OK, I am totally jumping on the quinoa bandwagon now!
The first time I made quinoa, I was completely turned off to the stuff. It tasted funky and had a weird texture. But since then, I have seen so many recipes and heard so many good things about quinoa, I decided to try again. And this time, it turned out much better! I must have messed something up the first time. I think I may not have rinsed the grains enough before cooking. You really need to rinse them well to remove the saponins that remain after processing. (Don’t really know what saponins are, but I imagine they caused the funky taste I experienced the first time around!)
There are some really good reasons to be on the quinoa bandwagon. Quinoa has been referred to by The Quinoa Corporation as the ‘Supergrain of the Future‘. It has so many health benefits! According to an article from MindBodyGreen, there are at least 7 health benefits to quinoa:
It is amazing that a tiny little grain can have so much nutrition! If you have not been able to jump on the quinoa bandwagon yet, it might be because your iron is low, so you better have some quinoa and catch up with the rest of us!
This recipe should make getting with the quinoa program a little easier. (more…)
Summer’s not over yet! In fact, I love cooking out in September and even heading in to October, when the weather is still nice and it is actually more comfortable with lower temperatures and less humidity. This steak and potato salad is kind of half comfort food and half picnic fare, so it is a perfect dish to bring to a fall cookout. It is also a great side dish to serve at a football party for everyone to munch on while you watch your favorite team win. Your guests get to have their meat and potatoes all rolled into one delicious salad!
To make this super-easy to prepare, I used pre-cooked steak strips, but of course you can use your leftover steak or cook a steak specifically for this dish. I also used the small red potatoes (love them!) and kept the skin on, which contributes additional texture and color, and nutrition as well (lots of vitamin C!).
We actually used this salad as our entree for dinner one night and had a nice green salad to go along with it. It was quick and easy, yet hearty and filling. I will be making this for the family again, for sure! (more…)
As we approach Labor Day weekend, I have two things on my mind: a day off from work (woohoo!) and barbecues (yippee!). Labor Day weekend always involves some kind of gathering where we grill and eat outside, enjoying the last few moments of summer before the school year kicks into full swing.
My kids are actually home this week. Day camp is over and school has not yet started for us. It is usually a tough week, although it has gotten easier now that they are older and can fix their own breakfast and lunch and basically fend for themselves. They just need a little supervision to make sure they don’t spend all day on the computer or in front of the TV. Luckily, I can work from home when needed, so it all works out one way or another.
Anyway, in the spirit of Labor Day weekend cookouts, I am sharing the recipe for this wonderful coleslaw that I like to bring to picnics. It is not mayonnaise-based, so you don’t have to sorry about giving food poisoning to your friends and family (ack!). But it is delicious and I get huge compliments on it every time I bring it to a party. It is super-easy as well. The hardest part is toasting the sesame seeds (sometimes I forget about them in the oven and they burn!). (more…)
Growing up, we did not have apple butter in my house that I can remember. I am not sure why…as far as I know, it was just not a thing that my mom bought. Maybe she has a reason that I will hear about after she reads this post. (Hi, Mom!)
I remember one time, probably when I was in 4th or 5th grade, I went to a friend’s house for lunch and her mom asked if I wanted jelly or apple butter on my peanut butter sandwich. Apple butter?!?! At the time, I had no idea what that was, so I stuck with the safe choice and went with the jelly. That was my first encounter with apple butter, however my official introduction did not happen until years later.
Even so, up until recently, I still associated apple butter with peanut butter sandwiches. But now I have seen that it can be used for much more! There are actually many delicious things you can do with apple butter.
The apple butter topic has come up as part of Big Summer Potluck, a food blogger weekend I am attending in a few days (so excited!!). Musselman’s is holding a contest for the attendees to come up with a recipe using apple butter. Since prior to completing this activity I was rather apple butter-challenged, the task had me a bit stumped for a while. (more…)
Sometimes a sandwich for lunch just won’t cut it. Especially when the only sandwich fixings you have in the house are peanut butter and jelly.
That is when I start raiding the pantry and the fridge, looking for something, ANYTHING (besides peanut butter and jelly), to stop my rumbly-tumbly from making so much noise.
On this particular day, I rummaged around and found a forgotten bag of pearl couscous that I had bought a couple of months ago, thinking it was regular couscous. I like couscous in general because it is fast and easy. Pearl couscous takes a little longer because the ‘nugget’ is a little bigger, but I was willing to wait if it would get me out of eating peanut butter and jelly (again). Plus, the little round balls of pasta are just so much fun! If you have not tried pearl couscous before, you should take this opportunity to give it a go!
In the refrigerator, I found a few other ingredients, including my Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss wedges. I love to use these wedges instead of, or as a supplement to, other ingredients, so that I can make dishes creamy without adding a lot of calories. I also found a package of imitation crab, leftover from when I made the Baked Crab and Mushroom Wontons. Score! Imitation crab is great because it is affordable, and it is good lean protein (it is made with real fish…lots of good nutrition there!). Eaten plain, it doesn’t completely taste like crab, but if it is dressed up a bit, it can do a decent impersonation!
I started combining ingredients and eventually ended up with Creamy Couscous Salad with Crab and Dill. Yum! It was a great lunch and one that I would even serve to guests for a nice light midday meal. This would also make a great side dish for a picnic or barbecue, with more nutrition and fewer calories than most potato salads. While Thing 2 was not a huge fan (he had peanut butter and jelly that day, go figure), Thing 1 thought it was delicious! Unfortunately, it was gone before DH got home from work. (Poor DH!) No worries, I will make it again soon and this time will save some for him!
I have fresh mushrooms and spinach in the fridge almost all the time. They are so versatile since they can be served raw in a salad, or just by themselves with a side of dressing for dipping, or they can be quickly cooked up and easily seasoned. And, my kids like them!
I threw together this quick side dish tonight to supplement our make-your-own pizza night. (more…)