Hope everyone is having a great weekend, it’s been productive and relaxing here so far. We watched our neighbor cover their house in Christmas decorations yesterday and I love it, think I ready to decorate ours. :-) The weather is getting chilly with lows in the 30s this weekend and I also love that, great excuse to light the fireplace and the pets to snuggle up and be lazy. Skipper somehow always finds the smallest bed to stuff himself into.
While Miko is enjoying the larger bed we bought for Skipper.
I managed to let our kitchen get very empty this week resorting to using up frozen veggies and pantry grains, so a huge shopping trip was in order. I traumatized hubby by taking him to Trader Joe’s to help me load up and grab some new foods he’d like to try. Our local Trader Joe’s is always packed on weekends, the parking lot is chaos, and long check out lines blocking isles. Yesterday it was worse as holiday madness seems to be kicking in, but it didn’t bother me because I’m used to it and know the quality ingredients for the prices are worth putting up with it.
I’m always comparing Trader Joe’s products with similar brands found at Target or other grocery stores for the same price and surprised that the Trader Joe’s version is not loaded with a long list of preservatives, such as Trader Joe’s French Fried Onions for topping green bean casseroles. Same price and size as a package found at Target and both vegan-friendly, but the TJ’s version has a much shorter ingredient list that I actually understand and better taste while the other version is full of chemical preservatives.
Carrageenan, a thickening ingredient from seaweed, has been getting a lot of publicity lately for causing digestive stress, inflammation, and other unpleasant stuff in this study. Turns out the ingredient is in a lot of ready made soy, almond, and other dairy and non-dairy products, including a certain popular brand of almond milk you can get just about everywhere. But the Trader Joe’s almond milk does not have it and it’s an ingredient I’ll be avoiding when I buy ready made non-dairy milks.
Anyway, this week I’ve been focusing on hearty, whole foods-based one pot cooked vegan dishes for chilly winter dinners, dishes that do not use oil or other refined fats and avoid frying. Last night I grabbed the anise seed spice from our spice drawer to use as a theme ingredient because I haven’t used it in awhile and wanted to see if I could create a warming dish using it with quinoa.
Quinoa with Anise Seed
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. grated ginger
- 1 tsp. anise seed
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 small or 1 large carrot, grated
- 2 small or 1 large apple, chopped
- Bring water, quinoa, onions, and garlic to boil in a medium pot.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until quinoa is fluffy and liquid in absorbed, stirring occasionally.
- Serve and enjoy, makes 4 servings.
I didn’t saute the garlic and onions in oil before adding to the recipe and I don’t think it needed it, the onions added a nice texture and flavor to the dish as is.
The ingredients only took about 5 minutes to prepare and I was able to clean the kitchen and sip wine while it simmered.
The presentation looks like a warming and festive fall/winter dish with a golden color and slightly sweet smell.
The anise flavor is present with a mild liquorice flavor while being sweet and salty. The carrots added a little crunch while the apples were hot and soft adding a nice texture to the quinoa.
It could make a great vegan main dish and/or simple side dish for a holiday party.