Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Raisin Spice Oatmeal

Sometimes I like to go back to childhood to those cold winter morning when Mom would make us oatmeal. It’s  hot, hearty and a good way to start the day. However, now that I’m an adult, I like my oatmeal a little more sophisticated.

Recipe (serves 1-2)

1 3/4 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

a smidge of ground cloves

a smidge of ground allspice

Bring the water and salt to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Add oats and cook according to package directions.

Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the cooked oatmeal and stir to combine. Let sit 2-5 minutes.

Now, a smidge is a very small quantity. I actually have a measuring spoon that says “smidge” but I would say it’s about a quarter of a 1/4 tsp. Cloves and allspice are very strong so it doesn’t take much.

At any rate, this recipe is super simple and makes not only a good breakfast but a good dessert. I ate a bowl last night because I was hungry and wanted a sweet. 🙂

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Quinoa Salad – Greek Style

So the first thing to know about Quinoa is how to say it… It’s pronounced Keen-wah. Don’t blame me, I didn’t come up with it. 🙂  The next thing to know is that it’s a small, round grain and comes in either white or red. According to the Quinoa Corporation website (www.quinoa.com) this grain was grown and used by the ancient Incas. Additionally, “Quinoa contains  more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2  percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein” (Quinoa Corporation, n.d.). What this means is that it’s a good source of protein, especially if you’re trying to eat less meat (for some strange reason). It’s got a really nice nutty taste and makes an excellent pilaf as well as a salad.

Some comments about this salad… The recipe is actually based off a couscous salad recipe I got from the girlfriend of the best friend of an ex-boyfriend. Her name was Marcia and that’s about all I remember besides the recipe and the fact that I got it in 1998 sometime lol. So, enough babbling, let’s get down to the actual recipe…

Recipe

1 cup quinoa or couscous

2 cups water (you can use chicken broth if you want more flavor)

1/2 cup finely diced cucumber (Use the English kind that come wrapped in plastic.. It doesn’t have big seeds like the regular cucumbers you buy at the store)

1/2 cup finely diced red/yellow/orange bell pepper (I prefer the colored peppers because they’re sweeter than the basic green. You can use green if you don’t have a colored pepper)

1/2 cup finely diced tomato (Heirloom are best because of their flavor but not always available. Try to use vine ripened at least.)

Salad Dressing of choice. Ok, this part doesn’t have an actual measurement. You want enough dressing to help the quinoa stick together but you don’t want it soupy. I prefer to use a vinaigrette type dressing with lots of tang to it. The original salad I had was dressed with a home-made mustard vinaigrette. Today’s salad is going to have a Greek flair so I’m using Marie Callendar’s Greek Vinaigrette. I frequently make my own dressing too.

Put the quinoa and the liquid in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Cook 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. (Basically, follow the directions on the box. If you’re making couscous, same thing.. follow the directions on the box. For couscous, I like to buy a box of seasoned couscous like Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil flavor.) Once the grain is cooked, set it aside to cool.

While the quinoa/couscous is cooling you can chop the veggies. They need to be a very fine dice, about an 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.

When the quinoa is cool, stir in the vegetables. (If you need to cool the grain/couscous quickly, stick it in the freezer and stir it every 2-3 minutes. Do NOT sit the bowl/pan on top of the ice cream! It will cause the ice cream to melt.) Mix in the dressing, making sure not to add too much. By itself quinoa (and couscous) can be pretty light and fluffy so you want the dressing to make the grains stick together a bit. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.

This is an awesome summer time salad!

Reference

Quinoa Corporation. (n.d.). Quinoa. Retrieved from http://www.quinoa.net/

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