When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quinoa and rice pilaf with walnuts and cranberries

Quinoa and whole grain rice are pantry staples around our house; I often include one of these nutritious and gluten-free foods in our family's evening meal.  On a recent trip to Costco, I noticed an interesting Sprouted Rice (brown, red, and wild) and Quinoa Blend made by TruRoots that I was curious to try, and since then we've been enjoying it very much with stirfries or as a side dish in meals where before I would have used one or the other.  The blend is tasty cooked plain, with a bit of Herbamare for seasoning, but for fun one day I decided to see what would happen if I added the flavours of orange and cinnamon, the sweetness of dried cranberries, and the nutty crunch of some toasted walnuts.  The end result was delicious, and this pilaf has become a new side dish favourite.

Quinoa and Rice Pilaf with Walnuts and Cranberries

1 cup water
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup TruRoots Sprouted Rice and Quinoa Blend
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries (I used ones sweetened with fruit juice rather than sugar)

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the water, orange juice and cinnamon and bring the mixture to a boil.  Stir in the sprouted rice and quinoa blend.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Remove the saucepan from heat and let it stand, covered, for about 5 minutes.  Gently stir the cranberries and toasted walnuts into the quinoa/rice mixture, cover again, and let it stand for another 5 minutes, or until the cranberries and nuts are warm. 

We like to serve this wonderfully flavoured pilaf alongside some kale sauteed in a little olive oil, and either roasted chicken or pork.  Together these foods make a hearty, nourishing, and warming meal just perfect for a winter day.

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