Oats- Assignment 3

This past week I decided on Oats for the whole grain assignment. I always have ‘quick oats’ in my pantry and never really explored all the recipes out there. Typically, I will just make quick oatmeal and call it a day. I wanted to use some recipes in my cook books but noticed majority of the equipment needed I do not have (made me realize I need more kitchen gadgets!) I found one recipe that is specifically a “honey” cookbook. It’s about 30 pages published by the MN Honey producers Assoc. and MN Dept of Agriculture (seems very old and dated). The flavors were sweet and salty from the butterscotch ships and sunflower seeds which related to Chef Bill’s talk on measurements/proportions of salt. Below is what I made from the recipe.

They turned out to be bit sized crumbly cookies. The cookies seemed dry and crumbly but I also didn’t know what to expect since this recipe was so vague. All in all, I brought some into work which my co-workers enjoyed!

My second recipe was from Pinterest- Mixed Berry Vanilla Baked Oatmeal. I really like this recipe because it is healthy, quick and I can have it throughout the week for breakfast (cold or hot). I used frozen mixed berries but topped with fresh black berries.

Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as the Pinterest picture (I am thinking it was because I used mostly frozen fruit?) I also realized I used the wrong size baking dish.. Next time I make this I will plan on using fresh fruit and the right size pan!

Last recipe was from Pinterest as well. I was debating  between oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (my favorite) or something unusual that I haven’t made before. So I went with Coco Chia Granola Balls. http://nutritiontwins.com/coco-chia-granola-balls-2/

The above right pic are the ingredients for these granola balls (minus the vino 🙂 ) I am starting to use coconut oil in cooking/baking since there are a lot of health benefits. This was a pretty easy preparation and tasted good.

A lot of the oat recipes I looked for contained to many ingredients with too much sugar so I wanted to look at oats in a healthy, unique way. The baked oatmeal definitely changed my way of oatmeal preparation and the variety of old fashion oats in general.

Buckwheat (That Little Rascal…)

So I thought it would be fun to experimental with buckwheat.  I had heard it mentioned many times in my life but I don’t think I have ever used it in a recipe.  It is also toted as one of the healthiest foods that is often overlooked–sounds like an excellent reason to try it.  Besides, I have a sister with celiac so I thought this trek may help her out as well.

However, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find buckwheat (that little rascal fruit seed) but I did see quinoa everywhere.  No wonder the majority of the class picked that grain!  Nonetheless, I eventually found buckwheat flour at Byerly’s and buckwheat groats at Whole Foods.  I didn’t have a chance to test out the groats yet—but I will soon.

First dish was buckwheat pancakes.


May I just say yum to this recipe.  Simple enough to make; once I located buttermilk at the grocery store.  The pancakes cooked up evenly and fluffy.  They had good flavor as well.  I had some extra batter so I saved it for the next day.  The pancakes were not nearly as good as the first go-round.  I’m not sure if it was me or the ingredients are not as stable as I expected.  Regardless, I would make this recipe again—but just in a small batch.

Dish #2 was buckwheat cornmeal muffins.

Not nearly as good as anticipated.  In fact, they kinda tasted like cardboard.  I’m more accustomed to a sweeter corn muffin so it might be a personal preference bias as well.  This recipe only called for a 1/8 cup of sugar (I cut the recipe in half) so that didn’t help it taste-wise either.   The vegetable beef soup that accessorized the muffin was rock solid.  Whew.  I’ll be throwing this buckwheat cornmeal muffin recipe out.


Buckwheat Waffles Star for Breakfast (#3)


So, this was a surprise winner for me.  I like to consider myself a waffle aficionado–heck, my waffle iron is a Hamilton Beach from the early 1950’s that still has a cloth electrical cord!  The process building was a bit slow and puttsy (whipped egg whites) but it was worth it.   I also cut this recipe in half to avoid wasting anything.  The reduced ingredient list called for 1 tablespoon of sugar.  That combined with the yogurt provided more than enough sweetness (I’m sure the syrup helped out in the end too).  The waffles baked up nicely—crunchy exterior but light and fluffy on the inside.  The recipe called for a pinch of cinnamon which I was able to detect in the final product (a nice surprise).  Overall very tasty.  Next time I may try to add some malt powder to see if that enhances the waffles even more–or not.  These were good.


Quinoa – Too Much

Well it was quite an experience with Quinoa.

Top left picture: I made breakfast first with quinoa adding cinnamon and nutmeg to the water I cooked the quinoa in. After that cooked, I added raisins and brown sugar and milk. It was OK but I like oatmeal better.

Top middle picture: I made quinoa as a dinner with onions and garlic sauteed, then you add the quinoa and vegetable broth as the liquid. Once it’s cooked, I added frozen corn and 2 cans of beans plus cumin and cayenne pepper as the seasoning. It said to add cilantro in with it but I liked it better on top. The end result is in the top right picture. I think it needed more juice as it was kinda dry. It also made a lot which I will be eating for days. If I make it again, I will cut it in half. On day two of eating it, I added sour cream to it which helped.

When I made quinoa with cinnamon and nutmeg, I had lots left so I added it to my pancake mix. The top pancake, I added more batter to it and it wasn’t as grainy as the bottom one. The end result picture is the bottom right. It was okay but not sure I would make the pancakes again. I read your quantity list and should have looked at it more careful as I am sure I cooked way too much.

Another thing I learned with Quinoa is that it good to clean your insides out if you eat it more than one meal in a day. Go ahead and laugh but it’s the truth.

Prepared by Debbie



Quinoa for days

Blueberry Quinoa “oatmeal”

I am not really a breakfast person so I decided to do two breakfast quinoa recipes to branch out a little. I had all of the ingredients for the blueberry quinoa except flaxseed.  It was pretty good but bland.  I think I used too much quinoa and not enough of everything else. It also seems like its “missing something” maybe more fruit like blueberries and strawberries would give it more dimension.





Quinoa and Black Beans

This was probably my favorite dish.  I love salad.  Again though, it seemed a little one dimensional with the taste.  The cilantro really stood out and the recipe also called for two cans of black beans. I only used one but it still seemed like a lot.The only ingredient I was missing was corn. I essentially just chopped up all the ingredients, mixed it up and then added the quinoa and avocado on top. I did decide to incorporate some cherry tomatoes the second time I ate this dish and I liked it a little better. This dish tasted “fresh.”




The Savory Quinoa breakfast I liked a little bit better than the blueberry quinoa “oatmeal.”  This was a quick and easy recipe.  I also added some hot sauce to it as well.  This dish I thought was the best proportion of everything. I first made the quinoa, cooked down the kale (instead of spinach), cherry tomatoes, and onions.  Then I mixed them together and threw an egg over easy on top!



Quinoa – – All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

I didn’t figure I would be alone in my choice to use quinoa, and I was glad to see another blog post about it already. Quinoa is one of those things I had in my cupboard because I had been wanting to play around with it, so it was great to have this assignment as an excuse to finally take it out of the cupboard.

The first recipe I tried also allowed me to take some pumpkin out of my (infamous) freezer. Healthy Quinoa Pumpkin Pancakes:


The first pic you see is actually of ground oats and not quinoa. This would-have-could-have-been a gluten free recipe except for the fact that I didn’t have almond flour. I used regular, and it turned out just fine. The pancakes were easy and tasty. One of the serving suggestions is to top with pumpkin butter. I didn’t have or make any on Saturday when I first made the pancakes, but I did find a fun recipe on All Recipes for it and made some (cutting it down by about 3/4). So I look forward to trying it with leftover pancakes tomorrow morning.

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Tangy Pumpkin Butter:


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On Monday, I went with a recipe that I have made a couple times before and really like. Quinoa Chili: http://damndelicious.net/2013/10/16/quinoa-chili/

This is really good for those wanting a vegetarian chili recipe, and it freezes well– which is great, because the recipe makes a TON. I portioned it out for  lunches and will continue to do so until I have a batch that will fit in my freezer. When I make it, I use vegetable broth to cook the quinoa. I don’t add any water later like the recipe calls for. Instead, I use seasoned beans and don’t drain them. For me, it’s a good consistency. I want it to be thick enough that it is chili rather than soup.

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Last, but not least, I tried Parmesan Quinoa Pancakes with Whipped Feta.


I cut the whipped feta spread recipe in half, and there was still plenty. I didn’t use marinara, although it  would be good, because I didn’t have a jar open. I did have some pesto open, so I gave that a shot. It was good, and I’d do it again, but the feta and the marinara are probably better options. This recipe was really easy and turned out well. I will make it again for sure.

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Overall, I was pleased with all the recipes. And  there were others  I wanted to try but haven’t had time to tackle yet. This Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Casserole is on my list for later  this week or weekend:


I didn’t end up making a huge pot of quinoa as the base for my recipes, mainly because I already knew  that I wanted to prep the quinoa for chili in vegetable broth. I did make quinoa ahead of time for the pancakes (both kinds), and I really appreciated what a time saver it was to do that once and have it ready to go for two different recipes.

I plan to continue playing with quinoa, and I need  to invest in a strainer of some sort (regular colanders are too big). For as nice as it is to make ahead and have ready to go, quinoa is a real pain to rinse and strain– especially without proper equipment.

I am going to miss these homework assignments, but I AM looking forward to not having to cook for a while and focusing on using up what is in my fridge and freezer at the end of our four weeks!

The final week: Quin-Whaaaa?

The Whole Grain: Quinoa!

I had never cooked quinoa before, but I knew we had a bag of it in the pantry. Turns out you can just cook it in a rice cooker, which we also had in the pantry. The pantry really delivered for me this week. In looking up recipes this week I discovered you can basically just add quinoa to anything. Salad? Add quinoa. Oatmeal? Add quinoa. Burger? Add quinoa. So after learning just how versatile this little grain is and how easy it is to cook, I decided to play this week like I wasn’t completing an assignment. Next week when the class ends, what am I really likely to do with a bowl full of quinoa. Let’s find out!

Starting with Breakfast:

Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa:

Based on this.

4447 Well… We didn’t have almonds… or dried apricots… or milk. We did have pecans, dried figs and cranberries, and almond milk! I also started with cooked quinoa, so it didn’t really need much milk. I added some oats to fill it out. I should have cut back on the salt. I liked the saltiness, but I think a half teaspoon would have been plenty.

Overall, this was a good hearty breakfast! I normally eat oatmeal because it is easy and keeps me full until lunch. Quinoa seems like it would be an equally good option if I want a little variety in my morning grains.

Now on to… Second Breakfast?

Apple Banana Quinoa Breakfast Cups:

Based on thisKIMG0030

Sam and I are driving to Indianapolis to visit our new born niece! (which is also why I will not be able to attend the last class on Tuesday 😦 But yay baby!) The drive is about 9 to 10 hours so car food is a must if you don’t want to eat fast food for every meal. These little cups are perfect for bringing along and they are a good hearty snack. I will absolutely be making these again!

And finally, the laziest one of all…

Quinoa on Any Salad You Are Eating:

Based on… Having salad and Quinoa.4462

This feels a bit like cheating, but it is probably the most useful thing I learned about quinoa and what I will be doing many times in the future.

Is that salad looking a little meager? Just throw a scoop of quinoa on there and you will not be hungry in a hour. This was a car-kale salad that I slapped the quinoa on and it got me through Wisconsin. Solid.


I definitely felt the difference of having a prepped grain on hand. Especially one that you can seemingly add to anything! I still have a bunch of it left and I don’t think it will be hard to squeeze in. Cooking up a batch of quinoa may become a semi-regular weekend activity for me. Which also means I will be eating more salads. All glory to the Quinoa!

Taro & Yucca for days

My strategy for this assignment was to walk into the produce section of my local grocery store, find two vegetables I was relatively unfamiliar with, and google recipes at the store to identify necessary ingredients. This strategy worked so-so.

Recipe #1 Braised Taro with Dried Shrimps
IMG_2018I hit a snag right away with this recipe, as I glanced through the ingredients and didn’t pause at “dried shrimp,” instead immediately thinking “Oh, I have shrimp at home. Perfect.” The taro was easy enough to prepare (I only needed two roots for this recipe), but I had to be creative with the amount of water I added and how long I cooked the recipe to account for the fresh vs dried shrimps.

Ultimately, the dish turned out fine, but the taro flavor didn’t add much to the recipe–perhaps it would have complemented the dried shrimp flavor better.

Recipe #2 Yucca Fries
I’ve only had Yucca once at a Cuban restaurant, and I loved the dense, starchy root. I was excited to add Yucca to the list of veggies and as I love roasted veggies, I chose the roasted fries recipe. Ultimately, I’d call this one a success.

After spending a considerable amount of time peeling and cutting and boiling the yucca, I was finally able to line my “fries” on the baking sheet. IMG_2024I chose smaller fries than indicated in the recipe in part because I hoped it would enable them to cook faster, and potentially get crispier. When the fries were finally ready, I made a sauce out of mayo, Worchester sauce, ketchup, cayenne and paprika to accompany the snack.
Recipe #3 Taro Shake
Okay. So the biggest issue I encountered in completing this assignment was research whether any of my veggies were poisonous to handle raw. It didn’t even occur to me as a possibility. Now I successfully cut-up two taro for the shrimp recipe, but the shake required to cups worth of mashed taro, and as I cut up my last taro my hands were itching incredibly. I had to run my hands under cool water and then rub anti-itch cream over my hands to bear it! As I put a pause on the shakes I looked up taro and realized that this is a common reaction to handling raw taro. Yikes! Proof that I should have done research in advance and not just picked to items at random.

Once my hands stopped itching, I boiled the taro for 40 minutes, mashed them, and added the rest of the smoothie ingredients to the ninja. Thankfully, I enjoyed the shake so perhaps the foray into raw taro was worth it…
Bonus Recipe Edit: I made the Kale & Potato soup that we didn’t make last week. Loved it. Thank you for the recipe and I’d totally make it again.