Friday, March 30, 2012

Quinoa Patties with Shrimp, Kale, and Feta

Friday, March 30, 2012
Two Mondays a month, I help run a mentoring and education program for pregnant teenagers in Albany, called "Strong Mom." A couple of medical students and I started this program last year, and I have really enjoyed being a part of the life changes these teens are going through. In order to encourage healthy eating, we bring home-cooked dinner to our evening classes. While researching nutrient-dense foods, I discovered quinoa for the first time last year, and let me tell you, it's amazing! We have incorporated it into many recipes and the young ladies love it! 

Since we typically make crock-pot meals, I haven't made quinoa patties for our program, but I decided to give them a shot at home because they sounded delicious.

I started with this recipe, but made some ingredient changes based on what I had in the fridge/freezer, and what needed to be used. They were fantastic. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!

3 cups cooked quinoa
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 sweet onion, finely chopped/diced
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
15 cooked shrimp, cooled, chopped
3 kale leaves, washed, finely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs (I used about 3/4 cup Italian Style Bread crumbs and 1/4 cup plain Panko bread crumbs.) More bread crumbs can be added if needed.
Water, if needed
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for cooking - add more if needed)

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa, eggs, onion powder, salt, and crushed red pepper. 
  2. Add the onion, cheese, garlic, cilantro, shrimp, and kale. Mix well.
  3. Add the bread crumbs, half a cup at a time, mixing in between. Wait a few minutes and decide if you need to add more bread crumbs. The goal is to find the right consistency to form little patties (about 1-inch high and 3-inches across). If your mixture is too thick, add a little bit of water. If it is too moist, add some more bread crumbs. This isn't an exact science - you have to figure out what will work best for you!
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Using your hands, make your quinoa patties and place them into the hot skillet. Just like making cookies, you'll most likely only be able to cook 6-8 patties at once, and will have to do at least 2 batches. 
  3. Cover the patties and let them cook for about 7-10 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully flip the patties. The bottom of the patties should be a nice brown color. Let them cook on the other side for about 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness. If you want, you can flip them a second time to get the bottom a darker brown.
  1. Remove the patties from the skillet and let them cool on a plate or wire rack (like cookies).
  2. While your first batch is cooling, get started on batch number 2!
  3. If you would like to enjoy fresh quinoa patties, you can cover your quinoa mixture and place it in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to cook and eat them.

Serve the quinoa patties warm. They will reheat in the microwave, but fresh ones taste the best. We enjoyed ours with some fresh cod and sauteed kale with mushrooms on the side.

Here is the recipe as a JPEG to print:
That's it! I'm looking forward to trying many other quinoa patty varieties in the near future. I'm thinking some crab meat would be wonderful as a sort of quinoa-crab cake!

Linking up at:
It's Overflowing
Sunday Showcase
The Winthrop Chronicles

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mason Jar Wall Plant

Sunday, March 25, 2012
With the fantastic weather we've had in Albany this past week, I was inspired to try my hand at indoor gardening. When I say indoor gardening, I mean just one little succulent plant.... I'm still a busy medical student with many other responsibilities, so let's not get ahead of ourselves :)


I saw some cute ideas on Pinterest, tracked down their tutorials, and put my own spin on the projects.

Piece of wood
White craft paint
Sand paper
Laser printed designs, reversed to mirror image(see tutorial here)
Mod Podge

Picture hanging materials
Adjustable pipe clamp
Screw driver, hammer

Mason Jar
(probably some small pebbles, which I did not use, but will most likely use next time)

Okay, onto the fun part!

I began by painting my piece of wood white. When it dried, I sanded it down to make it look a little distressed. Then I cut out my laser printed designs from the Graphics Fairy. She has the best images and text for transfer and craft projects. Definitely check out her incredible site! Note that it is important to use a toner-based (laser) printer or copy machine so that your image transfers and doesn't bleed.


I coated the images in mod podge and placed them face down onto the painted wood just like in this tutorial. To speed up the drying process, I placed my piece of wood in the oven set on warm for about 15 minutes. Then I let it cool and continue to dry for about an hour. Using a wet paper towel and my finger, I rubbed the paper off so that just the images were left on the wood. (Just like the picture below from this project, but without having to be so gentle since wood is a much better transfer surface compared to glass!)


Next, I attached the picture hanging materials to the back of the wood. I also nailed the empty pipe clamp to the wood. This was tricky because the little slits in the clamp were too small for my little nail, so I used some pliers and a screw driver to make the last slit in the clamp slightly bigger.

Once my wood mount was good to go, I planted my Haworthia succulent into the mason jar. This is where I should have added the small stones to the bottom of the jar before planting the little succulent. Since the mason jar has no drainage, I may end up with a mold issue down the road. Apparently using little stones or charcoal at the bottom help, but I didn't feel like digging out my plant or stone-hunting, so we'll see what happens!


I hung my wood on the wall, then put the jar in its pipe clamp. Using a screw driver, I tightened the pipe clamp so that the jar was secure.

That's it! Let me know what you think, and if you have suggestions. I'll keep you posted on how our first house (apartment) plant survives!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Break in Florida!

Thursday, March 8, 2012
The hubby and I took a much needed vacation during my spring break. We headed to sunny West Palm Beach and had a wonderful, relaxing week! Here are some pictures of our time... as you can see, we spent most of it at the beach, at least that's where we had the camera :)

View from the condo

Sunrise on the Atlantic!

One of many beautiful sunrises from the condo


We're back in Albany now, and I'm gearing up for the last month of second year followed by the most intensive 5 weeks of studying in my medical school career as I prepare for the USMLE Step 1!!
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