We are into Quinoa lately. It's supposed to be a wonder grain - great source of protein and all kinds of good things. We bought a big bag of it at Costco so I went hunting for a good recipe. I came across this Citrus Quinoa salad that was fabulous
Citrus Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced figs or dried apricots or raisins
1/2 cup drained canned mandarin orange sections, halved (I used the whole little can)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or toasted almonds
2 green onions, diced
2 Tbs chopped coriander or parsley
1 tsp grated lemon or lime rind
3 Tbs lemon or lime juice
1 Tbs sesame oil (I used olive oil)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp each ground cumin and coriandor
salt and pepper
Rinse quinoa and drain. In saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil; stir in quinoa. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is transparent; drain and let cool.
In salad bowl combine quinoa, cucumber, figs, orange sections, sunflower seeds, onions and coriander.
Dressing: In small bowl mix lemon rind and juice, sesame oil, sugar, cumin and coriander; pour over salad and toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Makes 8 servings of about 1/2 cup each (it was so good I ate 2 cups)
I used to can them in the summers - but that was ages ago. Recently I discovered the Costco bag of a dozen or so small tender cucumbers. I brine them and put what's left after sampling in the refrigerator. Here's the recipe:
Put the following into a large glass jar or bowl:
Sliced cucumbers (I cut them lengthwise)
3-4 cloves garlic (sliced)
piece of hot pepper or pinch of pepper flakes
Bring the following to a boil:
1 1/3 cups vinegar
1 quart water
1/3 cup salt
Pour over cucumbers. Cool and store in refrigerator.
I don't know about the rest of the country, but in Utah Valley frozen yogurt is the rage. My husband and I returned home (after being away three years) to find loads of new yogurt places scattered around the valley. Of course we had to make the tour and try them out. I love plain tangy frozen yogurt with fresh berries on top! I think I ate it at least every other day for our first few weeks home. Yesterday my daughter shared a recipe to make it at home. I tried it this morning and ....
Here's the recipe:
2 cups lowfat or regular plain Greek yogurt (it's thicker than normal - I love Greek Gods brand)
2 cups plain whole milk yogurt (I love Brown Cow brand)
1/3 cup superfine sugar (I didn't have any so I put regular sugar in blender for a few minutes)
3 TBS corn syrup (I didn't have any so I used honey)
Mix together and freeze in ice cream freezer
Serve with fresh fruit on top
Enjoy being naughty and healthy - all at the same time
"Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness."Ezekiel 3:3
Can you believe this? Before we even left the mission field to come home, I had already put in an order for Sharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate (professional size) to be delivered and waiting for me?
My husband and I have been enjoying regular "put your feet up, relax and chat" hot cocoa breaks for years. I am convinced this has cured me of dessert cravings. Who needs rich dessert after slowly sipping fabulous chocolate. And the great thing is - this is a very low calorie treat! On top of that it's extremely good for you (scroll to the bottom to read a quote).
First - you must get quality cocoa powder. It's worth it, believe me. Sorry Hersheys, but even your Special Dark doesn't work for me. Most good grocery stores carry some quality brands. Here are two reasonably priced brands I like:
Of course you can also buy top quality expensive brands like Valrhona, Green and Blacks, or Dagoba at specialty stores. Why not treat yourself and collect a few? You only need a couple of teaspoonfuls per cup of cocoa so it goes a long way.
Here's my current collection (sure to grow)
Each one tastes a little different - I use more than one brand sometimes for variety.
The very simple Hot Cocoa recipe:
Choose your favorite mug(s) and fill about 3/4 full with milk. Skim is delicious but you can up the fat level if you want a richer treat.
Heat it in the microwave - about 1 1/2 minutes per mug.
Meanwhile add about 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar per cup of milk to a blender (vitamix preferred). You will have to play with the proportions here. If you have a sweet tooth you may need more sugar at first but try to decrease it over time. Some cocoa powders are stronger than others so amounts will vary. You can always add more cocoa or sugar after blending and tasting. Be sure to make it plenty chocolaty!
Add hot milk to blender and mix on high a few seconds until frothy. Be careful when using most blenders because they can leak and spray! You may want to hold a paper towel over the top and increase speed gradually. I use a vitamix and the top seals nicely.
I like to top my cocoa with canned whipping cream and it's fun, on special occasions, to sprinkle a little shaved or grated chocolate on top. Nutmeg or cinnamon is nice too. In the West Indies, all I could get was boxed milk. It tasted so bad that I usually added a pinch of cinnamon with the cocoa powder - it was great!
Hot Cocoa recipe summary
1 cup hot milk
1-2 tsp cocoa poweder (to taste)
1-2 tsp sugar (to taste)
pinch of salt
Blend until frothy
Now - I need to find time to write a post on the health benefits of chocolate. Here's one quick article link and quote:
"Dr Chang Yong Lee and colleagues at Cornell University in New York carried out tests to measure antioxidants levels in tea, red wine and cocoa. A cup of cocoa came out on top. Their study found it was twice as rich in antioxidants as a glass of red wine, up to three times richer than a cup of green tea and up to five times richer than black tea."
"There is nothing better for a [wo]man, than that [s]he should eat and drink..."Ecclesiates 2:24
The fruit was so beautiful and organic and colorful that I just had to keep it.
So Reid and I bottled apricots, apricot jam, apricot butter, and apricot nectar. The jam is the best I've ever tasted. I made it the old fashioned way with no pectin and low sugar.
Here's the recipe from the new Williams Sonoma book, The Art of Preserving (bought at Costco for 17.99):
3 lb apricots 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Halve and pit apricots. In a large nonreactive bowl combine apricots and sugar. Let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
Prepare hot sterilized jars and lids.
Transfer apricot mixture to a large nonreactive saucepan and add lemon juice. Bring to simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated and the jam is thick (15-20 minutes).
Ladle hot jam into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace/ wipe rims and seal tightly with lids. Process in boiling water bath 15 minutes for pints (10 for half pints).
To know if the jam is ready, I put a little on a plate that's been cooled in the freezer. If it kind of wrinkles rather than runs when I drag a finger through it, it's ready