Recipes

Golden Beet Quinoa Salad

July 23, 2015

On Friday evening, our living room was a mess of all things blue.

Blue ribbons, blue checkered tissue paper, and blue party mints could be found under our coffee table, stuck to our arms, and tangled in our hair. The living room mess trails up to the kitchen counter which is doused in flour to create the perfect sugar cookie cutting platform. Using one of our wine bottles as a rolling pin, the sugar cookie dough was to be cut into heart shapes, and with frosting would then be transformed into cute foxes (as long as that Pinterest tutorial is as easy as it looks).

While the cookies baked in the oven, their edges browning beautifully, we organized a bag clanking with baby food jars of various flavors: banana, peas, pear, turkey rice and vegetable dinner, beef and gravy, and chicken and gravy (this one smelled like the purrfect kitty feast). This, we would have to admit, was the first time we’ve had baby paraphernalia in our apartment. Our counters and floors have never hosted binkies, bibs, baby bottles, mini-rattles, baby food, or diapers.

But, we had a very special family and human to celebrate this weekend.

Our older brother and his wife are having a baby boy, Rowan Abbey, and he’s expected to come in early August (!!!). We’re going to be aunts! *insert big grin emoji*

This Saturday was their baby shower and we were designated as the gals to plan the baby shower games which explains our blue mess and all the baby food. This doesn’t quite explain the cookie mess, but Rowan’s room (and the shower!) is woodland creature themed, so let’s make edible, sugary foxes! (Update: the cookies looked 70% like the Pinterest pics, some foxes looked like bears, but that still counts, right?)

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At the shower, we melted your well-known chocolate bars into baby diapers and asked the ladies to guess which was which. They studiously sniffed and stared down the poop-resembling chocolate and some even gave them a little taste! The chocolate love was strong with these gals as many of them crushed this game! But man, that melted Butterfinger (real gross and quite real looking) totally got some gags from the guests.

For more tasty festivities, we poured the baby food jars into their own label-less bowls, and with a spoon in hand we had the ladies (and our brother!) try and guess the baby food flavors. Many were not so confident with this game, but the looks on the guests’ faces post-taste testing was certainly the highlight.

The party ended with the couple opening their gifts and it was one of our favorite baby shower moments to see them smile with excitement, giddiness and gratitude as they opened each card and tore away soft-blue wrapping papers. We loved watching them feel relaxed after each nursery necessity and seeing them light up after each novelty onesie. The two of them looked so light and bright. The baby glow wasn’t just on our beautiful and pregnant sister-in-law, but it was on our brother, as well.

We carried these vibes with us when we returned home to Tempe, and channeled them in our kitchen to create a light and bright salad.

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WHY EAT THAT: Beets
Beets are a root vegetable, which means that the part we eat grows underground. The beets absorb lots of nutrients from the soil and they are loaded with body loving fiber and vitamins like Vitamin A, C, and folic acid. Folic acid provides some good baby lovin’ for women who are capable of becoming, or are pregnant, as it helps to prevent birth defects. For us ladies, getting enough folic acid in our diets can help our babies develop properly. Beets are also relatively cheap, so search your grocery store/farmers market for firm, unwrinkled beets and eat ‘em anyway you’d like to reap these glowing health benefits.

This golden beet quinoa salad is light and refreshing, and we feel that the bright colors and smooth beet finish radiate the energy of our weekend. The golden beets are tender, and the red onion and apple slices add a crisp crunch to the salad and they tie in the easy apple cider vinaigrette. The quinoa and pecans add protein to the dish while the salad greens and salad toppings deliver nourishing vitamins and minerals. To feel light and bright, make this salad in your kitchen and get some of that new-baby glow.

TO MAKE:
GOLDEN BEET QUINOA SALAD
Serves: 2-3
Quinoa:
½ cup quinoa uncooked
1 cup water
Beets:
3 golden beets
Olive oil
Pepper
Foil
Salad:
3 cup arugula
3 cup spinach
1 gala apple chopped small
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup crushed pecans

EASY VINAIGRETTE
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
Salt
Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. We cooked ours in our rice cooker, using 1 part quinoa and 2 parts water. We poured 1/2 cup quinoa in and then added 1 cup water.
3. Turn rice cooker on and let quinoa cook. When cooking is done, fluff up the quinoa with a fork.
4. Let quinoa cool. You can place in the fridge to let it cool for the salad.
5. Wash the beets gently and cut off their greens. Grab a baking pan and three pieces of foil to wrap each beet.
6. Place the beets on their foil sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Enclose them in the foil loosely and place them on the baking pan.
7. Place in the oven and let them cook for about 35-45 minutes, checking every 20 minutes or so to see how they’re cooking. They are done when a fork or knife goes easily in the middle of the beet.
8. Let the beets cool and then remove their skin with your hands or a paper towel, the skin should come off pretty easily if they have cooked properly.
9. In a salad bowl, add the arugula, spinach, apple, red onion, and pecans.
10. When the quinoa has cooled, sprinkle the quinoa on salad.
11. Once beets have cooled and their skins have been removed, cut into half circles and place on salad.
12. In a small bowl, whisk up the vinaigrette ingredients. Taste to see if you would like more salt/pepper or honey.
13. Drizzle the salad with as much dressing as you desire, and toss!
14. Enjoy!
NOTES: the beets and the quinoa can be made ahead of time (hours or a couple of days!); store beets in the fridge sliced of whole for about 1 week; you can store any leftover vinaigrette in an airtight container in the fridge and use on future salads.

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We’d say that our first baby shower extravaganza went great and there really is nothing better than making some strangers smell and taste mysterious food items, and witnessing our big brother become the great dad we know he’ll be.

[Resources]
1. Bailey C. There’s more to root vegetables than meets the eye. The Institute for Optimum Nutrition. Spring Issue, 2004.
2. Collins K. Reconsider Root Vegetables. American Institute for Cancer Research. 2009.
3. Murphy M, Eliot K, Heuretz R, Weiss E. Whole Beetroot Consumption Acutely Improves Running Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics. Vol 112(4), 2012, 584-552.
4. Salunkhe D, Kadam S. Handbook of Vegetable Science and Technology: Production, Composition, Storage, and Processing. CRC Press. 1998.
5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Recommendations for the Use of Folic Acid to Reduce the Number of Cases of Spina Bifida and Other Neural Tube Defects. CDC Prevention Guidelines Database. MMWR 41(RR-14);001.

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