Quinoa for Breakfast with Apples and Coconut Milk

After reviewing Andie Mitchell’s blog, I decided that I had to give one of her recipes a try. While scrolling through her extensive recipe tab early this morning, I decided that breakfast was the obvious route to take. I was determined to find something I had never tried before. I soon came across her Healthy Breakfast Quinoa with Coconut Milk and Apples. Not only am I obsessed with cooked apples, but I am a sucker for anything with coconut flavor. Besides these eye catching ingredients pulling me towards the recipe, I was also intrigued by her untraditional use of quinoa in a sweet breakfast dish. It reminded me of oatmeal: one of my favorite foods. Whether its oats with chocolate protein powder and cocoa nibs or fresh blueberry oatmeal with honey, oats are my go-to food for any meal of the day, especially breakfast. I was interested in the fact that she took an alternate route and made this breakfast meal with an ingredient I usually associated as a base or side in savory dishes.

After a quick trip to HEB to pick up the items I didn’t already have (orange marmalade and nut meg) I began preparing the ingredients. I read over the directions she had listed at the bottom of the blog one more time and began cooking. I started by bringing the quinoa and coconut milk to a boil and then letting it simmer. I would add a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk at a time if I felt like the quinoa looked too dry. While the quinoa cooked, I began melting coconut oil in a separate pan and when that was completely liquefied, added the sliced apples along with some water, the cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. (Tip: Make sure to watch the apples, stirring and flipping them often. I had a couple of slices burn after leaving them on the same side too long.) When the quinoa had softened and about doubled in size, I took the grain off the heat. At about the same time, the apples were golden brown and soft (the same color and texture form my Apples for Dessert blog) and were giving off a sweet aroma.

I took the apples off the heat and stirred in the tablespoon of orange marmalade until all the apples were coated with the sweet gloss. It was time to plate. I placed a large scoop of the quinoa in a bowl along with the apples and some chopped pecans. To finish, I added another dash of cinnamon and some more coconut milk like Andie had recommended.

Like the picture on her blog that had originally caught my eye, the warm, fragrant bowl beckoned me in. While the quinoa had the same satisfying texture I expected, the bowl did not have as much sweetness as I had wanted from a sweet breakfast recipe. Of course this is a healthy breakfast dish and Mitchell even states in her blog that it has “…just the right amount of sweetness from the apples–not too much (we’re still trying to keep it healthy and low in sugar!) but enough for it to be flavorful.” But for a sweet-tooth like me, it was missing the mark. To compensate, I added a small drizzle of pure, organic honey and stirred it in. After this small addition, the bowl was perfect. The orange marmalade added a citrusy note to the apples that I was pleasantly surprised by and in my opinion was complimented by the honey.  The chopped pecans were a nice textural contrast to the soft apples and the classic spice combination tied the entire dish together.

Overall, the breakfast was a deliciously unique take on a beloved grain that completely satisfied my hunger; I was full! I recommend this dish to anyone like me, who enjoys a warm bowl of oatmeal or grits for breakfast. While the sweetness was lacking for me, this does not apply to everyone or even most people; my taste buds love sugar, what can I say? I know many people, including my parents, who would have absolutely loved the dish without the addition of honey. Feel free to experiment! That is what is so cool about trying new recipes, it can always be altered to your own preference! One  Andie Mitchell recipe down, many more to go.



Food Blog Review: Andie Mitchell

It’s important to remember that you should never stop learning, observing and acquiring new ideas. Coming up with ideas for a blog can be difficult and I believe that finding new inspiration is key to staying on top of your content. This passed week I have focused on looking for inspiration in new places. I came to the conclusion that I don’t read enough outside of the readings required for my classes. Whether it’s food related or not, books are a way to experience something new while making me a better writer at the same time.  I’m also excited to visit the San Marcos farmer’s market soon (look out for a blog post) to see what the local market has to offer.  Lastly, I want to review experienced blog sites with similar content. What better way to get inspired than by seeing content done by professionals with recognized blogs?  This way, I can acquire some inspo and write an honest review for any of you health nuts looking for another blog to follow.

While scrolling online, I came across an article about Andie Mitchell: a writer, blogger, bestselling author and healthy recipe creator. After clicking the link to her blog, I quickly decided that her blog would be the first website I review. Mitchell lost a remarkable 135 pounds in one year after she discovered healthy eating and regular exercising. Talk about inspiring! Mitchell discusses how she began updating the recipes she’d always loved by using lighter, better-for-you ingredients to achieve her incredible weight-loss in her New York Times bestselling memoir, It Was Me All Along. 

At first glance, Andie’s blog is graced with bright colors and beautiful photos of  food while being clean-cut and well organized. Her blog is also user-friendly, with a easily navigable “recipe” tab. Within each recipe blog, she also provides stunning, step by step photos of her recipes, accompanied by honest reviews, insight and ideas. At the end of each post she also presents an ingredient list and simplified instructions on how to recreate the meal. Another component to her blog that I enjoy is that Mitchell encourages customizing her recipes and even gives alternative ingredient options to try.

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By welcoming people to put fourth their health journey in the comments, Mitchell has created a community with her followers that acts as a safe-haven for those looking for knowledge without the judgement.  Both well-written and creative, Andie Mitchell’s blog  is a very real and down-to-Earth place that offers culinary ideas too beautiful not to try. Mitchell has done more than just create a recipe blog; she has helped offer inspiration to health seekers, cooks and bloggers alike by proving that you don’t have to compromise on taste when it comes to eating healthy.

Cauliflower in Trendy Bowls

From Acai bowls to protein bowls to poke bowls; putting food in bowls is definitely the trend. What is it about putting food in bowls that is so darn attractive? In my opinion, it’s the ability to layer ingredients in a way that satisfies both the eyes and the palate. Using wholesome ingredients with bright colors makes the food you eat something extremely appealing, maybe even snapchat worthy. My version of a protein bowl is quick and simple but at the same time offers a filling meal full of vitamins and protein.

Vegetarian version.

While shopping at Sam’s Club the other day, I came across Cauliflower Pearls. I have always been a big fan of cauliflower but not a big fan of the messy process of breaking down the whole floweret. This bag saved me the hassle of breaking it down by conveniently placing the small pieces of cauliflower in a steamtable bag. I knew I wanted to make this cauliflower a component in my bowl. I started by pouring about two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. When the olive oil was hot I poured the entire bag of cauliflower into the pan with about half a cup of water. I covered the saucepan and let the cauliflower cook for about 5 minutes.

Chicken was my choice of protein here.

It was time to take the cauliflower to “flavor town” as The Great Guy Fieri would say. I seasoned with a good amount of salt and pepper and then added two or three teaspoons of cayenne. My love for spice is never-ending and I knew it wasn’t going to stop there. I reached for my trusted Frank’s Red Hot in Buffalo Style and added a generous amount. Lastly, I mixed in two tablespoons of taco-inspired hummus (another Sam’s find). I covered the pan and let the cauliflower cook until it was soft and had a texture similar to cooked rice (about 10-15 minutes).

Vegan version with a veggie patty as the protein.

Once it was taken off the heat and had cooled for a bit, I grabbed a bowl and filled it with spinach and arugula. I added a couple of spoonfuls of the sautéed cauliflower, a scoop of hummus and a hard-boiled egg. The warm, soft cauliflower tasted amazing in contrast to the crisp greens and cool hummus. It was delicious. The next day I replaced the egg with some grilled chicken pieces and was also satisfied by this version. To get my vegan roomie on board, I made her the exact same bowl and replaced the protein with a Morning Star vegetable patty. Eating on the go was made easy because the one bag of cauliflower lasted about three meals. All I had to do was reheat it and go on my way.

What I loved about this recipe was that it had everything you would want in a meal while being extremely customizable. The texture and flavor of the cauliflower as well as the protein choice could be easily changed based on your preferences. Easy, delicious and healthy; talk about trendy.