Until tomorrow…

Hello Lovely Readers,

It’s Hubs’s birthday!! I’d planned to update today but life around here has been quite the roller coaster! So now, instead of posting, I must shop, cook a feast and bake a delicious macro cake!! Oh Happy Day!! Until tomorrow, I leave you with a little teaser and a quick HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! shout out to my Hubs. Love!!

Butternut Squash & Chive Quinoa Cakes

Left over squash. Unless you’re making a soup, it’s usually the case that a recipe calls for only a cup or two of the orange cubed beauties, leaving one with squash to use up in a hurry. After recently making a macrobiotic favourite of mine, aduki beans and squash, I found myself in this exact predicament.

If I was making these cakes in the fall or winter, I’d be tempted to roast or saute the onions and squash in oil. But since spring is here I craved something a little lighter, a tad less warming and intense. Since I knew that the cakes were going to be fried, I opted to first steam the squash and onion until they morphed into something entirely sweet, tender and delicious. Tasty, but still light, the cakes are fast and easy to throw together. Just be careful when handling them, as the patties are a bit delicate and can crumble easily. If that happens, no biggie, you just have crumbly bits of crispy quinoa cake instead.

Mieke Vervecken Pieters - April 4, 2012 - 3:04 pm

Lovely recipy

Irene - April 5, 2012 - 3:26 pm

Mmmm….crumbly bits of quinoa….

Erin - April 9, 2012 - 7:32 pm

Shauna! This picture is so pretty!

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:31 am

Erin! Thank you!!

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:32 am

Hi Irene, totally!! I love the crunchy, crumbly bits too.

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:34 am

Hi Mieke, Thank you for stopping by to say hello!! Hello to you in Belgium!!

Mandy - May 7, 2012 - 6:58 pm

What a beautiful recipe! We made these for dinner tonight. So delicious and simple!

Shauna - May 10, 2012 - 10:44 pm

Hi Mandy! I’m happy you liked them! I LOVE most anything with squash…

Olive Oil and Sea Salt & Toasted Sesame Kale Crisps

There was kale lurking at the bottom of the fridge. It was purchased with the most honourable of intentions- to be steamed and enjoyed with dinner or maybe for breakfast, tossed into a bowl of miso soup. Maybe it’s because A) the lovely, full collards stacked on top proved more enticing, as the place they occupied is now vacant. It could be that B) a few unplanned, whirlwind days kept hubs and I away from the kitchen… and the kale. Or, C) All of the above-  Life happens and sometimes the most honourable intentions fall through. We’ll go with C) All of the above. Now, what to do with this lurking dark green?

The kale was salvageable. Not yet limp, just not as vital as when it first came home. At first I thought a silky navy bean soup, laced with leaves of kale would be perfect. Creamy, smooth, warming. But the weather was glorious and the sun, hot. I wanted something to snack on. Something delicately light and crunchy. Salty. With a hint of toasted sesame.

Kale crisps fit the bill perfectly. Now, please don’t get your hopes up thinking that they will be comparable to a crunchy, hard potato chip. They aren’t. What they offer instead is a light, addictive, crumbly bite, rich with toasted sesame seed oil and a hint of salt. It’s never been so easy to eat an entire bunch of kale at one sitting, fresh from the oven and directly from the hot baking sheet. Err. Not that I’ve ever done something crazy like that… (Confession- yes I have) Good thing they’re so easy. And if you do lose control and eat the entire batch in one fell swoop, not to worry. It is kale, after all. Phew.


Remove the stems for the chips, as the stems don’t crisp up as easily as the leaves do. You can cut them out with a knife, or, place one hand on the kale stem, and the other hand at the base of the leaves. Make a tight fist and slide the hand up, along the kale stem. It will easily remove the leaves from the stem- fast and easy and no knives required!

A quick note: The Sunday evening cooking classes in April are almost sold out- with only one space remaining!  If you’re thinking about taking that class you’ll have to act quickly! 

Heather - March 26, 2012 - 3:28 pm

I’m planning on making kale crisps this week, since kale is my March vegetable for my “vegetable of the month” challenge. Your recipe looks perfect and tasty!

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:36 am

Hi Heather! Yay kale chips!! I love kale so much. One of my favourite ways to make it is to blanch it quickly, for just a minute or two, and then sprinkle it with gomashio- which is a sesame seed and salt condiment, plus maybe a tiny drizzle of olive oil… yummy!!!

Heidi Barrett - May 31, 2012 - 1:56 pm

LOVE these!!!!! I must confess I’m not really a fan of kale. I’ll put it in things for the nutritional bennifet but not just on its own. These Chips I loved!! I also cut the stems out which made them extra light. And no, they didn’t make it off the cookie sheet. 😉

Shauna - May 31, 2012 - 3:21 pm

Hi Heidi! YAY!! I’m so happy you made these! Aren’t they delish?!! I also cut out the stems… can’t believe I forgot to include that in the recipe!! I’ll have to write a note as an update!! Also- if you hold the kale at the bottom of the stem, and then with the other hand make a tight fist around the base of the kale leaves, then slide up, it will easily pull off the leaves without having to use a knife! Saves time… just make sure you aim the moving fist away from your chin!!

Birthday Quinoa Salad

I have a little sister. It seems funny to write it that way now that we’re both fully grown and mostly mature adults, but to me that’s what she’ll always be. My little sister. We played well together when we were young. We built complex, multi-room forts (complete with doors!) out of the couch cushions, piano, piano bench, blankets and other furniture building blocks. We played barbies and my little ponies, creating elaborate stories that captivated our imaginations for hours upon hours. We put on records and danced to The Mini-Pops, Madonna and Bananarama (my choice) and Corey Hart (her choice). We played dress-up, rode skate boards, and screamed with delight sprinting through the sprinkler.

As is often the case with younger siblings, she was always more daring and excelled at things that I was totally scared of. She kicked my butt at baseball, swam like a fish, was a daredevil gymnast and then took the acrobatics to a new level diving in a pool. It took me months to even muster the courage to jump into the water when I was little. Swimming fail. And there she was, always jumping in to everything- no water wings required.

The only place where I was more adventurous was with what I’d eat on my dinner plate. Things could be mixed, sauced, spicy… I’d try mostly anything (just not apple sauce). For many years my sister’s plate was a pristine temple of not touchingness. Everything equally spaced, broccoli keeping safe distance from rice, pasta but hold the sauce please. Heaven forbid should the food make contact- flavours mingling, textures mixing… total eew. Luckily, she outgrew this.

We grew into hormonal, crazy teenagers, and became strangers. To me she seemed so cool, while I felt like a quiet, artistic nerd. She had lots of friends, and I could count mine on one hand. She borrowed my clothes without asking… but I did the same (shhh!!).  Oh the joys- my poor parents… and the arguments they refereed!! I was convinced we fought because we were so vastly different. I realize now it was because we were actually quite similar. Thankfully not all of our teenage years were spent freaking out, and when we did get along it was awesome. How cool was it to have a friend like her? I quietly cherished those moments.

Time slips by, and soon we were both adults. I moved away- across the country. I discovered that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Suddenly, we became friends again. Close friends. Close like only sisters can be. Sisters who have played dolls and dress-up, laughed, cried, fought like crazy, then made up. Sisters who have helped each other get married, worn paper plate bow hats, and flown across the country to surprise the other. Sisters who have each other’s backs. Sisters who inspire the other to jump into the deep end, then smile triumphantly at the other’s success and courage.

To my little sister, I wish you the happiest of birthdays. Your courage and strength, humour and ipod playlists are ever inspiring. I wish I could make this quinoa salad for you (and eat it with you!) in person!! Instead I offer you this post (with a very delayed recipe), in honour of your very special birthday. With love…. and welcome to the club!!

ps. I just ate both of our portions of this salad. And I’m so going back for more.

Birthday Quinoa Salad

Slightly adapted from the recipe for Quinoa Salad in Jessica Porter’s book “The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics”

When I made this for my family last summer I added finely sliced green apple to the salad just before serving. I also omitted the red onion. This recipe is really versatile- be creative and use different nuts (pumpkin seeds are nice if you have an allergy), fruits, herbs, even finely sliced red cabbage is a nice addition (just be sure to press it along with the red radish). 

1/4 cup red onion, finely diced (you can leave this out if you have an aversion to onions)

4 radishes, sliced into fine half-moons

2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar

1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

1 1/2 cups quinoa

3 cups spring water

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup raisins, washed and drained

optional sliced apple


Mix the onion and radish with the vinegars, cover with a plate and weight and press for 1 hour.

Wash the quinoa thoroughly then roast in a heavy bottomed pan until dry and the grain is slightly golden and begins to puff.

Bring the water and salt to boil in a saucepan, stir in the quinoa and bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. When cooked, remove from heat and fluff into a bowl to allow to cool.

Wash and roast the hazelnuts at 325˚F until the nuts are golden and the skins are crispy crackly. To remove the skins, rub the nuts in a dry dishtowel. Chop roughly, keeping some nice large pieces.

Toss everything together, including the liquid from the radishes, and serve.

Barry Mayer - March 19, 2012 - 9:59 pm

I would just like to say that your post is an inspiration to us all! Well done and exquisitely presented. I am certain that your little sister will cherish this post.
Uncle B

Shauna - March 20, 2012 - 10:15 am

Hi, Uncle B!! I’m blushing! Thank you for such nice words about this post! I am happy you enjoyed it. So nice to hear from you!!

Stephen Lapenta - March 20, 2012 - 10:17 am

I have siblings as well. But never enjoyed the fully flavored relationship you relish in this post. Maybe I needed quinoa. Or they did . . .Stephen

Kristin - AKA the little sister - March 20, 2012 - 4:47 pm

AWWWW!! I LOVE IT! Thank you so much! This is a FANTASTIC Birthday present! Love you!!

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:38 am

Hi Kristin aka the little sister! I figured it was time to get my butt in gear and finally get that recipe to you!! Have your cooks up north been able to make it for you yet?

Shauna - April 13, 2012 - 10:40 am

Hi Stephen, lol!! We never had quinoa growing up! I introduced it to my family recently, and they love it now. I popped on over and had a look at your site. Yummy!! I’d love to come for a visit some day, maybe do a post about it? Let’s keep in touch!!

and the winner is… » She Cooks Macro - September 14, 2012 - 5:14 am

[…] a big ol’ party- potluck style- with my amazingly awesome family. Woohoo! I’m making this, this and this, along with a giant plate of kale and this. This potluck is going to be crazy […]