Quinoa, Canoeing, and Crackers

Happy Sunday! This has been such a great weekend. The weather was spectacular (hot and sunny after 2 weeks of solid rain). J was off on Friday, spent Saturday night with girlfriends, and got out for long walks.

J and I set out on a canoeing adventure Friday afternoon. We got dropped off at a lake out the highway and paddled to a gorgeous waterfall where we had a picnic and lied in the sunshine. The water is fairly shallow and clear so we could see the fish swimming along underneath. I remember being at these falls with my parents as a child and swimming near the waterfall with a snorkel to see the fish. So awesome!

There was not a person in sight. Just us and nature. We love it! After our resting point we continued paddling. The lake then turns into a river with a good current which helps us go a bit faster.

J fished the falls for fun (meaning catch and release). I think the fish are so cute.

Yoga pose by the falls! It was trippy being upside down on a slant and seeing a long way down. I couldn't hold it long ... thought I might fall down the falls, lol.

J stuck his rod out the back of the canoe because we were still seeing so many fishies under the water. He caught another one! We put him back - not sure if it's Bass season yet and there are huge fines if you catch a fish that's the wrong size or a fish out of season.

I love picnics. For eats we packed:

Raw veggies: red pepper, cucumber, celery, and carrot sticks
Eggplant dip (but I pureed it in the food processor)
Hard boiled eggs
Granola bars (for J, I'm off all sugars right now)
Quinoa veggie salad

I'm loving quinoa lately and have been eating it at least once a day. I like to make a big batch of it and add heaps of veggies, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil. Much like tabbouleh, in fact sometimes I use even more parsley and fresh mint.

Are you a qunioa fan? You should be. There are many benefits to eating quinoa - and by the way it's actually a seed, not a grain even though it acts more grain-like.

Benefits of quinoa

- High in protein.
- Easy to digest.
- High in fiber - if you ever get plugged up, add a bit of quinoa to your diet!
- High in magnesium
- It does NOT feed fungus or bacterial infections in the body making it suitable for people with candida, unlike other "grains".
- It contains lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, and phytonutrients.
- You can eat it cooked or sprouted.
- It acts as a prebiotic that feeds good bacteria in your intestines.
- Gluten free.
- More benefits... these are just a few!

What are your favourite quinoa recipes? Would love to add more to my quinoa repertoire. About a month ago I made quinoa granola bars which were OK but the recipe needs work. I've also enjoyed quinoa pudding.... Hmmm what else can I make??

Quinoa Veggie Salad
It lasts 5-6 days in the fridge and is so simple but flavorful and FRESH!

Cooked and cooled quinoa**
4-5 tomatoes, diced small
1 cucumber, diced small
1 green onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, diced small
3 bunches of parsley, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
Olive oil to coat the salad
Himalayan salt and pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a big bowl. Eat!

**A note about preparing quinoa. It's best to rinse and then soak it for 8-12 hours to remove the phytic acid in order to aid in better digestion. I measure out the soaked amount which is larger than when it's dry and cook in an equal amount of water. After bringing to a boil, cook for about 15 minutes.

I also made a batch of raw crackers recently. Very handy for snacks, especially since I'm off all sweet things (just for a while). Besides making some flax green onion dill crackers, I was so inspired by Amber's pizza kale chip recipe that I made Pizza Flax Crackers! They're crunchy and delicious! These are all the pics I have with the crackers, but you get the idea. They're so tasty.

First I soaked whole flax seeds in sun dried tomato soak water. Then I made the pizza sauce, and mixed it into the flax mixture along with a few tablespoons of ground flax seed. The only change I made to her sauce recipe was to remove the hemp seeds and added 1/2 cup of diced fresh tomato because I wanted the sauce to be thinner for this purpose.

In my last batch I added a special little something. Carmi's recipe for vegan cheese! I chose to make it the first time without the sundried tomatoes, olives, and extra herbs. I KNOW it would be better with the add-ins but I wanted to see how the recipe would turn out. I've been loving it in salads, sliced on raw crackers, and in the quinoa dish!

Sundried Tomato and Olive Cheeze
By Carmella

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tbs agar powder
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs tahini (or sesame seeds)
1 tbs onion powder
2 tsps Dijon or prepared mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard 
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps Penzey's Spices Bonnes Herbes (chive, dill, basil, tarragon, chervil and white pepper) or your favorite herb blend
3 kalamata olives, finely chopped
10 thin slices of sun-dried tomato, finely chopped (not re-hydrated)

Set aside a 2 cup plastic storage container. 
In a blender add the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, tahini, Dijon and dry mustards, onion powder, and garlic powder. 
Combine water and agar in a small pan and  bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often until completely dissolved, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add mixture to the other ingredients in the blender and process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender jar as necessary.  
Transfer to a bowl and fold in the Bonne Herbes or herb blend of your choice, diced kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes and mix by hand.
Pour into container and cool uncovered in the refrigerator. 
When completely cool, cover and chill several hours.  (I usually serve it after 1 hour or so). 
To serve, turn out of the container and slice.
Store covered in refrigerator.  Will keep 5 to 7 days.

Go make some quinoa and crackers, and vegan cheese!

Oh, and go canoeing too! Have you ever been??

Seen on Made from Scratch Mondays, Wellness Weekend and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

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  1. June 4, 2012 at 05:30

    Hello<br />Thanks for the Quinoa Veggie Salad and Sundried Tomato and Olive Cheeze recipe.<br />I'll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :)<br />If you don't mind, can you submit your Quinoa Veggie Salad and Sundried Tomato and Olive Cheeze photo in <a rel="nofollow" rel="nofollow">http://www.foodporn.net</a> ?<br />It's a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. Or perhaps you'd like to submit by yourself? Let me know when you did, so I can share it.

  2. June 4, 2012 at 06:11

    yum! quinoa is such a yummy alternative to regular pasta with gluten. thank the lord it exists!! deliciousness!

  3. June 4, 2012 at 09:13

    Holy, you are a yoga superstar! Clearly I have some work to do ;)<br /><br />I looove quinoa- it's such a staple for me. I usually cook a big batch up at the beginning of the week so I have it on hand for quick lunches and dinners! Your salad looks so fresh! And those crackers- yum! I loved Amber's pizza kale chips too :)

  4. June 4, 2012 at 11:32

    My hubby has a canoe! We use to go out on it, so much fun!! But scary too!! :) I love quinoa, that dish sounds great. Looks like a great weekend.

  5. June 4, 2012 at 17:38

    Now that's romantic. It's so beautiful there. I want to take a canoe trip.

  6. June 4, 2012 at 20:11

    aw what a fun day! i love canoeing! that quinoa veggie salad looks amazing! and great picnic food! glad you had fun! thanks for sharing!

  7. June 4, 2012 at 22:44

    Looks incredible! both the food and canoeing. Where in Canada are you? I just arrived in Ontario last week and love it! Hope to make it out west sometime in the next year or so. Can't wait to explore BC :)

  8. June 5, 2012 at 01:39

    I love quinoa. It looks so beautiful where you are! I love doing outdoor activities!

  9. June 5, 2012 at 03:05

    Solid and Simple - Cool, will check it out!<br /><br />Yay, awesome to see that all of you ladies love quinoa too! And yes so peaceful and beautiful up here - you're welcome to visit if you need a getaway :)<br /><br />Lauren - do you guys ever go canoeing!? <br /><br />Kristen - Im in northwestern Ontario, where are you?

  10. June 6, 2012 at 11:58

    Beautiful pics!!<br />And quinoa is the best so easy and tasty! <br />Love pizza crackers, we used to make one when we sold at local farmers markets...mmm need to go get that recipe haha<br />xoxo

  11. June 6, 2012 at 13:29

    I can't wait to try your vegan cheez recipe. I would love to find one that everyone enjoys for the 4th of July.

  12. June 6, 2012 at 16:11

    It all sounds so very tasty! And, I have to say your pose by the falls was beautiful, but gutsy ☺ I have a very dear friend from India that is a Yoga instructor and you made me think of her. Thanks for sharing this week!

  13. June 8, 2012 at 15:14

    Thanks Mary, yes it was definitely a challenge! I really had to focus for that one!

  14. June 9, 2012 at 03:34

    Quinoa being a complete/quality protein is probably the highest appeal to me. I've always found it to be more satisfying and filling than rice.

  15. Anonymous
    June 10, 2012 at 15:04

    Do the cashews need to be soaked before using for the Cheeze?Still learning!!! Thank you for the quinoa recipe,it is GREAT!

  16. June 10, 2012 at 22:45

    Anonymous - no, don't need to soak the cashews. It can help a bit if you DONT have a high speed blender. Cashews don't have enzyme inhibitors so only need to be soaked for textural purposes.

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