Dockside Quinoa Superfood Salad

Today we are heading to the lake where we’ll bask in the sun on the dock and enjoy a lazy summer day. I’m in the shoot to bring snacks for my girlfriend and I so, of course, quinoa is on the menu!

When it’s hot like this, our bodies crave refreshment. Food that is light and fresh is best – and, when you have a hint of citrus or a little sweetness, all the better. At the same time, we do need substance to keep us charged up and energized for long-haul, right?

Well, that’s where this salad comes in:

Dockside Quinoa Superfood Salad

Dockside Quinoa Superfood Salad

Isn’t it beautiful??

Here’s the scoop…

In a large bowl, I layered:

1 1/2 cups pre-cooked quinoa out of my fridge

3 handfuls of the superfood salad I buy at Costco (NOTE: If you don’t have the greens blend, you can use dark kale, red cabbage, green cabbage, and brussels sprouts, and just chop each of them coleslaw-thin)

1 can of organic kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

1 fresh jalapeno, finely diced

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, rough chopped

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I sprinkled some ground cumin, sea salt, and ground black pepper over the top; and, I freshly grated about 1 TBSP of lime zest and 1 TBSP of lemon zest…

A Microplane is an essential tool for every kitchen... do you have one?

A Microplane is an essential tool for every kitchen… do you have one?

Gorgeous.

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Next I drizzled about 1/4 cup of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), 2- 3 TBSPs of sesame oil, and the juice of 1 medium lemon over the bowl; I sprinkled some of my favorite Furikake, and tossed until everything was mixed well.

YUM.

Now, I’m one that likes to mix sweet and savory – and, while the flavor was delicious at this point, it definitely needed some sweet. I considered fresh mango (because, if you know me at all, mango goes into pretty much everything I eat), but since this salad will be sitting in a cooler for a few hours, I didn’t want to take the chance it would brown and get not-so-enjoyable-to-eat gooey. So… I did this:

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I rough-chopped 1/4 cup of dried mangos and threw them into the mix… and it was PERFECT.

There’s crunch, sweetness, bursts of heat from the jalapeno, depth of flavor from the sesame oil and the Furikake – and, man, I can’t wait to dig this afternoon.

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Our Afternoon Treats: Dockside Salad, Fresh Cherry Tomatos and Carrots, and Hardboiled Eggs

And, ta-da! Quinoa saves my day…

7/3/13

UPDATE: I added FRESH mango and grilled chicken to my leftover salad and OHMYGOSH!!! Fresh mango made it soooo much better!!!

AM Northwest: Fresh Fruit Hand Pies

As a mom, there’s not much I get ‘props’ for. No one jumps for joy when I wash and fold their clothes; no one really notices when I go grocery shopping, or make lunches, or sweep the floor. (I wrote about motherhood being a tough gig not too long ago.) And hey – that’s the life of a mom, so I don’t sweat it. But one of the reasons I love, love, love to cook and to bake is because, without fail, when my kids catch whiffs of what I’m stewing, or baking, or sautéing… it draws them to me.

That’s the thing about cooking: the sweet, delicious smells created by my work call my babies to my side quicker than words ever do. They come in close, lean in, and ask for nibbles. They want to talk about what’s going into the pan; they ask questions like: Mom, did you make this up? Have I eaten it before? Will I like this?

They see ingredients at their finest – fresh, colorful, clean. They see me confidently using my hands to prepare and dice and toss and squeeze. They see me choose, and manipulate, and ‘dance’ my mama’s dance of love. And, when it’s all done, they enjoy the fruits of my labor.

It’s seeing my babies enjoy my ‘work’ and celebrate my ‘dance’ – that’s why I cook.

I especially love the squeals of joy when I make these:

Fresh Fruit Hand Pies with Homemade Flaky Puff Pastry

Fresh Fruit Hand Pies with Homemade Flaky Puff Pastry

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Call these my rebel yell against commercialize pop tarts, breakfast strudels, and sugary cereal. I dreamed them up in my kitchen one day when I had an abundance of mangos and some leftover tart dough… and I can’t believe it took me so long to begin creating these. They are just sweet enough with the fresh fruit and the slight addition of sugar that I wouldn’t hesitate to serve one for breakfast with a couple eggs – or as an after school treat with a glass of milk. And man, let me tell you: the kids really think they’re getting something spectacular when they eat these.

The crust is super simple, the filling is fresh and easy to prepare, and based on the reaction of my kiddos, all kids are sure to enjoy making and eating.

Here goes:

First, make the dough.

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 2 regular sticks of salted butter
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 12-13 TBSP ice water
  1. Add flour, butter, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Turn on for 10 seconds nonstop. Then, pulse and additional 5-8 times. The goal is for butter bits to be about a little larger than pea sized…. so don’t over process!
  2. Drizzle a TBSP of water at a time through the top of the food processor and pulse for 1 second after each water addition.
  3. Pour mixture from food processor bowl into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, squeeze the dough together until all of the mixture is stuck together. (NOTE: The dough should lean to the dry side. If it is too dry, wet your hands and continue to work dough until it adheres. If it is too sticky, add a tsp of flour at a time until the stickiness is gone.
  4. Form two discs, wrap in plastic, and chill.

While dough chills, prepare your filling. Here are some great options…

Mango/Coconut filling
Dice up some champagne mangos and toss with sweetened shredded coconut.

Apple filling
Peel and dice up granny smith apples. (Apple pieces should be just slightly larger than a corn kernal.) Toss the apples with a little sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Fresh Berries
Toss fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries – anything! – with a little sugar and squeeze of lemon juice.

Assemble the handpies:

  1. Preheat the oven and a baking sheet to 400 degrees.
  2. Roll out your chilled dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick.
  3. Cut out whatever shape you’d like with an oversized cookie cutter, or other found object from your kitchen. (Large coffee cups make great cutters for circular hand pies.)
  4. Fill the center of your shape so that you maintain about a 1/2 inch around the outside of the filling. Dip your finger in the egg wash and coat the edge along the outside of the filling.
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  5. Take a second shape and cover the filled piece. Gently push the edges together being careful not to push the filling out of the sides. Then, dip a fork into the egg wash and ‘seal’ the edges with the fork.
  6. Using a pastry brush, wash the top of the hand pie thoroughly, then score with either a knife or a several fork pricks.
  7. OPTIONAL: You can sprinkle colored pastry sugar over the top before baking. If you are making the apple pies, you can add chopped store-bought caramels and sprinkle a pinch of coarse sea salt over the top for a ‘salted carmel apple’ pie.
  8. Place the assembled pies onto a preheated baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 18-20 minutes, or until the pies are golden brown.
For "Salted Carmel Apple" Handpie: fill with prepared apples, a few pieces of store-bought carmel (diced), and then, after you apply egg wash to assembled pie, top with a pinch of corse sea salt.

For “Salted Carmel Apple” Handpie: fill with prepared apples, a few pieces of store-bought carmel (diced), and then, after you apply egg wash to assembled pie, top with a pinch of corse sea salt.

These little gems are amazing warm… but just as yummy served cold – especially when thrown into a lunch pail for your little love.

Check out today’s AM Northwest segment from this morning where Dave and I made these up:

http://www.katu.com/amnw/segments/Homemade-Fruit-Pies-204900551.html

The Queen of Leftovers and Lasts

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will [her]self be watered.

Proverbs 11:25

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One thing most people probably don’t realize about us mamas is this: we are Queens of the Leftovers and the Lasts.

We thrive on the left behinds that no one else wants, like the the burnt toast, the black jellybeans, the half-eaten bananas. We typically care for ourselves last, which means we’ve learned to persevere with cold dinners and wrinkly clothes. And, we don’t skip a beat when we are the last to get a break, the last to take a shower, or the last to hit the pillow at the end of the day.

It’s called Mamahood… and there is no place for selfishness, whining, or feeble knees.

If we have the right perspective, however, not all the ‘lefttovers and lasts’ are a bummer. Take today, for example. I fed the kids, fed my man, made lunches, and got everyone out the door. When all was quiet, it was time for me to get a bite; and, as I surveyed my kitchen to spy what had to be salvaged so as not to waste, here’s what I was left with:

About a half cup of quinoa at the bottom of the pot

About a half cup of quinoa at the bottom of the pot
About a handful of edemame and half an alatufo mango

About a handful of edemame and half an ataulfo mango

Hmmm…

Well, with these random barely-there ingredients, this Queen of Leftovers did this:

  • Put the 1/2 cup of precooked quinoa in a bowl.
  • Diced up the 1/2 of the ataulfo mango (aka ‘Manila mango, or champagne mango) and shelled the 1/2 cup of edemame.
  • Drizzled a bit of EVOO, squeezed a little fresh lime juice, and topped the whole thing with a sprinkling of Furikake, which is a Japanese ‘condiment’ of toasted sesame seeds and nori.
quinoa, edemame, mango salad

And lookie lookie: a beautiful, colorful quinoa, edemame, mango salad

Let me tell you: my ‘leftovers and lasts’ turned into something spectacular I probably never would have thought to throw together otherwise. It was beautiful. It was light. It was fresh and fragrant and exactly what I needed to start my day. Yum. Yum. Yum. (NOTE: This would be an AMAZING lunch for work, or even a side salad for a bbq.)

So, today, as we mamas do what we do best – serve, and love, and serve, and lay down all that we are for our little tribes – let’s do it with heads held high, joy in our hearts, and determination to be a bright light in our homes. Why? Because there is beauty in the leftovers and the lasts… the question is: are we creative enough to see it?

AM Northwest – Killer Fish Tacos

I was back on AM Northwest today making our favorite fish tacos. One was made with a traditional topping of shredded cabbage and pico de gallo salsa… The other was my “wow” fish taco: one topped with a roasted corn, mango, jalapeño salsa. (My mouth is watering just saying those words.)

This was my fourth visit to the show and it really is a blast. They don’t let me mention my business or SmartyBars – but the media experience is such a blessing. My hope is that as my business grows, my media exposure will grow, too! So, I see every minute in front of the camera as priceless ‘on the job’ training.

So, here’s the video. Enjoy! And come back and let me know if you make them….

Glad you are here – and I hope you’re inspired.

Rebel on, Elisha

AM Northwest: Quinoa Super Snacks

Today I shared some quinoa love on Portland’s ABC morning show, “AM Northwest”! I had such a blast… especially because they LOVED the quinoa snacks I made. I mean LOVED THEM.

I made two SuperSnacks in my 6 minutes, both of which give that perfect power punch in the middle of the day: a sweet quinoa snack and a savory quinoa snack.

Here’s what I did:

Sweet Quinoa Super Snack –
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1/2 a banana, diced
1/2 a mango, diced
1/4 cup of coconut milk
sprinkle of unsweetened coconut
a drizzle of honey (if desired)

Savory Quinoa Super Snack –
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 fresh avocado, diced
handful of cherry tomatoes, each one cut in half
a drizzle of olive oil
the fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

If you watch the segment, a couple of the ingredients for each dish don’t even make it in… yet Dave went bananas for both of them! After the cameras went dark he came right back over and totally finished off BOTH bowls I prepared for him. Even more rewarding was that the camera guy came over and let me feed him – and then two people that must have watched from a different part of the building came in, too! Everyone was gathered around my quinoa station for at least 15 minutes after the show ended… eating, talking, sharing food thoughts.

I must say that today was a good day.

Glad you’re here with me,
Elisha