Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quinoa, dried fruit, and almond granola

I came across a recipe for quinoa granola in a magazine a few weeks ago and thought I'd give it a try, but I wanted to alter the recipe to add in a number of things such as including oats and substituting in maple syrup... While oats are gluten-free, people who are quite sensitive to gluten should use gluten-free oats (such as Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oats) since most oats are processed in places that also process things with gluten and therefore may be contaminated with traces of gluten.


Today is one of those cold January days that is best spent at home—a perfect day to try a new recipe...

Xena and Kowie, the dogs that I’m housesitting, also agree.

Quinoa, dried fruit, and almond granola

1 c quinoa
2 c oats
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 c flax seeds
1/4 c raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 c raw almonds
1/4 c maple syrup
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 c dried fruit (I used 1/4 c dried blueberries and 3/4 cup diced dried fruit mix included apples, peaches, apricots, prunes, and figs)

Rinse the quinoa with water and drain.

Add the quinoa and oats to a large mixing bowl.

Add the pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Coarsely chop the almonds.

Add the almonds to the mixing bowl.

Mix together the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour liquid mixture over the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Spread evenly over a baking sheet.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes.

Cut up all the dried fruit to little bite-size pieces.

Pour the granola back into the (cleaned) mixing bowl.

Add in the dried fruit it in.

Store the cooled granola in an air-tight container.

The granola goes well with a dollop of yogurt.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spaghetti squash with sausage and sun-dried tomatoes

I discovered spaghetti squash a few years ago after going gluten-free and really have fallen in love with this squash.  They're not that common in Fairbanks and seem hard to find at the grocery store most times of the year.... 

But today I made this really fantastic spaghetti squash dish with sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, and other delightful things.

I've been hanging out in the Mountaineer State for the past few weeks, and I've had a spaghetti squash sitting on the counter without really knowing what I was going to do with it.   When I went into the town earlier this week to the grocery store, I ended up doing some impulse shopping when I saw this sausage in the meat section.

(I'm ignoring that is has MSG in it since it has such an awesome drawing on the package)

The grocery store in Terra Alta is pretty small and carries the basics that you would expect at a small grocery store.  I've been on the lookout for any local products to try.  My first attempt at buying local was a bag of West Virginia apples.  I didn't even know that they grew apples is WV, but then I discovered why that was-- they ended up being pretty bruised and a bit mealy, but they made great applesauce... I had higher hopes for the Mountaineer sausage, and it turned out to be really tasty.

Spaghetti squash with sausage and sun-dried tomatoes

a Spaghetti squash (I used half of it for this recipe)
a few garlic cloves
a sweet onion
½ green bell pepper
1 tsp oregano
½ c sun-dried tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper


Spaghetti squash can be boiled, baked, or microwave.  I cut spaghetti squash in half, scooped out the seeds, placed it rind side up on a cookie sheet at bake it for about 30 to 40 minutes at 375° F. (You can also cook it whole by poking holes all over the squash and baking it for about an hour.)

Form the sausage into small balls.

Add the sausage to a pan over a medium heat.  I covered the sausage with a lid to reduce the amount of grease splattered.

Cook the sausage thoroughly, and then drain excess grease from the cooked sausage on a paper towel.

Remove the grease from the pan by pouring it into a heat-safe container for disposal.

Mince the garlic and add to the pan over a medium heat.


Dice the onion and add it to the garlic.

Chop the green bell pepper and add to the pan once the onions begin to brown.

When the bell pepper are cooked but still have a slight crunch left to them, add the oregano, mix together, and remove from heat.

Use a fork to separate the spaghetti squash into strands.

Scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash into a large mixing bowl.

Add in the onion mixture, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, sausage, and Parmesan cheese.

Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"What to do with this leftover rice?" Rice Pudding

I like rice, but it's hard to make in single-serving quantities, and it's never as good as leftovers as it is freshly cooked.  And I get bored with food fairly easily, so after eating something once or twice, any additional leftovers tend to sit in my refrigerator until the take on a life of their own (hence why I love dinner parties since many mouths leave few leftovers!).  A few days ago, thanks to Trader Joe's Indian Curry Simmer Sauce, I made some chicken curry and Basmati rice.  Since I'm hiding away in my parents' cabin in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia writing my dissertation, there's no one here to eat the leftovers but me.  And I'm avoiding driving down into town to have to buy groceries.

So, what to do with this leftover rice?  And then it occurred to me... Rice Pudding!

 I scoured through the kitchen cupboards and found the ingredients I thought would work best...

Rice Pudding


1 c milk
1 egg
2 tbsp maple syrup
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
small splash of vanilla extract
1 c leftover cooked rice
1 tbsp butter
1/8 c craisins
1/8 c sliced almonds


 In a sauce pan, add the milk and egg.  Mix together thoroughly.  Add in the maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract.  Then add in the rice.

Over a low heat, bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer until much of the liquid has evaporated (10 minutes or so?)  Stir regularly so the bottom doesn't burn

Once the pudding is cooked, stir in the butter.  Add the craisins and sliced almonds.

 While the rice pudding turned out great, the best part was sitting outside in the sunshine and 60° weather while enjoying it...

and listening to the bubbling brook.