Spring has sprung! At least as far as the calendar is concerned. There’s still snow here, but we won’t dwell on that.

Since it’s spring, let’s make cheesecake. Because we can. You’ll need a spring form pan (spring…spring form…get it? ha). A spring form pan is a great investment. You’ll need it for cheesecake, as well as ice cream pie. Did you know you can use it make regular cake, too? You can.

I used this recipe by Tyler Florence. It’s called The Ultimate Cheesecake for a reason. It’s delectable.

First make your crust. If you’re gluten free, buy gluten free graham crackers. That’s the only adaptation you’ll have to make to this recipe gluten-less.

IMG_0026Then mix your filling. Pour it on the crust and smooth it out with a spatula.

IMG_0028Now make a tinfoil boat for your pan. This is the weird part, but my theory is the water in the roasting pan keeps the oven nice and humid.

IMG_0031Bake the whole thing, roasting pan, water, and cheesecake. Don’t over-bake!

IMG_0032Top with blueberry sauce (use this recipe!).

IMG_0036Your taste buds will be ecstatic. I promise.

I wanna know: Is it spring where you live?

Quinoa Chili Salad

Let’s talk about quinoa (KEEN-wah), shall we? It’s pretty neat.

Some fast facts about quinoa:

  • It’s gluten free. It’s closer related to spinach than it is to any grain.
  • It is a complete protein: it has all 9 amino acids packed into each little seed.
  • It’s high in magnesium (good for heart health. helpful to counteract high blood pressure or high cholesterol)
  • Antioxidants! Quinoa is super high in them, so it will keep your red blood cells safe from free radicals that want to attack.
  • Any benefit that can get from eating whole grains, you will get from eating quinoa, only it’s gluten free.

Convinced yet? Aside from it being good for you, it’s super easy to make. You cook it much like rice or couscous (1 part quinoa, 2 cups liquid), but it cooks up in about 15 minutes. Any dish that you want to eat with rice, you can substitute quinoa.

Here’s a quick and tasty weeknight dinner to get you started on your love affair with quinoa. This is an easy dish to make ahead, as you can serve it hot or cold. It can be the main dish, or you can use it as a side.

Quinoa Chili Salad

Adapted from fANNEtastic Food

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup broth (veggie or chicken)
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Step 1: Prepare your quinoa. Combine 1 cup quinoa in 1 cup water and 1 cup broth. Boil, then reduce to a simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (12-15 minutes).

Step 2: While that’s happening, chop your veggies and mix them all up with the seasonings.

Step 3: Allow the quinoa to cool a little (it doesn’t need to be cold, you just don’t want it piping hot). Combine all ingredients with the quinoa in a large bowl.

Serve! You can eat this as a hot or a cold dish. As an entree, it will serve 3; however, as a side dish, it could easily serve up to 6.

I wanna know: Discovered any new-to-you, awesome foods recently?


Black Bean Chocolate Cake

Yup. That’s right. It’s a thing. There are beans in this delectably moist, rich chocolate cake. Not only are there beans, but there is no flour. Many gluten free folk have probably heard of this phenomena, but I had not. I’m converted. At least for this cake.

I used this recipe from The Food Faffer. The only change I made was that I used plain, granulated sugar. Also, I doubled the recipe so that I could make a two layer cake.

Bake. Cool. Frost. Layer. Almonds.

And done. Happy birthday to all the wonderful people in my world that are celebrating this week!