Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What for Lunch Wednesday - Mexican Quinoa Salad

What's for lunch Wednesday is less about sharing new recipes, and more about keepin' it real. This is what I REALLY had for lunch today! Sometimes I slip and eat junk. Sometimes it's gourmet. This series is to not only inspire quick lunchtime ideas, but to show that we are not all perfect in eating the right thing at every single meal.

 Today's lunch is Monday's lunch leftovers. Don't you just love leftovers that still taste good a couple days later?! Less cooking, more time for other things (like a hectic trip to the library for storytime this morning).

I'll go ahead and share the recipe here now and then give it a post of it's own next time I make it, complete with more pictures.

Mexican Quinoa Salad
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Avocado Oil (or Coconut Oil)
1 cup Cooked Quinoa
1 cup Organic Corn
1 cup Organic Black Beans
1 Bell Pepper, Diced
1 small handful Cilantro, chopped
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Optional
Shredded Cheese
Romaine or Spinach
Diced Tomato
Diced Avocado

Heat up the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add quinoa, corn, beans, and bell pepper.
Add spices to taste and stir. I am particularly partial to cumin, so I added about a tablespoon, but i'm sure that is too much for some people. I do maybe 1 tsp of the other spices, but only a pinch of the red pepper flakes.
Throw in cilantro and stir.
You are mostly just heating up the ingredients, so this whole process should only take maybe 5 minutes. (I cook my quinoa in large batches and keep in the fridge to use throughout the week.)
Add desired toppings. Today I only went for shredded cheese, but on Monday I had it over a bed of romaine and added cheese, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and organic blue corn tortilla chips.



The beans give you some great protein to keep you satiated, as does the quinoa. Quinoa also contains magnesium, calcium, and an array of other nutrients as it is a complete protein. This meal will keep you full until dinnertime for sure!




Yum! Can you tell I've had a crazy morning? A quick lunch of high-protein leftovers was just what I needed! (As I typed that my toddler fell down our small stairs. Aye, aye, aye. Here I go!)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Long time coming

     This post has been in the works, in my mind, for quite a while now. The reality is, I haven't posted on this blog for exactly one year now, and I had been trying to figure out why. Why haven't I updated when I so enjoyed this blog? I still cook for my family daily. I am blessed to have an amazing kitchen and the ability to buy the food ingredients I prefer to use. Sure, I'm busy with my two toddlers and various household projects and housecleaning and church service, etc. . . But when I am still making food for my family each day, when we still sit at the table for every meal, when I still spend an hour or more on the computer each day just checking Facebook. . . I have every opportunity to update.

     Anyway, I know the answers to these questions and have for a while, and I am here to report.

     We eat different.

     When I started this blog, we were the typical American family eaten typical American food. And that is ok. It is what most of us know, what we grew up with, and what we feel comfortable preparing. THAT IS OK. But for my family, we are different now. I made a lot of healthier changes in the past year, and it's been difficult to share recipes when I am still in the process of leaning more about nutrition and the proper way to prepare items.  I am still finding my groove in what meals work for my family and which don't. It has been an amazing ride though, and I hope to be able to share with you all as I continue. So far i'm down 20 lbs, lost weight that had been stuck since middle school (yes, you read that right), and my family is healthier than ever. Neither of my children have needed to see a doctor in over a year, and the intestinal issues my daughter had for almost a year vanished over 10 months ago after switching some items in our diet. It's been incredible and i'm excited to try and start sharing some of it.

     Excuse the dust and infrequency as I try to get back into the swing of things. This blog is still mainly my outlet for recording recipes I like or seriously love. I don't intend it to go viral or have thousands of followers. I just want a place to record and remember and maybe help someone else find something they love as well.

    So hello again!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Peek Inside My Freezer: Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my mini-series, A Peek Inside My Freezer!
Today's post is brought to you by. . .
My ice cubes trays!

Even if you have an icemaker in your freezer, you NEED ice cube trays. I use these bad boys for just about everything! They help me to be more frugal, to be less wasteful, and make cooking and creating things in the kitchen so much quicker and more versatile.
At the moment, they are housing some homemade chicken stock. Through a manager's special at Smith's, I was able to get a whole chicken for $3.50 and I used the bones for this stock, along with some veggie scraps that I talked about in the first part of my mini-series . So basically, I made this stock FOR FREE with just the leftover things you would normally toss out.
Moving on.
As I said, I use my ice cube trays for everything. Any little thing that is leftover, and somewhat liquidy, can be frozen into little cubes and then transferred to a freezer bag. Here is the run-down of what is currently inside my freezer:
-Chicken Stock (about 3 quarts worth)
-Turkey Stock (2 quarts worth, which I made with my turkey carcass from Thanksgiving!)
-Veggie Stock (About 1 quart)
-Lemon Ice Cubes (these are water ice cubes with a small slice of lemon frozen inside them with just a hint of extra lemon juice. Great for adding to my water!)
-Lime juice (I had some limes I needed to use before they went bad, so I squeezed the juice into the trays!)
-Lemon Juice
-Tomato Paste (my recipe only called for half a can, so the rest got frozen.)

On a few of the bags, I wrote down how much of the item made up a cube, for example with the lime juice, my limes were teeeeeeny tiny, so the juice of 1 lime equaled 1 cube. It can also be helpful to figure out how much each cube will translate into, measurement wise. Each little cube in my ice cube trays holds about 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid. So, if a recipe called for 3 Tbps of fresh lemon juice  I would use 2 of my lemon juice cubes.
I LOVE freezing things in this way! I have so much control over how much of something to use, and I don't have to worry about defrosting an entire quart of chicken stock, when I only want a few tablespoons to add to a gravy.
Other things I have been known to freeze in my trays include: homemade baby food, fruit sauces/syrups, fruit juice with a toothpick in the middle for mini-popsicles.
I've also seen on Pinterest an idea for freezing fresh herbs in an ice cube tray with some olive oil, and I am most definitely going to give that a try next time I have some leftover herbs!

What do you like to freeze in ice cube trays?
Let me know!


Check out Part 1

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Potato Mountain

We all have those foods from our childhood that we look back on and think "holy crap, that stuff was delicious!" (excuse the language)
For me, it was a snack/side dish my parents used to make where they would deep fry some curly fries, top them with cheese as soon as they came out of the fryer, and then we would dip them in ranch dressing. Supposedly the idea came from a dish called Potato Mountain at some restaurant in my hometown that closed down before I was even born.
I decided to take that incredibly delicious snack one step further and turn it into a whole meal! You've heard of Hawaiian Haystacks right? These are like Curly Fry Haystacks. And they are better than Hawaiian Haystacks. Yeah, I said it. BETTER.
The pictures are lacking because, well, this dish is incredibly easy to make!

Potato Mountain

Ingredients:
Curly Fries
Cheese
Optional toppings:
  • Bacon
  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream
  • Chili
  • Ranch Dressing
  • More Cheese
  • Chives
  • BBQ Chicken/Pork/Beef
  • Taco Meat
  • Cream Cheese
  • Coleslaw
Seriously, the possibilities are endless.
Do you see this golden deliciousness?
So basically, you take some frozen curly fries and bake them per the bags instructions. I baked mine in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Once they are done, cover them with cheese and pop em back in the oven just for 2 or 3 minutes, until all the cheese is melted.
Move your fries over to a platter and you can see the mountain beginning to take shape. :D
Serve hot with whatever sides you like! We are a simple folk, so bacon, salsa, chili, sour cream, and Ranch were our toppings of choice. The Ranch didn't make it into the picture. It was on it's way home from the grocery store with my husband while this picture was being taken.

Extra notes: While i've healthified it a bit by avoiding the deep fryer, these are still fairly unhealthy. I mean, heaps of cheese and bacon and chili and ranch? Yeah. not so great. But sometimes you just have to splurge and let yourself go! Also, my husband doesn't talk much. That's just a fact. It can be hard for me to tell what he's really thinking sometimes. However, when he goes back for seconds and completely cleans his plate, that's when I know something is good. THIS is good. :)
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