Asian quinoa turkey soldiers

The sun came out today! It's been grey and dreary for the past month, so this is pretty good stuff. I spent the morning making applesauce muffins and an applesauce tart. All the while, the sun was streaming in. making everything seem better...and making me appreciate it.

Ok, on with the soldiers. My inspiration came from a cookbook purchase 'Quinoa Revolution'. Plus, I recently discovered ground turkey- my first attempt was this stew from Food Network Mag. 
Blue plate with 4 turkey soldiers with dipping sauce and chop sticks. A hand is holding the side of the plate.


glass bowl with spatula mixing spices and sauce with bottles of sauces in the background

Prep time: 10 mins (plus 15 mins to sit, optional)
Cook time: 12-15 mins

Yield: 15-17 soldiers

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp tamari sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic chili sauce (depending how hot you like it, this amount makes it medium hot)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

Instructions

  1. Combine in a bowl first 8 ingredients. Optional: Let sit for 15 minutes for the flavours to incorporate.
  2. Add ground turkey and quinoa. 
  3. Mix fairly well but not overly.
  4. Form into log shapes with slightly moist hands. 
  5. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. They're not the prettiest things at this point but try not to judge them.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

ground turkey mixture in a stainless bowl with a parchment lined cookie sheet with formed raw fingers ready for cooking Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Serve with garlic chili sauce, plum sauce or soya sauce. Versatile little guys: dipping, snacking, put on a big salad. They taste good cold as well.
4 cooked quinoa turkey fingers in close up on a blue and green plate with a small scoop of chili garlic sauce
Grey out there again...but I got my pink hat (and coat!) on and and headed out to the greenbelt (although it's more of a brownbelt at the moment). 
Jill in pink coat and pink touque outside near rolling mountains and meadowsEnjoy your day!


Applesauce tart with oats and almond cookie crust


applesauce tart in cooking pan with piece of the cut tart on a pottery plate

I've been processing apples like crazy lately. And I finally did it. No more apples! Instead I have vats of frozen applesauce that I can use throughout the next 5 years winter. No wonder apples have been in all my baking lately: breads, muffins and now this tart. Eating this tart actually renewed my love of applesauce -which is pretty amazing considering how much of it I've eaten lately. Oat flour and almond meal make the cookie base with maple syrup for sweetness. 

Prepare apples:
  • slice 2 small apples for the top (using a mandoline nearly cost me the top of my finger...slicing a little thicker with a paring knife works just fine). My apples were of some  unknown variety from my tree. But if I didn't have these, I would use any baking apple. 
quick oats in coffee grinder and then after when they have been ground into oat flour
Cookie base
1 cup oat flour (for 1 cup of flour, use 1 cup + 2 Tbsp quick oats and grind in a coffee grinder)
1/2 cup almonds (plain, raw)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (plain, raw)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Place ingredients into a food processor. Blend until it gets medium-fine. Add 1/3 cup maple syrup and blend. It will clump together like dough. You might have to scrape the sides down once or twice. When well mixed, remove and press firmly into a buttered baking dish (8' X 8') using damp fingers. 
dry baking ingredients in the food processor and then after processing the base has been pressed into the square baking pan



applesauce being spread on the pre-cooked cookie base with a spatula, then apple slices arranged neatly on top of the applesauce
Bake for 5 mins at 350. Remove from oven. Let cool 5 mins.

While it cools, melt 1tsp coconut oil and 1 tsp honey in a saucepan on low heat. Spread 3/4 cup of applesauce on the cookie base. Arrange the sliced apples on top. Spoon the melted mixture of coconut oil and honey over the apples.
Bake for 20 mins, then turn to broil until the apples edges start to brown. My broiler took 5 minutes. Remove from oven and revel in the loveliness of your tart. 

Applesauce tart in the square baking tray after being cooked. Apples are browned on edges.

Decadent and satisfying. And not bad for you as far as desserts go. Indulge!
applesauce tart on small pottery plate with a fork in the foreground with a piece of the tart on it

My homemade applesauce is a little thicker than commercial but I think it would work just fine. If you try it out, let me know how it goes.

5 healthy convenience foods to love


More rain. We dragged ourselves out for a run on Sunday. Another diversion was the local craft sale. I picked up a pair of soft, handmade mittens from a lovely senior who made them & a huge pail of honey. I also confess, I made these bars AGAIN. That's 3 times in less than a month. So much for an occasional treat. The rain makes me do it.
handmade knit mitten with tag attached with a little thread and 3kg pail of local honey






Before I get to the list, I just discovered 'comments' were turned off the blog. They are on now (at least I hope they are). Please try it out, I really look forward to hearing from you!

This list includes foods that are nutritious and quick. I also love things like avocados and chives and they are pretty quick but they would fit on another kind of list. 

These are 5 products I think are great. I use them a lot and the companies seem like good ones to buy stuff from. All of them are healthy choices (in my opinion). All but one are Canadian companies, which is kinda nice too.


1. Hemp hearts


hemp hearts package on a background of wood

I first heard about HH's on Dragon's den. They are a Manitoba company. Mild and slightly nutty, you can put them on almost anything. Mainly I put them on oatmeal, salads and in smoothies. They have a website (I just discovered today) with interesting recipes like mint chocolate brownie protein bars. Yum!

2. Nature's path crispy rice

Nature's path crispy rice cereal
When you are craving cold cereal and don't want to eat something with 45 ingredients. We have it for breakfast (with hemp hearts sprinkled on top). Great for making granola bars (and those bars I mentioned up top). They are a Canadian company, family owned and started in B.C. in 1985. Even though they have got fairly big, they still seem to care about nature and their products. In browsing their website, I found these delicious looking chocolate clusters- made with 'love crunch'. Cute name. 

3. Krisda


package of Krisda on a background of wood


They were on Dragon's Den too. Krisda is refined stevia. Delicious in earl grey tea, I love making my own 'pop' with it using sparkling mineral water and lime juice. They have their own pop (I reviewed the root beer when I was in Ontario). If you are used to white sugar, it may take time to get used to the flavour (my dad is not convinced). 


 4. Amy's burrito

package of unopened Amy's burrito on a background of wood














I pick these up by the box-full at Costco. They work out to $1.50 each. Craig eats them as a snack, it makes lunch for me. Basic ingredients (compared to other frozen burritos).


5. Almond milk

Container of Almond fresh milk on a wood table



















Earth's Own is a Burnaby B.C. company that used to be called Soyaworld (catchy?). I started using this milk about 6 months ago and I'm a little obsessed. Before buying earth's own, I made my own but the almond meal started multiplying by the freezer-ful (what to do with it?).


That's my top 5 list right now. What foods would make it to your top 5?


Finally, if you aren't feeling pumped by stevia and hemp hearts, try this tune I discovered by Rodrigo y Gabriela (amazing the way their hands move).




Applesauce spice muffins


4 applesauce muffins on a blue pottery plate. Muffins have a thin slice of apple baked into the top.


3 photos of snowfall on vegetation and backyardMy apple crop is getting smaller but as you can see, I still have lots left. I was hoping to eat them through the winter but they seem to be going spongy. Maybe I stored them improperly or picked them at the wrong time? 

It finally snowed last week. I thought winter had arrived but it all melted 2 days later. Looked nice while it lasted.
2 boxes and 1 plastic laundry hamper full with this season's golden apples
Yesterday, I switched into high gear with applesauce making. The biggest pot on the stove and 2 batches in the slow-cooker. Just apples with cinnamon. I have more to do but it made a dent in the reserves.  
pot on stove with sliced apples and crockery pot filled with sliced applesSadly, yesterday was the death of my slow cooker. The pot cracked in a moment of stupidity. Can't add cold water to hot clay!!!! 

With so much applesauce, I needed a plan. Muffins would be the most practical (I so love practical) so, I experimented with muffin making (and ate about 8 muffins in the course of the day). 

The first one, a rye/rice flour combo. O.K. but a little flat and dense. Too much applesauce (I'm trying to use it up, don't you know). Other batches: whole wheat bread flour & maple syrup, pretty, but chewy as heck. 
2 kinds of muffins. Ones with honey-glazed pecan on top and a denser muffin spread with peanut butter
Best batch of the day, finally!! A mix of whole wheat bread flour and rye flour (top picture).

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes at 350 degrees
Yield:  12 muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Natural factors, Whey factors)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (loosely packed)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk (of your choice)
1/4 cup finely chopped apple

Instruction
  1. Mix applesauce, sugar, egg, vanilla and milk in a large bowl. 
  2. In a smaller bowl mix flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and the rest of the dry stuff. 
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and then add the finely chopped apple.
  4. Spoon into a greased or lined 12-muffin tin. Add a thinly sliced piece of apple on top.
  5. Bake at 350 for 15mins.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.


bowl with liquid ingredients with a spatula in it and another bowl with finely chopped apples on top with a metal spoon in it.



I'm over apples! For a few days anyway. I do have a few other ideas in mind for the future...
  • quinoa apple cake
  • some kind of soup with apples in it
  • applesauce granola bars
  • apple spread with honey and blueberries
  • applesauce tart

Get inspired with owls

owl themed items including spoon rest, mug, bowls, pillow, owl cupcake set, metal owl figure Owls!

Owls seem to be everywhere right now. I don't shop a lot, so maybe they've been around all along? But I'm definitely liking them! The height of owl-ness for me was recently at Pier 1 Imports. They literally had owl everything. I especially enjoyed the owl spoon rest. The giant owl mug was a little tacky but I could definitely find a spot for the owl pillow. 

Getting inspired by owls, I decided to make a phone cover I saw at Westelm. I don't like to sew (mostly because I don't have patience for it) but this guy was easy. I glued most of it. The material is felt. The closure is hemp twine and two buttons, one at the front and one at the back. Mine is the one with the orange button. The inspiration one (from Westelm) is the top right. I think mine's cuter!  
homemade felt owl phone holder
Need more owl in your day?

a linen towel from Simons.

linen dishcloth with owl theme hanging on a cupboard handle

 248 items when I searched 'owl trivets' on Etsy. Who would think?

various metal owl trivets, a blue one, black ones and a green ceramic one
Etsy: resin drawer knob, such nice detail
owl themed resin drawer pull
 reusable lunch baggie
owl themed re-useable sandwich bag laying on a table with the zipper open
tiny owl stamp
owl stamp on its side with examples of what the stamp looks like on paper in front of it

apron from modcloth

an owl themed apron hanging on a manequin

Other future craft projects I'm considering:

  • Kitchen towels made from old 100% cotton sheets or pillowcases. Make a motif with a stamp
  • Owl magnets 
  • Owl gift cards 
  • Owl labels for gift-giving packaging or for homemade wine labels


Pumpkin Pudding and PB Cookies

Still raining. The forecast shows no end in sight. I've been told this is November's weather. I keep waiting for a lull in the rain to get up my motivation to go for a run or walk or something but seems easier to use the rain as an excuse. I am determined to go this afternoon! I see lots of people (must be locals) that don't seem to have a problem with it. They're pushing strollers, riding their bikes doing home renos & yard work. And I sit with my cup of tea, looking out the window and typing with a cat on my lap (Mr. Roo). 

pumpkin pudding in turquoise ramekins cooling on a wire rack

This weather makes me spend more time in the kitchen and yesterday I made pudding and cookies. The pudding is really pumpkin pie without the crust. I don't care for crust and it's always the fussiest part. It turned out creamy and flavourful sweetened with just a little maple syrup.
pumpkin pudding in turquoise ramekins cooling on a wire rack and pumpkins lined up in a row on a window ledge
Prep time: 15 mins
Bake time: 45 mins at 350
Yield: 5-6 ramekins depending on the size

Ingredients

1 large can (26 oz) pure pumpkin 
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground gloves
4 eggs
1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar (depending on desired sweetness, I used 1/3 cup)
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Mix everything in a large bowl until well incorporated. 
  2. Pour into 5-6 ramekins (I can't say for sure how many you'll need. I only have 2 so I put the rest in a baking dish but it was a larger dish and it took an extra 5 minutes to cook). 
  3. Bake at 350 for 45 mins.
  4. When done, allow to cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon, serve with whipped cream.


On to the cookies! They are modified from this Whole Foods recipe. I made half peanut butter and half using oats and chocolate chips. They were both good but the oats dough turned out amazing. They look crumbly in the picture but they actually hold together well. More chunky and chewy than crumbly. Here is the oats version. 

Close-up of a chunky peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie on parchment paper
Prep time: 15 mins
Bake time: 10 mins at 350
Yield: 20 cookies

Ingredients

1 egg
1/2 cup (scant) brown sugar 
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup peanut butter (255 grams*)
1/2 tsp vanilla
handful of dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine peanut butter, egg, vanilla, baking soda. Mix well. It will get thick and dough-like. 
  2. Add oats and chocolate chips and incorporate well. Use your hands if you need to. 
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll into balls and place on baking sheet. Flatten with back of fork slightly. 
  4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes 
*I use scales when adding peanut butter (or other gooey ingredients). It goes straight into the bowl rather than in a measuring cup then into the bowl. Less to clean.
Cookings cooling on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and close up of a peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookieEnjoy the weekend! I'll be getting over my reluctance to get out in the rain.

Will you be doing this weekend?
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