Peppermint Pattie Cups

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With St. Patty’s Day just around the corner, I knew I had to celebrate the holiday the only way I know how–with dessert, of course! (Ok, and maybe with some green beer or Guinness, too). 
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Mint Chocolate Chip Pancakes (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

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Happy Earth Day everyone!

Earth day, the largest secular and international holiday, is a time to celebrate our wonderful planet and to promote a universal community devoted to nurturing–rather than exploiting–our great Earth. As my grandpa used to say, “Never leave the campsite dirtier than you found it.” If we want to protect our Earth for the future generations that will inhabit it, we better start cleaning up our campsites!

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Mint Chocolate Chip Trifle and Making Better Choices

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As difficult as it will be, I’ve made a pact with myself to cut down on desserts. I generally believe that desserts are wonderful and can actually contribute to a healthy and well-rounded diet when made with healthy, whole ingredients and eaten in moderation. I’ve got the first part of that down: all of my desserts are made from healthy, natural ingredients. So they must be good for me, right? And if they’re good for me, then I can eat them all the time, right? Wrong. That’s been my edict for a while now–my excuse to eat dessert every singe night. Unfortunately, even eating healthy foods in exorbitant amounts can be detrimental for overall health. For example, occasionally eating almonds and dates can contribute to a healthy diet, but eating tons of them every day can wreak havoc on your system (because almonds are high in fats and dates are high in carbs/sugar). So, it’s the second part–the part about eating in moderation–that I struggle with.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

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I just realized last night that I’ve included very few quinoa recipes on this site. I think it’s because I eat it so often that I just always assume, “I’m sure I’ve posted this before.” I think it’s also because I just figure that everyone else might be tired of quinoa by now.

Let’s face it, you can find quinoa recipes everywhere on the web. It’s no secret that quinoa is ridiculously healthy, tasty, and versatile. It quickly became one of my favorite foods and now it finds its way into my lunch and dinner (and even some breakfast and dessert) dishes multiple times each week. I haven’t gotten tired of eating quinoa (yet) and I truly hope I never do! For me, the love affair is still as strong as ever….

By now, quinoa has been inventively incorporated into even the most elaborate and complicated dishes. Even though I love coming up with clever ways of using quinoa, I’ve found that the simple recipes are often the best. To make things easy, I constantly prepare gigantic batches of quinoa to keep in the fridge so that I have it ready whenever I need it–and since there are frequent emergencies around my house, those batches don’t last long. Extremely long night of football practice? No problem! Quinoa to the rescue! **I had to use football as an example because right now I don’t have any clue if there’s life outside of football. Forget to buy the most important ingredient for the dish you had planned on making (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this)? Big deal! Quinoa saves the day! I typically end up just tossing some quinoa into a bowl, adding chopped up veggies, fruits, nuts, or seeds, and whisking together an easy dressing to pour on top. When I’m uninspired or feeling lazy (which is pretty darn often), I have a few simple go-to recipes that follow this basic principle and are sure to satisfy.

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This Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe just happens to be one of those go-to, sure-to-please recipes. Even though I’ve provided a recipe below, you won’t need a concrete recipe to make this dish. While traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat, which contains gluten, the simple substitution for quinoa makes this dish safe for those with gluten sensitivities without scrimping on the flavor. I made a big batch last night in hopes that I would have leftovers for lunch today and ended up devouring the whole thing. Not surprised….

Here are a couple other quinoa recipes to consider when you’re pressed for time or feeling uninspired:

Oh quinoa, how I love you……  xoxo

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 (or 4 side dishes)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts; or ¼ cup chopped sweet onion)
  • ½ cup finely chopped mint leaves (measure after chopping)
  • ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves “
  • ½-3/4 cup diced seedless cucumber
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. It’s best to soak the quinoa for at least 8 hours (or overnight), but if you don’t have time for this, just make sure to rinse it really well. *This step is essential! Don’t skip this step!
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rinsed and drained quinoa and turn the heat to Low. Cover and allow the quinoa to simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed (approx.15-20 minutes). When the quinoa is done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork or spoon, and then cover the pan and set it aside for at least 5 minutes. Afterward, remove the lid and let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the veggies (scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, and tomatoes) and toss them all into a large mixing bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (lemon juice, EVOO, garlic, and salt). Alternatively, you could blend the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  5. When the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add it to the mixing bowl with the veggies. Top with the dressing and pepper and mix everything together until evenly coated with the dressing.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Submitted to Gluten-Free Fridays