Cooking, Recipes

Goat Cheese and Spinach Quinoa in the rice cooker

We’re in that awkward stretch of time before vacation where you still need to eat but don’t want to buy any more groceries. I didn’t want to order in since we’ll be eating out so much on vacation, so I improvised from what was lying around the fridge. It came out pretty good!

I've heard that food photos look best in natural light. I'll let you know when I start cooking dinner during the day.
I’ve heard that food photos look best in natural light. I’ll let you know when I start cooking dinner during the day.


1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
4oz goat cheese
3 cups fresh spinach
2 tbsp chia seeds


Add quinoa, water, sage, basil, and salt to rice cooker and start. After about 10 minutes when it’s steaming thoroughly, or when the countdown timer says 10 minutes if you’ve got a digital rice cooker, add the goat cheese, spinach, and chia seeds. Let steam in the rice cooker another 10 minutes. Stir and serve.

For the record, my husband thought it was “bland” so you might want to add more seasonings. If anyone tries it let me know!

Cooking, Recipes

Recipe Roundup

I’ve been cooking regularly for 9 months now! I’ve gotten considerably better at it, and my Evernote notebook has gotten fatter with go-to recipes. Here are links to some of my favorites.

Goat cheese and kale frittata cups
The texture is best the day they’re made, but they make a perfectly acceptable zap-it-and-run breakfast option. A good use of greens on their way out too. Gluten free.

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry
This crock pot recipe takes a fair amount of prep time in the morning, but once you get home it’s brain dead. I’ll swap in whatever vegetables I happen to have on hand, and usually keep cans of chickpeas and coconut milk on hand so Ic an make it with minimal planning. It’s a great way to eat your vegetables, and is both vegan and gluten free.

Turkey with Feta and Veggies
This is sort of like an adult mac and cheese. It is another one of my default “use up random veggies” recipes. The two central ingredients, turkey and feta, both are easy to keep around. Turkey can be frozen and a sealed package of feta will be happy in your fridge for a few months. Gluten free.

Steamed Veggies with Quinoa and Ginger Sauce
The sauce takes a little bit to make, but lasts a week or two in the fridge and makes for a good take-to-work lunch. Vegan and gluten free.

Roasted Carrot and Black Bean Tacos
You can sub in pretty much any greens if you don’t have carrot tops. Vegan and gluten free if you use gf corn tortillas.

Falafel and Cucumber Sauce
Falafel is kind of tedious to make but freezes well for another good lunch option. I pan fry or bake them instead of deep frying them. Gluten free if you use gf bread crumbs (I personally skip the pita anyway).

Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Dressing
These are good if, and only if, you’ve got some good fresh tilapia. I tried it with frozen tilapia and they were kind of gross.

Fennel Smoked Salmon
A healthier alternative to my usual “drown it in butter” style of cooking salmon. Requires a grill and a smoker boxGluten free.

20 Minute Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Super quick dish. I was nervous because the fish sauce kind of smells like feet when you’re cooking, but the resulting dish is quite tasty. Gluten free. Honorable mention: Moo Shu Beef Lettuce Cups.

Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole
I am really excited it’s now getting cool enough to think about baking again. This stuff is delicious.

Kale and Quinoa Minestrone
Another vegan and gluten free option. I confess this is not quite something I’m craving, but it has a really good healthy-to-delicious ratio. Take the leftovers for lunch and impress your coworkers with how healthy you are.

What’s still surprising to me is how much planning I have to do in order to make it a week without going out for burgers. I’ve learned that if it’s 5pm and I’m exhausted I might still be willing to cook, but I’m definitely not willing to go to plan a meal, much less go to the grocery store for ingredients. And for this I have one final recipe, the pièce de résistance: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili. I keep the ingredients for this recipe on hand at all times for days when the fridge is empty (or worse, full of stuff that needs tossing). The turkey can be frozen, everything else is canned, and I can pick up an onion at the corner store (or skip it). In the morning, prep takes all of 10 minutes and in the evening I have delicious chili waiting.

If you’ve got some favorite default-everyday recipes, share them in the comments!

Cooking, Recipes

Steamed Veggies with Quinoa and Ginger Sauce

When I was in Boston recently my vegetarian friend dragged me to Life Alive, a place so crunchy I thought my husband would run out screaming. I ordered what was basically a giant plate of steamed veggies over quinoa, served with THE MOST AMAZING SAUCE EVER. Oh my god. So delicious. I will eat every vegetable if you just GIVE ME MORE OF THE SAUCE.

Ahem. So since I live nowhere near Boston (also I think Life Alive is maybe in Cambridge?) I was incredibly glad to find this recipe for a tastealike sauce. Armed with a big batch of the sauce (I made 4x the recipe and stored it for later), a steamer basket, and a rice cooker I now have a super healthy lunch option.

The best thing about this recipe is that it makes a really good take-to-work option. Just make the quinoa & sauce beforehand and keep them in the fridge. Then grab a steam-in-bag of your favorite mixed veggies from the freezer case. Put some of the sauce in one of those tiny 1oz tupperwares and you’ve got yourself a microwave meal fit for a king.


I used this to put a dent in my CSA veggies, and it was both delicious and filling. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand in place of what I used. I like to throw in a handful of raw mixed greens at the end for crunch.

Steamed Veggies with Quinoa and Ginger Sauce

For the ginger sauce:

  • 1 thumb sized peice of peeled ginger, cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves minced garlic. Confession: I use the jarred stuff.
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (half a lemon’s worth)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water

For the rest of it:

  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 5 green onions, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 4 turnips, cut into quarters
  • 2-3 leaves mustard greens, chopped
  • a handful of salad greens

Ginger Sauce

As written this makes 3-4 servings. I recommend making a big batch of this ahead of time and storing it in the fridge. It should be fine for at least a week. You may need to add a little water and shake it up when it’s time to use it.

Blend ginger and garlic in a small food processor. Add soy sauce, lemon juice, tahihi, olive oil, and water. Store in an airtight container or bottle.

Quinoa and Veggies

I also recommend making the quiona ahead of time. I like to make a cup (uncooked) at a time which is enough for four lunches and store it in the fridge. I nuke the quinoa while the veggies are steaming.

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions, or in a rice cooker at a 1:1 quinoa to water ratio.

In a pot with a steamer basket, boil water. Add carrots and radishes to steamer basket. Let steam for 5 minutes, then add onions and mustard greens. Steam 4 more minutes or until carrots are nice and soft.

Mix together steamed veggies, quinoa, and fresh salad greens in a bowl. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of ginger sauce (a little goes a long way!) and mix thoroughly.

Cooking, Recipes

CSA WTF: Rice turkey veggie thing

It’s time for round 2 of CSA WTF! Here’s the first recipe. This week’s CSA brought us:

  • collared greens
  • mustard greens
  • bok choy
  • radishes
  • salad mix
  • a head of lettuce
  • fresh oregano
  • salvia flowers

I’m not really sure what to call this dish. It’s based off the filling from a stuffed peppers recipe I like, but only very  loosely. Basically you make some rice, brown some meat, cook some veggies in oil / seasoning, then mix it all together with a soft cheese. It’s a good balance of healthy and tasty. You can add in any other vegetables you’d like to use up, and it still comes out delicious.

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I made it up as I went along, so measurements are approximate. Items in italics came from my CSA this week.

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 C green onions
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 lime (optional)
  • 1 bunch collared greens, chopped with stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz goat or feta cheese

Cook rice according to package directions, or in a rice cooker.

In a small pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and brown the turkey (about 8 minutes).

While turkey is cooking, in a second pan heat remaining 2 tbsp oil. Add green onions, basil, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add collard greens and any other vegetables you fancy. Squeeze lime juice over greens (or don’t). Add salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until greens are soft. Add turkey to veggies and mix together.

Remove the turkey mixture from heat and mix in cheese. Add rice and serve immediately.

This made enough for two people, plus a little leftover for lunch. We are very hungry people, so it could probably serve 4 normal people.

As a bonus I made a little arrangement of flowers with the salvia and a zinnia from my garden. Also pictured is a tiny succulent we got as a wedding favor.

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Cooking, Recipes

CSA WTF: Saag!

This post is the first in what may or may not become a series about what I do with my CSA veggies each week.

CSA season is upon us! With it comes a variety of vegetables (mostly kale) that I must figure out what to do with before they go bad. On our inaugural pickup the following vegetables were bestowed upon me:

  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 bunch green onions (aka scallions)
  • 1 head bok choy
  • ~3 oz  misc salad greens

Oh hey it’s salad week! Too bad I never remember to make salad ever. Instead I decided to head the vegetables off at the pass and make something resembling saag. The general recipe I use for saag is thusly:

  • half pound of bitter greens (kale, mustard greens, etc)
  • half pound of mild greens (spinach, bok choy, lettucs)
  • half a stick of butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 green chili pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a big skillet or wok, melt butter. Add cumin, chili pepper, garlic, and tumeric. Cook for 2 minutes. Add greens a handful at a time, stirring and allowing the greens to wilt a bit between each handful. Add coriander and salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

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The first time I made this I mixed in some hard boiled egg at the end for protein. The second time I browned some chicken and threw that in there. Both were delicious.

Having made this recipe twice I’m now down to just the green onions left from this week’s CSA share. Tomorrow they will join the green peppers languishing in the crisper to become stuffed peppers.

Cooking, Recipes

Egg White Breakfast Muffins

In an effort to cut down on sugar I’ve replaced my yogurt and granola breakfast with egg “muffins.” They’re really more like a crustless quiche but they’re made in a muffin tin, and make a really good brain-dead breakfast with plenty of protein. You can make them with whatever ingredients you’ve got handy, and I’ve tried a bunch of different combos, including whole eggs, but the recipe below is my favorite so far.

Egg White Breakfast Muffins

Makes 8 egg “muffins”



  • 8 egg whites1
  • A handful of baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese2
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisking with a fork, combine egg whites, spinach, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Divide egg mixture evenly into eight spaces of a muffin tin (if not using a nonstick tin, spray with oil or cooking spray first). Top each cup with cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until just beginning to brown at the edges.


I find they come out best if I only fill the cups about half way. Beyond that they get very tall and puffy in the oven, and then collapse like a bounce house at the end of a carnival.


The muffins keep well in the fridge. In the morning just pop one in the microwave for a minute and you’re good to go. You can also freeze them, just make sure you allow them to cool before freezing to minimize the formation of ice crystals.


If you’re using whole eggs you may get more like 10 or 12 muffins out of the recipe, but here’s the nutrition breakdown using the above ingredients:

42 calories
1g carbohydrates
2g fat
6g protein
<1g sugar and fiber3

As a delightful surprise, these are toddler approved! I’m not sure how much longer we’ll go before she notices the spinach and starts to pick it out, but for now it’s a great way to sneak some veggies into my almost-two year old.

  1. If you don’t have another use for the yolks I really suggest eating them instead of wasting them, they’re good for you. []
  2. Full fat cheese works too, of course []
  3. you get a little from the veggies but not much []
Cooking, Recipes

Super Delicious Crock Pot Indian Curry

While I’m no longer cooking 4 new recipes a week, I’m still cooking a whole bunch. This Indian-style curry recipe is one of my favorites so far. Chopping all the ingredients is a little time consuming, but it’s a great slow cooker meal and very worth it. It also happens to be vegan! You can find the original recipe here. I’ve listed the quantities of stuff I use here, which vary slightly from the original.


  • Dash of olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • knuckle-sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic1
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • a big handful of green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes ( 14.5 oz can)
  • 1 can vegetable broth (14 oz)
  • 3 big handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 can coconut milk

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First, heat some olive oil in a pan. Cook the carrots and onions in the oil until the onions begin to transluce (5ish minutes)

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Then add the sugar, garlic, curry powder, and serrano pepper. Mix everything well and cook until everything has a nice brown to it (another minute or two). Remove from heat.

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Put the green beans, potato, chickpeas, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, pepper (both kinds) and bell pepper into your crock pot. Add the carrot-and onion mixture and stir everything up really well.

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Cook everything on high for 5 hours. When you’re ready to serve, add the spinach and coconut milk and mix well. You can serve this with rice, but since the potatoes have plenty of starchy carbs I usually skip the rice entirely.

  1. I use the stuff in a jar because I am lazy []