The Change Up ~ Baked Quinoa Patties

Do you ever have a day where you just sit with your computer and bounce around from blog to blog? Of course you do. I know...it's ok. I do it all the time more often than I should but I get kinda excited when i find something really cool that I want to try.

Today, it's been all about food and, actually, there was a purpose behind my trolling because last night I was told that one of my boys would benefit from some changes to his diet (as would my whole family, I dare say) so I was specifically looking for recipes to change up some of the things I normally make and that contain more whole grains, less sugar, more protein, less processed foods, etc, and I kept coming back to a blog I've loved for some time... 101 Cookbooks, authored by Heidi Swanson.

Do you know of it? Great stuff and even if you're not vegetarian, you're bound to find something to tempt your appetite there. The first thing I made was her Roasted Lemon Chutney. Oh my goodness! Tart, tangy, slightly sweet with just the tiniest bit of heat. A perfect condiment to keep on hand.

BUT ~ the pièce de résistance today has been Heidi's baked quinoa patties. Let me tell you, these little beauties are delicious, satisfying and healthy. They kind of remind me of falafel and are great to eat right out of the oven or at room temperature. They'll travel well for lunches too and can be eaten by themselves or as a burger. They'd be great topped with a poached egg or, like you see here, with some of the chutney and slices of avocado. Oooo....or some roasted red peppers or tzatziki.

Baked Quinoa and Black Bean Patties (adapted from Heidi Swanson's recipe)

note: if you look at Heidi's recipe first, you'll notice that mine is pretty different. clearly, i didn't have all the ingredients but, necessity being the mother of invention and all, and given that i really wanted to try these, i went with what i had on hand and my version didn't disappoint. also, i pretty much halved her recipe given that i only had 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa in the pantry. one does what one must. and still made 9 patties.

1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa (about 1/2 cup uncooked) at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (I used himalayan pink salt from traders)

1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
1 quater yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed

1/3 cup grated pecorino and romano parmesan blend (also from traders)

1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. You should have a mixture that holds together well and that you can easily form into 1-inch thick patties. Err on the moist side because it makes for a not-overly-dry patty, but you can add more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if necessary. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg or water can be used to moisten the mixture. If you're still having trouble getting the mixture to hold - mix in flour, a couple tablespoons at a time.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and brush it with the olive oil. Arrange the patties with a bit of space between each. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown. Carefully flip them over and bake for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy hot, or allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

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Chocolate Cinnamon Icey Yum!

I have some really good 'foodie' friends who I love to sit and gab and eat and cook with and I had a chance to visit with one of them for a bit over the weekend. As soon as I sat down at her table she plopped a Food Network magazine in front of me that I immediately started skimming through. Perfect for Valentine's Day, it was the chocolate issue filled with various and sundry recipes containing ~ of course ~ chocolate; an exciting mix of sweet and savory (soooo want to try making mole some day) to choose from and all relatively easy.

Towards the back there was a quick little receipt for chocolate ice cubes which sounded yummy and I thought I'd give them a try. Can I just tell you? They're soooooooooo good! Not just for a backwards chocolate milk either. They'd be perfect in an iced coffee, smashed up and topped with slightly sweet whipped cream or just eaten alone like a little mini fudgesicle. Flavor them with orange, almond, raspberry, mint or....rose water. Hello!

Here's my version of the recipe found in the magazine:

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp (heaping) cocoa powder
3 tbsp cinnamon sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
3/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Heat first five ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps

Turn off heat and remove vanilla bean. Add chocolate chips, stirring until completely melted. You'll have approximately 2 cups of liquid.

Pour into ice cube tray and gently tap out any bubbles.

Don't throw out the extra chocolate you may have left over! Add it to your morning coffee ~ yum!

Once the cubes are frozen, put them into a pretty glass and add milk.

Don't be shy now. Drink it down and savor each swallow!

If you don't do dairy, I'm sure that coconut milk, fresh nut milk or soy milk would sub out just fine (especially the coconut...smacking lips over here). Also, try changing the water for rose flower or orange blossom water or a strongly brewed chai tea. Or throw them in a martini glass with a splash of good vodka! See what I mean? Perfect for Valentine's Day. Get crazy and let me know what you try...

I'm excited to tell my friend about how these turned out. In addition to sending me home with a little bag of chocolate chips for this recipe, I also left with a paper sack of meyer lemons from her miniature tree and a half dozen freshly laid eggs courtesy of Gru, Miranda and Gertrude. Thank you ladies!

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