Pomegranate Ginger Bellinis

pomegranate ginger bellinis | Coffee & Quinoa

Here is an adult beverage for you, just in time for New Year’s Eve.

It comes with a secret: I don’t really like hard alcohol.

Shocking? Sorry. There are exceptions. Margaritas, bloody marys, even the occasional mojito… I like those. But for the most part, I’m a beer and wine kinda girl. Which is convenient, since I live in Utah where the liquor stores close at 7 pm and the grocery stores only sell 3.2% beer. Nate and I have gotten QUITE used to weak beer.

pomegranate ginger bellinis | Coffee & Quinoa

Anyway, that’s why I like bellinis, although I did have to plan ahead and buy some prosecco before 7 pm. (I don’t think these would be good with Utah beer.) They’re pretty much my ideal cocktail, since they look pretty, are easy to make (and don’t involve juicing 1,000,000 limes), and have nothing stronger than some Italian sparkling wine. Oh, did I mention that THEY ARE SO PRETTY? The colorful food kick continues and pomegranate is going to be my new favorite thing.

I also have to mention that, as the Italian cousin of the mimosa, these could totally be breakfast. So if you already have your drinks planned for tonight… get to the wine store before 7 pm and then make these for your New Year’s Day brunch.

Pomegranate Ginger Bellinis

Makes about 5 cocktails

Adapted from Epicurious


1 cup pomegranate juice

1 heaping Tbsp peeled and chopped fresh ginger

1 Tbsp sugar

1 bottle prosecco (I used Zonin)


In a small saucepan, bring pomegranate juice, ginger, and sugar to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Continue to simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and strain into another container. Refrigerate (or put in the freezer if you’re in a hurry) until ready to serve. If you like, you can store the syrup in the fridge for several days.

When ready to serve, pour about a tablespoon of the pomegranate syrup into each glass and top with prosecco. If the syrup and prosecco do not readily mix, stir or carefully pour into a kitchen glass and then back into the serving glass to mix.


20 minutes

2012: The Year I Started Blogging

christmas chili crostini

It’s hard to believe 2012 is almost over. As someone who doesn’t like change very much, I’m never ready to let go!

As always, the past year is kind of a blur. But here are the highlights that come to mind of 2012:

skiing 2012

I skied a lot.

Nate and I moved in together.

I finally caved and got an iPhone (now that Google no longer gives me free phones).

I ran my first races since 2004: a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. And Nate won a marathon… no big deal…

sf marathon

…and I was the proudest I’ve ever been in my entire life.

sf marathon

(Photos stolen from my friend Tamiz!)

vegan thanksgiving

I ate vegan for 6 months.

bachelorette party

My little sister got married!

I traveled to San Francisco twice, Vegas twice, Moab three times, Seattle, Chapel Hill, Maine, Boston twice, Oregon, and Jackson. It was quite the year of western travel! I definitely plan on continuing that in 2013. Destinations (hopefully) include: Paso Robles, Zion National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Winston-Salem, and Miami, plus Pennsylvania, Indiana and Maine for more weddings.

Also, I had some visitors this year: my parents, my grandma, my cousin Erin, my friend Dani, and my friends Bill and Grant. Keep the visits coming in 2013!!

But most relevant here, 2012 is the year I started blogging.

extra creamy hummus

And I’m so happy about that! There have been many years in my life where I wasn’t necessarily passionate about anything I was doing, and wasn’t sure in which direction my life was going to go. And now, I guess I’ve discovered that what I’m passionate about is cooking new foods and sharing them with others! Of course, I still can’t say that food blogging is going to determine the course of my life or anything like that, but it feels like a start. I have something I want to spend all my free time on… and for me, that’s huge! So maybe 2012 is the year I started to figure stuff out.

Speaking of figuring stuff out… I’ve been doing a lot of learning in the kitchen. Veganism, cooking for 2 people, blogging, healthy eating… I feel like I’ve constantly been tackling something new. Along the way I’ve cooked some pretty good stuff, too! I’ve only had this blog for about 3 months, so I don’t feel like I can pick 10 favorites, but here have been my top 5 favorite recipes of 2012 in chronological order:

1. Autumn Harvest Quinoa

autumn harvest quinoa

This warm quinoa dish is made with apples, onions, cranberries, walnuts, and cinnamon. It is soooo good that you will eat it right out of the pan! (Not that I ever… routinely… do a think like that.) I like to make this in huge batches, and will probably make a more wintery version soon.

2. Farro Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale

farro risotto

This risotto is one of those can’t-believe-it’s-vegan dishes. Using pearled farro makes it relatively quick-cooking, and it’s so worth the little bit of stirring. This restored my faith in homemade risotto!

3. Sweet Potato Sushi Bowl

sweet potato sushi bowl

I absolutely love cooking Asian food, and this sushi bowl was probably my #1 favorite dish of the year because of all the different Japanese flavors happening here. I did a happy dance every time I took a bite of this meal! One to bring back in 2013.

4. Noodles in Spicy Lemongrass Broth

noodles in spicy lemongrass broth

Again, the Asian thing. This broth was so spicy it made Nate cry. (OK maybe not really, but it was pretty spicy!) I love spicy broths, and this won’t be the last one you’ll see on here. This post was also the first time I got a picture accepted to TasteSpotting!

5. Christmas Chili Crostini

christmas chili crostini

And last but not least, these little holiday toasts. I went on a serious colorful food kick in December, and these were my favorite. They will be in the regular Christmas rotation going froward!

So that’s it – my 2012 in review. Thanks so much for reading and supporting me as I learn how to be part of this crazy blog world! I appreciate it so much.

Here’s to 2013!

Vegan Banana Bread

vegan banana bread | Coffee & Quinoa

Good morning and happy Friday!

As I write this (Thursday evening), I’m making my way back across the country after a wonderful Christmas with my family in Boston. When I’m booking a trip, it’s often tough for me to tell whether I’ll wish I had a longer or shorter time at my destination, but this is definitely a time that I wish I had an extra couple days to spend with everyone after the craziness of the holiday. Of course, everyone else starts heading home tomorrow, so maybe it’s good that I was the first one to leave… before I get bored or anything, you know :)

But instead of lounging around eating Mom’s cooking in their (newly redecorated and beautiful!) house, I’ll be headed into work tomorrow to catch up on the last stuff that needs to be done before the end of the year. I’m guessing about 50% of my co-workers will be there, and it should be a pretty relaxed day, although I do have a bunch to get done. But after that, thank goodness, is a 4-day weekend to spend skiing, cooking, and catching up on the other stuff in my life that obviously didn’t get done while I was playing Bejeweled and eating Christmas cookies in Boston.

The main thing I’m looking forward to this weekend is playing with my new camera! My dad and I tested it out for a few hours last night and again this morning, learning how to set the shutter speed and aperture, adjust the white balance and ISO exposure, and all kinds of other crazy stuff I’ve never done before. Of course, it has an auto mode, but I’m determined to use it like a DSLR and not just a point-and-shoot. We learned some cool stuff and I feel much less overwhelmed taking it home (like I’m a new parent or something) and learning what it can do. I took a few pictures this morning on the iPhone for contrast, and I’ll upload the DSLR and iPhone versions for contrast so you can see the difference at some point. It is CRAZY and I’m so excited to be using this awesome new camera! I really have a lot to learn, but I can already see that it will be WAY worth it.

vegan banana bread | Coffee & Quinoa

Anyway, it shouldn’t come a surprise that I didn’t have time to try out any new recipes at my parents’ house this week. But I do want to share this banana bread recipe that I made before I left Salt Lake. (And because I made it last week, that means these are still iPhone photos!) If, like me, you have a relaxing 4-day weekend ahead of you, this would be the perfect thing to pop in the oven to make your kitchen smell wonderful. It’s vegan (unlike ALLLL the baked goods I ate this week) and relatively healthy (again… unlike the pounds and pounds of Christmas cookies I’ve consumed), so it’s the perfect snack for this weekend between holidays. The fact that this banana bread is vegan does mean that it’s a little denser than one you’d make with eggs. It doesn’t rise as high, but don’t let that deter you – it tastes amazing!

his & hers bananas

Those of you who saw this “his and hers” banana picture on Facebook a few weeks ago may be able to guess that we end up with a LOT of banana bread-worthy fruit in our house. Nate prefers rock-hard totally green fruit, and typically doesn’t eat any of the bananas on our counter once they’re blemished with a single speck of brown. I will eat bananas at almost any stage, but I haven’t quite gotten down the science of how many to buy for our various ripeness preferences. We often end up with many bananas that he won’t eat and I just can’t keep up with. So I’ve taken to freezing them in a big Ziploc, planning on making lots of banana bread. I’m still not keeping up, though… we probably have at least a dozen bananas in our freezer.

What I’m getting at is that there might be a LOT of banana bread in the Coffee & Quinoa future. I’m hoping to make a more seasonal one this weekend! Enjoy this vegan banana bread in the meantime, though, and if you have any favorite banana bread recipes for me to try out, please send them my way!

vegan banana bread | Coffee & Quinoa

Vegan Banana Bread
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
This vegan banana bread is lightly seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and studded with raisins and walnuts.
Yields: 1 loaf
  • 3-4 very ripe to overripe bananas
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup melted vegan butter or melted coconut oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 cups spelt flour (whole wheat or white flour would also work)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • ½ cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Mash bananas (with a fork is fine) in a medium-sized bowl. Add sugar, coconut oil, and maple syrup and stir to combine.
  3. In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Gently fold in the banana mixture, followed by the walnuts and raisins.
  4. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with moist crumbs, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack. After 15 minutes, run a knife around the edges and invert onto the rack to finish cooling.
  5. Once cool (or you can even do this once the bread is warm, not hot), wrap in tin foil and store in the fridge. This keeps the edges nice and moist. I prefer to eat the banana bread the following day, not right out of the oven, but that's personal preference. It will keep for several days in the fridge.


Mango Green Curry with Forbidden Rice

Coffee & Quinoa | mango green curry with forbidden rice

Hi! Happy day after Christmas! The day when the dust clears, and you are left to play with your new toys… and eat some vegetables.

Maybe you are still celebrating with your family, maybe you are back at work, or travelling, or cleaning up the chaos that is your house when everyone descends on it. I am meeting up with some college friends to catch up… crazy how you can go literally YEARS without seeing your oldest friends when you live across the country!

I am also playing with my new toy from Santa – a DSLR camera! The pictures are about to get much better around here, folks. Actually, they will probably get much worse first. Kind of like a construction project entering the demolition phase, sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. I’m going to do a lot of playing around (enlisting my dad’s help!) and then hopefully emerge with some tasty-looking photos. We’ll see! Does anyone have any tips for food photography ebooks they’ve used? I am considering buying either the one from Pinch of Yum or Spicie Foodie. Thoughts?

In the meantime, this is a recipe I came up with last week back in Salt Lake. My mom had been telling me to try forbidden rice for at least a month, and I’d been intrigued by it in the bulk bins at Whole Foods for a while… but I’ve also been too busy baking cakes.

When I finally resurfaced from my post-veganistic butter binge, I made this curry because all the bright colors of the mangoes and fresh veggies looked so beautiful with the black rice. I had actually never made a green curry before! This one turned out great, though, and I will definitely be adding green curry to my arsenal of “disguised leftover vegetables” dishes.

Coffee & Quinoa | mango green curry with forbidden rice

In that vein, some notes on the recipe: I usually don’t really care for green bell peppers, but actually loved them in here. I suspect the sweetness of the red ones might be too much with the mangoes and sweet potato? The kale was really excellent with the curry flavor, so I wouldn’t suggest skipping that. I used white-people-brand curry sauce a.k.a. Thai kitchen (because they sell it in my grocery store), so if you also have only inauthentic curry sauce lying around, rest assured that this is white people food and it will still taste good with white people curry sauce in it.

Finally, black a.k.a. forbidden rice: Have you tried it yet? You should. It is nuttier, richer, and just more flavorful than any other rice I’ve ever had. The texture (at least of the Whole Foods bulk bin stuff I bought) was very smooth. You could of course use white or brown rice here, but this is a great excuse to buy black rice if you never have before. In terms of cooking time, it seemed closer to white rice than brown rice to me. I started to cook it according to my brown rice instructions, but ended up not letting it steam as long because it was already very thoroughly cooked. I suspect you could cook it the same way you’d cook white rice. In conclusion… Google it. I haven’t yet, and that is usually a mistake.

Enjoy! Eat this while you play with your new toys.

Coffee & Quinoa | mango green curry with forbidden rice

Mango Green Curry with Forbidden Rice

Serves 4-6


1 ½ cups dry forbidden rice
3 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp green curry
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
14-oz can light coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
½ Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp low sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 Thai chili peppers, pierced (optional)
1 small to medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
8 oz tofu, cubed (optional)
1 bunch kale, rinsed, stems removed, and torn into bite-sized pieces
toasted cashews for topping
green onions for topping


Cook rice according to package instructions.

Melt coconut oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the green curry paste and mash into the oil with the back of your spoon or spatula. Add the garlic, onion, and ginger and stir to coat. Saute for a minute or two until very fragrant.

Whisk in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in the lime juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Slurp some of the broth off the spoon. It’s in the recipe – you have to do it! Now add the Thai chilies and sweet potato, cover, and simmer until chunks of sweet potato are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the mangoes and bell peppers. Cover again and simmer for about 5 minutes. Peppers should be a bit softened but still retain some crunch.

Now toss in the tofu and kale. Cook until kale is just wilted and still bright green, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Serve with forbidden rice and sprinkle with green onions and cashews. Dig in!


40 minutes

Merry Christmas!

coffee & quinoa

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are celebrating with your loved ones and lots of delicious food…

coffee & quinoa

And documenting it all.

We’ve been singing many Christmas carols over the past few days, so I can’t help but say:

“Although it’s been said many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.”

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