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Quinoa, Canoeing, and Crackers

Posted Jun 03 2012 11:22pm

Happy Sunday! This has been such a great weekend. The weather was spectacular (hot and sunny after 2 weeks of solid rain). J was off on Friday, spent Saturday night with girlfriends, and got out for long walks.

J and I set out on a canoeing adventure Friday afternoon. We got dropped off at a lake out the highway and paddled to a gorgeous waterfall where we had a picnic and lied in the sunshine. The water is fairly shallow and clear so we could see the fish swimming along underneath. I remember being at these falls with my parents as a child and swimming near the waterfall with a snorkel to see the fish. So awesome!

There was not a person in sight. Just us and nature. We love it! After our resting point we continued paddling. The lake then turns into a river with a good current which helps us go a bit faster.

J fished the falls for fun (meaning catch and release). I think the fish are so cute.

Yoga pose by the falls! It was trippy being upside down on a slant and seeing a long way down. I couldn't hold it long ... thought I might fall down the falls, lol.

J stuck his rod out the back of the canoe because we were still seeing so many fishies under the water. He caught another one! We put him back - not sure if it's Bass season yet and there are huge fines if you catch a fish that's the wrong size or a fish out of season.

I love picnics. For eats we packed:

Raw veggies: red pepper, cucumber, celery, and carrot sticks
Eggplant dip (but I pureed it in the food processor)
Hard boiled eggs
Granola bars (for J, I'm off all sugars right now)
Quinoa veggie salad

I'm loving quinoa lately and have been eating it at least once a day. I like to make a big batch of it and add heaps of veggies, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil. Much like tabbouleh, in fact sometimes I use even more parsley and fresh mint.

Are you a qunioa fan? You should be. There are many benefits to eating quinoa - and by the way it's actually a seed, not a grain even though it acts more grain-like.

Benefits of quinoa

- High in protein.
- Easy to digest.
- High in fiber - if you ever get plugged up, add a bit of quinoa to your diet!
- High in magnesium
- It does NOT feed fungus or bacterial infections in the body making it suitable for people with candida, unlike other "grains".
- It contains lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, and phytonutrients.
- You can eat it cooked or sprouted.
- It acts as a prebiotic that feeds good bacteria in your intestines.
- Gluten free.
- More benefits... these are just a few!

What are your favourite quinoa recipes? Would love to add more to my quinoa repertoire. About a month ago I made quinoa granola bars which were OK but the recipe needs work. I've also enjoyed quinoa pudding.... Hmmm what else can I make?

Quinoa Veggie Salad
It lasts 5-6 days in the fridge and is so simple but flavorful and FRESH!

Cooked and cooled quinoa**
4-5 tomatoes, diced small
1 cucumber, diced small
1 green onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, diced small
3 bunches of parsley, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
Olive oil to coat the salad
Himalayan salt and pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a big bowl. Eat!

**A note about preparing quinoa. It's best to rinse and then soak it for 8-12 hours to remove the phytic acid in order to aid in better digestion. I measure out the soaked amount which is larger than when it's dry and cook in an equal amount of water. After bringing to a boil, cook for about 15 minutes.

I also made a batch of raw crackers recently. Very handy for snacks, especially since I'm off all sweet things (just for a while). Besides making some flax green onion dill crackers, I was so inspired by Amber's pizza kale chip recipe that I made Pizza Flax Crackers! They're crunchy and delicious! These are all the pics I have with the crackers, but you get the idea. They're so tasty.

First I soaked whole flax seeds in sun dried tomato soak water. Then I made  the pizza sauce , and mixed it into the flax mixture along with a few tablespoons of ground flax seed. The only change I made to her sauce recipe was to remove the hemp seeds and added 1/2 cup of diced fresh tomato because I wanted the sauce to be thinner for this purpose.

In my last batch I added a special little something. Carmi's recipe for vegan cheese ! I chose to make it the first time without the sundried tomatoes, olives, and extra herbs. I KNOW it would be better with the add-ins but I wanted to see how the recipe would turn out. I've been loving it in salads, sliced on raw crackers, and in the quinoa dish!

Sundried Tomato and Olive Cheeze
By Carmella

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tbs agar powder
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs tahini (or sesame seeds)
1 tbs onion powder
2 tsps Dijon or prepared mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard 
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps Penzey's Spices Bonnes Herbes (chive, dill, basil, tarragon, chervil and white pepper) or your favorite herb blend
3 kalamata olives, finely chopped
10 thin slices of sun-dried tomato, finely chopped (not re-hydrated)

Set aside a 2 cup plastic storage container. 
In a blender add the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, tahini, Dijon and dry mustards, onion powder, and garlic powder. 
Combine water and agar in a small pan and  bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often until completely dissolved, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add mixture to the other ingredients in the blender and process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender jar as necessary.  
Transfer to a bowl and fold in the Bonne Herbes or herb blend of your choice, diced kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes and mix by hand.
Pour into container and cool uncovered in the refrigerator. 
When completely cool, cover and chill several hours.  (I usually serve it after 1 hour or so). 
To serve, turn out of the container and slice.
Store covered in refrigerator.  Will keep 5 to 7 days.

Go make some quinoa and crackers, and vegan cheese!

Oh, and go canoeing too! Have you ever been?

Seen on Made from Scratch Mondays , and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays
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