Tag Archives: Quinoa

Secret Single Behavior and Brussels Sprout Quinoa Gratin

brussels sprout quinoa gratin 3

One of my favorite Sex and the City episodes discusses secret single behavior, which is something that both men and women can probably relate to. After Carrie moves in with Aidan she talks with her friends about the loss of her alone time, aka the loss of time for her secret single behaviors, such as standing in the kitchen reading fashion magazines while eating a tower of saltines with grape jelly.

I’m fortunate that my relationship has never involved much humility. We both realize how ridiculous the other one is, so nothing surprises us too much. At the same time, I do notice my behavior shift a bit when he’s out of town. Since we’re currently right smack dab in the middle of prime deer hunting season, the past few weeks have brought on a lot of secret single behavior opportunities.

brussels sprout quinoa gratin 2

Like when I dramatically belt out Taylor Swift songs at the top of my lungs while in the shower. Or when I sit in my underwear and watch cooking shows while eating stale toast. Or when I get out some Christmas trinkets for a few hours just to see how it feels (hint: it feels AMAZING).

These are all hypothetical examples. Totally.

quinoa brussels sprout mixture

A single behavior that’s NOT so secret? Pretty much every day when the boy’s away I eat a super weird experimental meal. Sure, we experiment when we cook together, but when he’s gone our kitchen transforms into a scientific laboratory where meat-lovers go to die. It’s all about things like tofu, quinoa, kasha, barley, and embracing the green and leafy.

More often than not these experiments highlight the only thing I have found that the boy will absolutely not eat. Brussels sprouts are known to polarize the general population, but our home is especially divided. I love them, LOVE them. They’re just so darn cute, with their little baby cabbage form, and then there’s that fun texture, and don’t even get me started on the endless options for preparation…what’s not to love!?

brussels sprout quinoa gratin breadcrumb sprinkling

On the other side of the brussels sprout spectrum stands the boy, who says they taste like dirt and sulfur. When we started dating I was all, “I’ll make brussels sprouts for you and I’ll change your mind, you just wait and see!” Welp, I made them for him, and he kindly ate one, but it did not go well. I’m happy we made it past that blip of a date.

Last weekend I decided to expand my brussels sprout horizon with a gratin of sorts. Since I wanted something substantial to have for my weekday lunches, I decided to add quinoa to the mix and bake it all together in a sort of mac and cheese brussels sprout gratin type thing. Ya dig?

brussels sprout quinoa gratin pan

The cheese sauce for this recipe is very similar to my Double Tomato Pepperjack Macaroni Bake. It’s a super easy sauce that starts with a roux and lends itself well to experimentation with different cheeses and spices, so play away.

brussels sprout quinoa gratin 6

The brussels sprouts are cooked just enough so they still have a bit of a bite to them. I love the textural combination of the sprouts mixed with the quinoa and smooth sauce. The parmesan and crispy bread crumbs on top are just extra credit, really.
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Economical Copycat Veggie Wrap

vegan veggie wrap sundried tomato aioli

So folks, it’s official. After over a month of slowly moving items from point Veggie to point Beast, I now am living in a new neighborhood with a new roommate. I can’t complain about the company, but the location is taking some getting used to. It’s not that I dislike my new neighborhood. It’s just too…tempting.

For instance, I have not one, but TWO malls within walking distance. It seems that every corner holds an enticing boutique, and of course a Target sits just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Then there are the restaurants. Oh me, oh my, the restaurants.

This one particular restaurant haunts me. It creeps up on me when I’m hungry, reminding me that an awesome wrap is just a short walk away. A delicious wrap that’s full of veggies, brown rice, and a tangy vegan sun-dried tomato aioli that I could drink with a straw (gross…too far?). In short, it’s amazing. Amazing, expensive, and available for takeout. It’s a triple threat.

In an attempt to sidestep the multi-week veggie wrap purchases that would inevitably ensue, I decided to try my hand at wrap construction. With all the temptations surrounding me, I figured my bank account would thank me for trying to cure my wrap cravings at home.

My bank account may need to have a talk with me about the clothes cravings, and the nearby cures, but that’s an issue for another day.
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Big n’ Tall Toasted Quinoa Burgers

Quinoa burger sandwich 1

People often comment on the size of my meals. “Oh wow, that’s a ton of soup! And you’re having that bread too? Wow, rock on” or, “That’s a HUGE sandwich, I’m impressed” or the occasional, “Did you eat that entire pizza?” Yes, I did, okay? I ate the whole damn thing. I’m a small person who needs a lot of food. Get over it. Uffda, anyway, the takeaway from my rant is this: I like big meals. I like the act of eating, so I’m sad when it’s over quickly. Because of this, I like to eat HUGE bowls of soup or BIG  sandwiches or, yes, the occasional ENTIRE pizza. BUT, here’s the kicker, I [usually] like to make my large meals full of healthy stuff, like tomato spinach zucchini soup, or sandwiches piled high with avocado and tomato, or pizzas topped with so many veggies you can’t even tell what’s on them. That way, I can just eat the whole damn thing and still be that small chick who eats an absurd amount of food…and maybe the occasional ridiculously indulgent dessert, but that’s another post altogether.

And that brings me to my quinoa burger. While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I picked up a bag of their new Tri-Color Quinoa, and staring back at me was a recipe for quinoa burgers. I wasn’t feeling the recipe’s black bean/southwest vibe, but the idea of a quinoa burger had gotten into my head, and I wasn’t going to give it up. After all, quinoa is packed with all kinds of healthy stuff, so I could make a gigantic patty, with an awesome texture, and a main ingredient that comes together in 15 minutes. Plus, for someone like myself who’s a bit of a veggie burger aficionado, coming up with a new homemade patty sounded like a fun challenge.

I’m fortunate that the boy is supportive of my random food challenges, and actually enjoys quinoa. Sure, he’ll act skeptical when I serve it, use his sarcastic voice, and make fun of its appearance, but he eats [nearly] as much as me when we have it, so I figured he’d happily hop on board the quinoa burger train…with a bit of an attitude, per usual, but I’ll take it.

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