Ode To Quinoa

Usually, during Passover, your “bread” choices are limited. You have matzoh, matzoh and more matzoh. Leavened bread, rice, couscous, etc are all forbidden. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many rabbinical authorities permit Quinoa. Despite the box calling it a grain, Quinoa is actually a seed. It is related to beets and spinach, not wheat or rice. However, when cooked, it can act very much like a grain (specifically rice). It doesn’t rise though so there are no chametz issues.

[thumb id=731/]Anyway, I decided to try some Quinoa this year. For the second sedar, I made Quinoa pilaf. First I sauteed diced scallions, carrots, red pepper, and celery in olive oil for a few minutes. Then I tossed in the rinsed Quinoa. (It needs to be rinsed to wash off a bitter outside shell.) Finally, I poured in some chicken broth and let the whole thing simmer until the liquid was totally gone. This was a hit at the sedar. Nearly everyone took seconds of the Quinoa. The leftovers (which only existed because I made so much to begin with) were tasty too.

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Next, I tried some Breakfast Quinoa. For this one, I simply boiled the Quinoa in water. Once it was cooked, I added raisins, cinnamon, honey, and a little milk. We ate it like oatmeal. Not bad at all.

Below are some more photos of the Breakfast Quinoa:

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I’m not sure if I’ll make any more Quinoa before Passover ends, but I do have 2 more boxes and would like to try this Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa recipe that I found. Have you ever tried Quinoa? If so, do you have a favorite recipe?

Little Debbie 100 Calorie Snack Review

I recently won the Little Debbie 100 Calorie Giveaway from BeingFrugal.net.  When I got the box, I first marvelled at the nice array of snacks in front of me.  Then another thought occurred.  Why not review these?  There they were, sitting right in front of me.  All I had to do was type up my thoughts as I ate each one.  And that’s just what I did.  (NOTE: I did not do this all in one sitting.  Little Debbie 100 Calorie snacks are not good for any weight loss plan if you eat eight of them at once!)

Nutty Bar PB Stix (100 calories, 6g fat):

I happen to love sugar wafer cookies. Of course, they are diet no-no’s so I’ve gone without for awhile. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this was basically a sugar wafer cookie. It wasn’t any old sugar wafer cookie. This one was filled with peanut butter, another food love of mine. Sugar wafer cookie meets peanut butter? How can you go wrong?

Nutty Bar (90 calories, 5g fat):

Of course, if there’s another food love I have, it’s chocolate. So I was really excited about this cookie. It’s just like the last cookie, but dipped in milk chocolate. By far, this was my favorite cookie.

Gingerbread Cookies (100 calories, 3g fat):

The first thing I noticed about these as I opened their package was the lovely gingerbread smell.  For some reason, I was expecting them to be hard, but they were soft and chewy.  Quite tasty.  Unfortunately, NHL and JSL caught me eating these and demanded their own so I lost two cookies to my kids.

Snow Puffs (100 calories, 2g fat):

This is the one I was dreading the most and it had nothing to do with Little Debbie.  I have had an aversion to coconut since I was very young.  In the interests of overcoming my aversion, however, I tried this cookie.  It was actually pretty good.  The coconut flavor doesn’t overwhelm the cookie and the marshmallow fluff gives it a nice, chewy consistency.  It’s something like a cross between a Moon Pie and a Whoopie Pie with some coconut added.

Triple Fudge Brownies (100 calories, 4g fat):

I’ll admit that this one disappointed me at first.  The brownie is quite tiny.  I guess I shouldn’t have expected more for 100 calories.  (The person who figures out how to make a decent sized brownie that only has 100 calories and actually tastes good will be my personal hero.)  Despite the small size, the brownie was quite tasty.  Nice chocolate flavor and texture.

Yellow Cakes (100 calories, 3g fat):

A small piece of cake.  Like the Gingerbread Cookies, this cake had a pleasant aroma.  Biting into it revealed that the cake was quite sweet and moist.  It was very tasty.

Chocolate Cakes (100 calories, 3g fat):

This one is basically like the Yellow Cakes, only made of chocolate.  As I mentioned before, I love chocolate.  So having a chocolate care with chocolate icing?  How could you go wrong?  It was very chocolatey, very moist, very delicious!  This cake was definitely one of my favorites.

Marshmallow Treats (100 calories, 2.5g fat):

This one’s pretty straightforward.  It’s basically a rice krispy treat.  I found this one too chewy for my tastes.  It wasn’t bad, mind you.  I’m just used to the original Rice Krispy treats.

Overall, I liked the Little Debbie 100 Calories treats.  You shouldn’t expect any of them to fill you up if you are hungry, but they are a good way to calm down a craving that would otherwise result in a high calorie/fat binge.

JSL’s First Peanut Sunflower Butter Sandwich

JSL has been a finicky eater recently.  He’ll eat crackers, cheese sticks, pizza, and cream cheese sandwiches.  Sometimes, he can be coaxed into eating chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese.  However, he’s not eating much else.  This is surely the beginning of the Terrible Twos and him asserting his culinary independence.  We’re worried about his protein intake, however.

We keep a kosher kitchen and kosher meat is very expensive, so we mainly eat vegetarian style meals.  Peanut Butter would be a good protein source, but that’s a no-no for at least 5 more months.  Enter Sunbutter.  While doing some research on Peanut Butter alternatives, I stumbled upon a review of Sunbutter mentioning how good it was for little kids.  I checked a local natural foods store, but it was insanely expensive.  Another store was pricey too, but I decided to take a chance on it.

Tonight was our trial run.  The veggie dogs that we were eating for dinner didn’t interest JSL.  He liked the bun, but refused to take even the tiniest taste of veggie dog.  I decided to make him half of a Sunbutter sandwich.  He was in heaven.  He gobbled it down and asked for more.  B, NHL, and I even took a taste.  It has a very PB-like flavor with a hint of sunflower seeds.  This is definitely going into the JSL meal rotation.


We’re Crazy, I Tell You, Crazy!

It was 13 degrees out today.  Before the wind chill.  So what does B decide she wants to do for her birthday?  Go to Cold Stone and get ice cream!  (Ok, that wasn’t the only thing we did and the reason for that choice was a free ice cream coupon she had for her birthday.)

B got the cake batter ice cream with cookie dough mixed in.  NHL got the gingerbread ice cream with Oreos mixed in.  I, being a big dark chocolate fan, got the Dark Chocolate Peppermint ice cream with marshmellows mixed in.  JSL is also a fan of all things chocolate and wound up eating about half of my ice cream.  He actually got upset when I dared to move the spoon to my mouth instead of in his.  How dare I!

After ice cream we did some shopping.  Then, after a quick stop home to drop off our goods, we headed to B’s parents house.  There we dropped off the kids and went out to eat in a Japanese Steakhouse.  (Sushi… yum!  Especially Sweet Potato sushi made with warm sweet potato tempura.  *drools*)  After dinner, it was back to B’s parents for dessert:  Chocolate Chip Cookie cake.

Here are a few photos:

Happy Birthday B!

The Charleston Trip, Part 4: Wedding Rehearsal Day

After the Ghost Walk, I returned to my room, set my alarm for 6:30am, and fell asleep.  I neglected to do one important thing, though:  Test the volume on the radio in the room.  Consequently, I woke up at 9:15.  Panicking, I quickly showered, got dressed, and sprinted off to breakfast at 9:30am.  It’s got to be a new record for me. (Getting ready that fast, not being out by that time.)

 They had quite the spread at the inn.  Bagels, eggs, grits (my first time trying… quite good!), muffins, french toast, etc.  After breakfast, I hung out in the honeyroom suite with my friend and his bride-to-be.  It was then that I took the photos off my camera and discovered the creepy face.  I also took photos of their many turtles.

Next, it was Tux time!  We drove out to the tuxedo rental shop.  It was tucked away and tough to find, but we managed to locate it.  Then, while some last minute alterations were done, we walked around the nearby shops grabbing some snacks.  I’m proud to report that my friend (who usually doesn’t like trying new things) tried Hummus for the first time as well as a bagel with Caraway seeds.  He liked both.  (I recommended making a Hummus and Feta cheese sandwich for a healthy lunch.)

Once we had our tuxes in tow, we headed back to the inn. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn or two, but eventually found our way back.  Some profuse appologies to the bride later, and we ran through how the wedding was to proceed.  My job as a groomsman was easy.  I walk down the aisle, stand in the line during the service, then walk out with one of the bridesmaids.  Simple.

The only complication was that I seemed to have developed a bad cough the week before and it wouldn’t go away.  I started getting afraid that I’d ruin the service from excessive coughing.  I took the rehearsal as an opportunity to try different techniques to suppress the cough.  (I should have gotten some cough syrup when we stopped by Piggley Wiggley after getting our Tuxes, but I didn’t think of it at the time.)

After the rehearsal, we had some down time until the rehearsal dinner.  I used my time to (what else?) take more photos of the grounds.  This time, I also stopped by their stables to take some horse photos.  These came in handy on the bus as a little girl named J was upset.  My daddy instinct (which was going through withdrawal being away from my boys for so long) kicked in and I inquired what was up.  It turned out that they didn’t have time to see the horses which J loves.  He loved horses so much, in fact, that her entire room at home was decorated in horses.  When I found this out, I took out my camera and showed her the horse photos that I had taken.  Seeing the horses helped calm her down.

The rehearsal dinner went smoothly.   The food was good and the restaurant even accomadated a special need of mine.  It seems that the pasta was mixed in the same sauce that they use to cook their meatballs and sausage.  Since I wouldn’t eat those, they brought me a special plate just for me.  (The dishes were family style otherwise.)  Yes, I took photos of the food too.  I think my camera rooted itself to my hands during the trip!

After the dinner, I went back to my room and prepared for the next day’s events.  Coming up next:  It’s Wedding Day!

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