Today, I relied heavily on reci”peas” by Mama Pea. Her fabulous blog is made not only of snark, but also of delicious food and meal ideas. After sitting around for most of the day, contemplating when —– —–, (the grocer that hired me three weeks ago!), would call me back, I decided that cooking would be the most productive use of my time. Besides, you know, browsing other blogs and craning my neck into precarious positions as I read.
Breakfast and lunch already covered, I decided that a dinner high in protein was necessary. I wanted to use the quinoa thats been sitting in the pantry since February, but since my last effort was disastrous, I was slightly afraid to use it. However, I plucked up some courage and found Mama Pea’s simple Spanish Quinoa, and decided all things go; this wasn’t the mess of plain quinoa and straight balsamic vinegar I concoted before. Using her recipe as a reference, I made several changes based on what we had in our kitchen (my family is not very vegan-friendly!)
Mama Pea’s Spanish Quinoa:
1/2 c. dry quinoa
2 T. chopped onion
1 c. vegetable broth
1/4 c. tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. chili powder
Toast quinoa in bottom of a saucepan over medium heat.
Add chopped onion and saute for a few minutes. Add broth, sauce and spices and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve
Instead of tomato sauce, I used Bertolli Tomato & Basil pasta sauce. I also added about 2 oz. baked chicken to the mix, and a sprinkle of shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese. Like Mama Pea, I circled the mix with broccoli florets, heavily doused in garlic powder, salt and pepper.
The quinoa mixture was wonderful, and I’m glad I’ll have another serving tomorrow. One thing I’d change: I’d sautee the onions first in a bit of the broth, and forego toasting the quinoa. It was just a tad too crunchy for me. Other than that, the recipe reminded me of chili, and essentially would be with some beans and extra veggies. The heat of the chili powder was lovely; this is something I’ll be making often throughout the winter months!
Of course, my Spanish Quinoa wouldn’t be complete without dessert. We had a few bananas going bad, so I settled on Mama Pea’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Cookies.
The recipe was extremely simple and easy to follow, though due to my below-par pantry, I had to make more than just a few substitutions.
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. 1% milk (in place of almond milk)
1/4 c. natural peanut butter
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 bananas, mashed
3 tbs. ground flax (in place of protein powder)
2 tbs. brown sugar (in place of sweetener)
2 tbs. honey (in place of sweetener)
1 tsp. baking powder
Directions (quoted straight from Peas and Thank You):
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined.
3. Scoop batter by heaping tablespoonful onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 9-12 minutes, until cookies are firm.
Could it be: a. fertilizer, b. my sister’s diarrhea, or c. a mud-based face mask?
The answer is d., none of the above.
They came out…okay, looking more like elephant poo than cookies. HOWEVER, they tasted just fine. Lovely, in fact. I may or may not have eaten four in the span of three hours.
I prefer them straight out of the oven or microwaved, with a drizzle of peanut butter on top. My recipe yielded about 20 small cookies, so I froze about ten so they would keep. My sisters tried them, and I’d suffice it to say they would much prefer eating that mud-based face mask, so its just me and my cookies.
In the future, I’d probably add an additional scoop of flax and nix about 1/2 the amount of cocoa powder. I do like chocolate, but I much prefer peanut butter, as you should well know by now.
I also calculated the nutrition info! (For those of us who need a little reassurance. These ARE nutritious. Peanut butter is full of healthy fats, cocoa is rich in antioxidants, flax, well, is flax…need I say more?) My dad named them “Survival Cookies,” after I read off the”very healthy” ingredient list. He even said, “They’re so good for you — they taste like breakfast!” Now if only I could keep my siblings from eating Lucky Charms and Captain Crunch….