Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Don't Stop Believing" - Ellie's Dance Competition

On Saturday we spent some time at the Denver Dancesport Jam. Her group performed their formation.
They are a cute group of girls.

And silly, too.

They can be intentionally silly.

It was at the Hyatt Regency, a really nice building with some great, artistic touches.

This is Ellie with Alia and Keira. Sometimes it is easy to mistake Alia for Ellie from the back.

Here's a little of what they were doing. They danced to "Don't Stop Believing," the Glee version.

They won first place.

The dancers are always interesting and entertaining. And they are beautiful. It is not unusual to see a dancer with her dress, the rhinestones in her hair and a fuzzy pair of slippers.

On Friday I came across this great recipe. Closet Cooking is a blog worth checking out. He made quinoa flatbread, topping it with the likes of hummus, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds and felafel. I picked up some hummas and cucumbers, intending to make these for dinner. My family did not want to wait so long, so I only got as far as the flatbread. My quinoa flatbread is much smoother than his. They are very tasty! I think they'd be great for my next party with vegetarian friends.

Quinoa Flatbread
via: Closet Cooking

1 cup quinoa, processed
1 cup whole wheat flour or brown rice flour
1 egg
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the processed quinoa, flour, egg, water, salt and pepper and let it soak for an hour.
Heat a greased pan over medium heat.
Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into the center of the pan, cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook for another 5 minutes.


I also made a version of this lovely soup. The color is not much to consider, but it is very flavorful.

Curried Lentil Stew
via: Fine Cooking

1 large clove garlic
1 piece (1/3 inch long) peeled fresh ginger
1/2 small bulb fennel, cored and cut into large chunks, or 1 small rib celery, cut into large chunks
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large shallot, cut in half
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 tsp. curry powder
1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 qt. homemade or lowsalt canned chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more as needed
(4-6 Lamb Chops, optional)

Pulse the garlic and ginger in a food processor until chopped. Add the fennel or celery, carrot, parsnip, and shallot and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until the curry powder is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lentils, broth, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a brisk simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

(optional - I browned a few lamb chops in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil and a touch of salt. I put them in with the stew, letting it all simmer for a few hours to provide a slow cooking. I pulled them out, deboned and shredded them and added it back in.)

Transfer 1-1/2 cups of the soup to a blender or a food processor and purée until smooth. Stir the purée back into the soup along with the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and adjust the consistency with water, if you like.
Serving Suggestions
Garnish with a dollop of plain whole-milk yogurt and chopped fresh mint or cilantro, or both.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 330; Fat (g): 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 19; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3; Carbohydrates (g): 43; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 320; Cholesterol (mg): 25; Fiber (g): 14;


Ellie enjoys a very basic granola, but many have too many pieces of dried fruit for her liking. I am working on trying to figure out a good, plain granola. I found the "Granola, Deconstructed" blog entry at Gourmande in the Kitchen very informational. I also liked what at Nourish Network concerning granola. I combined bits from both of them for the following recipe:


2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup Coconut Flakes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp Ginger, ground
1/4 tsp Clove, ground
6 TBL Maple Syrup
6 TBL Molasses
2 tablespoons Coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole natural almonds (or other nuts of your choice)

Preheat the oven to 300 F placing the oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the 2 kinds of oats, rice crisp cereal, cinnamon and sea salt. Stir to mix well.
In a medium bowl, combine the fruit puree, honey, light brown sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Stir to mix well.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and mix until completely blended (it’s best to use your hands to get everything evenly coated.)
Spread the mixture out evenly between the two prepared baking sheets. Squeeze clusters of granola together with slightly damp hands, allowing for space between the clumps in order for air to circulate while baking.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets, flip over the granola with a large spatula and add the almonds and pumpkin seeds. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes (or more, depending on how thick the layer of granola) until completely dry and just golden brown.
Let cool on baking sheets, and store in an airtight container when completely cool. Add in the dried cranberries just before serving.

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