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Autoimmune Protocol Update: So Far, Sooooo Good

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Mar 16, 2014 at 12:17pm

AIP Bacon, Radish, Avocado Lettuce WrapsBacon, Radish & Avocado Lettuce Wraps

I’m still writing Twin Cities Chef’s Table, but I wanted to give a quick update on my Adventures in Autoimmune Protocol. What a learning curve, you guys. I mean, I know a LOT about nutrition, cooking, food, what works for me to eat – in fact, I’m obsessive with all of it – but holy wow. I feel like I stepped through a portal into a new land where things I thought I knew – about food and about myself – have either fallen away or been polished to a high shine. I would label the process so far as: transformative.AIP Flatiron Steak, Roasted/Mashed Parsnips, Upland CressFlatiron Steak, Roasted/Mashed Parsnips, Wild Mushroom Sauce & Upland Cress

Also: delicious. I haven’t had this much fun cooking in a very long time. Each meal is a bit of an adventure, to encourage something new from what at first seems like a very limited number of ingredients. Basically, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and fat. But whoa! It’s soooo easy to get in a vegetable rut, it really is ridiculous how we Americans under-utilize the variety in our stores and markets. Meat too. And fish? We are utterly fish illiterate. As a person who needs variety in all things, I’m starting to push & scratch at the surface a bit and honestly, I’ve only just begun. Suffice it to say that I am jazzed to share recipes with you – recipes that even if you don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about autoimmune disease, you will want to dive into.AIP Snack Plate of Sweet Potato Chips, Olives, Radishes, Tonnato“Snack Plate” with Tonnato, Olives, Sweet Potato Chips, Radishes

These pics are snaps off my phone, which I share on Instagram and my Fresh Tart Facebook page as a sort of online food journal, both for myself to remember what I’ve made, and for others to have a sense of how the autoimmune protocol (AIP) doesn’t have to mean boredom and deprivation. There’s a lovely community of us all in the same boat, cheering each other on and trading ideas for perking up meals.AIP Collard Green Wrap with Steak, Wild Mushrooms, Avocado, OnionsCollard Green Wrap with Steak, Mushrooms, Avocado, Lettuce & Onions

I’m just over a month in, by the way, with another month to go. Observations so far (other than falling back in love with cooking and feeling and looking so much better)…

1. What I thought I knew about the ratio of protein/fat/carbohydrates that works best for me was spot on. Over the years, and after MUCH trial and error, I have slowly learned that I look, feel, and perform my best on a higher fat/protein, lower carbohydrate diet. I’ve always eaten a lot of non-starchy vegetables, but I experimented over the last year with adding higher-carbohydrate foods back, mostly due to stress – gluten-free grains like rice, corn, quinoa, as well as baking with rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and nut flours. Disaster. Food reactions, horrible bloating, weight gain, loss of energy. (Therefore this protocol.) Now that I’m back in my sweet spot – a very whole food/paleo style of eating – I feel GREAT. AIP Batch-Roasted Butternut Squash & BeetsBatch Cooking on the Weekend: Roasted Squash & Beets

2. I thought I would miss drinking bubbles given how much I have always loved them but…I don’t. It reminds me of giving up gluten, which people assume must have been terribly difficult. But when something is making you feel rotten, it’s not that hard to let it go. Wine wasn’t tasting very good to me anymore, and even a small glass was giving me a terrible headache, sometimes almost immediately.AIP Chicken, Bacon, Brussels Sprouts, Mushroom HashChicken, Bacon, Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato, & Mushroom Hash

3. Ditto coffee. I was finding that two cups had become one cup, and sometimes I wouldn’t even finish that. It just didn’t taste good, it made me queasy, and it made me feel anxious in a way that isn’t normal for me. I used tea to slowly wean myself off caffeine (I can not quit caffeine cold-turkey without triggering a mind-blowing migraine) and now I’m just drinking herbal tea. It turns out, I just like drinking something warm in the morning.AIP Halibut, Shrimp & Bacon SoupFish Soup with Halibut, Shrimp & Bacon

4. I am sleeping like a rock. Like, I do not wake up even once all night long. What a gift! No more joint pain and/or itching from food reactions, no more waking up at 2 am from the stimulating effects of alcohol or caffeine. I’ve used a light box all winter long which I know has helped too, and I make sure to get a walk in sunlight every day, which has not been easy given the temps this winter. Sometimes it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes, but it’s better than nothing. An indoor yoga class is not a substitute for spending time outside. Damn you, Polar Vortex.AIP Chicken Sausage with Roasted Fruit & Maple SyrupChicken Sausage with Roasted Fruit (Grapes, Star Fruit, Kumquats) & Maple Syrup

5. Plants are powerful – in good AND bad ways. The things I react to are plants, both inside my body and on my skin, a good reminder that most plants don’t want to be consumed. They possess intricate and powerful anti-nutrients, that humans have learned to work around with food preparation and cooking, that should not be underestimated. Grains in particular can wreak havoc on digestive systems, but I have gotten some pretty stern reminders from sunflower oil (angry red bumps on my skin), dandelion root (crushing headache), beet greens (stinging lips), chamomile (instant sneezing/congestion), and strawberries (itchy eyes/scalp) that plants deserve respect. I’m not going to stop eating them, of course, I love vegetables and fruits more than I love anything else, but I am certainly paying attention to those that slap and sting me and I will respectfully leave them alone.

If you’re looking for good nutrition reads – pretty sexy, right?! – I highly recommend Death by Food Pyramid : How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health by Denise Minger. I can hardly put it down it’s so good – seriously. Minger is the master of deconstructing and explaining nutrition studies and her book will blow your mind. Not to mention, she’s hilarious and her writing is snappy and fresh.

And I don’t know about you, but now that I have my food choices on track, and (despite sleet/snow today) now that temps are becoming sort of survivable, I’m ready to bust some new moves. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a HUGE fan of the website Mark’s Daily Apple. I’ve had to dig deeper into this style of eating – aka Primal (a version of paleo) to suss out nagging food sensitivities, but this format is primarily how I reclaimed my health when I stopped eating gluten in 2010 (almost 4 years ago!). It takes a bit of experimentation to find the right balance of carbohydrates – everyone is different – but taking a break from grains, legumes, and dairy while focusing on good fats, high quality protein, and a rainbow of vegetables and fruits means dropped weight, consistent appetite, clear skin, and a surge of energy. Right now is NOT the official 21 Day Challenge – I believe it happens in September – but that’s OK, I want to do it right now. I’ll be re-focusing particularly on the excellent workout plan, which I am WAY out of following right now. Lord. It has been a long winter. As I said I’ve been walking whenever I can, but I’ve been less than impressive in “lifting heavy things” and sprinting. I’m calling today Day 1, woo hoo! The chart below is a good overview of the Challenge, but definitely click through to the whole (addictive) website for more information about eating real food, getting the most benefit from short workouts, and living a vibrant life. Good things.

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge
Yes, I’m Still Managing to Have Dinner Parties!

I’ll be back soon with recipes – a puree of romanesco soup with beef-kale meatballs I made a few weeks ago was particularly a winner – but until then, Happy Almost Spring! How great was it to walk on an actual sidewalk this week? I was giddy, tralalaaah!

Grain-free Gluten-free "Bread"

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Apr 27, 2013 at 8:29am

I saw a recipe for this bread on the terrific blog Against All Grain. As I’ve noted before, I find eating even gluten-free grains inflammatory (and with a bigger carbohydrate punch than I can get away with, unless I want to gain weight and feel exhausted…). You could call this way of eating Paleo, but I do fear that people have come to believe that a Paleo style of eating means gnawing on huge amounts of bacon, which isn’t true at all. Paleo really just refers to eating the whole, unprocessed foods that humans evolved healthfully to eat for most of our existence – greens, roots, nuts, fruits, eggs, and free-range animals. Grains, sugar, and dairy are avoided (some people tolerate dairy better than others, although it’s worth noting that when one gives it up for a month and then reintroduces it, it’s common to notice low energy and congestion and perhaps even stomach cramps). I do eat legumes in small quantities (per my quinoa cake recipe below). Healthy, naturally occurring fats – olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, grassfed animal fat, nuts/nut oils (not vegetable oils/margarines or transfats) – are not limited but in fact make up the primary source of calories. (Even though I try not to eat loads of cheese, I do still eat butter and ghee/clarified butter).

I find it an incredibly delicious and satisfying way to eat and it has certainly done wonders for my health. Eating carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, nuts, and small amounts of fruit (particularly fresh berries) instead of processed grains and sugars is the path to appetite control, glowing skin, and steady energy.

I’ll take all of those, straight up, thank you.

That’s a long introduction for how I came to make this bread! So here it is: I follow Against All Grain on Facebook so when Danielle (the blog’s lovely author, with a compelling story of how she manages ulceritive colitis with a grain-free diet) posted photos of a grain-free bread that looked like BREAD I had to give it a go. The bread is primarily raw cashew butter, eggs, and a bit of coconut flour. I’m tempted to call this a cake – a pound cake in particular – more than a bread, but I must say that it makes AMAZING French toast, the way that challah or brioche does. I could easily imagine adding citrus zest to the mix or icing a warm loaf with the cinnamon butter glaze from Roost blog’s (another terrific grain-free site) pumpkin donut recipe. Needless to say, I think this is a clever recipe that can be adapted any number of sweet or savory ways. That makes it a winner in my book! (Find Danielle’s recipe here.)

I made the French toast pictured with eggs and hemp seed milk and topped it with crushed blackberries (quite terrific right now) sweetened with a bit of maple syrup, courtesy of my friend Kathy Yerich’s maple trees. My belly is pleasantly full of grain-free French toast, it’s going to be more than 70 degrees today, and I’m off to judge a butchering competition at Whole Foods Lake Calhoun.


Happy spring-y weekend! xoxo

Quinoa Cakes topped with…a Poached Egg. But of Course.

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Apr 26, 2013 at 6:46pm

Here’s a thing: my husband and I are divorcing. It’s exactly as sad and stressful as one might imagine, so I’ve been taking extra steps to take really good care of myself. I already know that eating corn and rice makes be feel pretty lousy – not as lousy as eating gluten – but lethargic and puffy nonetheless, so I’ve pretty much eliminated them from my diet. I’ve also made a point of including vegetables in all of my meals, either by juicing, or making smoothies, or eating big salads. Eating light, colorful, crunchy food makes me feel good, fits the season, and makes cooking more fun and interesting.

Although I generally steer away from grains and high carbohydrate food, I do occasionally indulge in quinoa. I just love the nutty taste, and that it makes a terrific breakfast “cereal” as well as a base for a flavor-packed salad. I’ve been eating a lot of hemp seeds lately because they taste a lot like quinoa, but are even higher in protein and fiber with very few carbohydrates. Now when I make quinoa, I make a 50-50 combination of quinoa and hemp seeds (1/2 cup red quinoa, 1/2 cup hemp seeds, 1 cup water, 1/2 tsp. salt; bring to a boil, cover, simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed; eat warm or cover and chill to use in salads or the recipe below).

I also absolutely adore beans and legumes. ADORE. I enjoy them in small servings – they’re so lovely in soups or stir-fries or as a binder for savory cakes. The beauty of making crispy cakes (croquettes, really) with quinoa and beans is that you can season them so many different ways. If I’m in the mood for Indian food, I’ll use lentils and garam masala and chiles and top them with raita. If I’m craving Mexican food I’ll season them with cumin and chiles and top them with chicken, salsa, and cilantro. I’m sure you get the idea…

…so I’ll just give you the basic ratios and let you riff on your favorite flavors. You can cook the beans yourself, or open a can of organic refried or whole beans (easily mashed), and in minutes be frying up a crispy cake. Top with a lemon-y salad, or a huge dollop of guacamole (huge!), or a gorgeous pile o’ buttery sauteed mushrooms, or a grass-fed burger (like I did just a few minutes ago). Or:

Quinoa Cakes with Arugula & Poached Eggs (Gluten-free)
Serves 2

You can easily multiply this recipe and keep quinoa-bean mixture in the fridge, ready to fry into cakes for any meal of the day.

1 c. cooked quinoa (or quinoa + hemp seeds, see above)
1/2 c. cooked, mashed beans (pinto, navy, black, lentils, etc.)
sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chile powder
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. tempeh, chopped (optional, adds protein and firmness)
2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese (optional)
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped pepitas or other nuts (optional)
garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour as needed
olive oil
handful arugula leaves, chopped
squeeze of fresh lemon
2 large, organic eggs
freshly ground black pepper
optional: 4 ramps, halved lengthwise

Fill a medium saucepan 2 inches deep with water. Add enough salt to the water for it to be pleasantly salty. Set over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the quinoa, beans, 1/2 tsp. salt, cumin, chile powder, garlic, tempeh (if using), feta (if using), and nuts (if using). Add garbanzo bean flour, a few teaspoons at a time, until mixture is firm. Form into two patties and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the quinoa cakes. Fry until nicely browned and crispy (take a peek before flipping) and then carefully flip. Fry until crispy on the second side and transfer to plates. (If using ramps, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the ramps over medium heat until crispy on both sides. Divide between the two plates.)

When the water boils, turn heat down so that the water is barely simmering—small bubbles should barely break the surface. Crack one egg into a small dish or mug and slide it into the water. Quickly do the same with the second egg. Set the timer for 3 and 1/2 minutes. The eggs whites will look shredded, but that’s OK. Make sure the water maintains no more or no less than barely breaking bubbles.

While the eggs cook, toss the arugula with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Arrange the arugula atop the quinoa cakes.

When the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to scoop one egg out of the water. Tilt the spoon so the liquid drains completely off, then place the egg on top of the arugula. Repeat with the second egg. Top eggs with a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of black pepper each. Serve immediately.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 21, 2012 at 4:10pm

quinoa tabbouleh gluten-free stephanie meyer fresh tart

While the rest of my garden is toast, the parsley lives on, just begging me to make tabbouleh salad. Except tabbouleh is made with bulgur, which is wheat, which I can’t eat. Damn it!

Enter quinoa, the grain that is conveniently a gluten-free seed, hey. I’m not as obsessed with quinoa as some, but in a salad like this, its nutty crunchiness is perfectly tabboulehesque…in fact, you would likely not realize you weren’t eating traditional tabbouleh salad if someone (like me) didn’t point it out.

And except for all the substitutions I made, because that is one of the best things about tabbouleh – it welcomes just about any vegetable or nut you have knocking around in your kitchen. Zucchini not cucumbers? Fine! Roasted red peppers instead of tomatoes? Lovely! Pistachios in place of pine nuts? Great!

No matter the salad ingredients, I always add lemon zest, toasted cumin and coriander seeds, and toasted sesame oil to to the dressing to really pop the flavor. The recipe below is vegan, but feel free to cook the quinoa in chicken stock, or toss in crumbled feta cheese and/or pieces of tender chicken for further popping.

Or try this, my very favorite way to eat tabbouleh: while it hums alongside hummus (together stuffed into a warm, fresh pita for a flavorful sandwich if you’re not gluten-free), this simple trick is even more mind-blowing: smear a generous dollop of Greek yogurt in the bottom of a bowl, sprinkle it lightly with a bit of salt and freshly cracked pepper, then spoon the tabbouleh over the top. As you enjoy your salad, swipe the bottom of the bowl with your spoon (I suggest a spoon, not a fork), so each bite of nutty crunchiness is elevated by a slide of creamy yogurt. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it very much.

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Serves 6

1 c. quinoa, rinsed
1 1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2″ dice (about 1 c.)
1/2 – 1 c. chopped fresh flatleaf parsley (to taste)
1/2 c. chopped fresh mint
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 c. chopped (pitted) kalamata olives
1/2 c. chopped toasted pistachios (or pine nuts)

1/2 tsp. each cumin & coriander seeds
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt

freshly ground black pepper

Greek yogurt for serving

Add quinoa, salt, and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer quinoa for 10 minutes. Keep covered, remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a medium bowl to cool, fluffing with a fork a few times as it comes to room temperature.

Meanwhile, over a gas flame or under a broiler, scorch the bell pepper until blackened on all sides. Place in a small paper bag for 20 minutes. When cool, slide charred skin off, remove and discard seeds and stem, and cut flesh into 1/4″ dice.

While the quinoa and bell pepper cool, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant (watch carefully so they don’t burn). Grind in a coffee grinder or mortar & pestle and add to a small bowl. Whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, and salt. Set aside.

When quinoa is cool, add the bell pepper, zucchini, parsley, mint, scallions, olives, and pistachios. Whisk dressing and pour over salad, tossing well to combine. Season with freshly ground black pepper (and a bit more salt, if needed). Serve with Greek yogurt. Can be made one day ahead; however, reserve pistachios until just before serving to preserve crunch.

Farro "Risotto" with Parmesan & Pea Shoots

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on May 23, 2010 at 2:54pm

Eating intact grains – as Summer Tomato refers to them – is not the same as eating foods labeled as “whole grain.”  Intact grains are just that, not ground into flour or broken into pieces.  Filling and nutritious, intact grains are a whole food, as well as a healthy, busy cook’s best friend.  Cook them – and legumes like navy, chickpea, black, or pinto beans while you’re at it – in big batches and use throughout the week.

For a delicious, filling break from oatmeal, warm cooked quinoa on the stove or in the microwave with milk, cinnamon, honey, and chopped walnuts (or try this version of hazelnut quinoa with dried cherries, one of my favorite day starters).  Make a quick salad for lunch or dinner with greens topped with warmed chickpeas and farro, toasted nuts, avocado, and a simple lemon/olive oil dressing – scrumptious, fast, and satisfying.  For more ideas, see Summer Tomato’s tips on How to Eat Healthy When You Have No Time.

Or, make “risotto” with a grain other than rice.  Barley makes a fabulous risotto-style dish, as does farro.  In the version below, I stir pea shoot leaves and grated Parmesan cheese into warm, chewy farro, fragrant with onions, garlic, and a splash of wine.  Perfect on its own, or served alongside grilled chicken or salmon, it’s bursting with flavor and texture yet ready in about 30 minutes.

Farro “Risotto” with Parmesan & Pea Shoots
Serves 4 as main course, 6 as a side dish

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. farro, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. dry white wine
2 1/2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
2 c. pea shoot leaves (or spinach leaves, shelled peas, fava beans, chopped asparagus…vary as you like)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic to the pan, sprinkle with a little salt, and saute until onion is translucent, 10 minutes.

Add farro and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in wine and cook until wine is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Stir in broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on lowest heat for 20 minutes.  Liquid should be absorbed and farro should be tender/chewy.  If liquid is not absorbed, cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes.

When farro is done, stir in Parmesan, pea shoot leaves, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Serve with additional Parmesan & black pepper if you like.  Leftovers are good at room temperature, served atop a green salad.

Hazelnut Quinoa Cereal with Dried Cherries

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Mar 18, 2010 at 9:14am

Consider quinoa, an example of yet another delicious, nutritious (gluten-free to boot) food that I love and that my family won’t touch.  I make it anyhow (I’ll post an easy pilaf recipe as soon as I pay attention to how I do it) and happily compose beautiful, satisfying lunch salads from the leftovers.  Quinoa is good that way – its nutty flavor goes with just about anything.  Improvise away (fun!) with raw or cooked vegetables, vinaigrettes of any flavor, your favorite herbs, toasted nuts, cheeses, olives, dried or fresh fruits.  On and on.  For inspiration, check out this link to the lovely, innovative 101 Cookbooks blog, she (Heidi) has a whole category of fabulous-looking quinoa recipes.







Today, hungry for something a little sweet and a lotta healthy for breakfast, I decided to experiment with a warm quinoa cereal.  Good move, my friends, good move, because it was the best breakfast I’ve had in…I don’t know…forever.  Better than biscuits, eggs, pancakes, or cinnamon rolls.  Well, not really, but better today, because this is exactly what I was hungry for today, this warm, nutty, sweet, creamy quinoa.

Here’s where I should point out that at least half the reason for the deliciousness was beyond the quinoa.  You see, this craving really began with the leftover roasted hazelnuts I had sitting around.  (Have you seen the inside of my fridge?  That sentence would sound far less ridiculous if you had.  You’d realize I have leftover everything sitting around, the source of my inspiration.)

I knew I could make oatmeal with hazelnuts – not bad, clearly.  But then quinoa popped into my head, oh yes, that would be perfect with hazelnuts.  And to gild the lily, I added hazelnut oil as well (see fridge) and oh my – this was seriously good.  Dried cherries and just a bit of brown sugar or honey to finish pushed it over the top.  (I also ate mine with a splash of milk, but you wouldn’t need to – quinoa quite nicely doesn’t become sticky when cooked.)  I checked 101 Cookbooks for technique (she cooks beautifully with all manner of whole grains) and voila, she had a recipe – Warm & Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa.  This version ended up a take on hers.

Given my improvisation rave above, feel free to use almond oil/almonds, walnut oil/walnuts, add citrus zest, substitute raisins, grate in some apple.  On and on.

Hazelnut Quinoa Cereal with Dried Cherries

Adapted from

Serves 4

1 c. quinoa

1 c. water + 1 c. milk (substitute almond or soy milk if you like)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

dash of salt

1 Tbsp. hazelnut oil

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/2 c. toasted hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 c. brown sugar or honey

Rinse quinoa in a strainer under running water.  Put quinoa in a medium saucepan, add water, milk, cinnamon, and salt, and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in hazelnut oil, dried cherries, and brown sugar or honey, and continue to simmer, until liquid is absorbed, another 5-10 minutes.  Serve hot with toasted hazelnuts, additional brown sugar or honey, and/or milk, if you like.


Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 18, 2006 at 10:40am

It should be spelled Bore-at, not Borat. Yawnsville! Why the hell all the buzz on this movie? I found it neither offensive nor funny, just long, boring, and really rather sad. I’m (clearly) no prude and am in fact a big fan of the butt-fart-poop joke genre as well as truly stupid, crude, slapstick humor (Old School?Austin Powers? Even Jackass had its sick moments…). However, I’ve never been a fan of acts that trick unsuspecting people into looking like complete asses, so I guess Borat and I weren’t meant for each other (another big clue, that I clearly should have heeded: I can’t stand the Da Ali G show). I fought sleep the whole time and felt a bit depressed when we left. Weird.

Well, on to something much more fascinating…brace yourselves!…quinoa. Ooooh! And again. I know, I’ve already written about it, but I made up a couple of recipes and got a cool one from reader Donna, for quinoa bars, so here I am again. I had cooked up another – big – batch of plain quinoa, and after eating it for breakfast for a couple of days I decided to innovate with it a bit. First up, quinoa pancakes. As you can tell from reading here, I cook mostly with fresh food, but once in awhile a good mix does come in handy, such as Krusteaz Wheat & Honey Pancake Mix. I loved this stuff in college, since you only have to add water. It makes soft, fluffy, whole-grain pancakes and best of all, you can mess around like crazy with the ingredients. I’ve been addding nuts, fruit, wheat germ, flax seeds, yogurt, juice – whatever I have on hand or am in the mood for – to these for years. And today, yes, I added cooked quinoa. Since all you add is water, I just put two cups of Krusteaz mix in a bowl, with a bunch (2 cups?) of cooked quinoa, and added enough water to make a thick batter. I cooked the cakes one at a time in a small, non-stick skillet, cooled them on racks, and froze them between sheets of parchment paper (to keep them from freezing together). Voila, instant breakfast! One pancake is one serving – microwaved until warm, topped with a little cottage cheese and sweetened berries, mmmm, a perfect winter’s breakfast. (Delicious with maple syrup as well, by the way! And same technique works for other leftover cooked grainsamaranth made yummy pancakes.)

The other recipe I’m experimenting with is quinoa banana bread. I adapted a pretty standard recipe – and by adapted I mean seriously messed with, so we’ll see how it turns out. Luckily quick breads are pretty forgiving. It’s just out of the oven, smelling quite fabulous, I must say. Update: tastes quite fabulous as well, John agrees. Sweet, dense, crunchy (with nuts), definitely whole-grain looking and tasting, yet moist. (Recipes posted in comments, below.)


Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 30, 2006 at 6:53pm

Little bonus with John’s bro Tom coming to stay with us tonight. He’s in town on business, and therefore busy for din, but able to pull off sleeping here (and perhaps a little ice cream eating?) so we can see him at least a bit before he flies back to NYC at some ungodly hour tomorrow morning.

Today I cooked whole grain, protein-and-anti-oxidant-packed amaranth (I’m still on my new whole grains kick). Delicious! I had a bit drizzled with a little maple syrup as something sweet after lunch. Somewhat similar to quinoa in appearance and texture, I really like it, rarrr. Would make a nice tabbouleh-esque salad as well as a delicious warm cereal for breakfast, with dried fruit, nuts, and honey. I also baked yet another acorn squash (I can’t help myself, I love it, sprinkled with cinnamon and roasted cut side down for an hour), and steamed an artichoke to have later this week – but instead had it for dinner tonight, oh well. Lurve artichokes. I’ve been cooking and then chilling vegies and whole grains ahead so I can pull together quick, healthy- tasty! – lunches and dinners for myself, but sometimes, you gotta eat it while the eatin’s good, baby!

And Happy (Late) Birthday Cami Sue! You young ‘un, no fair…


Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 25, 2006 at 1:06pm

“I don’t feel tardy!” That’s a line from the Van Halen classic, Hot for Teacher, which I confess I listened to three (!) times in a row this morning on my walk, cracking up the entire time. Totally bawdy and ridiculous, and yet so infectious, I think I laughed for the entire 10 minutes. (Clearly that laughing did not put color in my cheeks, my goodness what a pallor…get that girl some blush!)

Actually, I do feel tardy, I know I’m way late in posting. I was away over the weekend, Nathan and I drove out to just north of Kerkhoven, MN, to visit my aunt Mary and uncle Bruce (aka Brucyn, Brucie, Bruce B Broccoli) on their lovely farm. Nathan had a blast taking pics and riding in the combine with my cousin Michael, who is helping his dad harvest corn and soybeans. And of course Nathan played and played with dogs Shep and Cody – Nathan and dogs, yet again. He was in heaven. (Plus, he took all of these amazing pics!)

I also had a blast, getting lots of time to hang and chat with Mary and Bruce in their cozy kitchen, as well as eat delicious food – lovely wine, beef stroganoff, tortellini soup, lots of coffee, pancakes with warm apples… YUM! My uncle Jim and aunt Marge came over for dinner Saturday night, it was great to see them too. Sunday morning Mary and I got a brisk walk – I love walking out there, no one else around, golden sunshine, rolling fields. I really feel away from the city, sleeping in their completely charming 100+ year old house, in my favorite yellow bedroom, in a bed loaded with soft pillows and warm quilts. I love the creaky stairs, and all the pictures of my grandma and grandpa, and Mary’s incredible antique furniture and dishes, some of which belonged to Bruce’s grandparents. They have lovingly and beautifullly restored – and added on to – the house that Bruce grew up in, it’s very cool to be in a home with history.

By Sunday night Nathan and I were back home, back to homework and laundry and all the real stuff. Which is good too!

Tonight I’m making chicken paillards for dinner, with a big pan of sauteed mushrooms, and roasted acorn squash. (And rice for everyone else, ha!)

I’ve been having lots of fun cooking different grains, as I wrote about last week. The quinoa and rolled rye, and also millet and buckwheat. All delicious. I tend to make them for breakfast, with a bit of honey and chopped nuts stirred in. Mmmm… I also bought a fabulous pumpkin butter at Whole Foods – at 25 cals per tablespoon, it totally relieves the little craving I’ve been having for pumpkin pie (one of my absolute, all-time favorite desserts – in a good crust, preferably prepared by my aunt Marge, heavenly). I’ve been spreading it on Honeycrisp apple slices for a sweet – and healthy! – treat.


Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 18, 2006 at 2:13pm

Check out this antioxidant-packed lunch. I felt so virtuous eating it – not to mention, it was delicious! Quinoa (red) with sauteed swiss chard. Mmm… I’ve been experimenting with different whole grains, especially those that are high in protein and with a big antioxidant punch to boot. For breakfast I had rolled rye – very similar to rolled oats, quick to cook, I just ate it with a drizzle of honey. And for lunch, this red quinoa.

From World’s Healthiest Foods:

A recently rediscovered ancient “grain” native to Central America, quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

It’s so easy to prepare (similar to rice) and of course, yummy – or why bother, right? I left some plain to eat with honey for breakfast tomorrow, and stirred chopped scallion, radish, red onion, carrot, and garlic into the other half for my lunch today.

And of course swiss-chard, always delicious and nutritious. Trim away the large middle stem/rib, chop the greens, and “saute” in a small amount of water until tender. Right before it’s done I stir in minced onion and garlic, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and salt, and a small drizzle each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Perf.

How gorgeous are these flowers? I love receiving flowers – definitely a sensual pleasure. Plus, just damn fun! These arrived today, via Roger Beck florist, from my in-laws, Dot and John. Occasion? Our four-year anniversary tomorrow. We’re celebrating tonight with the kids, a sure-to-be lovely dinner at D’Amico Cucina, where we all celebrated our first anniversary, making it sort of “our spot.” We think of it as our family’s anniversary, because our marriage brought together not just John and me, but Nathan and A as well.