Monday, September 20, 2010


Patrick's out of town this week. He's in Utah looking at rocks and eating at lots of restaurants. But not us. We're staying home (mostly) and cooking up a storm. And by us, I mean mainly me. Benjamin is only helpful with pushing buttons and tasting. He's still very necessary, though.

My best friend has to eat a pretty restricted diet because she's nursing and the sweet babe doesn't tolerate dairy or soy well. I've been racking my brain for helpful recipes and made it my mission to help my dear friend eat well, even with restrictions! The sweet Lord knows that I wouldn't be able to do it, why should she have to suffer? I digress.

My first vegetarian/Cayla & Gemma friendly recipe was on a whim. I don't even know what to call it. Quinoa (keen-wa) salad? If you don't eat meat this is your grain!! It packs a serious punch with tons of protein, fiber, riboflavin and whole grains in every serving. is the recipe:

Quinoa Salad
Serves 2
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

You'll need:
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
dash of salt
1/2 of a red pepper - in slices
1/2 bunch of asparagus
1/2 cup diced onions
1 SMALL hot pepper (such as a banana pepper)
1 clove of garlic - diced
some salt, pepper, basil
1/2 can white beans - drained and rinsed
2 cups romain lettuce - cleaned and dry

OK. Start by lining a cookie sheet with foil, add a little oil and toss the asparagus and pepper slices on. Brush with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, start the quinoa. Please prepare according to the directions (usually, 1 part grain to 2 part water - boil, reduce heat, simmer, done).
Also, you can chop and dice now to kill some time.
Now. Heat a pan, add oil and saute onion, hot pepper and garlic. Chop the (just roasted) red pepper into chunks and toss in the pan. Season as desired. You don't need a lot of seasoning - a little salt, pepper, basil - because the hot pepper and roasted red pepper.
Add beans into the pan, toss until warm.

For serving: Put lettuce on plate. Top with quinoa, hot mixture and asparagus. Serve with balsamic dressing - just incase.

I mixed all the warm ingredients before serving. I also tried the salad alone and with lettuce. I preferred it with lettuce (it gave it a nice crunch) and dipped occasionally into the balsamic dressing. I was pretty pleased with this. AND if you're not feeling the vegetarian way - add sliced chicken!

Also, I made nutella oatmeal cookies this afternoon. I decided that I wasn't going to follow a recipe. I mean, I make a lot of cookies, surely I can make up a recipe. They turned out so good. Fluffy. Just right, if you ask me :) I would tweak a few things, though. So, I'll give you my tweaked recipe....

Nutella Oatmeal cookies:
Preheat oven 350 degrees

You'll need:
1 stick of butter - room temp, slightly melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
some vanilla - I never measure vanilla. Start with 1 tsp.
2/3 cup nutella
2 1/4 cups quick oats
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
dash of cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Vanilla. Nutella. Combine dry ingredients, mix into the wet ingredients. If you're not opposed, stick you finger in the batter and taste it. Yum.

Take your magical cookie scoop and drop little balls onto cookie sheets. I think I got about 40 cookies from this batter. Bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on your oven. Place on cooling rack, eat one warm. Wait about 3 minutes. Eat another one. Give one to your baby when he wakes up from his nap. He'll be SO grateful...even if he doesn't say so :)

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