Monday 8 July 2013

The Domestic Goddess is Suddenly Keen on Quinoa

A delicious, nutritious blog I follow just happens to be written by one of my Very Talented Cousins.*  Amy is a professional dietitian and a personal trainer, and has tons of great ideas on how to use any healthy ingredient in a multitude of ways.

Last night, I was flipping through it and saw a recipe I simply had to try:  Quinoa Granola Bars.  Technically, Amy took the recipe from another blog, but as she credits it, I feel that I don't have to.  Nor do I need to post the recipe.  This will possibly come across as lazy, but time spent cut-and-pasting recipes takes away from time spent eating quinoa granola bars.

I digress; not only did I have almost all the ingredients already in my pantry, but it would also help me use up some of my soon-to-be-heirloom quinoa.

Let's face it:  quinoa is great in soup!**  Great in salad!***  Great FOR you!  But I have a hard time getting past how it looks.  To me, a non-kalamari-eater, it just looks sort of ... squiddy.  Maybe that's just me.

But, as I inherited a monstrous bag of organic quinoa when our friends moved to Canmore a year ago, I had nothing to lose!  I also had some almonds, raisins, dried cranberries and agave nectar kicking about (as one does), and just had to buy some flax seeds**** to round it out.

Ailsa was my deputy DG today, as Vaughn seemed to have no interest in the kitchen, choosing instead to pore over his flyer for the Star Wars exhibit at the Aviation Museum.  Again.  Anyhoo, she was a great help in measuring, scooping, and dumping the dry ingredients into a big bowl, while I mixed the wet ingredients in a pyrex measuring cup, mixed it all together, and smooshed it over and over (as recommended by Amy) onto a cookie sheet lined with foil.  It baked for possibly five minutes too long, as Ailsa decided that she didn't like the brown edges, but the middle bit is incredible.  I cut them into 1-1/2 inch squares (which held together really well, probably due to the extra smooshing), and Vaughn kept asking for more.  I suggested that we bring a few to his daycare to share with his best friend, and for the first time ever, he said "no."

Now, this is a boy that has insisted I pack up a tupperware full of "Indian food" to share, a thermos of Faux Fraser soup (complete with dixie cups for sharing), and every cookie we've ever made, ever.  But these are apparently too good to dole out to his friends.  High praise, indeed!  Not to mention the incredible healthfulness of all those superfoods crammed smooshed into one big pan.  I feel virtuous in having a second helping.  And maybe a third.

Nom nom nom.

*  There are far too many of us to name, but we're all spectacular.

**  Ok, I made one great soup with quinoa, involving a mirepoix base, chicken stock, and diced tomatoes, but it was completely legendary.  

*** Or so I've heard.  My one attempt at quinoa salad had my ratios woefully off.  

**** As the recipe calls for ground flax seeds, I recommend that you purchase your flax seeds whole, and grind the quantity you want, as needed.  Ground flax seeds are vacuum-packed for a reason; once you open the bag and expose them to the air, they denature incredibly fast.  Also, keep your whole flax seeds in the freezer, with all your nuts, to preserve the flavour for longer.

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