Monday, February 28, 2011

Quinoa and Black Beans

disregard our little fragments of chips
 we got from the bottom of the bag :)
Quinoa (keen-wah) is great.  If you need a break from rice, give it a try! It's actually not a grain, but a seed related to the spinach family.  It seems like a grain, though!  It's also a complete protein and it a great source of fiber.  It's also gluten free.
I haven't tried out a ton of things with it yet, but this recipe t turned out really good!  It had a lot of flavour and costs very little. It reminded me of a chilli, but without all the fat of beef.
Here is the main recipe, but I also mentioned some good variations at the end.

Quinoa and Black Beans:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c red and/or green peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 c uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 c corn kernals
  • 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and brained
  • 1/2 c cilantro
  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the onions, peppers, and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.
Other options:
  • Some people find quinoa a little bitter. If you rinse it first this seems to solve the problem. Personally, I didn't rinse it and it tasted fine.
  • If you prefer a softer consistency, soak the quinoa in the vegetable broth first (about 20 minutes, or just the time it takes to prepare the vegetables)
  • If you don't want to add the oil, just boil everything with the quinoa instead.  I did this, and it was just fine.  
  • If you don't have the fresh veggies, just use dehydrated onions or onion powder (and skip the salt), and dried red chili peppers.
  • A good addition is canned tomatoes with a bit of the juice.  It will taste even more like chili. 
  • We ate ours with tortilla chips, but I think it would also be great just by itself or in a tortilla wrap.
  • This is good either hot or cold, so feel free to make extras to take leftovers!
  • Feel free to use less or more beans and corn.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The goings-ons

So I have realized that I have pretty much only posted recipes lately.  Well, life has a lot of school, work, and cooking right now. We have done some other things too, though!
For Birthentines Day we celebrated the weekend before.  We did a bunch of different things, but here are some highlights :) Sam surprised me and took me to the Roof in the JSMB, and we had dinner with the Seipert fam and Mom and Dad White.  The food was SO good.  I looooved the fish and the creme brulee. Oh man. 
Just so you know, I have a freaking awesome V-day present for Sam but the mail service seems to be taking a little longer than anticipated.  It was actually supposed to be a Christmas present, but ya, it has been taking THAT long to track down/come.

For my actual birthday, I was at work from 8-12, class from 12-6, and then studying for/writing an exam until like 9:30.  Suck.  Buuuut as per my request, we went and ate nasty fast food when I got home. Sam even let me take a picture of him (but I had to beg him and tell him it was my birthday wish). Also awesome was the ring Sam got me, which is so pretty! I mentioned forever ago that I like emeralds, and he got me one! What a good boy :)

Next came a long weekend of 5 hours of homework on Friday, 7 hours of homework on Saturday (and then a movie, "I Am Number 4", which had messed up colour so we got free passes to another movie!), 3 hours of studying and 5 hours of writing a test on Sunday (yeah, sucked), and then 10 hours of homework on Monday.  Yeah. I envy people who actually get vacation on vacation.

Although last weekend kind of sucked, this weekend was lots better.  On Friday we went out to Midway to see the ice castles. It was way awesome, even though they were a lot smaller than the last time I saw them. They're seriously so cool!
On Saturday we were supposed to go to the rugby game, but it got cancelled because of the snow. Lame.  We did get some other things done though, and I went back to the gym after a long hiatus due to my hectic schedule and feeling lousy. I feel better already.  

I hate flash SO much. The others were worse, though.

We're still waiting to heat back from immigration.  I'm getting pretty restless and annoyed with the whole process (not that I wasn't before).  I can't wait for this whole thing to be done and taken care of.

Well, only one more week of my 4-credit class. At work on Friday we got a breakdown of the extra projects we have each been doing, and yeah, I feel like a slacker for not taking on hardly anything.  The one project I was able to accept, I ended up getting stuck at the doctor's and had to call someone like 10 minutes before and ask them to do it. Yeah.  Then on Friday my boss was talking about how we all need to be pulling our weight. Yeah.. My bad... I would if I didn't have class literally ever single hour that we're open and during every single project request, besides when I'm already assigned to work the front desk.  Well, one more week.  16 fewer class hours, and only 9 extra work hours.

Oh, one more highlight of the weekend- Sam requested homemade bread. I haven't actually made legitimate normal bread successfully (just loaves and muffins, etc), but today I made SUPER GOOD white bread! It was awesome. We already ate half the loaf. I was proud. You know what the secret was? My grandma sent me some of the yeast that she uses that you can't buy down here, and I used it for the first time today. Coincidence? I think not. It's magical grandma yeast.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cream of Anything Soup

Tonight I needed something to make for a sister in the ward who just had a baby, and since it was all snowy and cold outside, I decided to do soup.  I did cream of carrot, but I've also done cream of broccoli and it rocks.  

(serves 4-6)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
3 cups milk
4 cups chicken broth or stock
2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash (seasoned salt)
2 teaspoons onion powder or a small chopped onion

In a soup pot, melt and brown the butter and flour. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Add milk, chicken broth or stock, seasoned salt and onion powder or onion. 

Cook the desired vegetables, and then puree 3/4 of them using some of the soup base.  Mix in puree, spices, and remaining vegetables.  Season to taste.


Cream of Asparagus
5 cups asparagus
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Dash of ground nutmeg or mace

Cream of Green Bean
4 cups green beans
1 teaspoon crushed savory

Cream of Broccoli
6 cups broccoli
1 teaspoon thyme
Dash of garlic powder
bay leaf

Cream of Carrot
4 cups carrots
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon basil

Cream of Cauliflower
5 cups cauliflower
1 teaspoon curry powder

Cream of Zucchini
4 cups zucchini
Dash of nutmeg

Cream of Mushroom
4 cups mushrooms
Dash of nutmeg

Butter Brickle Frozen Pie

I made this dessert for a work meeting on Friday.  Normally I really don't like giving away stuff that I haven't had a chance to try first, but with this one, there was definitely no need to worry.  It was stinkin' good. Try it: your mouth won't regret it (though your butt might).

Butter Brickle Frozen Pie
  • 1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 c butter, melted
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 3/4 c chopped pecans
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz) container cool whip, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup melted butter and white sugar until well mixed. Press into bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  3. Bake 6 minutes, until set. Cool completely.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  5. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter and pecans until well mixed. Lightly pat onto a baking sheet.
  6. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until light brown. Crumble while still hot. Cool completely.
  7. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in condensed milk until well blended. Fold in whipped topping.
  8. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the crust in the springform pan. Sprinkle half of the oat crumbles over the cheese mixture, and spread half of the caramel sauce over that. Repeat layers. Freeze until firm, remove pan sides and serve cold.

With the graham crust, I made a little extra. Also DON'T pack it in. Pat it in really lightly, or it will get too hard.
You need to freeze this a LONG time, like overnight.
When you take the springform edge off, rub a hot, wet paper towel on the edge and it will come off more easily.
Save a little topping to drizzle on the plate, if you want to be cool. chocolate shavings would look nice too.
I want to try some variations such as using almond instead of pecans, using chocolate instead of caramel, and adding extra cream cheese. Mmmm...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Coconut Lime Rice

Guys, I love coconut. Couple it with rice and lime, and I'm sold.  I tried this recipe for the first time a couple days ago, and it was so stinkin' good! I'm definitely going to make it a 'usual' side dish.  Oh man.

Coconut Lime Rice

1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
1/3 cup coconut
1 cup reduced fat coconut milk
1 cup vegetable (or chicken) broth
1 lime, zested and juiced (or a good squirt of lime juice)
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Cilantro (optional)

Rinse rice. Add all ingredients except for salt, pepper, and cilantro to rice cooker and stir.  Cook, stirring occasionally.  Fluff with fork and season. Can also garnish with lime wedge.

We had ours with steamed mixed veggies and garlic chicken (Brown some onion and garlic in a frying pan then add bite sized pieces of chicken breast and cook). 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Banana Oat Muffins, they're low fat!  I adapted this from a normal muffin recipe that had waaay too much sugar and fat in it.


  • 1 1/2 cups White Flour Bleached
  • 1 cup Quaker Oats
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Egg
  • 3/4 cup Skim Milk
  • 1/4 cup Plain Low Fat Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Apple Sauce Unsweetened
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Bananas-mashed
  • 1/3 cup Mini Chocolate Chips (optional)

Beat egg slightly. Add milk, yogurt, apple sauce, and vanilla.  Stir in bananas.  Combine remaining ingredients and then add to wet mixture.  Stir until just combined. Grease or line muffin tins, pour in batter, then bake at 400F for 16-18 minutes.  Immediately remove to cooling rack.

Makes 16 muffins, at 122 calories each.  Without the chocolate chips, it's only 102 calories each. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Birthentines Day!

 Thank you everyone for making my day fantabulous!

No time to post now, but I'll make a good post later about how wonderful my family is and how great the weekend has been. I also have a bunch of recipes, crafts, pictures, and other stories since I haven't posted in forever! I'll get around to it soon!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy February!

February is kind of the bomb. Reasons:

  • It's the shortest month, so time just flies by! 
  • Every once in a while it has a magical mystical extra day! OooOoooOo!
  • It's my birthday AND Valentines day. One the SAME DAY! (is it extra pressure for Sam, or extra awesome because he can kill two birds with one stone?)
  • At the end of February I will go down from 18 credits to 14, and that is a happy, happy thing. It will go from:

this... something like this

...which will be fantastic.
The worst part about being so busy isn't so much having so much work to do, but that because there is so much to do I don't get to play with Sam as much :( But there is just one more month (a short one!) of this excessive craziness! And it's a good month, too!