Figs Stuffed with Sesame Mint and Quinoa

This recipe for Figs Stuffed with Sesame, Mint and Quinoa is incredibly creative! If you like figs, put this recipe on your list. Now that summer I here, I am in the mood to make more appetizers. These figs are stuffed with a flavorful trio of dried cranberries, quinoa and cool mint. If you have trouble finding fresh figs in the grocery stores, you can use halved apricots or pitted Medjool dates. If you’re a vegetarian or gluten-free, definitely put this recipe on your to-make list.

Find this recipe recipe along with 499 others in this comprehensive cookbook by Camilla Saulsbury published by Robert Rose books (my cookbook publisher).  In this cookbook, you will also learn so many things about quinoa. Examples of things that I learned are how to stock a quinoa pantry, how to cook quinoa, what is the thermos method, how to add quinoa to baked goods, how to toast it, how to sprout it and how to create quinoa flour.

Quinoa and Roasted Beet Salad

With fall upon us, it’s time to indulge in the produce that is the essence of the season. While the weather gets cooler, it only seems natural to eat vibrant and hearty root vegetables roasted to perfection. Beets are fabulous incorporated in the season’s bounty in this Quinoa and Roasted Beet Salad. In this recipe, I used Alter Eco Royal Pearl Quinoa (my latest favorite) which combines earthy beets together with the decadent goat cheese; It’s perfect for curling up and savoring on cool fall day. Also, this recipe includes the beet greens which are super healthy! These hearty leaves look very much like Swiss chard, and cool like it too. One cup of beet greens has only 39 calories and zero fat, but it contains 220 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin A and 60 percent of your RDI of vitamin C.

For more information on Royal quinoa (or “quinoa real”), it’s grown only in the Bolivian Altiplano on the edge of the salt flat and at the foothill of Andean volcanoes. Like with Champagne, Royal Quinoa can only come from this part of the world. Royal quinoa is grown at 13,000 feet above sea level and the harsh conditions dictate that only the strongest and most resilient quinoa grows and thrives there. As a result, royal quinoa is believed to be larger, nuttier and more nutritious than other types of quinoa.  Additionally, the richness of the soil in the Bolivian Altiplano contributes to the special qualities of the royal quinoa, as does the expertise of the farmers there.

 

Quinoa Recipe and Quinoa Cookbook Giveaway

If you love quinoa like I do, you will adore this Quinoa Cookbook (part of the Idiot’s Guide) by Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef. I was lucky enough to travel with Susan to Italy a few years ago. Susan is an energetic, talented woman, Author, Radio Show Host of Bikini Lifestyles on AM 790 KABC in Los Angeles and on PBS Televison. This cookbook has over 180 quinoa recipes from energizing breakfast options, lunch soups, salads and sandwiches, finger foods, snacks, appetizers, main dishes and even an array of desserts. If you want to know more about quinoa and have access to great recipes, check it out.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me your favorite way to use quinoa in cooking. Winner will be drawn on February 13 at 8 a.m CST.

For more entries do the following below and leave another comment for each:

1. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

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4. Like The Bikini Chef on Facebook

5. Follow The Bikini Chef on Twitter

Melon-Arugula Salad

We should all by making the most of melons before their peak season and summer are over. This super easy Melon-Arugula Salad makes a great starter salad or even main dish salad topped with grilled chicken or shrimp. My kids have really become arugula fans (which I love). If you’re introducing your kids to new vegetables and lettuces, add an ingredient in them that they really like. Melon-Arugula Salad is the perfect example. Use any of your favorite store-bought salad dressings or add balsamic vinegar and olive oil like I did above. Melon is the feature item for this week’s Summerfest by the Food Network, so check out these other creative melon recipes below.

Jeanette’s Healthy LivingWatermelon-Mint Freeze
What’s Gaby CookingMelon and Prosciutto Salad
Cooking With EliseQuinoa Crunch With Melons, Blueberries and Yogurt
Haute Apple PieWatermelon and Feta Salad
Cooking ChannelFive Things to Make With Watermelon
Healthy EatsMelon Refreshers
Ingredients, Inc.Melon-Arugula Salad
Daily*DishinHoneydew Melon Salad With Genoa Salami and Mozzarella Fresca
Made by MichelleCantaloupe Popsicles 
Chez UsCantaloupe Lime Agua Fresca 
Napa Farmhouse 1885Mixed Melon Smoothie
Virtually HomemadeMelon-Mint Popsicles
Thursday Night DinnerCantaloupe With Figs, Basil and Kalamata Olives
Zaika ZabardastCantaloupe Soup With Cardamom Infused Cherry Syrup
Sweet Life BakePaletas de Melon
HGTV GardensGarden-to-Table: Melons
FN DishThere’s More to Melon

 

7 Fantastic Gluten Free Recipes

I have been trying a lot of new gluten free recipes lately, and I really feel great when I follow a gluten free diet. I don’t eat gluten free always, but I know many of you have allergies or use the paleo diet. Here are 7 fantastic gluten free recipes that I just had to share. Pictured above is my Quinoa Chicken Fried Rice. It is always a hit with my 3 kids. Please feel free to leave a comment telling me about a favorite gluten free recipe that you have tried recently.

Ganache Filled Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites via Urban Poser

Grilled Vegetable Stack with Lemon Hummus via Gluten-Free Goddess

Chocolate Chip Brownie Bar via Roxana’s Home Baking

Blueberry Coconut Waffles via All Day I Dream about Food

Gluten-Free Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes via With Style & Grace

Chocolate Cherry Cookies via Anjas Food 4 Thought

Best Foods for Runners

I have been an avid runner since I was 16. It is definitely one of my passions and has helped me in so many ways physically and mentally.

For years, friends have asked me to come up with recipes for runners. Instead, here are my top 10 picks for best foods for runners.

1. Wild Salmon-Wild salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which boost heart health and nerve system functioning. Some doctors even say omega-3’s can help with post-run achy joints.

2. Almonds-High in antioxidants, protein and vitamin E, almonds are a wise choice for a runner’s snack helping to prevent achy muscles.

3. Quinoa-This complex carbohydrate (pronounced Keen-wah) is a great energy source filled with fiber, B vitamin, zinc and magnesium which are so helpful to runners. One-fourth cup of dry of quinoa has 172 calories, 6 grams of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber. Another great reason to enjoy quinoas is that it is gluten-free.

4. Kale-This member of the cabbage family has high levels of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber. It is one of the most antioxidant-filled vegetables.

5. Bananas-This great pre-workout or post-workout food is a great source of carbohydrates and potassium. That is why you will always find bananas offered at the end of races.

6. Eggs-Eating one egg offers a great source of vitamin K and protein which aid in promoting healthy bones and muscles.

7. Blueberries-Filled with vitamin C and potassium, these can help the body repair itself after long, hard runs.

8. Edamame-This great snack is filled with protein, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin C. Edamame are also a great snack option loaded with health benefits.

9. Yogurt-Low-fat yogurt has a good source of carbohydrates and protein, and Greek yogurt has less carbs and even more protein. Both are great sources of calcium which is important for runners to help prevent stress fractures and osteoporosis.

10. Oranges-High in vitamin C, oranges are great for healing and helping absorb iron in the body. This can help prevent fatigue and increase energy levels.