Saturday Random Recipe: Quinoa!

Here’s a recipe I’ve been meaning to share with you for a quite a while. For weeks I’ve been building up to it, so now I’ll finally get to it!

This recipe was a part of my collection of Summer Recipes, great for doing when you don’t feel like heating up the house, and generally enjoying the produce of the Summer. Unfortunately, Summer is practically over, and my thoughts are turning to soups and apples. However, I will share this recipe in celebration of Summer. September is generally the best of Summer anyway, when we can usually get access to good Summer fruit, and enjoy cooler days.

I think I’ve already mentioned this recipe, from Mireille Guiliano‘s cookbook, for Fruit Salad with Quinoa, which serves 4-6. Here it is:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (or lemon juice)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon zest lime (or lemon, or omit)
  • 1 pound mixed fruit (strawberries, peaches, grapes, melon, blackberries, raspberries)
  • Fresh mint sprigs

Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Drain and cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients

Prepare the fruit. Place all the fruit in a serving bowl and add the cooled quinoa. Add the liquid mixture and toss to combine. Garnish with mint and serve.

dscn7895First of all, this recipe is really flexible and fun. You can probably use whatever fruit you have on hand. I find I really like peaches or nectarines with it. (and don’t worry about measuring how much fruit you use. Just do as much as you want)

A few important things to know:

rinse the quinoa! I didn’t for a while, but it really helps to lessen the unusual, sort of bitter flavor. Also, the mint garnish is very important. It provides a fun, fresh flavor. Plus, be ready to add more lemon juice or honey, depending on what you want.

I also find that it’s not necessary to let the quinoa cool completely. I like how it softens the fruit a little when it’s warm, but this salad is best cooler.

I really, really like this salad. It kind of helped me get into quinoa, which I find has it’s own personality that you have to get used to. I also really like this recipe for get-togethers with friends (they have to be the right friends. If you bring a fruit salad with funny looking soppy bits, they may not get the idea). It provides a fresh, unusual, side dish thing that, conveniently, provides some protein, which is sometimes needed with these random get-togethers.

And there we go! That wasn’t so hard…

Oh, and keep Mireille Guiliano in mind, because I’ll be bringing her up again soon.

By the way, I’d love to hear what your favorite quinoa recipe is! I’m still trying to figure it out, so I’d love to hear from you!

Hope you continue to have a great weekend,


Random Recipe Saturday: Applesauce Muffins

So, as you might have noticed, we’ve been slightly distracted lately – not posting as often or as consistently, getting sidetracked, forgetting all about stuff that we meant to talk about. Sigh! Poor readers… There are all sorts of reasons: Olympics, visiting neighbor-cats, sales on Etsy (yay!), forgetfulness, etc..

One of the biggest distractions is that this month we are trying out gluten-free! Many people talk about how healthy it is to cut wheat out of your diet, so we decided to do a scientific 31 day attempt at it to see how we do. With a couple of minor slips, so far so good! No miraculous cures, but it’s been fun.

We’ll talk about this experiment in more depth later. Meanwhile, here’s a lovely gluten-free recipe that I made up, which is really good! (I think I forgot to take a picture before we ate them all…):

Gluten-Free Applesauce Muffins

Grease two muffin tins and preheat the oven to 425 F. In the same cup, pour and allow to sit:

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup milk

Mix together:

  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup other flour (I used quinoa, which has a distinct flavor and therefore might not be to everyone’s taste)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ to 1 cup chopped nuts (optional): add at after mixing everything else

Mix in a large bowl

  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup apples sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • The milk and vinegar mixture

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, stir thoroughly, and allow to sit for about ½ hour (which helps the flours to absorb the moisture). Divide the dough into the muffin tins, filling each cup about ¾ way full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, switching the tins’ places about halfway, until golden brown and the tops spring back when dented lightly with a finger.

Makes about 24.

  • Dairy-free: Substitute extra apple sauce or apple juice for the milk. Doesn’t have to sit, of course
  • Nut-free: Leave out the nuts! (ok, that was a little snarky…)
  • Substitute wheat flour (half-white, half-whole grain) for a non-gluten-free version
  • Substitute honey or maple syrup for the sugar (though the muffins might burn easily!)
  • Add raisins or chopped apples

Enjoy by themselves, or with a bit of butter or jam or cream cheese. Or with a steamy mug of hot cocoa for an autumnal treat (I keep telling myself it’ll be here soon)!


Patriotic Popcorn!


We love playing with popcorn recipes, and this is one of my personal favorites! Popcorn is already a distinctly American food, so we added a kettle-corn flavor, and some red-white-and-blue:

  • Popped corn, about 1/2 cup (see basic recipe here)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. red sugar sprinkles (approximately)  – the kind used to decorate cookies
  • 1 tsp. blue sugar sprinkles (approximately)
  • 1 tsp. salt (or less!)
  • A grind or two of fresh white pepper (optional)

Drizzle popcorn with butter and oil while still hot. Then sprinkle generously with salt and sugars, creating an awesome patriotic look.




Cogs & Gears: It’s the Little Things…

I love these earrings! They were a bit problematic to photograph, though…

Here we are, working hard at our different projects! I’ve been trying to focus and get a lot of work done, and to that end I mapped out some specific goals for my time last week. Using my handy (and, alas, often neglected) day-planner, I set 1) Daily Goals, 2) Aims for the Week, and 3) Dreams of Things That Could Get Done. How did this work out? Well…


  • One of my daily goals was to get a new listing up on Etsy every day (which is fairly easy, since I have a back-log of items to list). This went pretty well – until I discovered that I hadn’t taken pictures of the backs of four pairs of earrings. So I took the extra pictures, went back to finish the listing I had started, and – My computer ate all the pictures on my camera (except for some of English Muffins). This was very sad, since I had taken some shots of
    Sourdough English Muffins. Yes, a recipe is coming soon!

    Hannah and her papier-mâché project too. And that derailed the rest of the week. (Here is the Etsy listing)

  • It’s been really hot, which slows me down. But – No matter! I attacked promotion and blogging! Housework and cleaning got rather lost (it’s not easy to clean when you feel like you’re leaving a melted trail), but I got some other stuff done! Except for another Popcorn post. I keep forgetting about those.
  • Writing hard for CampNaNoWriMo! My goal is to get 75,000 total words done this month (have I mentioned that I tend to set impossible
    I find this random and slightly nonsensical picture very inspiring for “Reflections,” which has lots of mirrors and mountains!

    goals?): 50,000 editing and typing “Reflections: A Fairy Tale” and about 25,000-words-worth of work on various other projects. Well, this week, I sorta got sidetracked when I thought of an interesting series of twists for a story I’m not even contemplating working on any time soon. It’s been exciting, and distracting!

  • A few other things got lost in the crazy shuffle of life. In fact, after the first day, I forgot to even look at my goals for the week! This is (ahem!) kind of a bad habit of mine.

Oh, well! Life is always busier than I anticipate it will be, and I tend to underestimate the time it will take to do stuff. It’s a pity, because I actually did get quite a lot finished last week, babysat some fun-to-watch kids, and got an energy boost in my writing world. Oh, and “Star Trek Beyond” was really a lot of fun!

So, now I refocus on what’s really important to accomplish, and this week set some new (and hopefully sensible) goals for myself. What are your plans looking like? Do you set impossible bars to reach?


Cogs & Gears: Update, and What’s Next

It’s time for a another look behind-the-scenes at our Etsy shops. And – I haven’t been able to think of anything new and amazing to write about! This last couple of weeks has been working on projects, finishing items, listing stuff, experimenting with promotion, and business as usual. Not terribly scintillating!

So, here’s a simple update about what we’ve been doing – and a glimpse at what’s (hopefully) to come.

Sarah, having a FrappuccinoSarah has just had a Ladybug Week! She ignored all Etsy stuff, wrote madly (it’s CampNaNo this month), and made herself some adorable house slippers. This week, she’ll be putting a custom listing on Etsy, and will be working on something for a new line!

Hannah has been working away at her goal of having 30 items in her shop by the end of July. This has been slightly hampered by selling a couple of hats in person – which is exactly the kind of problem you want to have! Also, she (almost) finished a new painting, which she will be debuting soon: It’s awesome!

Abigail… Well, to be honest, my focus hasn’t been on Etsy in the last couple of weeks: I’ve been typing my book, it’s really, really hot outside, and I’ve been revamping my health-routine. However, I’ve made some really cute butterfly Ephemeral Earrings (coming to my Etsy shop IMG_1527.JPGsoon!), and I’m thinking of getting back to some neglected ideas and lines.

What’s Next: In general, we’ll be posting some Popcorn recipes this week, and I (literally!) just thought of a really cool idea for a blog series. On Etsy, we all have some new items and lines that will be popping up on our shops soon, and we’re getting serious about promotion (that seems to call for a wild war cry or something…). In cooking, we’ve been playing with overnight oats, chia, quinoa, and other healthful stuff. It’s surprisingly yummy. Maybe we’ll share some recipes!

Anyway – that’s a few random things from our life! What have you been up to this July?





One of the greatest snacks has got to be popcorn.

It’s simple, low calorie, cholesterol free, salt free, gluten free…! Of course, it also sometimes gets stuck in your teeth, but nothing’s perfect.

I speak of the kind of popcorn that doesn’t come premixed in a microwavable bag, or covered in caramel, or in vats at a movie theater: This is classic popcorn, easy to make and delicious (with a little help).

Popcorn has been part of our family for as long we can remember – the most basic of comfort foods. We always had it on Sunday nights, maybe with a cup of chocolate milk and a British mystery on TV, dressed with butter and Spike or Vegit and maybe bottled parmesan cheese. I (ahem!) never really liked it. Then a few years ago we started experimenting with different toppings, and a whole world of wonderful popcorn-ness opened up!

We’ll share some of our favorite recipes with you in the coming weeks, but first the basics:

  • Air Popper. Seriously; get one! It is the easiest way to make popcorn without burning it or risking one of those odd bags. And, poppers are usually affordable and don’t take up much space.
  • Popcorn. Available everywhere! Pop about 1/4 cup.
  • Butter. Yes, this is essential – and that sort of messes up the healthiness. Oh well! Melt 2 Tbsp., or a mix of butter and aromatic oil such as extra virgin olive or coconut.
  • Toppings. The simplest is salt – not more than a light sprinkle!

And there you go! Almost as simple as chips-and-honey! Here are a few more topping suggestions:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Salt and a smidge of sugar
  • Parmesan or other hard cheese, finely grated
  • Your favorite salt-free seasoning (like the above-mentioned Spike and Vegit)
  • Desert Garden’s Green Chile or Chipotle seasoning (delicious! but may cause sneezing)
  • Cinnamon-sugar

Have fun! Some themed mixes to follow, but please create and share with us some of your favorite ways to have popcorn!


Saturday Random Recipe: Sweet and Golden

So, I thought I’d do a short, probably sporadic series of recipes that are good for Summertime. When someone says ‘Summer food‘ I generally think fresh stuff, preferably with a lot of fruit. But it doesn’t necessarily have to mean that. In this case, I mean food that you can make quickly, easily and generally without much cooking. In fact – raw. I think that’s the latest thing.

IMG_1271Today, I thought I’d feature a simple treat we enjoy in New Mexico. It’s possibly the simplest, most humble delicacy you can come by – either of our own invention, or an actual New Mexican discovery.

Chips and honey. There’s really not much more I need to say.

What you need: crisp tortilla chips and good, strong honey (preferably from New Mexico)

Chips and honey are best after a dish or bite of green chili. Part of the reason is that honey is good for calming the fire. Another good way to stop the burning is tea, milk or, of course, sour cream.

This recipe is simple, crunchy, salty and sweet. Plus, it’s really easy, and takes all of about 3 minutes to prepare, if you know where everything is. I’ve managed it in about a minute!

IMG_1277This was going to be the shortest blog post I’d ever write, but then I started thinking it would be fun to find out some favorite, regional treats. So, I got on the Etsy forums, and got some absolutely fascinating and funny answers.

Paulie was the first to answer with – ‘Dutch’ Shoe Fly Pie, whoopie pies, red beet pickled eggs, scrapple and corn meal mush.

In the Pacific Northwest there’s a fry sauce that can be served with French fries, but is also good on burgers, hot dogs and chicken tenders. On the subject of French fries, Letha from New Jersey mentioned they’re sometimes served with gravy or taylor ham. (by the way, fries are also good with 505)

Susan mentioned that rhubarb used to grow wild where she lived, and she loves rhubarb pie. She also mentioned that pickled watermelon rind is a favorite in Pennsylvania. I haven’t tried it yet, but at least I’ve heard of it.

Several other, interesting treats were mentioned, but I probably can’t go over all of them. Some of them were moon pies, tomato pie from NY, maple candy from Maine and fluffernutter (gesundheit).

But I saved the best for last. Quoting Tot Brill:

Yorkshire curd tart made with beastings, Wendlesdale or Coverdale cheese with fruit cake or apple pie and savory duck (a kind of spicy, herby sausagey bake made with liver and other bits and so totally not a duck”

I enjoyed seeing what interesting food there is around the world and the US. Food is fascinating!

I’d love to hear what treats you love, either regional, summertime, or just something you’ve got to always have on hand. Just leave a comment! This is food we’re talking about – there’s never enough said! 🙂