Thanksgiving in July

Fall is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite time of year. The clothes, the weather, the activities, (my birthday)…I just can’t get enough. If I could wear boots and a sweater every day, I’d be in heaven. Needless to say, fall-flavored foods are also way high on my list of happy. So, with a few extra apples on hand, and a need for a delicious lunch, I whipped out the cinnamon and nutmeg and made my house smell like apple pie. The result was not nearly as indulgent, but I still did a happy dance mid-lunch. There’s just something about that sweetness and mild crunch of a baked apple that never disappoints.20120712-193959.jpg

Cranberry, apple, and almond quinoa: Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup dry quinoa
2 apples
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I like orange flavored!)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
cooking spray
juice of 1/2 lemon
cinnamon
nutmeg
kosher salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Slice apples and place in a baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake until fork tender (approximately 30-35 minutes).
Place almonds on a baking sheet, spray lightly with cooking spray, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 5 minutes, but keep an eye on these babies because they go from golden to burnt very quickly.
Bring water to a boil, add quinoa, reduce heat and cook till water is absorbed and you can fluff with a fork (approximately 20 minutes).

Once the apples have cooled, slice into chunks and add all ingredients into a bowl and toss with a fork. Add salt to taste and drizzle with lemon juice. Refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight if you have time). Eat warm or cold–it’s pretty darn good either way.

Nutritional Stats (per serving):

367 calories, 10.8g of fat, 62g carbs, 25g sugar, 8.5g fiber, 9g protein

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