Browsing Tag:

whole grains

Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

This breakfast had no intention of making it to the blog. But after creating it and seeing it come to life, hitting the Internet was inevitable. I mean, gorgeous, right?! Its vibrance reminds me of the Quinoa Beet Tabbouleh I made over the summer. Colorful foods, in nature, are ones I want to eat. Kind of like colorful conversations. Those are the ones I most want to have.

Blackberry Oatmeal with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Speaking of, will you all help me get a conversation going on FFF’s Facebook page? My Internet marketing skills are failing. Oh no, the world is going to end. But really, I just get (entirely too) excited when something turns out great in the kitchen and I can share it with all of you. It’d be great to eventually build more of a community. Ya feel me? One day.

Anyway, back to this oatmeal. It’s really a simple recipe that plays off of the natural beauty of blackberries. I’ve been loving coconut flakes lately, and in their toasted form they really add a satisfying form of crunch. Toast up the walnuts too if you want for an extra cozy breakfast.

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Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

I can’t seem to kick my iced coffee habit. The days are nearing a blustery 40 degrees, and I’m still walking out of my local cafe with ice in my java. My hands are cold, my nose is red, my coffee is staring up at me like, “girl, what were you thinking? Now I’m cold too.”

What can I say. I like high fives. I like to ride my bike. I like my coffee over ice. All year around.

Sushi, on the other hand, is not something I always reach for as wintery weather sets in. It’s by far one of my favorite meals to grab during the summer. But this time of year, it often gets ousted for soup.

Ooooh, fall.

Ooooh, fall.

Bowls like these, however, combine the best of two worlds. Fresh veg, rice and nori, all wrapped up in a warm package. Feel free to add other sushi favorites, like avocado, sesame seeds, and maybe even a splash or two of rice wine vinegar into the cooked grains. This is essentially a free-form salad, inspired by Asian flavors, not entirely adherent to sushi. The bowl is what you make of it, my friends.

Nori Brown Rice Bowls with Hoison Sauce

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Summer Rice and Quinoa Tabbouleh with Beets

Summer Tabbouleh with Beets

Can we talk about how fast life moves after graduating from college? And I’m not even at a 9-5 job anymore. Nor do I have kids…I can’t image how time will feel when that happens. I’m picturing similar to how this 800 mile per hour high speed train would feel, if it ever gets built.

This summer seems like a blur. Late August and evening sweater weather, how did you creep up so fast? Please leave me be for another few weeks. I need some time to contemplate. (i.e., to lay on my back in a pool, and stare mindlessly up at the sky). Ya feel me?

At least I can say the past few months have been entertaining ones, and packed with a tabbouleh salad full of new experiences. This last week, I had the opportunity to teach yoga to a class of senior citizens, a group of former homeless drug addicts, and Temple University’s volleyball team. Man, was each experience different. And tremendously rewarding. Occasions like this really make me reevaluate life. If only I had more time to ponder over those feelings. In a pool. Or a lake. I won’t be picky, summer, if you just stay a bit longer.

Summer Tabbouleh with Beets

So while life has been busy and all over the place, I’ve been making a lot of no-recipe tabbouleh salads. Ones in a huge bowl that will last for the week, and are packed with farmer’s market veggies to keep me charged and thinking straight.

On these occasions, there are no measuring cups or spoons present, excluding the one I’m using to taste as I go. There is no exact science involved. Or open laptop being splattered with veggie juice, tracking every ingredient’s use. While I love recipe development, more often than not, this is how I enjoy cooking the most. Improvisation based off of the ingredients I have at hand.

I hate to snub you guys of a precise directions here, but I want you to simply use this as inspiration to create your own version of tabbouleh. No stressing if you’re missing ingredients from the recipe, well, because there is no recipe. And no freaking out if it doesn’t look like some photo. Below is simply a loose blueprint to get you started. Also, just an FYI, one beet can go a long way. You don’t need much to add that gorgeous pink vibrancy you’ll see in the bowl above.

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Creamy Kale and Rice Soup

Is it really 2013? This marks my 613 post on this blog. That’s 500+ published recipes I’ve created or made in the last three years. Holy mise en place, that’s a lot of onion chopping.

It’s crazy how much this little blog has shaped my life. Launched at a time when my personality was quickly shifting and evolving, my passions forming and cementing, this early college venture has become a huge part of who I am. From my potential career goals (who wouldn’t want to be a full-time, food blogging Smitten Kitchen? Or food journalist. Or photographer…among other things), to the reputation among my friends as the constant cook, I probably wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t started this blog.

I wouldn’t be pitching to food magazines. I wouldn’t be writing a seasonal veggie column. I wouldn’t be networking among other bloggers. Likely I wouldn’t be the photography enthusiast I’ve become today. There are so many doors this blog has opened, and so many people it has brought to my life, and so on this first day of January, I just want to give thanks to all that the hard work has brought.

As much as I would still love my mom to pack the occasional lunch or be at my apartment to whip up dinner after work, I have learned to absolutely love cooking on my own through this experience. And writing too. I’m finally secure in my desire to be a journalist, food-related or not, and know that one day I will do so on a full-time basis.

I hope you too are looking back on the year with a positive reflection, and with that, I say Happy New Year. Let me leave you with this recipe, a perfect start to 2013. Let’s lighten things up after the holidays with this warm, nutrient-packed soup. The creamy kale recipe was inspired by callaloo, a green soup I once ate daily on a trip to Grenada. Whether feasting in the Caribbean or dining on the version below, this will leave you refreshed and ready to take on the year ahead.

Bean and Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf with Tahini

After whipping up my last quinoa pilaf, I realized I had forgotten how easy cooking can be. When I’m stressed or simply overloaded with too many extraneous ideas to allow for creativity, cooking turns into an obligatory homework project. From outside the kitchen, it can psychological feel like nothing but a tiresome stack of unwashed dishes.

However, cooking’s really no different than when you conquer that first mile of a run. Ten minutes in, and often you’re ready to take on the whole trail.

For cooking, this is especially true with one pot dishes like these, where there’s very minimal cleanup required once you hit the homestretch.

Simple pilafs like these also keep things light and healthy. There’s no stove full of pans to oil up but rather just one pot of quinoa simmering away. That being said, don’t skimp on the tahini when you finish this one off. The creamy component is needed and adds a perfect richness that compliments the flavors infused in the quinoa. Enjoy!

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