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!

Chicken Marsala Meatballs

I made these meatballs a few months back and we LOVED them.  I brought in a batch to one of my coworkers and he has been begging for them ever since.   The poor man was scheduled for a minor outpatient procedure this week, on his jaw, so I took pity on him and made the meatballs so he would have something easy to eat, nutritious, and delicious.

I am super duper finicky about my ground meats, I either purchase it that day from the local butcher, who grinds it to order, or I grind it myself.  In this instance, I didn’t have time to go to the butcher, so I picked up boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the store and ground the meat myself.  I added the other ingredients (cheese, egg, panko bread crumbs, parsley) and formed the meatballs.  It is best to let them sit in the fridge for a few hours and get really really cold before you fry them.  They tend to keep their shape better when they are ice cold.   The sauce is very simple, mushrooms, onions, chicken stock….the recipe is from Giada and it is really easy to make.  I usually double the sauce and put the meatballs over pasta.

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To round out the meal, I also made a big batch of rice pudding, again something easy to eat for a man who had surgery on his mouth.  Bonus – my hubby was thrilled with both the meatballs AND the rice pudding!  All in a days work folks…

What a difference a month makes…

The new freshman class has arrived!  Anna, my new assistant, is wonderful, and I had the most amazing vacation in the outer banks of North Carolina.   Not a bad way to end the summer, if I do say so myself.

Friday August 26th we welcomed the new freshman class.  It is, hands down, my favorite day on campus.  The excitement, the hope, the drama….

In addition to the new class, we also welcomed a new President, our 25th!  Because I didn’t have enough to do – you know, handling the first academic ceremony of the new year, welcoming the new freshman class, helping with move in, dealing with a new president, packing for my trip to the outer banks…..I decided to make five, yes, five batches of cookies the night before I left for vacation.  Why you ask….good question…I think because I am a sucker, that’s why.  My old assistant, Scott, asked me to make him cookies.  Of course, he couldn’t have asked me when it was just him and I, NOPE, he asked in a room full of folks.  Next thing I know I have requests coming far and wide.   Good thing I don’t sleep!  I made two batches of chocolate chip, two batches of peanut butter, and one batch of blondies.   Honestly, the blondies were for the students who work at the front desk of the venue we use for Convocation.   They are always, and I mean, always willing to help me with whatever I need, so I try and reward them with home cooked food when I can.

It will be an exciting year, with a lot of changes.  Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride.    I am back to my insane schedule of working at least 6 days a week.  I don’t have another weekend off until Thanksgiving. Thankfully, I was able to get in a vacation to my happy place, so I am rested and ready for action!

 

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!

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.

 

Crustless Quiche

I am not a huge fan of pie crust so instead, I made a crustless quiche.  I started by browning up three slices, diced,  of thick cut, pepper crusted bacon.  Once the fat was rendered and the pieces were nice and crisp, I drained them on a paper towel.  Using the bacon fat in the pan, I sauteed an 8 oz container of baby portobello mushrooms, then added one small onion, diced.  Once the onions and mushrooms were cooked, I removed them from the pan, added a bit more oil, and sauteed up some fresh spinach.

I layered the meat and veggies in the pan, topped it with a little bit of shredded cheese and poured in eight eggs that I had whisked with a little heavy cream and seasoned with salt and pepper.

It took about 35 minutes to cook at 350 degrees.   I had a slice for breakfast, the rest I took with me to work each day, along with a tossed green salad, for a quick, inexpensive, and healthy lunch option.  While I am not a big fan of eggs first thing in the morning, I love eating quiche for lunch alongside a green salad that is tossed in a vinegary dressing.

195th Commencement Ceremony!

Today is our 195th Commencement Ceremony.  Congratulations to all of the students who are ending their academic careers with us today!  I am so proud of all of you and can’t wait to hear what you have been up to at the next alumni relations event.   Best of luck to you all….YOU GOT THIS!

Commencement is always bittersweet for me, it is the biggest event I handle all year, and certainly one of the most important, but for me, it is also a bit sad.  All of these students, whom I have literally spent years getting to know, are leaving us for bigger and better things.  Yes, that is a wonderful thing,  but I am so sad to see them go.  I know I will see some of them again in the coming years at reunions and various alumni events so it isn’t truly goodbye, just goodbye for now.

The good news is, I am still able to challenge (and hopefully BEAT them) in steps via our FitBits.  One of the best things about my school, we are all really, really competitive.  They may not see me every day, but I intend of reminding them that I can still kick their fanny in our daily step goals.

I wish all of them the best – our future is indeed bright!