Posts Tagged ‘valentines’

Meatless Monday: Warm Red Quinoa Salad

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Okay, so quinoa may not be the first thing to come to mind for a romantic Valentine’s dinner, but what better day to think about heart health? This warm and hearty salad is loaded with super foods — broccoli for vitamins A & K (and lowering cholesterol), dried cranberries for antioxidants, walnuts for healthy omega-3s, and the aforementioned quinoa, a source of protein. And, it’s naturally red. To go totally vegan, substitute sauteed tofu for the feta. This would also make a nice side dish to some wild salmon. Happy *Heart* Day!

Recipe: Warm Red Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Cranberries & Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red quinoa (rinsed*)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves
  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed (optional)

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • squirt of lemon juice

Instructions: In saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add quinoa, stirring to coat with the oil and cook for 1 minute, continuing to stir. Add water, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Heat dry skillet over medium low heat and toast walnuts, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes. Remove walnuts from pan and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and shallot to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots begin to brown. Add broccoli and water, cover and cook until broccoli is tender — about 5 minutes. Uncover, add cranberries and remove from heat.

Combine quinoa, broccoli, walnuts and vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add feta, if using, and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

* Note: I used pre-rinsed quinoa in this recipe. If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, rinse it in a fine mesh colander and let drain for several minutes before cooking.

quinoa broccoli feta cranberries

Feeding Baby: Broccoli’s not recommended until baby is well established on solid foods as it is harder to digest. For babies 8+ months, pull out a few pieces of the cooked broccoli, a spoonful of quinoa and puree with a little water as needed to reach the desired consistency. (The boy is in a no-mingling-of-flavors phase, so the above is his salad, deconstructed. This is also ideal for serving finger-feeding toddlers.)

(And just so you don’t think I’m a total Valentine’s scrooge — here’s our dessert: black and pink cookies …

black and pinks

Snowflake Coconut Cake with Maple Snow Cream

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

What to make when you’ve been snowed in for days? Snow cake, of course! When I proposed baking a cake the boy first suggested chocolate. I talked him into a “snow” cake instead, a.k.a. coconut.

We used Ina Garten’s coconut cake recipe, though I used unsweetened coconut instead of the sweetened she calls for. Really, this cake is sweet enough. It’s a dense cake, but flavorful and stays moist for several days, which is important when you’re making a cake for just three of you. (Though we did take some to share on a snow-day playdate.)

Instead of Ina’s cream cheese frosting, I used Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss meringue buttercream.

This is the frosting I used on the boy’s 3rd birthday cake this past summer, and it was an all around favorite — not sickly sweet, easy to make, and it held up on a humid August day — what more could you ask for? It does use quite a lot of butter … fortunately I stocked up before the blizzard, but we still needed to restock when the husband went out for a between-storm grocery run.

frosting the cake

After frosting, we took a snowflake stencil, cut out of wax paper, and laid it gently over the top. We sprinkled a heavy layer of dried coconut (unsweetened, again) over the openings, then removed the stencil to reveal our snowflake. I had tried to talk the boy into dying the frosting light blue so the snowflake would show up better, but he insisted that a snow cake had to be white. (Duh.) I think he was right though, as it turned out just lovely. Don’t you think?

(You could easily adapt this to make a Valentine’s cake by tinting the coconut pink and making a heart shape on top.)

You can’t have cake without ice cream, and I’d had snow cream on the mind ever since reading this article in the Washington Post. When I was a kid, the only thing we ever made with snow was orange juice-topped sno cones, not particularly creative. I remember wanting to make maple syrup candy, a la Little House on the Prairie, but I don’t think we ever did. So naturally I took advantage of the 30-some inches of fluffy white snow in our backyard to make maple snow cream — delicious and equally enchanting to kids and parents alike. (Well, this parent at least!)

Recipe: Maple Snow Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 bowl full of clean, white snow
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions: Heat cream in a small sauce pan over low heat. When warm, whisk in the maple syrup. Remove from heat and let cool. Gather snow. Pour cooled maple cream over snow, stirring to combine and break up any chunks that form. Enjoy immediately! Makes 4 servings.

What are you baking for – or with — your Valentine? It turns out I’m not the only one with home-baked Valentines on the mind — Kelsey of The Naptime Chef and Jennifer of Savor the Thyme are hosting a “Food is Love” challenge. Hop over to either of their blogs for the details; enter by Tuesday, February 16, and you could win a prize from Scharffen Berger chocolates. Happy Valentine’s Day to you & your foodie families!

Banana Oat Bran Pancakes

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

happy toddler

Heart-shaped pancakes are something of a Valentine’s tradition in the FoodieTots’ home. I’ve been experimenting with a banana bran batter that provides a fiber boost while staying light and fluffy. The toddler loves to help make pancakes and as you can see, was quite pleased with this recipe. Best served with fresh fruit and topped with a little pure maple syrup, of course. Happy Valentine’s Day to you & your family!

Recipe: Banana Oat Bran Pancakes

banana oat bran pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch nutmeg

Instructions: Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl until just combined. Cook in cast iron skillet over medium low heat until golden and puffy. Makes 8-12, depending on size. Enjoy!