Sunday, April 8, 2012

curried quinoa

I've been on the hunt for tasty quinoa recipes.  I LOVE the stuff but Eric isn't so fond of it, so I'm trying to find more ways to cook it so it's a little more enjoyable for him.  He doesn't ever complain but it pushes me to research and find more ways to be creative in the kitchen.

I added a few veggies to the dish to give it some texture and added a little more chicken broth to cook the quinoa.  Other than that, I didn't deviate from the recipe and it was good.  It doesn't taste like a strong curry and it's not too spicy, however I did dilute the spices when I added the extra broth.

curried quinoa

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook and stir for 2 minutes; add quinoa and cook and stir until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.
  1. Pour broth into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add curry and chile powders; cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Happy Healthy Eating!! xoxo

LARGE chocolate chip cookies

Lately I've been on a junk food rampage, rummaging through my pantry for something sweet, something else salty, something crunchy, anything that isn't my normal healthy veggies.  I've exhausted my searching (and indulging in a candy binge) and resorted to baking with whatever ingredients I had on hand- cookies!!  

[seriously I'm hoping this nasty craving that's taken over me passes soon or my waistline will be unforgiving]

My eyes are probably larger than my stomach and I made them HUGE!!  ...so huge that it takes 20 minutes to bake AND you can only bake 6 per batch! ...sighhh, soooo, it took longer than a normal batch of cookies to bake.

BUT, they are SO delicious!  Totally hit the spot and subsided my junk food craving...for now.

[I should also side-bar here to tell you that I made a major baking NO-NO and answered the phone while putting my ingredients together and added more butter than the recipe called for... so my cookies flattened out more than they should have...lesson learned. No multi-tasking while baking.]

I found the recipe here: The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies - but they won't let you see the recipe without membership
     [but mine weren't thick because of my butter error]

I'm afraid I can't publish the recipe because of copyright stuff but you can purchase the book USED from Amazon for $9.00 ... Trust me, you'll get your money's worth from this book, it's phenomenal.  AND if you can catch them on PBS, this show is so captivating and you can actually learn a thing or two from them!!

...I just ate THREE of them.  

Happy Eating: oink oink!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Zucchini Bites

Simple Ingredients for a yummy and tasty appetizer!  Thank you to The Curious Country Cook for your Zucchini Tots recipe (adopted by The Naptime Chef)!  Straight out of the oven, it actually has a meat texture (for the carnivores out there) and doesn't really taste much like zucchini (for the veggie haters out there) which equates to a very well-rounded food dish that appeals to all!!

I doubled the recipe so I'd have a little more.


Zucchini BitesVia The Curious Country Cook & Recipe adapted: The Naptime Chefyields: 
12 mini muffins

Ingredients

1 cups zucchini, grated
1 egg
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup cheese (cheddar or Parmesan work the best)
1/4 cup bread crumbs - I used Italian style
Salt and Pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.

2. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach.
3. In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper.
4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.


And here's the end result!!  This is definitely staying on our dinner menu!!

Happy healthy eating!! xoxo

Williams-Sonoma "New Flavors for Vegetables"

At the Nevada and California border there is my favorite outlet mall.  It's my favorite outlet because there is a Williams-Sonoma outlet.  There are always great sales and deals going on, so I like to stop by, ohhhhh once a month...

I decided to get this recipe book because it was half off.  $11!!  Go get the book!

I've never purchased a recipe book that

  1. I didn't have to purchase special ingredients
  2. Each recipe is so quick and easy; no complicated utensils or cooking apparatus's 
  3. I've actually made more than half the recipes
  4. I've actually made more than half the recipes AND liked it!!
Being a part-time vegetarian (I eat seafood) it's often hard to find TASTY vegetable recipes.  It's always the same stir-fry...  Additionally, I'm always curious about all of those vegetables at Trader Joe's and not have any recipes or the know-how to make it.  This entire book has Trader Joe's written all over it- it's all of those vegetables!!

I made wok seared baby bok choy with chili oil and garlic. 

I added mushrooms...because I LOOOOOOVEEE mushrooms!!!  I add mushrooms to EVERYTHING, I love them so much.  And it was deeeelicious!

Chilled Sesame Spinach

Sooo super yummy and refreshing, this Chilled Sesame Spinach hits the spot!!

I found this recipe on WholeLiving.com and had all the ingredients on hand.  

Ingredients
·         Coarse salt
·         2 pounds spinach, stems trimmed, washed
·         1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
·         1 1/2 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
·         1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
·         1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine)
·         3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Directions
1.     Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; season with salt. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain immediately in a colander, and plunge into prepared ice bath. Let spinach cool completely, about 30 seconds; drain again. Using your hands, squeeze excess water out of spinach, and transfer to a work surface. Coarsely chop spinach, and place in a medium bowl; set aside.
2.     In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin. Add dressing and sesame seeds to the spinach; mix to combine.
Happy healthy eating!  xoxo

I LOVE spray paint!!

I am HOOKED on using spray paint!!  A few days ago, I used it for the first time and it's so wonderful!

Living in Las Vegas and with the unfortunate downturn of the economy, there have been hotel liquidations selling furniture, accessories, kitchen items, etc.  I found a mirror for $25 and it was a gold color.  I envisioned it in a glossy white so I purchased the mirror and stuck it in the garage for another day.

I just got around to sanding it to create a more textured surface and spray painting it.  It's so quick and easy!

I wish I took a 'before' photo, but I jumped the gun and was too excited to use the spray paint.

Here it is!!  I'll show you once I find a home for it!

Happy spray painting!! (trust me, it's GREAT!)

Painting my Craft Room

Our home has been a work in progress and I've been having lots of fun with colors!  I've been surfing the web looking for craft room ideas.  There's SO many great ideas, paint colors, color schemes, organizational ideas, it's endless!!

I knew I wanted a teal blue, turquoise-y, bright fun blue.  I selected three different blue samples and tested them on the wall.

I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends what their color preference was and we all [most of us] chose the same color!

I painted three walls the solid blue.  And one wall would be my striped accent wall (blue and white).  I decided I didn't want uniform sized stripes, so I chose a pattern of 8 inches, 4 inches, 4 inches - alternating blue and white.  I measured my wall, which was 122 3/4 inches in length.  I knew that my last stripe would be a little short of 4 inches (124 inches total) so I decided that stripe would end right above the door; it won't be as noticeable, being such a small area.

...I guess it would be a good time to note that if you want two different colors, you should paint the entire wall one of the colors you want THEN put the tape up for your second color.

I marked my walls with tick marks with a pencil, indicating my 8", 4", 4" measurements.  I did this on the top, middle and bottom of the wall to ensure that I was always taping the correct place.  (Technically, I could have done this several more times to ensure I was always on the right track)  I also made a sort of ruler with an extra piece of tape as another good measure (haha pun intended) to ensure I was always on the right track!  This took a LOT of time, so be prepared and be patient!

The next step isn't much fun either.  It too, also takes time and patience.  But this is the MOST important step and very crucial for super straight, clean lines once the tape comes off.  This is especially important if your walls are textured.  You can find a paintable caulking that is available at your local hardware store.  Looks like this (you'll also need to purchase the apparatus to put the caulk in):

Follow the manufacturers instructions or ask the workers at your hardware store.  I LOVE my local Home Depot, they are very friendly and helpful!  Also factor in time to allow the caulking to dry per the instructions.  It makes a HUGE difference.


Now for the fun part, painting!  Make sure you paint every other line.  A few rooms before this project I learned the hard way, that you MUST pull the tape off while the paint is still WET!  Once the paint on the tape dries, it hardens and is difficult to pull off the wall.  Additionally, it could pull off pieces of paint and ruin your hard work caulking.

Here is my finished project!  Whoo hoo!! I was so excited and so pleased with the outcome!  It was so fun to do this project from an idea to reality!

Here's the adjacent wall with my quote-artwork that I'll find a home for once I buy a stud-finder.

I guess it would be a great time to mention that I found a desk on craigslist.com.  I'm not pleased with the color, so I'm trying to figure out how I can change it up [ideas welcome].  I'm also not happy that the corner piece doesn't fully go to the corner of the wall- so I'll have to figure that out... I guess that's what I get for $75!!  It also takes up a lot of space in my tiny room, but I'd rather have lots of table space for all of my projects!

Happy Painting!! xoxo