Spicy Black Beans & Quinoa

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In case you may not have noticed, I have totally been on a quinoa kick! I love, love, love it!!

So, when I didn’t have anything planned for dinner last night I decided to make it into a main dish and combine it with another new favorite of mine: black beans. It didn’t matter that I had just had some for breakfast. 🙂

We loved it and would definitely make it again and again! 🙂

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SPICY BLACK BEANS & QUINOA

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

IngredientsFinal

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/3-1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Leave this or the Chili powder out if you don’t want too much spiciness. For our own preference, we would leave this out next time.)
  • 1 large tomato

DirectionsFinal

  • Measure out and rinse the quinoa.
  • Put 1 cup of water into a saucepan and boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add in the quinoa until it begins to boil again.
  • Reduce to medium heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and let simmer for about 12 minutes or until it has sucked up all the water.
  • When this is finished, take it off of the heat, stir it, cover again, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, chop the tomatoes and set aside in a dish.
  • Next, dice up the onion and chop up the cilantro.
  • Drain and rinse the black beans.
  • When the quinoa is done cooking and has been sitting for 5 or so minutes (in other words, you have 10 min left for it to sit), squeeze lemon juice from one whole lemon into a large skillet, adding in the black beans, cilantro, onions, chili powder, and cayenne.
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • When the quinoa has finished sitting, add it to the skillet. Mix with the other goodies, adding 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes and then serve it on plates, adding the freshly cut tomatoes to the top.

Lori

Spiced Blueberry & Dried Apricot Quinoa with a Blueberry Sauce

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I recently had quinoa for the first time, and to my surprise, I absolutely loved it! So, off to the store I went! Tonight I used red quinoa, and as usual, I had little idea as to what I could and would do with it. I chose these ingredients: dried apricots, blueberries, hazelnuts, olive oil, curry, cinnamon, black pepper, and rosemary. Again, unusual ingredients, but my gut told me they would work well together.

And they did! We really thought the ingredients complimented one another, but my hubby and I both felt like it was a little bland. I didn’t know if I should just keep trying to add more spices (I did this some)…all I knew is that I didn’t want to give up on this dish.

So, though I have never heard of someone doing this, I made a blueberry sauce to go over it. I thought, “Why not?!”  The sauce turned out great, and we liked the quinoa much better this way!

That said, to be honest, this isn’t a favorite of mine, but I still wanted to share it with you all in case it might turn into a favorite for you. 🙂 If you have any ideas on how I could have made it less bland (besides making a sauce), please suggest away!

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SPICED BLUEBERRY & DRIED APRICOT QUINOA WITH A BLUEBERRY SAUCE

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

IngredientsFinal

For Quinoa:

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 tsp curry
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • black pepper

For Blueberry Sauce:

  • About 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

DirectionsFinal

For Quinoa:

  • Chop up the hazelnuts and the dried apricots into small pieces.
  • Measure out the blueberries and set them aside.
  • Put the quinoa in a bowl with cold water covering it. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Use a strainer with very small holes to drain the water out of the quinoa. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Put the quinoa in a medium skillet that has a lid…you will want to use it later. Put it on medium-high heat. This is so you can toast the quinoa.
  • Stir until the quinoa has separated and begin to smell fragrant. (I really noticed a difference in the smell.)
  • Add 2 cups of water, and let it come to a boil.
  • Once it does, turn the heat down to low, put the lid on the pan, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Then you will want to use a strainer to drain out the excess water. After you do this, put the drained quinoa back in the skillet.
  • Take it off the stove, cover it with a clean dish towel (it will soak up extra moisture), put the lid back on, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • After it has sat for 10 minutes, add in all your other ingredients. Stir thoroughly to get everything mixed in well.
  • Return the skillet to the stove on medium heat, stirring until everything is warm.
  • Serve in bowls.

For Blueberry Sauce:

  • Puree the blueberries in a food processor
  • mix the honey and cinnamon in with the pureed blueberries.
  • Pour over the quinoa.

Lori

Ginger & Rosemary Sweet Potato Wedges

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It was yesterday, already early afternoon, I knew I needed to bring a side for our small group last night, and I still had no idea what to bring. That’s when I remembered a recent post I just saw on Lisa’s blog, Simple Pairings, called Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges! (If you haven’t already, please go check her site out….she has great recipes, lovely pictures of them, and is very sweet!)

I love sweet potatoes, and though my husband still won’t admit to liking them, he now eats them with me when I cook them certain ways, including this one last night. I was really happy with the taste, and was also pleased that our small group seemed to really like them! I love enjoying my own food, but I also really love when others enjoy my food as well! 🙂

I made a few adjustments to Lisa’s recipe…really just because I couldn’t find the paprika! 🙂 What I did find was a spice I have never used before, ginger, and couldn’t resist the urge to experiment a little.

Fresh out of the oven…

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GINGER & ROSEMARY SWEET POTATO WEDGES

  • Servings: About 6 People
  • Print

*Adapted by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen from Lisa’s wonderful recipe at Simple Pairings

IngredientsFinal

  • 2 extra large sweet potatoes
  • 4 fresh cloves of garlic
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Black pepper

DirectionsFinal

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Wash and cut your sweet potatoes into wedges. I had no idea how to make nice wedges, so I was so grateful to Lisa for explaining! She said to slice each potato in length half-wise, and then slice the halves in half again. Continue to do this until you have the amount and right thickness you are looking for. Set aside.
  • Press the garlic, or cut it up into really tiny pieces if you don’t have a garlic press.
  • Wash and cut up the rosemary.
  • Put the two tbsp of olive oil in a small dish. Add the ginger and mix well. Next add the rosemary and garlic, combining well.
  • Lay the potato wedges on a large baking sheet. (I coated the back sides of the wedges with a light layer of olive oil, before arranging them on the baking sheet .)
  • I am sure you could use a brush for this, but I used my hands in the spice mixture and coated the tops of each potato thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle black pepper over the wedges.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through.

As one of our friends said last night, “These definitely aren’t bland!” I love foods that are rich in taste….that comment made my heart happy! Enjoy!

Lori

Twice Baked Maple, Cinnamon, & Walnut Acorn Squash

And, as promised, here was my favorite….the sweet one! 🙂

These are some of my favorite moments lately…not using a recipe, creating something new, something that I am not sure will work, though I am always really hoping will! 🙂

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TWICE BAKED MAPLE, CINNAMON, & WALNUT ACORN SQUASH

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

Serving Size: 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp of maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp chopped walnuts (Plus a few extra whole ones to put on top)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut a whole acorn squash in half, cleaning out the seeds from both sides.
  • Place each half into a baking dish, or a cookie sheet. I preferred putting them in separate baking dishes (I didn’t have one large enough that they both would fit), because so much juice leaked out.
  • Melt the coconut oil
  • Sprinkle the coconut oil onto each half and give it a few minutes to soak in.
  • Flip the squash over and cook open side down for 35 minutes, or until insides are soft enough to mash.
  • When squash is ready, scoop out the insides, leaving a thick enough layer so that the skins maintain their structure.
  • Place the squash in a bowl with 2 tbsp cream cheese. Mash thoroughly.
  • Add in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and walnuts, mixing well.
  • Divide the squash mixture evenly between the two halves.
  • Cook for 10 minutes (your stove should still be heated up to 425 degrees.)
  • After the 10 minutes, add some whole walnuts to the top.
  • Cook for 5 more minutes, then you are ready to eat!

Twice Baked Savory Acorn Squash

My hubby bought some acorn squash for me the other day, knowing I wanted to do something creative with it.  So it sat on our kitchen counter…..day 1 passed by…day 2…day 3…day 4…with me occasionally looking at it and contemplating. I had some thoughts, I really did, but nothing that was really grabbing me…until tonight.

I have never “twice baked” anything, no less a type of squash that I have never even cooked before. But the idea popped into my head and wouldn’t go away. 🙂 The problem was, would I make it sweet or savory? I thought both had the potential of being absolutely delicious…quite the dilemna, I know. 🙂

So, what was a girl to do? I made both, and decided to first post my hubby’s favorite: the savory one. Though the sweet one was my favorite, don’t doubt for a second….I thought this one was really, really good!

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TWICE BAKED SAVORY ACORN SQUASH

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

Serving Size: 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 4 tbsp red onion
  • 5 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut a whole acorn squash in half, cleaning out the seeds on both sides.
  • Place each half into a baking dish, or a cookie sheet. I preferred putting them in separate baking dishes (I didn’t have one large enough that they both would fit), because so much juice leaked out.
  • Sprinkle 1 tbsp of olive oil onto each half and give it a few minutes to soak in.
  • Flip the squash over and cook open side down for 35 minutes, or until insides are soft enough to mash.
  • While the squash is cooking, dice the red onions, and cut up the thyme and garlic.
  • Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and saute the onions, garlic, and thyme until garlic begins to brown. Take off stove.
  • When Squash is ready, scoop out the insides leaving a thick enough layer so that the skins maintain structure.
  • Place the squash in a bowl with 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese and mash thoroughly.
  • Add in the onions, garlic, and thyme and mix well.
  • Divide the squash mixture evenly between the two halves.
  • Cook for 10 minutes (Your stove should still be heated up to 425 degrees.)
  • After the 10 minutes, add 1/2 tbsp of shaved Parmesan cheese to each side. Cook for 5 more minutes, so the cheese has a chance to melt.
  • Enjoy!

Butternut Squash with Cherries

I haven’t been feeling so well this week, so I haven’t gotten to experiment with cooking as much as I would like. Yes, I did just say “like!” 🙂 Truly, I am not just “liking” to cook, but I am “loving” it!

I was determined tonight to take some time and try out this squash recipe, because it sounded so good. I am happy to say that it tasted just as good as it sounded!

Listen to these ingredients: Butternut squash, cherries, apple juice, cinnamon, & vanilla beans!

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When I went to the store to look for vanilla beans, I was not expecting them to look like this:Image

And the finished product….yum!

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Zucchini Fritters

I specifically signed up to bring a side last night to our small group, so that I could try these out on them. I introduced them by saying, “You’d think I would have been nice and brought something that I have already made before and know is good.” 🙂 That said, they were happy to be my guinea pigs.

These were deemed the name ” Zucchini Fritter” last night since I didn’t really have a name for them. These little guys have definite potential to be really, really good; I just think they need a little more yumminess added to them. The recipe I came across somewhere called for just parmesan cheese, egg, and zucchini. I already thought that sounded kind of plain, so I added in fresh garlic and black pepper. They were good, but I still thought they were a bit plain, so I am having fun thinking of some things I can add to this recipe next time.

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More Please! :-)

We loved this! I made this tonight as a side dish, and wow! I could eat cauliflower any day if it were made this way! Fresh garlic & thyme, olive oil, sweet onion, black pepper, and fresh parmesan cheese!

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