Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

OK, new week, back on the wagon or at least closer to the wagon.  I decided to spend the day cooking up a storm so I would have plenty of healthy choices in the fridge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Eliminating the need to stop on my way home and make unhealthy food choices.

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I made a batch of vegetarian stuffed mushrooms and put them in individual containers to either take to work for lunch or re heat for dinner this week.   I started by cooking up a batch of quinoa.  While that was cooking, I sauteed eight ounces of sliced mushrooms, one onion diced, and two small zucchini.  I seasoned the veggies with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

I combined a cup of quinoa with the veggies and stuffed them inside red bell peppers.  I whisked together a cup of white wine and a cup of tomato sauce and poured that into the bottom of my pan.  I carefully placed the peppers in the sauce, covered the entire thing with foil and baked it for about 40 minutes.  I took the foil off and continued cooking for another 10 minutes, then pulled it out, let it cool and packed it into containers.

I am taking one for lunch today – hopefully it tastes as good as it looks and smells!

Sour Dough Starter

Isn’t just for making sour dough bread!  I have been trying to find new and different ways to use my sour dough starter.   I feed the darn thing each week, but I only use it a few times of year when I make bread.  I decided this fall, that was going to change.

banana-bread

We had some banana’s that were getting a bit too ripe so I googled to find a recipe that used sour dough starter to make banana bread.  I found a recipe on this site, Cultures for Health.  It was really simple, I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I threw caution to the wind and tried it.

The bread rose higher than any other sweet bread I had ever made, it wasn’t overly sweet, and the hubby and I really enjoyed it.  I did add a handful of chopped walnuts to the bread before baking, because  we love banana nut  bread.   The recipe is definitely a keeper and it used up some of my sour dough starter, DOUBLE WIN!

 

Butternut squash soup

I only used half the butternut squash in the risotto, the other half was peeled, cut, and sitting in my fridge.  I also had half a red onion, and one celery stalk hanging out in the crisper drawer.  I decided to make a small, quick batch of soup, since the nights have been a bit chilly this week.

I didn’t follow a recipe, I diced the onion and celery, peeled and diced a carrot.  I tossed them in a pot with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  I let them sweat while I peeled and diced three small white potatoes.  I added the potatoes and butternut squash to the pot along with a splash of apple cider.

I added 4 cups of vegetable stock, a dash of curry power, a dash of paprika, and a dash of smoked paprika.  I brought the entire pot to a boil, turned it down to a simmer and let it cook until the vegetables were tender.   I pureed the contents of the pot, added a little more salt and pepper and served it with a simple grilled cheese sandwich.  I don’t think the hubby realized he ate, and actually LIKED, a vegetarian dinner, until he was done!

Last days of summer

I am doing my best to savor the last few days of summer.  To that end, I have been hitting up the farmers market almost daily for produce.

tomato-sandwich

There is nothing better, in this world, than a tomato sandwich made with fresh, vine ripened tomatoes.  All you need is some good bread, lightly toasted, with a smear of mayo and a bit of salt and pepper.   Best summer lunch…..EVER!

peppers

I also grabbed some peppers.  I diced them, tossed them with some onions, olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them on the grill alongside a package of brats.

brats

Summer dinners are so easy and quick, plus if you have a grill, you can cook the entire meal outside and not heat up the kitchen. The sun is setting earlier and earlier each night, which doesn’t thrill me, summer is coming to a close, but I intend to enjoy every last second!

This summer is flying by…

Usually I get a break in the summer, at least work wise!  This is the second summer in a row that I don’t have help in the office and it is really starting to take it’s toll.  I have a mountain of filing that needs to be done.  Today we contacted the top candidate for my open position and she is supposed to give us an answer by tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Anyway, I decided to treat myself to a big breakfast on Sunday morning.  I scrambled up two eggs, added some egg whites, salt, pepper, and garlic powder with a ton of fresh spinach.

eggs scrambled with spinach

It was delicious and exactly what I needed to start my day.  I had two cups of tea and then hit the road for a boatload of errands.   I didn’t even miss the toast…..I missed the fried potatoes, but sometimes you gotta sacrifice the carbs in the name of health.  Thankfully, I had enough protein in the eggs that I was full for a good long while.   Here’s hoping I get good news tomorrow!

Frittata

On Sunday afternoons while prepping and/or cooking dinner, I have been making myself a frittata to take with me to work during the week.  I eat it as either breakfast or I add a small side salad and have it for lunch.

This week I decided to go vegetarian and make a mushroom, broccoli, and cheese frittata.   I started by sauteing the mushrooms in a bit of coconut oil.  Once they were nicely brown, I added them to the bottom of my pie plate.  I topped the mushrooms with some shredded mozzarella cheese, then a whole head of steamed broccoli.   Once all of that was in the pan, I poured in the egg and milk mixture.

fritatta

I bake it for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.   Once it comes out of the oven, I let it cool, then slice it and place it in containers to take with me to work.   It is an easy, quick, and satisfying lunch (or breakfast if I am in the mood for eggs!) and it helps keep me on my diet.   I would KILL for some potatoes or a nice side of toast if I were eating this at home, but since I don’t have a way to cook those at work, I am generally satisfied, thank goodenss!

 

Baby Shower

A dear friend of mine is due to have a lovely baby girl in August.   I was thrilled to be able to throw her a baby shower at my house on Saturday afternoon.   It wouldn’t be a party at my house if we didn’t have enough food to feed an army.  Since the event didn’t start until 2pm, I decided to make mini sandwiches, for those that hadn’t had lunch, snacks, for those that DID have lunch, and desserts, because seriously, everyone needs sugar to get through the opening of that many gifts!

buffet

I ordered three dozen dinner rolls from the local Italian bakery.  I used them to make mini sandwiches.  I  made a curried chicken salad with pistachio’s

A recipe I used to make at the restaurant where I worked as a line cook.  I started by poaching several boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and after they cooled, I diced the meat.  I added finely diced red onion, celery, and carrots before adding in a generous handful of pistachio nuts.  I toasted Penzey’s Hot Curry Powder in a dry saute pan to intensify the flavor then mixed that into some store bought mayo.  I would have made my own, but since my friend is pregnant, I didn’t want to risk it. I added the mayo to the meat and vegetables for a delicious chicken salad.

curry chx salad sammie

Next up, I made Caprese Sandwiches for the vegetarians in the group.  I sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.  I made a small batch of homemade pesto, which I spread on the roll, then topped it with the cheese and tomato. Easy peasy and so YUMMY!

The third sandwich was a simple smoked ham with swiss cheese and a spicy grainy mustard.  I was surprised, there wasn’t a clear favorite among the sandwiches!

For dessert, I made a pound cake with fresh sliced strawberries, a big batch of rice pudding, and chocolate crinkle cookies.  I know, a bit of a mish mosh, but I had very good reasons for each.  The rice pudding is one of Catherine’s favorites, the cookies are one of her mother’s favorites, and pound cake is one of my favorites….

rice pudding

Snacks were simple – a cheese display with marcona almonds, veggies with hummus, and chips with dip.

I swear I should have been a housewife from the 1950’s – I LOVE making (and drinking) punch.  I made two for the party.  A pink baby shower punch (cranberry juice, gingerale, and pink lemonade) and a whiskey lemonade punch.   The recipe for the whiskey lemonade punch called for a herb infused honey simple syrup.   I used thyme because I thought the earthy flavor would pair well with the whiskey and honey.   It was delicious and deceptively easy to drink.  All I had to do was infuse some water with lemon and we were all set.   I used my grandmother Irene’s punch bowl for the pink punch, I know she would have been thrilled!

punch

We all had a wonderful time.  Cat received some amazing gifts, and everyone walked away full.  I would say it was a total success!  The hubby was thrilled that we had some rice pudding left over for him to eat when he got home from entertaining the father to be.  A win/win situation if you ask me.  Now all we have to do is wait for their bundle of joy to grace us with her presence.