Category Archives: Grains/Rice

Quinoa & Veggie Stuffed Winter Squash.

To make up for my Stromboli post so close to all of those New Year’s resolutions to be healthier, workout, and eat with more thought, I have made you this awesome protein and veggie rich dish. I still have so many winter squash kicking around from the garden this past summer and we are on a squash cooking rampage, so what better than filling it with more veg and the best whole grain around, quinoa. This dish is vegan and dairy free, though I give some suggestions below for dressing up should you want to.

Quinoa & Veggie Stuffed Winter Squash. Makes 2-3 whole squash.


2-3 roasted winter squash (cooking instructions below, this varies slightly from my standard recipe)

1/2 C uncooked quinoa (cooking instructions below, I do this the day before to make for faster preparation the night of)

1 1/4 – 1 3/4 C water

1-2 T olive or coconut oil

4 oz broccoli, broken into small florets (you can use the stalks too, I freeze mine to use in soup later)

1 small red onion, diced

6 crimini or white mushrooms, diced

1 large carrot, quartered the long way and diced

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 t dried thyme, crushed

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 T butter or non-dairy replacement, optional

Roast Squash Process

Preheat oven to 425. Cut squash in half and clean them. Place all squash cut side down on a baking sheet with sides. Fill sheet with water and place in the oven for 35 minutes. Start to work on the quinoa while this cooks, unless it is precooked, then get to work on the veggies.

Quinoa Process

Place quinoa and 1 1/4 cup water in a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes adding more water, a little at a time, if the grain gets too dry. Stir frequently while cooking. Cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 20 minutes or more. If making this ahead of time, refrigerate in an air tight container. Now get started on your veggies!

Stuffing Process

Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add all of the veggies and spices expect the garlic. Sauté for 8 minutes (12-15 if you like your veg on the very soft side, I prefer mine to have some tooth to them), stirring frequently. Turn off heat and add garlic. Toss to mix and allow to sit for two minutes, stirring once. Toss with the quinoa.

When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and discard the cooking water. Place the squash cut side up, add 1/4 tablespoon of butter to each squash if you want, and fill with quinoa mixture. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees, put the squash back in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just to get everything good and warm (unless you added cheese, then go 15-20). Remove and serve.

Variations: Goat cheese, or any other cheese mixed in with quinoa and sprinkled on top. Served with your favorite pan gravy (this is how we had it…yum!).



Filed under Casseroles/Bakes, Dairy Free, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Grains/Rice, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Favorite Dishes of 2011.


Spent Grain Bread.


Fall Chopped Salad.


Smoked Celery Soup.


Veggie Yakisoba.

Veggie Yakisoba!


Pretzel Crusted Chicken Strips.


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Filed under Bread, Chicken, Grains/Rice, Pasta, Salad, Smoker Fare, Soup/Stew

A-Photo-A-Day: Spent-Grain BLETs.

Whole wheat & spelt spent grain bread with bacon, lettuce, fried egg, and tomato!

Related Recipe:

Spent Grain No-Knead Bread. – I made this recipe for the bread, but subbed 2 of the cups of flour with whole wheat and used almost two cups of water.


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Filed under Bread, Eggs, Grains/Rice, Photo Series, Pork, Sandwich, Spent Grain

Spent Grain Pizza Dough.

The three doughs. See the one on the left, looks like was!

The mad rush to use spent grain continues in our household and dinner guests are excuse to use something else. Friday we had a pizza party for which I make three different pizza doughs. The first was sans spent grain (in case they didn’t turn out!). It was a simple spelt flour and dried thyme dough. I also made two versions of of spent grain dough. One version used regular all purpose flour and spent grain and the other, 10 grain flour and spent grain. I used all purpose flour for kneading in both cases.

The spelt dough was gorgeous and tasty, but it was the first time I did not add wheat flour to it and it fell apart (not enough gluten). So I ended up rolling it in stromboli, which was a hit nonetheless.

The result varied between the two spent grain doughs. The one with 10 grain flour actually turned out more like a crust. I am going to try and make something else with it and if it turns out I will share it later. But the all purpose flour and spent grain dough was a huge hit. I cannot see why I would not add spent grain to all of my pizza dough moving forward. It is a great way to use up a cup of spent grain and it does not change much in the dough, except the color. Very tasty!

All Purpose Flour & Spent Grain Pizza Dough.


1 C warm water (115-120 degrees)

1 T natural cane sugar

2 t yeast

1 t kosher salt

1 T olive oil

1 C wet spent grain (I used crystal 60, chocolate and carafa)

2-3 C all purpose flour + more for kneading


Put water and sugar in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add yeast by sprinkling it over the water. Allow it to proof 5-10 minutes (if it proofs well, it will be foamy, however, don’t worry if it sort of fails and just sinks to the bottom, commercial yeast will be just fine). Add salt and oil. Add flour and mix with a spatula.

Liberally flour your kneading surface (i.e. the counter!). Dump the mixture out onto the counter and knead it, adding flour until it comes together and has an elastic texture. Pull the dough into a ball.

Wash and dry your bowl. Coat with olive oil and put the dough in smooth side down, flip it so that the seams are at the bottom and the oil covered top is facing you. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid. Place in a warm place for at least an hour.

As a note, I make my dough the day ahead now and just leave it on the counter, so it has about 24 hours to rise. This is particularly helpful if your yeast doesn’t proof well.

After allowing the dough to rise turn it out on a liberally floured surface and knead it into a ball. Cover with a towel while you preheat your oven or pizza stone and prep your toppings. When ready, roll it out with a rolling pin and cover with toppings. Don’t forget to put it on the peel before you weigh it down with cheesy goodness!



Filed under Beer, Bread, Dairy Free, Grains/Rice, Pizza, Spent Grain

Spent Grain No-Knead Bread.

I am quickly expanding the foods I am making with the plethora of spent grains that brewing beer every week produces. I added it to my first bread this past weekend and the result was great! I love the staple no-knead recipe and I love to alter it. The spent grains fit in quite well here, as did the replacement of most of the all purpose flour with spelt flour. It was so pretty as dough because of the chocolate grians.

Spent Grain No-Knead Bread. Adapted from the New York Times.


2 1/2 C spelt flour

1 1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t yeast

1 C wet spent grains (I used crystal 60, chocolate, and carafa)

1 1/2 C water, room temperature

1-2 C all purpose flour (for later!)


Combine spelt flour, salt and yeast. Add spent grains and combine. Add water and combine with a spatula. Place in a warm location for 12-24 hours.

Put a liberal amount of all purpose flour on the counter and turn dough out onto it. You will want to continue adding flour as the dough is going to be quite liquidy and thick. Fold the dough over itself over and over until you are able to contain it in a single location. Do not be afraid to continue to add flour, it will likely take quite a bit. Once you have a the dough contained, make sure there is a good amount of flour under and around it and cover with a towel (not terrycloth).

Allow the dough to set for two hours. After 90 minutes put a dutch oven with a lid on it into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. After 30 minutes, open oven, remove lid, and add dough. Cut top if you want to control the shape of the top of the load. Settle the pot a little to spread the dough and replace the lid. Bake 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake 15 minutes longer.

Remove from oven and pot and place on a cooling rack for at least an hour. I strongly suggest eating this warm with butter!

Related: 10 Grain No-Knead Bread.



Filed under Beer, Bread, Dairy Free, Grains/Rice, Spent Grain, Vegan, Vegetarian

Spelt Dough Pizza Pockets.

I had set out to make stromboli, but was using this new dough that I am in love with. I was not as familiar with it as I am now and ended up with a little softer product that I had thought. Working AP flour you have maximum gluten, which adds to the elasticity of the product. This dough has all the potential of working just fine, I was just not prepared for it. So the result was pizza pockets, which were just as wonderful and pizza-like as a stromboli. Good enough to make again anyway and if the dough is already in the refrigerator, this could totally be a quick weeknight dish.

Spelt Dough Pizza Pockets. Serves 4.


1 recipe of spelt & whole wheat dough

AP flour (for rolling out the dough)

4 T pizza sauce

Toppings of choice (we used olives, mushrooms, ham, turkey, mozzarella, and red onions)

Preheat a pizza stone to 500. Reduce heat to 400.

Divide dough into two equal pieces. Set one aside, covered with a towel. Roll out the first piece until it is thin, but not tearing, you do not want it to rip once it filled. Cut the rolled out piece in half and spread out 1 tablespoon of sauce on each half. Fill with 1/4 of the toppings. Fold in the sides and then roll closed. repeat with remaining dough.

Place pockets on the pizza stone and cook 15-25 minutes, until the top and bottom are golden brown.

If you do not have a pizza stone, cook these on your standard pizza sheet at 400 until golden brown.





Filed under Bread, Cheese, Grains/Rice, Pizza

Spelt & Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.

I have been making my quick pizza dough for months. It is a great go-to recipe, but recently we have become interested in branching out from the all purpose flour and we picked up some spelt flour. We love spelt berries and other processed spelt products like crackers and thought we might enjoy using the flour too, though I was unsure of how it would compare to using regular white unblanched flour. However, I thought it would be a good place to start as spelt is wheat and contains moderate amounts of gluten. Gluten is the main characteristic that I am looking for when making dough, it allows the dough to get bubbly. In my research on the health benefits I found that it is also chock full of minerals.

The result was something I will most likely sub in as my new standard dough. It was a little different in texture, but overall it was lovely. And cutting in 1/2 cup whole wheat flour was lovely too. You will see that I did use AP flour to knead the dough, and you could certainly use spelt, but I wanted to use a little cost savings as the spelt flour is quite expensive.

This is a quick version of this dough, should you wish to allow more rise time or subsequent rises, have at it!

Spelt & Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.


1 t yeast

1 t sugar

1 C water, 110-115 degrees

1 T olive oil

1/2 t kosher salt

1 1/2 – 2 C spelt flour

1/2 C whole wheat flour

1/2 – 1 C all purpose (AP) flour

Proof yeast in a large bowl by putting yeast and flour into the bowl. When the water is in the desired temperature range, slowly add it to the bowl. Allow this to sit for 15 minutes. Add olive oil, salt, 1 1/2 cup spelt flour, and all of the whole wheat flour to the bowl and combine with a silicon spatula.

Flour the counter with a liberal amount of AP flour. Turn out the dough and knead in up to 1/2 cup more of the spelt flour. If the dough is still fairly tacky, need in more or sub AP flour. Knead until the dough is not tacky to the touch and elastic. Form into a ball by pulling the dough underneath itself. Wash your bowl and grease it with olive oil. Place the dough ball into it and flip it over to entirely coat the ball. Place in a warm location for 1 hour.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured work surface (again, I used AP flour here). Knead and add flour if you are finding the dough to be tacky at all. The dough is now ready to use.


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Filed under Bread, Dairy Free, Grains/Rice, Vegan, Vegetarian

Threshing Quinoa.

I was so excited to plant quinoa last spring. I was taking my first real step toward food independence. I was planting grain. The process of growing quinoa was absolutely beautiful. From the very first seedlings to the full-grown, brilliantly colored plants. I am in love with this food staple, both in flavor and in beauty.

I learned all about the grain, where it comes from, how our American appetite for it is creating problems in South American diet and economy. I learned about the value of being able to grow quinoa in my own home garden. The value in harvesting seeds and becoming completely self sufficient from the world market for quinoa. I was really pumped.

I even learned how to thresh grains and winnow them. The class used wheat as an example. It looked complicated, but not impossible. So I harvested my quinoa as it dried on the stalks into buckets to keep them dry and well ventilated. I harvested the last of the still wet quinoa before the first rains came as I had been instructed. I let the quinoa dry on plastic and just recently collected all of the stalks into paper bags and buckets.

The quinoa awaited it’s turn to be threshed and winnowed. The other night I got some motivation and started to thresh it…hmmm. Quinoa is much smaller than wheat. But I read it should be easier to thresh. So I stood in the kitchen and tried pulling off all of the grains with my fingers. There was way too much debris and I did not want to have to winnow it for forever, plus it was hard. So I quit (don’t worry it sounds worse that it was).

A couple of days later I try again. Hmmm. Why is this so hard? How did our ancestors grow all of their own grain?

Finally I try again. This time I banged it on the sides of the buckets like some other, smarter person online recommended. I did finally get it all threshed. But now the buckets are full of grain and debris. So now I have to winnow…hopefully it goes alright!

I have grand ideas of planting much, much more quinoa next year. I just have to remember that I am going to have to dedicate an entire weekend to processing it!

There is one more step that I have neglected to mention. Quinoa needs to be washed. A lot. It has a bitter substance on it called saponin that needs to be rinsed off. It takes a while. In all, I think this was all worth it and I am going to plant more next year, but I am going to have to make sure my motivation for processing is high come October.



Filed under Edible Plants, Garden, Grains/Rice

Crock Pot Chicken Soup.

I know it is still hot around most of the country, it’s hot as heck here, finally getting well over 90 for the first time. But I can already feel fall in the air, it is coming (or at least that is what I am telling myself). Fall is my FAVORITE. For me, fall is a great time for soup because there are still plenty of fresh garden veggies but the air is beginning to cool and comfort foods are starting to sound good again.

I got the original recipe for this soup from family friend Sue. She is the one that motivated me to make homemade cream of chicken soup, while making her lasagna. The recipe was originally made as a gluten-free dish and was posted on WebMD, here. I thought this would be better called crock pot chicken soup on my blog, because I am not sure if any of my variations made it less gluten-free and since I am not buffed up in the topic, I did not want to mislead anyone.

Crock Pot Chicken Soup.


2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

1-2 t olive oil

1 t sea salt

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

1 14 oz fresh or canned chicken broth (low sodium)

1 C dried spelt, kamut, or wheat berries

4-6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 1/2 C green cabbage, shredded

1 medium zucchini, diced

2 C potatoes, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 C sweet corn (I used fresh off the cob, but you can sub 1 cup of frozen)

1 lb tomatoes (skinned, seeded and diced) or one 14 oz can

1 T each of three of your fresh favorite herbs, minced (1 t each of dried)

1 T sea salt

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

2 T olive oil

Rub chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the bottom of a six quart slow cooker. Top with broth. Continue to prepare remaining ingredients and layer them into the slow cooker in order as listed above.

Add water if the liquid level does not just cover the ingredients. Place lid and turn on high. Stir top vegetable ingredients after about two hours (not required, I just like stirring things I am cooking in the crock pot!). Cook for 6 hours, or until chicken shreds when stirring.


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Filed under Chicken, Crock Pot Cooking, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Garden, Grains/Rice, Midwest Inspired, Soup/Stew, Vegetables

Caprese Quinoa Salad.

Labor Day brings out the best of BBQ fare. Going into the holiday weekend we had absolutely no BBQ plans. By the start of the weekend, we had two separate BBQ events to prepare for. Bring a side. the typical party request, but honestly, I run out of new side ideas. Given the intense amount of mini cherry tomatoes I have this year I knew I had to make something with them. A tart? A sauce? Nope, caprese, but of course. I was inspired by the tiny size of the tomatoes to purchase those little tiny mozzarella balls. They are exactly the same size as the tomatoes.

But I ran into a mental snag. I could not figure out how I was going to get the tomatoes to soak up the dressing since they would not be cut…so I started searching through some of the other blogs I read for inspiration. It did not take long to find it. I stumbled upon this basil vinaigrette at Steamy Kitchen. The dressing in an of itself did not solve my issues, so I thought a little more. And it hit me, I love making quinoa salad. Why not combine this all together? Lo and behold it worked. The final result was lovely and chock full of basil flavor.

Caprese Quinoa Salad.


3 C cooked quinoa (cooking instructions below)

1/3 C basil vinaigrette (recipe below)

1 C mini cherry tomatoes (or other, chopped)

1 C mini fresh mozzarella balls (or other, chopped)

2 T fresh basil

Cook one cup of dry quinoa in a medium pan with two and half cups of water. Boil for 15 minutes, cover, remove from heat and allow to sit while you prepare the dressing.

For the vinaigrette:

1 small piece of elephant garlic, chopped (can sub shallot or garlic)

1 C loosely packed basil leaves

2 T water

2 T white wine vinegar

1 t kosher or sea salt

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

6 T  olive oil

Place garlic and basil in a blender. Top with water, vinegar, salt and pepper. Puree, adding oil as you mix. Allow mixture to settle.

Move quinoa into a medium mixing bowl. Add dressing and mix very well to combine. Place bowl in the refrigerator and allow quinoa to cool completely.

When quinoa and dressing is cool, mix in tomatoes and mozzarella. Chiffonade remaining basil and mix that in too. Garnish with a sprig of basil and serve. Can make this up to one day in advance.



Filed under Appetizer, Cheese, Condiments and Seasonings, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Garden, Gluten Free, Grains/Rice, Holiday, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian