Puffed Quinoa Cereal

Cereal is so expensive.  Granola.  Puffs with fruit and nuts.  Guess what?  It’s all a giant scam!  Stop buying cereal now and start making your own.  It’s healthier, cheaper and you get to pick quality items – especially if you’re gluten free like me.

Puffed Quinoa DIY Breakfast Cereal

Ingredients: Puffed quinoa, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chia seeds, flax.

Instructions: Throw whatever is to your liking into the bowl, pour the milk of your choice and THAT’S IT!  No more store bought overpriced fruit & grain for you!

Nutrition TIP: The nutrition of puffed quinoa is great.  A typical serving of puffed quinoa is 50 grams (which is a more than your typical 30 gram cereal serving – you can always eat less) – here is the nutrition for the quinoa:

Values Per 50g
Calories 180 calories
Protein 6.5g
Carbohydrates 32g
Sugar 1.75g
Fat 7.1g
Saturated Fat 0.96g
Fiber 7g
Sodium Trace

Post Gym TIP: I sometimes use this as my after snack.  If I eat it after the gym, I omit the added flax because my naturopath says too much fiber isn’t good in an after gym snack.

Good Idea Gone Bad: Minty Pop

So this summer I got all into making popsicles.  Coconut milk & berries.  Peach with Greek yogurt.  Even plain old water & cucumber “spa” pops.  And in a love of creative spirit, I decided to experiment and make a minty pop.  It seems attractive, the idea sounds good, but frankly, this was disgusting!

Here is why a minty pop (at least how I did it) is a bad idea:

  • The mint leaf was stringy and ruined the texture of the pop.
  • The mint leaf, when consumed in giant chunks, tasted bitter.
  • The mint flavor did not disperse, it stayed in the giant leaf.
  • It was hard to eat the mint leaf because parts stayed frozen to the pop.

I’m not giving up on minty pops, I will definitely try again – just not any time soon!  And don’t be discouraged from doing DIY mint flavors, just take into consideration that plopping a giant bitter leaf into a popsicle isn’t the way to do it.  Happy pop making!

Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

There’s nothing I enjoy more than learning how to make my own something, and then triumphantly claiming “I’ll never buy that again!”  Once you make your own jam or preserves you will never spend another penny on store bought.  Not only that, you can buy local and eat seasonally without eating only what’s in season.  These strawberries are in pretty bad condition – we bought them at closing time from a farmer’s market for almost nothing.

Warning: This recipe uses 1/2 the sugar of most recipes and might not set depending on the ripeness of the strawberries.  If it doesn’t set, no problem, the thickness of the rhubarb still makes it thick enough to spread.  I do not believe in using sugar substitutes!

Keeping the rhubarb smaller helps equalize the cooking time of the quick cooking strawberry versus the slow going rhubarb.

Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Ingredients:

1 lb Strawberries, Hulled & Halved

1 lb Rhubarb, Cut into 2″ pieces

1 lb Sugar (Double the sugar for a more traditional jam)

1tsp Pectin (Can omit if using very under ripe strawberries)

2 tsp Lemon Juice

1 Tbsp Butter

Instructions:

Start cooking your rhubarb over medium heat in the same pot you will use to make the jam until it softens just a little.  Add the strawberries, pectin, lemon juice and butter then stir.  Keep on medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Switch to a low heat boil.  Stir occasionally and skim off any foam.  Using a thermometer (every home canner needs one) check your jam and turn off the heat when it reaches 222 degrees Fahrenheit (or 105 Celcius).  Using pre-sterilized jars, pour the jam into the jars.  Close the jars and turn upside down to cool.

Tips on Jam Making: Copper pots rule!  I know they’re expensive, but investing in one copper pot can give you great cooking results.  When I switched from regular pots to copper pots, I noticed a marked decrease in unintentional burned food.  Maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems like jam making is easier in the copper pot because the heat is more steady.

Tips on Jars: Use a funnel to pour into jars.  If you’re reusing jars, check and make sure there are absolutely no signs of wear and tear in the lids whatsoever.  In fact, I recommend purchasing new lids often – you can get them separate from the jars.

Tips on Pasteurization: This jam is NOT pasteurized – it must be used in about a month or two if refrigerated and should be frozen if you don’t think you will use it.  If you want to pasteurize it, do it.  Maybe when I’m a mommy I’ll pasteurize, but for right now I’m happy not pasteurizing.

Tips on What to do with Jam: If you’re like me, you have a glut of jam.  Aside from giving it away, here is one cute thing we did with ours.  We made Spelt Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Cookies.

Notes: While not necessarily inspired by this recipe, I did get the idea of adding butter in jam from this All Recipes Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.  I was happy with the results.