Archives for category: Stuff for You

I’ve had this recipe pinned on Pinterest for ages, but the fear of cooking quinoa paralyzed me.

Why do I fear quinoa?  It’s mysterious.  It comes in the bulk bin at the Co-Op and has no cooking instructions.

Plus, it looks like bird seed.

(It really is a seed and not a grain.)

For some reason, tonight was the night I got over my fear.  I’ve been watching a lot of Good Eats (in Alton, we trust!) and decided it was time.  The worst that could happen is that it would turn out terrible and we’d end up eating something else.  I turned Baby Spork over to Mr. Fork and began the process of tackling this mysterious seed.

After spilling many of those tiny seeds on the floor, I did manage to get it all together.  The results?  AMAZING!  Seriously.

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The picture really doesn’t do it justice.  You see, I took the recipe linked above as well as the original and sort of went my own way.  I rarely do anything exactly as it states (baking, being the exception).  My version included onions and garlic with a bacon and panko topping.  We consumed half the dish before managing to stop ourselves.  Mr. Fork likes his with tabasco sauce.  I like mine plain.  Any way you eat it, it’s delicious.

Want to make it my way?  Here you go.

Cheesy Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half ‘n half
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons panko crumbs

Directions:

Cook bacon on medium heat.  Remove from pan, leaving grease in pan.  Add diced onions and garlic and saute until soft and translucent.  While bacon, onions, and garlic are cooking, rinse your quinoa in cold water for 1-2 minutes and let air dry on a towel.  When onion and garlic are ready, add quinoa and cook for 3 – 4 minutes.  Add 3 cups of water, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Let cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

Whisk eggs, milk, and half ‘n half in a bowl until combined.  Gently stir in 2 cups of cheese.  When quinoa has finished cooking, fold it into the egg and cheese mixture.  Pour into a greased baking dish and top with the remaining cheese, bacon, and panko crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Baby food is expensive. Especially if you buy organic.  Sure you can shop the sales, but even on sale, most organic baby foods are around $1/2.5oz jar*.  With that in mind, and knowing that Baby Spork will be starting solids sometime in the middle of winter (when nothing is in season), I have started the task of making baby food.

First off…

Why did no one tell me it was this easy?!

Seriously.  This is ridiculously easy.  It’s harder to pack the baby into the car, drive to the store, buy food, and bring it back home than it is to make your own infant-friendly puree.

We started with a quick trip to a local farm stand and picked up a butternut squash and a sugar pumpkin to experiment with.  Total cost = $2.50 (plus the gas, but I was going for apples anyway).  Next up, I needed a way to cook it that required as little attention as possible.  I turned to my trusty slow cooker.  With a quick dicing, the squash went in and I ignored it for a while.  Once it was mush, I gave it a fast blast with the immersion blender, poured it into trays, and stuck it in the freezer.  At the end of the day, with about 45 minutes of actual work, I had 24oz of fresh, local, cheap baby food!

Ready to make your own?  Here’s how you do it.

What you do:

Chop up your fruit/veggie of choice.  I used one large butternut squash, chopped into small chunks.

Add the chopped fruit/veggie to your slow cooker and put a layer of water on the bottom (I added 1 1/2 cups in my 7 quart cooker, use less for wetter fruits like pears).

Cook on low 4-6 hours, or until fruit/veggie smushes easily.

Puree using your preferred method (I used a stick blender).

Freeze in small portions (I used these 1oz freezer trays gifted to us by a friend).

Once frozen, place in baggies and store in the freezer until needed.

Pro Tips:

  • Be sure to label your bag with both the type of food and the date.  Various frozen purees look very similar.
  • To use, thaw overnight in the fridge and then warm up prior to feeding (like you would with frozen breastmilk).
  • These will last in the freezer 3-6 months according to the internet. Feed before 3 months for max freshness.

*A search on Amazon gave me an approximate average price of $0.46/ounce of Stage 1 organic baby food.

I have been craving fish tacos for weeks.  Not fried fish tacos, but the moist, fall apart in your mouth, grilled kind.  Normally I’d get them from a great local restaurant.  But since we’re now enforcing a budget, going out for tacos wasn’t on the table.

A freezer clean-out last week revealed two gallon bags of white fish  (I think it’s tilapia).  I vaguely remember buying it from Costco after Baby Spork was born (so it’s not too old).  And then serendipitously, my favorite Pampered Chef rep sent out her monthly email which happened to contain a recipe for grilled fish tacos.

They were amazing.  (Seriously. I may have eaten four of them.)

Want to make yourself some tasty fish tacos?  The original recipe is linked above.  My version is below.

Grilled Fish Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 tomatoes (depending on size), diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • cilantro, to taste, bruised
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3-4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 6 white fish fillets
  • Sliced cabbage
  • 6″ flour tortillas

Directions:

Sprinkle fish with black pepper and grill until flaky.   (I used a grill pan with a bit of grapeseed oil.)

Mix tomato, garlic, onion, and cilantro in a bowl.  In another bowl, mix mayo, milk, cumin, and lime juice.  Pour liquid mix into the tomato mix and stir.

Serve fish on tortillas topped with sauce and cabbage.

Makes approximately 8 tacos.