Happy Herbivore Blog

What is Quinoa? (video)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQVideo

Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is an ancient grain, once cherished by the Aztecs. (Technically, it’s a pseudo-cereal, but its most often used and lumped with grains). It’s also wheat-free, gluten-free and 100% whole grain goodness.

Why try it?

Quinoa has a nutty taste, cooks fast (making it a perfect alternative to brown rice when you’re in a hurry) and it’s a complete protein, meaning it has all those important amino acids. (It’s also a good source of calcium, iron and magnesium -- what a superhero!)

Quinoa also comes in a few different colors --- white being the most available, but you can sometimes find red or black. 

Recipes for Quinoa:

It’s great in soups (such as HH’s Aztec Corn Soup), as a salad (such as HH’s Aztec Corn Salad) or even on top of a salad raw or uncooked. You can find quinoa at most supermarkets (check the pasta section), but you can always find it at health food stores, Trader Joes and Costco, where the bulk price tends to be ridiculously low.

Most U.S. brands of quinoa come pre-rinsed, but if yours doesn’t (it’ll have a chalky coating), you’ll need to rinse it off under cool water before cooking. (p.s. Quinoa from a bulk bin should always be rinsed.)

To cook: Add 1 cup water for every ½ cup quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low heat until all the water has evaporated, about 15 minutes. 

p.s. Vote for me (Lindasy Nixon) for fave cookbook author & Happy Herbivore for best blog!here

No Oven Baking (Baking Muffins without an Oven!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQGuests

When I lived in New York City, I couldn't stand the thought of baking in the summer months. I had a window AC unit but even with it full blast using my gas oven was out of the question.

I had to bake cookies in the summer once -- for a book expo -- and I baked them in a bikini. Even then I was dying so when Poochie tweeted she'd "baked" HH's chocolate zucchini muffins without and oven I had a thousand questions. Then I begged her to guest post her secrets.

Without further ado, here is Poochie:

I live in a 112+ year old home and sometimes I wish for a "summer kitchen".  The original owners of our home would have had a detached kitchen to help prevent fires as well as working to keep the home cool in the pre-AC days. But now, our kitchen is attached to the home, but we still don't want to heat up the house with cooking, especially in the sweltering South.  

Does that mean I have to do without delicious muffins all summer long?  Heck no!  The key is a simple appliance that may already be hanging around in your cabinets... the electric sandwich maker.

I've had my sandwich maker since college (ages and ages ago) and have, frankly, only ever used it to make muffins. Lol!  In my pre-vegan days, I would use this for a quick batch of Jiffy muffins, but now I whip up HH's blueberry or, in this case, chocolate-zucchini muffins. And using this for muffins could not be simpler.

How to Bake Muffins Without an Oven:

Make your muffin batter according to the recipe and then all you do is plug in your sandwich maker to pre-heat after giving it a quick spritz of cooking spray (I then give the panels a quick blot with a paper towel).  Mine is so basic it doesn't have an off/on switch.  I just plug it in.

Once the maker is hot, and spoon in a few spoonfuls of the batter.  Try to avoid over-filling or you'll make a bit of a mess.  Then close the lid.  The 2nd indicator light will go out when the muffins are done but you can also open the lid to check on them. There isn't really a set time but I would say each batch takes about 5 minutes.  

Once the muffins are done, you should be able to pop them out easily.  I use a butter knife but the edge of a spatula would work too.  You may need to give the panels another spritz of cooking spray, just to make sure nothing sticks. 

You get 4 triangular muffins each time.  The process is a bit more manual than putting the whole batch in the oven at one time but at least my house isn't 20 degrees hotter!  The muffins also come out with a baked "crust" (think the exterior of your traditional muffin base) but inside they are just as fluffy as regular muffins.   I actually like muffins better this way!

I hope this helps you enjoy HH's delicious muffins all year round!

p.s. Vote for me (Lindasy Nixon) for fave cookbook author & Happy Herbivore for best blog!here

Minimalist Monday: Get What You Want (Anti Consumerism)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

My sister is my financial advisor. If you need to squeeze quarters out of pennies, Courtney knows how to do it. By looking at her year end account statement last year, she realized she could pay off all her student debt 6 years early by simply getting rid of cable TV for a year. She's that good. 

Anyway, my sister, during one of our... shall we say, "financial sessions," shared a terrific story with me that I think sings to the heart of minimalism: that less is more. 

The story went like this:

An American tourist marvels at the fish a fisherman in Mexico caught. The American asks how long it took and the Mexican says "not very long." The American then asks why he didn't stay longer to catch more fish. The Mexican explains that what he caught was sufficient to support his family. So then the American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" The Mexican said he slept late, played with his kids, took a siesta with his wife and in the evenings, goes into the village to see his friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing songs..." 

The American then interrupted and said, "Why don't you stay out a little longer and catch more fish and make more money?" The Mexican asks why. The American explains, "You can sell the extra fish you catch and use that money to buy a bigger boat." The Mexican says, "Okay, then what?" The American says with a bigger boat, you can catch even more fish, so you can buy more boats, and eventually, have a whole fleet." "Okay, then what?" asks the Mexican. "Once you have the big fleet you can hire people to run the business for you." The American explains. "Okay, then what?" asks the Mexican. "Then you can sell your empire and retire a millionaire!" the American says. "A Millionaire? Really? and then what?" asks the Mexican. The America perks up, smiles and says, "and then you will be able to do anything you want: sleep in, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, go to the village and see your friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing songs..." (source credit).

I've talked about the negativity of consumerism before -- that consumerism leads us to believe that more is better and that whatever we have isn't enough. This is a prescription for disappointment. This kind of thinking leads to unhappiness. 

Courtney's story also reminded me of my post on Working to Live vs. Living to Work -- and how living abroad made me realize that Europeans don't seem have the same money-hunger that Americans do and as a result, they appear much more content with their work-life balance. It's all coming full circle for me. 

Less really is more. I have everything I need. I don't have everything I want, but I want what I have. I suppose that's a start. 

With my minimalist journey I'm finding I need even less than I think I do. It's so easy to confuse a "want" with a "need" and often our wants parade around as needs. 

My Riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants - Joseph Brotherton. (Thx for sharing this quote with me Meridith!)

Thoughts?

p.s. Vote for me (Lindasy Nixon) for fave cookbook author & Happy Herbivore for best blog!here