Life’s Not Always Pretty

 

Life’s not always pretty.

But it sure is delicious.

 

 

It was a very, very slow day at work today. 

In fact, it was hardly 3 o’clock when I finished seeing my last patient.  It was exactly 3 o’clock when I drove my little red car out of the lot.  And it was exactly 3:05 when I realized that the last thing I wanted to do was head straight home to face my ever growing pile of homework.  Oh me, oh my.  What a dilemna.

I toyed with going shopping, but it’s no secret that my sister and I have been going just a  teensy bit crazy with shopping lately. I think I need to hold off on any retail therapy for just a while.  I wouldn’t want the sales lady to know me by name, or anything. 😉

 

 

Besides, I think my kitchen has been resting just a little too long.  I’ve been itching to make something—anything! 

And so, with that final thought, I drove home.  I threw on my apron.  

And then I chopped an onion.

 

 

(I don’t always know where I’m going with a recipe or any given ingredient, but I’ve discovered that a scoop or two of salsa can do no wrong in most savory recipes…)

 

 

(…same goes for a spritz of lemon.  Salsa and lemon sure know how to spice up a party!)

 

 

These refried beans are a perfectly delicious option for filling a burrito or using as a dip for a dish of corn chips.

And, just as an extra bonus, this is the perfect recipe to make after a particularly stressful day.  You can chop away at an onion, smash a few beans, and make a snack (or lunch!) all in one shot. 

 

 

Life’s not always pretty.

But it sure is delicious.

 

 

Refried Beans

If you prefer a creamier refried bean, toss this mixture into your food processor and give it a whirl.  This is a delicious filling for your burrito, when paired with feta cheese, avocados, fresh tomatoes and lettuce.  Or, serve it cold with some corn chips for a protein packed, fiber rich snack.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 15-oz. can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. salsa
  • lemon juice
  • garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • pepper
  • cayenne to taste (optional)
  1. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add chopped onions and cook until onions are soft and tender.
  2. Add pinto beans and reduce heat to medium low.  Continue to cook and stir occasionally, 5-6 minutes.  Add salsa, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne if using.
  3. With a potato masher, mash and stir all ingredients together.  Serve warm or cold as desired.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: If you had one day to do absolutely anything, what would you do?

a bowl of broccoli soup

I went a little crazy over the broccoli in the produce isle.

 I’ve been feeling this dreadfully slow pattern of a head cold coming on over the past few days.  Yesterday, it was just a little soreness in my throat.  This morning, it was uncontrollable sneazing.  Tonight, I felt like a heavy brick that just wants to lie down and sleep.  Forever.

And when a cold is indecisively lingering, not really sure if it wants to hit me hard or just up and leave altogether, all I ever really want to eat is soup.  A hot, steaming bowl of soup.

More precisely, a hot, steaming bowl of veggie soup.  

The broccoli was on sale so I took five pounds.  It was much, much, much more than I needed—even for a double batch—so there will be plenty of broccoli both now and in my future. 

The original recipe comes from the most recent Eating Well magazine, but I made my own subtle changes to it.  Such as adding milk instead of the half and half.  And adding in some white beans to help thicken the soup, while also providing some extra protein and fiber.  And I just love how buttery white beans taste.  It was an all-around tasty addition.

Stir, stir, stir…

I’m still sneezing.  I definitely feel like sleeping.  But I have a belly full of warm broccoli soup and I’m feeling just fine.

I just hope it’s Dad who’s feeling motivated for tonight’s run, because I sure could use the pep talk… 😉

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Broccoli Soup

I fell upon this recipe in the most recent Eating Well magazine and knew instantly that I had to make it. 

The soup is very gentle.  Very delicate, with just a hint of creaminess.  If you want to up the richness factor, use part milk and part “half & half.”  Or use the milk but add a handful of sharp cheddar cheese after you’ve blended everything together, allowing it to melt into the soup.

Serve out bowls of broccoli soup with homemade croutons and a few shavings of parmesan cheese.  Or serve with a roasted veggie quesadilla.  This is an easy to make, delightful soup that will warm up any chilly winter evening.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 c. chopped broccoli
  • 4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 c. water
  • One 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c. milk, warmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts.  Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-6 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme; cook for about 10 seconds.
  2. Stir in broccoli.  Add broth and water; bring to a lively simmer over high heat.  Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender, about 8 minutes.  Add beans.
  3. Puree soup in batches in a blender.  Stir in milk, salt and pepper.  ENJOY!

Question: Do you continue to eat a lot of salads in the winter or do you switch to “warmer’ vegetables such as soups?  I’ve continued eating an abundance of salads, but I’ve been realizing more and more how much I love soups during the chillier months.  They make the perfect dinner after a long, busy day, and—really—I can’t think of a nicer way to warm up after a cold, winter run than hugging a hot bowl of soup.  😀

the return of the boxed lunch

Vacation sure was nice while it lasted. 

Honestly—aside from writing an abstract on hypertension—I didn’t accomplish a whole lot during vacation, and that is just fine by me.  My brain feels well rested.  Ready to think and be used once again.

That being said, the first day back always feels a little rough.  Especially since I was starting my clinical rotation at the hospital for the first time today.  Obviously, I needed a fun lunch to feel excited about.  Something to  make getting up at 5:00am just a little bit easier. 😉

Last night, I made chef salads for the family and topped each one off with a few scoops of roasted veggies that had been drizzled and deeply caramelized with a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Sweet onions, peppers, carrots, and baby portobello mushrooms. 

I forgot how much I love this simple flavor combination.

One of the (many) things that I love about roasting vegetables, is that any extras can be incorporated into the following day’s lunches and dinners.  Breakfast, even! 

And so, roasted vegetables became my very special lunch for today.  I reheated the veggies in the cafe’s microwave, scooped them onto a whole wheat wrap from home, and finished it all off with a salty bite of feta cheese.

(p.s. As much as I love roasted veggies, the feta definitely made this meal! )

The first day back can be terribly unsettling.

What time will I eat?  Will I have the time to eat?

Where do I go?  What was that persons’ name again?  And the worst: I think I’m lost.

 But…

Yes, I had time to eat.  I’ll learn peoples’ names eventually.  And it’s impossible to get completely lost, even in an unknown hospital, because there’s always somebody around to redirect me if I look worried enough…ha! 😉 

A fun group of snacks and a tasty lunch didn’t hurt either.

Snacks included:

  • Chocolate Chip Z-Bar
  • Apple
  • Almonds mixed with fancy raisins
  • Sliced papaya

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Roasted Veggie Wrap
Serves 1-2

Roasted veggies make for a fine lunch-to-go.  Make extra during the weekend to carry you through at least the beginning of the week.  For easy lunch options, you could easily mix the veggies with brown rice and baked tofu or chicken for a complete meal.  Or serve them alongside a piece of grilled fish.  Or simple eat as-is, with roasted garbanzo beans and a dollop of gaucamole.  

Or, roll the veggies into a whole wheat wrap and top with feta cheese. 

Whichever way you serve them, roasted veggies offer you a whole lot of nutrition and a whole lot of flavor.  Enjoy! 😀

  • Mixture of your favorite vegetables, sliced to desired thickness (the thicker pieces will require longer cooking time)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • whole wheat wrap
  • feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. On a rimmed cookie sheet, toss vegetables with oil, salt and pepper.  Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Stir around.  Return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked as desired (browning is recommended! 😀 ).
  3. Place on a whole wheat wrap, top with feta cheese and enjoy! 😀

Question: What do you do for work (or as a student)?  Do you enjoy it?

smile and carry on

Life has been kind of insane lately.

For starters, I just started my Christmas shopping today. Which, actually—to be completely honest—is a major improvement for me. 😉

And then later today—during a shopping trip with my mom—the car’s tires were apparently all wobbly (thanks to a kind woman who alerted us of this fact) which means that our shopping was cut early for a trip to the tire barn.

And then I realized that I had more homework than I first realized, after finishing up my pediatric rotation at the hospital over the past week.

But then.  Then!  I realized that we’re just two weeks away from Christmas, and it finally occurred to me that it’s no time at all to be grumpy or frazzled.  So I threw on some Pandora, helped put up the Christmas tree (the “official” decorating is tomorrow though!) and got to work making dinner.  With a smile on my face. 

Because, you know, life is just too short—just too precious—to get frazzly fried.  Besides, it’s kind of impossible to frown or feel stressed when you’re listening to “Deck the Halls” by Nat King Cole. 😉

Smile and Carry On.

(To make life even easier for everyone during the next couple of days, I loaded the baking sheet with plenty of extra veggies.  Any leftovers will be used for salads, wraps, pizzas, sauteed chicken, pureed soups, et cetera.  )

Next to whisking, dicing a bunch of fresh veggies is one of my favorite activities; one of life’s many, many, many simple pleasures.

And lucky for me, I planned on tonight’s dinner being filled with an overabundance of such diced veggies.  Roasted to nothing but caramelized perfection through the heat of the oven.  Perfect.

Time.  To.  EAT!

Smile.  Eat.  And Carry On.

Roasted Veggie Wraps

This is one of my favorite meals to make when life gets busy.  They’re super easy to make, and even easier to use as leftovers for the next couple of days.  

The wraps are delicious with any and all of your favorite veggies.  Broccoli, spinach, de-seeded tomatoes, carrots, et cetera.  No combination will fail you, I promise!  And as far as the cheese goes, I’ve made these with feta, swiss and gouda before.  It always comes out new, slightly unexpected, and wonderful.  Just have fun with it!  😀

  • a mixture of your favorite veggies, sliced and diced (I used mushrooms, peppers, and onions)
  • sea salt and pepper
  • whole wheat tortilla wraps
  • cheese
  • optional: serve with guacamole and side salads
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spray baking pan with cooking spray.  Add chopped veggies and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Place in oven for a total of 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  3. Once there is only about 10 minutes or so left for the veggies, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add wraps and place cheese on half of the wrap.  Fold over, press down lightly and cook until the side is well browned and crispy.  Flip, lower heat and continue cooking until veggies are ready.
  4. Fill wraps with cooked veggies.  Cut in half and serve with guacamole if desired.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Christmas music…yay or nay?  A big YAY to the old classics! 😀

ready (or not) for winter

Dear winter, I’m not really ready for you yet.  I love your sparkly flurries, your rush of cool air, and yes, I even love your fierce and bold personality.  But…I’m just not ready for you yet.

It was only about 10 months ago, when I was out running 11 miles in the middle of a blizzard.  My face felt numb.  My feet felt like…well…they actually felt like nothing at the time.  And I had a smile plastered on my face, as if I had just been botoxed.  And, I truly loved every second of the experience.

Now, fast forward 10 months to the present:  December 8, 2010.

The moment I stepped my sleepy self outside and onto the front porch, I wanted to run back and hide under my warm, dreamy blankets.  Into my dark, cozy room.  For just a few more moments.  *Sigh.*

It was 16 degrees out this morning with a blustery wind that immediately burned my cheeks.  But I wasn’t out running 11 miles.  There was no snow on the ground.  I could feel my feet.  Life wasn’t really that bad after all. 

And so I kept on trudging.  One foot in front of the other until I began feeling warm again.  This happened on the last stretch home as I covered a nice gentle 3 mile run.  Sometimes getting out of bed and facing the cold is a major challenge for me, but it’s always so well worth it in the end. 😀

Overnight Oatmeal

If you plan on working out in the morning, it’s important to not give yourself any available excuse for getting out of it.  Especially in the winter, when we need all the motivation that we can possibly get. 😉

This preparation method saves you the trouble (and time) of putting things together in the morning.  A quick pop in the microwave, and your breakfast is ready.  And finally, after fueling yourself with a warm bowl of hot oats, head out and get your workout in.  You’ll be glad you did. 😀

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 T. flax
  • 1 c. milk + 1/4 c. water
  • toppings: about 2 T. peanut butter
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together except for the peanut butter.  Place in a high topped (to avoid boiling over) microwaveable dish and put in fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, place dish in microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Stir.  Heat another 1-2 minutes and top with peanut butter. 
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you ready for winter this year?  What are some of your favorite activities in the winter months?

the “other” white meat

I don’t know why they call pork the “other” white meat.  In my opinion, pork is the white meat.  Juicy and succulent.  Infused with rich, meaty flavor.  And when it’s cooked just right, pork can show chicken up any ol’ day of the week.

Meat used to scare me.  Not because I was an animal activitist (although I do consider myself to be an animal welfarist.)  And not because I thought meat was bad or dangerous to my health. 

No.

Meat scared me because I was afraid of undercooking it.  Or worse.  Overcooking it.  But through many periods of trial and error, a few flops, and some lovely successes along the way, I’ve learned to embrace my inner carnivore.  I’ve realized that meat isn’t something that I should fear, because it really doesn’t have to be difficult to prepare. 

Sauteed pork chops, for example, are one of the quickest and easiest meats you’ll ever make.

First things first.  Drizzle each side of each pork chop with a bit of olive oil.  You don’t need a lot, especially if you spray your pan well with cooking spray.

Next, sprinkle on some coarse sea salt and pepper.  Now here’s the kicker.  Add about 1/8 of a tsp of sugar on one side of each pork chop and place sugar side down into heated pan.

Yes.  Sugar.

If you’re a little freaked out right now, don’t be.

Trust me, you won’t taste the sugar afterwards (nobody likes a sugared pork chop unless it involves apple chutney and cranberries!)  But it will give you a nice goldened crust which is exactly what we’re looking for.

Let those babies brown!

I kept the sides simple.  Pan roasted cauliflower with a balsamic vinegar reduction.  Baked sweet potato fries.

I love it when a deliciously healthy dinner is on the table in 30 minutes or less.  😉

Easy Pork Chops—recipe idea taken from Cooks Illustrated

Any leftovers taste great chopped up with some leftover brown rice, soy sauce, pineapple juice, garlic and diced bell peppers.

  • 4 boneless pork chops, about 7 oz. each
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • sugar
  1. Drizzle a small amount of oil onto each side of each pork chop.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Sprinkle one side of each pork chop with about 1/8 tsp of sugar.  Place sugar side down onto a pan that has been heated to medium and coated in cooking spray.
  3. Cook for 4-9 minutes.  Flip once the side has become browned to liking.  Continue cooking for about 4-6 minutes or until cooked thorough.
  4. Once cooked, move pork chops to a plate and cover loosely with foil for 5 minutes.  Do not throw away pan juices!  Add any juices from the plate with the pork chops to the pan, bring juices to high, and scrape browned bits.  Once sauce has been reduced (about 30-60 seconds,) turn off heat.  Add pork chops, flip once, and serve immediately, drizzling each pork chop with any remaining juices.
  5. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Is there anything that you’re “intimidated” to cook?  A souffle!  I think they’re so elegant and beautiful, but they intimidate me since one wrong move could result in a deflated balloon.  One of these weekends I plan to overcome my fear and just make it. 😀

good morning, scones.

During my last couple years of college, I was awake (and studying) into the late night hours.  For a girl who is normally in bed by 10, this was the furthest thing from normal.  😉

Countless hours were spent in my family’s living room chair, as I pounded my head full of nutrition notes and chemistry formulas.  I can still feel the anxiety of a chemistry exam, the pressure of doing well in my medical nutrition therapy class, and the thrill of seeing an A on my report card.  I also happen to remember the fear of seeing a C on my chemistry exam, but we won’t talk aobut that tonight.

This week, I felt like that college girl all over again.  I was up late doing homework assignments for my internship, and I felt that same pressure of wanting to do well.  Saturday night involved hours and hours of note reviewing, in addition to figuring out what I wanted to do my research project on. 

And then I started to think about future careers which brought a whole new level of emotions.  Exciting.  Scary.  Thrilling!

And then—finally—I decided to just stop thinking.  It was Sunday morning, after all.  A day of rest.  And I wanted breakfast.

Sundays are those perfect days when everything seems to just slow down. 

People tell me that I’m supposed to be depressed on Sunday—with tomorrow being Monday and all that—but in my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing to be depressed about on a Sunday morning.  It’s my time to (a) go for a run, (b) eat a lovely breakfast, (c) go to church, and (d) hit Starbucks with my best friend for some chatting time.  Sunday?  Depressing?  Not so much. 

My breakfast of choice for this morning was not at all fancy, but it did boast of energetic and bright flavors.  Perfect for a cold autumn morning. 

Breakfast scones are best served straight from the oven, as they have a slight crusty texture on the outside, and a warm, fluffy inside.  However, they’re also delicious served the following day.  You can simply warm them up in the microwave for a good 20 seconds. 

On the side of my breakfast scone, I served some homemade greek yogurt with flax granola and a banana smeared in almond butter.  A lovely Sunday morning breakfast.

Breakfast Sconesidea was taken from Eating Well magazine, with some tweaking involved.

The reason I’m calling these breakfast scones and not “blueberry scones” is that I’d hate to limit what this recipe is capable of.  You can turn it into an apple scone if you like.  Or a banana chocolate chip scone.  Or maybe even a savory cheese scone to be served with scrambled eggs.  So many possibilities. 😀

The orange zest adds a zingy and energetic note, making theses scones a lovely treat after a busy work or school week.  Enjoy! 

  • 4 T. reduced fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  • zest of one orange
  • cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 2/3 c. plus 1 T. buttermilk, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place cream cheese and butter in freezer to chill, about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Cut cream cheese and butter into flour mixture with pasty blender, two knives or your fingers until it resembles coarse meal.  Add blueberries and orange zest, tossing to incorporate.  Make a well in flour mixture.  Add 2/3 c. buttermilk, stirring with a fork until just combined.
  3. Knead dough gently in bowl, 7-8 times.  Divide dough into 8 round balls.  Pat each piece into a circle about 1/2 inch thick and place on baking sheet.  Lightly brush tops with remaining 1 T. buttermilk and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.
  4. Bake scones for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and firm.  Cool slightly on wire rack.  Serve warm
  5. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you find that you work your best in the morning or at night?  I am most definitely a morning person!!

pumped with pumpkin

Pumpkin seems to be floating around blog land these days.

Some of us continue to eat it in everything.  Some of us are screaming “enough already!” 

And then there are those of us who still have a good dozen cans waiting in our pantry.  Just sitting there.  Lost, confused, alone.  Desparately looking for some way to be used and appreciated.

Now, I’ve always been one to err on the side of sweetness when it comes to pumpkin, which is why I always pair it with warm, creamy oatmeal.  Or yogurt topped with crunchy granola.  But now—with November being over and all—I felt that I needed a change.  A bite of something completely new.

With that in mind, my lunch evolved.

Thursdays require me to pack a lunch the night before.

I’ve learned to embrace this time spent alone in the kitchen at night, trying to think up what it is that I want to eat the following day.  I flick on some Christmas music, pull my comfiest of wool socks on, and dance around the kitchen while preparing my meal.  Speaking of which, whoever said cooking is serious business, obviously did not know what they were talking about.  The less serious you are, the better things will turn out.  Having fun and enjoying the creation of a meal is the key to success! 😀

First, I tossed a couple handfuls of baby romaine leaves with a tsp of olive oil and sea salt.  This is a simple way to up your veggie intake.  It also creates a nice bed for whatever foods are tickling your fancy at the moment. 

With pumpkin on the brain and a bag of leftover whole wheat pasta sitting in the fridge, I created what I now call “pasta with pumpkin and sage.”

I didn’t take any exact measurements, but I did taste a little as I went, just to be sure that the seasonings were exactly where I wanted them to be.  Remember, when you are cooking solely for yourself, there is no need to primp and ponder whether everything tastes exactly like it should.  If you love it, that is all that matters. 😉

The rest of my snacks and lunch itmes included a mini whole wheat bagel smeared with roasted red pepper hummus… 

…a handful of almonds…

…a mini luna white chocolate macadamia bar just for fun…

…and a container of pineapple and red pears.

I received this Luna bar at the recent nutrition expo that I went to.

My thoughts were that it was just “okay.”  Honestly, I don’t think I would actually ever buy one for myself, as all the flavors seem to blend and taste the same to me after awhile!  But it did make for a nice mini-sized snack, and I can see how it would come in handy for an “emergency snack.”  They’re small enough to stash in a purse or to have on hand before or after a visit to the gym.  Still.  I think I’d rather have a handful of almonds or a fruit instead.  Much more satisfying. 😀

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sage

 If you’re looking for a new way to use your canned pumpkin, give this simple, savory dish a try!  I never thought I’d live to see the day, but I can honestly say that I much prefer savory pumpkin to sweet!  There’s something wonderful about sage and pasta mixing and mingling with creamy pumpkin.  These three simple ingredients really do go very well together. 

The addition of lemon juice is a must in this dish!  It (along with the garlic!) gives the dish such a lovely bite, pulling it all together.  Feel free to change things up as you go!  I’m pretty sure nutmeg and/or thyme would be two interesting ingredients to play with as well.  

  • 1 c. cooked whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 c. canned white beans, drained and rinsed
  • a few dashes of sage
  • one or two sprinkles of cinnamon
  • garlic powder to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • a few splashes of lemon juice (be semi-generous with this!  It offers a wonderful flavor)
  • lettuce, olive oil, sea salt (optional)
  • toppings (optional): walnuts, cranberries, pepitas, etc.
  1. Combine all ingredients from pasta to lemon juice together in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Toss together lettuce, oil and sea salt.
  3. Top the lettuce mixture with the pasta mixture.  Place in fridge for following morning’s lunch or eat right away.
  4. ENJOY! 😀

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My room is officially filled with Christmas cheer! :mrgreen:

This little tree stands a meer 2 feet tall, but it’s sending such a warm glow throughout my room.  I love it!  I can’t wait until the official tree is put up next week. 😀

Question: When do you usually put up your Christmas tree?

kaneech-ie-what?

I didn’t want a veggie burger.  I didn’t want a soy burger.

Today I wanted a quinoa burger.

Yes, a quinoa burger—pronounced “keen-wa” burger.  If you’re wondering what in the world this could possibly be, you are not alone.  When I first came across the little circles of grain-like seed, I wondered the very same thing. 

(As Memere would say, “kaneech-ie-what?”) 😉

If you’ve ever cooked with quinoa (and enjoyed it!) you will love this simple burger.  If you’ve never cooked with quinoa, then you’re in for a real treat. 

Quinoa is high in protein, completely gluten free, and filled with vitamins and minerals.  It’s also quick and delicious.  Where brown rice will take a good 40 minutes or so to cook, quinoa is ready in under 15.  This is important for people like me who want dinner on the table within half hour of arriving home. 😉 

I doubled up on the quinoa burgers last night, as I had leftovers sitting on the brain.  Because as delicious as a stuffed whole wheat pita can be, I’m such a sucker for leftovers.

A big green salad mixed with broccoli, red peppers, cucumbers and more.  Topped with a diced burger and drizzled with olive oil.  A simply delicious meal. 

Quinoa Burgers—as seen on Martha Stewart (serves 4)

With the habit of adding in garlic and cayenne to most of my meals, it felt a little strange to not add it in with these burgers.  But I’m very glad that I refrained.  The simple addition of cumin is lovely, and it really goes well with the subtle flavors found in the rest of the ingredients.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised. 

As an aside, these could easily be transformed into a vegan entree by replacing the egg with a flax to water combination, which would help to hold the mix together.

If you really want a quick meal, make this mix the night before and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook! 😀

  • 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in large chunks
  • 1/4 a red onion, diced
  • 15 ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 4 six-inch whole wheat pitas
  • sandwich filling ideas: avocado, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, radishes, sprouts, etc.

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quiona, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the onions, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.
  3. Form mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick paties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). If too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes to firm. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  4. ENJOY! 😀

Question: What is your favorite *must have* food item at Thanskgiving?  Stuffing!  And homemade, chunky cranberry sauce. 😀

rice and shine

I’m convinced that leftover brown rice is the most quintessential item in my fridge. 

I like to think how economical I’m being when I eat my leftover rice.  How I’m saving nickles and dimes by not throwing it out.  By not eating something else instead.  But really, I don’t think this is exactly true.  Usually I end up making a double batch of brown rice, just so that I’ll be guarenteed to have leftovers.  😉

Brown rice is quickly becoming one of my most favored breakfast these days.  

It has the ability to soak up any of the flavors that you choose to mix it with.  Especially when we’re talking an actual overnight bath in the fridge!!  I like to focus on the sweet factor for breakfast, so bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chopped apples became my flavors of choice for this morning. 

And, really, let’s be honest.  Leftover brown rice with pumpkin, bananas, apples, walnuts, yogurt, and spices is far more interesting and exciting than plain jane brown rice with your chicken.

Overnight Pumpkin Rice Pudding

This breakfast has the potential of becoming whatever you desire.  Focus on sweet by using blueberries, raisins, apples, pears, bananas, etc.  Eat it cold.  Eat it hot.  It’s delicious both ways.

OR, take the savory route by reheating the rice in a nonstick frying pan with some scrambled eggs, veggies, and chili powder.  Leftover brown rice is as versatile as you want it to be! 😀

  • 1 c. leftover brown rice
  • 1/2 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • cinnamon and nutmeg (plenty)
  • 2 T. soymilk
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • toppings: 2 T. walnuts, honey or agave to taste
  1. Mix together first 6 ingredients.  Let sit overnight.
  2. The following morning, mix together the rice mixture and yogurt.  Top with walnuts and honey or agave to taste.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: What are your plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? 😀