A quinoa bake square with breakfast yogurt parfait!
I recently found a Pinterest pin for a quinoa breakfast bake. I'm all about having something pre-made and ready to go in the morning for breakfast, so making something like this one afternoon will give me part of breakfast for the rest of the week (and enough for some daytime snacking, too, tee hee ^_^)! 

You know, when I tell people I know that I eat quinoa (pronounced keen-wah; it's okay, I didn't know at first either), I usually get one of two responses: 1) They have no idea what it is, or 2) They say, "Oh, I've heard of it, but what is it?" Since I'm from Hawaii and pretty much everyone here eats [white] rice everyday with one or more of their meals, my answer to the question is normally starts with, "You eat rice? It's like rice. You can cook it the same way and eat it the same way, but it's healthier and better for you." If you look at the pic on the left, they don't look alike, but they have the same texture, about the same taste, and can be used in pretty much all the same recipes. And then, of course, people ask how is quinoa better for you? And then I have to launch into explanation mode...

Let me tell you, it's hard coming up with so many different ways to use spinach! Sometimes a little inspiration is required...like today. I found a pin on Pinterest from the Undressed Skeleton blog with a recipe to make Banana Spinach Protein Bars. It sounds seriously crazy, but just like the blog says, you can't even taste the spinach because of all the banana. Honestly, I was really skeptical about that description and about the taste in general, but I've found that I'll really try anything at least once (even if that means I have to suck it up and literally eat all the failure when I'm done).

After following the original recipe, I tweaked it just a little to get a little more, nutrition-wise, out of each bite. I think I added too much banana on accident which made it a bit extra liquidy, so I added more flax seed meal and more protein powder than the recipe originally called for. Also the directions for what kind of vessel to cook them in was pretty ambiguous, so I just guessed on that. My tweaked version of the recipe is below. Small warning: It came out a little dry in the middle, but if you can live with that, go for it! If I make these again, I'd probably add more banana to keep it moist.

My mom used to make me pancakes EVERY Saturday morning. It went on for so long that I eventually got sick of it and refused to eat any more pancakes....for years. LOTS of years. Like 10 years, seriously. I only recently started ordering and making pancakes again. Now that I'm on this "change my life and eat healthier" bit, I've been finding a lot of cool healthy pancake recipes, and since buying that ginormous Costco sized bag of spinach the other day, I thought sharing spinach pancakes would be appropriate.

I originally found the recipe for these protein packed pancakes on Instagram, but I can't for the life of me remember who I got it from! That being said, I'm just gonna throw out a big thank you into the air for whoever it was. Whenever I buy spinach these days, I always have to make these at least once! This is also usually the recipe I use when the spinach is just starting to wilt/die in the fridge since it has to be blended anyways.

I'm always price comparing the things I need/want for my kitchen experiments. In fact, I have a whole memo on my iPhone to help me remember how much certain things cost (regular price) at certain stores or at online sites. That being said, I had just started thinking last week about how much I really needed to have spinach and about how much I miss having it in my fridge, but that buying those bags from Safeway were just not efficient because I always go through them way faster than I ever think I will OR I don't go through them fast enough and they just rot. Either way, it's kind of an inefficient way to buy spinach for myself. And then I went to Costco...
I normally don't buy fresh veggies or fruits from Costco for two reasons: 1) how the HELL would I get through all of it?! I don't really throw dinner parties or anything like that, and when I do, there aren't that many people, and it normally ends up being a potluck, meaning there's plenty of food to go around without me making a ginormous portion of my dish; and 2) my previous experience buying fruits in bulk from Costco only proved to me that they aren't as flavorful as the smaller regular grocery store portions.

That's when I saw this HUGE 2.5 lb bag of baby spinach (I wanna say it's almost 2 ft. tall). (O_O) I didn't know what to do! I really wanted spinach, I knew I wouldn't run out of this one nearly as fast, but I was afraid of the spinach wilting/dying/rotting before I could use it all (I have a bad track record with that...). And then I noticed the bag was resealable and that I have more time to cook recently, and I was sold. Picked it up, brought it home, and realized that it actually tastes just fine!! (^_^) Good buy, yay!

Since I now have this huge bag, I'm pretty much trying to use it as much as I possibly can. Translation: I throw it in everything. Thankfully, it's a very versatile green that goes well with so many different dishes! I've also taken this chance to look up new spinach recipes to try out. Today's feature is a frozen dessert!