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Food & DIY

    Food & DIY

    Kale, Red Quinoa and Fruit Salad

    Lately I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to eat more salads, since I’m trying to be more health-conscious and actually eat my vegetables. Over the weekend, I had the grand idea of making a salad of several ingredients that I was craving. The result was a delicious kale, quinoa and fruit salad. Being that these days I seem to have a huge sweet tooth, I loved that this salad kind of tasted like dessert. It was even a big hit with my family, and they don’t usually enjoy eating salads. I mean, who doesn’t want to get on board with eating healthy dessert¬†salad? I know that I do!
    5-6 cups of chopped kale
    1 cup of uncooked red quinoa (about 3 cups prepared)
    1 cup of chopped walnuts
    2 cups of grapes cut in half
    2 cups of chopped strawberries
    1/2 cup of crumbled Feta cheese (optional)
    3 cups of shredded chicken (optional)
    1/3 cup of olive oil
    1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
    1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil
    1 garlic clove
    1 tsp of sugar
    1 tsp of salt
    Rinse 1 cup of quinoa in cold water. Then, in a small pot mix 1 cup of quinoa with two cups of water. Once the water starts to boil, bring down the temperature to low, cover the pot and let the quinoa simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring it occasionally. You can also add a pinch of salt and pepper to the red quinoa for taste. Once the quinoa is cooked, rinse it again in cold water in order to cool it down.
    In a large salad bowl, mix the quinoa, chopped kale, grapes, walnuts and strawberries. You can also add Feta cheese and shredded chicken if you want to make your salad more filling.
    To make the vinaigrette, blend the olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh basil, garlic, sugar and salt. Pour the vinaigrette and toss the salad, and then you’re ready to serve.
    I have to say that putting this post together this weekend was so much fun. I know that I keep saying this, but I really do want to invest more time working on recipes and D.I.Y. tutorials. It puts me in such a good mood when I have the opportunity to be creative. Since I obviously don’t take my own outfit photos for this blog, it was also so much fun to have the opportunity to be behind the camera and come up with unique ways to stage everything.
    I hope that you enjoy making this recipe as much as I did. I’d love to hear how how you like it once you try it out. Have an amazing rest of the week!
    Helen Grace
    Food & DIY

    Toasted Coconut and Chocolate-Glazed Doughnuts

    I had never made doughnuts until a couple of weeks ago on National Doughnut Day, and I was surprised at how easy they are to make. I have to admit that I’m not much of a doughnut person, and I actually don’t have much of a sweet tooth unless it comes to chocolate. But, what I really liked about this cake donut recipe that I adapted from, was that it wasn’t overly sweet. Some of my coworkers, who were the lucky recipients of these tasty treats, also raved about the taste and moist texture of these doughnuts. Their praise made me super happy, because what I love the most about making something yummy is being able to put a smile on another person’s face. That being said, I really hope that you enjoy this recipe.
    Adapted from ABOUT.COM
    2 cups of flour
    1/2 cup of sugar
    1 teaspoon of salt
    1 tablespoon of baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
    2 tablespoons of melted butter
    1/2 cup of milk
    1 egg beaten
    1 quart of oil for frying
    4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
    3/4 cup of powdered sugar
    2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    3 tablespoons of milk
    Toasted Coconut
    1. Heat oil in a large pan at low-to-medium heat. You don’t want the oil to get too hot, or it will immediately burn up the dough–trust me, I know this from experience!
    2. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
    3. Pour in the melted butter into the bowl, and stir it in until the mixture develops a crumbly texture.
    4. Stir in the milk and egg into the mixture, and then knead the dough until smooth.
    5. Place the dough unto an area prepared with flour, and pat it down until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
    6. Use either a doughnut cutter or two separate biscuit cutters (1 large and 1 small) to cut out the doughnuts.
    7. Carefully dip the doughnuts into the hot oil. Fry them for about 3 minutes, turning them over once during that time. Both sides of the doughnut should be lightly browned.
    8. Drain the doughnuts on a cooling rack over paper towels, and let them cool down until they are about room temperature.
    9. For the glaze, mix the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk in a bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Once the doughnuts are at room temperature, you can apply the glaze by dipping them into the mixture.
    10. Finally, just top off the doughnuts with toasted coconut and then you’re done! You can find toasted coconut at some stores such as Trader Joe’s, or you can make your own by toasting 1-2 cups of shredded coconut at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. To keep the coconut from burning, make sure to turn it over at least once during that time.
    I mentioned not so long ago that one of my personal goals was to focus more time on being creative. Spending time in the kitchen is definitely one of those activities that allows me to tap more into my creativity. I love adapting recipes and thinking of what ingredients could possibly enhance the taste of whatever it is that I’m making. I also really enjoy working on the presentation of food; with this particular recipe, I had so much fun experimenting with my camera and trying to take pictures that made these doughnuts look as good as they tasted.
    I have to say that I’m so glad that it’s already Wednesday! I’ve been in a rut this week, and am really looking forward to the weekend. Lately I’ve seriously been considering of applying to grad school or moving somewhere else–both are prospects that are super exciting to me! However, I’ve also been doubting my ability to move forward in life. Because of everything that’s going on in my head, I’ve been feeling really sensitive to things that other people say and do, and I’ve been letting them affect my mood in a negative way. I really just need to learn to just brush things off and push negative thoughts out of my mind. But, I guess that is a skill that comes with practice.
    Helen Grace
    Food & DIY

    Strawberry & Mint Agua Fresca

    Since it has been extremely hot these past few days, I thought that it would be a good idea to start sharing some of my favorite Summer recipes on the blog. The first recipe that I’m going to share with you is for a delicious Strawberry & Mint Agua Fresca, which is super easy to make. I have a soft spot in my heart for aguas frescas because they always remind me of my childhood Summers; my mother and my abuela (grandmother) often made different types of aguas frescas such as horchata and other various fruit drinks. Other than the childhood nostalgia that they ignite in me, what I also enjoy about aguas frescas is that they are always a great alternative to store-bought juices and soft drinks, since they are made with fresh ingredients. I really hope that you enjoy this recipe, and that you use it often this Summer!
    Strawberry & Mint Agua Fresca Recipe
    3 1/2 cups of water
    1 1/2 cups of pure cane sugar
    2 16-ounce containers of fresh strawberries (chopped)
    Mint leaves (according to taste)
    1. Blend the chopped strawberries, pure cane sugar, and 1 1/2 cups of water.
    2. Leave the strawberry mixture in the blender, and slowly start blending in mint leaves according to taste. This mixture makes a strawberry and mint concentrate, which you can freeze and use to make agua fresca at a later time.
    3. Pour the strawberry and mint concentrate into a large pitcher, and stir in 2 cups of water.
    4. Serve over ice.
    Optional: If you’re really looking to cool off from the heat, you can also pour the agua fresca into popsicle molds for a delicious frozen treat.
    I have to admit that I’m glad that I decided to post a recipe on the blog this week, because I definitely didn’t have the energy to get dressed and take outfit pictures this weekend. This past week of work just left me feeling drained and tired, so I spent most of my free time this weekend in my pajamas. All I accomplished was laying on my bed and binge-watching the second season of Orange is the New Black. I still have a few episodes left in the current season. However, I have decided that from now on, I will limit myself to an episode a week so that it feels more like a treat. It’s so hard to do that because this season is so good!
    Another reason that I’m trying to limit my television time is because I’ve let go of many of my hobbies, and I’ve made a habit of spending too much time in front of a computer. I don’t read as much as I used to anymore, and I also haven’t been keeping up with creative projects other than this blog. I need to make time to experience the world around me.
    Helen Grace