cohort knows is quite a feat, 18 pages of SAS printout later… AND I made quinoa banana carrot bread, which is actually what this post is about, because I’ve now made it twice in two weeks so obviously it’s a winner.

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And I’m stealing the 10 minutes I have early early in the am when it’s still dark out and I’m not studying to share it with you because I love my invisible internet blog friends WAY more than I love doing homework.

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I also drew the next installment for the drawing challenge. Day 5: Best Friend. I have so many friends I couldn’t live without; and they all hold a piece of my heart!

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Also, sometimes this is what a grad school coping mechanism looks like (and yes, this app is still floating my boat) :

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extra dark chocolate, bbread with butter, food writing and a fun app = coping.

So! This bread. Is the right combination of not too sweet, just sweet enough, dense without being too dense, satisfying when you want a snack or dessert. It also has that great craggy top and slightly chewy sides that I think all quick breads should have, but that’s just me. It’s also fodmap friendly, IBS friendly, gluten free with only one teeny tweak, refined sugar free, and whole grain. YAY!

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Quinoa Carrot Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf. FODMAP friendly, IBS friendly, gluten free option (Just sub the 1/3 c spelt flour with an equal amount of quinoa flour), refined sugar free, high in beta-carotene and omega 3’s… and absolutely delicious. Inspired by Power Hungry, here!

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  • 1 c quinoa flour
  • 1/3 c white or brown rice flour (I’ve used both and either is delicious)
  • 1/3 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 3/4 c (2 large) bananas, mashed
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c mostly-melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/3 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 (or 360 in the case of my abnormally hot and uneven oven), and grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil.

Toast the quinoa flour in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until you can smell it: about 5 minutes (this is important! Quinoa flour can be a little bitter if this step is omitted); let cool for a few minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, rice flour, spelt flour, sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, then add maple syrup, grated carrots, melted coconut oil, vanilla, egg, and hemp milk, and whisk vigorously to combine. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients, and stir to combine (the batter will be thick, which is fine). Stir in walnuts. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes (mine comes out of my stupid hot oven perfectly browned at 360 degrees and 46 minutes; but you most likely have a normal oven that heats appropriately…) Check for a lightly browned top and a skewer that comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For storage, wrap this in foil and store it in the fridge for the 30 seconds that the leftovers last…

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Nuts for texture

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My favorite part of Indian food is the dessert.

Once (not that long ago… ahem, possibly less than a month), my family went out for Indian food at this ridiculously delicious place in LA… and I was goaded encouraged to order dessert before dinner… and then a dessert for after dinner. And I thought, why not?! Because I always get so full with naan and curried goodness and end up eating dessert anyway, and then I can’t move for a week. Or maybe a few hours but it feels like a week.

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So this time I got smart!! A bowl of kheer to start the dinner… and a bowl to end it. A proper way to do things, if you ask me.

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Anyway. This isn’t exactly like the kheer you find in Indian places—it’s made with quinoa and rice milk rather than white rice and dairy (which obviously gives it a nutritional bump), but it’s close enough that I love it anyway. Give me some textural, lumpy puddingy thing and I’m totally sold. Seriously. I can’t stand mousse or regular pudding, but tapioca?! Oh yes. Rice pudding? In a heartbeat. Bread pudding? Bring it. You see? Nuts for texture.

Besides, this one is gluten free, refined sugar free, and full of protein! Why *wouldn’t* you eat this for dessert?! It’s perfect, provided you’re nuts for texture like me :) (or maybe just nuts, that’s a distinct possibility)

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Quinoa Kheer

Recipe adapted from A Brown Table, here! My fambam was in a pudding mood so it served three…
Gluten free, high protein, refined sugar free, and dairy free (if you sub in vegan butter)! What’s not to love?

  • 1.5 c cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp butter (mine is Kerrygold Irish butter, salted)
  • 4 dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • chopped pistachios for garnish

Melt butter over medium heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add chopped dates and cardamom, and saute for just about a minute. Toss in quinoa, almond milk, coconut sugar, and honey, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced significantly (you’ll be able to tell—it will become thicker, with a more puddingy consistency. It will still thicken as it cools, so I stopped mine when it was reduced by about a 1/3). Stir frequently as it simmers, as the milk will scald if left too long. Let cool at room temperature, then stick it into the fridge for another hour or two. Serve chilled with chopped pistachios!

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Like a boss. And some quinoa.

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You know it’s Labor Day when there’s tartan! Gotta be reppin’ at the Scottish Gatherings and Games in all my Clan Scott-ness, ancient green tartan and all. Like a boss. Or a Scot. Which is pretty much the same thing!

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Also… I made english muffins again! But… they were kind of flat. Delicious, but flat. So no recipe yet but a picture nonetheless because the little rising muffinlets were cute.

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So. Quinoa.

I kind of have a love-hate relationship with it… I either really do it right and really love it, or I’m rather meh about it. Like for instance if I just cook it with water and then expect myself to eat chicken and veggie on top of it, I’ll do it but I inevitably end up thinking less than flattering thoughts about it in my brain. However! When I do it right, like in these little guys, all is right in the quinoa universe.

Sorry that the carrots are rather aggressively orange in these photos…

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They’re like little hockey pucks of deliciousness! Besides, who doesn’t like an excuse to make things in muffin tins?

Easy to throw together, delicious, and good for me. Of course I want a dinner like that! And versatile enough to be lunch (and breakfast if you’re me, odd child).

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Quinoa Cakes with Peas and Zucchini

I made these in my so-called ‘jumbo’ muffin tins, but I didn’t fill them all the way and I don’t find them to be particularly jumbo anyway sooo… use what you have! I got 12, which was dinner for 3 with enough leftovers for my lunch. The recipe is slightly adapted from The Fitchen, here!

Vegan!

  • 1/2 c dry quinoa
  • 1 c water
  • 1.75 c oat flour
  • 1/4 c rye flour
  • 1 c peas
  • 1/2 c grated zucchini
  • 1 flax egg [1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water]
  • 1/4 c refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp unsweetened rice milk (or other nondairy bev)
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast*
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pepper, to taste

*Nutritional yeast is easy to find in the bulk section—I get mine at Whole Foods

Firstly, cook quinoa! Start water and rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and let it go, covered, until the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). Don’t peek! It makes it take longer… Fluff it with a fork when done and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease muffin tins of choice (I use coconut oil or butter for this).

Grind your own oat flour in a food processor! 2 cups of oats=1.75 c oat flour, or thereabout. I swapped in a 1/4 c of rye flour, but feel free to use all oat. Toss flour into a largeish bowl, stir in cooled quinoa, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Make your flax egg now, and set that aside as well. Grate zucchini, defrost peas. In a smaller bowl, combine all the liquid ingredients: flax egg, coconut oil, and rice milk, as well as the nutritional yeast.  Stir liquid ingredients, zucchini, and peas into the dry bowl, until just mixed.

Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full, smooth the tops (or not), and pop them into the oven for 25 minutes. These keep well in the fridge to be reheated for lunch or breakfast later!

007 and a blue plate special

A few weekendy things:

Sorry I’m not sorry… I love my Ducks!

And really… shaken, not stirred. I wonder if James Bond ever does normalish things like go out and buy bread? What if he really wanted ice cream or something? Wouldn’t there be some creep trying to pick him off on the way to the ice cream store? Does he ever go anywhere without a gun? The latest movie was freaking fantastic!! Such a lovely way to spend my Sunday—a date with Daniel Craig and some veggie burgers. Okay, sadly not really but I can pretend, right?! At least these veggie burgers were real:

It’s like a blue plate special.

And cookies! They were real too.

AND paleo. I’m rather proud of myself that I baked something with coconut flour that wasn’t totally nasty. I’m all for non-grain flours, but my first encounter with coconut flour ended up in the garbage. Literally. I NEVER throw away food unless it’s gone bad… BUT. These. Ugh. They defied description. Thankfully, I got things under control with a different recipe, and am now a convinced fan of coconut flour. (They can be found in the following post)

So. A wildly successful weekend on all fronts: James Bond, veggie burgers, and cookies. AND the Ducks won. #lovemyducks!

Sweet Potato-Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

I got 7 burgers out of this, and they made awesome leftovers. Recipe slightly modified from here! Especially tasty with a side salad and extra mustard… these have sweet potato, black beans, and quinoa, as well as lots of other delicious things. They’re also soy-free, which is a nice change from a lot of other veggie burgers.

  • 4 small sweet potatoes (no really, mine were TINY)
  • 1/2 c cooked quinoa
  • 15 oz (1 can) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 leek, lightly sautéed
  • 6 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp raw pepitas
  • pepper to taste
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Wash the sweet potatoes, pierce them a few times with a fork, and pop into the microwave on the baked potato setting (or whatever yours has). When finished, let them cool until you can cube them (skin and all), and then rustically mash them (leave some lumps). Clean the leek thoroughly, and dice up the white bit. Lightly sauté in a bit of olive oil; let cool.

Preheat the oven to 375, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a separate bowl, mash the black beans (almost completely, again—leave some lumps). Stir in mashed sweet potatoes, cooked quinoa, corn, sautéed leek, rolled oats, pepitas, salt/pepper, cumin, oregano and olive oil. Stir to combine. Form into patties/sliders/whatever, and plop onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes total, flipping at the 7 minute mark. Top with mustard or whatever floats your boat! They’re delicious any way you slice it.

Mo’ Muffins! And some kitchen shenanigans.

this pottery is ADORBS

Mo’ muffins!

I know, I know, they’re just so fun to photograph. Besides… I also made this.

you see that fab green color? Nutrients, that’s what that is. (Read: KALE!)

And this.

I’m just visually taunting you, no big deal

But this needs improvement, so you don’t get a recipe. Yet. Let me make it awesome first, then I’ll share.

And I also did this. Yeah yeah, there’s a wee bit of Scottish in me (have you checked out my last name lately?!) and I like to be repppin’ at the Pleasanton Highland Games. Don’t be judgy.

A Bellendaine!! [The Scotts are out! War cry of Clan Scott, ahhhhh yeahhh] And yes, that IS the ancient-green Scott tartan.
Anyyyway. These muffins. I made quinoa muffins once before back in Salem for Kira and I, and MAN were they delicious. So I figured, why not again? Except this time, I had a plethora of dead bananas getting deader by the minute in the fridge, and they really needed to go to a nice home in muffins. And cake. Which is why the above happened (imperfectly… it was kind of an experiment). And really, I stopped to listen to my internal thought process when I was baking… and it’s ridiculous. Really ridiculous. Apparently I am a tad ADD when baking: “ooooh dead bananas, they should go in something but what? Tired of muffins. No bread it takes too long I want instant gratification OH! CAKE! A half recipe would bake faster Hmmm okay so it has eggs but I don’t want to use eggs today what about flax? nahhh OOOH vinegar goes with bananas and brings out their flavor, what about vinegar and baking soda? ooh but wait I want quinoa… okay so quinoa muffins and banana cake and kale pesto… that’s a weird combo but whatever” etc etc etc and on and on and on. Be thankful you aren’t inside my head.

mo’ muffins!

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Muffins

Makes 11 muffins. Very slightly adapted from Pardon the Dog Hair, here! The quinoa gives these muffins a slightly crunchy texture (in an extremely good way), and are full of all kinds of delicious things. Whole grains, protein, lower in sugar, and perfect for breakfast. Or snack. Or appeasing your gremlins at any time.

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Acquire:

  • 1 c quick oats (uncooked) (Mine was more like 3/4 c quick oats, 1/4 c rolled)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 c milk bev (mine was 1% milk)
  • 1/3 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp-runneth-over (aka heaping) peanut buttahhh
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c cooked quinoa (about 1/3 c dry)
  • 1 buhhnahhnuhhh, mashed
  • a sprinkling of chocolate chippies
it seems like there should be a rainbow leading to the pot o’muffin..?

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins.

You know the drill, muffins are easyyyy: In a bowl, whisk together oats, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and cinnamon. In a larger bowl, whisk applesauce, vanilla, honey, milk bev, yogurt, and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add in egg, quinoa, and banana and whisk until incorporated. Add dry into wet, sprinkle in chippies, and (avoiding overmixing) stir to combine. Fill tins about 2/3 full depending on muffin size preference… and bake for 15-16 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

up close and muffin-personal

What?! Something savory? No, you must be joking…

mmm, AVO!

Are you sitting down?

Okay. Good.

Because I have something SAVORY for you today! You know, as in… not sweet. Woah. Yeah. I think I may have just felt the world move.

HOWEVER. Don’t let this temporary lapse throw you off for long, because I have sweets planned for tomorrow. Yep. BIIIIIG plans. But anyway… back to the first wonder of the [savory] [not sweet!] world… How long has it been since I posted a savory recipe?! Ages, that’s how long. I promise I do actually eat something besides dessert. Really. I do. I’m usually just too lazy and too hungry to photograph them pre-lunch or dinner. But this time, I finally got around to it! Except it was sort of a mid-lunch, spur of the moment idea, so I apologize for the semi-less-than-stellar photography. Ehhh, you win some, you lose some. But it’s delicious, I promise, despite being less than awesome on a plate. Or rather, in a bowl as it were (I LOVE eating out of bowls. I would eat out of a bowl at every meal if that was a possibility… Kira can vouch for this small peculiarity, hehe).

half-eaten bowl. don’t be judgy!

This particular incarnation reflects my love for my “bowl” lunches/dinners, which are essentially some form of a grain or some such for the base (or a salad, as the case may be), and then a ridiculous amount of veggies + maybe a bit of cheese + definitely an egg/some type of proteiny goodness. This particular bowl combines quinoa and black beans together, so I used it more as part of salad. It was delicious! I mega recommend it if you’re a quinoa fan (and if you’re not, you should be. SO good for you and SO tasty!). It’s suuuuper easy and super fast, and can be adapted to suit the whims of your pantry gods/your particular mood at the time– it’s a very forgiving dish that makes a great side or a tasty main.

gettin’ up close and personal with some quinoa

Random Quinoa Bowl o’ Goodness

I loosely adapted this from Grumpy When Hungry, here!

Poke around in your kitchen and gather up something that resembles this:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove (or little frozen blob) of garlic
  • pepper to taste
  • small glug of olive oil
  • 3/4 c uncooked quinoa (I used the tri-color variety)
  • 1.5 c chicken broth (free range, organic if possible, pretty please!)—veggie broth if you want a vegetarian dish
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • a few sprinkles of curry powder, cajun seasoning, and chili powder, to taste preference
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 sweet bell pepper
  • 1/2 c frozen corn, defrosted
  • grated cheddar for topping purposes (don’t pass this up!!)
  • avo! But only if you have it… though it’s pretty fantastic in this
//

Start putzing:

Add a glug of olive oil to a medium saucepan, and heat the pan on medium/high heat. Finely dice onion, and sauté with the garlic  and a few twists/shakes of pepper until onions are translucent. Toss in quinoa and chicken broth, and then cumin, curry/cajun/chili (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for about 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, steam zucchini and bell pepper (or any other veggies you have), until just fork-tender. With the heat still on low, stir black beans into quinoa pot, followed by zucchini, bell pepper, and corn, and cook a few minutes until heated through. Remove from heat and serve! This is fab over spinach/lettuce as a warm (or cold) salad, topped with grated cheddar and chunky avo. Yum yum yum for a complete veggie protein from the beans + corn, not to mention quinoa (it contains all the amino acids needed to be a complete protein)! Nutrient powerhouse is a winner winner [non] chicken dinner! hehe.

I’d eaten most of the salad by this point….use your imagination and visualize more spinach!

 

one more avo. Only because they are soooo beautiful!

Workout. Get pumped! Eat. Love. Repeat as necessary!

semi-leaning tower of quinoa bars!

Happy first day of spring to you too, Salem. Thanks for the nice weather SNOW. What?! Like, actual snow this time too. About three inches of fluff on my car this morning… what is this?! Thankfully today was Workout Wednesday (ie the only reason I go to campus is to work out), or else I might have skipped class, hehe. (As Kira pointed out, at least I have my priorities straight. Miss a workout with Christine? NEVER! ha. But hey! Justified, as pilates/fitness instructor is my career of choice) Besides, I had to go give Christine her quinoa-banana bars. Yes. I am the kind of person who bakes treats for her fitness instructor. We have the same workout addiction after all: Must…work… out! And buy new active wear! Healthy snacks in exchange for a Pilates-Core body butt kicking? I think it’s a fair trade ;)

So now I’m nicely sore and contemplating going back out into the wet for work. And wet indeed it is now… we’re getting semi-frozen rain-ish-slush-gross now, because, well, why not? I have holes in my uggs, that’s why not. My heels got suspiciously damp when I was wearing them this morning… seriously, I had all these grand plans to take my winter-wear home over spring break to leave it, so that  I had less to take home in May. Fat chance. Watch, I’ll leave it all here and it’s be sunny and glorious the rest of April. Hmm. Maybe this is logical… maybe I should take it home?! Oh weather gods, how you love to mess with us here in Salem. I like snow, don’t get me wrong, but only when I can ski on it, pleaseandthankyou.

there's a rogue one!

Anywayyyy. Today I have bars for you! Healthy snack-type bars, like a cross between banana bread and a granola bar. They’re packed with all kinds of goodness: whole grains, peanut butter (YAY!), quinoa, flaxseed, bananaaaaas, and cardamom. Mmm. Can’t go wrong with the banana-cardamom combo, it’s fab. These bars also happen to be vegan, just for funzies! They’re perfect with a little (more) nut butter swiped on top (uh-oh, I can see the bottom of my peanut butter jar, mayday mayday!) and extra bananas :)

oh hey, up close!

Peanut Butter-Banana Quinoa Bars

Recipe only slightly adapted from here! Makes… 8 ish? I made it in a pie dish, and cut rectangles out of the center. Wedges would have been good too.

  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 c cooked quinoa*
  • 1/4 c wheat germ
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c milk bev (soymilk for me)
  • sprinkling of dark chocolate chippies!
barsssss

*I cooked 1/3 c dry quinoa in 2/3 c water, yielding enough for the bars + dinner leftovers :)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a dish of choice. I made mine in a 9″ pie dish, since a square 9″ seemed too big.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking powder. In a largeish bowl, mash up the banana with a fork, and then vigorously stir in peanut butter until combined. (Added bonus: bicep workout!) Add in quinoa, wheat germ, flaxseed, sugar, vinegar, and soymilk, and stir to combine. Toss flour mixture and chocolate chips into the wet ingredients, and mix together until combined. Spatula-ize the batter into your prepared pan (Yes, spatula is a verb now), and bake for just about 30 minutes. A tester should come out clean when done.

Workout, feel pumped, eat, love! Repeat as necessary.

this may or may not be how my peanut butter disappears so fast...