Quinoa Power Breakfast: Gluten, Dairy and Egg-Free

Quinoa is often praised by dietitians and other health professionals as a super-food. While I find the term “super-food” a little gimmicky, it is mostly true in the case of quinoa. A grain, quinoa (pronounced KENN-wah) is a good source of both fiber (with more than 5 grams/cup) AND protein (more than 8 grams/cup). While we know that whole grains, like quinoa, generally contain fiber, we don’t always get that one-two punch of fiber and protein.

The best part? Quinoa’s amino acid profile is considered complete, meaning it doesn’t lack an amino acid like many other grain products do. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins for our body. Our body can make ten of the 20 amino acids we need to make proteins in our bodies, but the other ten — considered essential amino acids — must be supplied by the foods we eat. Most plant sources of protein don’t provide all of the essential amino acids, so it’s even more impressive that quinoa does.

I find that most people view quinoa as a savory food, often mixed with veggies and beans (and meat/poultry too) to create a quinoa salad. Think about it, though, quinoa is really just a bland-tasting grain when you get down to it. Thus, you can use it in sweeter preparations as well. Alas, Breakfast Quinoa! It’s a terrific option for when you have leftover quinoa from the night before (assuming you didn’t use broth or savory herbs to make it). Just mix with whatever fruit and nuts you have on hand, plus some cinnamon or other sweeter spices. It’s more filling than oatmeal, because it contains more protein and fiber (the satiety dynamic duo, if you will). Check out my delicious Banana Coconut Quinoa below!

Banana Coconut Power Breakfast Quinoa:



  • One cup quinoa, cooked (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)


Cook quinoa according to package directions or heat up leftover quinoa. Stir in coconut oil when hot, then top with sliced banana, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.




Spotted at the Green City Farmer’s Market: Carrots

Branch out of the carrot and dip rut!

After finding some great carrots at the Green City Market, I wanted to experiment with this Vitamins A- and C-packed veggie. You really can’t go wrong with carrots: bake/roast, grill, saute, steam, raw: they are all delicious. While carrots have a natural sweetness, they are low in calories and sugar/carbs (30 calories, 7 grams of carbs and 5 grams of sugar per large carrot or ~1/2 cup). Below, you’ll see two of the winning creations: Sage Carrot Chips and Carrot-Ginger Salad (with scallop “sushi”). Enjoy!


After falling in love with kale chips, I wondered what else I could turn into a chip and carrot chips seemed to be a great idea. So, I scrubbed the carrots, cut them on the bias (diagonally) and tossed with olive oil, sage (from a friend’s garden), garlic powder and black pepper. I baked at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Depending on how crispy you like them, you can bake for more or less time. The result was delicious!! Note: the carrots do shrink up quite a bit after baking (see before and after pictures below).

Before baking. This was about 4 medium-sized carrots worth.

Carrot chips after baking. See how much smaller they got?

Makes about 1 cup carrot chips


4-5 carrots: organic carrots recommended

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp crushed dried sage

1 tsp garlic powder

Black pepper to taste


Rinse carrots and peel if desired (I used organic carrots and scrubbed them well, so I left them unpeeled). Slice carrots diagonally across, so that you get large “coins.” In a medium bowl, toss carrots with remaining ingredients, transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until desired crispness.

Great compliment to grilled chicken, pork or as a side for your sandwich.


I have been on a major ginger kick…for the last six months. So, I decided it was time to buy ginger root and use the fresh stuff. Ginger is an excellent compliment to carrots (just think of sushi). I wanted to combine the two into a salad and also play around with the shape of the carrots. Thus, carrot strings were born! Looks dramatic on your plate, but super easy to make! If you don’t have fresh ginger, I have found a great stand-in: jarred ginger. Just like you find minced, jarred garlic, there are jars of minced ginger (I use the brand Christopher Ranch).

Makes about 3 cups salad


4 medium-large carrots

1 cup shelled edamame (didn’t have it, so I used Trader Joe’s frozen Soycutash blend)

1 cup rice wine vinegar (no sugar or salt added)

2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp peeled, grated ginger (or used minced jarred ginger)


Cut off the ends of the carrots. Using a vegetable peeler, create carrot “stings” by continuously peeling the carrots until you reach the core. You can use the leftover end bits to munch on or throw them into a veggie stir-fry. Mix carrot strings with remaining ingredients, mix and let refrigerate at least one hour (the longer the better).

To go along with the carrot-ginger salad, I made seaweed-wrapped scallop “sushi” using thawed frozen scallops from Trader Joe’s. I took TJ’s roasted seaweed snack, soaked it in a bit of water (just a dunk in water should do) so that it was soft and then wrapped it around the scallops (it stuck on its own). I sprinkled each side of the scallops with black pepper and broiled for ~3 minutes on each side. I served them over a bed of tri-color quinoa (also from TJ’s) with the carrot-ginger salad on the side. Literally took me 15 minutes total for the salad and scallops and was truly delicious and packed with flavor!

Scallops wrapped in seaweed atop a bed of tricolor quinoa with a carrot-ginger salad.