Quinoa Pizza Balls
It was my first visit to this holistic practitioner, and I knew from the outset it was the place for me. Shutting out the mid-day hubbub of Toronto’s Yonge Street behind me, I swung open the heavy oak door; inside, there was a comfortable hush in the air, like padding through a field of snow. The receptionist smiled and led me to the plush waiting room where I was offered a cup of freshly brewed ginger tea (Why yes, I’d love some, thanks.). With its deep, cushy sofas, fireplace and infusion of natural light, the room felt like the kind in which I’d be comfortable meditating, or napping, or sinking into a juicy novel.
When it was my turn, I followed the assistant upstairs to the examination room, where she offered me a parrafin wax treatment: one at a time, my hands were immersed into a basin of liquid, lavender-scented wax, caressing my fingers in soothing warmth before the assistant blanketed them in thick terrycloth mitts. Throughout the actual appointment, the doctor explained each procedure and the rationale behind it; at each step of the way, she asked if it was all right to proceed (it was). After about an hour in the chair, I was sad to learn I’d miss the usual final step in the procedure–a complimentary reflexology treatment–as the reflexologist was on vacation that week (Darn! Well, next time.).
I left the office feeling relaxed and pampered, yet impressed by the knowledge, compassion and professional care of the staff. You know, it almost makes me want to head back to the dentist again as soon as I—
What?! Did I just say, “THE DENTIST”?
That’s right, folks. That was a dental appointment. Yep, I’m pretty sure I can get behind this whole “holistic dentistry” thing.
After all of your advice, commiseration and feedback during my Ordeal Number One (the Ordeal of the Root Canal) over the past couple of weeks, I decided to pursue the holistic route. For that, I thank you. And thanks, too, for all the links and information you imparted that led me to this new dentist. At this point, since my pain has subsided substantially and the root is apparently still alive, her best advice is to wait and see, and re-visit in a month or so–so that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m sorry to say that our little Chaser did not have an equally positive experience during her recent appointment at the Vee Eee Tee last week (note to non-dog owners: certain words, like W-A-L-K, or T-R-E-A-T, or the aforementioned V-E-T, must always be spelled out to avoid evoking a canine reaction that can instantly escalate from “happy and alert” to “your sofa has just been ripped into forty-seven pieces.”).
Although our Vee Eee Tee is, herself, extremely warm, knowledgeable and accomplished in her field, none of that means anything to our wee one, who has suffered dread fear ever since her first N-A-I-L trim. At her annual appointment last week, I fairly had to drag her into the examining room, after which she cowered under the table until the Vee Eee Tee and her assistant
coaxed encouraged bribed hauled her out for her shots. It pained me to cradle Chaser’s little head, pupils large as stormclouds, as the Vee Eee Tee administered the rabies vaccine (at which, ironically, Chaser didn’t even flinch; she didn’t feel a thing).
Oddly enough, as I remarked to the Vee Eee Tee, her office is the only place where our Girls literally swap personalities for a time: Elsie, normally as laid back as a hung over surfer snoozing on the beach, transforms into a prancing, whining, leaping spitfire even as we approach the building; while Chaser, normally the epitome of “In Your Face,” trembles uncontrollably, her ears plastered against her head, tail curled so far under her belly that it almost peeks out from her collar, in an effort to evade the N-A-I-L trimmer.
["Mum, you exaggerate. I wasn't cowering under that examining table. . . I was, er, um. . .trying to hide this geeky pink bandage. Yeah, that's right. . . I mean, you should have known that all the cool kids at the doggie daycare wear yellow, Mum. ]
Once we finally returned home from the ordeal, I found myself craving comfort food (preferably something easy to cook and not too hard on the teeth). For the HH, pizza is the quintessential convenience food; but for me, pizza means a homemade crust that is almost never quick to make. Then I remembered a recipe I’d seen almost a year ago on Oh She Glows, for these Quinoa Pizza Balls (unfortunately, I could no longer find the recipe on Angela’s site). Not only quick and easy, they’re also bite-sized so you don’t have to worry about eating half a pizza at one sitting (totally hypothetical example, you understand).
I was enjoying a plate of pizza balls and salad within about half an hour, and let me tell you, they were good. Crispy exterior with a soft, moist center, and a definite flavor of a traditional Margherita pizza (minus the mozzarella, of course), they were just what I needed that afternoon, as The Girls and I recovered from Ordeal Number Two (the Ordeal of the Vee Eee Tee).
“Mum, the pizza balls were okay and everything, but I think I would have preferred that reflexology treament.”
Quinoa Pizza Balls
adapted from this recipe
The simplicity of these balls belies their complex flavors. The pairing of fresh basil and tomato paste here is truly evocative of pizza. These make a great party appetizer or main course alongside a crisp salad.
2/3 cup (160 ml) quinoa, dry
2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth or stock
2 cups (480 ml–one 19-ounce/400 ml can) cooked white or red kidney beans
10-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) dried oregano
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
2/3 cup (160 ml) tomato paste
3-5 drops plain stevia liquid, to your taste
garlic salt, to your taste
If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, rinse well and drain. Bring the broth to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Add quinoa, lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Check the quinoa; if the liquid is not yet absorbed, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes longer, until the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is softened. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher or large fork until almost smooth (but leave a little texture). Add remaining ingredients, including quinoa, and, with clean hands, knead the “dough” to combine well.
Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the mixture and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheets and bake in preheated oven 25-35 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through, until the balls are dry and well browned on the outside. Serve immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Makes about two dozen. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan, low glycemic.
This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.
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© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs