Tasty Gift Idea and (another) Quinoa Recipe

Beautiful sunny weather in Manitoba today! A few people have said it must be so cold for us, recently returning from Ecuador, but its exactly the opposite. We are in the mountains and have spring-like weather year round, so this is hot for us! The coastal areas definitely feel the heat but we stay comfortable and enjoy the sunshine most days.

It will be a nice weekend for a certain couple to be away on their first anniversary! I made a couple of treats for them to take along, I’m loving the goodies in a jar idea! I’ve seen it before on a recipe site, then came across a black bean brownie recipe at No Meat Athlete┬áthat gave instructions of how to do it jar-style.

brownie mix in a jar

I love the idea of homemade treats to give as gifts, who wouldn’t love ready to go cakes and goodies! Plus, you can tailor it to any specific dietary needs your friends may have. (On behalf of those kind of friends, I thank you all!) All you need is a jar and some ribbon or string. I couldn’t let them leave without knowing they had a good breakfast…

breakfast bake in a jar

So I whipped this up, keeping the flax and powdered soy milk in separate little bags I tucked in the top of the jar. Don’t forget to put instructions on the tag and you’re good to go. Any recipe where the dry ingredients can be added all at once would work, just remember to detail what liquids need to be added and in what quantity, and cooking time and temp if needed.

I was missing my favorite power food in Ecuador yesterday, so I had to have some quinoa. You’ll notice I have a mild obsession with the stuff, but it’s just so good! Most people ask me what on earth I put with it, so I’ll share all my creations with you and force encourage you to love it too. ­čśë

I tried a quinoa salad with apples from the grocery store recently and wasn’t too impressed, so I decided to make my own.┬áNever cooked quinoa before? Find out how to┬áhere.

I did like the apple idea and decided I wanted to change things up and add some cranberries and walnuts with it. I also added in squash and spinach for veggie goodness, it was a great success!

Quinoa with fruit and veg

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 apple, peeled and cubed
  • 1.5 cups spinach
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries

Add quinoa to 2 cups water and bring to boil.

Add cubed squash to pot, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 mins. (I love adding veggies like this and save using an extra pot… if you saw the size of my kitchen you’d skimp on dishes too!)

When ready add apple, spinach, walnuts and cranberries. Stir together and cover while preparing the dressing to allow spinach to cook a little.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

Whisk together and pour over quinoa. (This would also be great with feta crumbled on top if you like. But it’s vegan challenge month around here, so none for me!

Hope you like it! There will be many an ode to quinoa and recipes to come!

Any requests of what you’d like to see?┬áLeave me a comment or send me an email, I’d love to hear from you!

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2 Responses to Tasty Gift Idea and (another) Quinoa Recipe

  1. Colleen says:

    Do you have any recipes in a jar containing quinoa? I’d like to spread the word to friends and family who haven’t tried it. I thought it would be sooooo cool if I could make quinoa in a jar recipes for them as gifts for the holidays! I usually do the cookie and muffin baskets but I’ve been on a healthy kick this year so NO MORE SUGARERY GOODNESS! Any suggestions would be very helpful and appreciated ­čÖé

    • Jo says:

      Hi Colleen,
      Most of my favorite quinoa recipes require cooking the quinoa separately,which doesn’t work to well with recipes in a jar. So I would recommend a soup recipe like this one
      Layering the lentils, quinoa, and dried spices, (skipping the oil, red pepper flakes instead of the jalapeno) and adding directions to add the veggies and water.
      I’d also suggest serving them this recipe – everyone loves when I make it, I use quinoa instead of the spelt and buckwheat.
      Congrats on the healthy changes and spreading the quinoa love!

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