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Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Quinoa

8 Oct

Yum! I woke up this morning feeling like it was time for a nice warm fall breakfast and I decided what could be better than a pumpkin spice quinoa! I did a quick google search for a basic recipe and happily chose the first recipe I saw …

Breakfast Quinoa with Pumpkin and Spice – start the day out with a super fast, protein packed bowl of warm pumpkin quinoa. Gluten free

via Breakfast Quinoa with Pumpkin and Spice.

This was a great starter recipe that was easy to build upon! I started out with some extra quinoa from our delicious Stuffed Acorn Squash dinner.


From there I followed all of the directions except I used 1/2 a tsp of pumpkin spice instead of cinnamon and 1/4 of a cup of almond milk after I microwaved it.


Unfortunately I found it to be rather bland so I started experimenting. First I added 2 more tablespoons of pumpkin, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 a tsp of vanilla. Then I microwaved it a few more minutes.


It still wasn’t as flavorful as I wanted it to be but I figured I could make it work. I added another 1/4 of a cup of vanilla almond milk topped it with 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds and slipped into breakfast bliss!


I might add a bit more vanilla and/or pumpkin pie spice next time I make this but it was delicious like this and I was too hungry to risk ruining it. I really like that this was made in one portion out of leftover quinoa a lot like oatmeal. With so many picky eaters in my house it is definitely better than making a whole pot of breakfast quinoa and watching it go to waste.

Here’s my make shift recipe

1 cup of cooked plain quinoa

1/4 of a cup or more canned pumpkin puree

1 Tablespoon of honey (maple syrup might be good here too!)

1/2 -1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 -1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk (divided, depending on the consistency you want)

2 tablespoons almonds, pecans or walnuts

Mix all ingredients except nuts and 1/2 of milk in a microwave safe bowl.

Microwave on high 1 -1 1/2 minutes or until heated through

Add rest of milk and top with nuts if desired.


Do you have a favorite Quinoa and Pumpkin breakfast recipe to share?


Acorn Squash Stuffed with Southwestern Quinoa – Alaska from Scratch

7 Oct

Woohoo!!! I can’t wait to try this! I saw it in a forum on Google+ and thought it sounded soo yummy however, I was sad because I had never seen an acorn squash in my local stores. Low and behold I went to the store today and there they were!!! So of course I snagged one and will be making this for dinner…


1 acorn squash

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped

1/2 of a jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (more or less, to taste)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

salt to taste

1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or canned/drained)

1 cup steamed quinoa

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup grated colby jack cheese


Preheat oven to 350. Pierce the acorn squash with a fork several times. Place the squash onto a sheet pan and roast whole until fork-tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before handling.

Increase oven temp to broil.

While the squash is cooling, heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook the onions and jalapenos for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir in the black beans, corn, and quinoa and heat through. Toss in the fresh cilantro and taste for seasoning, adding more salt as needed.

Slice the squash in half length-wise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Fill the halves with large scoops of the black bean and quinoa filling. Top with cheese and return to the oven on broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with additional cilantro and serve promptly.


Lime wedges and a hot sauce like Tapatio would be nice on the side.

via Acorn Squash Stuffed with Southwestern Quinoa – Alaska from ScratchAlaska from Scratch.

Since my family is so picky I only made one squash so anyone who was feeling adventurous to try it along with their baked chicken could have a piece. Almost everyone tried the quinoa but only my husband and middle daughter had the squash. She didn’t like her’s and couldn’t eat it but happily devoured the quinoa and had an additional helping of quinoa. My husband ate the entire 1/4 of a squash but did not state whether he liked it or not. After all the cooking involved I was not hungry so I just tasted a small bit of the quinoa with some chicken and it was absolutely delish! I did make a few small changes to the recipe to suit my family’s taste buds. I only used about an 1/8 of a cup of the red onions because the onion I had looked huge and half of it was probably a whole cup or more and my hubby doesn’t really like onions. Next I realized the jalapeno I planned on using  wasn’t any good so I used a small amount (appx 1 tsp) of my Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper Spice Blend (I like that it’s organic and I always have chilies on hand). I followed the rest of the recipe as stated and used 1/2 tsp of sea salt. I’m not sure if I will make the stuffed acorn squash again but I will make the quinoa stuffing it is a great side dish.

How does your family eat acorn squash?

Pillsbury Gluten Free Pizza Dough!

22 Sep

Ok, so I haven’t posted in awhile… It’s definitely not due to a lack of crazy meal attempts just a lack of time to write about them. However, while this pizza is busy baking


I figured I could take a few minutes to share my obvious blunder so you don’t repeat it!

Well to begin with the directions say to grease your hands and the baking sheet before pressing out the dough and baking it. Easy enough right. Wrong! My go to oil currently is coconut oil. Unfortunately, coconut oil solidifies below 76 F. So as I attempted to press this cold clump of dough out into a nice flat disk on my cutting board it solidified the oil beneath it and stuck. I was pressing it out on my plastic cutting board thinking I would be able to slide it off onto my hot baking stone that was warming in the oven. Bad idea…

Luckily, I was using one of those very thin flexible plastic cutting boards. So to get the pizza crust off the cutting board I placed it on my glass top stove which always heats up slightly when the oven is on. By the time the oven was preheated I was able to remove most of the crust fairly easily but not without ripping it in half. I put it on the baking stone and pieced it together the best I could and baked it for a few minutes then put on the toppings and cooked it the rest of the way. I like to use a Mexican Cheese blend on my pizza along with Turkey Pepperoni and black olives.


Unfortunately, I don’t think I cooked it long enough during the initial baking process for fear of burning it. While it was very tasty the dough was slightly under done, soft and gummy instead of the firm texture you would expect from a thin crust. I will assume this was my error and try this pizza crust again without the coconut oil. Have you tried this gluten free pizza crust yet? What toppings do you prefer on your pizza?


Quick And Easy Quinoa and Salmon Foil Pouches

10 Jun

If you can make it with rice you can make it with quinoa!

My family has just recently fallen in love wíth this wonder of the whole grain revolution. If you don’t already know the various health benefits of Quinoa (which isnt actually a grain by the way) you can read about them here.

Want the simple facts? Here is a basic nutritional comparison of brown rice vs. Quinoa

Brown Rice (1 cup, cooked) Calories: 218 grams (g), Carbs: 46g, Fiber: 3.5g, Net Carbs: 42.5g, Protein: 4.5g

Quinoa (1 cup, cooked) Calories: 222g, Carbs: 39g, Fiber: 5g, Net Carbs: 34g, Protein: 8g

I choose Quinoa hands down!

So when I saw this recipe and wanted to make it for dinner I was disappointed that it called for instant rice. I really wanted it so I tried it my way…

2 cups uncooked instant rice 1 cup uncooked Quinoa
1 3/4 cups Progresso® chicken broth 1 cup chicken broth (I used Swanson’s)
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots (I forgot to add these but I would have tried diced carrots, instead I served it with a cauliflower, broccoli and carrot mix)
4 salmon fillets
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning salt ( I used Mrs. dash lemon pepper and over did the pepper a bit since I didn’t measure it out)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt and didn’t measure it out)
1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped (couldn’t find any so sprinkled mine with dry parsley)
1 medium lemon, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

Notes / Directions
1. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Spray four 18×12-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil with cooking spray.
( I just heated the oven to 350 instead)

2. Mix rice Quinoa and broth in medium bowl. Let stand about 5 minutes or until most of broth is absorbed. Stir in carrots.

3. Place salmon fillet on center of each foil piece. Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning salt and salt; top with chives. Arrange lemon slices over salmon. Spoon rice Quinoa mixture around each fillet. Fold foil over salmon and rice so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again. Allow space on sides for circulation and expansion.

4. Cover and grill packets 4 to 6 inches from low heat 11 to 14 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with fork. Place packets on plates. Cut large X across top of each packet; fold back foil.

USE YOUR OVEN. Place packets in single layer in 15×10×1-inch baking pan. Bake 20 min. or until salmon flakes easily with fork.


I’m not sure how long mine cooked because I forgot to set the timer but it was definitely delicious.


What are some other ways you’ve cooked or eaten Quinoa?

Baked Barbecue Chicken

8 Jun

Had a long busy day? Don’t feel like slicing, dicing and measuring? Here is a great easy and delicious recipe.

What I love best about this recipe is when I’m feeling extra lazy I just use some of the pre-seasoned chicken from the store so I don’t even have to measure anything. This oven baked barbecue chicken is a breeze! You can’t mess it up. You do need about 2 hrs start to finish to make it though. So make sure you pop it in the oven as soon as you get home if you’ve been out all day or you’ll be eating dinner at 10 o’clock like me.

One time I set the cook timer on the oven and had to leave the house. No one bothered to take it out of the oven and we discovered a new trick! If you want your chicken so tender and juicy that it falls off the bone turn the oven off once its done and leave it in the oven while you make the sides.

It’s Not Burnt, It’s Cajun!

29 May

It’s kind of funny that I remember saying this to my mom all the time when I was younger! I’m almost positive I burn a lot more food than she ever did and she did it a lot. She always said she wanted to make sure it was done…
I can’t use that excuse for grilled cheese 😏.

I’m pretty sure it was done and it definitely wasn’t Cajun. I quickly removed most of the blackened burnt toast particles with a few swift flicks of my wrist as I had done and seen my mother do many times before and went on making lunch for the kids. I got to thinking though… Is the burnt stuff on this toast as bad for us as the black lines on grilled meat we talked about in What’s Good Isn’t Always Good For You?

I couldn’t spend too much time thinking about it because I still needed to find something for me to eat for lunch outside with the kids. As I continued making grill cheese sandwiches for the kids I considered eating one myself. I don’t recall my mother ever making grilled cheese sandwiches for me it probably isn’t something she has ever made. I believe my kids may have had their first grilled cheese sandwich at a Denny’s! Then one day my oldest started making them herself.

I have made very few grilled cheese sandwiches in my life until recently and I do find them tasty but didn’t think I should eat one. It seems to be the only thing I can really count on the little kids to happily ear for lunch lately. There was still the question of what to make for myself. I longed for leftovers from last nights Chipotle Chicken dinner but there wasn’t any. I dreamed of sushi salad but we didn’t have any cucumbers or carrots left. Finally, I decided to make a Jimmy Dean Southern Style Chicken Biscuit (which is apparently supposed to be for breakfast) and a salad. To make up for my lack luster lunch I grabbed a V8 Fusion drink.

Perhaps we should have tossed the burnt grilled cheese sandwich just to be on the safe side according to Doctor Oz’s article on Toxic Toast Do you eat your burnt toast or toss it?

My New Love

28 May

I am completely obsessed with my most recent meal discovery The California Sushi Roll in a bowl! I have my dear hubbies picky palette to thank for it!

We have been on a roll this week with Asian influenced meals. I usually try and use up leftovers the next day with lunch or dinner if I can. We had a lot of rice noodle shrimp soup leftover from the other day so I decided to make Orange Chicken and rice as the main entree.

For some reason my hubby is not a fan of Orange Chicken and didn’t want the leftover soup either. I decided I should find another item to add to the menu for dinner and started searching for imitation crab recipes. I was hoping to find a simple crab salad I might even be able to send with him to work. As soon as I saw the title for the recipe California Roll in a Bowl I knew I had to make it!

The ingredients for the salad are pretty straight forward and simple. Lettuce, carrots, crab, avocado, cucumbers and rice. I used a squeeze tube of ginger and wasabi to mix in the soy sauce and rice vinegar dressing. I didn’t know how to toast seaweed and we aren’t super excited about sesame seeds so we didn’t worry about those parts.

I love eating sushi rolls but I hate making them due to all the prep involved before you get a roll done so I don’t make them very often. I may try adding some tempura shrimp and mirin next time to see if it tastes like a crunchy shrimp roll as well as a little extra wasabi to turn up the heat a bit. What type of sushi bowl would you like?

The Ridiculousness of Roasting

27 May

Roasting is a ridiculously long way to cook but usually very simple since you can just set it and forget it for the most part. The ridiculous part is finding the right recipe for the right cut of beef so it turns out flavorful, not to dry and not too tough.

Unfortunately, it seems like most beef roasts are only supposed to be cooked to medium or medium rare. I happen to prefer my meat well done or at least medium well. Basically, no traces of the fact that my meal was once alive, kicking, breathing, walking around and what not.

I have been doing a lot of meal panning based on what meats are on sale lately so I have been roasting different cuts of beef and trying to find the perfect recipe. For some reason I never seem to have the right ingredients so this time I used a recipe as a guide and tried to wing it! I found the recipe for Roast Eye of Round With Marsala Wine Marinade 3 ways and thought I had a winner! It was the right cut of beef and I had most of the ingredients on hand except the Marsala wine. My plan was to substitute it with a Burgundy cooking wine. when I finally went to marinate the roast I decided I wanted to use a different recipe that was specific to Burgundy since it is what I had on hand. I poured the Burgundy in the pot to follow the directions of another recipe (we’ll have to try later) only to find that the Burgundy cooking wine had gone bad. I looked through the cabinet for Burgundy or a Marsala to no avail. Finally, I gave up and used a sherry cooking wine for the Eye of Round With Marsala Wine 3 Ways recipe. I also used Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper to replace the lemon rind and pepper in the recipe. It looked great marinating!

I followed the standard method which required searing the roast on all sides after marinating for a few hours.

Then it was seared… #eyeofroundroast #beef #roasting #food #foodie #r2r #1sttime

A post shared by recipe2reality (@recipe2reality) on

The recipe says to place it back in the dish but doesn’t specify what to do with the marinade. I chose to dunk the roast and make sure it was all covered in the leftover marinade. Then I added some extra garlic on top (because I’m a garlic junky) along with some other bits of seasoning I scooped out of the marinade.

I placed the pan back in the preheated oven (with the marinade) and cooked it for the recommended amount of time.

Isn’t she a beauty! I made baked potatoes, popcorn shrimp and a broccoli, cauliflower, carrot veggie mix. It was a very filling dinner even though I skipped the baked potato.

I will definitely be trying this recipe again with Marsala. I’m assuming the marinade was supposed to be used as a sauce once it was done cooking but it was so juicy I didn’t think about it. I did wind up eating most of mine with A1 Steak sauce since I’m just not a big fan of roast. What is your go to family pleasing roast recipe? This was good but I’m still trying to find mine.

What’s good, isn’t always good for you

23 May

Every now and then my husband has a craving for something I don’t make very often that he really likes. Like most of the population its usually something that isn’t good for you. This time it was ribs.

I obliged because he says I make the best ribs. Who can say no to that! My rib success is not my own however. All the credit goes to Tony Roma’s and a book I picked up awhile back called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes.

So this is how the story goes, I am one of the millions addicted to Candy Crush, if you haven’t played it yet go now! What are you waiting for?

Anyways… the point of my tangent was I spent time playing Candy Crush when I should have been making the barbecue sauce to marinate the ribs overnight so he could enjoy them for dinner today. I was so tired I didn’t want to spend another hour in the kitchen. I really just wanted to go to sleep. However, I finally got the sauce made wrapped them in foil and stuck them in the refrigerator at 1 am so they could at least marinate for around 12 hours. That’s love and procrastination at work!

Here’s how they looked just before grilling, slathered in sauce…20130522-193757.jpg
The fun part of this story is that lately my husband has been learning about all the food items I have been telling him to avoid for years. This is what he sent me this afternoon Then he tells me we should only eat fish and chicken which I have been saying for years now! I love him and want to keep him around and healthy for years to come, so I’m glad he’s finally come to this conclusion. I just wish it was before I invested so much time, money and energy into making a meal I can’t even eat. Hopefully we will be having more healthy meals as time goes on.

By the way, in case you didn’t know those tasty black lines we make when we grill our food are also carcinogenic.

If you still want to make these ribs here’s a link to the recipe that I found online. It tells you how to make the sauce. In the book Todd Wilbur gives excellent detailed instructions on marinating, slow cooking and grilling these presumably tasty ribs. I had never made ribs before this recipe so I found it very useful. You may be able to find it somewhere else on line I haven’t searched for it personally since I already have the book. Happy grilling (in moderation)!

Be careful what you eat…

A Hot Mess

21 May

Where there’s smoke there’s fire and in my case when it comes to grilling a whole lot of it!!!


That looks amazing doesn’t it! Well unfortunately it didn’t taste like much thanks to two big no nos.

1. You should never commit to making a recipe until you have read it thoroughly.

2. I should never follow a recipe that doesn’t give clear and exact measurements.

Needless to say the recipe sounds amazing and I will attempt it again but with the right ingredients. I’ll also take my time and follow the directions since I was in a rush this time and didn’t. Hopefully it will make a difference because this recipe sounds delicious.

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