Multi-Colored Quinoa Granola with Dates and Seeds

After I made home made granola a few months ago I was in the mood to try it again, this time with quinoa. Why quinoa? Because like my fashion sense – I am 5 years behind on trends that is why. Plus I had some quinoa hanging around the pantry. Here I used dates, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds; but you can use whatever dried fruit, seeds, or nuts you like.

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Not so sweet Blueberry Muffins

My daughter has been asking to make blueberry muffins for a while now and after a week of relentless begging like an attentive mother I obliged. I love how she loves to bake with me although she did lose interest halfway through. But to be honest, I was kind of relieved because for every minute a 2 year old and a 5 year old “help” you bake you need to clean an additional 5.

My mother makes delicious muffins at her restaurant but in all honesty they are really muffin shaped cakes. She uses a cake batter and I think most commercial muffins do the same. But not these. These are not low-sugar but they are definitely not cake so less guilt eating them for breakfast!

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Persian Rice with Potato Tahdig

This is a long recipe just to make rice but rather than as a side dish this rice is really the main event. Well made Persian Rice should have a crunchy rice layer at the bottom (or in this case potato) called tahdig. That is the difficult part you need to get to know your pot and stove to achieve this without under-browning or burning the bottom and to be honest for me its really hit or miss.  I usually err on the side of under-browning but even if the tahdig is not perfect the rice is still great so I try not to stress myself out over it.

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“Natural” Eggplant – Israeli Style

When I was a kid the only way I ever liked eggplants was in eggplant parm or maybe rollatini at an Italian restaurant. Any other way it was pale, chewy, bland and just really gross.  When I visited Israel though they cooked eggplants in dozens of ways and I must have ate eggplant at every meal in at least one variation. With tehina, with yogurt, fried, with tomato sauce, with feta, with oil and garlic, sabich sandwich, etc. The key is in the cooking so its not a rubbery bland mess. Either char it on the grill or under the broiler or fry it.

This recipe is a very simple eggplant dish to make as a side dish or appetizer. Scoop it up with some pita, eat with salad, or put it in a sandwich.

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Yellow Annatto Seed Rice with Pasta

Annatto seeds may not be familiar to you but if you ever had that red Goya seasoning it has annatto in it for color. A lot of people use annatto to replace saffron for coloring but it has its own distinct smoky flavor when used liberally like in this recipe. It is also super cheap unlike saffron but will also give it a pretty yellow color.

Once you make the Annatto oil you can store it in a jar on your counter for several weeks and use it in place of regular oil when cooking.

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