Fruity granola bars… and a challenge

I love granola, I really do… especially in the form of highly snackable granola bars.  In fact, we eat a lot of granola / kashi / cliff / power bars at my house.  So, in an effort to take another small step away from packaged food… and a step towards whole food goodness… I bring you, fruity, nutty homemade granola bars!!

Fruit and Nut Oat Bars

These bars are sweet and chewy with dried fruit, crunchy nuts, and just a touch of dark chocolate.  I used what I had on hand… these would also be delicious with dates, figs, dried cranberries or other types of nuts.  Oh, and be sure to look for dried fruits without added sugar… otherwise, they can pack a mean little sugary punch.  I get mine in the bulk bin at the grocery or health food store.

  • 1/2 cup prunes
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (of course I use my own)
  • 1/2 cup chopped or crushed walnuts
  • 1 cup oat flour (just pulse oats in your blender or food processor)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (I like the texture of the thick cut rolled oats)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (the good stuff, aim for > 70% cocao)
  • about 1/2 cup water (see explanation below)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Combine all of the dried fruits in a mini-chopper or food processor and pulse until well chopped… you could try to do this by hand, but trust me, it will be hard to achieve what can be done 1-2 minutes with the processor.

Transfer to a bowl and add the almond butter, nuts, oat flour and oats.  Start by adding 1/4 cup of water and mix by hand.  Slowly add more water until you have a dough.  I used 1/2 cup… excess water will cook out, so it’s better to add a little more rather than have a dry dough.

Line an 8x8in baking dish with parchment paper.  Press the dough into the pan and bake at 325F for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool, cut and serve.  Makes 12.  I like to cut bars into different sizes… because sometimes you just want a little bite, and sometimes you need more!

fruity granola barsfruity granola bars up close

I recently received an email from Deepak Chopra (well… okay, I’m on a mailing list… it wasn’t from him personally)… his center is doing a FREE 21-day meditation challenge starting on March 11th.  You just sign up, then you receive a daily email and have access to a new guided meditation for 3 weeks… and did I mention that it’s free?  Oh, and as if this could get ANY better, guess who is co-hosting with Deepak.  No silly, not me… Oprah!!  It’s bound to be fantastical!  Plus, developing a mediation practice is one of my goals, and this sounds like a perfect way to start!  Who’s with me??

xox,

Kristen

Super Sweet Blog Post

Hi everyone,

I have some exciting news!  I was nominated for the Super Sweet Blog award!!

Cupcake4

As a new blogger, I am still a little surprised when people (other than my family) read my blog… I mean, strangers reading what I’m writing.  Isn’t the internet cool?  It’s really inspiring to be part of such a huge community.

Thank you very much to Rosita for the nomination!  Click over to check out her site… she has tantalizing recipes, punctuated with her humor… a pleasure to read.  Her tagline is ‘reclaiming food with fun and yumminess’ … it couldn’t get any better than that!

For the nomination… I answer 5 Super Sweet questions about myself and then pass on the love with nominations to 5 blogs that I find to be Super Sweet.  Here we go….

1. Cookies or Cake?

Cookies… definitely!  I enjoy a nice slice of cake on a special occasion, but cookies have some definite advantages.  Namely, you can go from craving to cookies in under a half hour.  Second, you can whip up a small batch, which is much harder to accomplish with cake.  And finally, cookies are so portable… hard to toss a slice of cake in your purse 😉

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate!  The darker the better!

3. Favorite sweet treat?

Creme brulee!!  I realize this seems to contradict my answer in #2, but what can I say, I absolutely love creme brulee.  And I’ve had chocolate creme brulee and it’s heavenly!  And raspberry brulee… and caramel.  I once had a ginger brulee.  See it’s a worthy favorite.

4. When do you most crave sweets?

Okay, you will think I am weird now… sometimes I have the most wicked sugar cravings in the early morning.  I have found that if I keep to a healthy diet, I tend to crave sugar a lot less… but if I indulge in a sugary dessert, I literally wake up wanting more!

5. Your sweet nickname?

I am one of those people who has always gone by their full name… seriously, very few nicknames have crossed my path.  So I asked Jonathan for help on this one… his reply was ‘dark cocao’ because if he thinks of me and sweets, dark chocolate is the first thing that pops to his mind.  Hmmmm…. maybe because I have been slowly replacing all the ‘normal’ chocolate in the household with the dark variety.  Looks like he’s caught on 😉

And now for my nominations… this was difficult as there are so many blogs I enjoy reading.  In keeping with the theme, I went with my favorite sites for Sweet recipes 😉

All this talk of sweets and cookies has brought on a serious craving!  Seems like a great time to share my favorite cookie recipe 😉

I really love baking my own cookies… it means that I can control the quality of the ingredients I use… and they ALWAYS taste better than the icky store-bought variety.

Classed-Up Classic: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are my husband’s favorite… I knew we would be a good match!!  This recipe is made often at our house.  It’s fabulous because you can whip up a small batch with quality ingredients. in short time  This is also my ‘base’ cookie recipe, so feel free to mix it up with the ingredients.  Makes 12.

  • 1 cup spelt flour (or 1 cup minus 2 Tbs whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • teeniest dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup neutral flavored oil (like coconut or canola)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (what’d I tell you about dark chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (treat yourself to the no-added-sugar variety)
  • 1/4 cup nuts, pecans or walnuts are fab here

Preheat oven to 350F.  Now this is a super easy assembly – simply combine all ingredients in the listed order and mix.  And the BEST part about vegan baking (aside from being cruelty free, obviously) is that you can EAT the dough whenever you want… no raw eggs to worry about!

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Spoon dough in tablespoons size balls and flatten a bit on the cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F for 11 minutes.  Eat them as soon as you can handle it, without burning your mouth!

cookie tray

cookies!!In other Super Sweet News….

Jonathan and I have a double date tonight with our friends Ed and Halle in Boston!  I’m not sure when this happened, but we suddenly all have responsibilities and commitments, so we don’t get to see each other nearly enough.  I am so excited!!

Tomorrow we are off to our friend Allyson’s wedding.  I love getting to witness a couple express their love.  Super Sweet is right!

And Sunday, I am meeting my youngest sister Eleanor’s new beau.  Love is in the air.

Oh, and to top it off, I’ve had the most Super Sweet day!  I was off work today… sweet!!  It was really sunny and warm (well, warmish for February), so I spent some time at the beach this morning… my favorite spot on earth… the ocean was kicking up some huge waves this morning…

waves crashingI jumped more than a few times and almost got soaked!!

When I got home, I mastered the elusive art of omelette making!  I can do a mean scramble but have NEVER really been able to figure this one out.  My dad makes excellent omelettes… I figured the gene skipped a generation.  But wait, today…

omlette

Seriously, have you ever seen a better-looking omelette?  Could this day get any better?

Health and happiness to you all!  And have a Super Sweet day.

xox, Kristen

Heart Health, Valentine’s Day… and Chocolate Truffles

Wouldn’t it be great if heart health was as easy as having some laughs with friends, indulging in certain high-fat foods, savoring dark chocolate, and sleeping more?  Well, great news guys!!  All of these things are great for your heart health and general well-being… and now there is actual ‘data’ to back up what our intuition already knew.

We may be complex beings, but it’s all connected…

Indulging in some delicious foods… and I’m not talking about snarfing down an entire pizza (although sometimes those things happen)… I mean truly enjoying and savoring your favorite treat.  Doesn’t that make you feel good?  And how about sleep?  A good night’s sleep helps our immune system, metabolism, memory, learning and more… plus, after a restful night, I feel ready to take on the world!  And, who could argue that laughs with friends is anything but awesome.  Laughter totally zaps stress… and if you get rolling like my friends and I do, laughter can even equal an ab workout.   😉

So, it turns out, staying healthy can actually be pretty easy… and fun!

Oh, and CHOCOLATE… don’t worry, I didn’t forget that one.  Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and even vitamins and minerals.  It can lower blood pressure, improve cognitive function, and create a positive mood.  And most importantly, it’s delicious.

With no further delay, a tasty chocolate treat….

Chocolate Cherry Truffles

These little bites are not only delicious but they are sweetened with fruit and devoid of refined sugar, plus they contain heart-healthy dark chocolate and Omega 3’s… so you don’t have to feel bad about indulging!  Savor away friends  🙂

  • 1 cup unsweetened dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Tbs unsweetened coconut flakes, plus more for rolling
  • 1 Tbs cocoa powder (raw cacao is great here if you have it)
  • 1Tbs almond milk (you just need a dash of liquid to hold it together, if you don’t have almond milk, water or orange juice would work)
  • teeniest little dash of salt

Finely chop the cherries, dates, walnuts and chocolate.  I went old-school and hand chopped, but a food processor would probably work too.  Add remaining ingredients and mix by hand to form a dough.  Roll into small balls… the recipe will make about a dozen.  Roll the truffles in coconut.  Store these little delights in the fridge (unless you keep your house really cold like I do… or if you eat them all…)

chocolate cherry truffles

So, while you savoring your homemade truffles… I have a little activity for you, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

Ayurveda teaches that unconditional love is, in fact, our true nature.  So, let’s check that out.  Think of a person that you really love… a friend, spouse, family member, anyone… now grab a piece of paper and write down all of the things you love, appreciate and respect about that person.  This is for your eyes only, so really go for it!

As you write this list, observe how you feel.  You may notice that you feel loved, appreciated, important, respected, cared for… and here’s the little trick that our minds play on us: all of these things, which we think we need from someone else, we actually experience all by ourselves when we give love freely.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

xox  Kristen

Summer Lovin’

Hi everyone!  There is a HUGE snowstorm rolling in up here… seriously, people are using words like ‘snowmageddon,’ which sounds a little over-the-top to me!  What I can say is that all of this chilly weather has me dreaming about summer and lounging in the sun.  So, on that note, I’m here to share this great smoothie recipe, reminiscent of a summer day at the beach.

Banana Dream Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup coconut almond milk
  • 2 Tbs almond butter (of course, I use the homemade variety)
  • dash cinnamon
  • small chunk of ginger, peeled
  • scoop protein powder (optional)

banana dream smoothie

I picked up some unsweetened almond coconut milk, which really gives this smoothie that beachy taste… but it would also be great with regular almond milk or dairy milk.  If you are wondering what you will do with the rest of the almond coconut milk, trust me, it’s delicious.  It’s great on oatmeal, or in cereal, or in a recipe, like coffee cake.  I’ve also been all about adding a little nib of ginger in my smoothies… the ginger gives you a magical warm feeling in your belly… it is, afterall, still winter!  😉

This recipe also calls for protein powder, although it is totally optional.  If I’m drinking up for breakfast, I usually add the protein for a little more lasting power.  I really like unsweetened vanilla brown rice powder.  My favorite new-to-me brand is Sunwarrior… I sent them an email asking to sample their product at support@sunwarrior.com and they sent me a BUNCH of free samples!  Yay, for free stuff!

sunwarriorPretty cool, right?  Oh, and while on the topic of smoothies… Jonathan and I just signed up for a 30 day smoothie challenge.  It’s not a fast (believe me, I am not up for 30 days of smoothies-only in February!).  The goal of the challenge is to add one healthy smoothie to your usual daily food.  I’m also looking forward to some new smoothie ideas!!  Check it out!  Free 30 Day Smoothie Challenge with Young and Raw.

Okay friends, I am off to play in the snow!  And I’m super excited about it (as are my snowshoes!)  Stay safe out there!

xox  Kristen

Birthday Brunch… Success!

Hi everyone!  I hope you are all enjoying the weekend!

Jonathan’s family came up celebrate his mom’s birthday.  Sometimes the logistics of putting out a big meal can be challenging, so I thought it would be helpful to share my brunch strategy.  😉

Here’s the goal: vegetable frittata, roasted sweet potatoes, green salad, veggie sausage, coffee cake and green smoothies.  And here’s how it went…

8:30 am, wake up… remember I’m missing a few ingredients… shoot out to the grocery store.

9:30… okay, ready to start for real!  Guests arriving in two hours.  Preheat the oven, game on.  First order of business is the cake, because it goes together quickly and will need time to cool.  10:00… sautee veggies and prepare the frittata… this cooks at the same temp, so it can share the oven if you’re ready to roll before the cake is done.  The frittata can also sit at room temp a while, so it’s up next!

10:30 – rejoice that I am ahead of schedule and break for tea.  I’ve been all about the ‘I Love Lemon’ tea lately!  Yum!

10:45am – chop sweet potatoes, bump up the oven temp and toss those in.  (I leave the skin on, toss with olive oil and salt and roast at 450F for 25-30 mins, the key is to leave space between the potatoes so they get crispy)  Make salad.  Cut and plate the cake.  Oops, just remembered that I wanted to serve veggie sausage… luckily this is quick… turn off the oven and keep potatoes in to stay warm.  Return frittata to the oven to warm.  Sautee sausages.  Whip up smoothies… and voila, we’re ready to serve!!

tanya's bday brunch

Everything came out delicious.  I love cooking for people and especially love showing friends and family that healthy eats can be so tasty!!

Vegetable Frittata

I’ve always been intimidated by frittata… the traditional stovetop skillet/finish in the oven sounds scary… but this is a super easy recipe.  No skillet required, it cooks exactly like a quiche, minus the crust.  This recipe is also very adaptable, feel free to use whatever veggies you like or have on hand.  And I like my frittata chock full of veggies. 😉

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, thin sliced
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • oregano, thyme, cayenne, black pepper, turmeric

Sautee the mushrooms, onions and zucchini in 1 Tbs olive oil until soft, 10-15 mins.  Add spinach to wilt.  Lightly oil a deep pie plate.  Add sautéed veggies and red peppers.  Whisk eggs and whites… there’s nothing wrong with a few whole eggs now and then.  Especially if you get the farm fresh one’s from my friend Shelly over at Burnt Swamp Farm!!  But, I do like to mix it up with some egg whites to keep the cholesterol low.  I add a little shake of turmeric to give the egg whites that familiar yellow hue.  Plus turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and a natural healer, so it’s great to sneak it in where you can.

Add egg mixture right on top of the veggies.  Sprinkle with spices to taste.  I used about 1/4tsp each of oregano and thyme, a teeny dash of cayenne and several cracks of black pepper.  Cook 45mins at 350F.  The top will be firm when cooked.  Frittata is great for brunch because it’s equally great hot out of the oven or at room temperature.

fritataYum!!  Can you see the steam rising?  With all the veggies, this gives a nice hearty slice.  Serves 6.

This frittata is great with a green salad: baby greens, chopped apple, pecans, celery, dressed with olive oil and balsamic.

Raspberry Pecan Coffee Cake

Since I made this for a birthday brunch, I dressed it up with some carob chips.  Carob is vegan and tastes similar to chocolate, and carob chips have no added sugar.  If you don’t like or don’t have carob, some dark chocolate chips would also be delicious in this recipe.  I also used a combination of flours… spelt flour does contain gluten, but some people with allergies are able to tolerate spelt.  You could substitute with whole wheat flour, but will need a bit less, about 1 1/2 cups to replace the spelt, or 2 cups to replace both flours.

Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (purchase or make your own by blending oats)
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, dash salt, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (can sub with dairy milk)
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup neutral flavored oil
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (or more raspberries)
  • 2 Tbs carob chips

Topping

  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbs oil, 1 Tbs cinnamon, 1 Tbs maple syrup, 3 Tbs carob chips

Combine all dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients and add to dry.  Mix until incorporated.  Lightly oil an 8×8 glass dish.  Scoop about 2/3 of the batter into the dish.  Spread fruit over the batter and sprinkle with 2T carob chips.  I like to break up the raspberries, which is really easy to do if you are using frozen berries.

coffee cake in progressDot remaining batter over the fruit.  Combine ingredients for topping and sprinkle over the top.  Bake at 350F for 35-40 mins or until the center is set.

coffee cake

This cake was delicious enough to serve as a ‘birthday’ cake, but not overly sweet, so it still works for brunch.  With rave reviews, the brunch was rated a success!!

And I’d like to share some other important news…

Jonathan tried his very first yoga class this morning at my home studio, Zev Yoga in Portsmouth… and HE LOVED IT!!!!  I am so excited and happy to share my passion.  A new yogi is born!  🙂 🙂

xox, Kristen

Banana bread breakfast cookies and my favorite almond butter

Good morning and happy Friday everyone!!  I’m here with an exciting post. Seriously, who doesn’t enjoy cookies for breakfast every now and again?  Well, great news, these cookies are delicious AND good for you… more like a healthy little muffin masquerading as a cookie.  Plus, these cookies are inspired by one of my favorite treats… banana bread!!  Mmmmm……

Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies

  • 1 generous cup of mashed banana, approx 2 1/2 bananas
  • 1 cup thick cut oats (you can use the quick cook kind, but I much prefer the texture of the thick cut oats in this recipe)
  • 1 cup oat flour (super easy to make, just toss some oats in the blender, or sub whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice, dash clove
  • 1 Tbs neutral flavored oil (like coconut or canola)
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup (the real stuff, seriously it’s much better)
  • 2 Tbs almond milk (can use regular milk or another non-dairy)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins

Okay, this is an easy one… I just combine the ingredients in the listed order.  Be sure to thoroughly mash the bananas.  To toast walnuts, simply toss them in a 350F degree oven for 10ish minutes.  It’s an extra step, but toasting the nuts really boosts their flavor!

Scoop large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Makes 12-14 cookies.  Cook at 350F for 14-15 minutes.  Let cool, if you can wait a few minutes!  These are totally delicious right out of the oven and also pack well.  They are the most amazing topped with almond butter!

bfast cookies

Maple Almond Butter  (you didn’t think I was going to leave you hanging with a mere mention of almond butter, did you?)  😉

  • 1 bag whole almonds (10 oz)
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • few dashes of salt and cinnamon

I cut a little slit in the almond bag and add the oil and maple syrup right in and swish around.  Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cook at 300F for 20 mins.

almonds

The toasty almonds are really tasty at this stage… in case you were wondering.  I use my Vitamix for this part, but a food processor works too.  Simply toss the almonds into the blender and add enough oil to keep everything moving around.  I use about 1/4 cup.  I’ve tried to make it without the oil… it can be done, but it’s a lot of sticking and hard stirring.  The great part is that any excess oil separates from the finished product and you can just pour it off.

almond butter

Mmmm… almond butter, a favorite at my house.  In fact, I have a little confession… this particular batch of almond butter was whipped up because I ate ALL the almond butter Jonathan got in Burlington.  Luckily, homemade almond butter rocks, so I’m pretty sure he forgives me!  😉

Have a most excellent Friday!!  Here’s a little photo to start your day off right… I was up early for yoga and caught this on the ride home 🙂

xox, Kristen

sunrise Feb1

Whole Foods Cleanse

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today is Day 6 of my Whole Foods cleanse… I thought it would be a great time to share how it’s going and some healthy cleanse-worthy food ideas!  I am following a program designed by Annie Wagoner of Core Nourishment in Dover with a group of fabulous women.  We’ve stayed in contact to share our experience and swap tips.  It is so great to have this support and encouragement!!

So…. I’ll back up a few days.  The 10 day cleanse started Friday.  Typically I like to start new things on Mondays.  Or on the 1st of a month.  Or, ideally, on a 1st that falls on a Monday (which doesn’t leave a ton of opportunity… could I just be procrastinating??).  I also wasn’t wild about the Friday start because that meant that we would be covering TWO weekends.  I briefly considered going rogue and starting on Monday anyway, but one really wonderful part of doing the cleanse with other women is the connection, the shared energy.  So I had to relinquish control (those of you that know me well can laugh here) 😉

As it turns out, a Friday start is positively genius for two reasons: First, I had the best of intentions to prepare/stock up the fridge after our seminar on Sunday, but the workweek can be crazy… when I finally came up for air, it was Thursday.  Luckily, I was able to scrap together enough food from the fridge to get through the first day without completely starving, then I had the weekend to do some real preparation.  Second, easing into the routine over the weekend was a gentle landing.  I’m actually finding that it’s much easier to stick to the program when I am home.

So, speaking of the program, I’m sure you are wondering what exactly it is.  This cleanse is about clearing out toxins and dullness by eating only healthy whole foods.  It’s not about deprivation, it’s about honoring the body.  The cleanse is also a time to ‘cleanse’ thoughts.  So, in addition to food choices, cleansing is a special time to pass on unnecessary and stressful inputs, like media or draining people. It is a time to practice self-care… for me, that means enjoy some solitude and savoring a bit of rest.  Having a hot tea and reading a book… maybe a trip to the spa.  It also means trying something new and having fun.  For me, the cleanse is about restoring the body’s natural balance… I suppose you could call it taking an intuitive approach.  😉

I also wanted to share a ‘day of eating’ on the cleanse.  Here’s how my day shaped up.

My go-to oatmeal cup is off the menu for a few days (heartbreaker) but eggs are on the menu.  I don’t make eggs too often, especially on a work morning, so it’s actually been great to mix it up.  Today I had scrambled eggs (I use one whole egg and one egg white) with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and kale with oregano and cayenne pepper.  The spices really kick it up a notch!

eggs and grapefruitAttention grapefruit fans: what you are seeing in the picture is a grapefruit spoon.  I knew they existed but never had one of my own (another stocking stuffer this year)… let me tell you, the grapefruit spoon is a game changer!!  Seriously, do something nice for yourself, get the spoon!

Despite my protein-packed breakfast, I was a bit hungry by late morning.  However, things got super busy at work and next thing I knew it was time for lunch!

salad and a laptop

Spinach salad with carrots, cucumber, avocado and sunflower seeds.  The avocado is so creamy and delicious, it totally eliminates the need for salad dressing, and I love the nutty cruch of the seeds.  Are you loving my laptop-backdrop?  Yes, I am eating at my desk… I know, I know, it’s such a bad habit.  At least I wasn’t doing work while eating.  I took a few minutes to be mindful and enjoy… then I did a little shoe shopping online.

The afternoon was flying by and around 3pm, I was ready for a snack.

blender fruitsI whipped this baby up in the morning and took it to-go.

Green Orange Smoothie

  • 3 clementines
  • 1/2 c frozen mango
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • small carrot
  • 1/2 banana
  • handful kale and big handful spinach
  • little chunk ginger

… blend with water (about 1 1/2-2 cups) and a few ice cubes.  Yummm!!  ps. If you’re thinking that’s an awful lot of fruit, this was a smoothie built for two 🙂  Jonathan has been on the smoothie kick as well!

I am really excited to share this dinner recipe with you all.

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 2-3 large shallots, 1 cup thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (soak in water or orange juice to soften or use the canned variety)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (I love to make a big batch and keep leftovers for other recipes)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp or more fresh dried basil (I buy fresh and hang upside-down to ‘dehydrate’ for longer storage)
  • black pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional) (of course, I spiced it up with several hearty shakes)
  • portabella mushrooms, I used a 6-pack of mini portabellas, or use 2 large ones

Sautee the shallots over med-high heat in 1 tsp olive oil until soft.  Add the sundried tomatoes, walnuts and spinach.  Cook until wilted.  Add cooked quinoa and spices.  Remove mushroom stems and stuff the caps.  And I do mean stuff… I pile mine high!

Cook at 400F until mushrooms have softened and tops are browned, about 20 mins.  Feeds two… this would also  work great as an appetizer with small mushrooms.  Serve with a basic side salad.  I tossed baby romaine with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper and some chopped walnuts.

mushrooms cooked

I hope you enjoyed reading about these tasty meals almost as much as I enjoyed eating them! 😉  If you try any, let me know how they turn out!

I’m off work Friday to go snowboarding (yay!), which makes tomorrow virtual Friday for me.  Sweet!

Good night all.  xox,  Kristen