Quinoa Porridge

I've mentioned before how much I love breakfast.  Especially for supper.  There's something so "comfort food" like about brupper, don't ya think?  I've also mentioned that I cook brupper once a week.  It makes planning my menus easier knowing one meal is always pre-determined.  But even so, I like to keep things ineresting.  Eggs are a staple.  Beyond that, you never know...I might just get crazy!

All that to say, I'm always looking for good, and new, breakfast recipes.  I wasn't sure what to think when I found this recipe for Quinoa Porridge.  I've had quinoa before, and always liked it, but it's always been an alternative to rice or maybe couscouse.  Quinoa and porridge haven't ever really gone in the same sentence in my kitchen before.  But when I saw the other ingredients, specifically cinnamon and honey, I wanted to try it.  I was not disappointed.  This quinoa is very similar to oatmeal, so if you like oatmeal, you're sure to like quinoa. 

Why quinoa?  Without bogging you down with too many details, while quinoa is cooked and eaten like a grain, it is technically a seed and is related to spinach, chard and beets.  Quinoa is high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.  In addition to protein, quinoa offers many other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, it is arguably beneficial for people prone to migraines, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Finally, for those of you concerned about gluten, quinoa is naturally gluten-free.

I'm not advocating make a total switch from oatmeal to quinoa.  Oatmeal is also a healthy option especially for lowering cholesterol.  But it's nice to switch things up a bit, right?  And with this recipe, because the honey is added prior to cooking, it's the perfect amount of sweetness.  Yum.  My.  Top it with some fresh fruit and you're golden.


1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt


Heat a saucepan over medium heat.  Add quinoa.  Season quinoa with cinnamon and cook until toasted, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. 

In a separate bowl, combine almond milk, water, vanilla, honey, and sea salt. 

Add to quinoa.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until porridge is thick and quinoa is tender, about 25 minutes.  Add more water if needed.  Stir occasionally, especially at the end to prevent burning.  Top with fresh fruit or raw nuts.  (Or both).

(Recipe from "The Real Food Diet Cookbook" by Dr. Josh Axe)

Kale Salad

I'm in the process of getting certified to teach hot yoga.  Hot yoga is amazing, and you should all try it.  Seriously.  If you're in Nashville, you should definitely go to Hot Yoga Nashville.  Fantastic studio.  (Plus, I hope to be teaching there soon so you can come visit one of my classes!)  If you're ever in Vail, you should go to this studio.  You're probably thinking that if you're on vacation, the last thing you want to do is hot yoga.  Go anyway.  It's that good, and I promise you won't be disappointed. 

The reason I know it's that good is because the owner of Hot Yoga Vail Valley, Ame Onofrey, came to our teacher training and spent a weekend teaching us anatomy.  She is an absolute wealth of knowledge, and if I could afford to take a month, or six, off of work, and life, I would move to Vail and sit under her training every day. 

What is my point, you ask?  Well, not only is Ame a wealth of knowledge when it comes to anatomy and yoga, but she gave me the recipe for this kale salad.  A.maz.ing.  I made a big ol' bowl and ate it for about four meals straight.  And didn't get tired of it.  In fact, I wanted to make another big ol' bowl.  I'm pretty sure you'll have the same experience.  And then you'll realize that if I'm right about how good this kale salad is, I'm probably right about hot yoga.


1/2 head of kale, despined and cut very fine
1 apple
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Note 1: Ame originally gave me the recipe without amounts.  As I've mentioned before, however, I'm a follows-the-recipe kind of a girl.  So I've listed the amounts of each ingredient that I used, but you can definitely adjust it to your own taste.

Note 2: A friend of mine made this salad and added goat cheese.  Yummy. I also think it would be good with chicken on top if you want to give it a little more substance.


Chop kale and put into large bowl.  Cut apple into matchstick size pieces and add. 

Mince red onion and add. 

Toast almonds and add.  Mix together and toss with dressing.

Creamy Chicken with Biscuits

I love the idea of my crock pot.  But I'm not gonna lie...crock pot recipes usually leave something to be desired.  With the rare exception, crock pot recipes are never as good as their ingredients and descriptions sound.  And yet I keep trying new crock pot recipes.  It's like some form of torture I inflict on myself!  So as per the usual, I tried this recipe without high hopes thinking I would be disappointed but hoping I would find a yummy crock pot recipe to add to my collection (of about two).  Thankfully, my expectations were surpassed and the recipe did, in fact, bump my keeper crock pot recipe collection to three! 

This chicken and biscuits is like a twist on chicken pot pie.  Instead of a crust you get biscuits.  Who doesn't love a biscuit?  Especially when it's covered with a creamy gravy of sorts?  So throw those ingredients in a crock pot, head off to work and relax, knowing dinner is taken care of.


3/4 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 boneless, skinless, pastured chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning*
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine or white cooking wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 biscuits (see Easy Drop Biscuits recipe below)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup heavy cream


In a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker, toss together the carrots, celery, onion, and flour. 

Season the chicken with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper, and place on top. 

Add the wine and chicken broth.  Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Thirty minutes before serving, repare the Easy Drop Biscuits.

Ten minutes before serving, add the peas, cream, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the chicken and stir to combine. 

Cover and cook until heated through, an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

* Note:  You can buy poultry seasoning, but rather than buying another spice that would only clutter my pantry, I made my own with ingredients I had on hand using this recipe.

Easy Drop Biscuits


2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk


Heat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, baking powder, and salt.  Pulse until pea-size clumps form. 

Add the milk and pulse just until moistened.

Drop 6 large mounds of dough (about 1/2 cup each) onto a baking sheet. 

Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

To serve, place the bottom half of a biscuit in a shallow bowl.  Top with half a chicken breast and spoon the cream mixture on top.  Then place the top half of a biscuit on top.

(Recipe adapted from Real Simple, March 2011)

Sesame Honey Candy

I've always liked sesame seeds (sesame bagels were my bagel of choice), so I was thrilled to discover all the health benefits of these seeds.  Sesame seeds are an great source of  of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins B1 and B6, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.  Bored yet?  It's so fascinating to me that these tiny little seeds pack in so many nutrients.  So imagine how excited I was when I came across this recipe for sesame honey candy.  With only three ingredients, sesame seeds, honey, and sea salt, this treat is perfect for a guilt-free sweet.  Because let's be honest, sometimes we just need a little sweet in our lives.  I have to issue a caveat, though.  These candies are really good, and it may or may not be really easy to eat too many of them.  So I might not recommend making them if you're the only one in the house.


olive oil, for greasing the baking sheet
1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
1/2 cup honey
unrefined sea salt to taste

Generously grease a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.Heat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it becomes hot to the touch.  Pour sesame seeds into the hot pan and stir them continuously with wooden spoon until they’re well-toasted and golden-brown in color – about four to six minutes. 

Stir honey and a generous dash of unrefined sea salt into the toasted sesame seeds until they become well-coated and the mixture stiffens. 

Pour the mixture of honey and sesame seeds onto your greased baking sheet.  Pat down and smooth out the mixture with a wooden spoon.  (Note: I used half the ingredients originally called for and it still made plenty.  When I patted the down into the cookie sheet, it only took up about half the baking sheet, but it wasn't a problem because the mixture wasn't runny.)

Score the candy into pieces of 1/4-inch by 1-inch and set the pan aside until the candy is cool enough to handle comfortably. 

When cool to the touch, but still warm enough to be malleable, grease your fingers with olive oil and roll the pieces of honey candy into small small, round logs.*

Allow to cool completely before serving.

* I rolled about 6 pieces of the candy into small, round logs.  Then I recruited my husband to help me.  He rolled 2 pices into small, round logs before we decided it wasn't worth the trouble.  They taste just as good in squares as they do in round logs.  And the presentation is virtually the same.  

Baked Leek and Sweet Potato Gratin


Sweet potatoes are still in season here, so I can still get them at the farmers' market.  And I do, especially recently because it's been so cold here it's hard to think about Spring food.  Strangely enough, I don't like the sweet potato casserole that most people eat, the kind with marshmallows on top, so I've always just baked them and eaten them with a little butter and salt and pepper.  That's not to say I don't like sweet potatoes dripping in sugar, though, as I just  discovered last Thanksgiving.  My husband's grandfather makes the best sweet potatoes you've ever tasted.  They are divine.  They're also dripping in melted brown sugar.  Literally.  Good thing we only eat them once a year!  And good thing there are more savory recipes out there like this one because, let's be honest, sometimes plain poatoes, sweet or not, with butter and salt and pepper can get old.  The leeks and rosemary in this recipe counter the natural sweetness of the sweet potato and make a more savory dish than you might be used to.  Different and really good.


1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts chopped (6 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
1/3 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs *


Preheat oven to 450.  Coat a 10-inch round casserole dish with coconut oil.

Heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add leeks, garlic, and 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary.  Saute 8 minutes or until softened.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Arrange one-third of the sweet potato slices over the bottom of the casserole dish, overlapping slightly.  Spread half of the leek mixture on top.  Arrange another one-third sweet potato slices over leeks.  Top with remaining leeks followed by remaining sweet potatoes.  

Drizzle broth over the top.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Stir together breadcrumbs, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary in a small bowl.  Remove the foil from the gratin and sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.

Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned and crisp.

Let gratin cool slightly before cutting into wedges and serving.

(Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times, January/February 2011)

* Store-bought breadcrumbs contain a surprising amount of unpronouncable ingredients (i.e., preservatives).  Homemade breadcrumbs are simple to make, so I highly recommend you make your own.  If you don't have homemade bread, buy whole grain bread.  Leave a few pieces out overnight so they get stale.  Put them in your food processor and process until they are crumbs.  Simple as that.  These breadcrumbs will last for a long time in the freezer.  For this recipe, I added italian seasoning to the food processor.