Another successful night slept! It turns out I went a bit overboard with the blanket layers, but that’s what happens when we do anything in excess. I woke up about twenty minutes before the alarm clock, though I’m just so ecstatic with actually catching decent shuteye that I really don’t mind at all. In fact, I was so energized I tackled housecleaning before work, and perhaps a blog post to boot.
This is going to be an amazing day.
So, do you remember in my last post that I had declared January to be “Breakfast Bake Month”? Well, you may also remember that I accepted the challenge to do other recipes also, just to get back on track with blogging more often. There will definitely be more breakfast bakes, but I can definitely feel the emptiness where my “Bento Box Snapshots” used to be. This month’s Gluten Free Ratio Rally has also proven to be rather difficult, but I’m not giving up.
No sir, not I.
It occurred to me that I’ve been very, uh, bakerish lately and I wanted to do something different than using an oven and letting it do all of the work in transforming the dish. I wanted to be an active participant from start to finish, and it had to be a vegetable-based recipe as a side dish for dinner. That’s where quinoa comes in.
After not having rice as often as I used to, it was no longer was my go-to gluten free flour like it once was. Although I’m not strictly following the grain-free free, sweetener free, one fruit a day diet, my body just doesn’t crave it anymore (as well as oats, white potatoes, corn, and yeasty things). And this is coming from a gal who swore by rice cracker sandwiches.
But quinoa has really shone through the drastic changes in my taste bud preferences, and even in flour form I like it much better than I had before. When I can find it, I always go for red quinoa because of its texture, but white quinoa is most common in stores and has a pleasant creaminess to it in addition to a mild, seedy taste (well, it is a seed after all).
Looking back throughout my previous posts in 2011, I am surprised to find how many of my recipes have called for quinoa, both as flour and as whole grain. But it truly is a remarkably adaptable food, as it can be a very healthy addition to any recipe you can think of.
The following recipe was an experiment on how I could “dress up” plain ol’ quinoa with the pork. I played around with flavors and textures, and mixed up fresh ingredients in with the cooked ones. I think it needed a dressing of some kind, perhaps something sweet that enhanced the apricot and tomatoes.
Just remember, folks: you can dress up any sort of gluten free grain to fit your needs to any meal. Play with your food, and your stomach will thank you.
Trust me, I'm a Blogger.
All Dressed Up Quinoa Salad
168 g White quinoa
480 ml Water
1 tsp. Unrefined apple cider vinegar
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
1 tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 Large (or 1 small) Red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 Medium carrot, sliced into thin circles
14 g Fresh parsley, stemmed and coarsely chopped
122 g or 15 Mini pearl grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 Fresh apricot, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced (note: you want a slightly firm one that is tart in flavor)
1 Avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into small chunks
Place the quinoa, water, cider vinegar, and salt into a rice cooker (or in a medium saucepan on the stove) and prepare it as you would white rice.
On medium heat, place the olive oil in a hot sauté pan and cook the onion, garlic, carrot, and parsley until the onion has become translucent (you want the carrot to have a little crunch).
After the quinoa is cooked, place it in a large mixing bowl and add the cooked veggies as well as apricot, tomatoes, and avocado.
Lightly toss with a wooden spoon until thoroughly integrated.
Makes 4 – 6 servings.