YOU CAN DO IT: Quinoa Banana Pancakes

AMNW

Nothing to get me back to the blog like an AM Northwest morning!

Today I spent some time with Dave and we made one of my favorite quinoa recipes: quinoa banana pancakes.  (Man, I love him. He is so bright and happy – and always a joy to stand beside and cook with.) Last summer I told you about these and how to make them with fresh peaches… but, since we’ve yet to hit the summertime bounty, banana is what seems to be making an appearance most often in my kitchen these days.

These little patties  have no added sugar, can be made gluten free (just use gluten free flour), and taste great fresh out of the pan with a little maple syrup, or cold as a little mid-day snack.

I have a whole batch sitting in my fridge right now and, when the hunger strikes, I nibble on a couple with a big bottle of water and keep running through my day.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups precooked quinoa
2 eggs
1 heaping cup of smashed bananas (or other fresh fruit)
1/4 cup flour
1 TBSP organic raw honey (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder

TO MAKE: Whisk your eggs together and pour the eggs into a bowl with the precooked quinoa. Add your smashed banana, vanilla extract, flour, and baking powder. Stir together until evenly incorporated… and then fry in a butter coated pan on medium heat about 3 minutes on each side. Patties should be golden brown when done!

ENJOY!

BY THE WAY – WANT TO COOK WITH ME?

If you’re in the Portland area, I’ll be hosting a “Quinoa: Breakfast to Dinner” class at Whole Foods Bridgeport on March 30. Connect with me on FB, Twitter, or on Instagram for more details to follow this week. SPACE WILL BE LIMITED!

Thanks for being here with me…

YOU CAN DO IT: Baked Quinoa Egg Pie

It’s been awhile, sweet friend. I’ve missed you. I don’t know what happened… I don’t know where the days have gone from January 29th to today. I was on a roll. I was writing, and cooking, and savoring every connection with you – and, then, I got quiet.

Quiet.

I feel like three weeks ago I made an unconscious decision to slip out of my tough skin – the skin I wear when I command the troops, run the house, strive to build, and do, do, do, and slip back into the softness of motherhood, and marriage, and friendship. I needed to stop striving. I needed to turn inward, and pay attention, and be still. (And with tough skin on, being still and quiet is the last thing I want to do.)

But then a couple of days ago I was standing in my kitchen after a workout, and I needed to eat.  I wanted something powerful, because I was feeling powerful. I wanted something light, because I was feeling ready to take on the world. And in that moment, I felt something else: I felt the urge of quiet lift, and I wanted something to share with you – I wanted something to empower YOU with, too.

And you know what came from that thought? This:

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A baked quinoa egg pie.

I made it, ate it warm, and then snacked on it cold the next two days. I made another variation for my Friday morning bible study group – and it was devoured. Then, I made another one today after I returned from my morning workout – and it has carried me through the day.

Just a little slice or two, a glass of water or some tea, and a piece of fresh fruit. Can you say PERFECT MEAL?

Clean. Pure. Whole. Easy. DELICIOUS.

Here’s what you need:

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For saute:

  • olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 baby Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped in quarter sized pieces
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved (this is a great way to use up tomatos that are beginning to wilt)
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp peppr

For egg mixture:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups of precooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta

Make sauté:

Heat a large skillet with some olive oil. Add diced shallot and minced garlic; sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly so you don’t burn the garlic.

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Add in mushrooms and parsley and sauté until mushrooms begin to release their moisture (about two minutes).

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Turn off heat and add in spinach, cherry tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper, and stir to mix thoroughly. Cover so the steam wilts the greens and tomatoes while you prepare the egg mixture.

Make egg mixture:

Butter a glass pie plate. (Yes, buttered. Don’t use chemical cooking spray – use real butter.)

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Whisk 6 eggs in a large bowl until they are loose.

Add in quinoa, feta, and then the warm sauté. Pour entire mixture into a buttered, glass pie plate.

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Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

DONE.

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Now, the possibilities are limitless with this dish. Just like an omelette or quiche, you can add sausage, arugula, other herbs, other greens. You could do it with leftover roasted root vegetables or potatoes. You could use any cheese – from cheddar, to goat cheese, to parmesean. Whatever your heart desires (or whatever is in your fridge) will work. Allow yourself the freedom (and fun!) to get creative.

So there. I’m back. And… I hope you’re inspired. (Because that’s why I’m here, you know? I’m here because I want you to know: YOU CAN DO IT.)

Much love to you.

You Can Do It: Mama’s Honey Vanilla Quinoa Granola (“Quinola Crunch”)

Honey Vanilla Quniola

Honey Vanilla “Quinola Crunch”

My mom’s dad was addicted to granola when I was little. He was a military man – very rigid and regimented, and when we stayed with them I knew one thing for certain: granola and milk would be my breakfast.

My grandpa would buy dozens of boxes of granola at a time. He bought the exact same brand and exact same flavor, and I could always count at least six boxes at a time being perfectly stocked side by side in the overflowing pantry. (I chuckle as I think of him standing in front of the dozens and dozens of granola options we have available today… how would he have decided?)

But anyway, with all that said, I guess you could say I have a special spot in my heart for granola… and for the sweet memories of childhood it brings to mind.

While I love granola, though, the problem I have with most commercial options (beyond the mere fact they are flat out expensive!) is they are filled with sugars, preservatives, and other junk. If you read the labels, it’s quite shocking, actually: some granola has even more sugar than the ‘taboo’ cereals like Frosted Flakes. Seriously! So, what’s a girl to do?

Make my own!

Today I’m sharing my Quinola Crunch recipe with you for several reasons:

1) It’s yummier than anything you’ll find on the shelf.

2) It’s made with nothing but amazing God-made ingredients (i.e. no refined grains, flours, or sugars).

3)  Making it yourself will save you a boatload of money.

4) It’s one more exceptional way to get a little more quinoa into your day!

5) I love you and I want you to be healthier by cutting out all the excess refined sugars you can.

So, you ready to wow yourself with your quinola-making abilities? Here we go:

Timing: It will take you about 10 minutes to put together, 20 minutes to bake.

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Tools:

  • baking sheet
  • large bowl
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • small glass bowl (or glass Pyrex measuring cup)
  • a large airtight container for storage

Ingredients:

DRY mixture:

  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 cup toasted buckwheat (“kasha”)
  • 1 cup whole oats (if you buy gluten-free oats, this recipe will be 100% gluten-free)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut ribbons
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

WET mixture:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup pure coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to bake at 300 degrees on ‘convection’ setting; or, 325 in a regular ‘bake’ setting.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside
  3. In a glass bowl, melt coconut oil for approx 45-60 seconds. Add honey and return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Using a hand whisk, whisk thoroughly; then, add in vanilla and salt and whisk again to fully incorporate all ingredients together.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix until all dry ingredients are coated evenly. Spread mixture out on a cookie sheet so that the mixture is about one inch thick.
  5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove sheet and carefully stir the mixture so that exposed surfaces are turned under. (Pay special attention to disrupt the sides and corners since those tend to toast faster than the center.)
  6. Return sheets to oven and bake for another 10 minutes. (NOTE: The key to cooking time? You’re waiting for the mixture to turn a beautiful LIGHT golden color. So, if the mixture is already looking golden when you pull it out after the first 10 minutes, you’ll want to return it for less time after stirring; and, if you don’t notice much change in color after the first 1o minutes, you’ll be able to leave it for a little longer in the second round.) 
  7. When baking is complete, remove trays from oven and allow quinola to cool completely right on the tray. Once cooled, use a spatula to carefully release the quinola from the pan. (The more gently you work, the more chunky your quinola will be.)
  8. Store in an airtight container.

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That’s it! It is sooo yummy… and an entire tray is sooo inexpensive to make when you consider how much ‘gourmet’ quinoa snacks and granola are going for these days. (I’ve seen granola similar to this selling for close to $20+ a pound!! And this recipe? It will probably cost you about $5 for the whole tray.)

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I love to just nibble on my quinola, or it’s especially yummy as a sprinkle over greek yogurt:

Quinoala Crunch and Greek Yogurt

Quinola Crunch and Greek Yogurt

A few final tips:

  1. You can find all ingredients in most bulk bins.
  2. Buy organic everything if you can… and look for ‘unsulfured’ dried fruits.
  3. The first time you make it keep a close eye on it so you don’t over toast it! Lightly toasted, lightly toasted, lightly toasted!
  4. The quinola continues to cook AFTER you remove it from the oven… keep that in mind! So, it’s better to pull it out a little under toasted than too toasted.

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you try it… and then come back and let me know what you think!!

HOW TO: Herbed Quinoa Eggs En Cocotte (aka With a Baked Egg)

I just saw a post from one of my friends on Facebook that said, “A trip to Hawaii would be quite nice right now.” Yeah, no kidding. It’s cold, dreary, rainy… I bet we’re all longing for a little ‘get-away’ right about now.

The reality, however, is that most of us will not be whisking away to anywhere out of the ordinary this weekend. But why should that stop us from bringing the ‘out of the ordinary’ into our homes?

That’s the beauty I find in cooking: that it offers beauty and love through the work of my hands while also bringing the smells and flavors and experience of somewhere else into our everyday.

That’s where this little quinoa dish comes in:

HERBED QUINOA EGGS EN COCOTTE.

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Herbed Quinoa Eggs En Cocotte topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese

Eggs en cocotte are French baked eggs. In their most traditional form, the ramekins would be filled with cheese, cream, butter, maybe a little bacon, and then the egg cracked on top and baked until set. (Sounds like exactly what you should eat in a french cafe, doesn’t it?)

Now, for me, all the butter, cream, and cheese doesn’t really float my boat – although I love the idea of the baked egg. That’s where this recipe comes from… from my quinoa obsession, my love of eggs, and my desire for beautiful food.

You can also add the parmesean into the mix before baking and then top with a little crushed red pepper.

You can also add the parmesan into the mix before baking and then top with a little crushed red pepper.

The best part? YOU CAN DO IT. It is quick, it’s delicious, it’s satisfying… and the perfect foundation for breakfast. (I’d serve these, fresh fruit, hot tea and/or coffee, and maybe even a little sweet bread of some sort.)

You ready to give it a try?

Here are the tools you’ll need:

  • A large bowl
  • A couple 4″ ramekins
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • A cutting board
  • A knife
  • A spoon
  • A cheese grater (I love the Microplane)

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups precooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 handful of  fresh parsley
  • 1 shallot (or 1/4 cup of white onion will work, too)
  • 2 TBSPs of milk
  • Fresh grated parmesan

Here’s a snazzy little video 2 minute video I threw together for you to see the process:

… and, the by step is:

  1. Preheat your oven to bake at 400 degrees.
  2. Put 1 1/2 cups quinoa into a large bowl. Add heavy cream, fresh chopped parsley, diced shallot, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  3. Separate your quinoa mix into your two ramekins. Using the back of a spoon, gently flatten the top of the mixture.
  4. Slowly break an egg over each of the ramekins being careful not to break the yolk.
  5. Drizzle one TSBP of milk over each egg (to prevent hardening).
  6. Bake in the oven for approximately 13-15 minutes, or until the egg white is set.
  7. Sprinkle fresh grated parmesan over the top before serving… and serve HOT!

Go for it, girl!

 

Quinoa (Dutch) Baby, Oh Yeah!

My earliest memories of ‘breakfast’ are from when I was 5. We were living in an apartment in Oakland, California. Every morning before Kindergarten my nana would get me out of bed, sit me in my dad’s antique rocker with the velvet cushions and lions head arm-rests, and she’d serve me toast with strawberry jelly and a cup of coffee.

(Yes, I said “kindergarten” and “cup of coffee” in the same sentence.)

Sometimes I’d get cereal… and, sometimes I’d get her scrambled eggs. But without a doubt: breakfast was always one of those three dishes.

Then, my next breakfast memories are from when I was about 9 and in Guam. I remember the feel of the cool island air on my skin as I sat in the open doorway of our tin shack’s back porch. I always made it just in time to watch my nana throw cracked corn to the masses of chickens cooing in her honor. Half asleep, I’d watch her routine – and then, when her pockets were empty of the chicken goodies, she’d walk next door to her house and then return to mine with one of three things: a bag of warm donuts from the old man that used to sell them out of the back of his car on our street, a stack of her famous pancakes, or a plate of scrambled eggs.

Again, I could always count on it being one of those three things… and, honestly: the lack of variety never bothered me one bit.

So it is in my house these days. Breakfast is one of those meals where my kids can pretty much bank on one of a handful things, typically: cereal, fruit, and hardboiled eggs; quinoa porridge; or this:

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Quinoa Dutch Baby, served with a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of real maple syrup, and fresh strawberries

The beauty of this dish is that, while it looks gourmet and totally wows the kiddos, IT IS SO SIMPLE. Seriously, it cooks itself! Here’s what you do:

Ingredients to make one 9×11 glass baking dish (feeds 4-5):

  • 4 eggs, room temperature (you can bring eggs to room temperature by soaking them in their shell in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • two pinches of nutmeg
  • 1 cup of cooked quiona
  • 3 TBSP butter, sliced in squares
  1. Place your glass baking dish in the oven and pre-heat the oven (and the dish) to 425.
  2. Whisk your eggs until they are light. Add the milk, flour, and nutmeg; and, gently whisk until all ingredients are blended. (NOTE: It’s okay for it to be a little chunky, so don’t over mix!)

When the oven is ready, here’s where you’ll need to work a little quick:

  1. Remove the hot pan (carefully!) from the oven. Place the butter squares in the pan so they begin to melt. Using a fork, stab a butter square and butter up the sides of the pan, too.
  2. Pour the cooked quinoa into the buttered pan; toss it quickly through the butter and evenly distribute it.
  3. Immediately pour in your batter over the quinoa making sure the batter goes to each edge of the pan. (Yes, it will disrupt the perfect distribution of your quinoa, but that’s okay.)
  4. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes, or until the center is set, and the sides are lightly brown and begin to curl up the sides of the pan.

Voilà!

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Now, here’s a big difference between my quinoa dutch baby and a traditional: This version won’t give you the impressive ‘rise’ of a true dutch baby due to the density of the whole quinoa. BUT, what it lacks in rise, it makes up for in texture and flavor. (Since you add the quinoa to a hot buttered pan, it crisps just a little and – mmmm! – you get a little crunch here and there…) 

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Now, peeps, seriously, there are some MUSTS for serving this yumminess hot out of the oven:

  1. You MUST use real maple syrup when you serve this little number… and just a drizzle! You don’t want it drunk on maple syrup.
  2. You MUST also use fresh fruit of some kind, like berries, or mango, or a warm fruit compote made by simply throwing some frozen berries in the microwave. The texture of this dutch baby is very dense, so the fresh fruit lightens it.
  3. You MUST dust with powdered sugar. Notice I said ‘dust’. It’s simply for effect more than anything. The goal is for the sweetness to come from the fruit and maple syrup, not an abundance of powdered sugar.

You may be asking: “Elisha, what if I don’t want it with the powdered sugar and maple syrup? ” Or, “what can I do with the leftovers?”

Here’s an alternative for serving (and it’s even better when they are cold):

Quinoa Dutch Baby topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and fresh strawberries

Quinoa Dutch Baby topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and fresh strawberries

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And that’s it!

Please note that this recipe is not gluten-free. I used regular flour for this recipe, although I’m guessing it’s possible to replace the regular flour with gluten-free flour. Would you do me a favor? If you make a gluten-free version of this, would you come back and share it with us? I’d love to hear how it turns out and what (if any) alterations you had to make to cooking time.

Happy eating everyone!

Breakfast For the Soul

 

I had breakfast with a beautiful group of my ladies yesterday… and, wow – aren’t good friends sweet for the soul? One of the gals hosted our group of 10 in her home. And, not only did she just open her door, she welcomed us.

She had the coffee set out in a beautiful serve set with cubed sugar and real cream; and, she thought ahead and had hot water on the stove in case anyone was in a tea mood.

She had real napkins, darling little plates that had a spot to hold our coffee cups, flowers on the table.

Then, for everything each of us brought, she pulled out a beautiful plate or bowl to hold it.

The minute each of us walked in we could tell she was not only ready for us – but that she had been anxiously awaiting our arrival. It was awesome.

Being there made me realize the importance of hospitality – of being warm, generous, and friendly when we open our homes. Of putting flowers on the table just because (even if they just come off the bush in our backyard!). Of lighting candles. Of putting thought into the details – and caring more about how our guests feel instead of how long it’s going to take us to wash and store all the cloth napkins they use. Of simply treating others how we would love, love, love to be treated.

As for the food – that just topped off our morning. There wasn’t a sea of prepackaged cakes from the grocery store. No – it was hardboiled eggs, fresh berries, yogurt, quinoa, mango, grapes, spelt scones. It was beautiful. It was fresh. It was light. It was exactly what our bodies really need (and really want!) when we start our days.

Our two hours together wasn’t just breakfast for our bellies… it was breakfast for our soul. Thank you, sweet sister, for having us.

Rebel on, -e.

 

 

POWER-FULL: Fried Quinoa and Veggies

My role as mama – as “Chief Nutrition Officer” of my home – is to make sure my kids are equipped to think clearly, perform with strength, and feel good as they walk through their day. What they eat for breakfast has a HUGE impact on their performance (just as it has a huge impact on my own performance!)… so I make sure we ALL eat powerful before we head out the door.

Here’s a great recipe for Fried Quinoa and Veggies. It’s just like fried rice – but, with the superfood quinoa as it’s base, it’s the SUPER HEALTHY version. Now, maybe you’ve never thought of fried rice for breakfast… let alone “fried quinoa”. But for me rice is as basic as toast in America… so I LOVE any opportunity to offer this super dish to my family.

Ingredients:

  • Cooked quinoa
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Eggs
  • Soy Sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil for sautéing and frying the eggs
Here’s the “how-to”:

FOR VARIATION: Sometimes I throw chorizo sausage or kielbasa sausage into it because the kids LOVE sausage. If you’re making this more for dinner, you can also add chicken chunks, shrimp, or tofu – whatever floats your boat. You can also use whatever veggies you have on hand – like asparagus, bell peppers, cauliflower; any veggies work fabulous!

I’d love to hear how you cook it up in your house – so please come back and share!!

Rebel on,

Elisha