Amaranth Porridge with Spiced Apple and Pear

About a year ago I was growing tired of quinoa and steel cut oats and decided to branch my grain horizons.  It would benefit my health to eat a wider variety of grains and it would get me out of my food rut.

Amaranth was one of the grains I introduced into my diet.  Classified as a pseudo-cereal because it comes from a different plant species than the true cereal grains (oats, wheat, sorghum, etc) amaranth has been a part of the human diet for thousands of years.  Always a good sign.  : )

This “grain”, actually a small seed, has a lot of perks.  Amaranth is naturally gluten-free, high in fiber and a complete source of protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids.  This includes lysine which is generally lacking in most grains.  It’s also a good source of some other important minerals such as iron and magnesium.

Amaranth

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My new favorite smoothie

I used to think making a smoothie required no real thought or effort.  I would blend together whatever I could find in my freezer and refrigerator.  If the individual parts all taste good then the sum of the parts will taste great, right?  Well, no.

Going heavy on the plain non-fat Greek yogurt makes a smoothie sour.  A little cinnamon or ginger go a long, long way.  Certain fruits can dominate over others.  And there can be too much kale or spinach.

This summer I learned that mastering the art of a yummy, balanced smoothie takes a little work.  You have to use the right combination of ingredients in the right quantities.  No matter how unnecessary a smoothie recipe seems, it takes hardly any effort to follow one so why not let someone else deal with the trial and error?

The Chocolate Covered Cherry Protein Smoothie from Sally’s Baking Addiction is my new favorite.  I’ve made it once a month since June.  It tastes so indulgent that it’s become my special treat when I am trying to relax and enjoy life.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie 3

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Chocolate peanut butter bars

These bars come straight from dessert heaven.  They are so indulgent and delicious that it is hard to have just one.  I only sort of wish I didn’t eat one before packing the rest for a family gathering.  Maybe then I would have had the willpower to turn down a second one at the gathering.  And maybe I would have had the willpower to give the leftovers away instead of taking them home to finish off myself.  Maybe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars 1

Needless to say I’m not going to admit how many of these I ate but they were so good that I don’t even feel that guilty about it.

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Ghost pepper pizza

We’ve instituted a new rule in our home.  My husband is now in charge of Friday dinners.  (My idea of course.)  He has to come up with a meal idea, grocery shop and cook.

For his first dinner he chose to make a pizza.  He is an excellent pizza maker so I was on board.  I trust him to choose well paired toppings and make something inventive and satisfying.

When he came home from the grocery store he said, “Now, some of these things were kind of expensive but I thought they would go well together.”  I paused.  This isn’t going to be what he says every Friday, right?  Then he started naming the ingredients he purchased.  Uh oh.  What did I get us into?

Dried ghost peppers for one.

Dried Ghost Peppers

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