Moroccan Chickpea & Sweet Potato Stew with Quinoa

Feb 5, 2013

I've been eyeing this stew for about a month now, ever since I saw it posted on A Couple Cooks, and recently got around to making it. And, boy, am I glad I finally did! It's quite simple and brings together lots of vibrant flavors. A wonderful mixture of spices adds a bit of an exotic flare, while the yogurt, lemon, and cilantro keep it light and fresh.

I love that each of the ingredients not only brings a unique flavor to this dish, but also that they each contribute their own big nutritional punch. There's lots of protein, antioxidants, and vitamins in that bowl up there. This is one of those dishes you can not only enjoy for its great flavors, but also for its powerful nutritional offerings. 


Notes: Obviously, fresh chickpeas are best, but canned will also be delicious. This stew can be served with brown rice or quinoa. A quick note on the quinoa: I prefer to sprout my quinoa whenever possible, to increase the nutritional and digestive benefits, but non-sprouted quinoa will also work just fine. The directions for this are the same as I have written below, just exclude the "day before" instructions. The stew itself is fairly flexible. I can imagine that a number of diced vegetables would make a great addition; feel free to throw in some of what you have on hand.  

Adapted from A Couple Cooks
Moroccan Chickpea & Sweet Potato Stew with Quinoa

sprouted quinoa
2 cups dry quinoa
2 cups water
2 tablespoons yogurt

3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, pressed

1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teasoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 pinches cayenne pepper

2 cups vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 large (about 1 3/4 pounds) sweet potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 cups spinach
Juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Zest of one lemon
Plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt

sprouted quinoa
(The day before...) In a glass bowl, mix together the quinoa, the first two cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Cover and place in a warm place for 12-24 hours.

When you are ready to cook the quinoa, strain the quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse well, until the water runs clear. Add rinsed quinoa to a medium pot with the salt and the last two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Fluff with fork and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 additional seconds.

Stir in the paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper. Stir for 30 seconds. Add vegetable broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then add sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Simmer the stew for 25 - 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in spinach and fresh lemon juice in the last 2 minutes.

Serve stew with quinoa. Garnish with cilantro, lemon zest, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Yield: Serves 4-6

Carrot Oatmeal Cookies

Nov 23, 2012

Cookies, cookies, cookies. They're just about everywhere this time of year. 

Unfortunately all those cookies can mean refined sugar and refined flour over-load. These cookies are a nice break from all of that because they actually provide a hefty dose of nutrients. They're made with only wholesome ingredients and don't leave you feeling that yucky inevitable sugar crash associated with refined foods.

So let's take a look... We've got whole grain flour and oats; fresh carrots; healthy fats from the coconut oil, flaked coconut, and pecans; good-for-you-tasty spices, and some natural sweetness from maple syrup. Yum. I just love healthy snacks.

I've been making these cookies for a couple of years now and they've remained a family favorite to this day. We usually have the ingredients on hand and they're quick to throw together. No waiting for ingredients to come to room temperature or creaming involved - just two bowls, a whisk and a spoon. 

Convinced yet? You should be.

Notes: These cookies are easily adaptable. For example, you might experiment with different nuts, oils, flours, or even adding a little lemon zest. In the cookies pictured, I didn't add the optional raisins. Sometimes I throw them in, sometimes not. They're a great addition if you like baked goods with raisins. Enjoy!

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Carrot Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cups chopped pecans
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup finely grated carrot
1/3 cup raisins or currants (optional)

1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the oats, pecans, coconut, and carrot. Stir to combine.

In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and ginger. Add the maple mixture to the dry ingredients and gently stir just until combined.

Drop cookies onto prepared baking sheets, one tablespoonful at a time. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set and slightly golden.

Yield: about 32 small cookies

Spiced Honey Pumpkin Bread

Oct 6, 2012

Mission: To create a pumpkin bread that is just-my-kind-of-perfect pumpkin bread. 

Requirements as follows: 

- obviously pumpkin-y
- whole grain
- naturally and lightly sweetened
- plenty of spice (especially cinnamon)
- very moist
- a strong, tender crumb
- crunchy top crust

Mission: Accomplished. Yessssssss.

Notes: This is a really great base recipe for pumpkin bread. You can certainly bake the batter in muffin tins or even double the recipe to bake in a bundt pan. I've included a three options for slightly different variations; one simply sprinkles a little sugar and some pumpkin seeds on top, another adds a cinnamon-oat streusel topping, and the last is a bittersweet chocolate chunk version. As for the sweetener, honey or maple syrup will do just fine. My reason for using honey (other than the excellent flavor and moisture it adds to the bread) is the fact that we have gallons of the stuff thanks to our busy bees out back. And as for the flour, I found a little white flour gave just enough structure to the bread. A substitution of spelt flour or even white flour may be replaced for the whole-wheat pastry flour.

A Flour Sack original
Spiced Honey Pumpkin Bread

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly-ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
2 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8 1/2 x 5-inch loaf pan with olive oil. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, olive oil, honey, and eggs until well-combined. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk for 10 seconds, just until the flour disappears and the batter is mostly smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with desired toppings (see below) and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

Let the bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove bread and finish cooling on the wire rack. Slice the bread once it has cooled for at least 1 hour.

Yield: one loaf

:: Variations ::

Crunchy Pepita Topping
Pour pumpkin bread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds), then 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake as directed above.

Cinnamon-Oat Streusel Topping
In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. To the mixture, add 4
tablespoons of chilled unsalted butter that has been cut into cubes. Rub the butter between your
fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the mixture feels coarse like cornmeal, with some larger chunks of streusel as well. Add in 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Pour pumpkin bread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with streusel. Bake as directed above.

Bittersweet Chocolate-Chunk
Fold 6 ounces of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate into batter after combining flour and pumpkin mixtures. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with an additional 2 ounces of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate, then 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake as directed above.

This post shared on The Nourishing Gourmet and Beyond the Peel

Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Oct 28, 2011

Is that not just the cutest loaf of bread you've ever set eyes on? I know, right? Not only is this loaf shaped like a pumpkin, but it tastes like one, too.

Pumpkin-y goodness.

Oh, yum.


Lest I commit an unpardonable sin and forget to mention... It makes for just about the best darn French Toast I've ever pulled off the griddle. And I believe that my dear mother would wholeheartedly agree with me. Yes, we love us some pumpkin spice French Toast slathered in butter and topped with plenty of pure maple syrup. Especially on cool mornings like this one, bundled in our fleece pj's, reading the morning paper together.

This, my friends, is what Autumn is all about.

Notes: The original recipe calls for exclusively bread flour, but I found it worked wonderfully with a bit of hard whole-wheat, too, and gave it just a nudge more of the heartiness that I love. Use what you have on hand. I suspect that even all-purpose flour would do alright in place of the bread flour, though the dough will not have as strong of a rise or quite as structured of a crumb. Baking this dough in two loaf pans with a few slashes cut on the top of each would work just fine - for convenience's sake on those busy days.

Adapted from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

Oct 11, 2011

Welcome, my favorite season of the year! Welcome crunchy leaves, red apples, crisp air, cinnamon, and big cozy sweaters. Oh, how I've missed you so. 

To me, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

If anything says Autumn - it's this cake. Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze, to be more specific.

I've made this cake exactly three times in the past week and a half. It's so good I probably should have made it more, now that I think about it in terms of numbers like that. Every time I got out a glass bowl and the mixer, my sister would say something along the lines of, "Let me guess.... The Spice Cake again?" I would proudly answer in the affirmative with a firm nod of my head. And then she would slowly saunter away with a slight grin on her face because she secretly loves this cake as much as I do, but for some reason thinks it's silly that I've made it so much lately. I, on the other hand, will not be shy when it comes to something so perfect for the season. I'll make The Spice Cake as much as I want, thank you very much.

This cake has taken its place as my current favorite (wouldn't ya know!). Thanks to the loads of applesauce, it is so absolutely moist. The applesauce also gives the cake a perfectly subtle apple flavor. And when a generous amount of cinnamon and spice is added, wonderful things begin to happen. AND then.... I won't even say how completely heavenly the caramel glaze is - I'll leave that one up to you to decide as you sneak a taste or two of the dripping glaze. (It's okay. I'll be the first to admit I did it too. Not shy about this cake, remember?)

Please make this cake. You will be filled with all sorts of Autumnal joy if you do. Promise.

Notes: Since my dad tends to two apple trees out back, we have an abundance of canned homemade applesauce in the basement. If you are so inclined, make a quick batch of your own - homemade applesauce is simply the best. It's lovely in this recipe, too - so fresh and flavorful. I made a few of my own tweaks to the original recipe, of course. First of all, I one-and-a-halved the recipe because I like my bundt cakes nice and tall, with about 3 cups of total flour. It's the perfect amount for a 12-cup bundt pan. Also, I used a couple of whole-grain flours along with a bit of all-purpose. If you don't have the whole-grains on hand, certainly all-purpose can be used for all 3 cups of flour. I also decreased the amount of sugar because the applesauce is so sweet itself, I didn't feel that the cake needed any more, especially with the rich caramel glaze. And last, but certainly not least, olive oil replaced the vegetable because I simply love olive oil in cakes like this. It's a barely noticeable taste, but works perfectly here.

Adapted from Food 52

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