Fall

Lentils and Quinoa

Served Lentils and Quinoa

Lentils and Quinoa

Quinoa has been recently been given a boost in popularity due to its many benefits! What I like the most is that it is extremely low in  carbohydrate and it fills me up much more than pasta, rice or bread, without the calories! 🙂 It is very low in cholesterol and sodium and it has magnesium and phosphorus. It’s a great source of manganese, all great nutrients so important for me and my family.
In terms of flavor I  must say I had to try several recipes to start to enjoy and learn how to prepare it well. My husband and kids followed my footsteps and now I have to prepare double portions since they all want some.
Here is my favorite recipe. It is perfect as comfort food and great for any time of the year. That said, I can also see this recipe making a great cold weather crock pot or potluck meal.
  1. Prepare lentils per package directions. Prepare 2 cups of lentils. When seasoning, only add salt, pepper to taste and one basil leave. It’s best if you prepare the lentils from scratch. I recommend that you avoid the temptation to use canned lentils. The flavors will be better if you do not use canned lentils.
  2. Prepare quinoa per package directions. Prepare 1 cup of quinoa. When seasoning the quinoa, add:
    1. 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. If you don’t enjoy spicy foods then change the red pepper flakes part to 1/4 tsp.
  3. Mix the two preparations in one saucer or pot when both of them are ready. Let them cook for at least 10 minutes together. Add peas and carrots to the mix and allow the mixture to continue to cook for another 10 minutes, mixing well.
  4. Optional: Sprinkle dry parsley on top of each serving.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Some pics to illustrate the process.. and to explain why I love this dish so much. 🙂
Quinoa

Quinoa in the Bag

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Fully cooked Lentils

Mix of Lentils and Quinoa

Fully Cooked Lentils and Quinoa Cooking with Peas and Carrots.

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Yum! It’s ready to enjoy!

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Update on my Apple Tree

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Apples

The squirrels have not gotten to them. My apples are growing! This picture is from last weekend. Still healthy, still bearing fruit, protected by mother nature, my apple tree looks lovely, strong. As summer continues, showers and sun are doing their job, and I am certainly hoping for apples in the Fall. 🙂

Spooky Apples!

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Thanks to my kids, we spent last Saturday with some Spooky Apples! 🙂

This week many K-8 schools are all about “Fall Parties”, “Trick or Treat Day” and “Costume Parades.” Kids will be wearing their costumes and will enjoy fun crafts and activities. In anticipation of all the excitement, my kids organized an “Apples Costume Parade” at home. We started with a couple of store-bought apples, pumpkin and spider web candy apples. After completing the inventory of needed ingredients my kids set out to dress their small apples in Zombie, Frankenstein and Spider costumes.

As I share this, I will include some tips, in case you want to try this at home.

Tip: Use small apples. When the product is finished, it’s easier to eat. Leaving a half eaten apple will not be too appealing as its color will start to turn brown quickly.

1. Wash well

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2. Have an adult help by cutting both ends of the apple removing the seed end sections as best as possible.

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3. Cut the bottom part, as it will help to keep the the dressed apple standing.

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4. Insert skewers on one of the ends of the apple.

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5. Dip the apple in (store bought or home made) caramel. Continue spreading the caramel around with a spoon.

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6. Costume time.

Frankenstein: Here below my kids are putting on sprinkles, gummy worms and black and orange decorating gel for the Frankenstein costume.

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Zombie: Chocolate sprinkles, black and red decorating gel for the Zombie costume..

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Spider: Black decorating gel and many gummy worms for the Spider costume.

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They’re really not that scary, just a lot of fun…

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Healthy Easy Comfort Food at Home

 

 

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Night fall temperatures are starting to drop this time of year. Yummy comfort food recipes start to make their way back into our dinner menus. What could be best at the end of a long school or work day (and possibly long commute) than a delicious pasta dish?  While most of us are huge fans of pasta, it is normally hard to stay away from the worries of health and calorie counting. This is when I come up with my own recipes, by adding tweaks here and there, to continue enjoying wonderful pasta recipes without the extra calories or “the guilt.” Here is a family favorite. It is vegetarian, healthy, easy and it can be ready in just 15 to 20 minutes.

Boil Campanelle pasta “al dente” following package instructions. You can use other pasta options but this recipe uses Campanelle as it will absorb the sauce very nicely.

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Saute mushrooms and onions with a little bit of canola oil until mushrooms and onion pieces start to turn brown.

 

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Add 1 cup of  (no msg)  100% natural chicken stock, 1/2 can of mushroom cream, and 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream. Mix and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes.

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Once the campanelle pasta is done, strain and add to the sauce pan.

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You may optionally top this pasta with grated Parmesan cheese. (You can also have  black pepper handy at the table, for those craving a spicy but still light finish.)

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Enjoy!

Take me home, fall flavors, take me home..

My Food Stories

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Pumpkin spice drinks, warm -out of the oven- home-made bread, comfort foods all over again. Pumpkin patch, corn maze, everything says harvest. After over a decade in Colorado, this October was our first time at the Botanic Garden Chatfield Fall Festival. Rows of distant fall color changing trees stood around us in the open field. The Rocky Mountains watched from afar. Our kids went around in such excitement that our youngest got off his pony ride with his right foot landing in a water bucket.  In an adventurous move, he simply smiled as he shook the water off his shoe. Next minute, I’m being pulled into a line of food trucks and stands full of funnel cakes and pretzels…

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.. Sweet corn, chicken on a stick, turkey legs, kettle popcorn and more. Undoubtedly, we tried many of these. A fall feast!

Inspired by the whole experience, I got back home…

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