A Simple Quinoa Salad

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Last night I was looking for a side dish for my dinner. It was quite a challenge since I haven’t gone shopping for groceries since I went on vacation a week and a half ago. I am out of everything. I managed to scrape enough stuff together to make this salad.

This salad is bet eaten the day it is made. It does not keep very well. The salad could be made with any vinaigrette and mix of vegetables.

Simple Quinoa Salad

½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 TBS walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 TBS green onions, minced
1 TBS dried cranberries
2 TBS red wine vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
1 cup water

Bring one cup of water to a boil; add quinoa. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Drain any remaining water. Let cool to room temperature. After the quinoa is cooled, place it in a bowl. Add walnuts, green onions and dried cranberries Mix well. Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted From I Don’t Remember Where

Make Your Own Bread — Amish White Bread

The first step is to gather your equipment. You will need a large bowl, a rubber spatula, measuring spoons, liquid measuring cup and dry measuring cups. WIN_20150112_115122 (2) The next step is to gather your ingredients. We will need bread flour, yeast, , oil, salt and a bit of sugar for this loaf of bread. WIN_20150112_141136 (3) Now on to the actual making bread part. In your large bowl, measure out the warm water, sugar and yeast. Remember, the water shouldn’t feel warm or cold when you put your finger in it. If the water is too hot you will kill the yeast and your bread will not rise. If the water is too cold it will take forever to rise. Set aside the yeast mixture for 10-15 minutes. When the yeast mixture is ready for the next step it will look frothy. WIN_20150112_134746 (2) Add the oil and salt. Add enough flour to form a soft dough. I know this is vague but depending on things like the humidity, the amount of flour it takes to get a soft dough will vary. Some days it will only take two cups of flour other days it may take 3 1/2 – 4 cups of flour. I usually keep about a half cup of flour aside to use for kneading.

Once you have your soft dough it is time to turn out your dough onto a clean surface, lightly sprinkled with flour and knead it. Kneading the bread is an important step as it develops the proteins needed to make our dough rise so it is worth is to spend adequate time on this step. To knead your bread, fold the dough in half, using the heel of you hand push the dough like you are trying to push the dough through the cutting board, turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat. You should have a minimum of 10 very active minutes of kneading. As you knead the dough will become sticky. When this happens add a teaspoon or two of flour to the dough and continue kneading. You will know when you have finished kneading the dough when it becomes smooth and elastic. This term made no sense to me until I read that smooth and elastic means about the texture of your ear lobe.
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Once your bread is smooth and elastic, shape it into a ball and place it back into a bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the top with a little cooking spray and cover with a clean towel. Set the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise for about an hour or until doubled in volume.

Amish White Bread

1 cup warm water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ¾ tsp dry active yeast
2 TBS canola oil,
3 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
¾ tsp plus 1 pinch kosher salt
1 egg
1 TBS water

In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let it stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 cup flour; stir to combine. Add ¾ teaspoon salt and remaining flour. Stir to combine. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes. Return to the bowl and oil the top. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour. Coat a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Turn the risen dough onto a floured surface and shape into an oblong loaf. Place into the prepared pan and set aside to proof for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk egg with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt. Brush lightly onto the surface of the risen dough. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 30-40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

From The Everything Bread Book

40 Dollars a Week Challenge Menu Week 4

Being on vacation this week has really screwed up my menu plan for the week. I have been on vacation for 6 days and haven’t been to the grocery store once. I have eaten out a lot and when I have cooked at home it has been simple things, like pasta and burgers, using things from my pantry. So while I made a few things from last week’s menu you are going to see some overlap between last week’s menu and this week’s menu. I am going to cook at home for the rest of my vacation and be back to posting recipes on January 27.

Friday — Homemade english muffins, scrambled eggs and cheese
Saturday — Crepes with sauteed apples
Sunday — Spicy kale cups, english muffin
Monday — Garlic broccoli scrambles, english muffin
Tuesday — Boston brown bread muffins
Wednesday — Pancakes, eggs

Friday — Ground beef gyros, simple quinoa salad
Saturday — Roasted pork loin, salad/dressing, pantry fruit salad
Sunday — Leftovers
Monday — Ginger Tempeh Burgers
Tuesday — Lasagna, leftover quinoa salad, leftover pantry fruit salad
Wednesday — Leftovers

I Am On Vacation


That’s right. For the next nine days I am on vacation. I am not going anywhere but I am getting company. So I have decided to unplug for a few days while I clean my apartment, prepare a special gift for my dear friend, bake us some treats and focus on having some fun.

I didn’t want to leave for that long without letting you know I am coming back and giving you something to do in my absence. I thought I would share some of my favorite blogs. They aren’t all food blogs or small batch recipe blogs like mine, but they are all worth a look.

Dessert For Two — When my blog grows up I want it to be just like Desserts For Two! The blog has gorgeous photography, great writing and amazing recipes. I have made many recipes from Christina’s blog over the years and they are always absolutely fantastic.

The Oatmeal Artist — I’ll admit when I first came across this blog I wasn’t a fan of oatmeal. It had a texture I didn’t like and I thought oatmeal was boring. However, as part of a new healthy eating plan I was determined to eat it. The Oatmeal Artist helped me do it. There is something about the way she cooks her oatmeal that doesn’t render it a gloopy mess. As for boring, Ms. smith has so many flavor combinations I could try a new flavor everday for months and never repeat one.

Gastro-a-Go-Go — Essbee holds a special place in my heart because she is the first person ever to comment on A Solitary Feast. Her blog holds a special place in my heart because I have laughed so hard at some of her posts, I snorted. Unfortunately, she post new recipes anymore. You should still check it out anyway. It is some funny stuff.

Medium Large — I love this site. Ted Forth and I have a lot in common.

Well, I hope you enjoy visiting a few of my favorite sites while I am on vacation. I’ll be back on January 27, 2015.

Cranberry Pecan Sugar Cookies

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Today I am celebrating a milestone at A Solitary Feast. This morning my blog reached 101 likes and 22 followers. When I started this blog last March, I never imagined anyone outside my Mom and a few of my friends would be interested in my recipes. I am so thankful for every single person who has taken time to read my blog and so grateful for every single comment and like. You may not know it because I want to keep my blog about the food, not my personal drama but you have helped me through a rough job transition, my Mom’s brain surgery and a thousand other little things that come with everyday life.

If I could I would invite you all over for coffee and treats. Since I can’t do that, I am going to share the recipe for the treat I would make for you all. My mom made these cookies for Christmas from a recipe that was all over the internet a few years ago, that used store bought dough. In an unusual move for my mom, she is all about convenience in the kitchen, she decided to make the cookies from scratch. They are so good. The dough is a bit crumbly but if you gently give it a squeeze while shaping it into a ball it should hold together nicely. If you don’t feel like frosting the cookies, don’t worry about it. The cookies are still very good without it.

Cranberry Pecan Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
3 TBS lightly beaten egg
2 tsp milk
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped pecans
3 oz white chocolate

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, mix well. In another bowl cream the sugar and butter, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beaten egg, mix well. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and start to mix. When mixture starts coming together, add the milk. When all the flour is incorporated into the dough, the mixture will be a bit crumbly, fold in the cranberries and nuts. Form the dough into balls, using one tablespoon of dough. Place the balls one inch apart on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Using a glass dipped in sugar, flatten the balls into disks. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then remove to a baking rack to cool completely.

Adapted from my Mom’s sugar cookie recipe