Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes

Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes
We love so many things about Halloween but the challenging part is all the sugary foods between the Halloween parties and the Trick or Treating.  Add a gluten or wheat allergy in there and you are in for difficult time.  That's why we were so Happy when we discovered Cake on the Brain's post on Quinoa Cupcakes.  She had adapted her recipe from Quinoa 365:  The Everyday Superfood and we have changed it a bit more to reduce the fat and lower the sugar.  These cupcakes are SO GOOD that you won't even notice they are gluten free!
We dressed them up a bit for Halloween but these cupcakes are amazing to eat just plain!
Makes 12-14 large  cupcakes

2 cups cooked quinoa, cold (cook according to package directions)
1/3 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp STAR Extra Light Olive Oil
3/4 cups cane sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12-14 cupcake liners

Have Fun with Toppers!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the muffin tin with the 12 large-sized cupcake liners.

In a Vitamix, Blender or Food Processor, combine:  milk, eggs, vanilla.  Blend until combined.  Add 2 cups of cold cooked quinoa and STAR Extra Light Olive Oil and continue to blend until smooth.

Dump in the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the Vitamix, Blender or Food Processor.  Blend well to combine.

Pour from the blender directly into the cupcake liners, evenly distributing the cupcake batter between the 12 liners.  Gently tap the tin on the counter to ensure there are no air bubbles.  Smooth the tops with a small spatula.

Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan and allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a rack.

Frost if desired. Cupcakes can be stored sealed in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.  We added eyeballs and spider rings to give them Halloween flair.
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Warm Mushroom Tomato Salad

As the weather gets cooler, warm salads are very appealing. The balsamic vinegar in this recipe brings out the mushroom flavor.

Warm Mushroom Tomato Salad

1 tablespoon STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup Sunburst Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
2 1/2 tablespoons STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 1/2 tablespoons STAR Balsamic Vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Feta Cheese (we used herbed but plain will work as well)
1 (10 ounce) package baby greens mix

Heat 1 tablespoon of STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and tomatoes, cook stirring until soft. Continue cooking until the juices from the mushrooms and tomatoes have reduced to about 3 tablespoons.

Stir in the remaining STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil, STAR Balsamic Vinegar, salt and pepper until evenly blended. Turn off heat, and let cool until they are no longer hot - otherwise the greens will wilt too much.

Put the baby greens into a serving bowl, and pour the warm mushroom mixture over them. Top with the Feta Cheese.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Creamy Balsamic Glazes from STAR

STAR Balsamic Glazes
STAR Balsamic Glazes
STAR's NEW Balsamic Glazes have a sweet, tangy and intense flavor that compliments the flavors of food they are paired with. 

Adding a beautiful glaze pattern is easy with the glazes' unique packaging. The ergonomic design provides easy use and comfort and the non-drip valve allows for better dosage and application control. 

Infinite Applications
Drizzle a few lines of Modena over salad, pasta or pizza.  Use the Raspberry or Apple glazes to finish fine deserts like cheesecake or tarts.  The balsamic glazes are the perfect embellishment to take a dish 

STAR Raspberry Glaze over cheescake
STAR Raspberry Glaze over cheesecake

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fennel Lemon Chicken

Root vegetables are defiantly one of our fall favorites. This incredibly tasty dish is great because it uses one pan and is ready in 30 minutes making it a perfect weekday meal.
Fennel-Lemon Chicken

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
2 small fennel bulbs, between 1 and 1 1/4 pounds total
2 tablespoons STAR Original Garlic Olive Oil
2 tablespoons light-tasting white wine
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Trim the stalks and fronds off the fennel bulbs, and cut each bulb in quarters. Then slice each quarter into 1-inch-thick slices. Mince about 1 tablespoon of fennel fronds.  Place cut fennel, minced fennel fronds and chicken in a large bowl.
Arrange chicken in the middle

Add the STAR Original Garlic Olive Oil, white wine  and lemon zest and juice to the bowl. Toss all the ingredients together, and add the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Spread the chicken and fennel on a large baking sheet, arranging the fennel around the outside and placing the chicken pieces closely together in the center. Pour any remaining juices in the bowl over the chicken.

Roast for 30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of about 160°F, and the fennel is tender and beginning to brown around the edges. Take the pan out of the oven, and cover with foil. Let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Goes great with rice or quinoa as a side dish!
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