Quinoa & Vegetable Salad

I’m feeling quite guilty about the prolonged absence from my blog, but after several eventful months I’m back! Let’s see – since I last posted I changed jobs, moved and got married. Quite crazy I must say! Now that I’m settling back into a routine, I’m back in the kitchen and focusing on new dishes with a healthy twist.

This lazy Sunday afternoon I assembled a vegetable, quinoa salad. It’s perfect for a light lunch or side dish. There are 3 components – quinoa, dressing and vegetables. Lime and vinegar brighten up the dressing and crunchy peppers add a nice texture. Check this recipe out!

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Quinoa

3/4 cups quinoa (red or golden)

1 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/4 cup water

Directions: Rinse the quinoa and drain. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and toast the quinoa for about 8 minutes. Add the cumin and toast for another 3 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups of water to the quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and remove lid.

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Dressing

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper (remove seeds)

1 minced garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

Directions: Make a quick dressing. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, pepper, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. And warm quinoa to dressing and stir to coat. Set aside.

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Vegetable Salad

1/2 cup corn

3/4 cup diced red pepper

3/4 cup quartered cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup sliced scallions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup black beans

drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar

Directions: Mix the above ingredients and add to the cooled quinoa mixture. Let rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours for the flavors to meld.

Enjoy!

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Easy Granola Bars

These babies are so quick and easy to whip up. Eat one for breakfast, grab one for a snack, or have one for a healthy (well … relatively, better for you than a slice of cake!) dessert. The ingredient list is short and sweet. I usually have all the ingredients in my pantry. Feel free to add any dried fruits, nuts, or chocolate that you prefer. These are yummy and so much better than the ones in the cereal aisle at the grocery store!

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Recipe:

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter, honey and sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until mixture start to bubble, then turn the heat down and cook for a few minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

2 cups oats (quick oats)

1 cup cereal (crispy rice)

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine the oats and cereal together in a bowl, then pour the sugary/butter mixture over the dry mixture. Add the marshmallows. Mix together. Dump out on a 9×11 pan lined with parchment. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Press mixture evenly together, packing it firmly so it doesn’t fall apart. Cool at room temperature for a couple of hours. Cut into bars and enjoy! 

Inspired by Lauren’s Latest blog! http://www.laurenslatest.com/no-bake-chocolate-chip-granola-bars-easy-healthy/

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Crunchy Granola

Let me start by saying Happy New Years! What are your resolutions for 2013? Is eating healthier one of them? I thought I’d kick off the new year with a heart healthy granola, great for breakfast/dessert/snacking … you name it.

Granola

Recipe:

1 1/2 Cup old fashioned oats

1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, etc.)

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries, raisins, etc.)

dash of cinnamon

dash of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper, and spread evenly. Cook for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Cool and store in an airtight container. Serve with milk, yogurt, or eat plain!

Crunchy Granola

Apple Chips

Fall is definitely in the air in Northern California! A storm is sweeping in overnight which means snow in the Sierras. Good news for skiers, not so good news for my parent’s garden. Luckily my dad watches the weather channel religiously, and got a head start picking the remaining apples off the trees. Consequently I ended up with a nice boxful of the loot and have been finding creative ways to consume the fruit. I ran across an apple chip recipe that I decided to give a try. I was delightfully surprised with the crispy, crunchy, light, sweet, tangy chips!

I started by prepping the apples. I have this fantastic de Buyer mandoline that works wonders. I sliced through the apples with ease.

Then I dipped the slices in a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar. From there they went on a sheet pan and baked until crispy and brown.

Recipe: (adapted from the blog The Italian Dishhttp://theitaliandishblog.com/imported-20090913150324/2012/1/2/homemade-apple-chips.html

3-4 medium apples
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 225 F degrees.  Prep 2 cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.

Use a mandoline to slice the apples as thinly as possible. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon, then dip the apple slices lightly in the mixture to coat.  Spread the slices on the cookies sheets in a single layer.  Bake for 45 minutes then flip with tongs or a spatula. Bake for another 45 – 60 minutes until brown and crisp.  Transfer to a rack to cool.