Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa + Pinner’s Conference

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.comIt’s happened more than once, I’ve tasted a quinoa salad and gone “meh” even though I know good for me. We are at the crescendo of the quinoa craze, so you too probably are aware that this ancient grain (which is actually a seed) boosts your diet with  nutrients like B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. Additionally, quinoa is also one of only a few plant foods considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids — oh how I love me some protein! 

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

To add some flavor excitement to a quinoa recipe, I decided to mix up a dish that magnifies some of my favorite flavors that some consider “fall season” but I embrace year ’round – maple syrup and butternut squash! And hey, even though it was 105 degrees yesterday . . . we are getting closer to Autumn one day at a time! I’ve used two of my favorite products from NOW Foods, Organic Tri-color Quinoa and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa can be served warm, room temperature or cold -- it's a healthy vegetarian side dish or salad packed with protein and wholesome energy.Anyway,my recipe for Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa is just bursting with flavor and wholesome goodness. Not only is this recipe pretty to look at, it’s a beautiful addition to a meal-prepping lineup — especially important now that it’s Back-To-School season. You can make a big batch and eat it warm or cold — it also holds up well to being packed in a lunchbox.   Of course, I like to pair mine with a big, juicy steak!

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

By the way, I am demonstrating this Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa coming up on Friday, September 9th at the Texas Pinner’s Conference  in the Dallas area (Arlington Convention Center). My class is called “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness.” 

pinners conference class description

pinners conference pic 1Learn how to prepare enough protein (I’m grilling Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steaks) to make dinner with leftovers for breakfast and lunch — the other recipes are Iron-Boosting Beef & Date Spinach Salad and Steak & Plantain Breakfast Bowl. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Are you a make-ahead meal prepper? What is your favorite dish to stock in the fridge or freezer? Have the kids gone back to school yet? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake squash, stirring once halfway through, for approximately 15 minutes or until tender and turning golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions -- it should also take around 15 minutes, so you can do the squash and quinoa simultaneously to save time.
  4. When quinoa done, transfer to large bowl, fluff with fork and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. While quinoa and squash cooling down, prepare dressing by adding maple syrup, remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt to small bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. Add cooked quinoa, cooked squash, green onions, raisins, and pecans to large bowl, mix gently to combine.
  7. Pour dressing over top and stir to evenly distribute. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
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Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread Recipe & #R3Summit Recap

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread - TheFitFork.com Whew, things have slowed down enough that I can share with you the great experience I had at Prevention’s R3 Summit. Happy to say that I “R3’d” the day away – relaxing, refreshing and reinventing! Jennifer & Mom at Prevention R3 SummitSome of the highlights for me were getting to spend some quality time with my mom – even though she lives in Austin, most of the time we’re together it’s with all my kids in tow. We enjoyed ourselves at the reception Friday night (I actually drank an entire glass of wine, so it we’re talking wild times) and caught the screening of Resistance, a documentary about antibiotic resistance being perpetuated the medical and agricultural industries.

R3 Summit Cartwheel

HA! Cartwheeling at the R3 Summit LAST year!

Saturday we spent the entire day listening to panels on topics like eating clean, loving your age, and more – Andie MacDowell was the featured speaker and she seemed just as lovely on the inside as out. Prior to the event, I was able to “ask” her a question about getting older and it was published in an article on Prevention.com . In that interview and in-person, she mentioned that she likes to do handstands and cartwheels – a lady after my own heart.  I would like to challenge her in a handstand-off! Henna Tattoo R3 Summit AustinBetween speakers, Mom and I got our chakra cleared, had our stress reduced with Reiki healing and took part in a few fun workouts. Again, this year, one of my favorite appointments was with the henna artist who painted me up with a beautiful tattoo – I was sad to see if fade away a couple weeks later.

TheFitFork Wild Planet Cook Off R3 SummitOf course there was food – healthy, healing, good-for-you food. Quinoa salad, yogurt and fruit, almonds, green teas and – fish! One of the companies on site was Wild Planet Foods – they sell sustainably caught seafood (think canned tuna, sardines, anchovies – but YUMMY!) while supporting the conservation of wild marine ecosystems.  They were sponsoring a Food Network-style “Chopped” competition using their canned tuna — oh, you know I was SO up for this. Ten of us battled it off to come up with a tuna recipe using a provided array of ingredients – in 10 MINUTES from start to finish.  In my mind, I hatched my recipe, execution and plating strategy before we even started (that’s the competitor in me) – my finished product was Tuna & Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Gremolata Dressing . . . . served in scooped out lemons. I must say, it was lovely. When I have time to sit down and recollect my thoughts, I’ll be sure to share the recipe!

So, SAVE THE DATE – I don’t know exactly when, but I imagine the 3rd annual R3 Summit will be in October 2015 in Austin (editors told me they love, LOVE the health and fitness scene here).  Meanwhile, start reading Prevention Magazine – not just the website but a good old-fashioned paper version that is mailed straight to your house! I have conveniently provided you a link to subscribe here and at the bottom of this post. This month’s issue was packed with good stuff – including a bunch of healthy chocolate recipes including this Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread (they called it cake, but I’m not going there) which I recreated with some minor tweaks for you!

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread = TheFitFork.com Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread Recipe

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup maple sugar (or regular sugar)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup milk (or milk substitute)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup crystalized ginger, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly coat three mini loaf pans with baking spray. Actually, I think lining the pans with parchment paper worked better.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and ginger.
  3. In another bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, olive oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together with spatula until just combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips and ginger pieces.
  5. Bake on center rack for approximately 35 – 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center pulls out clean.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Prevention provided me free admission and products to attend this event. However, all opinions and commentary are strictly my own.