Fancy Pants Rice Crispy Squares

I got into a Facebook fight today, and I’m only mildly ashamed.

With whom? Another blogger.  She posted something about how the Ban Bossy campaign was ridiculous.

If you haven’t heard of Ban Bossy, it’s a campaign by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization and the Girl Scouts.  The whole idea is to stop using the word ‘Bossy’ to describe an assertive girl.   An assertive little boy is a ‘leader,’ but an assertive little girl is ‘bossy,’ and this affects the way girls develop in leadership roles.  The campaign really aims at developing leadership among girls and young women.

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I don’t think this campaign is ridiculous.  I actually think it’s a great idea.

That said, sure, the choice of marketing for this campaign is a bit silly (I love Beyonce, but she sort of sucks in the video).  The word bossy is just dumb, but I recognize its power.  Because of that, I was bothered by this bloggers comment and the subsequent comments to her post.  Mostly, they were people saying that being called bossy is a good thing, or examples of when their little boys are bossier than their daughters and how the word doesn’t mean anything.  Sure, I get all that.  To an adult, being called bossy is fine, but when you’re little things are different.  By the time we’re grown ass women, we know we’re more awesome than what some jerk says.  But let’s not forget that words have power.

So, Facebook “fight” ensued.  I argued that words are important and empowering girls is essential.  She argued that the campaigns message was clouded by bad marketing.

The feminist in me took over (p.s. I hate that to so many the word feminist is negative).  But then I just let it go, because if there’s one thing I hate more than people putting down people’s efforts to empower women, it’s women hating on other women.  Can we get a little female solidarity?

Overall, I get it.  Criticizing is easier than making a positive change, and as I emphasized  in my comments: everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  If you hate the Ban Bossy campaign, that’s fine.  But can you give me another way that we can start empowering girls to be leaders?

Regardless of how you feel about the Ban Bossy campaign, I genuinely hope we can all agree that empowering girls to be leaders is a cause worth talking about.  If only our Facebook interactions could be dialogues instead of arguments, we’d all be a tiny bit better off.

But in the meantime, before society progresses to that point, when someone tells you what you support is ridiculous, it’s my belief that you should kill them with kindness… the marshmallowy kind.  So ladies keep your bossy pants on and make yourself some fancy pants rice crispy squares.

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Fancy Pants Rice Crispy Squares

1/4 cup butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
3 cups puffed rice cereal
2 cups puffed millet
2 cups puffed quinoa
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1-2 tsp canola oil

Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside. In a large pot, met together butter and mini marshmallows.  Stir until well combined.  Add rice cereal, millet, quinoa and coconut.  Stir to combine.  Press mixture into 9×13 dish and allow to cool for an hour or two (you can put it in the fridge to speed up the process).  Once cooled, cut into squares using a large chef knife.

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Place chocolate chips in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir and microwave another 30 seconds.  Repeat until chocolate is melted.  Stir in 1-2 tsp of oil or enough for the chocolate to be runny.  Drizzle chocolate over squares and allow to harden.  Once chocolate is firm, serve and enjoy!

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Why are they fancy pants?  Millet is fancy.  Quinoa is like the black diamond of grains.  Coconut makes everything a little more exotic.  Also because I said so.

What are your thoughts on #BanBossy?  Feel free to give your actual opinion (even if you disagree with me, that’s cool!).

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Quinoa Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

On this blog, I have a tendency to tell you how great the featured recipe is.  This time, I’m not going to call it amazing or mind-blowing.

Rather, these cookies are interesting.

Interesting taste.

Interesting texture.

Interesting ingredients.  Quinoa in a cookie?  Yes.

Not bad-interesting, by any means.  Definitely good-interesting, but these don’t taste like your average cookie.  I’m going to recommend that you make them, but here’s what you should expect.  These are sweet and cakey.  They’re not chewy cookies; so don’t expect hard, chewy cookies.  They’re soft and cakey, good qualities in my opinion.

So give it a try.

Quinoa Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Epicurious’s Almond-Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375F.

Cream together butter and sugars, add agave nectar and eggs.  Beat until combined.  Next add almond flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Mix until just combined.  Fold in quinoa, oats, and chocolate chips (you can also mix it up and add dried fruit and nuts). The dough will be sorta sticky, so you can stick it in the freezer for a while if you’d like, but don’t worry your cookies won’t turn out super flat.

Place 2 tbsp sized balls of dough on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before removing from baking sheet.  Makes 24 cookies.

If you look closely, you can see the quinoa in there.  Every foodie in America pretty much loves quinoa, so why not try it in your cookies?

Spinach-Quinoa-Peach Salad with Honey-Sage Vinaigrette, My Type of Salad

You know how they say people have types?  A type of guy or girl they always date or crush on.

You know what I mean.  You probably have a type.

I like to think this is my type

But realistically, it’s usually some goofy-looking, bearded guy…

I’m not the best at that whole guy thing so instead, I’ll stick to food.

In that department, I most definitely know my type, and this is my type of meal.

I like things that don’t seem to make sense together.  I guess that’s true for guys as well, but let’s stick to the topic at hand:

This salad combines sweet, salty, warm, cold, soft, crunchy and creamy.  If it were a lady it would be that cute, quirky girl that gentlemen seem to pine over in movie.  You know the type:

But in life, it’s just a delicious lunch.

Spinach-Quinoa-Peach Salad with Honey-Sage Vinaigrette

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 peach, sliced
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa with one cup of vegetable (water and salt works too).  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  In the meantime prepare the salad and dressing.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, peach slices and goat cheese.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, sage and salt and pepper.

Once the quinoa is ready, fluff it a bit with a fork, pour hot quinoa over the salad, quickly pour the dressing over the mixture and toss to combine.  The spinach will wilt slightly but still stay fresh and delicious, giving this salad the perfect combination of textures.

Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main dish.

So whether you’ve found your type or, like me, have no idea what your type actually is, just make this salad.  Chances are it’ll be your type too.

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

Let’s take a break from the usual sweets I present to you on this blog.  Instead, I’ll show you some real food.  As in a real meal.  Are you pumped?

Thought so.

This weekend, I met my neighbors for the first time when I went across the street to ask if they could spare a wood pallet.  They could, more on that later…  But in addition to giving me a wood pallet, my neighbor showed me her vegetable garden and gave me two huge bags filled with tomatoes and an assortment of squash.

If you know me, you could only imagine how excited I was, especially after being cooped up in the vegetable desert that is my parents’ house.

So my first creation with these delightful vegetables:

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
4 good sized zucchinis
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
5 tomatoes, diced
3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
few ounces of queso fresco or queso cotija

In a sauce pan, combine quinoa and broth.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and cook until translucent.  Add red pepper and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.  Continue to cook until tomatoes have cooked down.  Then add the quinoa, turn off the heat and stir together.

If you choose to stop here, you can have a wonderfully delicious and healthy quinoa side dish that I’m guessing would be amazing served over some sauteed kale.

Or you can continue.  Slice the zucchinis in half, length-wise and spoon out the center (I actually diced up the stuff I spooned out and added it to the quinoa mixture.  No waste!).

Fill the zucchini with quinoa mixture and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes (depending on the size of your zucchini times may differ). I used the toaster oven, because it’s hot and who wants to turn the oven on when it’s 90F degrees out?

Take the zucchini out of the oven, sprinkle with cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!

Oh but wait! One last thing… If you decide to put whipped cream on yesterday’s Lemon Blueberry Tartlets

It is divine.

Colorful Quinoa Salad

I’m in the life stage where I’ve graduated and living with my parents again.  I somehow managed to skip this step when I graduated the first time around by going to India then grad school.  Since moving back home, I’ve made one major observations:  my family eats a lot of meat and very few vegetables.

I’m going nuts.

I offered to cook all meals for my parents.  They said no, because they would pretty much be exclusively meat-free meals.  So basically, I’ve given up on trying to get them to eat healthier.  Instead, I’m making stuff for myself and sharing leftovers.

Yesterday, I made a quinoa, bean, vegetable salad.

Surprisingly, everyone liked it (even though once they claimed to not like quinoa).

Colorful Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 cup black beans
1 red pepper, diced (I used about 5 multicolored sweet mini ones)
1 mango, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of 4 limes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes with some salt.  While the quinoa cooks dice your vegetables.  Place edamame, black beans, red peppers, cucumbers, tomato, mango and cilantro in a large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.  Once quinoa is done and slightly cooled, add to the mixing bowl with vegetables, pour in the lime dressing and mix.  Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4-6.

So I guess this is my new strategy: make healthy, tasty (to me) things I like and hope they’ll eat it as well.

Off to the gym I go! Have a great day!

Lentils, Quinoa and Kale

I swear the weather in Ithaca has terrible mood swings! It’s cloudy and gross out today.

The day started off with more World Cup and waffles, but I’ll spare you that.  I’m sure your tired of hearing about waffles and the World Cup (not that I’m going to stop talking about it… more on that later).  In between games, I went for a run.  It was great!  5 miles that flew by! It probably helped that it was pretty cool out.

For dinner, I decided I should probably finish up the kale I got last Saturday before it goes bad.  This ensued…

Lentil, Quinoa, Kale Sautee

1 tsp olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 bunch of kale, cleaned and chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce (aka pasta sauce, or sautee some fresh tomatoes and herbs with the shallot if you have them instead!)
3 eggs

Heat the oil in a pan, add shallot and cook for 2 minutes.  Add kale and cook down for a few minutes.  Stir in pasta sauce, quinoa and lentils.

While kale is cooking, boil some water to poach eggs.  Once water starts boiling, slowly slide in raw eggs and poach for 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve quinoa, lentil, kale mixture on a plate, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and top with poached egg, because really everything tastes better with a runny yolk.

I like this because it’s quick, easy and healthy, but also because you can easily adjust the measurements to feed as many or as few people as you need.

Not gonna lie.  I’m a little bummed the US lost today (although I’m not completely surprised).  Sort of put a damper on my night.  Although I will say I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

Germany vs England in the morning.
Mexico vs Argentina in the afternoon.

My guesses:  Germany beats England.  Argentina beats Mexico.

I hope I don’t jinx them!

What do you think?  Not that into it?

I think I might do some baking tonight since 1) I’m a little bummed and 2) it’s not that hot and 3) I really have nothing else to do!

Have a great night!