Strong Arms for Kids

This recipe is for anyone who doesn't believe that vegetarian food can be as delicious and satisfying as non-vegetarian food.  Of course, all you vegetarians can make it and enjoy too!  I got the recipe for the tempeh and the onions from the Delicious TV Podcast that I love, and decided to make it into a spinach salad.  Its delicious, spicy and filling.

Spicy Caramelized Onions

Slice 2 medium onions. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan.  After a minute add the onions and lower the heat to medium-low.  You want the onions to cook slowly.  Sprinkle some salt over the onions.  Toss the onions frequently.  Once the onions start to brown (it should take at least 10-15 minutes), add 1/2 tsp tomato paste and 1/2 tsp hot sauce (you can add more if you like).  Heat for 1-2 minutes more and your onions are done.

Dijon Tempeh

Cut the block of tempeh into quarters.  Take each quarter and slice it down the middle to make each quarter thinner.  To make the sauce:  in a bowl add 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of white wine, 2 heaping spoonfuls of Dijon mustard and 2 cloves of mashed garlic (I used a mortar and pestle but you can also use garlic paste).  Whisk all the ingredients together.  Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan.  Once the oil is super hot, add the tempeh.  When the tempeh is golden brown on one side, flip them over and let them brown on the other side.  When the tempeh is cooked on both sides, add the sauce to the pan.  Let the tempeh cook in the sauce, on medium heat, for 12-15 minutes. 

You can either eat this on top of spinach greens, or Toni (from Delicious TV) also suggests making a sandwich with the tempeh and onions which also sounds really good.  Enjoy!
This recipe was inspired yet again by my new favorite book that I blogged about recently, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  Conveniently enough, after making this recipe and adding some of my own touches, I noticed that the next No Croutons Required contest is all about zucchini.  Well I just figured that I was meant to post this recipe and enter it in this months challenge.  So here goes...Its a delicious pasta salad where the zucchini and carrots practically melts into the pasta creating a delicate texture.  The tomatoes add some extra color and a bit of moisture to the dish.  The portabellos on top give this salad a whole extra dimension allowing it to stand on its own as a main dish instead of just an interesting side.

The photo above was taken the first time I made this recipe.  That time I only added zucchini, but lately I have been adding lots of other fun things which I have added to the recipe below.


3⁄4 lb pkg orzo pasta
Bring 6 cups water or chicken stock to a boil and add pasta.  Cook 8 to 12
1 chopped onion, garlic to taste
3 large zucchini 
2 carrots
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
olive oil for sauté

Use a cheese grater to shred zucchini and carrots, sauté briefly with chopped
onion and garlic, add chopped tomatoes and sauté until zucchini is lightly golden.

slice portabello mushrooms, spread out evenly in baking dish.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over mushrooms and place under broiler on low for 8-10 minutes.  Take out baking dish, flip over mushrooms and broil on low again for another 8 minutes.

Add some thyme and oregano to zucchini mixture, stir thoroughly, and then remove mixture from heat.

Combine with 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan and cooked orzo, salt to taste, sprinkle chopped parsley on top and serve cool or at room
I literally just finished reading the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and am thoroughly impressed.  I truly enjoyed reading this book.  I was jealous of her exploding cherry trees, inspired by her homemade cheese-making and left motivated to try and eat more locally and seasonally.  There are tons of delicious recipes in the book shared by Barbara's daughter Camille.  Luckily, since I borrowed this book from the library, you can find all her delicious recipes and download from the internet at  The first recipe I borrowed from her book, was her incredibly easy pizza dough recipe.  This, hands down, was the easiest pizza dough recipe I have ever tried, and didn't taste so bad either.  I thought it was so cute how Barbara and her family have pizza and movie night every Friday night. 

Even though the pizza dough recipe was simple enough, the idea for the toppings took me a while.  The first pizza was simple enough, I had an extra eggplant in the fridge, so I just worked around the eggplant.  The second pizza wasn't as simple.  I wanted to work around the seasonal theme and since strawberries are the thing at the moment, I tried to somehow make a pizza using strawberries a culinary success story.  I don't know how it happened, but it worked. 

The Easiest Pizza Dough EVER!!! by Barbara Kingsolver and family

FRIDAY NIGHT PIZZA  (Makes two 12-inch pizzas)
3 tsp. yeast             11⁄2 cups WARM water           3 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt                21⁄2 cups white flour               2 cups whole wheat flour
To make crust, dissolve the yeast into the warm water and add oil and salt to that
mixture.  Mix the flours and knead them into the liquid mixture.  Let dough rise for
30 to 40 minutes.

  Once the dough has risen, divide it in half and roll out two round 12 inch
pizza crusts on a clean, floured countertop, using your fingers to roll the
perimeter into on outer crust as thick as you like. Using spatulas, slide the crusts onto well floured pans or baking stones and spread toppings.
Pizza #1
     This pizza lacked a little flavor but with a few minor adjustments I am sure I could make it really tasty. I think next time I will use a little more cheese, a little more garlic and some salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  First slice up an eggplant in about 1/4 inch slices.  Brush some olive oil on both sides and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides, as well.  Put in the oven for 10 minutes.  When the ten minutes is up, flip them over and put them in for another 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, slice four tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic (in thin slices), 1/2 green pepper (in thin slices), slice mozzarella (in thin slices) and finally chop some parsley. 

Once the eggplant is ready, spread out your pizza dough and start by spreading out the tomatoes.  Next spread the eggplants over the tomatoes.  Add the peppers, then the cheese and finally the garlic.  Once all that is on, drip some olive oil over everything, and add some extra salt and pepper.  Put in the oven for 25 minutes on 450 degrees.  After about 15 minutes in the over, sprinkle the parsley over the pizza and put back in the oven until the full 25 minutes is up.  And presto...delicious pizza.
Pizza #2

Start by thinly slicing strawberries and some peaches.  Next chop up some fresh basil.  After the prepping is done, spread out the pizza dough and start by spreading out the strawberries.  Next add the peaches to the mix.  Sprinkle feta cheese all over the pizza.  Spread out the basil and then drizzle balsamic vinegar all over the pizza.  Place in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes and you will have a surprisingly delicious pizza, that is delicious hot and just as good the next day straight out of the refrigerator. 
I don't know about you, but I love podcasts.  Especially when I lived abroad (and hope to do again someday), I got most of my news and entertainment from podcasts.  Now I get all of my news from the Daily Show, and don't have much time to listen to podcasts but there are still two podcasts I listen to/ watch religiously.  The first one is "Stuff you Should Know".  If you haven't heard of this podcast, seek it out as soon as humanely possible.  The two guys that make the show could be talking about how to unstick gum from the bottom of your shoe and they would still be entertaining.  I am just waiting for them to get their own radio show and become the next "Opie and Anthony" but not as jaded and obnoxious.  The other one is a video podcast called "Delicious TV".  A couple of times a month, she comes out with a short 3-5 minute video on how to make something vegetarian, healthy and delicious (hence the name).  When I watched the video for the polenta casserole, it looked really interesting.  Polenta always sounds like such a good idea and I try really hard to like it, but I usually never do.  And once again, I didn't really enjoy the polenta, but I think if I used only a thin layer of polenta, instead of the inch on the bottom and inch on top that was recommended in the recipe, I would have enjoyed it much more.  Don't skip out on the yogurt sauce when making this recipe.  It is the key ingredient (for me anyway).  Also, I think making a Mexican version of this casserole would be really delicious, as well, with beans, peppers, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.  

Here is my adapted version of Delicious TV's Eggplant Polenta Casserole:


For the polenta:
6 cups water
2 tsp salt
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp olive oil

Boil the 6 cups of water.  Add the 2 tsp of salt.  Slowly whisk in the cornmeal.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Once it is done, turn off heat and mix in the 2 tbsp of olive oil. 

1 eggplant
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 can stewed tomatoes
fresh chopped basil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the eggplant into one inch cubes.  Place cubes on baking sheet and place in oven.  Bake the eggplant until the cubes are brown and soft, about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in frying pan.  Add the onions, saute a few minutes until onions soften and add garlic.  After a minute, add the mushrooms.  Cook for a couple of more minutes then finally, add the stewed tomatoes.  If the tomatoes are whole, use a spatula to chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces.  Once everything is done, take the eggplant out of the oven and mix all the ingredients in a bowl, with the fresh basil and salt and pepper. 

Now lightly oil a casserole dish.  Place a thin layer of the polenta on the bottom.  On top of the polenta put the eggplant mixture.  Finally add a top layer of polenta over the eggplant mixture.  Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  Once the 20 minutes i up, take of the aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes.  Once the polenta has a nice golden color, take it out of the oven. 

While the casserole is baking, put 1 cup of yogurt in a bowl.  Add 1/4 cup of soymilk, to make a thinner consistency.  Add 1 tsp of granulated garlic, 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and whisk together. Place sauce on top of casserole before serving. 
I am always excited to find a new way to cook with my new favorite food item (tempeh) and when its a lot different from a new marinade and it actually comes out as well as it sounds, it makes me even happier.  I adapted this tempeh pie from the website 500 Vegan Recipes.  The pie is packed with flavor and holds together perfectly. 

Tempeh Pie

For the filling:
2 teaspoons orange zest, about 2 oranges
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice, about 2 oranges
1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional, to taste
2 teaspoons ground ginger
8 ounces (227 g) tempeh, crumbled
1 tablespoon (15 ml) peanut oil
2 cups (380 g) frozen chopped spinach

1/2 package frozen peas

For the crust:
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1 tablespoon unflavored soy milk or water
1/3 cup light sesame oil or pure olive oil
1 tablespoon (75 ml) fresh orange juice

To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk zest, juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, optional red pepper flakes, and ginger.
Stir in tempeh. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Cook marinated tempeh, along with marinade, on medium heat until it browns up, for about 8 minutes. Add spinach and peas and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).

To make the crust:
To make the crust, spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes. 3. Transfer the toasted oats and sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, orange juice and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough.

5. Lightly brush a 9-inch or 10-inch tart pan with oil. Put the dough in the tart pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to fill in the fluted sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Yield: 4 servings
I adapted this recipe from  I remember making this quiche a long time ago in Japan.  I followed the directions word for word (well as best as I could) and I don't remember it coming out that well.  I am sure it wasn't the recipes fault.  I am sure I did something wrong, and that is exactly why I wanted to try it again.  It just sounded so delicious and healthy for you, that I had to give it another try.  And I am glad I did.  I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but only due to the fact that I just wanted to use up what I had in the refrigerator.  It came out soooooo good, that I must say I was quite impressed with myself.  The crust still wasn't perfect (it may have been the flour I used, or my lack of experience) but it didn't seem to effect the quiche at all.  The photo is from heating it up in the oven the second night, hence the big piece missing.  And I can't wait to have it again tonight!

Broccoli Asparagus Tofu Quiche

For the crust:
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1/3 cup unflavored soy milk or water
1/3 cup light sesame oil or pure olive oil plus more for brushing the pan

For the filling:
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
10 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
3 garlic cloves, slice crosswise into 1/8-inch rounds
10 to 12 fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 pound firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 cups broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped
1 cup asparagus, lightly steamed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
Paprika for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. To make the crust, spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes.

3. Transfer the toasted oats and sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough.

5. Lightly brush a 9-inch or 10-inch tart pan with oil. Put the dough in the tart pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to fill in the fluted sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

6. To make the filling, in a wide saute pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and mushroom, raise the heat to high, and saute for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and continue to cook until dry. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the vegetables into a mixing bowl and set aside.

7. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 5 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, oregano, and thyme. Simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes or until the garlic is golden. Do not let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. With a rubber spatula, scrape the garlic oil into the bowl of a food processor.

8. Crumble the tofu into the bowl of the food processor. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth. With a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into the mushroom-onion mixture.

9. Quickly steam the broccoli and asparagus.  Once its done, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.   Chop into small pieces.  Add to mushroom-onion mixture, along with the fresh dill. Mix everything together, and adjust the seasoning.

10. Fill the tart shell with the tofu and vegetable mixture and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Dust with Paprika. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes,until firm.

11.Let the tart cool for 8 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
You know when you are just winging a recipe but you know that its going to turn out so delicious that you don't even taste until you are finished cooking because you are that confident about what you are making.  Well that is how I felt about last nights dinner.  I was day dreaming about what I was going to make on the way home from the city ( I was on the train, not driving).  I knew I wanted to make some sort of orangey couscous thing, so I searched on the internet for an orange couscous recipe just to start me off, and then ended up with this.  It was so enjoyable hot for dinner, and just as enjoyable the next day, cold, for lunch.  


1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 cup couscous

1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup pepitas
pinch of salt
chopped mint

To make the couscous, boil 1 cup of orange juice and the water. Once its boiling, add the couscous, turn off the heat and put the cover on the pot.  Let sit for, at least, 5 minutes.

Heat the rest of the orange juice in a frying pan.  Add the red onions and the cranberries.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the onions are soft.  Add the almonds and pepitas and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the salt and mint.  Add this to the couscous, mix well, and enjoy. 
Random Ishigaki Photo - I felt like this post needed, at least one photo
I have been doing quite a bit of cooking since I have been home in NY.  I am back staying with my parents, temporarily, and since they eat meat on a pretty regular basis, I, usually, make my own meals (which I really don't have  a problem doing).  I have made some pretty good recipes, but, unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to digging out my camera before digging into my meal.  Besides, my parents think I am weird enough, as is, if I start documenting all my meals on film before eating I don't know what they would think.  I will ease them in slowly and soon enough start taking photos of all my creations again.  But here are some recipes to enjoy in the meantime.  My apologies for the lack of photos.

Wild Rice and Butternut Squash
This was adapted from a recipe from Vegetarian Times Magazine.  Its pretty easy to make and so good for you.
  It can be eaten either hot or cold.  I enjoyed it both ways.

Ingredient List

Serves 8

·      2 Tbs. olive oil

·      1 medium-size onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

·      3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)

·      1 16-oz. pkg. cooked wild rice, or 3 cups cooked wild rice

·      1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

·      1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

·      bunch of kale, chopped

·      1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

·      1 Tbs. dried oregano

·      1 tsp. ground cumin

·      1/2 tsp. salt

·      1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

·      pepitas

Directions ·      Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute more, or until fragrant.

·      Stir in wild rice, squash, beans, kale, mustard, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and 11/2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil.

·      Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Add in pepitas.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thai Lemongrass Tofu
        This dish was also adapted from a recipe I found on the Vegetarian Times website.  This came out really well.  It was actually my first time using fresh lemongrass stalks and it made a huge difference, I reckon.  You can use lemon in place of lemongrass but the lemongrass makes it so much tastier.

Ingredient List

Serves 4

·      16 oz. extra-firm tofu

   1 eggplant, diced in 1 inch pieces

·      1 stick lemongrass, peeled and chopped

·      1 shallot, finely chopped

·      2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

·      1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

·      1/3 cup fresh lime juice

·      1/4 cup light brown sugar

·      1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

·      5 green onions

·      1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves

·      1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions ·      Drain tofu between 2 cutting boards set on angle over sink, 1 hour. Cut into 16 cubes.

    Prepare the eggplants in similar shaped cubes to the tofu.

·      Purée lemongrass, shallot, and ginger to paste in food processor. Whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, sesame oil, and 2 Tbs. water in bowl. Transfer half of soy sauce mixture to bowl for dipping sauce. Add lemongrass mixture to remaining soy sauce mixture.

·      Toss together tofu, eggplant and lemongrass–soy sauce mixture, and marinate 30 minutes.

·        Heat some oil in a pan, saute the tofu and eggplant until the eggplant is completely cooked and the tofu in brown on both sides.  Plate on top of rice and add some of the extra sauce on top.  Then  top with chopped peanuts, mint and green onions.  You can also make little lettuce wraps by wrapping  all the ingredients in prepared lettuce leaves. 

Well, after 10 flights in 5 days, and countless hours sleeping on airport couches I am back home (in NY), safe and sound from my trip to Indonesia.  I am slowly readjusting to life back in America after being gone for a total of a little more than 5 years and finding myself a bit lost and don't really know what to make of everything.  Hopefully this is just the normal reverse culture shock, I mean I did live here for 27 years of my life, even though it does feel like a foreign country to me right now. 

I had some crazy adventures during my time in Indonesia, which makes readjusting to life back in suburbia even more difficult and has left me dreaming of all the wonderful ways they prepared their freshly made tempeh.  Indonesia is a vegetarians paradise.  Some of the best food I ate was in Ubud.  The traditional Indonesian Nasi Campur (Nasi which means rice in Indonesian is accompanied by an assortment of small side dishes) was heavenly.
This Nasi Campur dish I had in a restaurant in Ubud had a mix of green curry with tofu, fried tempeh, shrimp chips, and greens mixed with fresh shredded coconut.  And washed it all down with a delicious Bintang beer.  Bintang means star in Indonesian and when you go up to a bartender and ask for a Bintang they love to make the joke..."you sure you don't want the moon or the sun?"
Even though, compared to Japan and the US, Indonesia is a really inexpensive place to travel, the "fancy" restaurants can still weigh on your wallet a bit and, of course, its fun to venture out off the beaten path because you never know what you will end up finding.  We found one amazing restaurant on a side street off of the main drag of Ubud that had the most delicious tempeh, fried to perfection and topped with a fresh tomato sauce.  Simple but so flavorful.  This was one of my favorite meals and only cost $1.00.  It was so good, I have already tried recreating the dish at home. 

Tempeh w/ Spicy Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

3 tbsp olive oil
1 block tempeh, sliced down the middle, then in triangles

Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the onions.  Allow them to saute for 5-7 minutes, until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the spices and tomatoes.  Let them cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes and then add the zucchini (the zucchini wasn't in the dish I had in Indonesia but I thought it made a nice addition).  Let simmer for another 10 minutes.  Then add salt and pepper to taste.

To cook the tempeh, heat oil in a pan.  Let it get super hot, but not smoking.  Add the tempeh to the oil and let cook for about 5-7 min on one side (until a nice golden brown).  Then flip over and cook on the other side for the same amount of time. 

I plated the dish with couscous on the bottom, then put the tempeh on top of the couscous then finally put the tomato sauce on top of the tempeh.  This was absolutely delicious. 

I am now living back at my parents home and have been doing a lot of my own cooking since my parents are not vegetarians, but I haven't gotten around to taking photos of my meals yet.

So, I have been enjoying, so much, writing all about my adventures in cooking and keeping track of all my recipes in the RECIPES section of my website, that I want to start an actual food blog.  Everyday, I spend so much time checking out what's new on my favorite food blogs (I have quite a list by now).  I really don't know why I didn't start this sooner...well yeah I do...I really don't enjoy spending so much time working on a computer but what motivated me to start today was this the absolutely delicious Mango and Avocado Quinoa salad I made last night for dinner, which I didn't eat until 9pm last night, because I was riding my bike all over creation looking for a ripe avocado to go with my mangoes that are on the verge of becoming too ripe.  And God forbid, even one mango goes bad at a price of at least, $6 a mango, my heart would be broken for days.  When living on a small island, its seriously a wild goose chase trying to find all the ingredients you need to complete a recipe, so more times than not your final product ends up completely different than the recipe you were prepared to follow.  Sometimes my dinners are an absolute disaster and I eat them as fast as possible, in order not to taste them, and other times they are a masterpiece, like last nights salad.  This Mango Avocado Salad has it all.  Its got tons of protein, good fats, vitamins C, vitamin A...the list goes on.  And of course, it has the flavor to match.  The mango matches nicely with the cumin and turmeric, while the cilantro and lime give it an extra layer of flavor, I love the extra crunch you get from the almonds, while avocado just tastes good in everything.  I was able to enjoy some corn on the cob as a side, which is an absolute luxury in this place.  Literally only about once a year, they have actual corn on the cob in the supermarkets ( I am still too nervous to buy the shrink wrapped corn I see all the time, really what were they thinking.)  Oh so back to my point, the reason I started this blog entry today, was...I thought the best way to get into actual food blogging would be to share this amazing salad with the people in "No Croutons Required", which is a monthly food blogging contest. This month's theme is grains.  I love this contest and have found so many more wonderfully addicting food blogs to follow from it.  So here is my first entry to my food blog and my first entry in the "No Croutons Required" food blog contest hosted by Lisa of

Mango and Avocado Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa

1 avocado, diced
1 mango, diced
1 cucumber, diced
½ cup almonds, chopped
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin

cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lime
1 tbsp cilantro
salt and pepper
green onions

Soak quinoa for 10 minutes in hot water and then drain.  Boil fresh water and once boiling, add quinoa.  Cook until all the water is gone, about 10 minutes.  Let it sit and soak up the water.  Then fluff with a fork.

Dice up avocado, mango, and cucumber and put in a bowl.  Add almonds and pumpkin seeds.  Then heat olive oil in a pan.  Add the nuts, and mango mixture to the pan.  Add turmeric and cumin.  Saute for 30 seconds and return to bowl.  Add the quartered tomatoes to the bowl.  Squeeze the juice from a whole lime onto the mixture.  Then add the cilantro and salt and pepper.  Mix all together.  Then add the quinoa to the mixture and finally add the green onions.

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