Monthly Archives: June 2013

Orange Almond Muffins

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I should call these my procrastination muffins.   What do I do when I have a house full of drawers to clean out?  I bake.   I know how to bake.  Cleaning and organizing, however are not my strong suits.    We have about 2 months before we move to California for the school year and we are renting our house for that time.

Cleaning and organizing are going to be my MO …next month.

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Things will happen.   They will all come together.   And so for now, I bake.

I had a bowl of oranges that had to be used and two little mouths that love muffins for breakfast.   It made perfect sense.

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My kids were very eager to help, which isn’t always the case.  They actually followed through until the very end and were so good at taking turns pouring and mixing.  Their attention span used to last through the first couple steps and then they were off playing with their toys.   I used to pretty much get a –you’re doing great mom.  Let me know when they are ready to eat.     So this was a nice change.

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Quinoa Salad with Beets and Cucumbers

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Happy Fathers Day!   I hope you are all celebrating the amazing father’s and men in your life.  After a filling family breakfast and looking at all the cards the kids decorated for Eric, we sent him off for a long hike with some of his good friends.   The kids absolutely adore their dad, as do I.

I think about my father often, but especially today.  This is my fourth father’s day without him.   I picture him playing bridge somewhere and passionately discussing politics while eating chinese food, or maybe a big plate of onion rings.   To this recipe he would say keen-what?  And I would reply, Keen-WAH, Dad – Try it, it’s really good for you.  You’ll like it .  And by the way, you would have loved the hike I went on today.   The Lupine were just incredible.  If only I could tell him about it.   If only he could hike with me again.

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I am not sure if I had even heard of quinoa four years ago.

This is a great summer meal.  It is perfect for lunch, dinner or potlucks.  It keeps well so you could make it on Sunday and take it to work for lunch over the next several days.  Also great to take camping for the weekend.

I had just roasted some beets and hadn’t decided what I was going to do with them yet.  I looked in the index under beets in this fabulous cookbook called La Tartine Gourmande by Beatrice Peltre and came across a beet and quinoa tabouli, as she calls it.   Perfect.

Roasting the beets takes about an hour and the quinoa needs to cool down so this is not a last minute type recipe.   You need about an hour and a half- even though it’s really only 15 minutes of active cooking time.

I changed some of the ingredients, adding basil and cucumbers, and omitted a few others, but otherwise  followed her recipe.   This cookbook is truly one where every time you turn the page another delicious recipe appears after another.  I used red quinoa because it is what I had on hand but I think it would look prettier with white quinoa  (as Beatrice uses) and the beets would turn it a light pink.

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Enjoy!

Summer Quinoa Salad (serves 6)

adapted from La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook

1 Cup Quinoa (red or white)

2 Cups Water or Vegetable Broth

1 Large Beet, Roasted and diced

1 Cup diced Cucumber

1/4 Cup Feta crumbles

2 TBSP Pine Nuts (optional)

Vinaigrette

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP Basil, chopped

1 TBSP Mint, chopped

1TBSP Parsley, chopped

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Wrap the beet (unpeeled) in tin foil and in a 400 degree oven and roast the beet for 45min.-1hour.   Let cool and then peel off the skin with your fingers and dice it. 

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well in a fine mesh colander.  Add it to a pot with 2 cups of water or vegetable broth and a pinch of salt.   When it comes to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.  Remove from heat, let it stand for 5 minutes and then put it in a bowl to cool. 

In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and stir well. 

Add the beets and cucumbers to the quinoa and stir well.   Pour the viniagrette over the salad and mix together.   Then add the feta crumbles and pine nuts on top.

 

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Avocado, Grapefruit and Watercress Salad

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As the temperature warms up, we tend to crave more cooling foods.    This salad is a perfect summer salad.

Tomorrow Max graduates from Miss Jenny’s Friendship House Preschool.    Next Fall he is Kindergarten bound.  Luckily he gets to go to summer camp with the same kids and teacher, also a good friend of mine, or there might be lots of tears this week.    He told me the other day that he liked school better than TV.   Enough said.   Miss Jenny is pretty much a rock star in my house.   Jake is his best buddy and if we could just bring him with us to California next year, everything would be peachy in Max’s world.

Next week will officially feel like summer around here as school is out and camps begin, flowers start to bloom and flip flops and tank tops become the daily apparel.

This salad should be on the summer menu.   We have been getting the sweetest grapefruits lately.   If you are find grapefruits are more on the sour side, use can use oranges instead.

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This salad is refreshing and light with bursts of flavor from the sweet juicy grapefruit, the bitter watercress, the crunchy hazelnuts and the creamy goat cheese and avocado.     Watercress is so good for you and just  like parsley, it shouldn’t just be a garnish.   Hippocrates is said to have built his hospital near water so that watercress would be in abundance and he could use it to treat his patients.  It’s naturally anti-aging  and is a vitamin C powerhouse.

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