A Salad….

Cherry-Quinoa Salad with Cucumber Ribbons

Cherry-Quinoa Salad with Cucumber Ribbons

I am in need of a salad.  The kind that’s heavy with greens and good nutrients, yet unique and full of surprises, and well,  sexy!

The kind of salad that makes you want to wear those sleek, super expensive yoga pants, if you wear yoga pants, that is.  Me?  I wear tight, super short dance skirts, or long skirts with a slit up to THERE!   You see where I’m going with this don’t you?   In short….when your shape is gonna show, make sure it’s a shape you wanna show!


Yeah,  that’s exactly the kind of salad I’m craving.

Today we are making Cherry Quinoa Salad on cucumber ribbons.  Come on,  let’s do salad!

I love combining sweet summer fruit with salad ingredients.  It’s pretty amazing that sweet cherries, grated carrots and green onions get married in this salad starring our favorite grain, quinoa.  Now spoon that over some ribbons of pickled cucumbers.   Whaaat?   I know, unbelievable, right?  That’s what I said, until I tasted it. Now I want it for lunch and dinner every day.  Go figure.



Yield:  Makes 6 servings;  serving size: 1 cup


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegarIMG_7810
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1  3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups pitted and chopped sweet cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots ( 1 medium)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions ( 2)
  • 3 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp. snipped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped


1.  Make vinaigrette:   in a screw-top jar combine vinegar, oil, honey, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper.  Cover and shake well; chill until needed.

2.  In a large saucepan combine water, wine, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in quinoa.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 12 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Cool, tossing occasionally, by stirring with a fork.

3.  Stir cherries, carrot, green onions parsley, and mint into quinoa.  Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of the vinaigrette; toss gently to coat.





Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for a later use.   Cover and chill quinoa mixture for at least 2 hours.  To serve, sprinkle with pistachios.

4.  To serve salad on Cucumber “Ribbons”:    Using a vegetable peeler, cut 1 small seedless cucumber lengthwise into thin “ribbons”.  Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat.   Line a serving platter with cucumber “ribbons.”  Spoon the quinoa salad on top of cucumber and sprinkle with pistachios.


Nutritional Profile:  (Cherry-Quinoa Salad),  322 calories, 11 g fat, 365 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein.

(with cucumber “ribbons”), 353 calories, 10 g protein, 49 g carbs, 13 g total fat, 6 g fiber, 431 mg sodium,

SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens Newsletter


Whole Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Whole-Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Whole-Grain Blueberry Spice Muffins

Muffins are the ultimate quick breakfast or snack, and the healthier they are, the better for you.  I’ve been experimenting with converting some of my older muffin recipes into ones that have healthier ingredients in them.  These are not the kind of muffins that could be a dessert or sweet snack.  These are great for breakfast because they will provide the energy you need to get going and will keep you satisfied until lunchtime.


For this recipe I used half whole wheat flour along with regular all-purpose flour, and added whole-grain oats.  Quick oats could be used, but I like the rough texture and fiber that whole oats provide.  I also took out granulated sugar, and substituted brown sugar instead, making the muffins less sweet, but just sweet enough.  There is very little fat in this recipe since I used fat-free milk, and left in only 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add in some spices that can be apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice, or just plain cinnamon and nutmeg to make these muffins your own.  I like a little something  on my muffin tops (not the ones at my waist 🙂 ) so I sprinkled a little sugar on them before baking, giving the tops a little sparkle and crunch.


These muffins bake up nice and high, and they are easy, nutritious and delicious.  They freeze very well so one or two will be readily available to defrost and reheat in the microwave whenever you want one.   To freeze muffins, let cool completely, then place desired quantity on a baking sheet and freeze individually before transferring to a zip-lock freezer bag.



Yield:   Makes 16 muffins


  • 2 cups flour  (I used 1cup all-purpose, and 1 cup whole wheat.)IMG_7284
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1  1/2 cups frozen blueberries (keep frozen until ready to use)
  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


1.   Preheat the oven to 400*F.   Grease or paper-line 16 muffin cups.

2.  In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.  ( flour through pie spice)

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3.  In a separate smaller bowl or measuring cup, whisk together wet ingredients. (  milk through egg)

4.  Combine wet ingredients with dry,  stirring only enough to incorporate.  Fold in the blueberries.


5.  Divide batter evenly between 16 muffin cups.   Sprinkle tops of batter with granulated sugar.



6.  Bake at 400*F.  for 16 – 18 minutes, till tops spring back when touched.   Cool on a wire rack.





SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Whole Grain Buttermilk Waffles

Whole grain buttermilk waffles used to make a breakfast sandwich.

Whole grain buttermilk waffles used to make a breakfast sandwich.

So many pancakes or waffles made with white flour are fluffy, but taste mostly of whatever you put on them, while many of them made with whole grains end up tasting great but cook up flat and dense.  Wouldn’t it be great to have the best of both worlds?IMG_0246

This recipe offers just that;  it gives you a relatively fluffy pancake/waffle with a nice earthy flavor from the whole-grain flours.  I like them without a lot of additional syrup or jam, preferring instead to top them with a little butter, honey and seasonal fruit.

While it’s nice to cook these to order, I also like to sit down at the table and eat with everyone else, so as I cook the waffles  I keep them warm in a 200*F oven.  They will stay moist for up to 30 minutes without drying out.  You can also make the batter and store it, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a day.  You’ll probably need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk or water to loosen it up after it sits overnight.


Yield:   Make 6 waffles


  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml milk
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 cup / 165 g Whole-Grain Pancake Mix (see yesterday’s post for ingredients)
  • honey or maple syrup for serving

1.  In a batter bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, buttermilk, and butter.  Whisk the pancake mix into the milk mixture until smooth.  Let the batter rest for 10 minutes to allow the dry ingredients to soak up some of the liquid.  The baking soda in the pancake mix will interact with the buttermilk and small bubbles will begin to form.  If the batter feels too thick to pour and difficult to easily whisk or stir, add 1 tablespoon more milk or water to loosen it up.

2.  While the batter is resting, heat a waffle iron, and spray with non-stick spray if necessary.  When it is hot, pour about 1/2 cup batter into the waffle iron, close and bake until waffle is browned and crisp on the edges.

Keep waffles warm in a 200*F. oven until ready to serve.  Serve warm with butter, honey or maple syrup.

Whole Grain Buttermilk Waffles

Whole Grain Buttermilk Waffles

Using up leftover waffles is never a problem with these.  They make a great breakfast or lunch sandwich.  Here you see a sandwich made with scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon and guacamole.  Add some lettuce and sliced tomato for an extra hearty sandwich if you wish.  It all tastes great!

Layering up a sandwich on a whole grain waffle.

Layering up a sandwich on a whole grain waffle.

These are sooo good!!

These are sooo good!!

SOURCE:    adapted from Whole Grain Mornings

Morning Glory Oats

Morning Glory Oats

Morning Glory Oats

I love warm oatmeal for breakfast, and I also love  Morning Glory muffins,  those big ones you see in coffee shops and bakeries, just bursting with grated carrots, raisins and coconut, too.  They remind me of carrot cake, but call it a muffin, and I’ll eat it for breakfast, thank you.  I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this recipe that smooshes all of that together in one filling and nourishing dish.  Warm creamy oatmeal crammed with all those yummy things I love in the muffin.  WOW!


My new cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings, has this recipe.  There are others I’m also craving, so be prepared for more  goodness like what you see here….

It all starts with steel cut oats, followed by brown sugar, grated carrot, spices, raisins and coconut.  The oats start with a combination of gently boiling milk and water.  Add the oats!  After that toss in the sugar, spices, carrots, and raisins.


The oats take about 25 minutes to cook and soften.  At the same time the carrots become tender and everything blends together sending out an aroma that is cinnamon-y and dreamy.  Creamy oats, that still have some “tooth” to them, soft, sweet carrots, and plump raisins;  just about perfect, you’d think.  But there’s more to come—add in the coconut flakes and orange zest.  Don’t leave out the orange zest, it’s what seals the deal.  Heaven!

I  made this recipe on the weekend, when I had time for the cooking, and it makes a large enough quantity for four generous servings.  What I love about it is that you can store the cooked oatmeal in the fridge and reheat it in the morning with a bit more milk to loosen it up.  This is a breakfast you don’t have to feel guilty about eating because it is so nourishing and good for you.



Yield:    serves 4 – 6


  • 3 cups /720 ml water**
  • 1 cup/ 240 ml milk, plus more for serving **
  • 1 cup/175 g steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup/100 g  grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 2/3 cup/90 g raisins
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup/ 25 g unsweetened coconut flakes

** The important thing here is a total of 4 cups of liquid.  It can be all water, or half water and half milk.  I used almond milk when I made it, but I think coconut milk would be great also and further accent the coconut flavor.  Be adventurous!


In a saucepan bring the water and milk to a gentle boil.  Stir in the oats, carrots, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and return to a boil.  Decrease the heat to low and partially cover.  Cook the porridge until it begins to thicken, stirring once or twice, and the oats are soft yet chewy, 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut flakes and orange zest.

Coconut and orange zest added in to the cooked oats.

Coconut and orange zest added in to the cooked oats.

Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve warm with an extra bit of warmed milk if you would like.


Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container and they will keep for 5 days.  Reheat by adding a few tablespoons of additional water or milk and warm on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring well.


SOURCE:   Whole Grain Mornings, by Megan Gordon