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Green Apple & Macadamia Quinoa Salad

March 30 075 Edited Green Apple & Macadamia Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad with green apples and macadamia nuts is now my favorite way to eat quinoa. I was not sure about an apple and a green pepper in the same salad. Add to that combo a green onion and a cucumber, and I was definitely not on board.

The fact that I like things that stray slightly from the path of normal served me well here because I made the salad anyway and was happy I did.

In addition to its taste, I was also impressed with how well it kept. My first thought upon seeing the quantity it yielded was along the lines of “holy moly, I should have saved this for a potluck.” But as luck would have it, it kept nicely for a good three days.

March 30 038 Edited Green Apple & Macadamia Quinoa Salad

Now, given this is only salad, you will be hard pressed to screw it up, but here are a few tips:

  • In addition to the lemon juice I added to the salad, I tossed my diced apple with a tablespoon of lemon juice before adding it to the salad to help prevent it from turning brown.
  • When cucumbers are involved, I tend to have more luck with shelf life when I use an English cucumber.
  • No agave? No worries. I really don’t think this salad needs it. I tasted the salad before I added agave, and I can’t really say it was missing. I did go ahead and add it only because I had a stray tablespoon or two in my cupboard that I wanted to use up. Feel free to use honey as a substitute.
  • For heat, add a serrano chile (as suggested by the original recipe) or, in keeping with the green theme, mince a jalapeno and toss it in there.
  • If desired, serve with yogurt or sprinkle some Aleppo pepper flakes over the top.
  • Enjoy!

March 30 034 Edited Green Apple & Macadamia Quinoa Salad

Green Apple and Macadamia Quinoa Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 small English cucumber, diced (3/4 cup)
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced (1/2 cup)
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery (1/4 cup)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions, which is probably to bring one cup of quinoa to boil with two cups of water and a dash of salt before covering, reducing heat, and allowing to simmer for 10-15 minutes before the water is absorbed and white threads appear around the quinoa.
  2. When the quinoa is cool, stir it together in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients. I started with the mainstays (apple, cucumber, pepper, etc.) then added the dressing (lemon juice, garlic, agave nectar) once mixed.
Notes
I included the original measurements with this recipe, i.e. where I call for one medium apple the recipe calls for 1 cup of diced green apple. Let’s be honest; if your apple happens to yield 1¼ cups, are you going to save the ¼ cup of apple for later? I think you are more likely to eat the extra ¼ cup right away or just toss it into the salad. Hence, use the measurements and sizes (small, medium) as a guide.

 

Chai-Spiced Breakfast Bread

March 16 2014 047 Edited Chai Spiced Breakfast Bread

In the spirit of holding on to this post because I had nothing (well, nothing all that valuable anyway) to say, I turned to my standby content generator and looked for quotes. When I think of chai, tea instantly comes to mind, so I started there.

I found a warm and fuzzy quote: “There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” – Lin Yutang

And a funny quote: “Hit me with your best pot.”

One for the drama queens: “We haven’t had any tea for a week…The bottom is out of the Universe.” – Rudyard Kipling

And my favorite quote that was not about tea at all: “I’m thinking. Please stand by.”

March 16 2014 053 Edited Chai Spiced Breakfast Bread

As luck would have it, I learned something too. All this time I was ordering a “chai tea” I was actually asking for a “tea tea” since “chai” is the Hindi word for tea. But because it is okay in the English language to bastardize whatever we possibly can, we use “chai” in reference to a style of spiced tea.

Just as we bastardized the language, I bastardized this recipe. I de-veganized it and baked it in the oven instead of the crock pot. I did not quite understand why I would put the bread in a bread pan only to bake it – so to speak – in a crock pot. I suppose this is a good option if you have an overwhelming urge to bake when your oven is broken, but other than that, I don’t see a lot of utility to it.

I’m all for making chai the next big thing. It’s warm and comforting and although I associate those feelings with tucking in for fall instead of waking up for spring, I’m willing to look ahead. Let’s call it fashion for foodies. So come fall, heck with the pumpkin, I want chai. Enjoy!

March 16 2014 038 Edited Chai Spiced Breakfast Bread

The tea quotes in this post (and more!) were found on this Twinings Tea pinterest board.

Chai-Spiced Breakfast Bread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Dry Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Chai Spices
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Wet Ingredients
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup double-strength brewed black tea (brew 1 tea bag in 4 ounces water)
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chai spices.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and melted butter until well combined.
  3. Add the milk, tea, applesauce, and vanilla to the sugar and melted butter and mix it up again.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The batter will be lumpy.
  5. Grease and flour a bread pan
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
  7. The bread is best when served warm.
Notes
I glazed the bread with a simple mixture of powdered sugar plus milk and a dash of vanilla. Unfortunately, I no longer follow a recipe for such a thing, I just mix to a thick but pourable consistency. I poured the glaze over the top of the bread when still slightly warm but not hot so it would melt only slightly.

 

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

March 16 2014 071 Edited Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

This one I was not sure I was going to share. See that chunky texture? That’s not hummus. Or at least hummus the way I like it, all smooth and creamy and beautiful.

My homemade hummus took on a consistency similar to natural peanut butter. Creamy, but not creamy like Jif. And even though Jif peanut butter is filled with ingredients that are not peanuts, that smooth dollop of delicious looks as good as it tastes.

So after this, my second hummus attempt, (my first was of the zucchini Parmesan variety), I planted myself firmly in the buy camp of the DIY or buy hummus debate. (There is no real debate. Thriving on controversy is simply one of my character flaws.)

Then I sat down to catch up on my blog-reading and came across seemingly all the hummus resources one could ever need.

March 16 2014 081 Edited Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

It started with a post on In Jennie’s Kitchen which led me to a chickpea cooking technique for smooth hummus. Somewhere along the line I ran into a Smitten Kitchen post about peeling the chickpeas, which I actually thought about when making my hummus but then promptly abandoned. I barely take the time to frost a cake, much less peel chickpeas.

So what did I learn? The consensus seems to be to boil your own chickpeas instead of using the canned variety like written in the recipe below. You can adapt what I wrote by using 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas in lieu of 1, 15 ounce can. Here are your resources:

Or, you can just chuck the whole idea all together and make sun-dried tomato dip. Do what makes you happy. Enjoy!

March 16 2014 070 Edited Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1, 15-oz can chickpeas
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • ½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup water (and more as needed)
Instructions
  1. Puree the chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor until it starts to get smooth, about four minutes.
  2. Add the quinoa, olive oil, tahini, cayenne pepper to the food processor and continue to process until the mixture starts to smooth out. The mixture may start to clump at this point, so add water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Notes
I typically find I can get 2 tablespoons of lemon juice from one medium lemon. You do not have to use olive oil in the recipe. I added it to help smooth out the hummus, but using just water would be fine too.