Tag Archive | quinoa

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?!)

IMG_0005

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
IMG_0106

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!

IMG_0020IMG_0038IMG_0120

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!
IMG_0112
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.
IMG_0114
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!
IMG_0115
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!

Advertisements

three things thursday

Hello there and happy Thursday, how has your week been? First, I wanted to say that both Brandon and I are so saddened by the devastation that has occurred in Oklahoma.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected <3

On another note, I can’t believe how quickly this week has flown by!  One more week of class is complete and I have just one more to go (not that I’m counting or anything) : –)
IMG_2902
I was just a litttttle excited to be off to my last lab of the semester!

I’ve actually been quite productive on the study-front this week, so I am hoping (fingers crossed) I’ll get enough accomplished tomorrow so that I can take most of the weekend off from studying. We shall see. Anyway, last Thursday I shared three things that had kept me on track and focused all week, so I kept that in mind for this week, too. Here’s three things that helped keep me focused and productive this week:

1)  Staying organized:
I’m not sure what I’d do without my planner. Maybe I’m stuck in the dark ages, but I just can’t get used to an electronic calendar or planner.  I know there’s Google Calendar and zillions of other options, but I have always felt like I NEED to see something written in my planner for it to be a legitimate plan. Also, call me crazy but I love buying a new, fun, decorative planner each year. I always look forward to it because it makes it seem like I’m starting out the year with a clean slate!
plannerplanner2

2)Rotisserie chicken to the rescue:
I struggled with meal-planning this week because I wasn’t really craving anything and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to devote to cooking dinner each night. All I can say is thank goodness for the easiness and versatility of rotisserie chicken. Most of the time, it’s actually cheaper than buying fresh chicken breasts here, and it saved me so much time! Plus, we ate it for multiple meals. First, I added it to a vegetable risotto to give it a protein boost…

IMG_2892

…and then I used it in a South-western  black-bean quinoa stuffed pepper meal. I’ll share the recipe soon, I was so happy with how they came out!

IMG_2918IMG_2923

3) Maximizing my time outside:
Fresh air truly does wonders for me.  To take advantage of the beautiful weather, I opted to study outside on our balcony multiple times, studied outside before and after classes rather than opt for my usual table inside the library, and exercised as much as possible outdoors, too.  I felt more awake, revived, and just felt happier. I love the outdoors, and I am especially loving Autumn in Australia!

IMG_2927
Thumbs down to Anatomy…thumbs up to outdoor studying
(Please excuse the hanging laundry!)

IMG_2900
Can’t beat that sunrise after my work-out on Wednesday : –)

So, does anyone else use a planner or am I seriously stuck in the dark ages?
Do you ever buy rotisserie chicken? If so, what do you make with it?
I often just shred the chicken and use it as salad toppers and inside of wraps or sandwiches, but I really enjoyed adding it into meals this week!

Springtime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad For One

Hey there! How was everyone’s start of the week? Mine was nice and busy, starting with a 5:30 a.m. boot-camp, followed by a day full of classes until 6 p.m. Needless to say, it was a long day, but still a good day. Sometimes after long days, I want to go straight to bed. However, being in the kitchen is truly one of my favorite parts of every day, and last night was no exception. As tired as I was, I could not wait to make dinner; it was all I could think about! Honestly, I have been craving a good salad for months. It might sound funny, but salads as a “meal” are so popular in the U.S.A. and offered nearly everywhere,  whereas  restaurants around us in Australia don’t seem to offer many salads on their menus, if any at all.  So a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon a certain salad recipe at one of my favorite blogs, Iowa Girl Eats, I bookmarked it immediately. I knew I had to make it, or at least attempt a similar version.  I’m only cooking for one this week since Brandon is gone for work, so I cut down the quantity of her original recipe, and I adapted the ingredients to fit what I had available.

This salad incorporates cooked shrimp for protein, quinoa tossed with feta cheese as the salad base(another excellent protein source), and additional mix-in’s of corn, avocado, roasted broccoli and roasted chickpeas, and blueberries for a pop of color.  All of this is drizzled in a lemon and olive oil based dressing to top off the salad. I loved every bite of this! It is filling, but very light.  A perfect salad for the start of spring!

IMG_1662

Springtime Shrimp & Quinoa Salad (for one)
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats Superfood Salad
Salad Ingredients:
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used gluten-free, organic)
8-10 cooked shrimp (I got mine at the seafood counter, pre-cooked with tails on)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 avocado, diced
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 cup roasted broccoli
1/4 cup roasted chickpeas
2-3 Tbsp. of crumbled feta cheese (or the cheese of your choice)

Dressing Ingredients
1 lemon, squeezed
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
salt & pepper

Directions:
1) Cook 1/2 cup quinoa, following the package directions. I cooked mine in 1 cup of boiling water, and simmered it for about 15 minutes, until it was fluffy.
IMG_1656

2) While the quinoa is cooking,  prepare your salad ingredients. First, I set my shrimp on ice in the fridge to make sure they were nice and cold for the salad. Then, I chopped the avocado, cooked the frozen corn for about 1.5 minutes in the microwave, and got my other ingredients out of the fridge, including roasted broccoli, chickpeas, and blueberries.
***Keep in mind, you could add virtually any fruit or vegetable to this. I added what I already had in the fridge, so it was even simpler to make. Set these ingredients aside.
IMG_1658

3) Now make your dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt & pepper, and whisking them together in a small bowl until combined.

4) Once your quinoa is cooked, add the feta cheese(or your cheese of choice) and stir. Then prepare your salad. I started with the quinoa as my base, then added in the toppings, and finally the shrimp. Drizzle with the lemon dressing, and you’re all set!
IMG_1659IMG_1662
I enjoyed this so much, I’m seriously debating making this again for dinner tonight. The sweet lemon dressing paired with the textures and flavors of the fruit and vegetables, along with the fluffy quinoa, was a perfect meal to round out a long day.  I have leftover quinoa, so it just may happen again tonight!

What are your favorite salad ingredients?