who knew it was quinoa?

No one!

Would you believe me if I told you that at one point I had upwards of TWENTY different kinds of flours in my freezer?  (Thank goodness for extra freezer space in the basement.)

It all started with Good to the Grain, a cookbook that features multiple grains/flours, such as oat, amaranth, corn, buckwheat, etc…  The book came out in 2010, before these flours were available in most grocery stores, and I remember placing a rather large order with Bob’s Red Mill to get the lesser-known varieties (teff, kamut) shipped to my door.

Over the years, the amount of baking I’ve done has decreased for multiple reasons, including time constraints in my schedule, ascribing to a more ‘paleo’ style diet (no grains) and a desire to be healthier overall (decreasing added sugars). However, I really love to bake and do still indulge in both decadent treats and healthier baked goods from time to time.

I’m getting off topic.  Quinoa.  Back to quinoa.

ANYWAY, I’ve been experiencing an on-again, off-again push to–once and for all–use up all those alternative baking flours that are taking up space in my freezer and keep my collection limited to those flours used most often in paleo-style baking and that yield a good product.  The ‘baking-with-ancient-grains’ ride has been fun (and informative!), but I’ve gotta simplify.

Quinoa flour, which boasts it’s own chapter in Good to the Grain, has a strong flavor of…dirt.  I said it. In addition to the fiber and protein quinoa flour adds to your product, it also adds a certain ‘earthiness’ that’s hard to disguise. I’ve made quinoa-beet pancakes, quinoa-pumpkin pancakes and many other things and I can still taste the flour a bit more than I’d like, and I’m pretty accepting of less-than-perfect products.

So when I spied the recipe on the back of the bag for chocolate cupcakes, I realized I’d been going about this quinoa flour thing all wrong.  I needed an equally strong flavor to balance out the quinoa!  (Apparently, beets aren’t strong enough.)  CHOCOLATE.


Bob’s Red Mill Sour Cream Fudge Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Place the butter and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Sift together the sugar, quinoa flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cooled cocoa mixture, egg yolks, vanilla and sour cream and blend well. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
  2. Spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
    Makes 12 gorgeous cupcakes.

I actually ended up making these cupcakes twice in one weekend–once to bring to a friend’s house, topped with Ina’s Chocolate Frosting, and another batch to my sister-in-law’s house for the Super Bowl, topped with this peanut butter frosting from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

I was shocked at how well the cupcakes turned out!  Not a hint of quinoa flour at all!  (Not that it’s all bad, but you’ve gotta know your audience with some of these ‘healthy subs’ and believe me when I tell you I faced two tough crowds this weekend.

So, moral of the story: give quinoa a try!  Just make sure to throw in a little chocolate, too.



strawberry-banana ice cream

How often is it that you see a recipe you want to make, and happen to have ALL the ingredients on-hand at that very moment?  For me, not that often.  Especially taking into consideration that it is WAY too early for strawberries here, so why in the world did I have any in the first place…  (For a Mother’s Day paleo tart that was delicious.)

Anyway, I was surfing Instagram the other day and came upon NomNomPaleo’s recipe for strawberry banana ice cream.  (Obviously, dairy-free.)  Her picture was gorgeous, and again, I realized I had all the ingredients necessary.  Score.


NomNomPaleo’s Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

3 frozen bananas, chopped

1 C frozen strawberries, hulled

1/2 C full-fat coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in food processor and mix until smooth.  (I used my blender and this took a lot of stopping, stirring, and re-starting. However, it only took a few minutes before it totally transformed into a completely perfect soft ice-cream consistency!)

Spoon into a container and freeze!

Both Andrew and I really liked the flavor and texture.  With the simple ingredient list, I can see this being something I make with different fruits all summer long!


Mom Layer’s Sugar Cream Pie

Mom Layer’s Sugar Cream Pie

1 9-inch pie shell

1 C sugar

¼ C corn starch

2 C milk

1 stick butter, cold

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 pint heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp sugar

  1. Pre-bake pie shell according to package directions.
  2. Cook sugar, corn starch and milk in a saucepan over medium heat until thick.
  3.  Add butter and vanilla off the heat.
  4. Pour into pie shell and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.
  5. While pie is baking, whip cream and sugar together to form stiff peaks.
  6. Serve with freshly whipped cream.