Quinoa Pilaf with Pistachios and Cranberries

IMG_0502It’s a celebration and we’re playing a party game to  commemorate the  42nd month of the Recipe Redux. Cheers! So here’s how the game works. Grab  the nearest cookbook and redux the recipe on page 42 or 142.

Sounds like an easy task, yet this Redux has me clearly confused.  Before I tell you why, let me show you the cookbook I am reading and what’s motivating today’s recipe..Photo-225

I love Plenty More as a coffee table book, as much as I love it for its inspiration to let go of my culinary comfort zone and move into a free-flowing style that celebrates the flavors of both the Mediterranean and Middle East. This book, penned by the author of  Ottolenghi the Cookbook and Jerusalem,   is the much anticipated sequel to Yotam Ottolenghi’s  third book, Plenty.

Now, why I am puzzled? How does anyone make a recipe from a vegetarian cookbook healthier?    As I ponder this oxymoron,  I’m preparing a simplier version of Mr. Ottolenghi’s  elaborate Rice Salad with Nuts and Sour cherries that appears on page 42.  Please forgive me for leaving out the vegetables in my version of  this…IMG_0500 copy

 renamed Quinoa Pilaf with Pistachios and Cranberries. Quinoa is a high protein alternative to pasta or rice, and I ‘m serving it  to a group of omnivores accompanied by roasted brussel sprouts and pork tenderloin.  Here’s how my small crowd describes it ,”awefully delicious“.

IMG_0491Quinoa Pilaf with Pistachios and Cranberries

by Diane Boyd

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan, toast quinoa over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until quinoa is fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer quinoa to bowl and set aside.

2. In same saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and sea salt; cook stirring frequently, until onion is soft and golden light in color, 5-7 mintutes.

3. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in water and quinoa. Bring to simmer, cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer until grains are just tender and liquid is absorbed, 18-20 minutes, stirring halfway throught cooking.

4. Remove pan from heat. Add dried cranberries. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff quinoa with fork. Stir in parsely, sliced scallions, lemon juice, and pistachios. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.

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Round-up: Last Minute Holiday Recipes

PicMonkey Collage.holidayroundupDon’t be fooled into thinking bloggers  posting pretty pictures of foods with healthy recipes can always dazzle their guests with effortlessness. Not that you didn’t already know,  I can’t hold a candle to Martha Stewart.  Here lies my confession, I often pull meals together on the fly (gasp). If you can relate, this ones for you. I asked some of my favorite food bloggers to help me come up with a round-up for last minute holiday dishes.  These recipes use few ingredients and require minimal time. If your holiday spread is in need a side or salad,  or you’re loooking for a fun, festive dessert to take, these links will help you get in done in the nick of time.

Start with a  toast! Wine is great, but if  you’re inclined to serve something mixed this beverage from Deanna  Segrave Daly, RD at Teaspoon of Basil, has holiday written all over it. Her inspiration comes from Philadelphia restaurateur Mitch Prensky’s Honeyball.Pomegranate-Gingertini-pin

Appetizers are a great way to serve up something healthy and McKenzie Hall, RDN, from NourishRD does it well with her Roasted Vegetables with Tahini Dip .

DSC_4745Jessica Levinson, MS, RD, CDN adds elegance to the table with this  simple, healthy  appetizer, Gluten Free Salmon Cucumber Bites.
Salmon-Cucumber-Bites-004-e1399501823786

And Anne Mauney, MPH,RD of fANNEtasticfood shares a  creative stand-in  for the everday hummus. pumpkin-bean-dip-2-682x1024-1

Sides and Salads are alway welcome.  I don’t think you can go wrong with this beautiful side of Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds  by Kara Lydon, RD, aka the foodie dietitian..Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds-4

or this modern take on the well-established green bean casserole,  Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms with Herbed Breadcrumbs via Rachael Hartely, RD from An Avocado A Day.P1014622

I  am smitten with this Red and Green Holiday Salad with Honey Vinaigrette from teaspoon of spice.

Red-Green-Salad-with-Honey-Vinaigrette1

Desserts are fun and even a bit whimsical like this  one from Fannetasticfood.pot-de-creme_thumbDon’t panic if  you haven’t gotten around to baking cookies this season, or if Santa has already eaten more than his quota. Deanna from teaspoon of spice suggests baking  these Whole Grain Pie Crust Cookies ( made out of  refrigerated whole wheat pie crust). Whole-Grain-Pie-Crust-Cookies-FGMay your Days be Merry and Bright!

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Eggnog Recovery Smoothie (#SafeNog)

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in  the Dozen Days of Nog, a consumer campaign for Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs. I was compensated for writing this post. Opinions are my own.

Photo-224.1The holidays are upon us and you can taste the wonder and joy in everyday foods from coffee to sports bars. Today, my post is for any fitness enthusiast whose heart beats a little faster when I say, EggNog! Because of people like you, this beverage, synonymous with Christmas, has stood the test of time. First fashioned in Britian, eggnog has traveled the world, and wherever it goes,  people tend to make it their own. In this spirit, I’m putting  my very own twist on this longstanding tradition.

Last week I started whipping up these quick and delicious eggnog  smoothies to get myself in the holiday spirit,  to  refuel, rehydrate, and recover after my

photo-215distance runs and strength training. They make an egg-cellent (pun intended) way to replace both  fluid and elctrolytes lost during exercise. Each serving provides me with high quality protein important to preserve lean muscle mass and even stimulate new muscle growth, and supplies carbohydrates necesary to get ready for tomorrow’s workout.   Timing this smoothie after a bout of exercise takes advantage of the anabolic window, but it would also make a first string to-go breakfast and is fitting anytime you want to toast to good health!

  IMG_0371I love dairy and the natural sweetness of Medjool dates, but  the real hero of this eggnog  smoothie is …

pasteurized-eggs

 

SafeEggs Pasteurized Eggs  makes consumption of raw eggs safe by eliminating any risk of Salmonella without changing the nutrition or flavor.  As a matter of fact, I not only use these in my eggnog recovery smoothies (recipe below), I use them  in all of my favorite egg dishes such as  Caesar Salad, and in my Spaghetti n’ Eggs with Tomato Paprika Sauce. Plus, when I’m baking some of my  favorite holiday treats, they make licking the spoon A-okay. How is that for peace of mind?!!

 I first started using SafeEggs  because they are pasteurized, which is an all-natural, gentle warm bath pasteurization process. But I also love them because they have a farm fresh taste, and come from chickens that are raised hormone free, antibiotic free and are vegetarian fed. It should NOT surprise you that they have earned the Seal of Approval for exceptional flavor and culinary performance from the nation’s largest organization of professional chefs, the American Culinary Federation (ACF). By now your probably asking, where can I buy SafeEggs? Click here for  a store locator.

Start a new tradition using  SafeEggs in a  smoothie for recovery, in your holiday baking  and  in all of your  favorite egg dishes all year long.  Take the first step by joining the Facebook event, Dozen Days of Nog, from Dec 13-24. Connect with myself and other foodies to share tips , advice, ask questions,  find more recipes  and even contribute your own.  Because peace of mind in always in season.

IMG_0125

EggNog Recovery Smoothie (#SafeNog);  serves 2

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 2 Medjool dates
  • 2 whole Safest Choice Pasteurized Egg, separated
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of good quality salt such as Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4-6 ice cubes

Instructions

1. Place dates into a small bowl and cover with water for about 10 minutes to soften. Once soft, slice dates in half lengthwise and remove pits.  Chop coarsely.

2. Add dates along with egg yolks, milk, Greek yogurt, salt, cinnamon,  and ice to a blender and process until smooth. This is the eggnog base.

3. Beat egg whites till stiff peaks form.

4. Pour eggnog base into two glasses or mugs. Gently fold in egg whites. Garnish with additional cinnamon. Serve immediately.

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Baked Chèvre Log with Honey & Granola

IMG_0445.3Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

A considerable  part of the holidays is played-out consuming festive foods and holiday flavors. Unfortunatley, too much of a good thing over-indulgence can leave you feeling sluggish and uncomforable during the most wonderful time of the year. So this year, have it all. That’s right, delicious, nutrient rich foods,  that will keep you looking, feeling and performing at an all time high!

Let’s start with a recipe for the most wonderful appetizer, that’s nutritious, delicious and oh sooo simple to make. The first step is to make a granola (prep ahead and you can handle any impromptu guest or party). For those of you who read my blog regularly, yes,  I repurposed the granola used in my last post (Sautéed Spinach with Sweet & Savory Granola) to come up with this honey of an appetizer with no added sugarIMG_0440

Raisins are the all natural way to add flavor and healthfulness to holiday foods. The ingredient list says it all: Raisins.

 The good news about California raisins continues; they are also fat free and cholesterol free,  and contribute 9% of your daily fiber and potassium, and 6% of your daily iron (per quarter cup).

But don’t just make my Baked Chèvre Log with Honey and Granola  because it’s healthy. Make it for taste! Let me fill you in on what to anticipate.  A drizzle of honey blends the flavors, and along with raisins, imparts just enough sweetness.  The dried-by-the-sun fruit, combined  with  grains and  nuts, adds a satisfying crunch to the soft cheese.  Please trust me with the  raisin and fennel seed combination; it’s so exciting and pairs perfectly with  Chèvre cheese. If you’re like me, once you fall for this raisin granola you be pairing it with a myriad of other  foods including veggies, salads and soups,  all year long . Please visit the links at the bottom of this post for more healthy and  flavorful ways to enjoy California raisins during the most wonderful time of the year.

IMG_0452Baked Chèvre Log with Honey & Granola

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

    for the granola

    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
    • 2 Tablespoons Red Quinoa, rinsed
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts
    • 1 Tablespoon fennel seed
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 Tablespoon honey
    • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/2 cup golden California raisins

    for the baked Chèvre Log

    • One 6 ounce Chèvre cheese log
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1/2 cup granola (recipe above)

    Instructions

    for the granola

    1 Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

    2. In a medium bowl combine oats, quinoa, pine nuts, fennel seed, sea salt, and honey. Stir.

    3. In a small bowl whisk together egg white and oil. Add to oat mixture. Stir well to combine.

    4. Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a nonstick foil lined baking sheet.

    5. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes until golden (about 20-25 minutes).

    6. Cool. Add golden raisins. Mix to combine. Use right away or store in an air tight container.

    for the Chèvre cheese log

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

    2. Place 1/2 cup granola in a shallow dish. Roll the cheese log in the granola, using  your fingers to gently press the nuts, grains and raisins into the cheese.

    3. Place cheese log into a small, rectangular baking dish. Drizzle with honey.

    5. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately with crackers, pita chips or bread. Serves 12.

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    Sautéed Spinach with Sweet & Savory Granola

    Inspired by the dish indigenous to Rome and Southern Italy, this classic sautéed spinach is reinvented with  the addition of a sweet and savory granola  including California Raisins, Fennel Seeds and Pine Nuts.IMG_0414Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

    From blinking lights to glittery tops, life gets more  festive this time of year. For me, this excitement carries over to the kitchen with plans for holiday food favorites mixed in with new culinary traditions. Speaking of which, here’s one we should all adopt:

    Festive recipes that are both delicious and include more nutrition for a less indulgent holiday.

    It just so happens to be the theme of the Recipe Redux‘s holiday contest sponsored by California Raisins. But is it really possible during the holidays? Absolutely, and one way is to include wholesome ingredients, such as California raisins, in your holiday foods and baked goods. This dried-by-the-sun fruit is the all natural  way to add flavor and healthfulness, and  the ingredient label says it all: Raisins.

    The nutrition label reads: zero fat, zero cholesterol and no added sugar. Plus raisins contribute 9% of your daily fiber and potassium, and 6% of your daily iron (per quarter cup).

    Because raisins are both portable and convenient, I also like them as a to-go snack  (a healthier alternative to candy and chocolate). Talk about a good value, according to  the USDA, raisins are the most economical dried fruit.

    So let’s talk holidays and ideas for festive food. Woot! Woot!  While I paged thru my coveted new book, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi,  I  craved  to show YOU how to add sparkle and good nutrition to YOUR holiday table with vibrant vegetables. So today’s recipe begins  with these simple ingredients… IMG_0405…and it was  inspired by the classic dish found in Rome and Southern Italy, sautéed spinach with golden raisins and pine nuts.  It’s so easy to  sautée spinach. Top it with the satisfiying crunch of a ‘make ahead of time’  granola that includes fennel, pine nuts and golden California raisins, and your done.  But you won’t be done with this granola, trust me! You’ll want to sprinkle it on more vegetables, like an arugula salad ; add it to soups instead of crackers, like this California Sweetpotato Fennel Soup; use it on  soft cheese for a delightful and fun appetizer (say tuned for my next post);  and share with friends and co-workers a for wonderful DIY foodie gift. Please be sure check out the links at the bottom of this post for more ideas to add a festive, yet healthy touch, to your holidays!

    IMG_0415IMG_0413

    Sauteed Spinach with Sweet & Savory Granola

    by Diane Boyd

    Ingredients

      for the granola

      • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
      • 2 Tablespoons Red Quinoa
      • 1/4 cup pine nuts
      • 1 Tablespoon fennel seed
      • 1 teaspoon sea salt
      • 1 Tablespoon honey
      • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
      • 1 egg white
      • 1/2 cup golden California raisins

      for the sautéed spinach

      • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
      • 5 cups packed baby spinach
      • sea salt and ground pepper to taste
      • 4 tablespoons granola (recipe above)

      Instructions

      for the granola

      1 Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

      2. In a medium bowl combine oats, quinoa, pine nuts, fennel seed, sea salt honey. Stir.

      3. In a small bowl whisk together egg white and oil. Add to oat mixture. Stir well to combine.

      4. Spread mixture on a nonstick foil lined baking sheet.

      5. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes until golden (about 20-25 minutes).

      6. Cool. Add golden raisins. Mix to combine.

      for the sauteed spinach

      1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach in three additions, tossing occasionally until greens are tender, 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

      2. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons  granola. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

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