Archive | September 2014

Catching up & a Quinoa Recipe

Hey there and happy Thursday to you all! It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. Between getting engaged(!!!!), moving,  starting classes, attending amazing weddings and still working weekends, I feel like I’ve been in “go-go-go” mode constantly. However, Brandon and I were SO excited to move into our new place. Minus the actual “moving” part, it has been so surreal to set up our new home together as fiancés! (Can I just admit how much I love saying that?!)

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I also started my Master’s Degree program last week, which was exciting yet overwhelming all at once.  Organic Chemistry will be consuming my life for the next four months. #sendhelp
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Anyway, back to our new place. I think my favorite part of our new digs is the kitchen. The counters, the cabinets, the island, the set-up…I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it (I will share a picture once it’s all set up). Plus, having a new kitchen makes me so much more motivated to cook. Healthy dinners for the win!

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Speaking of healthy dinners, my favorite vegetarian protein source lately is quinoa. I started to eat quinoa back in Australia and I haven’t turned back since. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t too fond of it, but that’s because it tasted really bland to me. However, once I researched it a bit, I learned that if you cook it in chicken broth (or vegetable broth), it’s so much more flavorful. After that, I became hooked.  It’s a great source of protein, filling, gluten-free, and simply delicious. This week, I decided to use up some random vegetables in my fridge and make a veggie-quinoa mix. It’s so easy and makes terrific leftovers, too. To complete my dinner, I stuffed a red pepper with the mixture and baked it for 15 minutes, eating it alongside of some roasted veggies and corn (off) the cob. I plan on putting the mix on salads as leftovers for the rest of the week! Here’s my recipe:

Veggie & Black Bean Quinoa Mix
1 cup quinoa
2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup black beans
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1/4 red pepper, chopped
handful of spinach
salt/pepper/seasonings to taste
1 red pepper (optional)

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2) Place quinoa and chicken (or vegetable) broth in a saucepan, stir, and put burner on high. Once it begins to boil, lower temperature to a simmer and cover (stirring every few minutes), until it’s thickened and fluffy. (This will take about 15 minutes). Trust me, one cup expands IMMENSLY!
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3) While the quinoa cooks, chop your vegetables. I chose onions, squash, mushrooms, red pepper and spinach, and at the last minute I added some black beans in, too. The beauty of this dish is you can honestly use any vegetables in your fridge.
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4) Stir-fry these on the stove until cooked thoroughly (using spices of your choice), and add the spinach in at the last minute. Once cooked, set aside until the quinoa is finished.
5) Once the quinoa has finished cooking, add the vegetables in. Voila, you have your quinoa mix!
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6) ***Optional: I cleaned a pepper out and stuffed/baked the mixture inside for about 15 minutes, but this isn’t necessary. You could also just stand at your stovetop and eat it too (yes, I am guilty of this Winking smile)

Have a great rest of your week and weekend, friends. Happy almost fall!

***9-11-2001 Never Forget***

Do you cook with quinoa? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat it?

Any recipes to share?
Any one else move in September?

Gahhhh moving is the worst!

Engaged! The best question of my life

Hello, hello! Happy Labor Day, I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend. For the past week I have had some exciting news to share, but I never got the chance to hop on here and write. Since I never ever want to forget a single detail about this, I figured today was better late than never!

This past Sunday on August 24th, 2014, I was asked the best question of my life.
Down on the ocean in beautiful Kennebunkport, Maine, Brandon asked me to marry him. I don’t think there will ever be another moment that takes my breath away or surprises me quite like this one, and I know for certain I will never forget it.
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My Fiancé

Although I’ve known that Brandon was the one for me and would be my future husband, I truly didn’t expect this to happen after work last Sunday evening! I was 100% surprised and so so happy; it was done in typical Brandon fashion; heartfelt, caring, and full of love. It was truly the best night of my life.  I feel so honored that he asked me to be his wife, and couldn’t be happier that our families are being joined together forever. A new brother, the best in-laws and a wonderful extended family is just icing on the cake…so happy!
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Brandon brings so much joy, laughter, and purpose to my life and I can’t wait to spend forever with him.  I’ve currently been replaying our engagement-evening events in my head over and over again, and smiling so hard my face hurts. Since I never want to forget this moment, I wrote a little poem of my memories that night:

Our Engagement: A Night to Remember

A drive to the water
we were all dressed up,
it was a Sunday evening date
where I thought we’d just laugh and catch up.

But you had a plan, 
one that I did not know;
so sneaky yet organized
everything just seemed to flow. 

Since drives to the ocean are one of our favorite things
it wasn’t abnormal to stop and sit,
listen to the surf,
and smell the air that it brings.

Little did I know when you parked at the beach
that when you said you wanted to touch the water
you were planning to go down on one knee.

This night was going to be one to remember,
it was part of your plan,
to say a heartfelt speech
and ask for my hand.

I can’t believe I almost ruined it,
being so late from work,
crushing your sunset plans
and all of those ocean-side perks.

But sometimes the best moments go unrehearsed,
and since I had no idea I went and said something first.
“When are we going to get a dog” I asked,
it seemed that was all that you needed,
since you responded really fast.

When you said “there’s something that has to happen before we get our dog”
I still didn’t get it,
it was like my mind was in a fog.

But you followed that by getting down on one knee,
looking me straight in the eye,
asking “will you marry me?”

That beautiful ring
glistening in the dark,
your smile so bright
I could feel the love and the spark.

Due to sheer surprise,
I barely remember my reply
but it was an obvious yes
to this dream guy of mine.

Sealed with a kiss, a hug,
and about a million “I love you, oh my god’s”
we ran to the car to share the news
with our loved ones near & far.

The most memorable night for both of us
and for our families too,
I can’t wait to spend all of my life with you.

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Thank you to all of our family and friends for your heartfelt congratulations, love, and support. I’m so excited to be Mrs. French!

xoxo

p.s. Summer 2015 wedding is the plans…wedding date coming soon! Smile