Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Recipe-Packed Post

I can't stand lazy days. They're just not for me. I find that I'm much happier when I'm active and productive all day; I feel better when I've gotten lots done. Today was a great day for me. I have all these recipes I need to post, so first order of business: Strawberries n' Cream Oatmeal Pudding.

A few days ago I made this for breakfast. I wanted to try a pudding recipe since I haven't tried many before, and I'd been itching to try CCK's Kozyshack recipe--with my own tweaks, of course. ;-) Using her basic idea, I prepared the pudding the night before, using the fresh strawberries I picked up at the grocery (very ripe, sweet strawberries work the best). First, puree 3/4 cup strawberries, half a serving firm tofu (I used Mori-nu light), 3/4 cup almond (or other) milk, and 2 teaspoons (you can use less, if you want) pure vanilla extract. Stir this mixture into 1/2 cup oats and leave covered in the fridge overnight.

When you're right-n'-ready for your brekkie pudding, take out the oatmeal and pulse a few times in your blender or food processor. Transfer to a small saucepan and cook on the stove on medium-high, covered, for at least twenty minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another twenty uncovered, or until you've reached the desired consistency and the pudding has cooked down and sweetened up a little. Enjoy warm or place back in the fridge to chill and enjoy it cold later (both ways are delicious! and the chilled one gets a bit sweeter).

I garnished mine with a few goji berries (but fresh, heart-shaped strawberry slices would've looked so much prettier--I'll be sure to upload a better, more professional photograph when I make this pudding again next in the future--with a better camera and better presentation).

Creamy, pink, delicious goop!

 It was absolutely delicious the morning I had it. This morning, however, I enjoyed one of my favorite breakfast soft-serves--a Peppermint Soft-Serve. Using the basic recipe, I just blended together a frozen banana, 1/4 cup almond milk with 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract stirred in that I chilled for a bit in the freezer in advance, and a large handful of frozen spinach. The Ninja whipped it right up into a smooth, dreamy n' minty delight.

Garnished with a fresh sprig of spearmint from the garden. <3

Look at all that green! This would be perfect for St. Patty's Day, don't you think?

Next recipe on the agenda: Pumpkin-Quinoa Bars!

I'd heard of baking with quinoa while putzing around blogs. I absolutely adore quinoa, though I've only ever had it in savory dishes. I figured it'd made delicious baked goodies as well; why not?

I found a recipe online and altered it to my likes (arguably, improving it). Making the bars single-serving, I prepared 1/4 cup quinoa--using the normal method, bringing it to a boil on the stove with 1/2 cup water and simmering for fifteen minutes covered. Then, I blended half of the quinoa with 1/2 cup of organic pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup water (but maybe almond milk would work better next time?), one teaspoon vanilla extract, and half a box of raisins (I used them as the sweetener, because I like to use fruit for my sweetness--you can also use sweetener or choice, like brown sugar, stevia, honey, agave, etc., though you might have to alter the recipe a bit). I pre-heated the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, I prepared a flax "egg" by mixing together a tablespoon of water with a tablespoon of flax meal and letting that sit for a few minutes. Then stirred in the spice for the bars (of course, these measurements can be altered to your taste-buds/flavor preferences): a heaping teaspoon of ground cinnamon, scant 1/2 a teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg. I also added a pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) of baking powder and an even smaller pinch of baking soda.

Then, I mixed the wet mixture into the bowl, also adding the rest of the quinoa, until all of it was blended well together. I scooped this pumpkin-licious dough into a small glass baking dish (any small oven-safe pan/dish, etc. will do, of course) lined with parchment paper (for super-easy clean-up; some people use tinfoil, but I find that it hinders the baking process), spreading it out into a thin, 1/3 inch layer for my bars. The baking time depends on how thick you make your bars: if you want thinner bars, about the thickness I made mine, bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 45 minutes. For thicker bars, simply cook longer, and maybe up the temperature to 350 for faster cooking (but I warn you--they might end up being uncooked a little on the inside).

When they were done, I took them out to let them cool on the counter for ten minutes, then I transferred them to the refrigerator to chill for another twenty. At this point, it would probably be best to let the bars set overnight to give them a chance to firm and sweeten up, but since I was so eager to try my Pumpkin-Quinoa Bars, I used the quicker option: I popped them in the freezer for another twenty-or-so minutes. Then, when I just couldn't wait any longer, out they came, onto the plate.

Because of my impatience, the bars had a bit of a strange texture--chewy on the outside and kind of soft on the inside. Next time I use this recipe, I'll be sure to prepare them the day before so they can sit in the refrigerator to properly set and firm up.
And so I discovered another wonderful way to use quinoa! :-)

Another post is coming up soon--I just needed this one to get out some built-up recipes. I have a ton built up. I've been busy busy busy in the kitchen lately, ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment