How Your Can Have Your Quinoa and Eat it Too (and not ruin any Bolivians’ lives)

 

 

 

How timely of me, to finally come back with an article using Quinoa.

Especially after this whole fiasco—a poorly disguised, fact-lacking attack on vegetarians and vegans who are, the author says, more or less just infatuated with quinoa’s cute little spirals and low-fat attributes. (Not to mention goes on to say vegans’ demands for soy products are basically ruining the universe, when in actuality the majority of soy produced around the world—97 per cent, according to the UN—is grown for animal feed).

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A Bolivian woman on the La Paz local bus from my 2010 South American trip. Perhaps she’s snacking on puffed quinoa?

While it is true, as the article points out, that the west’s increasing demand for Bolivian quinoa has made the pseudo-grain more expensive across the globe, including for those who farm the crop in its native Andes, the rising demand and subsequent increased production has been a very direct and concerted effort by the Morales government in order to boost their economy and avoid purchasing GMO seeds like Monsanto’s. Their plan of action calls for providing small-scale farmers with non-gmo seeds, saving heirloom seeds, and reducing fossil fuel consumption. This is also the country who, just last month, ousted McDonald’s, and gives a sh!t or two about Pacha Mama, a.k.a. Mama Earth. Hmm.. Maybe we could take a lesson.

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Witches’ Market in La Paz

All that said, I don’t want to imply that everything’s hunky-dory in Bolivia. While it is a beautiful country, with incredible scenery and unique topography, it’s also home to South America’s poorest and a decline in quinoa consumption for Bolivians is not ideal since it is such a nutritious staple in their traditional diets. However, the country as a whole could boost their economy significantly more and benefit more diversely from pushing quinoa as an export, perhaps even enough to make the country a better place to live.

So, omnivores, vegetarians, vegans—people, really, you can all have your quinoa and eat it too. This week, here’s how I recommend doing it.

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These pancakes are excellent—protein-packed and served with a slight nuttiness from the quinoa, they beg for some maple syrup. Pure, perfect comfort food, made better. My mom made them on Christmas Day and I’ve had a hankering since. This recreation does not disappoint!

Quinoa Pancakes (dairy-free, sugar-free)

Inspired by True Food Kitchen, adapted from this recipe

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Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour (sure you could sub gluten-free, I don’t have my fully-stocked kitchen in Korea so I made do!)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup non-dairy milk (soy really helps to thicken them up)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs (veganize by replacing with a flax egg)

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 tbsp coconut oil

whipped coconut cream, slivered almonds, and maple syrup or honey (if desired for topping)

Directions:

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, milk, vanilla, and eggs until everything is combined and there are no clumps. Add in the quinoa, making sure it isn’t clumping in balls.

Heat the coconut oil on a griddle on medium-high and ladle the batter onto the pan, flipping when bubbles form. Serve topped with coconut butter, coconut cream, nuts, fruits, syrup and feel nourished!

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(if my cakes look a little less fluffy, it’s because I didn’t have baking powder! hopefully yours will have a little more perk ^^)

 

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A Blizzard Good (for you) Enough for Breakfast

Guuuuuh. Soooo. Good.

For the first time probably ever, I was able to hold off an ice cream craving long enough for it to pass last night.

Long enough, at least, for me to whip out the food processor and make my own.

My first experience a few years ago with Banana Soft-Serve was a flop, one I’d account to a crappy blender and a poor ratio of nut milk to frozen banana. This time, however—a grand success! Nothing easier than a frozen banana with a splash of almond milk (or coconut, for extra creaminess) and a splash of maple syrup, just process and serve. Soft-serve for softie chefs. Simple, and so seriously perfect.

Layers of silky chocolate sauce and chewy cookie dough don’t hurt either.

This Raw Cookie Dough Blizzard is actually about as healthy as most breakfasts I eat. Just a restructuring of the same ingredients. (Kinda like this, but good for you.) Thus, I deem this a worthy hot-weather-worthy brunch. Rolled oats (I used gluten-free!), nuts, coconut, raw cacao in various forms, banana, and a little maple syrup or honey—sounds like the perfect granola, but believe it or not, it’s just the rearranged ingredients for the above parfait.

Wish I could say this combo was my idea, but it seems to be a popular blogosphere idea. Rawified makes it super-simple (like five-minutes simple, hence why I used her recipe!), Angela‘s dished her own interpretation,  and VeganLisa demoed hers at last summers Toronto Vegetarian Festival.

Now you have my blessing. Go forth, be fruitful (bananas!), and multiply (make extra cookie dough, and save some for me!).

 And to those of you who have shared their recreations of my recipes and posts…. thank you!! It does truly make my day when someone has been inspired by, helped by, or even just enjoyed reading the blog. So please keep it up, feel free to comment, abuse my Facebook wall, Twitter handle, etc. It is all much appreciated 🙂

Snack Attack: Perfectly Protein Chocolate Almond Butter Bars

Between exams, starting a new job, and starting to (finally!) get my appetite back, I’ve been in quite the snacky mood lately. I like to keep grazing all day to keep my metabolism going and so that I don’t get super-hungry (read: hangry!) before mealtimes. I usually keep some Vega Bars or LaraBars in my bag, but that habit’s getting a little expensive, so I scoured the internet for a good snack bar recipe—and I think I’ve found something worth sharing!

Coconut sugar is a great natural sweetener because it’s low on the glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar and make you feel jittery. Plus the protein in these bars helps slow down the absorption of sugar, making them a great slow-release study snack that won’t give you the shakes. I picked some up at the Yoga Show a few weekends back.

I individually-wrap and freeze these puppies and pop ’em in my bag for an easy snack-on-the-go! Perfect combo of carbs, fat, and protein to sustain you until meantime, plus the chocolate provides a nice little mood-booster. Give ’em a try!

Perfectly Protein Chocolate Almond Butter Bars (vegan, dairy-free, soy-free)

Adapted from Joyous Health

Ingredients:

Dry:

3 cups oats (soak beforehand for a few hours to help with digestion. You can use certified Gluten-free oats to make this recipe gluten-free!)

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup unsweetened organic shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup organic coconut sugar

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or raw cacao nibs (I used raw cacao nibs for extra superfood power!)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (pecans or almonds work great too)

1 scoop chocolate vegan protein powder (You can add more if you want, though it will change the texture. This recipe gives ~3-4 grams of protein per bar)

Wet:

1/2 cup almond milk

2-4 tbsps pure maple syrup (to taste)

1 cup almond butter (peanut butter would work great too!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup organic coconut oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the almond butter and coconut oil in a saucepan until mixed. Add almond butter/coconut oil mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl and mix until combined.

Grease a 9″ by 13″ pan (I used Earth Balance) and spread the mixture out, flattening with a spatula.Bake for 15 minutes, let cool a bit, score/cut into desired size, and transfer cut bars to a greased cookie sheet. Bake another 10-15 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and enjoy!