As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I am a big fan of Food52. I regularly enter recipe contests over there, and I even won a contest with my turkey pho recipe back in November…

Last week, for their “Best Couscous” contest, I made this couscous recipe and I just loved the combination of the spices with the raisins. So I combined them again in this muesli recipe, with the addition of cashews and coconut milk, and I was really pleased with the result.

muesli550

Oats are a very nutritious food: they are high in fiber, magnesium, and B-vitamins. This spiced muesli recipe is started in the evening so that the oats can soak overnight; this makes them more digestible and allows the nutrients to be better absorbed by your body.

Oats contain much less gluten than wheat, but if you prefer or need to avoid grains with gluten, you can look for gluten free oats online (they are also available at some natural foods stores). If you want to make a completely raw version with no grains, you could try this with ground flax seeds and some unsweetened organic coconut instead of the oats. Soaked chia seeds could also be used.

I don’t personally think this needs any additional sweetener, but if you want to add a teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup to your serving, go right ahead. If you don’t like coconut milk, you can serve this with raw or organic milk, nut milk, or your favorite milk alternative.

Spiced Muesli with Raisins and Cashews
Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

*1 cup organic rolled oats (not quick oats)
*1 cup filtered water
*1/4 cup raisins
*1/4 cup chopped raw cashews
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*pinch ground cardamom-optional
*pinch ground ginger-optional
*pinch ground coriander-optional
organic whole coconut milk for serving

Directions:

Mix all ingredients except coconut milk together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Spoon muesli into serving bowl and top with 1-2 Tb. (or more if you like) coconut milk before serving.

This muesli recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free! Make sure to check out the link for more “fabulous recipes made healthier”!

Kumquats are a citrus fruit available in the winter months. They look like an orange, only they are much smaller and they are oval-shaped. Like other citrus fruits, they are quite high in vitamin C. Kumquats are pretty sour, but their edible peel is sweet.

kumquats550

Kumquats are not easy to find where I live; when I found them, I made the purchase without question (I imagine they are easier to come by in warmer climes).

I had no idea what I would do with my little beauties until I saw the recipe for Kumquat Champagne Confit in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Herzberg and Zoe Francois.

It was perfect timing, really, since I had a whole lot of champagne left over from New Year’s Eve. I used the remainder of an open bottle (about 3 1/2 cups) in this marmalade. While the Artisan Bread recipe is fairly simple, I complicated mine a bit (in a good way, I think), by using honey instead of sugar, as well as lots of sweet dried fruits and herbs/spices.

I’m calling it a marmalade not because I like marmalade (I generally don’t), but because it’s a sweetened preparation of citrus that includes the peel. Whether you usually like marmalade or not, I urge you to give this one a try.

This recipe makes just over a pint. I love it spread onto organic uncured ham slices, which I roll up and eat as a quick lunch with a salad. It’s also delicious spooned over plain Greek yogurt (and ice cream too, I imagine), as well as with goat cheese and rice crackers…

marmoncracker

…and since the recipe inspiration came from a bread book, I am sure it’s great on bread, too.

If you don’t have any leftover champagne that you are willing to use, I see no reason why this wouldn’t work with sparkling apple cider (or another type of juice); it will be quite a bit sweeter, though, so you may want to reduce the amount of dried fruits. You could also use water for part of the liquid…

Kumquat Marmalade with Champagne and Figs

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups champagne
1/2 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods
40 kumquats
20 dried figs, trimmed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. rose water- optional

Directions:

In a medium-sized pot on the stove, bring the champagne and honey to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the cinnamon sticks and the cardamom pods.

Roughly chop the kumquats and remove as many seeds as possible. You’ll be able to remove more later, but if a few remain, they won’t harm you. Add to the champagne and honey. Add the dried fruits and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the kumquats and dried fruits are very tender and the mixture is fairly thick. Remove and discard any visible remaining kumquat seeds, as well as the cinnamon sticks.

Turn off the heat and allow the marmalade to cool. Process in a high speed blender or food processor to break up any large chucks of fruit and to pulverize the cardamon. Return to the pot and add the vanilla and optional rose water. Mix well, and then spoon into glass jar(s). Store in the refrigerator; it will keep for a week or two.

smallmarm

More Yummy Kumquat Recipes:
Candied Kumquats with Vanilla and Cinnamon from Caviar and Codfish
Camembert and Kumquat Chutney Toasts from Food Blogga
Kumquat Salsa from Simply Recipes

whblogoThis kumquat marmalade recipe is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging.

WHB was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen and it is currently managed by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything. Haalo is the host this week, as well!

shrimp2

While I love to take my time and cook elaborate meals for dinner, this is pretty much impossible during the week these days. My kids do lots of activities/sports that keep us from getting home until late in the evening most nights, so it’s become imperative that meals come together very quickly.

One of ways I simplify meal preparation is by cooking a batch of grains, such as rice or quinoa, every couple of days. Then all I have to do is add some protein and veggies and we’ve got a balanced meal.

I love shrimp and it’s a great source of protein, but I worry about eating it because of sustainability issues; shrimp has been extremely overfished. In addition, shrimp harvesting typically results in a large “by-catch” (meaning other fish and sea creatures, including sea turtles, are destroyed in the harvesting process).

This is why you should try to purchase wild shrimp that are harvested sustainably when you can. Wild-caught pink shrimp from Oregon is one of the best choices; Pacific spot prawns are also good. My favorite online source for these, as well as many other types of wild and certified sustainable fish and seafood, is Vital Choice.

Because my kids prefer pasta over quinoa (go figure), I made a separate batch of fettucine for them to enjoy with the shrimp. For myself, I used black quinoa that I found at my local natural foods store in this dish. Regular or red quinoa can, of course, be used instead. 1/2 pound of shrimp will feed 2 people; scale the recipe up to feed more.

Recipe For Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Quinoa

Ingredients:

For the quinoa:
Quinoa is not technically a grain: it's a seed and has a lot of protein and minerals. It is simple to prepare.

*1 cup quinoa
*1 1/2 cups water
*pinch of Himalayan or sea salt

For the garlic shrimp with kale:

*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon organic butter
*2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (use more if you really like garlic)
*1/2 pound wild caught shrimp, preferably sustainably harvested
*1-2 cups kale, chopped fine
*1/2 cup tomato sauce, preferably organic
*juice from 1/2 lemon
*pinch or two of red pepper flakes
*course sea salt
*cooked quinoa (or pasta), for serving
*fresh parmesan cheese for serving-optional

Directions:

For the quinoa:

Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer (this is important or it will be bitter). Place in an uncovered 1 quart pan with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until all water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to sit in covered pot for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

For the garlic shrimp with kale:

1. In a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed pan, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, being careful so it doesn't burn.

2. Add the shrimp and kale and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the shrimp have just turned pink and the kale is cooked through.

3. Add tomato sauce and cook for another minute or so. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

4. Serve over quinoa (or pasta), and sprinkle with fresh parmesan, if desired.

This post is linked to Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade…make sure to check out the rest of the healthy real food submissions!