Priority Bicycles

I have been looking for an affordable bike for riding around town. So, when I found Priority Bicycles through Make Magazine, I knew I found my bike. Not only is the structure aesthetically pleasing, there’s no need for maintenance!

Priority Bicycles focuses on creating bikes for the recreational rider. The three gear bikes are lightweight, have a comfy seat and use a belt that requires no grease. The bikes also have an advanced foot brake system. There are two frame styles: a diamond and a step-through. I invested in a step-through model 🙂

When I found out that Priority Bicycles was inviting backers to test out the bikes, I decided to stop by. I came by on Tuesday and was greeted by Lauren. Lauren thanked me for coming and told me about her passion for cycling. She then introduced me to Dave, the owner of Priority Bicycles.

Lauren and Dave showed me their workshop. I got to see their prototypes and tested one of their diamond models. During my ride, I used the bike’s three gear system and its brakes. I was able to shift gears seamlessly and the pedal back brake system worked great. I can’t wait to ride a Priority Bicycle around my neighborhood 🙂

Priority Bicycles’ Kickstarter campaign is active until August 14 and the workshop is open for visits. Check out Priority Bicycles’ website for more details.

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A picture Lauren took of me riding a Priority Bicycle 🙂

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Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

It’s officially fall! Fall means pumpkins, apples, warm sweaters, generous cups of hot drinks, and tasty breakfast cereals 🙂

In my refrigerator, I had some leftover quinoa that was begging to be used for breakfast. So, I took it out and combined it with some fruit, nuts, spices and seeds. The result–an amazing, filling breakfast option.

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 apple, peeled and cored
1 tsp cinnamon or spice blend of your choice (I chose pumpkin spice)
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 sunflower seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Lightly oil a baking pan and spread your mixture over the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, then enjoy 🙂

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Smoked Salmon

For today’s lunch, I made had a smoked salmon burger. For the smoke flavor I used Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend. I picked up the seasoning blend yesterday and since then I have been thinking about other foods I can smoke 😊.

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Besides the smoke seasoning blend, I also used fresh cilantro, cayenne pepper and some fresh black pepper as well. I combined this blend with a spoonful of all-purpose gluten free flour, an egg and a can of wild salmon.

I shaped the salmon mixture into burgers and cooked them in a lightly oiled skillet on medium heat until both sides were golden brown.

After the burgers were done, I placed one of them on a bed of gluten free bread that was lightly moistened with mayonnaise.

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A New All-Purpose Option

Last week, my grandmother stopped by and brought me a package of gluten free flour. When my grandmother brings me flour I can usually expect something like coconut flour, millet flour or brown rice flour but this package was different. It was a package of gluten free flour from Trader Joe’s!

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Trader Joe’s All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour is a classic blend of brown rice flour, potato starch, white rice flour and tapioca starch. It has a fine texture like wheat flour, and it makes great pancakes. I have yet to try it for other baked goods, but I think it will perform well.

Eggplant & Chick Peas

Hello, I know it’s been awhile since my last recipe but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking or baking 🙂  In fact I have, but I’ve been obsessing about what would  be good to post and now I have found it.  I don’t know about you but one of my favorite dishes to eat from an nyc chinese food restaurant was Sweet & Sour Eggplant.  Recently, my local veggie stand had a sale on eggplant and I jumped on this opportunity to make something grand.

When I went home, I found the ideal recipe in my copy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman: Hot Sweet and Sour Chickpeas with Eggplant.   I made a food list and set out to find the other ingredients to my dish.  Once my voyage was complete, I settled into the kitchen and filled it with the aroma of good food.

Hot, Sweet and Sour Eggplant

Makes about 4 meal sized portions

2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

1 medium eggplant cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

2 hot fresh chiles, seeded and minced or hot red pepper flakes to taste

1 sprig fresh curry leaves or several dried leaves (optional)

3 cups cooked black or regular chickpeas with about 2 cups of their cooking liquid

1 tablespoon sambar powder or curry powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Pinch of asafetida (optional)*

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon tamarind paste or freshly squeezed lime juice to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Chopped roasted peanuts for garnish

Put oil in a skillet over med-high heat.  When hot, add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (5-10min).  Add the ginger, chiles, and curry leaves, stir and cook until fragrant (about 1 min).

Add the chickpeas, Sambar (or curry), turmeric, asafetida, brown sugar, tamarind, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat so that it gently bubbles and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened and the eggplant is tender (about 15 min).

Add the chickpeas, Sambar (or curry), turmeric, asafetida, brown sugar, tamarind, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat so that it gently bubbles and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened and the eggplant is tender (about 15 min).

* This item adds a smoky flavor to foods, but be careful with it.  Only use a little and be mindful that is does not smell pleasant until it is fully integrated with your dish.  If you do use this, make sure you place this item in a air-tight container, so its smell does not spread throughout your pantry.

Fruit and Nuts

I like fruit and nut bars. I like the variety of flavors and the convenience of having something nutritious fit in your hand. They’re something I usually always keep close to me after a run, or in backpack during a weekend trip. Considering how much I enjoy these items, I thought it would be fun to make my own.

My basic fruit and nut bar recipe is based on one from Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier (to read a review on it, check out http://www.bloggingbooksandmore.blogspot.com).

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

1 small apple, cored

1 cup fresh or soaked dates

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1/4 cup almonds (make sure you soak these overnight before putting them in)

1/4 cup ground flaxseed  you can also try chia seeds or a mix of gf granola and chia seeds; both taste quite nice)

1/4 cup hemp protein powder

2 tsp. nutmeg

sea salt to taste

Place these ingredients into a food processor and blend until it reaches your desired consistency. These bars freeze well and don’t freeze solid so if you want to pull one out of the freezer and eat it as soon as possible go for it 🙂 I have shaped the above into balls and into bars. There are two ways you can shape the apple cinnamon mixture into bars. you can flatten the mixture on a clean surface, cover the top with plastic wrap, roll out the mixture with a rolling pin and cut them into bars. Or you can make the mixture into a brick and cut through it as if you were slicing bread. If the mixture is a little too moist to handle when you first take it out, Brazier states that as the bars dry they became easier to handle and this is definitely true. Your mixture shouldn’t be as runny as wet sand. If so, then you may want to add a bit more of a dry ingredient. If the opposite occurs add some more of your wet ingredients.

Makes approximately 12 1-3/4 ounce bars

Twists On Your Average Waffle

I recently picked up a waffle iron.  Waffles were one of the the things in college that there used to be lines for because they were just that good.  My waffle iron, of course, is not as deluxe as the college edition but it works just as well.  When I brought it home, my mom, sister and I “oohed” and “ahhed” at it.  Then we promptly went to find a waffle recipe to use for it.  Instead we chose to christen the waffle iron with making doughnuts in it.  Yep, you read that correctly 🙂  We made cinnamon “dough-nots”, an amazing waffle look alike with the fluffy cake-like filling of a doughnut.

Since this worked out so well, we thought about what we could do with a box of GF Betty Crocker Yellow Cake.  We decided to make some of the batter into chocolate cake batter and swirl it back in.  We then baked and cut the waffles and made them into ice cream sandwiches 🙂

Ah, I think I am enjoying having a waffle iron.  Please feel free to share what you like to make in your waffle iron 🙂