Monthly Archives: September 2010

Spanish Quinoa Pilaf

This morning we got some definitive answers for my mom’s eye troubles. The glaucoma specialist told us there are 2 different situations to be addressed. One is that the episode she had 3 weeks ago was caused by inflammation in the eye which blocked the drainage. As this was exactly the same kind of episode she had 30 years ago, he said it’s possible it can happen again, at any time, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it. If it does happen again, we’re to take her to the ER, or if she’s travelling elsewhere, to use the eye drops she has now and then see the doctor as soon as she’s back. He said it could happen again in a couple years’ time, or 30 years from now, or never. Hm. The other issue is that she was born with very narrow angles, so they are going to use a laser procedure to ensure they don’t close altogether. That will happen in 2 stages over the next 4 weeks.

It’s good to have answers. And on the plus side, after her scare in the ER, she’s now diligently wearing her glasses more, which I think will help prevent other vision problems. 🙂

I came home and experimented in the kitchen and made up a batch of Spanish Quinoa Pilaf:


In one of my mother’s Costco shopping sprees awhile back, she had bought this giant bag of organic quinoa:

I decided it was high time we make a dent in it.


  • 1-1/2 C quinoa
  • canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • spices and herbs: I used: 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (use more if you like it spicy), 1 tsp chili powder (use more if you like a stronger flavour), 1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning, and pinch of oregano (or whatever herbs/seasonings you like…I’m never exact with my recipes)
  • 2 C low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C diced zuchinni
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 C frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salsa and tomato sauce – – just enough to add a bit of moisture and flavour (today I used about 3 TB of each)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Lightly toast the quinoa in a big pot over medium heat. (Watch that it doesn’t burn; when it begins to “pop”, it is nearly there) Transfer quinoa to another dish/bowl for now.

2. Saute red onion in canola or olive oil (I used a combination of the 2) over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the garlic (1 clove) after a couple minutes. Keep stirring occasionally until onion is translucent and slightly browned.

3. Add red pepper flakes, steak seasoning, chili powder, and any other herbs/spices at this time. Keep stirring and cook for 30 sec – 1 min.

4.Add quinoa, broth, and water. Scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan–this will add flavour. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 – 15 mins or until the liquid has been absorbed.

5. In the meantime, saute zuchinni, red pepper and the rest of the garlic in a separate frying pan with a bit of canola oil over medium-high heat. When the vegetables are almost done cooking (about 2 – 3 mins), add the frozen corn. Turn off the heat when the corn has heated through (another minute or so). Add black pepper to taste.

6. When quinoa has finished cooking, turn off the heat and add the sauted vegetables along with kidney beans, tomato, and green onion. Mix altogether with enough salsa and tomato sauce to moisten. And enjoy!

*Note: I did not add any salt during the cooking process because I like my food relatively low-key, and because there is already sodium in the broth, salsa, and tomato sauce. But that’s just my preference. 🙂

(Edited to add: this recipe makes A LOT of quinoa. In the future, I will probably only make 1 Cup of Quinoa, thereby reducing the chicken broth and water to a total of 2 Cups of liquid. Yes, we’ll be eating quinoa for quite a few days to come…)

Anybody have any fun quinoa recipes to share?


Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Kitchen Adventures



Weekend TV and Eats

Weekend has come and gone. It was grand.

Saturday night we had hot pot:

In the spread:

  • beef slices
  • prawns
  • geoduck slices
  • fish tofu, fried tofu, bean curd sheets, and a Japanese kind of tofu that I don’t remember the name for
  • fish balls, taro balls
  • tilapia fillets
  • pile o’ vegetables: suey choy, lettuce, lotus root, snap peas, chayote, oyster mushroom
  • udon

My favourite in any hot pot is the udon at the end. The noodles just soak up all the flavours in the broth that was made so tasty by all the other food that had gone in it. YUM.

Today was a relaxing day off for me. Went grocery shopping, running with Len, tried a new yogurt:

It was pretty good. Tasted a lot like the Source yogurt we usually have. My favourite is still the Biobest.

What’s your favourite brand of yogurt?

And we had naan pizzas tonight:

Mine had 2 different halves: one side had spicy capicollo, spinach, mushroom, green onion, and mozza, while the other had ham, zucchini, peppers, pineapple, and cheddar. I couldn’t decided which side I preferred.

And all this was leading up to the main event(s) of the day: season premieres of The Amazing Race and Battle of the Blades!

BOTB was so much fun to watch. It was a preview night, focussing on introducing all the competitors and their interactions during the boot camp before they got paired up. It was funny to watch all the hockey players struggle while donning figure skates for the first time. Not to mention when they got their first ballet lesson! I’m so excited to watch them learn and grow through this season–there are some exciting match-ups!  Without having seen any of the pairings yet, I am most looking forward to seeing Shae-Lynn Bourne and Ekaterina Gordeeva with their respective partners. Shae-Lynn has really captured my attention in recent years with her innovative, creative style and her driven attitude, and of course, I have always adored watching Katia do anything on the ice and you might say I’ve long held quite a girl crush on her! Can’t wait for next week!

And then TAR!! What an awesome first episode it was. Full of comedy gold, interesting cast, and of course, Phil! This leg’s winners got a new prize: the Express Pass. With it, they can bypass any task they don’t want to do on future legs (up to the 8th leg). That’s potentially HUGE. So I got to thinking what I might potentially use this pass for. You know, in the very likely scenario that I would be racing on the Amazing Race, of course. A team could use this to get out of doing something they fear. Which has always been such a big part of this race–the testing of your limits, the facing of your deepest fears. I’m not sure what would be my biggest challenge/fear. I do have a mild fear of heights, which, on occasion, I’ve discovered may not be so mild afterall. I don’t have any upper body strength at all. Or much strength anywhere for that matter. So I would most likely have trouble with strength challenges. Now, I eat practically anything under the sun, but I can see that some teams might use this to bypass a food challenge. And we the viewers might get saved from having to watch yet another team puke up some ethnic delicacy.

What would you use the pass for? What are your most intense phobias that you’d have to face on such a race?

Fun, fun night of television. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend too!


Posted by on September 27, 2010 in Hanging Out


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