Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado, and Cumin-lime dressing

I've been hearing so much about this superfood, quinoa. "It's a grain, but it's got protein and essential amino acids and it will give you x-ray vision...." stuff like that. We tried a recipe for quinoa-stuffed peppers which was pretty good, but this recipe really hit the jackpot for me. It was really really delicious! Of course, you can't go wrong with avocado, lime and cilantro, in my book. I loved the fresh flavors and textures of this salad. We served it alongside some baked salmon and "hint of lime" tortilla chips. It was so good! And it made enough that we can eat the leftovers for lunches for a few days! This recipe is a winner! (We'll see about the x-ray vision...)

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Lime Dressing

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 3/4 cup water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, chopped into chunks
handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
small handful cilantro, diced
1 limes, juiced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste

Warm the olive/coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s hot add the rinsed quinoa and toast for about 2-3 minutes until it starts smelling nutty and lovely. Add water, stir once, cover, and simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare all other ingredients. Prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, oil, cumin, and salt. Whisk it aggressively. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
When the quinoa has finished cooking, remove it from heat and fluff with a fork. Add black beans and toss to warm them through.
Let the quinoa cool for about five minutes and then add all the remaining ingredients, including the dressing, and mix. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with tortilla chips. (We like the "Hint of Lime" Tostitos with this.)


Veggie Pizza

I love making pizza, but I wanted to try my hand at a more healthy version and try to get a few more vegetables in for the day. I was worried this wouldn't be that yummy since it was all veggies, but it was actually really delicious! We both loved it.

This is my favorite pizza dough recipe, I always make it on a weekend when I have extra time to let it rise, and then freeze half the dough to be used mid-week. When pulled out of the freezer in the morning, it makes the quickest dinner to throw together. All you have to do is wait for the oven to preheat, roll it out, top it, and bake!

Veggie Pizza

½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup to 1 cup marinara sauce
6 oz Fontina Cheese, grated
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 small-medium zucchini, sliced
1 small-medium yellow squash, sliced
handful grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
fresh basil (or dried, which is what I used), sprinkled on top

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flours and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

Pizza dough recipe from Annie's Eats.


Broiled Grapefruit

Made this for a Saturday brunch alongside some poached eggs and toast. It was delicious!! The warm grapefruit juices become a sweet-tart syrup, and the top almost caramelizes. (In this picture most of the topping was already scraped off.) Loved it and will definitely be doing this again and again.

Broiled Grapefruit

2 large grapefruits, well chilled
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 small fresh mint sprigs

Preheat a broiler.

Cut each grapefruit in half crosswise. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each half, if necessary, so that it will stand upright.

Using a serrated grapefruit knife or a small, sharp knife, loosen the grapefruit segments in each half by first carefully cutting between the fruit and the peel and then by cutting along either side of each segment to free it from the membrane. Leave all the segments in their shells. Place the halves upright in a baking dish.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Using your fingers, sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the grapefruit halves. Slip under the broiler about 4 inches from the heat source and broil until the sugar is uniformly bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer each grapefruit half to an individual dish and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Recipe from Williams Sonoma.

Tortellini with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Fontina

We're on a healthier kick around here lately. Making delicious food with fresh ingredients, and as many whole foods as possible. Avoiding sugar. Preparing more vegetarian meals. Eating whole grains. All that good stuff. It's been nice.

This pasta was our Sunday dinner (along with a spinach salad) and it was tasty and filling. We loved how the flavors of the sweet squash, savory mushrooms, the fontina cheese and the sage all melded together to make something delightful. It was also very simple to make.

Tortellini with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Fontina

1 small butternut squash (2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound button or cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and halved if large
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
2 ounces fontina or Gruyère, grated (1/2 cup), plus more for serving

Heat oven to 450° F. On 2 rimmed baking sheets, toss the squash and mushrooms with the sage, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once and rotating pans halfway through, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water; drain the tortellini and return to the pot. Add the vegetables, fontina, ¼ cup of the cooking water, and ½ teaspoon salt and toss gently to coat (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry). Sprinkle with additional fontina.

Recipe from Wire Whisk, originally from Real Simple.