Weekend Scenes.

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Friday night we we went out for dinner and drinks at Beer Kitchen so that Jose could take a much needed short break from work. And also because someone told him that they have bacon fat popcorn. I dislike bacon but I was told they were quite good.

Saturday=rainy. Which made hot yoga even more appealing. Also, check out my rain gear: rain jacket, umbrella (not pictured) and wellies. Can you tell I’m not fond of rain? Whatever makes it more bearable is what I say.

Jose got a much needed new computer. He’s dissertation ready now.

I am currently engrossed in the new book I’ve started reading, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. Are you reading any good books?

We still grilled out, rain or shine. Jose found a “Mexi-market” that has homemade tortillas and a salsa bar. So we whipped up some guacamole and had some delicious chicken tacos. Never gets old.

Sunday morning=5K at UMKC. I somehow dragged Jose into doing it with me, and we had a lot of fun! I actually placed 4th in my age group. Not too horrible as I don’t necessarily consider myself a runner and do not run competitively in general.

Sunday night=Breaking Bad season finale party meth party favors!

No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

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My husband does not like cheese.

I know, it was probably rude of me to blurt that out and startle you like that without a proper warning. People are typically surprised to learn that about him, and I know he’s probably tired of the shocked responses by now, as well as the teasing from me. But when you live with someone and you tend to cook meals for the both of you and you love cheese, it’s just a fact that you will not get to eat it quite as often as you’d like. Which, honestly, is probably not the worst thing ever, since cheese is not exactly a health food (although I’m pretty sure we make up for any lack of cheese in other ways). He does have “cheese” rules though: he likes cheese when it is not the dominant flavor in any dish, i.e. pizza must have pepperoni or another type of meat, and he will tolerate more mild flavored cheeses as compared to stronger flavored goat and feta cheese when incorporated into dishes. But cutting up some baguette and cheese to enjoy with a glass of wine? He can’t do that. Feeling sorry for me yet?

So when I came across this recipe for Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Parfaits, I sent it to him with the question of “should I make this?” already assuming that he’d shut the idea down right away, but figuring that it never hurts to try. 

However, he responded with an excited “Yes!” He still surprises me.

You’d think I know by now whether or not he likes cheesecake, and, to be honest, he may have mentioned it at some point in the past, but when you are married to someone that does not like cheese, it’s not very often that suggestions of cheesecake making would even come up. 

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This cheesecake was so easy to make, especially compared to the traditional baked variety. The most time-consuming part of the process is baking the cookies. I highly recommend that you use the cookie recipe provided because….brown butter. It gives the cookies such an added depth in delicious, buttery, flavor.

The original recipe had served the cheesecake parfait style in individual glass jars, which would be adorable; however I do not have any, so I thought the next best thing would be to get some more use out of my cute new tart pan. Though the pan was a bit big for the amount of cheesecake made, it still worked very well.

I highly recommend making this recipe as further effort to unite cheese lovers and haters worldwide. 

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No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

Slightly adapted from How Sweet it is

For the Brown Butter Oatmeal Chunk Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add butter. Whisking constantly, cook butter until bubbly and until small brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan – about 5-6 minutes. Watch closely and immediately remove the butter from the heat, whisking for an additional 30 seconds or so. Set aside and let cool completely.  Note: It does not need to solidify at all, but it should not be warm to the touch. I put mine in the fridge for a few minutes to speed up this process.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, oats and cinnamon, mixing, then set aside.

Once butter has cooled, add to a large bowl. Whisk in sugars, stirring until smooth. Add in egg and vanilla, whisking until smooth once again. Slowly begin to stir in dry ingredients, using your hands if necessary (I did) to bring dough together. Fold in chocolate chips, distributing them evenly. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Form dough into balls and place about 2 inches apart on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms and edges are golden. Let cool before serving. 

For the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake:

  • 12 chocolate chip cookies
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the cream cheese and mascarpone. Beat on medium speed until the cheeses are mixed and slightly creamy, then drizzle in the condensed milk with the mixer still going. Add in the vanilla extract and beat the mixture until it is creamy and smooth.

Take 10 of the chocolate chip cookies and either add them to a food processor or place them in a resealable plastic bag. Pulse (or crush) the cookies into small pieces. They should not be as fine as graham cracker crumbs – but still want them crumbly. Having some larger pieces in there is okay too. Take a few spoonfuls of the crushed cookies and stir them into the cheesecake mixture. I didn’t measure this part.

Next, take some of the crushed cookies and spread them on the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of the cheesecake mixture and spread the best you can on top of the crushed cookies (doesn’t have to be perfect). Alternate with another layer of crushed cookies, then another layer of cheese, and finally, another layer of crushed cookies as a topping (the layers may be ordered differently depending how big your pan is-I was starting to run out of ingredients-but it doesn’t have to look “perfect” to still taste amazing.)

This keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days-just cover tightly with plastic wrap. I like to take it out for 10-15 minutes before serving, but that’s just my preference. It tastes pretty delicious either way.

We both loved this cheesecake. I especially loved the creamy sweet flavor of the mascarpone cheese and am already dreaming up more uses for the half empty container I have left. The crunch of the cookies made it delicious as well.

When I served this, Jose looked over at me and asked, “So….this is probably pretty awful for us, right?” Be under no impression whatsoever that this is a health food recipe. But it’s cheese….and chocolate chip cookies….and all the good things. And I like to sometimes pretend that dessert does not truly “count.” So, indulge and enjoy. 

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Quinoa, Kale, and Mushroom Stuffed Peppers

Last week I realized that I had never made stuffed peppers before. This was somewhat surprising, considering that, growing up-at least from what I recall-we had stuffed peppers at least once or twice a month. It was one of our standard dinners. I also learned that my husband had never even had them before! Evidence of yet more “cultural differences. “

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My husband grew up in south Texas and, while he clearly grew up in the U.S. there was so much Mexican/Southwest influence and culture that he sometimes misses pop culture references, has not had certain foods that were commonplace in other areas, and does not share my love of seasons or seasonal nostalgia, to name a few differences between us. A non-white Christmas doesn’t really phase him. Anyway, so whenever we are discussing a nostalgic childhood memory, whether it be food, a television show, a song, and it is not a shared memory, I jokingly refer to that as one of our many “cultural differences.”

Back to the stuffed peppers.

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The night before was a delicious yet heavy night of BBQ and beer, so we were craving something vegetarian and healthy (I probably use the term “we” loosely here, but Jose did say that a meal without meat sounded good to him that night). I decided to use quinoa as the grain to add more protein and it worked quite well.

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I cooked the quinoa with vegetable broth and a can of Rotel, to give it a bit of a kick and added spices for additional heat and flavor, sautéed some kale and mushrooms, and added the quinoa to the kale-mushroom mixture once cooked.

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The flavors and texture worked really well with this combination; I loved the addition of the kale and mushrooms with the “southwest” flavors of the tomatoes, peppers, chili powder, and cumin.

It’s a beautiful thing when meals are thrown together without an actual recipe and it all seems to work. Definitely doesn’t always happen like that.

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I recommend topping them with cheese while still warm. Queso fresco, smoked gouda, a sharp cheddar….so many possibilities. Let’s be honest though-it’s not possible to go wrong with cheese. Or avocado, Greek yogurt, hot sauce….

I already need to make these again.

Quinoa, Kale, and Mushroom Stuffed Peppers

  • 3-4 bell peppers
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, plus ½ cup reserved
  • 1 can Rotel (or diced tomatoes and diced green chilies)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Light sprinkling of salt (I rarely measure salt and tend to know how much we prefer-it’s best to add a little bit and add more to taste later)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3-4 handfuls fresh kale
  • ½ cup-2/3 baby bella mushrooms

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut peppers lengthwise and remove stem, ribs, and seeds. Set aside.

Add quinoa to a medium saucepan and combine with 2 cups vegetable, Rotel, cumin, and chili powder. Bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil, chopped onion, and garlic. Saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add kale with 1/8-1/4 cup water, depending on how much you use, mix together, and cover until mushrooms are soft and kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.

When kale and mushrooms are cooked, add quinoa to skillet and stir to combine.

Add peppers to baking dish and fill with quinoa mixture. Pour ½ cup reserved vegetable broth into the bottom of the pan, cover with foil, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, and then serve with optional toppings.

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Depending on how many peppers you use, you may have leftover quinoa-we did, which says something because leftovers are rare in our house. Make any judgments you’d like with that.

I also remember eating all of the cheesy covered filling and skipping the pepper altogether. I’m so grown up now.

After talking about this with my mother, I learned that instead of cooking them in the oven, she used to microwave them! I did not remember that part and always just assumed she baked them, like most recipes I’ve found. Funny how you remember childhood memories differently-perhaps that’s a shortcut I should test out next time!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal + Oatbran

Finally the weather is starting to turn in Kansas City. The leaves are changing, football is in full swing, there’s a slight chill in the air in the mornings. You can almost feel the season changing in the air. Though I do eat oatmeal all year long, a warm bowl of oats becomes even more comforting and cozy for breakfast during the Fall and Winter months.

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Obviously, there are numerous ways to cook oatmeal and almost every “healthy” cooking blog has a few (dozen) oatmeal recipes, so I realize that this is nothing new. But that is one of the great things about oatmeal-not only is it nutrient dense and filling, but also so versatile and easily customized to your own tastes (unless you are my husband and you have strange food texture issues….which is a story for another day that will probably come up at some point in time on here….).

The oatmeal/oat bran makes the texture so creamy, while adding additional protein and fiber. I use this basic combination practically every time I make a bowl of oats. Image

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I also need to mention my deep and ever-growing love for cinnamon. I use a lot of cinnamon in most of my baking (and cooking), especially in breakfast foods.

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I’ve started buying my cinnamon from Penzey’s, which is  pretty much one of my favorite stores these days. I love visiting that place, and I could browse around in there for at least an hour. Hey, everyone’s got their own version of retail therapy, right? Side note: I actually dislike that term for whatever reason, but I got no other way to describe my specialty food shopping habits. You can most definitely tell a difference with high quality cinnamon, and it is not much more expensive that what you’d pay in a grocery store.  

I was definitely in the mood for a warm bowl of oats on Saturday morning, after sitting outside in the chilly evening weather the night before at an outdoor concert. And though this is slightly different than my standard oats recipe, the classic combination of apples + cinnamon was nothing short than the perfect Fall morning breakfast. Also worth noting is that it kept me full for hours during a busy morning of yoga.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1/8-1/4 cup oat bran (adding the full ¼ cup makes a lot and it’s quite filling-depends on how hungry I am)
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • As much as cinnamon as you like!
  • Small handful of walnuts, for topping

Combine oatmeal, oat bran, and almond milk in a small saucepan on medium heat . Bring to a rolling boil, then immediately lower heat to simmer, and stir in apple, banana, and cinnamon. Let simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until tender, then remove from heat and let sit 1 minute. Transfer to bowl, add walnuts and enjoy! (preferably with a warm mug of coffee, but whatever you want to do is cool…I guess…).

Enjoy!

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Weekend Scenes

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Friday night we went to the Mumford and Sons + Johnny Flynn concert which was an amazing show. We picnicked with some Italian subs and plenty of other snacks, as evidenced.

Saturday morning I participated in a yoga flash mob at the KC Plaza Art Fair! Did you notice me in the photo?

Saturday night was a relaxing night of BBQ + (adorable pumpkin) beer + bonfire + s’mores. It was the perfect transition night from Summer to Fall.

I did get some Fall candles. Just in case you were concerned about how prepared for Fall I am.

And baking. Sunday baking happened too. Recipe to come soon!

Savory Cornbread Waffles with Shrimp, Avocado, and Corn Salsa

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Okay, now I want to tell you about Sunday’s dinner because it was so good. And because I was finally able to convince my husband, who is generally strictly against the breakfast for dinner idea, to eat waffles for dinner. I made them savory and I incorporated one of his favorite ingredients….corn. And it worked!ImageImageImage

I also finally broke into my bag of masa harina, which I’ve been dying to use in some way since it was purchased.

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Cornbread Waffles topped with Shrimp, Avocado, and Corn Salsa

Cornbread Waffles (gluten-free)  yields 4 small square Belgian-style waffles

From the Edible Perspective

  • 1/2 cup masa harina
  • 1/4 cup fine/medium ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, or 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted + slightly cooled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey

*Best to use wet ingredients that have come to room temperature.

Preheat your waffle maker to just over medium heat + grease if necessary.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Whisk the egg until pale yellow, then whisk in the milk, melted butter, and honey.

Pour the wet into the dry and whisk until just combined.  Do not over stir and let sit undisturbed for 7 minutes.  The batter will thicken and puff during this time.  After sitting the batter will be very thick (not really pourable) and airy.

Scoop half of the batter onto the hot waffle maker and gently spread around with a spatula or butter knife and cook until golden brown.  I like to cook just over a medium heat. The resulting waffle will be golden brown and soft (but fully cooked through)to the touch but it will firm up a bit as it cools.  If your waffle maker is too hot the exterior will become very crispy and the inside won’t fully cook.

Serve immediately with the topping of choice. The original recipe suggests a sweet topping, such as fruit, or butter + honey. Savory or sweet would be delicious here….I’m thinking a fried egg with sauteed peppers, or even chili! 

Shrimp, Avocado, and Corn Salsa

  • 15-20 small shrimp, grilled (or sauteed in a pan)
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, grilled (or boiled in a pan until cooked)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (can also sub Italian oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Top cooked waffles with salsa, and add greek yogurt + Cholula if desired (highly recommended!

These were so delicious that I think they are going to be making our dinner rotation list. I’m already thinking of all of the other possibilities….Image

Weekend Scenes

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Let me tell you about the exciting weekend of Marisa and Jose. It started with a Friday evening trip to Sam’s Club (to beat the crowds-and yes, these are actual conversations that take place between us), followed by a dinner of a Rotisserie Chicken purchased at Sam’s Club with some microwaved frozen vegetables. We watched a Netflix movie, and then went to bed. Neither of us are 30 yet, believe it or not.

This allowed me to make my 8am hot box detox yoga class, which I absolutely love and is most definitely motivation for an earlier bed time on Friday night, followed by my weekly Trader Joe’s trip, because I am there around 9am, to again beat the crowds. I came home and proceeded to spend an afternoon with college football, which in my world translates to cleaning, painting nails, Pinterest….I’m restless with football. I honestly try to be a fan. I LOVE Ohio State and I love the IDEA of football, but when it comes down to sitting there and actually watching the game, I struggle. I’m an antsy, anxious person in general, which are just additional reasons that I am a pleasure to spend a lazy Saturday with. I am sure Jose can attest to this.

Saturday=Take out sandwiches from Pigwich, a local food truck we had been dying to try. Unfortunately no photos due to our unexpected 30 minute ride home, during which I almost had a hunger breakdown, but it was quite enjoyable. Also lovely was a Saturday night of staying in, drinking beer with the husband, talking and laughing, and watching funny TV shows. Hey, we might be old, but at least we enjoy ourselves.

Sunday was fall decoration time, as evidenced by the first photo. I don’t care if you can still hear the cicadas and that it is going to be around 86 degrees in two days. 🙂

Grains and Mains

So, thanks to the arrival of this new cookbook from my lovely sister for my birthday present:

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I decided to delve right in cooking more recipes featuring grains as the main element of the meal. Though we have a tendency to eat this way at least a few times a week, we generally stick with rice, quinoa, pasta, and oats. I’ve always been intimidated by the overwhelming amount of other options there are. However, after flipping through the recipes in this book, I decided to give it a shot and placed an order on IHerb:

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From left to right, that would be Kamut, rye berries, buckwheat groats, and millet. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little intimidated!

So MOST of those purchases are related to a recipe in this book.I know peanut butter isn’t a “grain” but whatever it’s one of my favorite foods. So there.

Last night I made the first recipe from the book (I did loosely base a stir fry from this recipe last week but it was more thrown together and too bland) and it turned out pretty well:Image

Lots of veggies. I loosely followed the recipe here and just added what I had in the fridge.

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Finished product!

I really like buckwheat. It has a somewhat crunchy, almost nutty consistency and flavor and I’m excited to cook with it more. I can’t wait to use it as a substitute for other grains, such as rice, pasta, or quinoa, in some of our favorite recipes.

On another note, this week has been a particularly frustrating one at work, as I mentioned last week. The technology issues remain and we are very limited to what we can actually get done. This essentially resulted in feelings of stir craziness by the end of the day, the antsy feelings of sitting in front of a computer at a desk for 8ish hours. So in addition to the stir fry, I made this Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie with Toasted Almond Crust (subbing strawberries for whipped cream): 

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Because, you know, we had heavy whipping that was going to expire soon, so it obviously makes perfect sense to find something to bake to go with the whipped cream that I had decided to make. Not backwards thinking at all? This pie certainly worked for this purpose. It’s actually somewhat healthy, as the crust is made from basically ground almonds, oat flour, and a bit of brown rice syrup (another newly purchased ingredient) and the filling is full-fat coconut milk and chocolate chips. Make the crust, pour in the filling, put in the freezer for 2 hours, serve and enjoy with that whipped cream. My husband, who “doesn’t like coconut milk” loved it-and still doesn’t know that there was actually coconut milk in it. Ha! Success. The only thing I would change is the crust….while it was good, it wasn’t quite crispy enough? There was definitely something missing there. I think it just tasted too “healthy”. But healthy is good because then you’re allowed to have just a little over a (giant) piece because also you have to even out the edges and all of that. Anyway, this recipe was too delicious not to share:

Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie with Toasted Almond Crust

Adapted from Oh She Glows

For the crust:

  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats

For the filling:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, chilled in fridge overnight
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350⁰F and lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish with coconut oil. Add almonds into a food processor and process until a fine crumb forms, the size of sand. Now add the coconut oil, brown rice syrup, salt, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, pulse  in the rolled oats until the oats are finely chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together when pressed between your fingers. With your fingers, crumble the dough evenly over the base of the pie dish.  Starting from the middle, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the dish,  moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish. The harder you press  the crumbs into the dish, the more it will hold together. Side note: I am horrible at creating perfect, beautiful pie crusts. It doesn’t have to be perfect and will still taste the same, regardless. Bake pie crust, uncovered, at 350⁰F for 10-13 minutes, until lightly golden and  fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on a rack for about 20 minutes.

For the filling: Chill can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight so the  cream can solidify. When ready, open the can and carefully scoop out the solid  white coconut cream into a pot, discarding the water. Add chocolate chips and stir until combined. Heat over low-medium heat until most of the chocolate is  melted. Remove from heat and stir in the brown rice syrup, salt, and vanilla until smooth.

For the whipped cream: Pour 1 pint heavy whipping cream into the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until cream thickens and “fluffs.” Add 3 tablespoons sweetener of choice (I usually use granulated sugar or maple syrup) and 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract to taste.

Pour chocolate filling into pie crust and smooth out. Place in the freezer, on  an even surface, for a minimum of 2 hours, or until firm throughout. Allow pie  to sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes before attempting to slice. Serve the pie chilled with whipped cream on top. Wrap leftover pieces of pie and store in the freezer or fridge for up to one week. We stored ours in the fridge and it kept firm without any issues.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/07/06/chilled-dark-chocolate-pie-with-toasted-almond-crust-and-strawberry-vanilla-compote/#ixzz2fjjFaG6T

Next attempt at cooking with those grains was the following night: Quinoa Crepes. Jose was a bit more on the fence with this one, and, turns out, rightfully so.

I had never made crepes before and am also the type of person who cannot make one of those perfectly round pancakes. My pancakes may taste good, but why can’t they also look pretty? Yes, I whine just like that when I’m frustrated, too. So, crepes always intimidated me, because they are so pleasantly thin, larger than pancakes but still require a flipping in the pan. I read through the recipe, then went to read some blogger success stories about how “I was so scared to make crepes but then I did and WOW it was like, so easy!”

Those are lies.

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Do those look like crepes to you? Fortunately, they tasted good. However, these were stressful to make. Spreading the batter in the pan, but it’s too thick-and then it’s too thin, and then, we try to flip it and it crumbles. With all of that difficulty in the execution, I did not have high hopes for the taste. But, thankfully, my Mexican husband had a pretty decent idea: pretend like they are tortillas! (When in doubt…).

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The crepes were made of quinoa, whole wheat pastry flour, egg, almond milk, olive oil, and sea salt.

The filling was a simple combination of grilled corn, avocado, chopped cherry tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, cumin, and sea salt.

Though they were somewhat thin like crepes, they were hearty and reminiscent of a cross between corn and flour tortillas.

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And they were sooo good. Though we may not be racing to make these again anytime soon, they were surprisingly delicious and filling!

Quinoa Crepes with Corn and Avocado Salsa

Adapted from Grain Mains

For the crepes:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked (follow instructions on package)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (we used almond milk and it worked well!)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the skillet
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (do not use whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the salsa:

  • 2 ears of corn, husked, grilled, and kernels sliced off cob.
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

To make the crepes:

Whisk quinoa in a large bowl with milk, 1/4 cup olive oil, honey, and egg. Whisk in whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt until a batter comes together.

Lightly grease a 12-inch nonstick skillet with some olive oil. Heat over medium heat. Pour in about 1/2 cup batter all around the skillet; quickly shake and swirl the skillet to thin the batter out into an even coating (*this is where we had issues! If this does not work for you, they may be more like tortillas or pancakes, which still taste good!). Cook until the bottom is set and the batter has bubbles throughout, about 2-4 minutes. The top should already look dry. Loosen the crepe with a large spatula (or have your husband help you because you are panicking that you are going to break them!). Cook about 1 minute longer, until set and lightly browned. Transfer to a large plate, oil the skillet again, and continue until the batter is used up.

To make the salsa filling:

Mix corn and other filling ingredients in a medium bowl: avocados, tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Assembly: Set crepe on a serving plate and spoon about 1/2-2/3 cup of the salsa into center. Fold the edges over the filling) and enjoy! I can imagine a variety of additional toppings with this; the recipe called for Mexican crema, but i also think you could add tomato salsa, Greek yogurt, creme freche…..

I don’t think I’ve completely convinced Jose on this whole idea of cooking with more grains. He’s already started to snicker and ask if this is one of “those recipes from that new book you got” pretty much anytime he hears a food he doesn’t recognize listed as one of our dinner ingredients. I think that means I just need to keep trying more of these recipes….

Chorizo, Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza

Also known as, our Go To Pizza.

Ever since we started making our own pizza, it has become a staple in this home, usually making the weekly dinner rotations.  Still not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but I keep telling myself that it is healthier because it’s homemade. Right?

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Probably so, but it’s all relative.

I actually mentioned to Jose last night, as we were going back for seconds, that “this doesn’t seem as filling as when we go out for pizza” to which he replied, “Sure. Keep telling yourself that.”

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Anyway….what I am trying to say, is that we really like pizza. And though we do switch it up every now and then, we have a pretty delicious default pizza option that works every time. It’s easy to keep all the ingredients on hand, and it takes no more than 2 hours from start to finish (including allowing the dough to rise and pizza cooking time.)

For the Whole Wheat Pizza Dough:

Adapted from Taste for Adventure 

  •  2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey

In a small bowl, combine yeast, water and 1 tsp honey. Let sit for five minutes.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups flour and salt Make a well in the center and add yeast mixture, remaining honey, olive oil.

Stir using the paddle attachment or a spoon until the dough just comes together, then knead, either by hand or in a stand mixer fixed with the dough hook, for about 5 minutes (3-4 minutes if using stand mixer). Add remaining flour in 1 tbsp increments just until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl or is no longer sticky (I don’t always need to do this).

Shape dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Punch down risen dough, shape into a ball and place on a lightly floured pizza stone. Roll out into a circle of desired crust thickness and let rest about 10 minutes (at this time you can put on your desired toppings).

For the Chorizo, Mushroom, and Pepper Pizza:

  • 4-6 oz. Soy Chorizo Sausage (we use Trader Joe’s Brand-it can be ground very easily) or your favorite chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms
  • ½ cup red, green, and yellow peppers
  • 6 oz. Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4 oz. Sharp Cheddar cheese (we often use Fontina as well, whatever we have on hand. This day, we had a Cheddar and red pepper cheese from Trader Joe’s, which was delicious!)
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup tomato sauce of choice (I recommend a basic tomato sauce without much seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + crushed garlic (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo, mushrooms, and peppers, cooking until chorizo is browned. Set aside.

Shred cheese; place in bowl and set aside.

Roll out pizza dough and begin assembly: Brush olive oil +garlic on crust, then layer sauce, half cheese, chorizo/mushroom/pepper mix, then the rest of the cheese.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 425 on pizza stone.

Serve with roasted Brussels sprouts (our favorite), sautéed kale, side salad, etc.

No matter our good intentions, there are never leftovers of this meal.

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Enjoy!

At Least It’s….Thursday?

Short weeks always put me off schedule in one way or another. Not that I am complaining….but for some reason, this week has seemed to go by slower rather than faster. Perhaps by anticipating a shorter work week, I overestimate its speed. In my mind, yesterday should have been Thursday and today should have been Friday.

Or perhaps it’s felt longer because we’ve had one of those weeks at work where nothing is working properly, as far as technology is concerned. And in the field of immigration advising, technology is pretty important.

This is to all to say that I am quite ready for Friday. 

Tonight’s dinner was a simple yet delicious meal that I’ve been a little hooked on: 

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Polenta Burrito Bowl-black beans, sauteed peppers and onions, and a fried egg.

Jose, not so much, but it all worked out:

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Self Explanatory?

More updates later. Now it’s lazy weeknight time with this guy: 

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Okay, ready, set….weekend!